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Tacit Notions/Expectations of Prophetic Infallibility: A Key Ingredient in Faith Crises?

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22 hours ago, rockpond said:

Fundamental #14:  The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the first presidency—follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.

I should note that I think that correct, but I don't think it means how I take you to be interpreting it. (Feel free to clarify your reading)

I take it as even if the prophet makes mistakes, he's overall listening to God and will get you as a community to the right place. If you reject the prophet you'll suffer. That doesn't mean you are to unthinkingly simply do everything he says. (If only because a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such)

Where I think the problem comes is people tending to instinctively reject anything that goes against their own biases - particularly political views. That was the focus I think in the late 60's through early 90's. The problem was just getting people to listen to the prophet. The problem wasn't people listening to him too much. (I'd add that I think that definitely the problem today as well - if anything we're as a people in a worse place than we were in the 60's.)

 

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2 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I should note that I think that correct, but I don't think it means how I take you to be interpreting it. (Feel free to clarify your reading)

I take it as even if the prophet makes mistakes, he's overall listening to God and will get you as a community to the right place. If you reject the prophet you'll suffer.

What kind of suffering are you imagining?  Suffering in the world to come, as they say?  Or suffering in the here and now?  that is if you don't keep a year's supply of food or pay your tithing you'll suffer things like starvation, or bankruptcy?  What suffering happens to those who reject the prophet?  

2 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

That doesn't mean you are to unthinkingly simply do everything he says. (If only because a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such)

Where I think the problem comes is people tending to instinctively reject anything that goes against their own biases - particularly political views. That was the focus I think in the late 60's through early 90's. The problem was just getting people to listen to the prophet. The problem wasn't people listening to him too much. (I'd add that I think that definitely the problem today as well - if anything we're as a people in a worse place than we were in the 60's.)

 

Worse as in God's view of us?  Meaning we're only worse because God is less pleased with us than he was with leaders and members in the 60s.  Curious because leaders back then opposed obviously good things like civil rights legislation, the mixing of races, and were far harsher in rhetoric and position on LGBT...were less prone to hear women, it seems, and opposed vehemently as I understand it, things like birth control.  

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12 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

What kind of suffering are you imagining?  Suffering in the world to come, as they say?  Or suffering in the here and now?  that is if you don't keep a year's supply of food or pay your tithing you'll suffer things like starvation, or bankruptcy?  What suffering happens to those who reject the prophet?  

I think primarily the next life although in part here. Although being righteous and following the prophet are of no guarantee of avoiding suffering. Afterall look at the Saints in Nauvoo after the Prophet died. They suffered a lot for the next decade or so. However by the same measure I think that typically there are natural consequences to many sins. I think of friends of mine who weren't keeping the Word of Wisdom or Law of Chastity. Many of them suffered because of those choices the natural consequences. But of course some left and seemed to not have a lot of temporal consequences. So I think we have to be careful about how we think of suffering. Overall though I think doing the right thing is its own blessing.

15 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Worse as in God's view of us?  Meaning we're only worse because God is less pleased with us than he was with leaders and members in the 60s.  Curious because leaders back then opposed obviously good things like civil rights legislation, the mixing of races, and were far harsher in rhetoric and position on LGBT...were less prone to hear women, it seems, and opposed vehemently as I understand it, things like birth control.  

I think more the issue of connecting with God. We put our politics above that relationship. I know not everyone will agree with that. To the 60's, the reality is that the typical voter has a tiny insignificant influence on such issues. (Not to be a downer) Even some people who might have believed things that were wrong in that regard were quite different in their behaviors to people they met. What's worse, a person who believed because of tradition that blacks shouldn't have the priesthood and marry white people but treated with charity all the blacks they met, or someone who believed they should have the priesthood and have intermarriage but wasn't charitable in their day to day dealings and lost their covenants? It's that sort of distinction I'm getting at.

I think a big problem in contemporary culture - especially because of social media - is that having the right stated views and signaling those views is seen as more important than charity when no one is watching or ones spiritual connection to the Holy Ghost. 

