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MustardSeed

All-you-can-eat religion, Buffet style

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One of the most interesting discussions our Sunday school has had over the years was about 15 years ago when our teacher brought up the idea of buffet style religion. Take what works for you leave what doesn’t behind. 

He was of course being critical but I have thought about the concept many times since. I am starting this topic because it has always interested me and I personally Find this discussion as the framework of the “left hand” discussion here on this site.

I’m curious to know about peoples honest self reflections regardless of your Agenda here on this Board or your identity on this board. First I will share mine.

I’ve been an active member my entire life at 50 years. I’ve held a temple recommend since I was 12. I consider myself a rule follower. However I am known to also be a very deep thinker beyond the box in all areas of life, church not with standing.

 Since I was a very young child I have observed the differences between gospel and culture. I have recognized for myself that there is a difference between doctrine and opinion. This began with a wise seminary teacher who would clarify before every opinion that what he was sharing was the Gospel according to him As opposed to Doctrine.

 When I read the words of church authorities and I listen to conference I have deep respect for the office and the responsibility. These men do not make me angry nor do I get defensive. That’s just me, I don’t expect the same from anybody. Everybody has their own story and the right to their experience in my opinion . There are however times when I feel the need to commune with God and ask how or if these things apply to me and there are times when in fact I have walked away with peace of mind knowing that I know what God wants for me and that my interpretation of what The authority has said or written does not match what God wants for me.

The authority I speak of maybe anything from the Prophet Right on down to my ministering teacher. Or to my husband.And for what it’s worth to everybody waiting to Pounce I see my husband is having equal Authority to me.

If you are willing I would love to have an honest conversation about our humanness. None of us are perfect and I do believe that Many of us do approach the gospel in  A buffet style Way. 

There are several members here on this board who clearly are protective of the gospel. I admire that. I also am a protector in Many ways.At first glance it seems as though no matter what and authority says it will be protected as the word of God by many people here. 

I’m curious how far down the line of authority should One go before they start to ask questions regarding if what is being taught and directed is of God or whether it is opinion.?

Answering this question leaves people vulnerable so I might be asking unfairly in a way that puts people in a Situation easy to be attacked here on this board.

My question is, where do you as an individual give yourself permission to ask Whether and authority is speaking from God or speaking from his own Opinion? And if all things said by general authorities or even if all things said just buy the prophet Come from revelation, how far down the line of authority do you give permission to yourself to consider it might be opinion? 

I would assume that if everything that all the authorities say comes from God, Including local authorities.... Then there are only two options since there is no way to do all things correctly and live righteously and all things. I’m interested in the thought process when making a decision that goes against the words of authorities. 

I’m not sure if I’ve made myself clear if I have not I’ll return to this tomorrow.

 

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Most of what we hear is opinion.  But it's good opinion from leaders that have lived the gospel and understand its effect on people's lives.  One needs to pray and judge accordingly.

I look at the Buffet, and realize that just like a food buffet, one must pick and choose.  I don't mean going against any commandments.  I mean deciding what aspect of the gospel appeals the most, and one should direct one's efforts accordingly.  Some gravitate toward leadership.  Others (like my wife) toward temple work.  Others teach. 

There is a lot of opportunity in the church and IMHO we should not try to do it all, although some feel guilty if they don't.

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1 hour ago, MustardSeed said:

................................I would assume that if everything that all the authorities say comes from God, Including local authorities.... Then there are only two options since there is no way to do all things correctly and live righteously and all things. I’m interested in the thought process when making a decision that goes against the words of authorities. ......................................................

What is nice about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that it is very much a buffet-style religion.  It does not depend on the pretended superiority of this or that culture or language.  It doesn't care about race or genetics.  It is not a matter of gender.  All are alike unto God, and he offers all of us the same plan of happiness.  God does not care whether one is a lawyer or bricklayer, a doctor or homemaker.  He doesn't care whether one is young or old.  God doesn't privilege those he has called to leadership, but instead expects more of them in compassionate service.  They get no extra points for being in high positions.  The prophet is no better than a doorkeeper in the House of the Lord.  Where much is given, much is expected, and all are alike unto God.

