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10THAmendment

Does the “study it out in your mind” principle apply when determining the truthfulness of the church?

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Or is it more for temporal topics of concern? Should investigators be encouraged to study church history and then ask God if the conclusions they draw are correct?

Should we both study the BOM and the historical background of its creation? Should we study the origins of the BoA, temple ceremony, how polygamy was lived when determining whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet?

From what I remember on my mission investigators were only to read select parts of the BOM and then pray about it. Should they be doing more?

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10 minutes ago, 10THAmendment said:

Or is it more for temporal topics of concern? Should investigators be encouraged to study church history and then ask God if the conclusions they draw are correct?

Should we both study the BOM and the historical background of its creation? Should we study the origins of the BoA, temple ceremony, how polygamy was lived when determining whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet?

From what I remember on my mission investigators were only to read select parts of the BOM and then pray about it. Should they be doing more?

Get your thread titles down to three lines or less. You can do it if you try. 

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9 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Get your thread titles down to three lines or less. You can do it if you try. 

Boy Scott, that was really curt. How about answer his question. I will, yes 100 % yes, the investigator needs to actually investigate for reals. Or they might end up a very bitter ex LDS. 

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30 minutes ago, 10THAmendment said:

Or is it more for temporal topics of concern? Should investigators be encouraged to study church history and then ask God if the conclusions they draw are correct?

Should we both study the BOM and the historical background of its creation? Should we study the origins of the BoA, temple ceremony, how polygamy was lived when determining whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet?

From what I remember on my mission investigators were only to read select parts of the BOM and then pray about it. Should they be doing more?

I wonder if this same principle should have been applied to non-Jews who converted to Christianity after the resurrection of Jesus Christ?  Should they have studied the history of Judaism - you know the part about murder, incest, polygamy, etc.?  Should they have learned about how all the apostles walked away from him and left him to die? Or about one of his most trusted disciples and a member of the twelve apostles actually denied him? What should they have read? To what extent should they study it out from all angles? You see this is the trap of overthinking it. 

For me, it is enough to teach them of Jesus Christ, the establishment of the early church, and the restoration of the church upon the earth and the current organization of the Church. Allow them to be baptized upon gaining a true testimony of the truths of the gospel. 

Each member should be challenged to be scriptural adepts with a working knowledge of all scripture. 

Trying to heal one's own personal trials by warning the world is....very "me" centered. Your problems and challenges are not everyone else's. There will be those who cling to the Rod of Iron and there will be those who wander in the dark mist and, yet others, that prefer to be in the comfort of the big house of luxury. You cannot control what individuals will choose. 

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2 hours ago, 10THAmendment said:

Or is it more for temporal topics of concern? Should investigators be encouraged to study church history and then ask God if the conclusions they draw are correct?

Should we both study the BOM and the historical background of its creation? Should we study the origins of the BoA, temple ceremony, how polygamy was lived when determining whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet?

From what I remember on my mission investigators were only to read select parts of the BOM and then pray about it. Should they be doing more?

Help me understand what you mean by “the truthfulness of the Church.”  What makes the Church “true?”  Is it a single or foundational question, i.e., did God and Christ direct JS to organize it? Or, does Christ consider it to be His Church today?

If the answer to those questions is yes, if one or more of the tenets of the Church are not exactly as Christ intents, does that change the Church from “true” to “untrue.”

And which is the better path...to determine whether the Church is true on my own and then look to the Church to direct me as to God’s will regarding me, or take God at His word that He will impart His wisdom if I ask with the requisite intent and let Him direct my approach to the Church?

If the latter, is your question best directed to Him, and if you’ve done so, what has God told you in answer to your question?

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3 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

.....................Each member should be challenged to be scriptural adepts with a working knowledge of all scripture. ..........................

"Scripture chase" is helpful, and some sort of familiarization program is nice, but few are likely to become adepts.  Some missionaries with good memories might get pretty good at proof-texting, but that typically entails no depth of understanding.

The true bulwark of conversion must be the Holy Spirit.  Those who don't buy that approach may have to spend several years (if at all) closely examining the LDS faith, but is a secular testimony adequate?

