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Navidad

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    I am very interested in the history of religious conflict, especially here in Mexico. I enjoy studying the history and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its offshoots. I am here as neither an investigator nor a critic, but as one who is intellectually and spiritually curious. I want to learn and perhaps add to the discussion and dialogue. OK?

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  1. Ok my friends. I won't remain on a forum that mocks me and maligns my intent, deeming me as laughingly absurd. My journey into the world of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now officially ended on both a local level and on this forum. You may all now officially label me as one who is anti-Mormon or laughingly absurd, or any way you want. The moderators are free to remove my account from the forum. Hopefully I will meet you all some day in the celestial city. Until then, best wishes to you all. Even though you don't know it, you have lost a friend.
  2. I appreciate all the comments made in response to this thread and my posts therein. I regret I don't have more time to answer each one individually and with the care it deserves. I simply don't right now. Let me make some observations, then I have to run (metaphorically speaking). The final corrections in my thesis are weighing heavily on me. 1. I think that many profound truths can exist about the same subject at the same time. Whether that subject is God, baptism, or the Philadelphia Eagles, the same holds true. 2. Therefore it seems to me that varying definitions or viewpoints about the same subject can be pleasing to Him, and yes, even equally valid in His eyes. 3. What I don't understand, perhaps because of 1 and 2, is how my LDS friends can come to the conclusion that their truths are the only true truths or the only valid truths, for example about ordinances? Especially when within the LDS community there are differing views and perspectives on the same subjects. Someone quoted D&C 132 as proof of something about ordinances. Yet, I know that D&C 132 is probably the most widely-debated and least understood sections of all of LDS scripture. Is it not? 4. I understand that my faith's understanding of the purpose and intent for baptism is not the same as that of the LDS church. I do not understand why to God- the King of the Universe, they cannot both be equally pleasing and valid at the same time? For me, the LDS baptism and LDS ordination is valid and as far as I know, pleasing to God within the LDS church. For me, my baptism and ordination were and are valid as to their meaning in my church, and equally as pleasing to God as that of the LDS version of the same. Why does it have to be one or the other? Why did Apostle Kimball write that my baptisms are blasphemy to God? Did that come from God? I really don't think so - it came from his own pen or typewriter. Why does so and so in the non-LDS Christian community say that the LDS are not Christians? Does that come from God? I really don't think so - it came from his own pen or typewriter. I don't think we are all that different. 5. I see wonderful Godly people in the LDS church. I would not question their relationship to the Spirit. Yet, they refuse me or my wife the same thing. Our lot, in the LDS mindset is to suffer the temporary attainment and then loss of the Spirit on a frequent basis. The gifts of the Spirit for us? Maybe. The Gift of the Spirit for us? Nope! But its nothing personal! Phooey! 6. You see, ours is not a doctrinal sterile disagreement. It is a lived, breathed, and painful reality. Mark suggests I shouldn't be personal. How can I help but be personal when it is personal? My wife and I went to the grocery store this morning. She stayed in the car while I went in. Why? Because of the hurt that she would experience seeing someone who she loves and who has expressed love for her, turn away from her as if in fear that the bishop might be mad if he saw them interacting. We took her famous chocolate cupcakes to the academy Halloween fund-raising festival. She wanted to go early in the afternoon so no one else would be there when we delivered them. I am trying to understand your doctrine in order to understand why what happened to us happened to us. Agreement isn't in my agenda. I don't need to agree with this or that. Good night, I was a large public school district superintendent! I learned many years ago to get past disagreements to make things work. I do enjoy trying to understand however. I gotta go. This is already too long and probably too personal. One last thing. Neither my wife or I are anti-Mormon. Neither of us refuse to understand. I just don't want to live the rest of my short number of years as an ex-non-Mormon who doesn't understand why we were rejected when it appears to me that 95% of all our ward friends enjoyed our attendance, participation, and yes ministry. There is no place for folks like us in the LDS church. Why that is true is what I am trying to understand. I pray about it and the Spirit doesn't answer my prayers. Maybe, just maybe He doesn't understand it either. Maybe I shouldn't have said that! Take care and best wishes to all.
