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Spencer Fluhman: The University and the Kingdom of God

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5 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Thanks for posting this.  I'd honestly thought that an announcement was made to all church members regarding that statement (from the Prophet that we do not teach that sentiment).  But it was only done in a private letter to a nonmember?

That would be like something coming out from the general leaders in Salt Lake (in writing) for all members to be taught and then assuming they'd know it was done in error because Pres. Nelson wrote a nonmember a private letter stating that.  How would members even know what was written unless the nonmember shared it and even then only a few may hear of it.

No wonder so many members believed it and thought it was the truth.

I think you are understating the obscurity of this. The idea that people take stuff from church magazines, particularly stuff not written by apostles, and consider it their “marching orders”, is ludicrous. The relative few who did read it probably skimmed over it and it was forgotten within months. There were probably a few concerned about it but not many and some of those wrote letters. The only reason any of us know about it is our critics are boring and are still harping on about it.

The reason they did not retract it “officially” was probably to avoid humiliating the author.

The irony is that our critics love to go on about the evils of correlation stamping out originality but correlation was weak at the time and probably would have caught and corrected that statement.

I am not worried about members being snared by this, particularly 75 years later nor am I going to throw a previous prophet or apostles under the bus for not speaking out publicly on such a minor point. It was the relative Wild West in regards to what was published back then and there is stuff that is much more wrong from that era. Our critics just like this one because it lets them bask in their intellectual superiority over the unthinking members.

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26 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I think you are understating the obscurity of this. The idea that people take stuff from church magazines, particularly stuff not written by apostles, and consider it their “marching orders”, is ludicrous.

Possibly....but this wasn't just published in a church magazine in some random article.  It was the Ward Teaching message that was to be taught to every member and was  "CONDUCTED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOPRIC".

So there was a much higher chance of members being taught this and believing it, IMO.

26 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

The reason they did not retract it “officially” was probably to avoid humiliating the author.

Most likely....I agree.  But that doesn't change the fact that the retraction wasn't official and was not read to the members regarding the message they'd been instructed to teach.  The members would have had no way of knowing the Prophet disagreed with the statement and some went out and taught it.

26 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I am not worried about members being snared by this, particularly 75 years later nor am I going to throw a previous prophet or apostles under the bus for not speaking out publicly on such a minor point.

I agree.  I honestly believe not many members believe what that statement teaches.  I was just pointing out that it was really never retracted publicly nor was it made clear to the members at that time that it wasn't accurate and not to teach it.

Edited by ALarson
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46 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Thanks for posting this.  I'd honestly thought that an announcement was made to all church members regarding that statement (from the Prophet that we do not teach that sentiment).  But it was only done in a private letter to a nonmember?

That would be like something coming out from the general leaders in Salt Lake (in writing) for all members to be taught and then assuming they'd know it was done in error because Pres. Nelson wrote a nonmember a private letter stating that.  How would members even know what was written unless the nonmember shared it and even then only a few may hear of it.

No wonder so many members believed it and thought it was the truth.

Funny how nobody but critics and dissidents reference this snippet from a 1945 Ward Teacher's Message.  

If "so many members believed it," you would think it would have been quoted in General Conference addresses, used in church manuals and curricular, referenced on the Church's website, and quoted by members to other members.  And yet . . . none of that seems to have happened during the last 74 years.

Thanks,

-Smac

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33 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I think you are understating the obscurity of this. The idea that people take stuff from church magazines, particularly stuff not written by apostles, and consider it their “marching orders”, is ludicrous. The relative few who did read it probably skimmed over it and it was forgotten within months. There were probably a few concerned about it but not many and some of those wrote letters. The only reason any of us know about it is our critics are boring and are still harping on about it.

The reason they did not retract it “officially” was probably to avoid humiliating the author.

And let's not forget that other little thing going on in early 1945 . . . World War II.

Thanks,

-Smac

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6 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Funny how nobody but critics and dissidents reference this snippet from a 1945 Ward Teacher's Message.  

I didn't refer to it and have even admitted I wasn't that familiar with this entire episode (or exchange of letters).