The prophet is not infallible and his words are subject to our agreement and approval.  Brother Brigham worried that the members just followed his orders instead of asking for verification from the Holy Spirit.  He did not want the Saints living on "borrowed light," which makes for weak and ineffectual members.

Moreover, the Atonement applies to all humankind, without exception.  And they who have not the Law of God, are a law unto themselves (will be judged fairly based on their own cultural laws). One does not have to be LDS or a Jew to be approved of God.  God loves you equally regardless.

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14 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

Most of what we hear is opinion.  But it's good opinion from leaders that have lived the gospel and understand its effect on people's lives.  One needs to pray and judge accordingly.

I look at the Buffet, and realize that just like a food buffet, one must pick and choose.  I don't mean going against any commandments.  I mean deciding what aspect of the gospel appeals the most, and one should direct one's efforts accordingly.  Some gravitate toward leadership.  Others (like my wife) toward temple work.  Others teach. 

There is a lot of opportunity in the church and IMHO we should not try to do it all, although some feel guilty if they don't.

Right on Brother Marklin.

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I'd wager that most of us do exact what the OP describes, partly because we all get our testimonies of discrete principles in different sequences and often because of the way our lives play out that helps us want to figure out His will in something.   Picking and choosing is only a problem to the extent that we don't do our own due diligence and therefore never get to the point where we are living discipleship that changes our hearts (and our appetites, passions and body parts) in submission to His will.

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Before he was the prophet President Nelson decried the cafeteria approach.

Now, that does not mean that different emphases are not appropriate depending on your skills or where you are in life. I was only peripherally involved in work for the dead when I was on my mission. I was more involved with the Missionary effort when I was a Ward Missionary and now I am involved more in church administration and training as the Ward Clerk with a brand new Bishopric. It is when we focus on those things we think are most important (often code for those things we personally find congenial) and avoid obeying other commandments that we fail. And, as then-Elder Nelson taught, this will lead to misery.

Since I am miserable a good portion of the time anyways I cannot take the risk of heaping on more.

Edited by The Nehor
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2 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

My question is, where do you as an individual give yourself permission to ask Whether and authority is speaking from God or speaking from his own Opinion? And if all things said by general authorities or even if all things said just buy the prophet Come from revelation, how far down the line of authority do you give permission to yourself to consider it might be opinion? 

I would assume that if everything that all the authorities say comes from God, Including local authorities.... Then there are only two options since there is no way to do all things correctly and live righteously and all things. I’m interested in the thought process when making a decision that goes against the words of authorities. 

I’m not sure if I’ve made myself clear if I have not I’ll return to this tomorrow.

As I've thought about this buffet analogy over the years, I've really come to the belief that everyone is a cafeteria religious follower to some degree or another.  It is impossible to align perfectly with any group that has disparate beliefs held by every individual in that group.   The more I've read about our uniquely Mormon history, I've learned how different the perspectives held by various leaders are in any given period of time, let alone how those opinions evolve and shift over time.  How each individual interprets orthodoxy is different as well, and we see this with the plentiful examples of leadership roulette.  

As for authority and my personal journey, I don't give a whole lot of authority to any source.  I respect people to differing degrees based on my previous experience of engagement with their ideas.  For example, because Elder Utchdorf has said some things I've found compelling in recent years I pay closer attention when he speaks.  Other leaders who I've had differences of opinion with, I likewise have a high degree of skepticism towards them when they speak.  I think this is just an example of human nature at work.  

For me personally, I don't align with the idea that any human is ever communicating the words of a divine being in any kind of pure sense.  I do believe people can be inspired to various degrees, but that this inspiration isn't located in some ecclesiastical job title or position of authority.  I don't see inspiration as following any patterns or that inspiration has any sense of objectivity to it.  I believe that inspiration is subjective and relative, and while I have some sense that there are core principles in this universe that might not be relative, I can't prove this in a factual way.  I do operate my life hoping that the core principles I hope exist, do actually exist and that by my following these principles I am adding value to my own existence and to the lives of others as well.  This is a hope of mine and not necessarily a belief, but it is something that I feel is important, and it gives me purpose in life.   