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17 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I should note that I think that correct, but I don't think it means how I take you to be interpreting it. (Feel free to clarify your reading)

I take it as even if the prophet makes mistakes, he's overall listening to God and will get you as a community to the right place. If you reject the prophet you'll suffer. That doesn't mean you are to unthinkingly simply do everything he says. (If only because a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such)

I like your interpretation but in context of the previous thirteen fundamentals there is a message that he can speak on anything at anytime and he is speaking for God.  So to end the talk by saying: reject him and suffer sends a strong message that doesn't leave much room for questioning him.  Recall that the OP question centers on members having an unrealistic expectation of the Brethren, I think the 14 Fundamentals demonstrates how some might have arrived there.

 

17 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Where I think the problem comes is people tending to instinctively reject anything that goes against their own biases - particularly political views. That was the focus I think in the late 60's through early 90's. The problem was just getting people to listen to the prophet. The problem wasn't people listening to him too much. (I'd add that I think that definitely the problem today as well - if anything we're as a people in a worse place than we were in the 60's.)

Yes, it's tough to work through our own biases.  We can see that in ourselves and our leaders.

But I tend to disagree with you on people today not listening to the prophet today.  People seem to be listening to and discussing everything he says more than ever.  President Nelson has commanded a lot of attention, and deservedly so.  (Related side note:  Pres. Nelson is about to embark on a 5 country South American ministering tour... 5 countries in about one week... right before his 95th birthday!)

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2 hours ago, rockpond said:

Just this past Saturday we had a GA (Elder Kevin Hathaway) at a meeting presided over by President Oaks tell parents that "We don't say, for example, that a person is gay.  We say that a person struggles with same gender attraction."

Given this ongoing instruction from our leaders we, as members of the church, should not be surprised in the least when our gay and lesbian young adults enter into opposite sex marriages.  It's a natural outcome of our teachings.

Sad that the Church wants to decide for themselves what others want to be called.  It just makes the divide between the two groups even wider.  And what is gained other than some word game.  It doesn't change their orientation.  It just causes resentment.  I guess it goes along with the other policies the Church institutes against gays.  I always wonder, what next.

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15 minutes ago, california boy said:

Sad that the Church wants to decide for themselves what others want to be called.  It just makes the divide between the two groups even wider.  And what is gained other than some word game.  It doesn't change their orientation.  It just causes resentment.  I guess it goes along with the other policies the Church institutes against gays.  I always wonder, what next.

I don't say that a person is a Latter-day Saint. I say that a person struggles with attraction to Mormonism.

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1 minute ago, Analytics said:

I don't say that a person is a Latter-day Saint. I say that a person struggles with attraction to Mormonism.

I love it.  I wonder how everyone on this board would feel if we changed the way we address members every time and used that phrase?  Surely there would be no offense.

 

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56 minutes ago, Analytics said:

I don't say that a person is a Latter-day Saint. I say that a person struggles with attraction to Mormonism.

51 minutes ago, california boy said:

I love it.  I wonder how everyone on this board would feel if we changed the way we address members every time and used that phrase?  Surely there would be no offense.

I think the label describes you two perfectly! 

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13 minutes ago, CV75 said:

 

I think the label describes you two perfectly! 

LOL

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, rockpond said:

Recall that the OP question centers on members having an unrealistic expectation of the Brethren, I think the 14 Fundamentals demonstrates how some might have arrived there.

Yup. There's an essential tension. You have the people who don't want to listen to the prophet and the leadership clearly sees that as the bigger problem. But as you emphasize things to persuade people to listen then you have people who were already apt to listen to listen too much. You're always going to have people who don't handle nuance well left out. So the question is what they see as the bigger problem.

The question for the present is how to deal with people stuck in black and white thinking but help them understand the importance of listening to the prophets. That's a bit tricky to do in practice - particularly when you have the majority of the church not even doing their scripture study let alone be open to a complex nuanced message. So you not only have to do it, but communicate it in a short and clear enough form that they won't misinterpret it. (Because the reality is most people misinterpret things)

I think it can happen, but I think we'll lose members along the way who demand simplicity. However ideally we'll come out on the other end with better members who are able to deal with nuance, fallibilty yet trust the prophet like I suspect many here do.

2 hours ago, rockpond said:

But I tend to disagree with you on people today not listening to the prophet today.  People seem to be listening to and discussing everything he says more than ever.  President Nelson has commanded a lot of attention, and deservedly so.  (Related side note:  Pres. Nelson is about to embark on a 5 country South American ministering tour... 5 countries in about one week... right before his 95th birthday!)