I thanked the person who posted it because I wasn't aware of it.....and found it interesting to know.  It's not a big deal for me one way or the other....

I also have stated:  "I honestly believe not many members believe what that statement teaches."

My only observation from what I learned here, is that the members were not told about the error and they would have known nothing about the retraction at the time.  They only had the published lesson that was "CONDUCTED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOPRIC" for them to teach to their ward members.  They couldn't know what they didn't know :)   

Edited by ALarson
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16 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Possibly....but this wasn't just published in a church magazine in some random article.  It was the Ward Teaching message that was to be taught to every member and was  "CONDUCTED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOPRIC".

From Pres. Smith's letter:

Quote

The leaflet to which you refer, and from which you quote in your letter, was not “prepared” by “one of our leaders.” However, one or more of them inadvertently permitted the paragraph to pass uncensored. By their so doing, not a few members of the Church have been upset in their feelings, and General Authorities have been embarrassed.

'Nuff said.

16 minutes ago, ALarson said:

So there was a much higher chance of members being taught this and believing it, IMO.

Members reading it 74 years ago, yes.  Pres. Smith acknowledged this:

Quote

The leaflet to which you refer, and from which you quote in your letter, was not “prepared” by “one of our leaders.” However, one or more of them inadvertently permitted the paragraph to pass uncensored. By their so doing, not a few members of the Church have been upset in their feelings, and General Authorities have been embarrassed.

I think it is absurd to suggest that the 1945 Ward Teacher's message has had any cachet amongst the Saints for, oh, the last 70+ years or so.  The only people fretting/obsessing over it are critics and dissidents who constantly parrot it back and forth.

16 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Most likely....I agree.  But that doesn't change the fact that the retraction wasn't official and was not read to the members regarding the message they'd been instructed to teach.  The members would have had no way of knowing the Prophet disagreed with the statement and some went out and taught it.

Meh.  Navel-gazing about what some members of the Church might have taught 74 years ago based on a single sentence in a Ward Teacher's message is boring.  And it is not indicative at all of the Church's posture regarding faith, study, scholarship, etc.

16 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I agree.  I honestly believe not many members believe what that statement teaches. 

Same here.  And yet this old chestnut gets quoted all the time by critics and dissidents (who, in so doing, are ironically demonstrating their lack of intellectual rigor, since all they are doing is parroting an antiquated talking point against the Church).

16 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I was just pointing out that it was really never retracted publicly nor was it made clear to the members at that time that it wasn't accurate and not to teach it.

Nor was it ever subsequently taught from the pulpit, or in the Church's materials, etc.

Thanks,

-Smac

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11 minutes ago, smac97 said:

And let's not forget that other little thing going on in early 1945 . . . World War II.

I would think that would have caused some member to look to their leaders even more for guidance and teaching and comfort 😉

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9 minutes ago, ALarson said:

My only observation from what I learned here, is that the members were not told about the error and they would have known nothing about the retraction at the time.  They only had the published lesson that was "CONDUCTED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOPRIC" for them to teach to their ward members.  They couldn't know what they didn't know :)   

The adage about "making a mountain out of a mole hill" comes to mind.

Thanks,

-Smac

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Possibly....but this wasn't just published in a church magazine in some random article.  It was the Ward Teaching message that was to be taught to every member and was  "CONDUCTED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOPRIC".

So there was a much higher chance of members being taught this and believing it, IMO.

Most likely....I agree.  But that doesn't change the fact that the retraction wasn't official and was not read to the members regarding the message they'd been instructed to teach.  The members would have had no way of knowing the Prophet disagreed with the statement and some went out and taught it.

I agree.  I honestly believe not many members believe what that statement teaches.  I was just pointing out that it was really never retracted publicly nor was it made clear to the members at that time that it wasn't accurate and not to teach it.

The Ward Teaching message? The Presiding Bishopric? You are reaching to see this as super endorsed based on those statements.

As to someone being taught it.....

300px-Ohnoes_cat.jpg

I would guess around 75% of what is taught in the block every Sunday is false. One visit and a lesson from a magazine will sink no one.

