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Waylon

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Posts posted by Waylon

  1. 1 minute ago, Free in Christ said:

    If belief is a work, as you claim, why does the Bible tells us righteousness is counted upon those who do not work, but believe in Romans 4:5?

    If belief is not a work that we do then how am I contradicting myself?

    Let me ask you something.  Once born into your family, what thing can you do to no longer be the son of your earthly father?

    Not trying to make matters worse, for you but I must ask, why does the Bible tell us that, to God, breaking any one commandment is the same as breaking all commandments?

    "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10 

    Your tombstone should read "Wrest in Peace".

  2. 55 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

    Not really a comment on what you say here, just have a question. Do you think the main difference in the LDS and the non-LDS Christian is that the LDS don't automatically believe they are saved by Grace alone? And they lack the faith to believe that it is an automatic gift just by believing it to be so? Instead, the LDS believe it's somewhat a ladder of steps to finally receive the gift? 

    I watched something recently about this. An interview with a former LDS turned non-LDS Christian, and this is how they put it. It's centers all on the ability to believe in the free gift, no works, and that is key. 

    So IOW, LDS are in trouble for lacking this faith in the free gift vs. the ladder or works? Is this the whole gist of it all? 

    If that's the gist it makes no sense for Protestants to accept Catholics and Church of Christ yet exclude Mormons from their self proclaimed definition of Christianity.  Some do exclude all three groups, but most accept Catholics and Church of Christ. 

    The semantics are not really worth arguing, though.  I know what I believe and why I believe it.  Protestant teachings regarding salvation by faith alone, eternal security, baptism, and predestination require much wresting of the scriptures, and if there is any lingering doubts, were actually condemned by the First Century Christians (those taught by Paul, John, etc. and those taught by those taught by the apostles) as Gnostic-inspired heresy, and this fact alone would make me more than a little nervous if I held onto Protestant beliefs.  There is apparently a trend of Protestants who have read the writings of these early Church fathers leaving Protestantism for Catholicism over these issues.  I, of course, argue that these early Church fathers were not actually Catholic in their beliefs, but Mormon.  But, I would invite everyone on this site to prayerfully read the writings of the Early Church Fathers along with the Bible (particularly the writings from the first couple of centuries AD, before the apostasy began taking hold and more and more truth was lost) and make up their minds as they will.

  3. 31 minutes ago, Free in Christ said:

    How do you know the feeling in your heart is from the Holy Ghost?

    Are you implying that we should not prayerfully seek the Lord's help in understanding doctrine and truth, that we should merely rely on our own fallible wisdom to interpret scripture, or worse, follow in blind faith?

    If so, I am simply appalled.  Please clarify.

  4. Here is a question I have that I have never heard anyone outside of Mormonism answer satisfactorily.

    It goes without saying that Evangelicals, Catholics, and Muslims all believe that the majority of humanity is not going to heaven.  My understanding is that all three believe one can easily "accidentally" miss salvation by being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.  (Yes, I am aware of the concept of "invincible ignorance" in Catholicism, but frankly I have gotten to know Catholicism pretty well over the years, and I have not experienced either logic or any sort of feeling to tempt me to convert from LDS to Catholic, despite my best efforts to be open minded.  I would therefore be proof that one can miss salvation accidentally even under Catholic teachings).

    In Genesis, God clearly contemplated destroying the Earth due to wickedness in Genesis 6:6-7.  

    My question is this - if the majority of mankind really is going to burn in outer darkness, why didn't God destroy the slaughterhouse known as Earth as an act of mercy?  This does not sound like a god described as "love" in the New Testament.  This does not sound consistent with the mission of Christ on the Earth. 

    I have heard the response "your morality is not the same as God's morality".  That's all fine and dandy, but given the fact we recognize torture on Earth is evil even with our limited morality, something doesn't sit right about the idea of God torturing people horribly for eternity just because they didn't accept the word "consubstantial" in the Nicene Creed.  (And yes, I am aware that the "real" reason we would miss heaven, according to these teachings, is because our righteousness falls short, yada yada, but in that case, under non-LDS teachings, God should have destroyed the Earth as he clearly contemplated in Genesis).