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4 hours ago, 10THAmendment said:

Or is it more for temporal topics of concern? Should investigators be encouraged to study church history and then ask God if the conclusions they draw are correct?

Should we both study the BOM and the historical background of its creation? Should we study the origins of the BoA, temple ceremony, how polygamy was lived when determining whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet?

From what I remember on my mission investigators were only to read select parts of the BOM and then pray about it. Should they be doing more?

Of course-- remembering to use the eye of study and spiritual eye of asking God.  There was just a fantastic talk on this last General Conference.  

Now of course, as with all studying, you need to spend the time studying the basics before you'll understand the advance stuff.  And there is the matter of which things are most important.  If an investigator investigates, gets a huge spiritual witness and sees good things with eye of study too, then going off that information is a good thing-- you don't need to understand everything.  Frankly, if we waited to understand everything, we as humans would barely do anything in this life.  

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5 hours ago, 10THAmendment said:

Or is it more for temporal topics of concern? Should investigators be encouraged to study church history and then ask God if the conclusions they draw are correct?

Should we both study the BOM and the historical background of its creation? Should we study the origins of the BoA, temple ceremony, how polygamy was lived when determining whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet?

From what I remember on my mission investigators were only to read select parts of the BOM and then pray about it. Should they be doing more?

 

Before joining the church I started down that road - started studying everything, and was discouraged from reading more.  I was told "you don't have to eat the whole cake to know it tastes good" - ie - find one thing that you like, and that should be good enough for you....

Wish I had studied a little more before jumping into the water ;)

 

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4 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

I wonder if this same principle should have been applied to non-Jews who converted to Christianity after the resurrection of Jesus Christ?  Should they have studied the history of Judaism - you know the part about murder, incest, polygamy, etc.?  Should they have learned about how all the apostles walked away from him and left him to die? Or about one of his most trusted disciples and a member of the twelve apostles actually denied him? What should they have read? To what extent should they study it out from all angles? You see this is the trap of overthinking it. 

For me, it is enough to teach them of Jesus Christ, the establishment of the early church, and the restoration of the church upon the earth and the current organization of the Church. Allow them to be baptized upon gaining a true testimony of the truths of the gospel. 

Each member should be challenged to be scriptural adepts with a working knowledge of all scripture. 

Trying to heal one's own personal trials by warning the world is....very "me" centered. Your problems and challenges are not everyone else's. There will be those who cling to the Rod of Iron and there will be those who wander in the dark mist and, yet others, that prefer to be in the comfort of the big house of luxury. You cannot control what individuals will choose. 

 

Any educational endeavor takes time and is never fully complete - the least everyone can do is acknowledge that it is not, and never will be in this life, complete.  

Our ward had a thing once, where everyone started wearing these "all-in" buttons.  The buttons had to be earned - I forget what all - read scriptures, do family history work, yada yada and you could get a button - 

I'm currently a proud "cafeteria" Mormon - (I guess more of a generic spiritual but not preferring one denomination over another type person).  Had a good conversation about the youth interview questions the other day - I think it is wrong to talk little kids into answering "yes" to adult questions they do not really understand or have a full knowledge of.  It essentially teaches kids to lie.  I ask people "When did you gain your testimony of ___ (Joseph Smith, the BoM, etc. etc.) - and the usual reply is something like - during my mission, or before I was married, or when I went through xyz later in life etc. etc.  Then I will ask - so you did not actually have a testimony until you were xx years old, yet you were answering "yes" to your PPI interview questions from... what age again?  Don't you think there is something wrong there?

I made our bishop offer our kids an alternative to "yes" or "no" - I told him he was not allowed to interview them unless he gave them the option to remain silent - if they preferred to keep some things between just them and God, that would be allowed.  If they did not feel comfortable saying either yes (too young to know) and did not want to say "No" (stigma with saying no) that they should be free to opt out - and say "I'll have to think about those questions a little more, I am not able to answer that right now. - instead of encouraging kids to lie....   No one should be pressured into answering "yes" to fit into a social group.

