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Are we as open as we ask others to be?

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39 minutes ago, Navidad said:

... Dr. Hardy, a faithful Mormon historian often suggested that the Anglo Mexican Mormons "cocooned" themselves and were prone to cultural encystment here in Mexico. Hence they had little support network when the revolution broke out and had to leave. Each Christian group has its own niche in God's overall plan. What might you be missing by staying cocooned in your own niche?

When it comes to "staying in my own niche," I plead guilty.  As I say, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I think it is the best thing going, faith-wise, and belief-wise, and paradigm-wise.  But, "cocooned"?  No.  I have written extensively encouraging respect for other faiths, as well as encouraging  interfaith dialogue.  As for the expatriate members of the Church of Jesus Christ in Mexico, accepting your assessment of what Dr. Hardy has written as accurate for the sake of this discussion, given the reason why they found themselves in Mexico in the first place (because they could not practice their faith freely where they originally tried to do so), I am loathe to be too critical of them for allegedly "cocooning" themselves.

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3 hours ago, Teancum said:

Of course most TBMs would not. I never did. 

Is such a thing unique to so-called "TBMs"?  Or wouldn't it also be true of virtually any person who felt at home in, and fulfilled by, his faith, whatever it may be?

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17 hours ago, bluebell said:

I don't know.  I haven't wept yet when one of my friends have left the church, and I've never actually cheered when someone joined.  But I guess I know what you mean and my answer is 'well, obviously.'  Obviously I believe the truth claims about the church and so yes, i am sad when someone leaves and happy when they join.  I'm not exactly sure point you're trying to make.

Just the point that you agreed with above.That's all.

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16 hours ago, Raingirl said:

I am baffled as to why this would be “sad”.  

I had several experiences while I was investigating the church (and after), that left no doubt.  Why would I turn to man’s claims and “evidence” when I already had everything I needed directly from Heavenly Father?

I said I am happy it works for you.  I personally font find spiritual experiences or whatever you want to call them very reliable. In fact for me, they have been one of the worst ways to base major decisions and commitments on.  The reason I think it is sad it I think, as noted, it really is poor method for determining truth and that many who rely on this method may be led down a path that is less than good for them in the long run.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Why not?  If a person has found a faith, a belief system, and/or a paradigm which works for him or her, why not rejoice over that?  Again, if someone asks my advice before such a decision is made, I might attempt to reason with him or her in the spirit of Doctrine and Covenants 121, but if s/he finds a paradigm which works better for that person, why not wish him or her well?

How often do the bulk of Latter-day Saints take that approach you outline above when someone through personal study, searching and perhaps even spiritual experiences leaves the Church?

Edited by Teancum

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4 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Just the point that you agreed with above.That's all.

So you were trying to make the obvious point that I believe in the truth claims of the church?

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1 minute ago, bluebell said:

So you were trying to make the obvious point that I believe in the truth claims of the church?

Never mind. 

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Never mind. 

:good: I'm really not trying to be snarky, I just didn't understand the point of the question you asked since the answer seemed like a given.  

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

When it comes to "staying in my own niche," I plead guilty.  As I say, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I think it is the best thing going, faith-wise, and belief-wise, and paradigm-wise.  But, "cocooned"?  No.  I have written extensively encouraging respect for other faiths, as well as encouraging  interfaith dialogue.  As for the expatriate members of the Church of Jesus Christ in Mexico, accepting your assessment of what Dr. Hardy has written as accurate for the sake of this discussion, given the reason why they found themselves in Mexico in the first place (because they could not practice their faith freely where they originally tried to do so), I am loathe to be too critical of them for allegedly "cocooning" themselves.

