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churchistrue

David Ostler's book Bridges on LDS faith crisis

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, churchistrue said:

They feel like they can trust church leaders.
They feel like they belong.
They can find meaning in the church with a non-traditional testimony.

I think the latter is where things get a bit sticky. I certainly think we should be open and caring to those who don't have a testimony of everything. But how far do you go and how do you handle teaching? 

Of course in practice I suspect the second element is where it gets much worse. What if you don't "click" with people in the ward? Some people want others to come befriend them, but aren't willing to befriend others. i.e. the dreaded "a small group of people are expected to carry the whole ward on their backs." The focus from Church as a place for duty and service to others to a place where we get what we need can make this difficult. 

I know that sounds trite, and of course we all need to get out of our comfort zones, be more social, and befriend those we don't know. However I think that particularly in wards that have a lot of turn over that can be difficult. There lots of things we can do to improve things, such as activities, but often those don't break down social barriers as much as we need. I remain convinced though that it's this sense of belonging (i.e. friendship and connections) that's far more important than weak testimonies or questions over doctrine.

1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

Here is an example: In a SS lesson on dispensations the teacher said that Moses was the head of a dispensation and "restored the priesthood." I said "actually Moses didn't restore the priesthood. He received the priesthood from Jethro." His response was "If you believe that.....[I have some land to sell to you type thing but a little more demeaning]." The HS told me that, but it is also told us directly in D&C. I was correct. I said nothing wrong, but because I was perceived as challenging the teacher and the correlated curriculum, I was dismissed in a demeaning way. I didn't challenge the narrative about dispensations, but I personally believe Moses was not the head of a dispensation, and unless the presidency claims to have received the key of dispensations from Adam, they probably shouldn't be teaching on the subject.

That's an interesting question since Moses could have been set apart by Jethro (which as you note seems clear) while simultaneously being the head of a dispensation. I also think dispensation as a used term isn't as clear as some believe. See for instance the LDS.org entry on it. If Abraham paid tithes to Melchezedek, how could Abraham be the head of a dispensation? If the priesthood went back unbroken to Adam, how could Enoch be the head? I think that we have the idea of heads being like Joseph Smith or Jesus and receiving things independent of lines (except via angels). But why is Joseph receiving priesthood via Peter, James and John somehow different from Abraham receiving it from Melchezedek or Moses from Jethro? I think we have an assumption for what it takes to be a head that might be problematic.

Of course in practice how one raises issues is tricky, particularly if the teacher is insecure or arrogant. I find dogmatic teachers who base their teachings on McConkie or Joseph Fielding Smith are the most difficult to deal with here since they are least apt to accept things as theories or allow those two to make mistakes. Fortunately that's far less common these days than it was when I was young.

Bad teachers are a problem of course. My own son is having his own faith issues - primarily arising out of the issue of evolution. Despite our telling him Mormons accept evolution, noting I believe in evolution, he got some crappy teachers who apparently were teaching in Primary that evolution was wrong. Since he knew about dinosaurs he thought that ridiculous and then decided we were like Evangelicals. 

How to deal with bad teachers is more difficult than you might think. Raise issues and people will see you as the problem. However I remain convinced that dogmatic bad teachers probably damage the Church more than anything else.

Edited by clarkgoble
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1 hour ago, churchistrue said:

In the book, Ostler says most people he studied in this have "can have faith in ambiguity and hold nuanced beliefs."

I extrapolate that out and added the bit about "non traditional testimony". I define that as having beliefs similar to the following (every person is a bit different):

  • Belief in the LDS Church as a good and meaningful church and maybe even the most true church but not usually as God’s one, exclusively true church.
  • Belief that our scriptures are inspired and meaningful but lacking a belief in historicity of some scripture such as the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham
  • Belief that prophets have likely been wrong at times in church history, such as related to polygamy or the priesthood ban
  • Belief in God and Jesus Christ and afterlife, but maybe not aligning with all of the many and specific details on these doctrines
  • The Earth is very old, the human race has been around for 100,000+ years, and the Genesis creation story should be taken metaphorically

I think the people with these beliefs would say the formulation of this new modified testimony came in the same way the original one, through study, prayer, and the Holy Ghost.