  3. I see no limit on God's agency, including that of any member of the Godhead. I don't see God ever limited by circumstance or by a choice He has previously made. Does God have the agency to change his mind? Absolutely! I don't see any human who ever lived, other than Christ who can declare their ability, power, or authority to limit what God does, says, or act in new ways as never before. No human leader of any church has the power, authority, or right to bind God's hands (speaking metaphorically) or limit his sovereignty over all of His creation, however broad, expansive, and wonderful it may be. I can't think of any limits on God's options of choice to do as He wills, especially not by any human agent. I believe the Godhead is composed of three persons. Therefore I am unsure if they ever have differing "minds" about things. But I do believe when all is said and done, they work in one accord. Thanks.
  4. You asked a question, let me answer. No, I am not questioning or limiting God's agency in any way. I believe He can do as He wishes at any time, on any issue, in any way. This includes granting the authority to baptize, marry, confirm, or any other ordinance known to Christianity to anyone, at any time, in any place. Authority is given by the Holy Spirit to mature and Spirit-led Christians to protect the recipient from abuse by someone who might seek to misuse the ordinance in some way. Take care.
  5. Hi my friend. I have to run, but I will try and answer. My comment about the Godhead's agency was specifically about Their ability and agency to do as they will, including in the case of granting the authority to lead and perform ordinances, including baptism to whomever They will of whichever Christian group They will whenever They will. After the years of my familiarity with the LDS and direct and personal observation of them, I am still trying to process the concept that God has uniquely and exclusively given them any unique spiritual attribute, especially if that, as it seems results in the Godhead binding or limiting itself by that action. Of course, I am sifting my questions through the filter of my own experience, in which my ordination and receiving of the ministerial priesthood to perform ordinances was a deeply meaning, spiritual, and personal experience, which for some reason you all choose to deny me. I am still trying to figure out that reason other than, "that is what our church teaches" and we believe it. More important, the purpose of my thread was to better get my head around what or which revelational claims my LDS friends rely on to shape and form that kind of doctrine. This will probably upset some of my friends here, but I still don't understand the genesis of the concept, because no one has shared a specific revelation with me that in its plain readable text says "the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has this and no one else does since 1830." Even in the NT, Christ, in his earthly ministry in no way limits the granting of His authority to twelve men. So, I am trying to understand. I am not as some suggest trying not to understand. If that was my goal, I wouldn't take the time to ask as many questions as I have. I want to understand, but some of the replies sound like those of my mom when I was a kid? "Why? Because I said so!" At the same time I was raised to keep seeking and asking questions. Thanks for caring enough to give me the opportunity to clarify, even if my clarification is not adequate. Best!
  6. The topic of the thread is related to non-LDS/LDS spiritual differences and whether or not the non-LDS have the spiritual wherewithal to make covenants and perhaps other spiritual commitments. The fact that this is even a topic of debate is astounding to me. I am one of the few active non-LDS Christians, non-ex-LDS on the board. So yes, I personalize things a. to inject some humor into the conversations, and b. to reveal the joys, concerns, strengths, and foibles of the non-LDS Christian to the LDS-Christians, who like you (at times) tend to have some rather inaccurate views of and generalized beliefs about the non-LDS Christian community. I know of no better way to do that than to share my personal stories - my testimonies, spiritual experiences, foibles, questions, etc. If the moderators choose to delete the same, then so be it. That will be one less opportunity for you to "know" at least one non-LDS Christian LDS-Christian friend up close and to some degree, personally. For all I know you are a moderator. If you prefer erasing my "stories" then have at it. I will probably continue putting them on as long as you keep posting your philosophical soliloquies. 😄 You and me . . . we are two peas in a pod!
  7. Thanks my friend. If it is Nephi depicted, then approximately what years might it be depicting? 600 BC, or so? Just curious!
  8. I like this image, but I can't figure it out? Who is writing in it - from what time period? I see old looking paper with perfectly punched holes in it and old style documents (plates?) with a modern shiny steel molded binder thingy. And what is that pen? The wall looks like adobe, but the guy has a perfectly formed beard shaven with a Wilkinson-Sword blade perfection. No really, I am not OCD at all!