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3 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

One of the most interesting discussions our Sunday school has had over the years was about 15 years ago when our teacher brought up the idea of buffet style religion. Take what works for you leave what doesn’t behind. 

He was of course being critical but I have thought about the concept many times since. I am starting this topic because it has always interested me and I personally Find this discussion as the framework of the “left hand” discussion here on this site.

I’m curious to know about peoples honest self reflections regardless of your Agenda here on this Board or your identity on this board. First I will share mine.

I’ve been an active member my entire life at 50 years. I’ve held a temple recommend since I was 12. I consider myself a rule follower. However I am known to also be a very deep thinker beyond the box in all areas of life, church not with standing.

 Since I was a very young child I have observed the differences between gospel and culture. I have recognized for myself that there is a difference between doctrine and opinion. This began with a wise seminary teacher who would clarify before every opinion that what he was sharing was the Gospel according to him As opposed to Doctrine.

 When I read the words of church authorities and I listen to conference I have deep respect for the office and the responsibility. These men do not make me angry nor do I get defensive. That’s just me, I don’t expect the same from anybody. Everybody has their own story and the right to their experience in my opinion . There are however times when I feel the need to commune with God and ask how or if these things apply to me and there are times when in fact I have walked away with peace of mind knowing that I know what God wants for me and that my interpretation of what The authority has said or written does not match what God wants for me.

The authority I speak of maybe anything from the Prophet Right on down to my ministering teacher. Or to my husband.And for what it’s worth to everybody waiting to Pounce I see my husband is having equal Authority to me.

If you are willing I would love to have an honest conversation about our humanness. None of us are perfect and I do believe that Many of us do approach the gospel in  A buffet style Way. 

There are several members here on this board who clearly are protective of the gospel. I admire that. I also am a protector in Many ways.At first glance it seems as though no matter what and authority says it will be protected as the word of God by many people here. 

I’m curious how far down the line of authority should One go before they start to ask questions regarding if what is being taught and directed is of God or whether it is opinion.?

Answering this question leaves people vulnerable so I might be asking unfairly in a way that puts people in a Situation easy to be attacked here on this board.

My question is, where do you as an individual give yourself permission to ask Whether and authority is speaking from God or speaking from his own Opinion? And if all things said by general authorities or even if all things said just buy the prophet Come from revelation, how far down the line of authority do you give permission to yourself to consider it might be opinion? 

I would assume that if everything that all the authorities say comes from God, Including local authorities.... Then there are only two options since there is no way to do all things correctly and live righteously and all things. I’m interested in the thought process when making a decision that goes against the words of authorities. 

I’m not sure if I’ve made myself clear if I have not I’ll return to this tomorrow.

I think you are clear enough for the purposes of discussion. The idea of "buffet religion" has been discussed on this forum before. 

Here are my ideas about the subject. I believe in the gospel 100%, but how do we determine exactly what that gospel is? If the Pres of the Church says we should read the Book of Mormon every day, my wife makes it a point to do so, and can get very stressed out about not being a good disciple if she doesn't because she is not following "the commandments." I don't see it the same way, and have often said to my family "what about the Bible?" If I don't read the Book of Mormon every day do I feel I am not living the gospel? No, I don't.

As for the question of authority, where do I stop? With the accepted scripture. I even question Joseph Smith. I believe it quite obvious that some things he said were his own opinion, based on his own understanding, and were not straight from the Lord nor the HS. As for others there is no level of authority which is safe from my questioning. If a Pres can be incorrect in his opinion, why can't anyone else? As many who have read me on this forum no doubt know, I don't accept everything every Church Pres has said. So how do I believe I am following the gospel? I weigh what they have said against scripture, and if I perceive a conflict, I pray about it. I concede this is a subjective process, but I am totally willing to discuss how I reach my conclusions, and why I believe the way I do.