 

I align great with the list!

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14 minutes ago, Lloyd Christmas said:

So if I am understanding this correctly, there is church doctrine, principles, etc. but we can obtain our own testimony that goes against that? "The Family Proclamation says....but I believe..." 

Scary stuff. 

What would be more scary is if we all believed the exact same things without any degree of variance...that’s how you know you are in a cult.

Good luck defining “church doctrine” in a way that everyone will agree with. 

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1 hour ago, churchistrue said:

In the book, Ostler says most people he studied in this have "can have faith in ambiguity and hold nuanced beliefs."

I extrapolate that out and added the bit about "non traditional testimony". I define that as having beliefs similar to the following (every person is a bit different):

  • Belief in the LDS Church as a good and meaningful church and maybe even the most true church but not usually as God’s one, exclusively true church.
  • Belief that our scriptures are inspired and meaningful but lacking a belief in historicity of some scripture such as the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham
  • Belief that prophets have likely been wrong at times in church history, such as related to polygamy or the priesthood ban
  • Belief in God and Jesus Christ and afterlife, but maybe not aligning with all of the many and specific details on these doctrines
  • The Earth is very old, the human race has been around for 100,000+ years, and the Genesis creation story should be taken metaphorically

I think the people with these beliefs would say the formulation of this new modified testimony came in the same way the original one, through study, prayer, and the Holy Ghost.

 

I think the equation is beliefs are equal to testimony, so if you modify your beliefs you come out with this "modified testimony" regardless of what the HG bore witness of, I say beliefs don't equal your testimony via the HG. I highly doubt anyone on planet earth ever got a witness from God about the last point on your list. I think our beliefs change but we still "retain in rememberance" our witness of the HG. I had a witness that Jesus is the Christ but my beliefs about him have certaintly changed but I haven't forgotten that witness and some do, which si why I say we bury our testimony sometimes and forget those witnesses

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4 hours ago, Duncan said:

"non traditional testimony"? Either the Holy Ghost bears witness to something or he hasn't, that's how you get a testimony. 

You have to get to a place where you want to have the Spirit bear witness first though. 

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1 hour ago, churchistrue said:

In the book, Ostler says most people he studied in this have "can have faith in ambiguity and hold nuanced beliefs."

I extrapolate that out and added the bit about "non traditional testimony". I define that as having beliefs similar to the following (every person is a bit different):

  • Belief in the LDS Church as a good and meaningful church and maybe even the most true church but not usually as God’s one, exclusively true church.
  • Belief that our scriptures are inspired and meaningful but lacking a belief in historicity of some scripture such as the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham
  • Belief that prophets have likely been wrong at times in church history, such as related to polygamy or the priesthood ban
  • Belief in God and Jesus Christ and afterlife, but maybe not aligning with all of the many and specific details on these doctrines
  • The Earth is very old, the human race has been around for 100,000+ years, and the Genesis creation story should be taken metaphorically

I think the people with these beliefs would say the formulation of this new modified testimony came in the same way the original one, through study, prayer, and the Holy Ghost.

 

Are these Ostler’s examples or yours?

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10 minutes ago, Calm said:

Are these Ostler’s examples or yours?

Mine. I'm clear on that in the blog post. 

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, churchistrue said:

Mine. I'm clear on that in the blog post. 

Just wanted to be sure that you hadn’t picked up some of them from him and then perhaps edged them a bit further. 

Edited by Calm

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4 hours ago, churchistrue said:

.............................https://www.churchistrue.com/blog/david-ostler-bridges-review/ .....................