  9. I trust my wife completely . . . well, almost completely. . . . You see, I am typing this in my office on a sub-freezing morning in Chihuahua. I have my minisplit heater going, my special homemade tire rim wood burning stove going and have a longsleeve undershirt, a thick hoodie, and a lined vest on. I am still freezing. My wife just came in with bare feet and cotton pajamas on. She proclaimed, "It is really warm in here." Now, where is the truth? Hers or mine? For fifty-three years we have lived together with this lack of collaboration about what is warm and what is cold. She kicks the covers off; I add another down comforter. This lack of sensate cohesion has been with us our entire marriage. Who is "right?" Who is telling the "truth" about the temperature? I look at my handy desktop thermometer and it says the room is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. It also tells me the low in this room overnight was 47 degrees Fahrenheit. What does the data say about who is "correct?" I don't know. What I know is that I have been in this room for more than two hours now and I am still cold! I wonder if this lack of collaboration is her problem or mine? No I don't. It is mine! I am inevitably cold in my bones! I even own a pair of gloves with the fingers cut off so I can keyboard and keep my hands warm! Somehow I don't think this is a philosophically-enough-based observation for my friend and brother Mark! Oh well! Now . . . where are those gloves?
  10. Thanks bluebell. I appreciate your disbelief, or perhaps skepticism at my continuing to ask questions. But I think you err in your conclusion. I would like to accept them, if only I could understand them. You quote the above passage from the Joseph Smith history as evidence that God gave the keys of baptism to only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fine. I receive and honor your belief. My problem is that I see nowhere in this quote that God only gave that priesthood authority to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which in reality, didn't even exist at the time of this revelation and no where in it does it mention any exclusivity at all in giving it to these two men. I believe I am correct that the above vision took place in May 1829 (see verse 68). Is that not correct? That is almost a year before the church was even founded. I don't question the validity of the vision; I question the validity of the exclusiveness that has somewhere and at some time added to the interpretation of this vision. If God doesn't like the creeds of some churches, I have no problem with that. I know however that there are scores and probably hundreds of other non-creedal churches out there. What about them? Where in the LDS canon does God say that the Church of Jesus Christ is the only non-creedal church with which God is well pleased? It sure seems that D&C 1:30 is talking about the Church collectively - that is what it says in pretty plain English, is it not? In fact God even says He is not talking about the church individually. Is not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints an individual church? Why is an interpretation not possible that he is speaking about the collective church of Christianity which many people of differing faiths believe was for a while in darkness. My questions in the OP were not to challenge, but to keep seeking for the revelations that I still am not familiar with that indicate exclusivity in God's relationship with the specific church we know as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have indeed been on here for over six years now. I have been studying LDS beliefs since 1989. I am coming more and more to the conclusion that significant portions of LDS doctrine stem from LDS history which is so very similar to Mennonite history in that it created beliefs based on persecution and pilgrimage that then created a sense of isolation and uniqueness that found its way into the doctrine as teachings. That isn't a criticism. It is an observation from observed similarities about my faith and this forum's. Perhaps it is as someone has said in an earlier reply, the faithful member's beliefs are not due to any specific revelations, scriptures, etc., but are a matter of teachings and subsequent beliefs in those teachings and a confirmation or testimony of those teachings' truth. If that is the case, then I can stop looking and asking about something concrete, specific beyond personal belief in the truth of those teachings. I would simply state as I have done before that in my mind I haven't gotten answers other than "it is what we believe . . . so maybe it is time you stop asking questions." Someone recently said in a post in response to my questions that I have built up a measure of good-will on this forum over the years. I was pleased at that. I interpreted it as I can keep on trying to contribute while at the same time keep on asking questions for things I don't understand. I have no other motivation. There are many things I used to ask about but don't anymore. There are things that each of us as individuals and as a faith group simply faith (as a verb). Perhaps that is my answer. Simple faith . . . nothing wrong with that!
  11. Good point. I guess we will see in seven years when the church celebrates its 200th year. Do you think there will be any statements about that milestone affirming the church's validity? If we are both still here on the forum, I will remind you when someone makes that point. OK? If I can still keyboard! 😃
  12. I wholeheartedly agree that reliance on the Holy Spirit and prayer are absolute prerequisites for interpretation of scripture. That is why I am not a fan of a purely secular approach to Biblical studies, theology, or interpretation. Best wishes!
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