Basically, I am LDS because the restored gospel made the most sense to me as a young man, and just "felt right." I have also received various forms of revelation which affirm the "restored gospel" and even that this Church is our Lord's true work. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that "the Church" is always right - for instance Kimball denounced aspects of what he perceived was the teaching of Brigham Young. So do I believe Brigham Young or Pres Kimball? 

By necessity we all interpret what we read and hear. This has led to a lot of different interpretations of the Bible and a lot of different churches. As long as a member is not trying to lead people away or after them, I think the Church has to give some allowance to differences of opinion. That is certainly the way I operate. I certainly do not criticize those who have a different take of the gospel than myself for simply that reason, but I do expect them to be able to defend their differences - I am the first to admit that I have different interpretations than say you will find in Mormon Doctrine for instance. 

In short I totally respect what you are trying to analyze here, and will say that I am someone who "struggles" with the same issues because I just don't accept what I am told. I have always been one to question everything. I believe that is what led me to the truths of the Church, so I am not going to stop doing it when I join the Church, and try to follow the restored gospel as a member. So, I have always ignored calls not to read certain stuff - even "anti-Mormon" materials. To understand why they are wrong or why I shouldn't believe like them, I believe can only strengthen me. I am not saying this approach is for everyone, but I am not scared of analyzing truth claims - I am also not scared of criticizing those who believe in "scientific methods," which also have various weaknesses. I am a believer of the religious experience, and believe it is what ultimately will lead us to happiness.  

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29 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

With the accepted scripture

However, even that is open to interpretation including the Book of Mormon*** and D&C****, especially those not originally in English given translation issues.  And then there is punctuation that was added by someone besides the scribe which can change the meaning if a comma or break is in the wrong place.

***is the skin of blackness metaphorical or literal

****turns out something thought revealed and used to calculate the birth of Jesus was an explanation attached by the scribe 

Edited by Calm

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2 minutes ago, Calm said:

However, even that is open to interpretation, especially those not originally in English given translation issues.  And then there is punctuation that was added by someone besides the scribe which can change the meaning if a comma or break is in the wrong place.

Yep. Scripture is subject to interpretation.

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I could say so much.

A lot of my walk with God as been God shattering what I thought was God, and what I thought was the gospel.  "Not that.  I am not in that."

Lately, I have been seeing how my relationship with God is actually my relationship with myself.

I have settled on eleven beliefs: self-determination, 100 percent responsibility, integrity, redemption, kindness, freedom, justice, union, celebration, peace, and ahimsa (harmlessness).  My purpose in life is to be at peace and to arrive at ahimsa; and to prepare peace for others as well, guiding them on that path for those seeking that.

So obviously those eleven things are not exclusive to the Church.

On the other hand, I am trying to do everything I have been asked to do in the Church before discarding it at least--attend the temple, do my ministering, do the Come Follow Me, Read the Book of Mormon, etc.  I feel the difference in a good way when I do that, so I know by experience what effect they have, and I'm not going to pretend otherwise even if my 'thoughts and thinking' don't match up.  I want to turn on the faucet and drink living water, even if I don't understand all the plumbing.  I know that the covenants I have made and that I keep have power.  I know that--not in my mind, but in my living.

There are some things I am completely against and don't see myself changing anytime soon and do feel God has helped me see something better (but I could be wrong!).  For example, I'm not a fan of modesty.  I think that is a dangerous falsehood.  Not trying to get on that subject, but just an example that I absolutely cannot support.

I study a lot of different religious material (i.e. Islam, Krishna), plus some YouTube 'spiritual' leaders.  Matt Kahn managed to bring peace to me in a few weeks that over 40 years in the gospel hadn't.  So I'm grateful for all of God's children that intend to serve him in whatever sphere they may be in.

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Thank you for all of your thoughts.  

As I read through (waded through) the Left Hand thread I thought to myself that near 20 pages was not about the left or right but rather about the black and the white.  