I carefully read your long review-summary, and drew several conclusions:

Many of those who had passed through their period of trial (dark night of the soul) had achieved greater maturation generally, which is always a positive thing.  Too bad that our schools and parents don't expect us to become mature.  We could certainly do with a lot less infantilism.

We should expect casualities in the process of living our lives, casualties from our families (death, divorce, estrangement) and religion.  Sadness isn't always a necessary response.  Especially if the person who leaves or is alienated is happy and successful.  Not all decisions by our loved ones are going to make us happy or satisfied.  We need to learn tolerance and acceptance.

Apologetics was falsely defined as having something to do with scholarship, but it usually does not.  Most apologists are yokels, as are their opponents ("ignorant armies clash by night," and all that).

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18 minutes ago, Duncan said:

I think the equation is beliefs are equal to testimony, so if you modify your beliefs you come out with this "modified testimony" regardless of what the HG bore witness of, I say beliefs don't equal your testimony via the HG. I highly doubt anyone on planet earth ever got a witness from God about the last point on your list. I think our beliefs change but we still "retain in rememberance" our witness of the HG. I had a witness that Jesus is the Christ but my beliefs about him have certaintly changed but I haven't forgotten that witness and some do, which si why I say we bury our testimony sometimes and forget those witnesses

For me, the way I've always understood the Holy Ghost, is that it's something I feel very regularly as related to spiritual and gospel things, so it would be very strange to separate out beliefs I have about the Church that didn't come from the HG vs those that did come through the HG. I've never heard of separating "my beliefs" vs "my testimony". That's the disconnect we've been having in this thread I guess.

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1 minute ago, Calm said:

Just wanted to be sure that you hadn’t picked up some of them from him and then perhaps edged them a bit further. 

:) I know I've been accused of this in the past. I'm trying to clean up my act. I think I was very careful not to do that.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Duncan said:

"non traditional testimony"? Either the Holy Ghost bears witness to something or he hasn't, that's how you get a testimony. 

Yepoers - that is what every religious organization claims.... (btw, google "elevation emotion") 

http://testimoniesofotherfaiths.blogspot.com/2014/10/baptist-testimonies.html?m=1

 

 

Edited by changed

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Two things:

(1) online surveys are completely irresponsible.

(2) retention at any cost is not cost effective.

So long as you're using it to collect information and not using it to see actual rates for the question there's nothing wrong with an online survey. Yes it'll be biased - particularly to those who see the request for the survey. Even more careful online surveys that attempt to be more scientifically representative have their issues. Usually they work by sorting by demographics and geography and then querying enough for that category - but it can still be not representative although it's often quite close. It's not clear to me what kind of online survey Ostler used. But traditionally such surveys tend to overrepresent disgruntled "activist" former Mormons rather than those less interested in Mormonism after they leave.

I definitely agree with your (2) though. We should outreach. I remember from the 90's there was a study showing a significant number of leadership had spent at least 10 years inactive. While that's not necessarily a faith crisis type of doubt, it reflect a kind of faith crisis. Yet many of those people come back and are quite strong. My Bishop while growing up was like that as was my mission president. I think we want to enable such people to feel welcome with their doubts so they can become strong. The danger though is that people don't just have doubts but have opposing theology they want to teach. That can both lead to conflict but also ultimately undermine the Church.

My guess is that the current driver of people falling away is the broader US trend of distrust in all organizations (government, formal social groups, churches, etc.) combined with a view of religion as consumer good (what does it do for me now and not what duties do I have). I suspect after we get through the current tensions paralleling 1967-1975 that things will return to normal.

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38 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Except it is what the Lord told Moses. Does the Lord know what He was talking about? I know that I am harping on one of your pets here so forgive me.... ;) 

It's not an infinite regress to ask everyone to consider the Bible -- the Five Books of Moses -- which tell one version (a redacted version) of the Creation and Garden of Eden.  Where does the Bible place those events, and where did that Bible come from?  The Book of Abraham does not even include the rivers -- doesn't localize the place.  How is it possible to have more than one version of these things in the LDS Canon?  Need I point out the plethora of contradictions contained in each version?