I don't think discussing means listening. But listening is probably too ambiguous a word and not a good word choice. So it's good for you to call it out. By listening I meant accepting and acting on not merely hearing and discussing. So, to give an example, Lehi and Jeremiah were listened to but not followed. Indeed the King clearly paid a fair bit of attention to Jeremiah and put him in prison because he was worried about what he was saying.

Of course the obvious criticism is that I'm presupposing that most things Nelson says are correct while someone might disagree and think most things he and Oaks says are wrong.

Edited by clarkgoble
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5 hours ago, california boy said:

Whatever.  For a Church that strongly wants to be called a certain way, that is obviously not a two way street of respect.

 

And yet I did.

Are you telling me that they actually used the word "straight?"

5 hours ago, california boy said:

Yeah well, I had a very similar thought process when I followed that counsel along with thousands of other gay men.  I gave them a presumption of good faith.  I gave them the benefit of a doubt.  We are still seeing the fallout of such thinking.  In other words, I think your thinking on this issue can lead to so much sadness, heartache, and unhappiness that I would never, ever, again make the assumptions you now still make.

When the actual testing of your theory goes into the reality of decisions made giving the assumptions you advocate, what follows is so tragic, your assumptions need to be rethought.  I stand as a witness against everything you are advocating.  If this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then it is severely flawed.

And I stand as a counter witness. My life has forever been blessed by following much the same counsel.  What do we do about that?

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5 hours ago, rockpond said:

Just this past Saturday we had a GA (Elder Kevin Hathaway) at a meeting presided over by President Oaks tell parents that "We don't say, for example, that a person is gay.  We say that a person struggles with same gender attraction."

Given this ongoing instruction from our leaders we, as members of the church, should not be surprised in the least when our gay and lesbian young adults enter into opposite sex marriages.  It's a natural outcome of our teachings.

Were you in attendance? Or are you relying on a news article that omitted all context?

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9 minutes ago, kllindley said:

Were you in attendance? Or are you relying on a news article that omitted all context?

News article.  If you are able to provide context, please do. 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, kllindley said:

Are you telling me that they actually used the word "straight?"

And I stand as a counter witness. My life has forever been blessed by following much the same counsel.  What do we do about that?

I would say what the Church now says "Marriage is not therapy."

Too bad they didn't start with hat advice before pushing thousands of gay men into marriages they never should have entered into.

Edited by california boy
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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

I think primarily the next life although in part here. Although being righteous and following the prophet are of no guarantee of avoiding suffering. Afterall look at the Saints in Nauvoo after the Prophet died. They suffered a lot for the next decade or so. However by the same measure I think that typically there are natural consequences to many sins. I think of friends of mine who weren't keeping the Word of Wisdom or Law of Chastity. Many of them suffered because of those choices the natural consequences. But of course some left and seemed to not have a lot of temporal consequences. So I think we have to be careful about how we think of suffering. Overall though I think doing the right thing is its own blessing.

Well that feels rather incomplete.  No doubt at the same time some of your friends suffered because of choices for not keeking the word of Wisdom or Law of Chastity, many LDS people who kept the law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom suffered greater than your friends.  If the suffering is expected more in the next life, I wonder how much of that comes down to one's hope that suffering happens to those who don't do well, in terms following the commandments Mormonism prizes.  Since none of us really know what happens in the next life, we're all just guessing, I wonder why anyone imagines others who don't do as well in following the commandments Mormonism prizes as suffering in the eternities.  

Quote

I think more the issue of connecting with God. We put our politics above that relationship. I know not everyone will agree with that. To the 60's, the reality is that the typical voter has a tiny insignificant influence on such issues. (Not to be a downer) Even some people who might have believed things that were wrong in that regard were quite different in their behaviors to people they met. What's worse, a person who believed because of tradition that blacks shouldn't have the priesthood and marry white people but treated with charity all the blacks they met,

That's not charity.  That's the opposite of it, in fact.  

Quote

or someone who believed they should have the priesthood and have intermarriage but wasn't charitable in their day to day dealings and lost their covenants? It's that sort of distinction I'm getting at.

