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Spencer Fluhman: The University and the Kingdom of God

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2 minutes ago, JulieM said:

Interesting thoughts.  Thanks!

Are you referring to this part of the message?

 “

He (Satan) wins a great victory when he can get members of the Church to speak against their leaders and to ‘do their own thinking.’”

I’m not sure I agree with your view about that, but we can disagree.  I think that’s stated pretty clearly actually.  Combine with the other statements, and it’s easy to see why it should have been corrected and clarified for the members.   

(This:

“He (Satan) specializes in suggesting that our leaders are in error while he plays the blinding rays of apostasy in the eyes of those whom he thus beguiles. What cunning! And to think that some of our members are deceived by this trickery.”

And this:

“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. God works in no other way.”)

 

 

Yes, that part.  You see the ' marks before and after those words, right?  If the writer(s) had left those off it would have been a completely different meaning than with using those marks.  They are there for a reason, and it's clear to me that the writer is trying to convey the idea that Lucifer/Satan is the one who is trying to incite members of the Church to speak against their leaders by what Lucifer/Satan is promoting as "doing their own thinking"... which presumably would be in contrast to statements of "prophets, seers and revelators" in the Church.

I can see that the writer(s) of that message could have used better language to convey those ideas, but the ideas the writer(s) tried to express are pretty spot on correct.  We should all follow our Lord's "prophets, seers and revelators" instead of arguing against their ideas.  But first we need to correctly understand what they mean when they say what they say while knowing it is our Lord who has enabled those men to speak as "prophets, seers and revelators" whenever they speak as such.

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11 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Yes, that part.  You see the ' marks before and after those words, right?  If the writer(s) had left those off it would have been a completely different meaning than with using those marks.  They are there for a reason, and it's clear to me that the writer is trying to convey the idea that Lucifer/Satan is the one who is trying to incite members of the Church to speak against their leaders by what Lucifer/Satan is promoting as "doing their own thinking"... which presumably would be in contrast to statements of "prophets, seers and revelators" in the Church.

I don’t know who the author is quoting (in more than one place), it’s not real clear, imo.  The other similar statements aren’t in quotes.

Either way, it’s been made clear now that the message does not represent our beliefs or what our leaders teach.  So, I’m not interested really in trying to make that original message accurate or true.

(Thanks though!)

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6 minutes ago, JulieM said:

I don’t know who the author is quoting (in more than one place), it’s not real clear, imo.  The other similar statements aren’t in quotes.

Either way, it’s been made clear now that the message does not represent our beliefs or what our leaders teach.  So, I’m not interested really in trying to make that original message accurate or true.

(Thanks though!)

Just one more time to point out that smac made a pretty good case for why it's important to realize there needs to be leaders who make decisions while those they lead abide by their decisions simply because those followers have accepted their leader(s) as their leader(s).

At least sometimes.  At other times it might be a good idea for everybody to sit around and try to arrive at some kind of consensus, as our Lord's apostles do when they have their quorum meetings together.

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3 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

My experience exactly. As a youth in late 50s I accompanied ward teachers including my dad. The WT book had pages with perforated messages. We left one with each family we visited. I also remember our family receiving them before I was old enough to be a ward teacher, I don’t recall when this method ended.

I think it ended in the mid-sixties with the discontinuance of the ward teaching program and it being replaced with home teaching. You might recall that under the new program, instead of there being a canned message, home teachers were instructed to prepare their own messages suited to the needs of those whom they visited. It was later that they were encouraged to use as the basis for their message the monthly “First Presidency Message” published in Church magazines. 

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1 hour ago, JulieM said:

Hey, mistakes happen and members should understand.  It is too bad it wasn’t clarified or corrected at the time (where members would see it), but hindsight is 20/20, right?  We now know it was an error.

I’m wondering what President Smith meant in his response letter when he said “not a few” members had been upset over the message. How many is “not a few”? 20? 50? 100? Was there a general uproar throughout the Church, or was it localized to one or two stakes in the valley? 