    In the LDS Church, this problem doesn't exist because: 1) everyone is better off having come to the Earth, even those in the telestial kingdom, 2) those who followed Satan in the pre-existence and missed all salvation are not in outer darkness accidentally but as the result of very conscious rebellion, 3) work for the dead ensures that God's final judgment will be more than just.

    Anyhow, food for thought.

  5. 4 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

    The problem is they hold onto too much of Catholicism. They accept the Nicene Creed with its idea of consubstantiality. It really just does not make sense.

    If you are breaking from Catholicism why would you keep half their theology?

    The Trinity should be a central doctrine of the Bible but it is not. Yes they search around and find a scripture here in a scripture there that possibly describe that kind of thing. But we are talking about essential Doctrine here, the nature of God. It simply isn't there as they believe it is.

    Agreed!

    (And yes, I am responding to your post to hit 25 posts so I can have full functionality on this site)

  6. It is funny - many, many times I have made honest attempts to step out of my beliefs a little, to consider myself as a born-again Christian, fueled by my born-again experience, who happens to be attending Mormon meetings.  In the process, I have gotten to know Evangelical Christianity well - better than most Evangelicals.  I have been open minded, I have been prayerful, I have read the New Testament over and over and over.  And every time, like clockwork, Jesus leads me right back to Mormonism! 

  7. 8 minutes ago, Amulek said:

    Is this a trick question? 

    I mean, from the Baptist perspective, there's no such thing as an LDS Christian, so the number of LDS Christians who have misconceptions about Baptist beliefs would have to be zero. Right? 

     

    Well, I had a very real "born-again" experience with Jesus when I was 11 years old.  I felt sorrow for my sins, and said a prayer with all my heart that Jesus would please do for me what I cannot do for myself and save my soul.  I felt him very clearly accept my prayer, come into my heart, and lift the sins out of my life.  All of this happened while I was an active Mormon.

    I am proof you can be both a Born Again Christian AND a Mormon at the same time.  Anyone who says you cannot is wrong.

  8. 2 hours ago, Free in Christ said:

    So, probably important to explain (for those who may not be aware), Baptist congregations aren't "connected" or affiliated with each other like LDS congregations.  Their views, teachings and, to some degree, doctrinal definitions can vary greatly from congregation to congregation.  They don't have a single set of official doctrines or statements of faith, but they do for the most part agree on the fundamentals (i.e. salvation, etc)      

    Joining a Baptist church won't do SQUAT for you in God's eyes.  It's as useless as last week's weather report.  Likewise, baptists believe that being baptized in water doesn't do anything either (unless perhaps if you happen to have a bar of soap).  These are just outward formalities that indicate something within.  We do these things and everything else we do as a reaction to being saved.  Also interesting, obeying the commandments to most baptists (myself included) is completely optional, but typically encouraged.  Obey only if you want to only because you love the Savior.

    Very very different indeed...

    I appreciate evangelical outreach efforts.  However, the above beliefs are not, and cannot, be right.  

    The First Century Christians, those taught personally by the apostles and those taught by those taught by the apostles, have made it very clear in their abundant writings that concepts such as eternal security, "optional" baptism, predestination, and "optional" keeping of the commandments are heresies (many having their roots in various gnostic beliefs).  "Saint" Augustine attempted to import said beliefs into Christianity hundreds of years after Christ died, along with all sorts of wrong doctrine (e.g., unbaptized babies cannot go to heaven),  but most of them never stuck until Martin Luther dug Saint Augustine up.

    I think Evangelicals are very nice people, but their doctrines are simply historically completely incorrect.  Your plausible choices are Catholicism or Mormonism.

  9. 10 hours ago, CMZ said:

    I haven't seen anything that indicates such will be the case.

    Perhaps that's because, you know, you aren't the teacher in my combined quorum, you aren't in my ward, and you don't know a single thing about the dynamics therein?