Its nice to know that I’m not alone in the ways I think and embrace the church.  Sometimes the noisy voices of “everything a leader says is God’s directive” sounds really loud here and to those voices I wonder where the lines are drawn for them, or if all leaders and all their directives are heard and internalized as gods desire. 

I have been told several times that “inspiration tells me that you need to” marry me, have another kid, do this, do that...  in my mind these words are the worst kind of manipulation.  The absolute worst.  Sometimes people have or think they have a tremendous amount of power and I just really think that every man or woman is just human.  I’m ok with that, even though as a young person I thought differently .  

I have deep respect for my leaders.  I even still respect the office of POTUS .  But I do choose what I will believe and follow.  I think that is a good thing- keeps me from pouncing on the errors. 

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9 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

One of the most interesting discussions our Sunday school has had over the years was about 15 years ago when our teacher brought up the idea of buffet style religion. Take what works for you leave what doesn’t behind. 

He was of course being critical but I have thought about the concept many times since. I am starting this topic because it has always interested me and I personally Find this discussion as the framework of the “left hand” discussion here on this site.

I’m curious to know about peoples honest self reflections regardless of your Agenda here on this Board or your identity on this board. First I will share mine.

I’ve been an active member my entire life at 50 years. I’ve held a temple recommend since I was 12. I consider myself a rule follower. However I am known to also be a very deep thinker beyond the box in all areas of life, church not with standing.

 Since I was a very young child I have observed the differences between gospel and culture. I have recognized for myself that there is a difference between doctrine and opinion. This began with a wise seminary teacher who would clarify before every opinion that what he was sharing was the Gospel according to him As opposed to Doctrine.

 When I read the words of church authorities and I listen to conference I have deep respect for the office and the responsibility. These men do not make me angry nor do I get defensive. That’s just me, I don’t expect the same from anybody. Everybody has their own story and the right to their experience in my opinion . There are however times when I feel the need to commune with God and ask how or if these things apply to me and there are times when in fact I have walked away with peace of mind knowing that I know what God wants for me and that my interpretation of what The authority has said or written does not match what God wants for me.

The authority I speak of maybe anything from the Prophet Right on down to my ministering teacher. Or to my husband.And for what it’s worth to everybody waiting to Pounce I see my husband is having equal Authority to me.

If you are willing I would love to have an honest conversation about our humanness. None of us are perfect and I do believe that Many of us do approach the gospel in  A buffet style Way. 

There are several members here on this board who clearly are protective of the gospel. I admire that. I also am a protector in Many ways.At first glance it seems as though no matter what and authority says it will be protected as the word of God by many people here. 

I’m curious how far down the line of authority should One go before they start to ask questions regarding if what is being taught and directed is of God or whether it is opinion.?

Answering this question leaves people vulnerable so I might be asking unfairly in a way that puts people in a Situation easy to be attacked here on this board.

My question is, where do you as an individual give yourself permission to ask Whether and authority is speaking from God or speaking from his own Opinion? And if all things said by general authorities or even if all things said just buy the prophet Come from revelation, how far down the line of authority do you give permission to yourself to consider it might be opinion? 

I would assume that if everything that all the authorities say comes from God, Including local authorities.... Then there are only two options since there is no way to do all things correctly and live righteously and all things. I’m interested in the thought process when making a decision that goes against the words of authorities. 

I’m not sure if I’ve made myself clear if I have not I’ll return to this tomorrow.

 

I've always taken the approach to just decide what the Lord wants me to do with what my leaders teach or direct (or what the scriptures say). That to me constitutes what is taught and directed of God. I don't even worry or consider whether these are just an opinion* or not, nor whether the leaders are worthy/inspired/able or not, nor what others are doing, etc. If I am wrong in what I choose to do, I am willing to repent and the Lord will understand! :) I am ultimately responsible for making the Holy Ghost my constant companion and discerning the Lord's will for me as expressed though various means, large and small, strong and weak.

*there is nothing inherently wrong with an opinion, and maybe God wants me to consider it, weight it, and decide what to do with it. 

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3 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

Thank you for all of your thoughts.  