That is fair. I would simply offer as an alternative to the traditional perspective that they "had " to come here and thus, did so with resistance.  Most came here because they were called to come by the leaders of the church. They came to fulfill Moses Thatcher's dedication of Mexico on Jan 25, 1880 to colonization. If one reads his dedicatory prayer carefully, he committed Mexico to colonization so that the colonists could then provide the means, resources, personnel etc. to evangelize the country. It would be thirty years later before the colonists in large numbers actually became missionaries in what was then their own country.  Many who came here, especially in the early years were polygamists, but they came as a result of a calling Brigham Young made to the colonists already living in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, mostly in relative isolation.  

Edited by Navidad
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Posted (edited)

I would simply like to suggest that in the Christian church as a whole there are many doctrines, attributes, priorities, methods etc. that are all important and good. Different ones are prioritized, valued, emphasized, and practiced better, more completely, and with greater focus than in other churches. This is what in part, brought about the wonderful diversity of Christian denominations. It was not the idea that they disagreed, fought, split, etc. and thus all those denominations are a product of something negative. The diversity was often because of what they were for, the unique vision of their founders that differentiated them from other groups. 

In no order and in a random way, I would suggest the following are just some of the differing attributes of the Christian church as a whole: worship, peace, justice, solace, piety, understanding the gifts of the Holy Spirit, church governance, theology, service, missionary work, meditation, ritual, prayer, church history, grace, accountability, beauty, the sacraments and other ordinances, preaching, discipleship, giving (tithing, etc), orthodoxy, a kingdom focus, duty, veneration, personal commitment, scriptural interpretation, spirituality, mysteries, humility, hospitality, dignity, kindness, holiness, tradition, zeal, enthusiasm, innovation, authority, evangelism, leadership, teaching, virtue, etc. This list is neither intended to be complete, exhaustive, or anything more than a list I put together in the last ten minutes.

My belief is that different denominations, groups, churches, and even individuals focus on differing aspects of these attributes and can therefore teach the rest of us about them, helping us become more complete Christians as individuals or as churches. I can think of different Christian groups that excel in exhibiting many of these traits; as well as those who don’t do nearly as well on some, if for no other reason than that they are not emphasized. It is a matter of teaching, prioritization, and practice.

Just like anything else the practice of piety makes one “better” at it. There are different Christian groups that could teach me much about a focus on holiness, zeal, dignity, etc. Often, I don’t know what I am missing until I experience it in a context that may otherwise be unfamiliar to me. I would also hold that it may be possible that non-Christian groups may be better at many of these attributes than the best Christian organization. There is so much to learn and so little time.

Therefore, I am suggesting two things:

1. Learning from other traditions does not mean abandoning our own. I am skeptical of anyone who might hold that their tradition is the “best” at all these attributes. That simply is a confusion of fealty and reality. I whole-heartedly believe there is much for any member of any Christian group to learn from any other, especially in the area of that group’s strength and priority. I strongly encourage folks to read a variety of authors from a variety of traditions. You will be more complete in the breadth and width of your Christian faith for having done so

2. Those Christians who have a different priority or emphasis in their faith are not failed attempts at being you. Those churches with a different priority or emphasis in their collective faith are not failed attempts at being your church.

Thanks for reading my epistle!  

Edited by Navidad

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, bluebell said:

Anytime the idea has come up (to pray to know which religion God wants you to follow) the person always says that I shouldn't pray.  Whenever that happens it gives me red flags because I don't think the Spirit or God's messengers would ever instruct someone not to pray to God for direction or guidance.

Indeed:

Quote

For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.

As a fulltime missionary, I didn't work with very many religious people (mostly the unchurched and the agnostic, though a few atheists), but when I did, I was really struck by how 'unspiritual' their faith seemed to be. I genuinely thought, for example, that other Christians would have had experiences with the Bible similar to the experiences that I'd had with the Book of Mormon.

One very devout Lutheran couple invited my companion and me in one evening, and we started to talk. They immediately went on the attack with the Book of Mormon. I thought to ask them to explain to me how they knew the Bible was the word of God, it being my intention to suggest they use that same process (whatever it was) with the Book of Mormon. I genuinely didn't know what they would say, but I assumed it would involve God, coming to know Christ and the power of His Atonement, the Holy Ghost, answers to prayer, spiritual experiences, 'experimenting upon the word', or some combination of the above ... maybe even something I'd never thought of, in which case I could appropriate it, as Navidad suggests above!