38 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Notice I didn't say the Church taught it. I said "the Church" treated people that way. That is my own personal observation of bishops etc. So in fairness I cannot include Church GA leaders, but am speaking of my personal experience with the body of the Church which didn't know how to deal with it at the time. To its credit I think the Church has gotten better about it. Hey, I've read the anti stuff and am still active. I am just saying the Church can learn to respond in a better fashion. Do you agree that its response in general is better?

I've been over the ignorance of LDS leaders umpteen times on this board, but in that respect they are little different from the unwashed masses of Saints.  Progressive learning has continued apace since Leonard Arrington came in as Church Historian.  I think that Church leaders were often just as surprised as ordinary members on new information as it was published.  It has been a  learning experience for one and all -- with some casualties along the way (unavoidable).

38 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Thanks... I think... You are a positive voice in the right direction here. Yes, diverse POVs is how science has progressed. Diverse interpretations of scripture can also be a good thing where there is an improvement over prior interpretations. I just unabashedly say that the Church has been wrong about a number of things........................

Not the Mother Church (as a Roman Catholic might say), but individuals within it, yes.  Brother Brigham was certainly wrong on race, and both Orson Pratt and in 1978 Bruce McConkie said so.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

So long as you're using it to collect information and not using it to see actual rates for the question there's nothing wrong with an online survey. Yes it'll be biased - particularly to those who see the request for the survey. Even more careful online surveys that attempt to be more scientifically representative have their issues. Usually they work by sorting by demographics and geography and then querying enough for that category - but it can still be not representative although it's often quite close. It's not clear to me what kind of online survey Ostler used. But traditionally such surveys tend to overrepresent disgruntled "activist" former Mormons rather than those less interested in Mormonism after they leave.

He is calculating percentages of this and percentages of that, all in a vastly unreliable fashion.  I expect that from a yokel, not from a scholar.

Quote

I definitely agree with your (2) though. We should outreach. I remember from the 90's there was a study showing a significant number of leadership had spent at least 10 years inactive. While that's not necessarily a faith crisis type of doubt, it reflect a kind of faith crisis. Yet many of those people come back and are quite strong. My Bishop while growing up was like that as was my mission president. I think we want to enable such people to feel welcome with their doubts so they can become strong. ...............

Yep, I have similar stories to tell across a broad range, some quite amazing.  People came away with greater depth and maturity.

Quote

My guess is that the current driver of people falling away is the broader US trend of distrust in all organizations (government, formal social groups, churches, etc.) combined with a view of religion as consumer good (what does it do for me now and not what duties do I have). I suspect after we get through the current tensions paralleling 1967-1975 that things will return to normal.

Not sure what those tensions are supposed to have been -- political, anti-war, book of Abraham?  Please clarify.  I was alive and an observant scholar at that time, but can't pigeonhole your concern.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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Maybe I’m a unicorn, but I’ve never considered the first priority of spiritual pursuit to be to get someone in the Church.   After all isn’t the purpose of the Church to point people to Deity.   So instead of focusing on converting people to the “church” and being perceived as church-centric rather than seekers of the Divine, shouldn’t we be trying to lead them to God and let God bring them to the church.

I respectfully suggest that the three conditions in the OP could be improved on as follows:

**feel they can trust church leaders replaced by feel confident that God will direct them

**feel like they belong in the church replaced by feel they are worthy of God’s love

**find meaning in the church replaced by feel the rest (absence of fear and doubt) promised by Jesus to those who come unto Him

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

That's an interesting question since Moses could have been set apart by Jethro (which as you note seems clear) while simultaneously being the head of a dispensation. I also think dispensation as a used term isn't as clear as some believe. See for instance the LDS.org entry on it. If Abraham paid tithes to Melchezedek, how could Abraham be the head of a dispensation?

i am sure you realize the scripture I am speaking of:
Doctrine and Covenants 84:6-7