As I read through (waded through) the Left Hand thread I thought to myself that near 20 pages was not about the left or right but rather about the black and the white.  

Its nice to know that I’m not alone in the ways I think and embrace the church.  Sometimes the noisy voices of “everything a leader says is God’s directive” sounds really loud here and to those voices I wonder where the lines are drawn for them, or if all leaders and all their directives are heard and internalized as gods desire. 

I have been told several times that “inspiration tells me that you need to” marry me, have another kid, do this, do that...  in my mind these words are the worst kind of manipulation.  The absolute worst.  Sometimes people have or think they have a tremendous amount of power and I just really think that every man or woman is just human.  I’m ok with that, even though as a young person I thought differently .  

I have deep respect for my leaders.  I even still respect the office of POTUS .  But I do choose what I will believe and follow.  I think that is a good thing- keeps me from pouncing on the errors. 

Just as often, and probably more (I'd like to see an analysis of the Left Hand thread), the noisy voices are those that turn support of leaders, or invitations to consider that the leaders might have a point, into a boogey-man (straw-man) that “everything a leader says is God’s directive.” 

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13 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Just as often, and probably more (I'd like to see an analysis of the Left Hand thread), the noisy voices are those that turn support of leaders, or invitations to consider that the leaders might have a point, into a boogey-man (straw-man) that “everything a leader says is God’s directive.” 

Hm.  You may be right :)  I’ve tried so hard to be careful to be clear about what is CFR worthy and what is my experience. I blew that for sure. 

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25 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I've always taken the approach to just decide what the Lord wants me to do with what my leaders teach or direct (or what the scriptures say). That to me constitutes what is taught and directed of God. I don't even worry or consider whether these are just an opinion* or not, nor whether the leaders are worthy/inspired/able or not, nor what others are doing, etc. If I am wrong in what I choose to do, I am willing to repent and the Lord will understand! :) I am ultimately responsible for making the Holy Ghost my constant companion and discerning the Lord's will for me as expressed though various means, large and small, strong and weak.

*there is nothing inherently wrong with an opinion, and maybe God wants me to consider it, weight it, and decide what to do with it. 

Have you ever had the experience of weighing and measuring a leaders directive and coming to a decision that you need or can go another way? 

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53 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

Have you ever had the experience of weighing and measuring a leaders directive and coming to a decision that you need or can go another way? 

I have.

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When I was in kindergarten, i recall my parents sitting me down and explaining that the prophet said no more Coke.  I was a big deal to us because my grandfather was a coke bottler.  At that age I referred to coke as The Devils Drink.  When I became an adult I saw it with different eyes.  It felt to me like an opinion. 

At girls camp 5 years ago several yw were playing face cards in their tent and the camp director stormed in and raised Cain over it.  Girls were crying and whatnot... the stake presidency counselor was fortunately there and Told the director to stand down. I don’t think I had ever followed that directive, but evidently The Director saw it differently. 

Our stake president  10 years ago came to our ward and taught us about sexual sin.  He directed us to check our partners cell phones regularly for indescretions and to discontinue all youth sleepovers.   In my house, we saw these directives as opinions and we do what works for  us. 

I was told by someone that they had had a spiritual visitation that suggested another child wanted to come into our family.  Nope.  

My husband was recently asked to fill a calling at church that he is literally unqualified for.  The person calling him told him he’d been inspired to call my husband.  He’d have been embarrassed if my husband had told him the reality of his qualifications.  

 

I really don’t tolerate manipulation.  I’m sensitive to it, and it makes me angry.  Sometimes I can tell immediately when people want something so they credit God with the directive, and I dislike that.  Sometimes I think people have the best of intentions but can’t discern between Gods direction and their own.  And sometimes it’s  God thing.  I sometimes can’t tell without study and prayer.  

But I Suspect there are many who take every word from every (?) leader as Gods word. ****I do not have facts to back, this is opinion and personal experience ****.  

 

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18 hours ago, Maidservant said:

I could say so much.