Okay, it was never retracted publicly. So what? Find me someone who based their life around a never repeated Ward Teaching message given once and I will be concerned. If this is some backhanded way of saying the church apparatus is not infallible when sending out message then duh, we all knew that already.

14 minutes ago, smac97 said:

And let's not forget that other little thing going on in early 1945 . . . World War II.

Thanks,

-Smac

Should we bring up the complimentary article on Hitler that showed up in a church magazine in the 30s just to stir the pot a bit? It was probably never retracted either. The church clearly wants us all to be fascists.

Edited by The Nehor

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Just now, smac97 said:

Good grief.  I'm not doing what you're accusing me of doing here.  Just stop.

I've read his private letter written to a nonmember.  My point is that members of the church would not be aware of what was in that letter unless it was published for them to see or read from over the pulpit....did that happen, do you know?

2 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I think it is absurd to suggest that the 1945 Ward Teacher's message has had any cachet amongst the Saints for, oh, the last 70+ years or so.  

Where did I state that?

Here's what I said: "

9 minutes ago, ALarson said:

"I honestly believe not many members believe what that statement teaches."

 

3 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Nor was it ever subsequently taught from the pulpit, or in the Church's materials, etc.

Once again, where did I claim that this took place?

My only observation was that I wasn't aware of what actually took place here and it was of interest to learn.  I'd honestly had the impression that the one sentence in question was officially retracted and the members were made aware that it was not to be taught.  Now I know that didn't happen.  But, it doesn't mean that I believe the statement is true or should be brought up over and over again.  I don't do that.

 

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4 minutes ago, ALarson said:
Quote

And let's not forget that other little thing going on in early 1945 . . . World War II.

I would think that would have caused some member to look to their leaders even more for guidance and teaching and comfort 😉

Yes.  But it also might explain why the editorial oversight of The Improvement Era in June 1945.  After all, V-E Day was on May 8, 1945.  This was followed by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, respectively, and then V-J Day followed on August 15, 1945.

The Home Teacher's message came out between some of the most significant events of the entire century, perhaps even in world history.  Perhaps we should refrain from armchair quarterbacking and grousing about what the church leaders should have done during such turbulent times.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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10 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

The Ward Teaching message? The Presiding Bishopric? You are reaching to see this as super endorsed based on those statements.

I didn't say it was "super endorsed".....just that members believed it was the lesson they were to teach that month.  And that's true.

10 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Okay, it was never retracted publicly. So what?

Wow. 

I was not aware of what took place here and was just commenting that it was interesting to learn.  It's not a big deal.  What I had thought took place, didn't....I learned something and thanked the person who posted about it.  Once again, I don't believe that most members agree with or believe that one statement in the lesson.

Do we know when the letter was made public?  Just curious....

And who published Pres. Smith's letter?

Also, is there a copy of the letter he received (from Dr. J. Raymond Cope of the First Unitarian Society) published anywhere, do you know?

Edited by ALarson

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4 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Good grief.  I'm not doing what you're accusing me of doing here.  Just stop.

The only purpose in carping about the 1945 Ward Teacher's message is to criticize and find fault with the Church and its leaders, and/or to bear false witness against the Church by claiming or hinting that "the thinking has been done" was somehow an integral aspect of Latter-day Saint doctrine and thought for 70+ years.

4 minutes ago, ALarson said:

My only observation was that I wasn't aware of what actually took place here and it was of interest to learn.  I'd honestly had the impression that the one sentence in question was officially retracted and the members were made aware that it was not to be taught.  Now I know that didn't happen.  But, it doesn't mean that I believe the statement is true or should be brought up over and over again.  I don't do that.