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3 hours ago, let’s roll said:

Help me understand what you mean by “the truthfulness of the Church.”  What makes the Church “true?”  Is it a single or foundational question, i.e., did God and Christ direct JS to organize it? Or, does Christ consider it to be His Church today?

If the answer to those questions is yes, if one or more of the tenets of the Church are not exactly as Christ intents, does that change the Church from “true” to “untrue.”

And which is the better path...to determine whether the Church is true on my own and then look to the Church to direct me as to God’s will regarding me, or take God at His word that He will impart His wisdom if I ask with the requisite intent and let Him direct my approach to the Church?

If the latter, is your question best directed to Him, and if you’ve done so, what has God told you in answer to your question?

 

Great questions. Is the church infallible?  Is the prophet, apostles, and those leading the church infallible?  Is it 100% "true"?  100% right?  100% perfect?  Like someone trying to tell me this is the "true"apple pie recipe, or this is the "correct" design of a house, or this is the "best" car.  There is no such thing as a "true" pie, or "perfect" house, or "correct" car - all are imperfect, none of them are "true".  Nothing in this imperfect world is 100% right or 100% correct.  What does that even mean - the "true" church?

This is "a" car, that over there is another car - this is "a" church, that over there is another church - we're all God's children, we all have the same Savior, we're all learning life's lessons, we're all on the same road to progress and be refined - all of us in God's hands.  

By this shall men know ye are my disciplines - if ye have love one for another.  I don't think the Savior wanted everyone to form denominations, did not want us to split into "us" and "them" camps - I think the point was to just love one another, not claim this group - or this tribe - or this family is "true" implying another family or another group is "false".  We're all imperfect, we're all doing the best we can, we all love our various communities and learn much from them.

 

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Studying it out in your mind is of course part of determining whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is ¨true¨ or not. If it were not, then missionaries could simply say ¨Hello, we´re missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please pray to God to know if it is His authorized church or not and then contact us and let us know if he tells you it is.¨ Anything more than this (like the missionary lessons) are things that you are more or less studying out in your mind.

So should you study out more than the missionary lessons?

Absolutely!

1) they are ¨selling¨ something; they aren´t presenting this info in order for you to say no, they want you to say yes - their presentation is affected by this desire. Do you take the Chevy dealer´s word for it when they are selling you a Chevy?

2) they are only new adults, they are little more than regurgitating what they either only just learned themselves or the only thing they have ever been raised with; don´t assume they really know what they are talking about.

3) their argument from Moroni´s Challenge is a non-sequitur - you can take this as enough to disqualify their church or you can use it as reason to consider more than just what they are offering.

4) if the Book of Mormon was written, preserved, and translated miraculously to show the Restoration of God´s authorized/true church, then the whole book should be read before full commitment. [Even after indicating some of my issues with their claims, one missionary actually asked me to read one particular chapter and then pray whether the LDS Church was true! - I could have written off the whole religion for an official representative´s hubris or I could write it off on his youth.]

5) Are the members nice? So are con-men and atheists.

6) Do they do good works? So does almost every other religious group. Pretty buildings? Ditto. Inspiring religious texts and messages? Ditto.

 

4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The true bulwark of conversion must be the Holy Spirit.  Those who don't buy that approach may have to spend several years (if at all) closely examining the LDS faith, but is a secular testimony adequate?

-->

3 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

Of course-- remembering to use the eye of study and spiritual eye of asking God.

You can and should study it out in your mind while praying to God to bring you to the truth of the matter. You don´t have to do just one or the other (to do so would be silly, especially on one of the most important issues of your life - if you do, you´ve earned your error).


Finally, if you are serious about Ultimate Truth and how it should effect every part of your life, then, of course, do much more than any other important decision you make: more than deciding what apartment to rent, what house to buy, what college to go to, what major/career to seek, who to marry, etc. Many of these issues get study and prayer all the time - no need to just do one of the two. Why should a much more important issue get any less? To do less is to disrespect your most important decision.