Instead, they started to discuss Biblical archaeology: how we know Jerusalem, for example, really existed because it's still there. I pointed out to them that that doesn't mean that the Bible stories that are said to have occurred in Jerusalem really happened anymore than the presence of Mt Olympus in Greece means that Zeus is real. So next they moved on to 'internal consistency'. I asked them what they meant by that. They said that prophecies in the Old Testament are fulfilled in the New. I noted that the Bible is actually full of inconsistencies, and that the fulfilment of prophecies depend upon imposing a Christian interpretation on the text that, though I agree with it, is not the only option. I then pointed out that the Lord of the Rings probably has better internal consistency than the Bible, including with 'prophecies'.

I didn't mean to be argumentative, but I was genuinely stunned and felt that if I gently pushed just a little that they'd get around to telling me about the spiritual role the Bible played in their lives. Instead, my companion and I were shown the door. :(

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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4 hours ago, pogi said:

I had some Jehovah's Witnesses visit me last year.  They gave me some reading material, which I read.  They visited me around 10 times and we had some good discussions.  Really nice couple.  We talked about the role of prayer in seeking for truth - they discouraged the practice...oh well.  I would be ecstatic to hear people of other faiths encourage prayer as a critical tool in search for truth.  I have never, ever had anyone encourage the practice to me.  Kind of sad actually. They usually turn me to the Bible (as if there is only one possible interpretation) and tell me not to believe in "spooky feelings".

I’ve always been astonished at how many Christians object to praying to learn the truth

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6 hours ago, Teancum said:

How often do the bulk of Latter-day Saints take that approach you outline above when someone through personal study, searching and perhaps even spiritual experiences leaves the Church?

I don't know.  I certainly cannot, and therefore, do not presume to, speak for "the bulk of Latter-day Saints."  I believe I have been very consistent in advocating that approach.

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On 3/9/2019 at 5:26 AM, Navidad said:

Oh my, you skipped the Anabaptist faiths! You missed the best! 🙂

From what I could tell, the Missionary Baptist preachers that came to my home were Anabaptists.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Indeed:

As a fulltime missionary, I didn't work with very many religious people (mostly the unchurched and the agnostic, though a few atheists), but when I did, I was really struck by how 'unspiritual' their faith seemed to be. I genuinely thought, for example, that other Christians would have had experiences with the Bible similar to the experiences that I'd had with the Book of Mormon.

One very devout Lutheran couple invited my companion and me in one evening, and we started to talk. They immediately went on the attack with the Book of Mormon. I thought to ask them to explain to me how they knew the Bible was the word of God, it being my intention to suggest they use that same process (whatever it was) with the Book of Mormon. I genuinely didn't know what they would say, but I assumed it would involve God, coming to know Christ and the power of His Atonement, the Holy Ghost, answers to prayer, spiritual experiences, 'experimenting upon the word', or some combination of the above ... maybe even something I'd never thought of, in which case I could appropriate it, as Navidad suggests above!

Instead, they started to discuss Biblical archaeology: how we know Jerusalem, for example, really existed because it's still there. I pointed out to them that that doesn't mean that the Bible stories that are said to have occurred in Jerusalem really happened anymore than the presence of Mt Olympus in Greece means that Zeus is real. So next they moved on to 'internal consistency'. I asked them what they meant by that. They said that prophecies in the Old Testament are fulfilled in the New. I noted that the Bible is actually full of inconsistencies, and that the fulfilment of prophecies depend upon imposing a Christian interpretation on the text that, though I agree with it, is not the only option. I then pointed out that the Lord of the Rings probably has better internal consistency than the Bible, including with 'prophecies'.