6 aAnd the bsons of Moses, according to the Holy Priesthood which he received under the chand of his father-in-law, dJethro;

I really don't see any other way than to accept that Moses received the priesthood directly through Jethro, his father in law. Much to the chagrin of  Jews, this may mean that many Midianites validly held the priesthood for over 400 years. The Jews like to make out like no one else ever held the priesthood, but I see no reason that the sons of Keturah could not have done so.  However, lacking any direct knowledge of the precise genealogy of Jethro, I still believe I can conclude that Moses did not "restore the priesthood." As for dispensations, Abraham was the head of the third dispensation since the covenant was through him. Moses was taught the circumcision through his wife Zipporah and Jethro. 

Quote

If the priesthood went back unbroken to Adam, how could Enoch be the head?

It did not according to D&C. And Enoch was not a head of a dispensation. Adam was. He began the covenant of the Sabbath and the seven day week in Sumeria - notice their seven day week. Egypt had a 10 day week. 

Quote

I think that we have the idea of heads being like Joseph Smith or Jesus and receiving things independent of lines (except via angels). But why is Joseph receiving priesthood via Peter, James and John somehow different from Abraham receiving it from Melchezedek or Moses from Jethro? I think we have an assumption for what it takes to be a head that might be problematic.

See above

Quote

Of course in practice how one raises issues is tricky, particularly if the teacher is insecure or arrogant. I find dogmatic teachers who base their teachings on McConkie or Joseph Fielding Smith are the most difficult to deal with here since they are least apt to accept things as theories or allow those two to make mistakes. Fortunately that's far less common these days than it was when I was young.

Bad teachers are a problem of course. My own son is having his own faith issues - primarily arising out of the issue of evolution. Despite our telling him Mormons accept evolution, noting I believe in evolution, he got some crappy teachers who apparently were teaching in Primary that evolution was wrong. Since he knew about dinosaurs he thought that ridiculous and then decided we were like Evangelicals. 

How to deal with bad teachers is more difficult than you might think. Raise issues and people will see you as the problem. However I remain convinced that dogmatic bad teachers probably damage the Church more than anything else.

I am not trying to dismiss my teacher as arrogant or a "bad teacher." I know him fairly well, and he actually employed me. I consider him to be a humble member of the Church, who was just trying to stick to the materials. Maybe I sounded a little arrogant to him. I am just giving it as an example of how questions or challenges typically got responded to before the Church changed the SS block materials. He actually hurt my feelings quite badly, and I changed SS classes. Rather than asking me why I believed what I did, which presumably would have led to a conversation about D&C, and maybe how I could see things the "Church's way," or maybe that he thought maybe I had a valid point which should be taken to a GA, I felt I was ridiculed. Now, I think "I was offended" is one of the common answers for why people leave the Church. Maybe they don't show up on Ostler's survey in those words, but I think this is a common way people feel offended. It is not just some personal personality conflict. It is the way they were responded to for their questions. That is the reason I gave that example. Maybe Ostlers' survey was not terribly scientific, but the sheer quantity I don't feel can be easily dismissed - nor should be dismissed as being simply unscientific. If I didn't have such a strong testimony of the restored gospel, I think I would definitely have been out of this church. I felt like I was in a protestant church challenging the doctrine of the trinity, and even then I probably wouldn't feel quite so ostracized. That is not a good thing for the Church. I wish the Church would simply take notice of the damage it does sometimes. That is what Ostler is trying to address. I am not saying I agree with all his points. I don't share all the reasons some people leave. But, I do believe that at least in Utah, the Church culture has not left any room for any kind of questioning. It is treated as apostate dissent. I think well meaning families sometimes drive their own children out of the Church because of a strong inculcation to make their children believe like themselves.  This is one issue I had with the correlated materials and teaching style which was the norm before Pres Nelson. It spilled into the general teaching style of the Church. To his credit, he changed it. I think they listened to members. Things have gotten better, but obviously many people still feel like I did.  