  • "No wonder so many members believed it and thought it was the truth."
  • "Possibly....but this wasn't just published in a church magazine in some random article.  It was the Ward Teaching message that was to be taught to every member and was  'CONDUCTED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOPRIC'".
  • "So there was a much higher chance of members being taught this and believing it, IMO."
  • "Most likely....I agree.  But that doesn't change the fact that the retraction wasn't official and was not read to the members regarding the message they'd been instructed to teach.  The members would have had no way of knowing the Prophet disagreed with the statement and some went out and taught it."
  • "I was just pointing out that it was really never retracted publicly nor was it made clear to the members at that time that it wasn't accurate and not to teach it."
  • "My only observation from what I learned here, is that the members were not told about the error and they would have known nothing about the retraction at the time.  They only had the published lesson that was "CONDUCTED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOPRIC" for them to teach to their ward members.  They couldn't know what they didn't know."

This is you not bringing up the Ward Teacher's message "over and over again?"

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The only purpose in carping about the 1945 Ward Teacher's message is to criticize and find fault with the Church and its leaders, and/or to bear false witness against the Church by claiming or hinting that "the thinking has been done" was somehow an integral aspect of Latter-day Saint doctrine and thought for 70+ years.

  • "No wonder so many members believed it and thought it was the truth."
  • "Possibly....but this wasn't just published in a church magazine in some random article.  It was the Ward Teaching message that was to be taught to every member and was  'CONDUCTED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOPRIC'".
  • "So there was a much higher chance of members being taught this and believing it, IMO."
  • "Most likely....I agree.  But that doesn't change the fact that the retraction wasn't official and was not read to the members regarding the message they'd been instructed to teach.  The members would have had no way of knowing the Prophet disagreed with the statement and some went out and taught it."
  • "I was just pointing out that it was really never retracted publicly nor was it made clear to the members at that time that it wasn't accurate and not to teach it."
  • "My only observation from what I learned here, is that the members were not told about the error and they would have known nothing about the retraction at the time.  They only had the published lesson that was "CONDUCTED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOPRIC" for them to teach to their ward members.  They couldn't know what they didn't know."

This is you not bringing up the Ward Teacher's message "over and over again?"

Thanks,

-Smac

I do not usually like your posts. Well done.

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18 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The only purpose in carping about the 1945 Ward Teacher's message is to criticize and find fault with the Church and its leaders

I wasn't "carping" 😂  (all but the first statement you quote from me was me responding to either your or Nehor's comments or questions....I would have dropped it after my first post.)

Also, no criticizing...just observations....

I was honestly just commenting on learning what actually took place.  It was interesting to learn and did help me understand what happened and why some members believed that it was supposed to be taught.  I'd wondered why they still felt that way if it had been publicly retracted (and now I know that didn't happen).

Once again...not a big deal or a topic I've initiated or brought up to others (here or in private life).  Moving on now....

Edited by ALarson
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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The adage about "making a mountain out of a mole hill" comes to mind.

Which he didn’t do.  But you seem to be!

I also didn’t know the history of that statement.  I’d heard my parents repeat  it (mostly in a joking way) and I’ll ask them if they know about the private correspondence about it.  I’ll bet they don’t.  

Before now, I didn’t know where that saying came from, so now I know!

Edited by JulieM
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40 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I didn't say it was "super endorsed".....just that members believed it was the lesson they were to teach that month.

Do we know when the letter was made public?  Just curious....

And who published Pres. Smith's letter?

Also, is there a copy of the letter he received (from Dr. J. Raymond Cope of the First Unitarian Society) published anywhere, do you know?

There's a copy of both letters here:
 
 
This is taken from Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol.19, no. 1 (Spring 1986), p 35-39.  I don't know if this was when the letters that were written in 1945 were first made public (1986)?
 
This was interesting to read through (info at the link above).

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53 minutes ago, JulieM said:

Which he didn’t do.  But you seem to be!

Not really.  My comments here are overwhelmingly copied and pasted from prior threads that have addressed this issue.

Thanks,

-Smac

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59 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I wasn't "carping" 😂  (all but the first statement you quote from me was me responding to either your or Nehor's comments or questions....I would have dropped it after my first post.)

Also, no criticizing...just observations....

I was honestly just commenting on learning what actually took place.  It was interesting to learn and did help me understand what happened and why some members believed that it was supposed to be taught.  I'd wondered why they still felt that way if it had been publicly retracted (and now I know that didn't happen).

Once again...not a big deal or a topic I've initiated or brought up to others (here or in private life).  Moving on now....