  10. I really like the answer that Spencer W. Kimball gave when asked about this.  He was seeing a couple where the woman had been married, her husband had died, and she remarried another man and had children with him and everyone was worried about who would be sealed to who.  Spencer W. Kimball, if I recall correctly, just smiled and said that, while he is not sure how these things would end up being worked out, everyone should just concentrate on getting to the Celestial Kingdom, and the family arrangements would be more wonderful than they could possibly imagine.

    While I admit the idea of my wife being sealed to another man or even married for this life to another man if I die causes a part of me to cringe, I like President Kimball's answer and I think I can get behind it.

  11. Just now, Waylon said:

    Another reason I don't like the change: I liked buying treats for my EQ every time I taught . . . we would have cheesecake, stroopwaffles, rolls, whatever I felt a craving for.  It was moving towards a little breakfast club, in the middle of Church.  Now that I have 55 people in my quorum, I can't do this anymore (too expensive!)

    I just figure - Jesus fed people when He taught, and as the hymn goes I am trying to be like Jesus, so I started feeding the class . . . 

    I'm not murmuring here (OK maybe a little), but this change is cramping my style. 

     

  12. Another reason I don't like the change: I liked buying treats for my EQ every time I taught . . . we would have cheesecake, stroopwaffles, rolls, whatever I felt a craving for.  It was moving towards a little breakfast club, in the middle of Church.  Now that I have 55 people in my quorum, I can't do this anymore (too expensive!)

    I'm not murmuring here (OK maybe a little), but this change is cramping my style. 

  13. I am trying to believe in this change.  I really am.  However, it seems like this change kind of undoes the welcome changes from before, where lessons were more discussion based and less lecture based.  I had my EQ worked into a small support group for discussing the gospel, and that isn't going to work with the now enormous quorum I have on my hands.  I fear I may have to go back to lesson-type presentations as opposed to the support group EQ I was running.  Maybe my bishop will divide the quorum in half.

  14. 4 minutes ago, cacheman said:

    Chance is certainly a factor in evolution, but natural selection is a crucial component.  If we consider the development of checkpoints in the cell cycle, then why wouldn't natural selection be the driving force?  Cells with the ability to stop cell division under unfavorable conditions would seem to have an evolutionary advantage.  

    I think it's worth considering that those who interpret evidence differently than yourself might just have different perspectives or a different knowledge base to draw from rather than being willfully blind (an accusation that relies on intent). 

    For what it is worth I do believe in evolution.  However I believe it works because it operates in a framework and environment created by God.

    As far as taking others perspectives into consideration, I do do this and I studied biology for years under atheists.  However, I can't deny the fact that all of the evidence I have seen points to God!  This is purely scientific evidence and does not get into religious evidence, such as chiasmus and hebraisms in the Book of Mormon, etc., which further strengthens my conviction.

    I do respect the convictions of atheists, even if I don't understand how atheists can believe like they do.

  15. 9 minutes ago, cacheman said:

    I don't question the idea that you see biological processes as evidence of God.  I am intrigued however by your thought that those who don't necessarily see God's hand in it are "willfully blind".  Do you think that way because the evidences seem so obvious to you?

    Also.... I don't know many biologists that believe the human body came about through mere chance. 

    I think that pretty much sums it up.  I understand that people can interpret scientific data different ways, but to me the evidence seems overwhelming and obvious, and I can't see how atheists reconcile the evidence with atheism.  I am friends with and respect many atheists out there, but I just don't get their thinking!  

    I used to seriously question the existence of God, back when I was a teenager.  Taking college-level biology classes changed all of that for me, though, with the discovery of double-checking DNA being kind of the moment when the possibility of becoming an atheist permanently died for me.

    Regarding the human body coming about through mere chance, isn't that what organic evolution minus God and paired with the idea that the right organic compounds happened to get in contact with one another at the right times basically is, repeated over and over?

    (Another evidence of God's existence: the fact that the double-checking mechanism, mentioned above, had to have evolved early in the game for cell division to even work and not to simply result in chaos).