Edited by RevTestament

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

That's an interesting question since Moses could have been set apart by Jethro (which as you note seems clear) while simultaneously being the head of a dispensation. I also think dispensation as a used term isn't as clear as some believe. See for instance the LDS.org entry on it. If Abraham paid tithes to Melchezedek, how could Abraham be the head of a dispensation? If the priesthood went back unbroken to Adam, how could Enoch be the head? I think that we have the idea of heads being like Joseph Smith or Jesus and receiving things independent of lines (except via angels). But why is Joseph receiving priesthood via Peter, James and John somehow different from Abraham receiving it from Melchezedek or Moses from Jethro? I think we have an assumption for what it takes to be a head that might be problematic.

The best definition of a dispensation that I have seen is that it is a giving of at least some part of the gospel to a prophet who can relate this independently of all other previous dispensations. In other words, it begins with a prophet with big visions and revelations who does not need to reference previous prophets for why what they are saying is true. They might do so anyways. Moses getting the Priesthood from Jethro does not keep him from starting a dispensation. He was able to because he saw visions and saw God and was directed.

President Nelson, as powerful as his mantle may be, relies to some extent on his testimony or knowledge of what Joseph Smith restored. Moses did not need Abraham’s witness to teach nor did Joseph need Peter’s witness though they both probably used them to some extent.

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

I think the latter is where things get a bit sticky. I certainly think we should be open and caring to those who don't have a testimony of everything. But how far do you go and how do you handle teaching? 

Of course in practice I suspect the second element is where it gets much worse. What if you don't "click" with people in the ward? Some people want others to come befriend them, but aren't willing to befriend others. i.e. the dreaded "a small group of people are expected to carry the whole ward on their backs." The focus from Church as a place for duty and service to others to a place where we get what we need can make this difficult. 

I know that sounds trite, and of course we all need to get out of our comfort zones, be more social, and befriend those we don't know. However I think that particularly in wards that have a lot of turn over that can be difficult. There lots of things we can do to improve things, such as activities, but often those don't break down social barriers as much as we need. I remain convinced though that it's this sense of belonging (i.e. friendship and connections) that's far more important than weak testimonies or questions over doctrine.

I was surprised to find myself in a ward where people would basically release themselves from callings when they were done. I spoke to the Bishop and he counted 13 families and 3 single people (and low standards were there as I was one of the 3) that basically carried the ward. It is hard to know what to do. Socially it is easier to be around those with similar convictions. When I was growing up I was in a stalwart family that was trusted to help. My father was always waking me up or dragging me and my siblings to go to Service Projects and firesides. My parents were good friends with the other stalwarts and they often got together. To those on the fringes it probably looked like an exclusive clique but they wanted more people in it and were always inviting people and were friendly. Many on the edges wanted everyone else to keep pulling them in instead of jumping in and contributing. That being said I have seen miracles. I have seen those on the fringe turned into spiritual giants and those in the core slip to the edges.

I also admit to a worry over the non-traditional testimony. How spiritually healthy is it to carve out a permanent space there? Do we rate it “as good” as a faithful conviction of the truthfulness of the gospel? Is it a buffet where you choose where you are comfortable and anywhere is good? I am all for people with weak or different or no testimonies coming to Church and activities and being welcomed and fellowshipped. Are we doing them a disservice by pretending their faith is “as good”? We want to make them stronger. Not in a cookie cutter way, when people become more righteous they become more and more gloriously varied, but seeking the strength and unity we are commanded to achieve when we are told to be One. I doubt anyone will ever be exalted when they are riddled with doubts about the atonement or the restoration. I mean yeah, Hope is a thing and many are not sure but often they throw caution to the wind and dive in convinced it is worth it to try. They are probably fine and make me feel a little bad. I feel I have a sure conviction but I end up doing so much less with it then they do with their hope.

