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Posts posted by rongo

  1. 1 hour ago, carbon dioxide said:

    When it comes to polygamy, I would start with the baseline of polygamy in the scriptures, particularly the Bible.  If people view polygamy as always wrong, something that God simply allowed and not commanded, they will see any issue regarding polygamy in LDS history or elsewhere in a negative light.   They will never approach the issue with an open mind that perhaps this issue or circumstance was fine.   Any issue regarding it will be graded on degrees of how wrong it is.  If people can see that there are times when it is appropriate, good, or acceptable, it is easier to move on to specifics in regards to the list you have. 

    This goes along with my #1: Polygamy, period. This is really hard for many people. 

    They're not ordered in any significant order --- just the order I thought of them (and added on addenda from this thread). 

  2. 4 hours ago, Fether said:

    These topics are too vast and require far more than a single class of you are really going to help someone who is struggling.

    I would focus on, instead, sharing resources and places they can go and how the ultimate authority is God and to go to him with your concerns

    some sources:

    Book of Mormon Central on YT

    Doctrine and Covenants Central on YT

    FAIR Latter-day Saint ON YT

    The Latter-day Saint topical articles


    Honestly, there are so many resources out there, I don’t know how people still have a hard time with this for long periods of time.

    This message board has, what, maybe 30 people who are active posters? The reality is that the vast majority of members aren't dialed into the online chatter of the last 20 years, and online discussions are a poor bellweather of the "facts on the ground" in our wards and stakes. By preference, I prefer good old fashioned live, local discussion --- because there is a personal, local connection --- to the multiplicity of podcasts, daunting online resources, etc. Especially as a starting point.  

    It is anticipated to be a beginning point for them, not drinking out of the fire hose. Key for many is going to be realizing that it's okay to talk about these things with each other, and that a lot has already been discussed. 

    Totally agree about going directly to God with concerns. 

  3. 4 hours ago, webbles said:

    Another one: the requirement to be polygamous to make it to the Celestial Kingdom as well as a requirement for a certain number of wives.

    And to go along with Tacenda, some of them might have family who were polygamous during the "Mormon Reformation" where young women were induced into marriages with much older men.  I have one ancestor who has a sister that was married at a young age (14) to a much older man (61) because of what happened during the Mormon Reformation.  She left an auto-biography and she wasn't happy with that marriage or that her parents allowed her to get married.

    Added to the OP as #10. 

    It wasn't just during the Reformation era. I have an ancestor, John W. Hess, whom I have shared with many people in many different wards. It's fun to compare notes on which wife we are from (he was wealthy). One of my YW presidents was from the teenage trophy wife, while the others were old and closer to his age (he used to take her out to show her off, and leave the old wives home). We used to tease each other light-heartedly about which wife was better to stem from. :) 

    It is amazing, even in 2022, to ask people by a show of hands how many have polygamy in their ancestry. The new RS president and YW president are both converts (10 years for the RS president; a little over a year for the YW president. She just went through the temple, and loved it). I've found in the past that even new converts have polygamous ancestry (or Mormon ancestry). 

  4. 4 hours ago, Duncan said:

    I would differentiate between getting married in the temple to someone vs. getting sealed to someone, which I think is different aka this whole adoption practice that the church had in the mid to late 1800's. So, you could get sealed to a woman or man in the temple and you are living with them, kids and providing and all that vs. getting sealed to someone is a name only type deal or adopted to someone. Your husband isn't active or dead but getting sealed to someone else who is but that other person isn't having children with you or really providing for you per se

    This is a good point, and is part of the polyandry explanation. 

  5. 4 hours ago, webbles said:

    A few other possible concerns:

    * incorrect explanations for the reason of polygamy (lots of widows, too many women converts vs men)

    * other polyandry after Joseph Smith (I think this is more esoteric so it might not be brought up)

    * sending husbands on missions to steal wives (Brigham Young and Zina Huntington, Joseph Smith and Marinda Hyde)

    #1 above added as #9 in the OP. The other two I would put as under polyandry proper (polyandry will take some explanation, and not a drive-by). 

  6. We moved into a new ward in April, in an area where we don't have connections. I was asked by the new Relief Society president (called two weeks ago) to address the Relief Society sisters about polygamy, because of concerns that have been expressed that are keeping some sisters away from church or tempting them to formally leave the church. 

    What specific concerns with polygamy am I missing in preparing for this? I have . . .