I didn't mean to be argumentative, but I was genuinely stunned and felt that if I gently pushed just a little that they'd get around to telling me about the spiritual role the Bible played in their lives. Instead, my companion and I were shown the door. :(

I've heard or read that if the Bible is wrong, there isn't any way for the BoM to be correct. Since so much is taken from the Bible. Maybe they should have spouted that out. But you have answers I don't, since I'm terrible at scripture study. 

Edited by Tacenda

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Avatar4321 said:

I’ve always been astonished at how many Christians object to praying to learn the truth

The pastors I mentioned above told me Satan would answer prayers about the Book of Mormon. I have heard that elsewhere, too.

Edited by Bernard Gui

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2 hours ago, Navidad said:

I would simply like to suggest that in the Christian church as a whole there are many doctrines, attributes, priorities, methods etc. that are all important and good. Different ones are prioritized, valued, emphasized, and practiced better, more completely, and with greater focus than in other churches. This is what in part, brought about the wonderful diversity of Christian denominations. It was not the idea that they disagreed, fought, split, etc. and thus all those denominations are a product of something negative. The diversity was often because of what they were for, the unique vision of their founders that differentiated them from other groups. 

In no order and in a random way, I would suggest the following are just some of the differing attributes of the Christian church as a whole: worship, peace, justice, solace, piety, understanding the gifts of the Holy Spirit, church governance, theology, service, missionary work, meditation, prayer, church history, grace, accountability, beauty, the sacraments, preaching, discipleship, giving (tithing, etc), orthodoxy, a kingdom focus, duty, veneration, personal commitment, scriptural interpretation, spirituality, mysteries, humility, hospitality, dignity, kindness, holiness, tradition, zeal, enthusiasm, innovation, authority, evangelism, leadership, teaching, virtue, etc. This list is neither intended to be complete, exhaustive, or anything more than a list I put together in the last ten minutes.

My belief is that different denominations, groups, churches, and even individuals focus on differing aspects of these attributes and can therefore teach the rest of us about them, helping us become more complete Christians as individuals or as churches. I can think of different Christian groups that excel in exhibiting many of these traits; as well as those who don’t do nearly as well on some, if for no other reason than that they are not emphasized. It is a matter of teaching, prioritization, and practice.

Just like anything else the practice of piety makes one “better” at it. There are different Christian groups that could teach me much about a focus on holiness, zeal, dignity, etc. Often, I don’t know what I am missing until I experience it in a context that may otherwise be unfamiliar to me. I would also hold that it may be possible that non-Christian groups may be better at many of these attributes than the best Christian organization. There is so much to learn and so little time.

Therefore, I am suggesting two things:

1. Learning from other traditions does not mean abandoning our own. I am skeptical of anyone who might hold that their tradition is the “best” at all these attributes. That simply is a confusion of fealty and reality. I whole-heartedly believe there is much for any member of any Christian group to learn from any other, especially in the area of that group’s strength and priority. I strongly encourage folks to read a variety of authors from a variety of traditions. You will be more complete in the breadth and width of your Christian faith for having done so

2. Those Christians who have a different priority or emphasis in their faith are not failed attempts at being you. Those churches with a different priority or emphasis in their collective faith are not failed attempts at being your church.

Thanks for reading my epistle!  

You’re welcome. I spent two years full time talking with people from other traditions.

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11 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I've heard or read that if the Bible is wrong, there isn't any way for the BoM to be correct.

The Book of Mormon clearly identifies that the Bible, whilst the word of God, has lost some of its 'plain and precious truths'. That's part of why another testament is so important.

Having said that, however, my goal has never been to sow doubt in the Bible. One can know that it comes from God and teaches truth despite any internal inconsistencies or other issues. That's what so many people I met as a missionary seemed not to get.

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32 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

The pastors I mentioned above told me Satan would answer prayers about the Book of Mormon. I have heard that elsewhere, too.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he does try to answer prayers about the Book of Mormon. But the Holy Spirit is the voice we should Be listening to

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Back when I made the (perhaps-very-ill-advised :huh::unknw:) decision to apply to law school, one of the schools to which I considered applying (though, ultimately, I did not: Cost, and, to a lesser degree, distance from family and friends, influenced my decision to not apply) is Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach VA.  (If I remember correctly, I believe I responded to a solicitation from the school, rather than initiating contact with it myself.) 