A lot of my walk with God as been God shattering what I thought was God, and what I thought was the gospel.  "Not that.  I am not in that."

Lately, I have been seeing how my relationship with God is actually my relationship with myself.

I have settled on eleven beliefs: self-determination, 100 percent responsibility, integrity, redemption, kindness, freedom, justice, union, celebration, peace, and ahimsa (harmlessness).  My purpose in life is to be at peace and to arrive at ahimsa; and to prepare peace for others as well, guiding them on that path for those seeking that.

So obviously those eleven things are not exclusive to the Church.

On the other hand, I am trying to do everything I have been asked to do in the Church before discarding it at least--attend the temple, do my ministering, do the Come Follow Me, Read the Book of Mormon, etc.  I feel the difference in a good way when I do that, so I know by experience what effect they have, and I'm not going to pretend otherwise even if my 'thoughts and thinking' don't match up.  I want to turn on the faucet and drink living water, even if I don't understand all the plumbing.  I know that the covenants I have made and that I keep have power.  I know that--not in my mind, but in my living.

There are some things I am completely against and don't see myself changing anytime soon and do feel God has helped me see something better (but I could be wrong!).  For example, I'm not a fan of modesty.  I think that is a dangerous falsehood.  Not trying to get on that subject, but just an example that I absolutely cannot support.

I study a lot of different religious material (i.e. Islam, Krishna), plus some YouTube 'spiritual' leaders.  Matt Kahn managed to bring peace to me in a few weeks that over 40 years in the gospel hadn't.  So I'm grateful for all of God's children that intend to serve him in whatever sphere they may be in.

Wow!! You are doing it right, sounds like.

I am over on the reddit board occasionally, and one post was so sad. This boy grew up with a dad that was so abusive mentally. His dad had become a member at an older age and wanted to raise his family by the church's handbook for a missionary, of all things. This guy went on to explain that his father didn't tell them that, he figured it out when he read the manual for missionaries when he was about to embark on putting his papers in. He said his growing up years were horrendous. His dad was so worried that any of his kids would make a bad choice that he wouldn't let them. He would go through their things in their rooms constantly but make it look like he hadn't, he would have these rules for everything. He wouldn't let them have certain friends, and it was tough because they lived where there weren't many LDS so the options were slim that he'd find a friend that his dad would approve of. They were limited to very few shows to watch, even LDS ones. No caffeine, they weren't allowed to wear regular clothes on Sunday, scripture reading only, or other things like that. There was to be no loud laughter, everything was to the extreme. The father let them have cell phones but they hadn't known at first that he put GPS trackers on them so he'd know where they were at all times. They figured it out once they'd seen their dad in places wherever they would be. Then back to the mission manual, this guy read over it and he realized his dad raised the kids by this manual from at a young age! This guy turned to porn and then that turned into a cyclicle nightmare. He said he'd sneak out at night and go to a bridge near his home that was over a highway and lean over as far as possible and imagine himself just letting go, he was so depressed. He said he and his father were never close, and that his dad just wanted that perfect looking family. There's much more to the story, I don't want to hog all your time, but your post made me think of it.

So I see where people can take the religion too far. But sounds like you haven't and you take it according to your own dictates!! :)

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I have told a few people that I am "half" in.  I believe approximately half of our spiritual journey takes place within a community and half of it is an individual and very personal journey.  I am "all" in with respect to taking the journey, but am also taking personal responsibility for myself, and not relying on anyone else's arms of flesh to get me through.  Better to rely on your own two feet, not put all your eggs into any particular religious group, think for yourself, search, ponder, experience, honestly evaluate fruits.

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Every one has an opinion, I don’t care what job or office the hold.

my salvation is dependent upon what the scriptures teach.

I question everything.