Fair enough.

Thanks,

-Smac

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15 minutes ago, JulieM said:
There's a copy of both letters here:
 
 
This is taken from Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol.19, no. 1 (Spring 1986), p 35-39.  I don't know if this was when the letters that were written in 1945 were first made public (1986)?
 
This was interesting to read through (info at the link above).

Thanks Julie....I'll take a look 👍

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Thanks Julie....I'll take a look 👍

I just now read all the way through the letter that was written to President George Albert Smith.  This part made me sad (I’ll put in bold):

"Last June there was delivered to my door a short religious editorial, prepared by one of your leaders, entitled "Sustaining the General Authorities of the Church." Its message amazed me a great deal, and with the passing of weeks my disturbance became very acute. It might have passed, except that several members of your Church have come to me to discuss the subject. The most recent was a prominent doctor, who, because of this tract, he affirms, is losting [sic] his religious faith. He is a large man, and I became impressed with his deep sincerity as he broke down and wept like a boy. I am convinced that he is undergoing a very dangerous experience.

Permit me to quote the passages which seem to be brought most in question: "He (Lucifer) wins a great victory when he can get members of the Church to speak against their leaders and to 'do their own thinking[.]'" "When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan--it is God's plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy. ...""

It does make me wonder why this was not dealt with in a manner that would have helped more church members (such as the man described above)?  I do hope that President Smith reached out (or contacted his local leaders if he knew his identity) to this man who was in pain over it and that would be interesting to know.  

This whole thing had to be difficult to know how to handle.  I’m sure the leaders did what they believed was best and it’s easy in hindsight to think of more effective ways now.  

Edited by JulieM
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Posted (edited)

Do we have copies of the rest of the year’s magazines (as it may take awhile to get something published) or conference talks that year?  It is possible it was addressed if not directly.

Did the Dialogue article indicate any such research into the above?

Edited by Calm

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9 minutes ago, Calm said:

Do we have copies of the rest of the year’s magazines (as it may take awhile to get something published) or conference talks that year?  It is possible it was addressed if not directly.

Did the Dialogue article indicate any such research into the above?

Here's the intro (at the link I posted):

"This 1945 ward teachers' message on the obedience apparently required of Church members, the response it sparked from a concerned Salt Lake City Unitarian minister, and the response of Church President George Albert Smith to both documents seem appropriate accompaniments to the Newell essay. Typographical errors have been corrected in brackets. All italics appear as underlining in the original. The Cope and Smith letters are in Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah--the J. Raymond Cope Collection (Association no. 691) and the George A. Smith Papers (Manuscript no. 36, Box 63-8A), respectively."

 

I don't know what the "Newell Essay" is, do you?  That may have more information in it?

Edited by JulieM

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Posted (edited)
On 8/6/2019 at 11:08 PM, blarsen said:

Have you considered undertaking such a task? I would be interested in seeing it.

Yes I have considered it but I am quite busy right now in finishing up some projects for my family's benefit.

Edited by mfbukowski

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13 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I think you vastly overestimate how many of our critics and members would be impressed by philosophical argument. That said I think a few with the right niche interests could be helped. If you feel inclined definitely do it.

No I understand fully how futile an effort it is after trying it here for years.

I cannot for the life of me understand why people in the church are not interested in the fact that secular theism is fully compatible with our doctrine and beliefs and justifiable by even atheist philosophers.

Kevin has been trying also by sticking to his Perry Scheme points- which are excellent- which in my interpretation are saying "Look here folks- if you mature a little intellectually everything will be fine and the church will be saved"

But folks do not want to learn or stretch a little bit.  I suppose they feel insulted by it- I don't have any idea why they reject it.

To me, it could at least make us "contenders" to actually complete our mission of converting the world, but instead we prefer to keep on trodding the same path, and pushing the handcarts while others fly by in jets looking down on our "progress"

One can be a true blue member of Church of Jesus Christ AND be intellectually sophisticated in academic matters as well but I think we just do not believe that in our hearts or we would be open to it.

Thanks for pointing that out and putting it into words

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