Regent University and its Law School are well known for their relationship with Jerry Falwell and his ministry.  I responded to the solicitation by questioning what kind of a reception I, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, might reasonably expect at the non-Latter-day-Saint Christian institution.  I received a very kind note via e-mail from an admissions official at the school implying that he did not see any reason, if I agreed to abide by its Profession of Faith (that's not the exact name for it; it escapes me at the moment), which includes belief in Trinitarian Christianity, that my enrollment and attendance would be a problem.  (I don't necessarily see a big problem with social trinitarianism.) 

Perhaps my tuition dollars would have been sufficient for officials to "wink-and-nod" at any apparent differences of belief between us?  At any rate, differences aside, the official told me that he was "delighted" that my faith in Christ plays a central role in my life.  I thought I saved that a copy of that e-mail exchange someplace.  Perhaps I'll see if I can dig it up.

At any rate, while others' mileage may vary, I would very much like to think that I would take the same approach to those of other faiths that the Regent University School of Law admissions official took with me, that is, that I would be delighted at what, from a faith standpoint, we have in common rather than focusing on what divides us or on attempting to drive any wedges between us.

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5 hours ago, pogi said:

I had some Jehovah's Witnesses visit me last year.  They gave me some reading material, which I read.  They visited me around 10 times and we had some good discussions.  Really nice couple.  We talked about the role of prayer in seeking for truth - they discouraged the practice...oh well.  I would be ecstatic to hear people of other faiths encourage prayer as a critical tool in search for truth.  I have never, ever had anyone encourage the practice to me.  Kind of sad actually. They usually turn me to the Bible (as if there is only one possible interpretation) and tell me not to believe in "spooky feelings". [Emphasis added by Kenngo1969 to indicate the portion to which he is responding.]

Well, it could be just me :huh::unknw:, but, personally, I don't find the feeling of the Holy Spirit to be spooky! ;):D

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Posted (edited)
On 3/8/2019 at 12:19 PM, SouthernMo said:

If messengers from another faith knocked on your door, gave you a book and asked you to read it and ask God if it is true, would you invite them in to learn more?

No one has done it, and chances are I've already read the book. But I'd certainly talk with them. However I think I've read most of the major texts although I didn't make it all the way through the Koran or the Vedas. I really loved Confucius, the Tao De Ching, and the many Buddhist koans and texts I've studied. Lots of texts from more minor groups too as well as various mystic traditions. Read lots of medieval stuff not to mention ancient religious traditions like Iamblichus. I think there's an element of truth in most traditions and often it's truths not necessarily emphasized in our own. 

I have talked with Jehovah's Witnesses although I'll admit I've found them not that interesting. They've never knocked on my door, but if they did I'd certainly let them in and give them a cup of cold juice if it was summer or hot chocolate if it were winter.

I love learning about other faiths and even bought a large book on Arminianism I'm reading because of what some people were discussing here. While some faith traditions I admit I find a bit repellant - don't get me started on Calvinism for instance and I tend to not be very sympathetic to Lutheranism. In general I enjoy a lot about religions I study. I'm rather glad my GE requirement class at BYU had us study for two semesters the major texts of both the eastern and western traditions. And I'll also admit that my initial reading of the atheist tradition came in an honors religion class.

Edited by clarkgoble
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I believe ( opinion here folks ) that members of this board might be more apt to openness of idea sharing between religions, and more curious about other faiths.

Most of my friends who are what I would call traditionalist motcojcolds don’t feel comfortable  being curious, attending, studying other religions.  And many have been threatened by my own interest in attending even the local mass at Christmas time.  I miss formal church tradition in my religion on the most sacred days, Easter and Christmas Eve. 

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