Treating others as people is far more charitable then finding excuse not to treat them like people, like brothers and sisters.  Your proposed hypothetical doesn't make sense, at all.  You can't say "I'm extremely nice to all Jewish people I meet, but I think they are evil scum-sucking losers, each and every one of them."  That's not charity.  

Quote

I think a big problem in contemporary culture - especially because of social media - is that having the right stated views and signaling those views is seen as more important than charity when no one is watching or ones spiritual connection to the Holy Ghost. 

Well whatever.  I'm surprised by your views here, completely.  

Edited by stemelbow

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8 hours ago, california boy said:

I would say what the Church now says "Marriage is not therapy."

Too bad they didn't start with hat advice before pushing thousands of gay men into marriages they never should have entered into.

There was certainly nothing prophetic about the way this has historically gone down.  There is no more obvious statement to make about it.  

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This thread is supposed to be about faith crisis and the alleged infallibility of the prophets.  Like most threads that inquire about controversial issues it has somehow evolved into the gay  issue with people blaming the church.

I can't imagine the Bishop with a shotgun forcing people to get married. There was a time marriage was strongly encouraged. Bishops advised it, Mission Presidents, etc.. However, there never was a time that the actual choice to marry has been taken out of our hands. If we feel we are pushed or even forced into a marriage we should have not entered into then who is really at blame? Is it not ourselves? Furthermore, marriage in the cultural of the western world, even between hetrosexual couples is at a 50% risk of divorce, thus it cannot all be the church fault (if at all). I am reminded of countries were arranged marriages are the norm, were the divorce rate is about 2%. It seems that if we are in a marriage pushed upon us it is our own fault not the church if it ends in divorce.

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9 minutes ago, Anijen said:

This thread is supposed to be about faith crisis and the alleged infallibility of the prophets.  Like most threads that inquire about controversial issues it has somehow evolved into the gay  issue with people blaming the church.

I think this issue speaks to the topic of the thread.  I've mentioned before on previous threads that my faith crisis (better called a faith transition though at the time it felt like a crisis) began when I was serving as YM president and had a couple gay young men in the priests quorum. in an effort to figure out how to best teach and guide those young men, I did a deep dive into everything that was taught about homosexuality by our prophets and apostles.  I won't delve into all the issues and questions that raised for me, rather I'll say this...

If we're going to claim that these men are prophets, seers, and revelators and sustain them as such, than it I don't find it unreasonable to hold them to the standard of teaching God's will on important matters.  Not 100% of the time.  And, not with complete perfection.  But something that at least leads us in that direction.  To the extent that faithful members may come to a personal, spiritual realization that this hasn't happened, that can be a trigger for a faith crisis.

 

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2 minutes ago, rockpond said:

If we're going to claim that these men are prophets, seers, and revelators and sustain them as such, than it I don't find it unreasonable to hold them to the standard of teaching God's will on important matters.  Not 100% of the time.  And, not with complete perfection. 

I can see your point and am happy to see you do not expect perfection from the Prophets 100% of the time. 

 

Quote

But something that at least leads us in that direction.  To the extent that faithful members may come to a personal, spiritual realization that this hasn't happened, that can be a trigger for a faith crisis.

I believe they have lead us, in spite of their imperfections. I also think that the so called imperfections people see are so minor, a tempest in a teapot. It makes me feel better that are leaders are not perfect, sometimes make mistakes, because Heavenly Father still places his trust in them, it gives me hope not bitterness (not saying you're bitter).

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Posted (edited)

double post

Edited by california boy

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16 minutes ago, Anijen said:

I can see your point and am happy to see you do not expect perfection from the Prophets 100% of the time. 

 

I believe they have lead us, in spite of their imperfections. I also think that the so called imperfections people see are so minor, a tempest in a teapot. It makes me feel better that are leaders are not perfect, sometimes make mistakes, because Heavenly Father still places his trust in them, it gives me hope not bitterness (not saying you're bitter).

So minor? A tempest in a teapot?  You haven't had to live thorough one of their blunders.

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On 8/21/2019 at 5:15 PM, JulieM said:

So, was Brigham Young acting and speaking as a Prophet when he taught his Adam God Doctrine?

Anyone who knows what a prophet is and whether or not Brigham was inspired by the power of the Holy Ghost can answer that question correctly, and the correct answer is yes.