  16. 1 hour ago, cacheman said:

    That's quite an indictment on the many biologists that don't believe in God!  

    Indeed it is.  

    Did you know that every time a cell divides within your body, a mechanism double checks to make sure the DNA strands have replicated and/or paired correctly?

    Even if you believe that a machine as complex as the human body can come about through mere chance, can chance check itself?  I think not.  This is one hoop too many for me to jump through in belief.  It is far more plausible to just admit there is a God rather than say that chance somehow invented an amazing machine, and gave it the ability to double check its own construction.

    I am sorry, but atheism asking me to believe that chance can double check itself is a jump into the absurd.

    I know many biologists are atheist, including the biology teacher who taught me the above knowledge (a certain Michael Dini of Texas Tech University).  But they really need to step back and and look at what atheism actually demands one believes from the scientific standpoint.  It winds up taking more faith to be an atheist than just believing in God!

  17. 1 hour ago, Atheist Mormon said:

    I hope you will be comfortable to respond...I'm curious about the degree of your surety that God exists...How do you maintain faith week after week with the conviction? It was very hard for me in my believing days even. Any of you believers hod the possibility that there might not be anything after this life? 

    I am called arrogant/presumptuous and some bad adjectives for my stance for self assurance that this is it and willing to bet anything on it. And I think it is very possible, not so distant future might be able to transfer /upload our memories to machines, even then it won't be real us, I'm convinced what makes our consciousness possible is our brain. 

    As far as God exists, I am certain.  It is very hard to study college-level science and be an atheist, particularly cell biology.  In my opinion, God has left so many clues of his existence in biology one would have to be willfully blind not to believe in God.

    As far as Christ being the Son of God, I am certain.  There is positively something special about Christianity that is in no other religion (and I have studied world religions quite a bit, particularly Islam).  I believe the New Testament 100%.

    As far as Joseph Smith being a prophet?  I believe pretty strongly, but I still need to use my faith sometimes.  I know why I believe in the Church, I have felt the Spirit in the Church, I believe there is lots of convincing evidence in the Book of Mormon that the Church is true, and there is lots of evidence in the writings of the early Church Fathers that the Church really is the restoration of first-century Christianity.  However, when Protestant fundamentalists accuse the Church of "not being Christian", my testimony is not so strong that these kinds of things don't bother me at some level, and I sometimes have to remind myself why I believe as I do and why I think the fundamentalists are wrong.  I guess coping with these feelings is called, "having faith".  Even still, I know that if I did convert to some other version of Christianity, the knowledge and feelings I have obtained in the Church would likely haunt me for the rest of my life, and I would probably always, deep down, think I made a very great mistake by leaving the Church, as my belief is very, very strong - just not completely unshakable yet in this area.

  18. My wife has told me many times she would not have married me had I not gone on a mission.  I don't know why, but this bothers me . . . I feel like my mission is between me and God, and I went on my mission for God, and having it be some sort of requirement for getting married somehow feels cheap.

    Also, while I tried really hard on my mission, I was never very good at it, introvert that I am.  I guess I feel that it isn't a whole lot of a leap from saying "I will date only returned missionaries" to saying "I will date only returned missionaries who were good at what they were doing".

  19. 15 hours ago, 10THAmendment said:

    Hey all,

    Not sure what my goal is for this post, just kind of need to pour my heart out somewhere. I am a RM of 5 years. Had a burning testimony before, during, and for a couple years after my mission. However, one day a flip just kind of switched inside of me. Things started to bother me (A LOT) about the Church. I was recently married and after just a couple short months my testimony was mostly erased. Thinking back I think church history is what messed me up the most. When I read the essays on the LDS website which state that a lot of the anti stuff I heard growing up is factually accurate I began questioning everything. Things that didn't bother me before all of the sudden did. For example, the temple ceremony being a carbon copy of Masonic rituals, Oliver Cowdery's pastor writing a book very similar to the BOM 4 years before the BOM was published, the multiple and repeated false doctrines preached by Brigham Young, prophets of God openly discriminating against black people, etc. These things did not bother me at all, I relied on feelings alone..I knew the church was true. But when I found out that the Church was now openly admitting Joseph Smith married previously married women and sent men on missions to take their wives and that his translation of the funerary scrolls could not have been more off that fire in my heart was put out after considering all the other anti stuff I mentioned. Also, the Church becoming increasingly political and telling me to vote in ways I fundamentally disagree with every election really has put me off.