    1. Polygamy, period (concern about it being of God, ever, under any circumstances)

    2. Caving to political pressure in ending it (concern that the Church followed man and not God)

    3. Lying to hide and cover up polygamy (discomfort with lying under any circumstances)

    4. Need for the Second Manifesto (1890 didn’t end it outright).

    5. Polyandry (Joseph Smith being sealed to other men's wives)

    6. Joseph Smith’s teenage wives (concerns about his sealings to women under 18)

    7. Polygamy today via sealings to additional spouses (concerns that polygamy will be part of the hereafter, as denoted by sealings to multiple spouses).

    7a) Incongruity/disparity between men and women additional sealings. 

    8. Modern-day offshoots = 19th Century Mormon polygamy (concerns that polygamy among modern-day offshoots illustrates how it functioned from the 1840s to the early 20th century). 

    9. Bad and demonstrably incorrect folk explanations (e.g., more women than men, etc.). 

    10. Required for exaltation? Doctrinal shift on this?

    11. Lost boys effect (young men squeezed out of the marriage market via marriages to older men).

    12. Joseph Smith had nothing at all to do with polygamy. It was all Brigham Young's fault!

    13. Fanny Alger


    Thanks in advance for any subtopics under this heading that I'm overlooking!


  7. 11 minutes ago, bluebell said:

    I think that we used to think that we knew them by way of authorized explanation--which is vastly different than actually knowing them--and that over the last few decades we have come to understand that some of what we thought we knew, we didn't actually know.

    BRM "knew" that the Catholic church was the church of the devil and taught it authoritatively, for example.  And many believed that they knew it as well because of an apostle of Christ's teachings (and no doubt some still believe his 'old explanations are true' as you lamented above). 

    But BRM didn't actually know who those verses in Nephi were speaking of.  He just strongly believed he did and taught members his opinion on the subject.  His authority didn't stop him from being wrong though. 

    An authorized explanation doesn't automatically equal a correct one.  

    True, but it also doesn't automatically equal an incorrect one, either. Whether or not something is true depends on whether it is true or not, not the iterations of teaching and disavowal or neglect. 

    Maybe we only thought we knew then, and don't know now. Maybe we really did know then, and are wrongly neglecting, deemphasizing, and disavowing now --- but it would sure be nice to have someone with keys actually talk about it. We just have deemphasis and radio silence. 

    I really wish that when doctrine is changed or "nuanced," explanations were given explaining the thought process and addressing the obvious concerns over that course of action. 

  8. 4 minutes ago, bluebell said:

    We don't know any of those doctrines by way of authorized explanation either, and that was my point.  It's all speculative explanation, and my beliefs on these 'fringe' topics are not less speculation than yours.

    The problem for a lot of people is that we used to know these things by way of authorized explanation, and there is a sense that the default explanation for everything in this era of "we don't know" doesn't actually represent doctrinal "progress." Many feel like the old explanations were true and correct, and they see the overtly PR approaches as being overtly PR approaches only. 

    Attempts by the Brethren to actually explain some of these things would be a great thing. I think some are afraid that there is fear to ask or to attempt to explain these things. We have radio silence on whether they are even enquired about.

  9. 6 hours ago, CA Steve said:

    Not trying to be condescending here but I think the older one is the more those quotes meant/mean something. I grew up in the church which I believed taught God was once a man and we could become Gods. I know my parents (both long dead) believed that. Now we aren't really sure who God is or even talk about Him ontologically and we are not even sure if we can become gods in any sense. It does not seem like we have expanded our doctrine, more like we are hedging it at every turn. We used to know a lot more about apotheosis, race, polygamy, our 1st estate, Biblical history, and so on, than we do now. For Mormonism, the future, the past and even the present is much less clear than it once was.


    6 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

    Thanks for your input Bluebell. I distinctly remember this interview when it aired. It caused a bit of buzz amongst the community, the the Prophet hat a platform to reach a large portion of the country. This specific statement that you quote above definitely stood out in my mind. I was distinctly taught that we are on this earth to get a body, get married, raise a family to prepare us to create our own worlds. It was the same process that God the Father experienced. It was a bit shocking that President Hinkley responded the way he did, in my opinion, and in the opinion of some of the people around me. My Bishop addressed it to a group of us and said he believed it was too deep of doctrine for the audience at that time.

    I know the above is MY experience and it does not reflect official doctrine. 

    But I do not recognize the current version of the Church, it is not the same church I grew up with, and this is my struggle to make sense of it all.  

