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Ballard- Baptismal Challenge

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, SettingDogStar said:

I did exactly what was asked of me

How do you know for sure that given there are obviously people here that went out at the same time or close but thought different things were asked of them?

It is certainly possible you were able to perfectly understand everything that was asked of you, but given the weaknesses of human language and the weaknesses of both the leader and the follower in communication, there is also a huge possibility that misunderstanding took place in somethings somehow.

Unless you somehow have an inerrant understanding of others....which would be rather remarkable.

Quote

disregarded any written instructions 

Then there is a fundamental problem with your claim because the written instructions were from church leaders, so what you did was choose one set of (believed to have understood) instructions over another set of (believed to have understood) instructions.

Edited by Calm
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39 minutes ago, Calm said:

How do you know for sure that given there are obviously people here that went out at the same time or close but thought different things were asked of them?

It is certainly possible you were able to perfectly understand everything that was asked of you, but given the weaknesses of human language and the weaknesses of both the leader and the follower in communication, there is also a huge possibility that misunderstanding took place in somethings somehow.

Unless you somehow have an inerrant understanding of others....which would be rather remarkable.

Then there is a fundamental problem with your claim because the written instructions were from church leaders, so what you did was choose one set of (believed to have understood) instructions over another set of (believed to have understood) instructions.

I understand what I did Calm. I don’t understand what you’re accusing me of? I understood that I listened to my leaders and I did what they said. 

Im not saying people weren’t given different instructions, I’m sure they were! I’m positive others in different missions or wards got different instructions!! I don’t understand what’s being parsed here? I’m just telling my experience early in my life in the church. To my understanding I just did what I was asked even if it wasn’t written or contradicted the written words, because I was told revelation trumped it.

Im not saying it was right, I now know it wasn’t. 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, rockpond said:

If they have kept their commitments, you can teach the second discussion at that follow up visit. 

“If they have kept their commitments” being the operative phrase here. Inviting someone so committed to be baptized would presumably not be rushing them before they were ready, as you are accusing President Ballard of having promoted or consented to. And even here, the caveat is present: “Unless you are otherwise prompted by the Spirit,” thus obviating any rash behavior on the part of a missionary who is heeding instruction. 

Therefore, the accusations here against President Ballard of dishonesty, “gaslighting,” etc. are baseless. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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2 hours ago, Rain said:

I get what you are saying. I think it was worded poorly, but then like others have said, we really need to see what came before this quote (unless I have missed it). 

There are few that would argue that missionaries often thought we needed to extend that invitation in the first or second discussion because of what they read in the discussions. 

The problem that I see is this discussion is not really about that for most defenders. It is first about whether Elder Ballard is being honest and second about whether the church taught missionaries to commit people before they were ready. 

I am seeing a real pattern in OPs on this board and talked about it on another thread. I've given it a name this morning.

The Negative Conclusion Pattern - "I see this. It means the church/leader is bad."

If Hamba (obviously reputation affects our feelings about OP so I am using someone that most see as "faithful") had  started this thread with "Do you think missionaries got the idea to invite people to be baptized before they had learned something about the gospel, felt the Holy Ghost, and had been properly prepared to accept a lifelong commitment to follow Jesus Christ" because the invitation was in the 1st/2nd discussions?

If I had been talking with Hamba then I totally would have said yes and then shared with him my experiences and frustrations over missionaries that felt they had to do it that way.

But the OP started out with "I have to wonder how honest he (Ballard) is being...Can someone please help me understand how he could make a statement like this and millions of members not view it as disingenuous?"

Could the conclusion have been that it was poorly worded instead? 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm quoting this because I think more people need to read it and consider the point that you have made.  :good: 

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13 hours ago, rockpond said:

See my response to Scott above.  I have quoted where the second discussion instructs missionaries to invite the investigators to be baptized unless the Spirit prompts otherwise. 