     

    I have a great, faithful wife who makes sure we make it to church every week. I go but I just feel that I am only physically there. I want to have the burning testimony again but I don't know if that is possible at this point. I am pretty sure it isn't. I want to believe it (and I still may fundamentally), I want my children to have the Gospel in their lives, I want them to have a father who is strong in the church, priesthood and Gospel but I have taken such a spiritual beating for 2 full years. All I can see are my doubts and have developed a habit of questioning every single thing in the church.  I feel I have a good heart, I definitely believe in God and nothing can ever change that, the Gospel has just died inside me and it is heartbreaking.

     

    Thanks for reading. Again, just had to share my feelings somewhere.

     

    I was in your shoes back 10-15 years ago.  I did NOT have a good experience as a missionary (really, really bad personality conflict with my mission president, culminating in a screaming fight on my last transfer) and I just wanted to come home from my mission and quit, maybe become a Southern Baptist.  

    And yet, here I am, all these years later, still active and faithful.  How did I do it?

    Well, I started with many of your same doubts.  I looked for answers - from LDS sources.  I found www.jefflindsay.com to be particularly helpful, along with fairlds.org.  I researched my doubts one by one and thought about them for a long period of time.

    I then researched what other religions taught.  I already considered atheism, and decided it was an absurd idea (no offense to any atheists out there).  I read the works of the early Church fathers, as well as the excellent book "Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up" by David Bercot and "A Concise History of the Catholic Church" by Thomas Bokenkotter.  These books boosted my faith and made me realize that the first Christian Church really was Mormonism!

    I also read the New Testament back and forth, multiple times.  I marked it up and considered it, and from that I found that the Church's doctrines match what is taught in the New Testament closer than any other version of Christianity.

    On the side, I was also studying Islam.  I decided, over time, that the Church was more true than Islam.

    I also studied proof that the Book of Mormon is truly what it purports to be - a divine history of an ancient civilization in America.  There are many, many things that just don't fit with the Book of Mormon being written by a conman - chiasmus, wordprint studies (showing the Book of Mormon was written by multiple people, none of whom are Joseph Smith, by stylistic origins), hebraisms (hebrew linguistics in the Book of Mormon), its accurate description of Lehi's journey across Arabia, its complex doctrinal themes, its internal consistency, etc., and I realized that there is something up with the Book of Mormon.  There is just too much going on with the Book for it to have been fabricated by Joseph Smith.  Either God himself or the Devil was involved with the creation of the Book of Mormon, but it wasn't Joseph Smith alone.  (and if it was the Devil, why does it do such a good job of testifying as to Christ, convincing men to turn to God in prayer?)

    After all of this study, which took a couple of years and plenty of shelving doubts, I came to a point where I realized the Church was true.  I had said that on my mission, and at the time I thought I meant it when I said the Church was true, but I did not have the testimony I have now back then.  By working through my doubts, I found for myself and truly for myself the Church is true, and I rebounded from a real faith crisis to a point far higher than I had ever been before.

    As for your specific doubts, let me give you what I think about them: 

    1.  Temple being a carbon copy of Masonry - I think you have this backwards.  The masonry ceremony has its roots in the ceremonies of the Temple of Solomon.  OF COURSE there are similarities - Masonry is a copy of the temple ceremony, not vice versa.

    2.  View of the Hebrews - haven't studied this one in depth, because I think it is kind of far fetched to begin with.  It certainly doesn't explain the linguistic evidence for the truth of the Book of Mormon - chiasmus, hebraisms, and wordprint studies showing the Book of Mormon was written by multiple authors.