On 8/21/2019 at 5:15 PM, JulieM said:

Or was Spencer W. kimball speaking as a Prophet when he called it false doctrine?

Spencer didn't call what Brigham said false doctrine.  Spencer was referring to misrepresentations of what Brigham said by people who didn't correctly understand what Brigham meant when he said what he said.

At any rate, the main point I was trying to make is that anyone who knows what a prophet of God is.. any man who speaks the mind and will of God... and is also able to tell through the power of the Holy Ghost WHEN a man is speaking as a prophet of God should have no problem at all discerning when a man is speaking as a prophet of God.  And until such time as you know it, yourself, you are on better grounds to simply question whether or not someone was than to say that man was speaking as a prophet when you don't know for yourself whether he was or not!

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8 minutes ago, california boy said:

double post

@california boy I got the email for this post and it wasn't a double post.  You had several paragraphs responding to Anijen and sharing an experience with your sister and her marriage.  It was a good response.  If you don't have what you wrote, I have it in my email and will copy and paste it back to this thread if you'd like.  Just let me know.

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47 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

If the suffering is expected more in the next life, I wonder how much of that comes down to one's hope that suffering happens to those who don't do well, in terms following the commandments Mormonism prizes.  Since none of us really know what happens in the next life, we're all just guessing, I wonder why anyone imagines others who don't do as well in following the commandments Mormonism prizes as suffering in the eternities.  

I'm not quite sure what you mean in your first sentence. Who on earth hopes others suffer? I suppose there's a kind of retributative instinct where people hope people who harm them suffer - particularly victims of violence. But that's hardly a Christlike attitude and seems precisely what he called upon us to elevate ourselves from. Ideally we should be hoping that even people like Hitler repent and turn to Christ. However for sins which aren't as directly harmful for others I honestly have never met someone who hopes they suffer. Far from it. Suffering is usually brought up as a warning to keep people from sinning because they don't want them to suffer. One can debate whether people really will suffer, but I can't see ascribing it as a hope to believers.

While we don't know the details of the next life, we have been given some general ideas in the scriptures. Eventually everyone has to follow Christ. This seems pretty standard doctrine. "I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I." (D&C 19:16-17)

Typically the suffering most describe as the immediate consequence of sin is the breaking of ones relationship with God and losing the companionship of the spirit. While that's a relative suffering I suppose, it is still real. Does it result in immediate obvious mental anguish? No. But I'm not sure that's the issue at hand.

53 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Treating others as people is far more charitable then finding excuse not to treat them like people, like brothers and sisters.  Your proposed hypothetical doesn't make sense, at all.  You can't say "I'm extremely nice to all Jewish people I meet, but I think they are evil scum-sucking losers, each and every one of them."  That's not charity.  

That's not what I'm saying though and not, I think, what most Mormons in the early 70's thought. So you're tilting against a scarecrow. So your presentation is the exact opposite of what I'm saying. I'm saying people might not think through the largely political vote issues yet in day to day dealings act charitably. Now you can say to not pay attention to politics is uncharitable, despite the fact one has no influence there. That seems a different debate though.

56 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Well whatever.  I'm surprised by your views here, completely.  

Honestly my impression is you're projecting my views rather than understanding my views here.

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On 8/21/2019 at 6:08 PM, rockpond said:

When is he acting as a prophet?  When he is standing behind a pulpit speaking, when he is representing the church, when he is publishing church policy, etc.  

Wrong answer but I'll give you credit for giving your own personal opinion anyway.

 

On 8/21/2019 at 6:08 PM, rockpond said:

Most members never hear from the man who sometimes acts as prophet (a description I find unsupported by church teachings, but I’ll go with it for this goofy discussion).  So, what we’re talking about is, specifically, the times when he acts as a prophet.  And at those times you are arguing that he is infallible.  Now... do you understand why some members might come to see the prophet as infallible?  I mean here you are arguing that whenever he is acting as prophet (which is all the time that we see him) he is infallible. 

Any man who shares the mind and will of God, when he is actually doing that, is infallible when he is speaking for God because it is as if God is speaking himself, which he is through that man he has inspired.

This isn't rocket science.  The question of WHAT a prophet of God is should be one you should be able to answer correctly, and the correct answer to WHEN a man is speaking as a prophet is simply when he actually is.

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