And perhaps there was an effort to retract or clarify, one that has been lost to history because no documentation survives regarding it. 

Like some here, I wouldn’t even have known of this episode except that some enemies of the Church took it on themselves to raise a fuss over it some two generations later. So it’s not like there was any great lasting damage from it. 

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43 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Just one more time to point out that smac made a pretty good case for why it's important to realize there needs to be leaders who make decisions while those they lead abide by their decisions simply because those followers have accepted their leader(s) as their leader(s).

At least sometimes.  At other times it might be a good idea for everybody to sit around and try to arrive at some kind of consensus, as our Lord's apostles do when they have their quorum meetings together.

We’ve been over this elsewhere, but I don’t agree consensus is their aim. Rather, I think it is unified thought based on revelation that comes to each of them after fervent prayer and, at times, lively and vigorous discussion depending on the matter at hand. 

At least that’s how I understand the principles taught by President Ballard in “Counseling with Our Councils.”

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1 minute ago, Scott Lloyd said:

We’ve been over this elsewhere, but I don’t agree consensus is their aim. Rather, I think it is unified thought based on revelation that comes to each of them after fervent prayer and, at times, lively and vigorous discussion depending on the matter at hand. 

At least that’s how I understand the principles taught by President Ballard in “Counseling with Our Councils.”

I should have probably clarified that I meant a consensus with God through the power of the Holy Spirit, not just a consensus with each of the other apostles, and by extension with only the members of the group. In the Church, at least, we generally want to agree with God.

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On 8/2/2019 at 4:08 PM, Kevin Christensen said:

Not impressed.  He waves lots of noble sounding abstractions about wrestling with truth.

I have to agree with you. I started watching his talk and was soon put off by his apparent self aggrandizing start, it was all I, me, study, me, I, etc. He started sounding like a pompous git so I killed the video. I should stop because the more I think of him the more my blood boils....

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Posted (edited)
On 8/2/2019 at 8:08 AM, Kevin Christensen said:

Not impressed.  He waves lots of noble sounding abstractions about wrestling with truth.

He juggles high sounding abstractions, and asserts noble sounding principles.  But what about concrete and practical specifics?

Why gut the Maxwell Institute website?  The recent disruption and loss happened on his watch.  I used to be able to sort through and use the serious effort of hundreds of faithful LDS scholars engaging difficult questions.   Overnight, without warning, certainly without consulting those who valued the rich trove of material that was easily available there, it is gone.  Sure there is a link to the Scholars Archive where some of the material can be found, but not all of it, and what appears in the new location is far harder to locate, search, and use.  The archive has nothing like the easily navigable alphabetical Author's list.  The change not only disrupted the Maxwell site, but also the dozens of of important LDS sites that used informative links designed for people who wanted to engage difficult questions.

For example, compare who is currently listed under "Scholars" with the hundreds that used to be listed under "Authors". 

I've long been concerned about what happens when the public posture of facing difficult questions becomes more important than the practical production of useful answers.  (As a specific example, compare my review of Taves with Fluhman's interview with Taves.  Who is actually addressing the difficult questions, and who just wants to parade them in public?  Which involves scholarship and which involves public posturing?) 

Those who produce useful answers can be dismissed as mere apologists, whereas those who pose on the edge of the abyss of existential nausea can assert that they have the courage to face the terror inherent in facing the dreadful unknown.   But production is more important than posture.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

(Bold emphasis above is mine for reference.)

I definitely agree with this. It has become fashionable in some circles to celebrate the act of doubting and questioning as though it were a noble pursuit in and of itself for its own sake. It can be worthwhile and productive, but only insofar as it is a means ultimately to arrive at a resolution of the problem at hand or at least a way of looking at it with a wholesome perspective and a renewal of faith. Otherwise, it becomes too much like what the apostle Paul characterized as "some that trouble you [who] would pervert the gospel of Christ" (see Galatians 1:7).

In an online conversation with Greg Smith on one occasion, we adapted the scriptural passage about those who were "ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7) altering the phrasing to "ever in turmoil and never able to come to a resolution."

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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