Again, any misapplication is irrelevant. We do know where these practices began - they began based on the instructions in the discussions that did not put the qualifiers that he now wants (listed in his quote in the OP) on the baptismal invite. 

You do not know where these practices began any more than he does; at least he is honest enough to say so.

But if you try to narrow things down, which President Ballard for good reasons isn't in his remarks, an individual's mentality and spirituality is more germane to the origin of misapplication than the instructions, which is where D&C 46:7 and Mosiah 4: 29 apply.

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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

I'm quoting this because I think more people need to read it and consider the point that you have made.  :good: 

Looking at it closely that's exactly what I think it was. Poor wording. The Church has it's issues with history and a little whitewashing, but this is not a case of that and even if it was this is not an issue that needs nitpicked. I doubt Elder Ballard was cackling in the back room thinking "I know where these practices began but I'm going to blame the members." Either he didn't really think about what he was saying or just didn't word it the right way. 

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4 hours ago, Rain said:

I get what you are saying. I think it was worded poorly, but then like others have said, we really need to see what came before this quote (unless I have missed it). 

There are few that would argue that missionaries often thought we needed to extend that invitation in the first or second discussion because of what they read in the discussions. 

The problem that I see is this discussion is not really about that for most defenders. It is first about whether Elder Ballard is being honest and second about whether the church taught missionaries to commit people before they were ready. 

I am seeing a real pattern in OPs on this board and talked about it on another thread. I've given it a name this morning.

The Negative Conclusion Pattern - "I see this. It means the church/leader is bad."

If Hamba (obviously reputation affects our feelings about OP so I am using someone that most see as "faithful") had  started this thread with "Do you think missionaries got the idea to invite people to be baptized before they had learned something about the gospel, felt the Holy Ghost, and had been properly prepared to accept a lifelong commitment to follow Jesus Christ" because the invitation was in the 1st/2nd discussions?

If I had been talking with Hamba then I totally would have said yes and then shared with him my experiences and frustrations over missionaries that felt they had to do it that way.

But the OP started out with "I have to wonder how honest he (Ballard) is being...Can someone please help me understand how he could make a statement like this and millions of members not view it as disingenuous?"

Could the conclusion have been that it was poorly worded instead? 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for this . 

I also wonder if a defender had asked the same exact question if it might have been responded to differently.  Not that a defender has ever asked a critically thinking question here, or perhaps I’ve just not seen one. 

I tend to be neither for nor against so maybe I notice things differently. 

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1 hour ago, SettingDogStar said:

Looking at it closely that's exactly what I think it was. Poor wording. The Church has it's issues with history and a little whitewashing, but this is not a case of that and even if it was this is not an issue that needs nitpicked. I doubt Elder Ballard was cackling in the back room thinking "I know where these practices began but I'm going to blame the members." Either he didn't really think about what he was saying or just didn't word it the right way. 

Or maybe he was saying these practices do not align with the spirit or the letter of the instructions (“intent”) without condemning those who carried them out the best they could given their human fallibility.

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9 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Or maybe he was saying these practices do not align with the spirit or the letter of the instructions (“intent”) without condemning those who carried them out the best they could given their human fallibility.

That's what I was trying to say, you just said it better haha. I think it can get a little confusing too because the only portions of his speech were quoted. The writer of the article interjected some of his conclusions between quotes. 

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1 hour ago, SettingDogStar said:

That's what I was trying to say, you just said it better haha. I think it can get a little confusing too because the only portions of his speech were quoted. The writer of the article interjected some of his conclusions between quotes. 

And so the Church leaders' constant quest for improvement without condemning the fallible is no indicator of disingenuity, and disingenuity is not a function of one's tendency to make mistakes.

Taking this beyond physical and mental considerations, who is qualified to assess spiritual fallibility, whether in our leaders or anyone else, which would require the Holy Spirit to accomplish and understanding grace for anyone affected by it in acting or being acted upon by others?

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3 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

Thank you for this . 