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2 hours ago, Joshua Valentine said:


Finally, if you are serious about Ultimate Truth and how it should effect every part of your life, then, of course, do much more than any other important decision you make: more than deciding what apartment to rent, what house to buy, what college to go to, what major/career to seek, who to marry, etc. Many of these issues get study and prayer all the time - no need to just do one of the two. Why should a much more important issue get any less? To do less is to disrespect your most important decision.

Is it actually different from praying about what apartment to get or who to marry?  Perhaps the confirming spiritual experience is not "this is true", but instead "this will be a good fit for you"

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12 hours ago, 10THAmendment said:

Or is it more for temporal topics of concern? Should investigators be encouraged to study church history and then ask God if the conclusions they draw are correct?

Should we both study the BOM and the historical background of its creation? Should we study the origins of the BoA, temple ceremony, how polygamy was lived when determining whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet?

From what I remember on my mission investigators were only to read select parts of the BOM and then pray about it. Should they be doing more?

I think your real question is, "When the missionaries teach that God will answer their questions concerning the Book of Mormon and the Chruch, is that valid." 

I have and continue to enjoy looking at and discussing the types of arguments critics of the Church make, but I believe that these activities are much less important than things like praying, reading the scriptures, ....  They MAY be more worthwhile than watching TV or playing video games, but sometimes I am not sure.  My conclusion and the conclusion of many LDS here is that the objective evidence concerning the CoJCoLDS supports its truth claims.  But ...I 

I think the Bible is clear that when the missionaries ask the investigator to read the Book of Mormon and PRAY to know if it is true, this is a valid (even preferred) way of knowing.  In this context, "studying it out in your mind" is the reading and pondering done by the sincere investigator.

I have never discouraged folks to dig into the history and the doctrine and the ..., but instead, I ask that they devote the time necessary to see both sides.  I think the below is DCP's model:

Three types of LDS history:

A. What is taught in Sunday School in LDS chapels around the world.  This is a faith-promoting history.  It is taught for the purpose of teaching valid morale lessons not for presenting an unbiased perspective of what "really" happened.  The history part of this takes little time to learn.

B. What critics of the Church teach.  This is a collection of facts (not always but often) and explanations of those facts, custom chosen to present the CoJCoLDS in the worst light possible.  Things that do not work to destroy faith are discarded over the years.  This is not an unbiased persepective either.  The history part of this takes little time to learn.

C. What is discovered as one digs into B history with the aid of informed LDS and/or primary/secondary historical material.  This takes lots of time.  There will always be biases in all the peices of data, but if diligently pursued the biased nature of all source material will be canceled out by viewing these issues from both sides.  When this is said and done, there are problems with the truth claims of the CoJCoLDS.  Most of these have good solutions, some have fair solutions, and one (the ORIGINS of the BOA) has only a poor solution.  But, most of the people I have seen who evidence they have taken the time to dig into all of this remain members of the Chruch because "C history" more often than not communicates the same ultimately solution as A history.

 

So, praying to know is valid, but we should "fear no data" IMO.

Charity, TOm

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9 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

only the testimony of the Holy Spirit can settle the question in the absence of a PhD in history, 

This concept is foreign to me. Does it apply to other things or just the Church if Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? 

Does it take a PhD to determine Scientology is not true? A PhD to determine the earth is round? A PhD to determine vaccinations are good? Does it take a PhD to decide the germ therory of disease is correct? What makes the church different?

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If God wanted us to study things out in our mind he would have said so. As he did not we can assume that doing so will just open you to demonic influence and drag you swiftly down to hell. Clearly if God wanted us to think it out he would have made us smarter and not given us these limited simian brains.

Wait what? Oh, he did tell us to ponder about it and study it out. Never mind. Disregard the previous paragraph.

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8 hours ago, changed said:

 

Great questions. Is the church infallible?  Is the prophet, apostles, and those leading the church infallible?  Is it 100% "true"?  100% right?  100% perfect?  Like someone trying to tell me this is the "true"apple pie recipe, or this is the "correct" design of a house, or this is the "best" car.  There is no such thing as a "true" pie, or "perfect" house, or "correct" car - all are imperfect, none of them are "true".  Nothing in this imperfect world is 100% right or 100% correct.  What does that even mean - the "true" church?