    Both of these are but two examples (the young missionary from around 2010 I referred to earlier is actually too young to have grown up with the "old" teachings, but even he felt the disconnect of "the shift" on this). Apologetic spin comes across as "Baghdad Bob," and isn't effective when what people feel in their heart and memory runs counter to the "Today, we disavow . . ." approach to past teaching that is being deemphasized or recast. People's concerns are much more in the emotional arena, rather than the intellectual, and "FAIR-esque" explanations don't do well when sailing into those headwinds. 

  10. 7 hours ago, bluebell said:

    . . . as more doctrine is revealed, that understanding tweaks into something closer to the truth than it started out as.

    What "more doctrine [has been] revealed" that has added more clarification and explanation to the Snow couplet? The opposite has happened --- and all unspoken. It has been quietly deemphasized, except to say that we don't really know anything about it. But without any "more doctrine" or authoritative explanations.

    7 hours ago, bluebell said:

    Second, in the past many leaders would take a teaching or a doctrine and extrapolate additional teachings from that.  Though the extrapolations usually made sense from certain points of view, they weren't always actually true (hence the disavowal of all the reasons taught for the priesthood ban, for example).  So in those instances we often keep the original doctrine but jettison the "doctrines" that were extrapolations of it.  Sometimes this is true for explanations that might be true but for which we began to realize we didn't really know either way (I think that the first part of the Lorenzo couplet fits nicely in this area).

    This is also speculative explanation on the part of laymen, in the absence of any explanation from those who are authorized. We don't know any of what you wrote above by way of authorized explanation. 

  11. On 7/3/2022 at 8:03 AM, bluebell said:

    I'm not sure I understand the point you are trying to make.  Why do we have to prove it is true? 

    As Scott said, all we have to do is provide an atmosphere where people can receive a personal testimony from the spirit.  We don't have to prove anything ourselves.  I agree with your statement to Scott, I don't believe that you have to prove it's false either.  

    Which is good for both of us because neither option is even possible.

    While it's impossible to prove anything with absolute certainty, it is possible to prove things to people's satisfaction, and that should be the goal of apologetics and testimony (even when it falls short). There are several quotes I've used in some firesides and Q&A sessions.

    Austin Farrer (friend of C.S. Lewis): "Though argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which faith may flourish."

    B.H. Roberts: "Those who accept [the Church and Restoration] for what it claims to be may not so state their case that its security rests chiefly on the ability of its opponents to prove a negative. The affirmative side of the question belongs to us . . . The burden of proof rests on us in every discussion." 

    "What will the effect be upon our youth of such a confession of inability to give a more reasonable answer to the questions submitted, and the awaiting of proof for final vindication? Will not the hoped for proof deferred indeed make the heart sick? … Again I ask, is silence our best answer? And again the question comes, can we remain silent in our age of free inquiry?"

    "If we cannot, what is to be the effect of it all upon the minds of our youth? What is to be our general standing before the enlightened opinion of mankind? Is silence to be our answer? Again will occur to thoughtful minds the difficulties attendant upon silence. In the last analysis of things silence would be acknowledgement of defeat."


    Too often, believers retreat into this arena of relying on critics to prove a negative, or insisting that we don't have to prove anything. We don't have to do anything, of course, but if we want to inspire confidence and faith in people (especially silent observers or heart-sick believers who are wavering), we will put forth a good showing when dealing with the "strong reasons" of critics "in public and in private" (D&C 71:7-8). Too often, in my observation, believers beg off in this, insisting that critics have the duty to prove, and this "makes the heart sick" of many. It makes it look like we don't have answers.

  12. 6 hours ago, CA Steve said:

    I hope your wife is doing well.


    3 hours ago, pogi said:

    Sorry to hear about your wife.


    3 hours ago, Calm said:

    Sorry to hear about your wife. Hope she is on the mend. 

    Thank you, all. She is doing much better. She's been hospitalized five times in the last fifteen years with complications from a clotting/bleeding disorder. Usually, we have some notice (bleeding, cognitive problems, weakness, etc.) over days or weeks, but this came out of nowhere and she was critical in a couple of hours. She's hard for the hospital staff, because she violates a lot of benchmarks and protocols. Her INR is usually only 1.9, despite being on 10 mg of warfarin (without the warfarin, she clots in her organs, and she had an ileoectomy and colectomy 15 years ago from that). But, her INR can spike to above 7 on short notice (dangerously thin blood). She's always been a medical marvel, and this time, her blood pressure at the ER fell to 50/40, but with hemoglobin level of 9 and O2 saturation of 100% the ten hours she was in the ER. This is while she continued to lose **vast** amounts of blood in front of them in real time. The ER doctor said that usually when people's blood pressure is so low, their heart races furiously as it tries to keep blood circulating, but her heart rate and pulse were very normal the whole time. Her "normal" hemoglobin led to fights over protocol, because that is too high for transfusions, but she obviously needed blood (three units). 