I am just rambling now sorry. I just do not want to see a church where being a (half in, half out) camp follower is an acceptable permanent post in the kingdom. I would not kick them out or try to make them feel unwelcome but they need more. I do not know the timetable for more but I will pray for them to find it.

Or maybe I am a jerk who is way off track smugly stupid in an imagined ideal. It is just such a beautiful ideal............

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45 minutes ago, let’s roll said:

Maybe I’m a unicorn, but I’ve never considered the first priority of spiritual pursuit to be to get someone in the Church.   After all isn’t the purpose of the Church to point people to Deity.   So instead of focusing on converting people to the “church” and being perceived as church-centric rather than seekers of the Divine, shouldn’t we be trying to lead them to God and let God bring them to the church.

I respectfully suggest that the three conditions in the OP could be improved on as follows:

**feel they can trust church leaders replaced by feel confident that God will direct them

**feel like they belong in the church replaced by feel they are worthy of God’s love

**find meaning in the church replaced by feel the rest (absence of fear and doubt) promised by Jesus to those who come unto Him

 

If the church is the kingdom of God on the Earth as we claim it is more then just an institution.

Also, I would point out that making them feel they are worthy of God’s love is generally a deception. We are not worthy of God’s love. He loves us anyways.

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4 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

just do not want to see a church where being a (half in, half out) camp follower is an acceptable permanent post in the kingdom. 

There is also the difficulty that can arise for those whose nontraditional approach areas become for them a test of spirituality (just as with many traditionalists, they believe they are right so it makes sense that the more spiritually advanced individuals will be inspired to believe as they do).

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

It's not an infinite regress to ask everyone to consider the Bible -- the Five Books of Moses -- which tell one version (a redacted version) of the Creation and Garden of Eden.  Where does the Bible place those events, and where did that Bible come from?  The Book of Abraham does not even include the rivers -- doesn't localize the place.  How is it possible to have more than one version of these things in the LDS Canon?  Need I point out the plethora of contradictions contained in each version?

I was speaking of the Book of Moses. Do you accept it?

Moses 2:1 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I areveal unto you concerning this bheaven, and this cearth; dwrite the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the eAlmighty God; by mine fOnly Begotten I gcreated these things; yea, in the beginning I hcreated the iheaven, and the earth upon which thou standest.

3:10 And I, the Lord God, caused a river to go out of aEden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four bheads....

14 And the name of the third river was Hiddekel; that which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river was the Euphrates.

4:32 (And these are the words which I spake unto my servant Moses, and they are true even as I will; and I have spoken them unto you. See thou show them unto no man, until I command you, except to them that believe. Amen.)

 

I take that as the words are restored in complete form as originally given to Moses, although I believe the word for Assyria may have originally been different, and was redacted by the scribes of David. Nevertheless, the Lord saw fit to restore the word this way. Either way there is no scholarly argument that will move Assyria into America. BY was just flat wrong. Adam ondi Ahman is named for Spring Hill because that is where Adam will return in connection with the New Jerusalem - not because that is where Eden was. The New Jerusalem will represent the paradise of the tree of life - the new Eden if you will. 

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25 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

If the church is the kingdom of God on the Earth as we claim it is more then just an institution.

Also, I would point out that making them feel they are worthy of God’s love is generally a deception. We are not worthy of God’s love. He loves us anyways.

The church may well be the most important institution on the earth but isn’t more important than Deity, although many often treat it as such.  

I’d invite anyone wanting to feel closer to God to try these two steps:

1. spend ten minutes focused on communion with Deity for every minute spent on speculating on the motives of church leaders or parsing the words of disaffected or former members of the church.

2. feel free to forgo the latter pursuit altogether  and devote all that time to additional communion when moved upon to do so

Btw, l’d suggest one of the principle reasons many don’t feel God’s love (though as you say, He does love them) is because their feelings of unworthiness impede their ability to do so.

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44 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

I was speaking of the Book of Moses. Do you accept it?