I also wonder if a defender had asked the same exact question if it might have been responded to differently.  Not that a defender has ever asked a critically thinking question here, or perhaps I’ve just not seen one. 

I tend to be neither for nor against so maybe I notice things differently. 

You've only been a member of the board for 8 months or so, so your experience with the the posters is still fairly limited.  

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11 hours ago, rockpond said:

The discussions and the Missionary Guide.

I don't think this counts as a reference. I read through the entire section on 'Follow Up' the other night, and it never stated or implied what you're saying.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, california boy said:

There was a time in my life where I did exactly what Church leaders asked of me.

Clearly, I was not the same calibre of missionary as you were. I had zero aspiration to be a 'top baptising missionary' and in fact had no clue who those missionaries might have been. I only trained once, near the end of my first year. When I was told in an interview that my next assignment was as a district leader, I wept. I remember telling the mission president, 'I'm only just starting to figure out this whole missionary thing. I have no clue how to be in charge of others'. I did then serve as a zone leader and finally as an assistant, but it would have been obvious to anyone that it wasn't because I was a top missionary.

But in my heart, I desired to do the right thing. I remember pleading with the Lord one night in my first area to make me an excellent missionary. He responded to that prayer by telling me that He just wanted me to be a better missionary that week to what I'd been the week before. So I resigned myself to gradual growth and development, and by the time I was finally released, I felt good about my service.

Quote

I followed the missionary discussions given to me by the Church.

As did I. And the MIssionary Guide, which is actually what trained us how to use the discussions. The reality is that what I experienced as a missionary who followed the instructions given to him doesn't match the outcome you describe. It matches what Elder Ballard has said is desired. Now that may be because you had radically different instructions? I don't know. Scott and others seem to have served when you did and had the same materials, and they're challenging that at least somewhat, but I don't have any firsthand evidence either way. All I can know for sure is my personal experience, and in my mission, we didn't invite people to be baptised the first time we met them, and we didn't invite them to be baptised until they were already progressing by reading the Book of Mormon and receiving answers to prayers, and we most certainly didn't invite them to be baptised until after we'd taught them about the Atonement briefly in the first discussion and then at depth in the second discussion.

Our goal, as clearly explained in the Missionary Guide, was conversion. And I think we must have done OK. The number of stakes in my former mission has increased by 50 per cent since I was there. They have a big, beautiful temple now. I'm in contact still with many of the people I had the privilege of teaching, and all but one of them is currently active. That's my experience of following the instructions the Church leaders gave me.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, SettingDogStar said:

Looking at it closely that's exactly what I think it was. Poor wording. The Church has it's issues with history and a little whitewashing, but this is not a case of that and even if it was this is not an issue that needs nitpicked. I doubt Elder Ballard was cackling in the back room thinking "I know where these practices began but I'm going to blame the members." Either he didn't really think about what he was saying or just didn't word it the right way. 

I don’t think you got the point of the post. The poor wording was in the OP, not on the part of President Ballard. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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32 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I don’t think you got the point of the post. The poor wording was in the OP, not on the part of President Ballard. 

Oh my bad haha well I can agree there too!

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5 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I don't think this counts as a reference. I read through the entire section on 'Follow Up' the other night, and it never stated or implied what you're saying.

So you’re saying that the missionary guide and the discussions don’t permit the teaching of the second discussion once the investigator has completed the commitments from the first discussion?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, rockpond said:

So you’re saying that the missionary guide and the discussions don’t permit the teaching of the second discussion once the investigator has completed the commitments from the first discussion?

I read him as saying the opposite: They don't permit the teaching of the second <until> the commitments from the first have been kept. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I don’t think you got the point of the post. The poor wording was in the OP, not on the part of President Ballard. 

 

6 hours ago, SettingDogStar said:

Oh my bad haha well I can agree there too!

Re-reading Rain’s post just now, I now believe it was I, not you, who mis interpreted her post. She does seem to be saying that President Ballard’s message was poorly worded. I apologize for my misunderstanding. 