    We both are grateful and appreciate every minute, because by rights she should not be here. It's not her time to die, and God has preserved her life and given her a good quality of life. She is **much** better now than she was last week. 

  13. My wife was in the hospital for five days last week (massive intestinal bleeding). Of many miracles we experienced was that she got right into an ICU bed for a couple of days. The ER doctor told us that we must be living right, because it's taking around a week for an ICU opening to open up. I asked about Covid, and he said there are almost no hospitalizations from that. ERs, ICU, and hospitals are at capacity with non-Covid issues, by and large, he said. 

    I think there is a big difference between positive tests / cases and hospitalizations and deaths. 

  14. 13 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

    I agree but I suspect removing protections for voluntary abortions will likely result in more deaths overall.

    As in, more deaths than the abortions alone? 60 million + since Roe? 

    14 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

    I am not motivated by a desire to bring government policy into conformity with gospel law. That isn’t the government’s job.

    Generally, I agree. I think this meddling with the fountain of life, agency, and "my turn on earth" simply puts this beyond libertarian laissez faire

    And, I agree that as much as possible needs to be done to help mothers, families, and children if abortion is prohibited as elective birth control. 

  15. 6 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

    Would Abraham have been morally justified at looking at the whole ‘sacrifice your son’ thing and going, “Nah, rather not.”?

    Not in hindsight, from our perspective, because we know God commanded him to do it. 

    This, to me, is the most difficult dilemma in scripture or history. You'd better be darn sure it's really God commanding you, and not your own thoughts, insanity, etc. Everyone today (including us) would condemn anyone claiming this as crazy (cf. Vallow, Lori and Daybell, Chad). And, this young man you're commanded to kill is the only possible fulfillment of the promises ---  and, he was a miracle baby in the couple's 80s. I think it would have to be a real trial, akin to Satan's temptations of Christ in the wilderness --- and it makes our own struggles to discern revelation from our own thoughts seem really small in comparison. 

    But, if Abraham had refused, he would have willfully chosen not to do this type and shadow of what the Father went through in allowing the atonement. 

    No, he would not have been morally justified. 

    A woman who truly receives revelation that her abortion is justified is likewise justified in it, but there are strict policy restrictions on this. She'd also better be darn sure it's not self-deception, wishful thinking, etc. I think that's where you are going with this, right? 

  16. All of this discussion about abortion over the last few weeks has led me to think introspectively about the argument that has been made that abortion may be "better" and more merciful, happy, etc. for a baby than adoption, life with challenges, or an outright horrible life. I really think even a life of slavery, adversity, etc. would be preferable to preemptive abortion, and I believe that the child's spirit would forcefully agree. Even unspeakably bad lives have potential and bright spots, and I don't believe that we (even the mothers) have the right to interfere with the fountain of life and deny these children "my turn on earth." I know that some speculate that aborted babies will get other chances, but this is speculative (we don't know that this is true, and the forcefulness with which abortion has been condemned tends to indicate the opposite, doesn't it?), and I think this interfering with the plan, the fountain of life, and the agency (as in, full deprivation of the opportunity to experience life and exercise agency) is why abortion has been and still is condemned by the Church (reasonable and rare exceptions noted in policy). 

  17. 4 hours ago, CA Steve said:

    Would Hitler's mom have been justified in aborting him?


    a) no mother knows in advance that her child will turn out evil.

    b) even Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. deserve to have a chance to use their agency, and not be preemptively aborted.

    c) most people asking this question reject the reality and possibility of prophecy. On what grounds could a mother be justified in preemptively aborting because she thinks/knows he will turn out bad. That's worse than doing it because of Down's Syndrome or Spina bifida. And most people would say she was evil, deluded,and crazy.


  18. 16 minutes ago, bluebell said:

    If you take Christ's statement that He never did anything except that He saw the Father do it first at face value, then that can be used as evidence to support the belief that God the Father also dwelt on an earth...as a Savior.

    This was his exhibit A, and it's compelling. Setting aside the usual and customary trinitarian caveats ("it's a huge mystery, we can't even begin to comprehend, etc."), for those who also accept his logic that the New Testament shows that they are actually different people (Mormons, social trinitarians, Orthodox, etc.) --- if this doesn't mean that the Father had been a Savior as well, what does it mean?


    17 minutes ago, bluebell said:

    Which is very different than saying that God was once a man as we are though.