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I really would like to reply to this. . . I hope I don't offend in so doing. I am a firm believer in the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus  Christ. That is a truth that transcends denominations, sects, or any group within Christianity. It is the core message of the gospel - Christ crucified, risen, and coming again. That gospel does not belong to the Saints, the Mennonites, the Catholics, or any other of 200 different groups. The gospel belongs to Christ alone. It is Him we must seek. For my entire spiritual life I have sung a sacrament hymn that I do not believe is in the Mormon Hymnal. I miss it. It summarizes my commitment to the gospel. The song is entitled Break Thou the Bread of LIfe and is by Mary Lathbury. Here are the lyrics; they sum up the gospel to me better than anything I could ever say:

  1. Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
    As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea;
    Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord;
    My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word!
  2. Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord, to me, to me,
    As Thou didst bless the bread by Galilee;
    Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
    And I shall find my peace, my all in all.
  3. Thou art the bread of life, O Lord, to me,
    Thy holy Word the truth that saveth me;
    Give me to eat and live with Thee above;
    Teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love.
  4. Oh, send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me,
    That He may touch my eyes, and make me see:
    Show me the truth concealed within Thy Word,
    And in Thy Book revealed I see the Lord.

In the lyrics of this song, the author goes beyond the "sacred page" to seek the source of all authority, our Lord. That is why I don't like to debate about which book, which revelation, what books, etc. I seek the living Word that transcends or goes beyond the sacred page, however that is defined - I seek the living Word. As the deer panteth after the waterbrook so my heart pants after thee O Lord (Psalm 42:1) - my life's verse from the Old Testament.

I grew up in bondage . . . so I pray "to find my peace, my all in all" in the Savior. This is why I struggle with the various levels of heaven as taught in D&C. My prayer and my assurance via the Holy Spirit is that one day I will "eat and live with Christ above." I long for Christ to continually "touch my eyes, and make me see." That is why you read so often in my posts about my concern for blind spots. I can only see things about me to which I am blind through the eyes of the Lord. Christ is the bread of life. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). Thank goodness, the verb is a present tense - "we are being healed" That is the gospel to and for me. It is found in Christ, the Living Word.

Thanks for letting me share.

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On 2/15/2019 at 8:17 AM, MustardSeed said:

There are several members here on this board who clearly are protective of the gospel. I admire that. I also am a protector in Many ways. At first glance it seems as though no matter what and authority says it will be protected as the word of God by many people here. 

Speaking as one of those defenders, I don't feel that disagreeing with an Authority gives me license to marginalize or demean them.

Of course there are some things with which I disagree, some things that are their opinions, some things that need correction, and even some things that may be deeper knowledge of which we have yet to learn. In any case, I don't feel a need to make them offenders for a word because I find myself in disagreement.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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17 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

Have you ever had the experience of weighing and measuring a leaders directive and coming to a decision that you need or can go another way? 

When I was a new member of the Church (I joined in college), I was introduced to a member of the Twelve at a stake conference. As he learned I had been in the Church for a year, he asked if i was going on a mission. I said yes, in a couple of years when I graduate. He asked how old I was and said again, "You could be going now," and I assured him that I'm going -- when I graduate. In that case, I had already decided based on a prior personal revelation before I was baptized, and a blessing I received when I was confirmed. Maybe that doesn't count because I weighed and measured his invitation according to the light I already possessed, and I didn’t interpret him as actually directing me to go.

It also might not count if we are already going our own way without prayer, which I suspect is often the case. Or if we are sufficiently aligned with the directive to follow it without much consideration or inconvenience. Or if we follow it halfheartedly or nominally.

Another example is when our stake president challenged the stake members to double our fast offerings. I prayed about it and reduced "other" categorical donations to go toward fast offerings instead. I increased my total offerings, but not as much as if I had doubled my fast offering and left the others alone. I wasn’t necessarily going another way, but not fully in line with what someone else might take to be the letter of what was asked, either. Again, I see that as an invitation rather than a directive.

I was one asked by a leader to be flexible on following some instruction he had given me, but in order to take the high road, I did not for the sake of other affected parties. I did weigh and pray about that pretty carefully and feel all concerned have been blessed.

I think as long as we can answer the temple recommend questions in good faith, we are in good standing as to how well we are hearkening to our leaders' directives.

Edited by CV75
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