This is "a" car, that over there is another car - this is "a" church, that over there is another church - we're all God's children, we all have the same Savior, we're all learning life's lessons, we're all on the same road to progress and be refined - all of us in God's hands.  

By this shall men know ye are my disciplines - if ye have love one for another.  I don't think the Savior wanted everyone to form denominations, did not want us to split into "us" and "them" camps - I think the point was to just love one another, not claim this group - or this tribe - or this family is "true" implying another family or another group is "false".  We're all imperfect, we're all doing the best we can, we all love our various communities and learn much from them.

 

Yup, 110%!

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2 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

This concept is foreign to me. Does it apply to other things or just the Church if Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? 

Does it take a PhD to determine Scientology is not true? A PhD to determine the earth is round? A PhD to determine vaccinations are good? Does it take a PhD to decide the germ therory of disease is correct? What makes the church different?

I can tell you that “to determine vaccinations are good” or “to decide the germ theory of disease is correct” takes either a PhD or faith in (acceptance of / deference to) the scientific consensus.  To suggest otherwise is to misunderstand epistemology and/or history.

A testimony is SUBJECTIVE evidence of the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We trust SUBJECTIVE evidence everyday for all kinds of stuff.  Furthermore, I would suggest when it comes to divine questions, evidence from prayer is particularly germane.

To evaluate the OBJECTIVE evidence concerning the truth claims of the Church does in fact require years of study, complicated by the radical polarization in the source material (there is no such thing as unbiased reporting, but there are more and less biased sources and most material on the CoJCoLDS is in the more biased category).  This volume of study if applied to achieving a PhD would achieve a PhD, so yes Robert Smith’s comment is correct.

I do not know much about Scientology, but I have been studying Catholicism for more than 25 years.  The OBJECTIVE reason I am not a Catholic is because I cannot explain the OBJECTIVE evidence associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without appealing to the supernatural.  Now, if you randomly picked 25 Catholics, I am quite certain I could provide >20 of them objective evidence that something they thought was true of Catholicism was in fact not true (and I think it likely for all 25).  But, there are Catholics who know all and more PROBLEMS with Catholicism than I do and are rationally Catholic.  I could not prove with OBJECTIVE evidence that the Pope is not the Vicar of Christ (and if the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, we should all be Catholic).

I wish LDS who discover true things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would believe the true things and not reject the truth claims of the CoJCoLDS.  “May we all become disillusioned because who would want to be illusioned.”

Charity, TOm

Edited by TOmNossor
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Of course we need to study it out. Thats part of exercising faith in God.

That is why encourwge investgstors to read the Book of Mormon and other scriptures. Thats why Moroni encourages us to ponder the mercies of the Lord before we ask. That is why we are encouraged to keep the commandments as we can to give us the experience and experiment on the gospel principles

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15 hours ago, 10THAmendment said:

Or is it more for temporal topics of concern? Should investigators be encouraged to study church history and then ask God if the conclusions they draw are correct?

Should we both study the BOM and the historical background of its creation? Should we study the origins of the BoA, temple ceremony, how polygamy was lived when determining whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet?

From what I remember on my mission investigators were only to read select parts of the BOM and then pray about it. Should they be doing more?

When people read the "study it out in your own mind" thing, I do not believe that God was telling Oliver Cowdery to study out and try to arrive at the meaning of the characters or the translation of the characters but was teller Oliver to ponder on whether it was even proper for him to be asking to translate at all. So, maybe a person should study out in their own mind whether studying church history could lead to evidence for the existence of God or the truthfulness of the gospel as is laid out in the Bible, etc. After all, the bible itself is full of stories of prophets getting drunk, killing people, marrying multiple wives, and even being deceived, among other things. So, yes, maybe people should study the whole thing about history in their own minds and then ask God if they should trust their own conclusions or seek to obtain an understanding and their answers from the Holy Ghost.

In going out with the missionaries I have noted that they do ask investigators to read select portions of the Book of Mormon and pray about them but in each case that I can remember, those investigators were encouraged to read the complete Book of Mormon also.