    It is, and it isn't. It isn't if one is talking broadly about Jesus fully experiencing mortal life ("fully man"). While we aren't Saviors, in a real specific sense, He was once a man as we are. 

    While I wouldn't expect President Hinckley to get out in the weeds on this, his evasive answers in Time and on Larry King could/should have been better. I think it's obvious that he was knowingly evasive, and this has caused problems for some people. 

  19. 19 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

    I think most people question and leave because they created some dogmatic or fixed assumption or expectation on an issue and if something disrupts it, they get all bothered and experience spiritual anxiety. 

    Managing expectations and assumptions is certainly part of it, but I think for most people who have a faith crisis, it's the feeling of betrayal and deception that trumps everything after that.* Lost trust is not easily regained, and the raw emotions make weighing evidence and arguments dicey.

    *Whether or not the feelings of deception and betrayal cause the expectations/assumptions problems, or whether the expectations/assumptions problems cause the feelings of betrayal and deception, is a chicken/egg question. It's probably both/and, not either/or, but the main thing is that the emotions of feeling like the rug has been pulled out are very difficult to overcome after it happens. 

  20. 4 hours ago, webbles said:

    And how would you answer the question "Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?"  If someone asked me that, I would answer no.  Because I don't believe that the teaching of the church today is that God was once a man like we are. 

    Your repeated use of the word "today" is interesting, especially in a discussion specifically about if and how teaching and emphasis have changed between "then" and "now." Referring to "today" kind of makes the point that there has been a shift. It reminds one, for example, of the gospel topics essays ("Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past . . .")

    2 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

    There are LOTS of doctrines that aren't mentioned that have been taught previously.  Unless counter doctrine is expressed we can't say a doctrine is no longer believed.

    Therein lies the problem and the challenge with the needle-threading and fence-sitting the Church undergoes "today" in talking about controversial doctrines and practices. It is unsatisfactory and it gets old for the official communication on everything to be "we don't know," or "there is no official position on this," or a refusal to take a stand when stands were constantly taken in the past. And, it's worse than useless to "disavow" past doctrine without offering authoritative explanations in their place (counter doctrine, as you said). That is a surefire way for the "disavowals" to not take root, and for the past explanations to remain alive and well. But then when people notice the clear shift (and the "scrambling the jets" reactions exhibited here --- to try to make the past explanations still match the shift) --- that is obvious to most people. 

  21. 8 minutes ago, Teancum said:

    It is all of you dancing around this to justify President Hinkley's clear dodge. I  have been around the church long enough to know and hear the LDS leaders teach the ideas of God being a man and men becoming gods quite in depth.  So yea we used to think we knew a lot about it.

    I've never done this, Teancum. A disturbed missionary once asked me if we teach that we can become gods. Of course we do,I answered. Why did President Hinckley say what he said in the interview,he asked. I pointed out that the current priesthood manual (it was he Joseph Smith year) has the King Follett Discourse in it. He was still bothered by what seemed like obvious evasiveness. I told him that most people have never been interviewed by the press, especially on TV and radio (there was also the Larry King interview where Hinckley was evasive. Not just the Time print interview). It's hard to answer questions that take some explaining and background and context in a very limited time (it's especially hard when you have the voice in your earpiece telling you 15 seconds to break. I had also just done three radio interviews about the Church at this time,so I had had this thrilling and nerve-wracking experience). You especially don't want to get pulled out into the weeds when you don't know if you're going to have enough time to explain it.

    President Hinckley was really the beginning of the PR push to try to deemphasize "weird" Mormon beliefs. 

    Romney's dodges on "weird" Mormon beliefs in the campaign trail were worse, but I do sympathize with the situation and setting.

    I did get the missionary to understand that Hinckley that wasn't denying the doctrine,he was being cagey in interview settings. I personally would prefer less "dodging" and PR spin approaches,and more proud and confident owning of our "weird" doctrine. We can all act in our own spheres of influence. Eric Hawkins and Carrie Jenkins don't dictate me. :)

  22. 2 hours ago, CA Steve said:

    I've run into four different people IRL in the last few weeks alone who cited it as having an impact on their belief. Why the letter/document exists seems to only be important to those who are not questioning where they are at in the church. 

    Mormons who downplay the effect of the CES letter don't have any actual experience talking with people who are struggling because of it. I've mentioned before that I have often been asked to meet with CES letter people (who are willing to have people discuss it), and it is not just a rare and occasional thing. 

    Yes, it's not remarkable in and of itself, but it is a one-stop shopping, omnibus collection of claims and complaints about Church history, doctrine, and practices. 

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