Moses 2:1 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I areveal unto you concerning this bheaven, and this cearth; dwrite the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the eAlmighty God; by mine fOnly Begotten I gcreated these things; yea, in the beginning I hcreated the iheaven, and the earth upon which thou standest.

3:10 And I, the Lord God, caused a river to go out of aEden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four bheads....

14 And the name of the third river was Hiddekel; that which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river was the Euphrates.

4:32 (And these are the words which I spake unto my servant Moses, and they are true even as I will; and I have spoken them unto you. See thou show them unto no man, until I command you, except to them that believe. Amen.)

 

I take that as the words are restored in complete form as originally given to Moses, although I believe the word for Assyria may have originally been different, and was redacted by the scribes of David. Nevertheless, the Lord saw fit to restore the word this way. Either way there is no scholarly argument that will move Assyria into America. BY was just flat wrong. Adam ondi Ahman is named for Spring Hill because that is where Adam will return in connection with the New Jerusalem - not because that is where Eden was. The New Jerusalem will represent the paradise of the tree of life - the new Eden if you will. 

I see that you have carefully ignored my pointed questions, the implications of which ought to be of some interest, but alas no.

Almost like a died-in-the-wool evangelical, you are objectifying the text you claim was given by God, who pointedly declares that he speaks to poor fallible humans according to their language and understanding.  Do you know where it says that in both D&C and BofM?  Do you get the implications?  Indeed, all of Scripture has been defined as given by God (2 Tim 3:16).  So how do we decide what the internal (intertextual) contradictions mean?  And why would you favor one Scripture over another?

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6 hours ago, churchistrue said:

Anyone read this?   https://gregkofford.com/products/bridges

I think it's fantastic. I rank it up with Mason's Planted as the best book available to understand the LDS faith crisis problem.

Here's my review of it if you want to see a bunch of quotes and get the gist of the book. 

https://www.churchistrue.com/blog/david-ostler-bridges-review/

I loved this book. If you don't know the background, David Ostler is a former mission president who was called to be a service missionary to less active single adults in his stake. He met personally with hundreds of people that had left the church due to faith crisis issues. He decided to do what we all should do facing such a daunting challenge. Shut up and listen. He listened to their stories. He did an online survey. After this exhaustive effort, he developed an empathy and understanding that is nearly unprecedented among the upper tier faithful LDS. I hope everyone peripherally involved with the LDS faith crisis issue will read his book and promote it among their sphere of influence. The key idea from the book is that those who pass through faith crisis, ie the dark night of the soul, can be retained in the church if three conditions are met.

They feel like they can trust church leaders.
They feel like they belong.
They can find meaning in the church with a non-traditional testimony.

There is one thing for sure, in my mind, it is incumbent upon those of us who are not in a faith crisis to continue to reach out to those who are and who have become less or inactive, at least as much as they will let us. Maybe God has told some in one place that He doesn't like for people to be lukewarm. And in another place an apostle has said that without faith, it is impossible to please God. But that is God's province, since He knows our hearts and minds. Our province is to reach out, minister, and love, in my opinion.

One of the things that has stood out to me about people that have had near death experiences where they remember meeting loved ones, etc. that had passed away and other beings is the feeling of unconditional love that emanated from those they met, surrounding, engulfing them, to the point that they did not want to go back into their bodies, back to their mortal life. And I believe that maybe that was the way it was in the City of Enoch. That what got everyone on the same page was an encompassing, unconditional love. And maybe if we don't worry so much about the nuts and bolts of doctrine and work in our wards and branches to help them become a little part of the City of Enoch, that could go a long way toward helping people just want to be around the people in those branches and wards.

I am not trying to preach here. It is an idea, a feeling that has been working on me and was sort of brought out by posts like this. But I cannot look at anyone else in my ward and say, "You need to do this...." It has to start with me. So I am going to have to try to learn how to love well enough, strong enough, that people can feel it and hope it is contagious.

Glenn

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