However, I hasten to add that if this what Rain is saying, I strongly disagree with her. I think President  Ballard’s talk — to the extent it was accurately reflected in the news report linked to in this thread — was worded just fine. Furthermore, nothing in the purported “evidence” or documentation given in this thread could lead a reasonable mind to conclude that the general leaders of the Church were at any time telling missionaries to rush investigators into baptism before the investigators had had occasion to learn something of the Church or to feel the witness of the Spirit. I believe President Ballard spike the truth when he said he doesn’t know where that notion originated. I don’t know that the origin can be ascertained. It is certainly inconsistent with anything I have ever been taught, observed or experienced about missionary work. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I don’t think you got the point of the post. The poor wording was in the OP, not on the part of President Ballard. 

Quite right. We don't actually have Elder Ballard's words saying that.

And, even if we did, I think the only way you can get this to be a criticism is if you take his words out of context.

He is speaking to newly called mission presidents who will begin serving this year. So, when he's speaking about the practice of inviting people to be baptized up front / in the first discussion, he's referring to current missionaries engaging in this practice. I think it's absolutely silly to suppose that missionaries serving today are feeling pressured to invite people to be baptized during the first discussion because, at one point in the past - decades before they were even born, in fact - the church used to have materials that talked about inviting people to be baptized in the first discussion.

I mean, let's be honest, if you asked your average missionary today who "Mr. Brown" is, I suspect most of them would probably guess Millie Bobby Brown's dad. 

Edited by Amulek

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6 hours ago, rockpond said:

So you’re saying that the missionary guide and the discussions don’t permit the teaching of the second discussion once the investigator has completed the commitments from the first discussion?

First, I genuinely don't know what it would mean for someone to 'complete' commitments. The commitments from the first discussion were to read the Book of Mormon and to seek revelation through personal prayer. I still haven't completed that commitment.

Second, I see nothing in the Missionary Guide that instructs missionaries to skip over a follow-up visit or to turn one into a second discussion. I'm happy to be corrected, but I read the entire subsection. That's specifically why I asked where this instruction was given.

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On 6/30/2019 at 5:18 AM, california boy said:

Since you didn’t respond to any of my questions, I am just going to assume you really can’t answer them.  I can understand why.  

‘I did as the church discussions instructed me to do. I invited investigators to be baptized and set a date on the second discussion. The discussion on the atonement comes after the second discussion.

i was a very successful missionary. One of the top baptizing missionaries both years of my mission. I served in New Zealand North Mission.  I was one of two missionaries that had at least one baptism every month my first year.  I was a district leader 4 month into my mission and a zone leader after being out 9 months.  I kept the mission rules to the letter and expected those missionaries under my stewardship to do the same. We always taught all 6 lessons and investigators had to attend church at least one time before baptism. As zone leader I interviewed each investigator before baptism. If they didn’t believe the church was true, hadn’t completed the discussions or attended church at least once they weren’t baptized. Yes I wanted to be the top baptizing zone every week.  Often we were.  Baptizing is what missionaries did back then. It was their main focus. It was the wards job to fellowship and keep new members active. A missionary may be transferred without much notice. ALL of this is separate to the question of how soon an investigator was invited to be baptized.  That invitation to be baptized was always given by the 2nd discussion.  I was not some rogue missionary flying by the seat of my pants.  If Elder Ballard asked me where I got the idea to invite an investigator before they knew much about the church, I would have opened my discussion book and show him.  

IMO, I think you are lying and you take every opportunity to lie in wait to deceive.

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Is it okay to allow posters to question the truthfulness of an Apostle of the Lord?

 If so, can we question the truthfulness of a poster with a history of angst against the church?

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, Anijen said:

IMO, I think you are lying and you take every opportunity to lie in wait to deceive.

Nice personal attack.  Guess that is easier than addressing the points I made.  I guess calling people names rather than dialogue is now the culture reality we live in these days.  

AND FYI, the only thing I said about Elder Ballard is this.