    3.  False doctrines by Brigham Young - I investigated some of these (e.g., Adam-God), and I don't think Brigham was wrong.  I think Brigham has been misunderstood, and what he was saying, when read in context, is simply not that controversial.

    4.  Prophets and black people - I think the priesthood ban was inspired, and I think that, had Brigham Young been racist, he would have just banned black people from the Church rather than saying they can get baptized but cannot hold the priesthood yet, while promising that someday they would have it all.  This half-heartedness is not how racists act.  I get the sense, in the actions of Brigham and virtually every prophet since, that none of them wanted to have the priesthood ban but were reluctantly acting because they were commanded by the Lord for reasons known only to Him.

    5.  Joseph Smith being sealed to previously married women - this is deep doctrine, and I can't really type out a response here because the circumstances were different for various people.  I have read all of the accounts, and I find no evidence that Joseph Smith was acting with impropriety.  The men mentioned seem to agree - several of them embraced polygamy wholeheartedly and I know at least one was an apostle who died faithful in the Church.  Another loved Joseph so much that he was a pallbearer at Joseph's funeral - hardly the case of a man whose wife was "stolen" by Joseph.  Fairlds.org has some very good answers for this issue.  

    6.  Translation of the funerary scrolls - we have very, very little of the scrolls that were used in making the Pearl of Great Price (most were lost).  As far as the facsimiles being "wrongful" interpretations of hieroglyphs, my personal theory is that Joseph's interpretation was the original meaning, and they were "repurposed" by later Pagan religions in Egypt (similar to how the swatstika, a symbol of hope and good luck in Eastern religions, was repurposed as a symbol of white supremacy by the Nazis).

    So there you have it - I am living proof it is possible to rebound from catastrophic testimony failure, but it takes some work, critical thinking, willingness to shelve doubts until the answers become apparent, faith, and humility.  And, despite my own sometimes difficult relationship with the Church in the past, I have come to know that the Church is true, Joseph Smith was a true Prophet, and the Book of Mormon is exactly what it purports to be - the word of God and a sacred record of an ancient civilization.

  20. 52 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

    So presumably everyone throughout the Church had the first experience yesterday with the new third-hour curriculum in Relief Society or Melchizedek priesthood classes. For this first Sunday in the month, it was to be a council meeting involving everyone in the Relief Soicety or priesthood quorum/group.

    What was your experience like?

    Being a bit of a rebel, I decided early on after being called as an Elders' Quorum instructor months ago that I wasn't going to use the manual to teach.  I felt the manual lessons were too canned, and I remember so many lessons I have had to sit through where the teacher just read from the manual or passed the manual around and had us read.  Not to mention, the lessons are the same stuff we have heard over and over . . . I remember in one EQ I had been in, the teacher was so habitually boring that everyone would sit in EQ and play games on their phones, almost like some kind of LAN party.

    So, I decided to make my EQ like a support group rather than a classroom.  Every Sunday, I have everyone sit in a circle, and I pass out breakfast.  I usually skim the manual to see the basic subject we are supposed to talk about for the day, and we play a game where we go around and tell stories about the subject, and whoever has the funniest story wins a special treat I bring with me (usually a fancy cupcake).  We then just kind of talk and converse.  It is relaxed, it is fun, everyone brings their common sense and sense of humor, and it works a lot better than lecturing.  (And yes, my bishop knows what I have been doing and approves).

    So, to the extent that the "new way" is similar to my way of teaching, I would say I have been doing the "new way" for at least a year!

  21. 2 minutes ago, Five Solas said:

    Again, I appreciate the reply.  And I can relate a bit, especially the sports part.  There was an interesting TED Talk that made use of that example in corporate America.  I'm guessing you and I would probably get along pretty well if we shared the same firm & industry.  And you might even like our socials - I call us "the black sheep squadron"--and yes, I'm kinda proud of it. 

    Raise a glass to Rain, for such an interesting & provocative thread. 

    :0)

    --Erik

    I would hit "like", but they apparently aren't letting me like posts yet, being a new guy.

    Here is a raised glass of a nonalcoholic beverage to all of the nonconformists out there.

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