Glenn

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10 hours ago, changed said:

 

Any educational endeavor takes time and is never fully complete - the least everyone can do is acknowledge that it is not, and never will be in this life, complete.  

Our ward had a thing once, where everyone started wearing these "all-in" buttons.  The buttons had to be earned - I forget what all - read scriptures, do family history work, yada yada and you could get a button - 

I'm currently a proud "cafeteria" Mormon - (I guess more of a generic spiritual but not preferring one denomination over another type person).  Had a good conversation about the youth interview questions the other day - I think it is wrong to talk little kids into answering "yes" to adult questions they do not really understand or have a full knowledge of.  It essentially teaches kids to lie.  I ask people "When did you gain your testimony of ___ (Joseph Smith, the BoM, etc. etc.) - and the usual reply is something like - during my mission, or before I was married, or when I went through xyz later in life etc. etc.  Then I will ask - so you did not actually have a testimony until you were xx years old, yet you were answering "yes" to your PPI interview questions from... what age again?  Don't you think there is something wrong there?

I made our bishop offer our kids an alternative to "yes" or "no" - I told him he was not allowed to interview them unless he gave them the option to remain silent - if they preferred to keep some things between just them and God, that would be allowed.  If they did not feel comfortable saying either yes (too young to know) and did not want to say "No" (stigma with saying no) that they should be free to opt out - and say "I'll have to think about those questions a little more, I am not able to answer that right now. - instead of encouraging kids to lie....   No one should be pressured into answering "yes" to fit into a social group.

I understand the principle you are going for and I support it, but the downside is that you may also be teaching your children to never "know" anything. I heard a story one time of a mother that taught her little boy that lying would send you to hell so never tell a lie. The impressionable young boy feared going to hell that he never lied, he also never answered any questions asked to him. His teacher asked him what is 48/12 - "I don't know".  "Johnny, where is your father?" "I don't know".  

There is a difference in degrees of knowledge. Did I have a testimony of Joseph Smith as a boy? yes. Was it the same testimony I had as a young man? no. 

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22 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

I understand the principle you are going for and I support it, but the downside is that you may also be teaching your children to never "know" anything. I heard a story one time of a mother that taught her little boy that lying would send you to hell so never tell a lie. The impressionable young boy feared going to hell that he never lied, he also never answered any questions asked to him. His teacher asked him what is 48/12 - "I don't know".  "Johnny, where is your father?" "I don't know".  

There is a difference in degrees of knowledge. Did I have a testimony of Joseph Smith as a boy? yes. Was it the same testimony I had as a young man? no. 

To some he gave prophets, to others evangelists, to some he gave Muhammad, to others he gave Buddah, and to some he gave Joseph.   There are incredible lessons within all the different groups - I could not believe in a loving God if I believed only one group was chosen, special, loved.  I hope God loves and guides everyone.  

The hardest think for me to know is knowing where I'm supposed to be, what to do, how to fit into and belong to any one group without putting others down, without pride, without divisions.

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1 hour ago, changed said:

To some he gave prophets, to others evangelists, to some he gave Muhammad, to others he gave Buddah, and to some he gave Joseph.   There are incredible lessons within all the different groups - I could not believe in a loving God if I believed only one group was chosen, special, loved.  I hope God loves and guides everyone.  

The hardest think for me to know is knowing where I'm supposed to be, what to do, how to fit into and belong to any one group without putting others down, without pride, without divisions.

Really a good statement of your situation; thank you for sharing that. You appear to be able to respect that God has given a plethora of paths to his children and each has differing degrees of truth. Simultaneously, you have an inability to choose between any of them for fear of being seen as someone who has made a decision for themselves and their family. Do you see the conflict there?  How does having made a decision to belong to one group equate to disrespecting all others?  They have all made a choice for themselves and you deny yourself that same right.

I think you know exactly where you belong because it is staring you right in the face. You have created a construct in your mind that ensures that you remain frozen in place. Who would want you to be in that position? What do the scriptures teach you - any scriptures you choose - the Bible, the Qur'an, you pick?

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