Quote

If Elder Ballard asked me where I got the idea to invite an investigator before they knew much about the church, I would have opened my discussion book and show him.  

I don't think anyone is questioning that part of the second discussion is an invitation too be baptize.  It was quoted as it appears on the first page of this thread.

Quote

 

First, the documentary proof and then an anecdote:

Through the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, until Preach My Gospel became the missionary text, missionaries were given manuals for six discussions. This was the "Uniform System for Teaching the Gospel" and each missionary had these, taught from these and gave lessons based on these. These were read, practiced, memorized and taught in a uniform system all over the globe. They provided the literal script for what missionaries would say and teach investigators (this was before they trusted missionaries to teach by the spirit as per Preach My Gospel). For missionaries going to foreign lands, these discussions allowed kids who were butchering the language to simply read words in that language rather than try to fumble with their own ungrammatical gibberish. The script that we were to read to the investigators included a baptismal commitment in the very first discussion and an instruction in that first discussion to get investigators to make this commitment "as early as possible." During the second discussion (which you were instructed to give as soon as possible after the first, the lone commitment you were told to have the investigators make was to be “baptized on a specific date.” 

1. From DISCUSSION 1: The Plan of our Heavenly Father (Uniform System for Teaching the Gospel, 1986 [used in my mission in 1997-99]): 

Principal 6: "You Can Be Baptized " (Page 1-20) [This is the Missionary Script] - "As the Lord answers your prayers and you feel that this message is true, we hope you will want to follow Christ by being baptized." In the "Teaching Helps" column next to this invitation script is the following statement, "As prompted by the Spirit, you could now invite the investigators to be baptized. (See the 'Invitation to be Baptized' in the instruction booklet.)"

Conclusion (Page 1-22), "Additional Commitments" - "Whenever the Spirit prompts you that the investigators are ready, invite them to commit themselves to be baptized. This commitment should be made as early as possible. As appropriate, use the 'Invitation to be Baptized' in the instruction booklet" (emphasis added).

2. From DISCUSSION 2: THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST (Uniform System for Teaching the Gospel, 1986]

On the first page, "Instructions for this Discussion" - "During this discussion you need to help the investigators feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. This will help them to make the commitments that lead to conversion and baptism. During this discussion the investigators should commit themselves to – 

 

 

 

While I served my mission a little before this time period, the invitation to be baptized was even then, a part of the second discussion dialogue we were expected to memorize and follow.

 

 

Edited by california boy
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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, Anijen said:

IMO, I think you are lying and you take every opportunity to lie in wait to deceive.

Not cool.  How is this any different than you objecting to anyone stating that church leaders are lying about this?  

I just now read through this thread and what I see is that each person had their own experiences on their missions.  Everyone seems to be expressing and reporting how it was for them regarding the pressures to get baptisms and whether or not the numbers were important (over making sure the investigator was truly ready for baptism)...or at least that it appeared that way to some missionaries.  For me, the numbers were everything (at least that's how it felt much of the time and all other missionaries seemed for believe this too)....but of course, the Mission President did not want anyone forced into baptism either.  

Evidence that this happened often in missions is the lack of retention and how many newly baptized end up going inactive (and some very quickly).   Compare what someone has to complete and go through to convert and be baptized into the Catholic religion, for example.  Many have felt that baptism occurs too soon and too rushed for new converts at times.   

So, it will be a positive, IMO, if the emphasis now is not on the numbers as much.  But do I believe anyone is lying here?  No. 

Edited by ALarson

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, california boy said:

Nice personal attach.  Guess that is easier than addressing the points I made.  I guess calling people names rather than dialogue is now the culture reality we live in these days.

Oh, but it is okay for you to question the candor of Elder Ballard? 

CFR on your grand missionary achievements. show me a mission news letter, or a companion or mission president we can interview and if it turns out you were the perfect missionary as you claim, I will issue an apology. 

Edited by Anijen

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