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  1. This is another interesting expectation.it seems that some of the difficult issues involve difficulties judging what is "more" and what is "different." It seems that a big part of the splintering around The Manifesto was from judging that the shift to monogamy contradicted what had been said about polygamy, for just one example. Is it reasonable to expect that new revelation will never seem to contradict prior revelation?
  2. I think this is an interesting expectation. To @Kevin Christensen question, I wonder if this is a reasonable expectation. It seems like many of the hard questions around the Church include a "Why didn't God prick their conscience?" element. In another direction, can we expect that God will sometimes use laypeople to prick their conscience? I know we are very uncomfortable with anything that looks like bottom up revelation, but maybe it happens?
  3. @CV75 (and anyone else with thoughts on the subject): RE #3 and 9: Do we really believe in increasing light and knowledge, or is this just a straw we keep that progressives can grasp at? Seriously, though, for me it is interesting how the "increasing light and knowledge" (something reminiscent of Leo Winegar's restorative light model I mentioned earlier) interacts with and counters #9 -- our conservatism. How much easier would some of the needed changes come if we had a better history with more humility and less certainty. It sometimes feels like our certainty is what interferes with receiving greater light and knowledge. Do you think it is possible for a prophet's/apostle's certainty in what they believe or reluctance to accept new light and knowledge can interfere with receiving new light and knowledge? Re your response to #7: Sometimes when we focus on the authority to perform saving ordinances, I wonder about the need to stay in the Church, since I've already received all of the necessary ordinances (except maybe for the obscure ones like the 2nd anointing, whatever that is). I suppose it hits at what it means that prophets can bind and LOOSE on Earth and Heaven, whether I really believe that they can take away those ordinances. If I don't believe they can take those ordinances and covenants away from me, then I sometimes don't feel motivated to stick around just because they were the ones to administer those ordinances. At the same time, it seems like switching the focus to the authority to perform ordinances doesn't really answer the question about why God would let them make sincere mistakes? Is God unconcerned about false teachings that prophets and apostles might give? Sometimes these discussions feel like we are saying that God really doesn't care about doctrines that are taught.
  4. I will agree with this. Here are some of my expectations (some help me reconcile Elder McKonkie's teachings, others don't): 1) As an apostle/prophet -- a special witness of Christ -- I expect him to express a solid testimony of the Savior. In don't know that I expect to agree in every detail (such as Talmage's claim to Christ being born on 6 Apr.), but I do expect a testimony of the Savior. 2) I expect an apostle/prophet to have a solid testimony of the scriptures. Again, I expect to disagree in some interpretive details (which stories are "literal" and which are not). 3) I expect an apostle/prophet to express a testimony of prior prophets and apostles. I don't expect a later prophet/apostle to "correct" any errors of prior prophets apostles -- those kinds of things seem to be quite rare. I am not quite sure what to do with this expectation, because it suggests that apostles/prophets are more interested in loyalty to their "peers" than to finding truth. I do expect that they disagree amongst themselves (Joseph Fielding Smith, B H Roberts, and James Talmage showed how this might play out in public), but I also expect them to keep their disagreements private and internal. 4) I expect to sometimes disagree with what a prophet/apostle teaches. I think this is part of what we are discussing in this thread. 5) I expect that prophets/apostles sometimes claim something is revelation that is not. 6) I expect apostles/prophets to sometimes claim something is "foundational" (as @CV75 mentioned) that I do not believe is foundational (such as Elder McKonkie calling Evolution a deadly heresy). I expect to sometimes agree/sometimes disagree with apostles and prophets on what belongs in our truth cart. 7) I expect prophets/apostles to be sincere in their teachings/beliefs. They may be in error, but I believe they will be sincere. I'm still not sure what to make of this. To again paraphrase Ben Spackman -- what is our model of prophets that allows them to make sincere errors in determining what is right and wrong. 8 ) If I am too vocal in my disagreements, I expect to be "disciplined" by my correligionists or even by my priesthood leaders -- and it won't matter who is "right". 9) I expect prophets/apostles to be "conservative" -- meaning that, where there is uncertainty, they will defer to "tradition" rather than change. Therefore, change -- when needed -- will be slow -- maybe even "late" -- when compared to society at large. That's a good start to my list of expectations. What expectations should we have?
  5. I agree, that I have been long taught to get my own testimony of the Church and individual principles. The problem that I have encountered is that there seems to be a very strong assumption that, if I do seek my own testimony, I WILL get a testimony that whatever Elder McKonkie (or other Church leader the combined voice of the Church leaders) teaches is true. The thing that I think is missing from this discussion is exploring what to do when the expected testimony does not come, or, worse, when we feel like God is trying to tell us something contrary to what the Church or its leaders are teaching. Pres. Oaks talked about choosing to be loyal to the brethren in the absence of a testimony. Others talk about not needing confirmation of every teaching because they once received confirmation that Elder McKonkie (or other prophet/apostle) was legitimately called by God to be a prophet/apostle, so they do not feel any need to separately confirm every teaching by the prophet/apostle. Perhaps that is where some feel like the doubled down "follow the prophet" message comes from. I think the advice to put stuff like that on a metaphorical shelf can be good, but it also feels like a stalling or delaying tactic. It often seems that, at some point, someone has to deal with the issues on their shelf, or, because they get so many things on the shelf, it becomes overwhelming to deal with them all at once (the shelf breaks). In cases like that, would it be better to deal with issues of testimony one issue at a time rather than shelving them? Ever since that one investigator (while I was serving a mission) told us that she felt led by God to stop reading the BoM and meeting with the missionaries, I have wondered if the best answer is to recognize that God can lead people down paths that do not include the Church and its teachings. It kind of cuts into the "strait and narrow" or "one true church" ideas, but it sometimes feels like the best approach. Of course, that needs to go both ways so that those who leave the Church do not see those of us who stay as "deluded" or "blinded" and a willingness to accept that maybe God has His reasons for leading some of us to join and stay in the Church. A whole lot of all or nothing thinking may need to fall by the way side to accept this kind of approach. While I agree that we are encouraged to seek our own testimony, I don't think adequate air time has been given to exploring what should happen when the confirming witness or testimony does not come.
  6. As I have followed this thread, I see a lot of different ideas and concepts and directions. After all of this, I feel like Ben Spackman captures the problem the best. Speaking of the problem of slavery in the Bible (because it is such a morally egregious example -- I think we can include other controversies including those that come from Elder McKonkie's teachings), Spackman writes So what is our model of scripture and revelation and prophets -- that can incorporate authority and fallibility and the importance (if not necessity) of following prophets even when they are wrong and whether or not it is appropriate to contradict prophets and so on. Spackman seems to like an "accommodationism" model, where God will not (or cannot) override deep seated beliefs that the prophet or His people hold. In general, I like the idea, but I also find myself asking -- if God could tolerate/accommodate slavery for most of human/Biblical history, then He should be able to tolerate/accommodate same sex marriage or women holding the priesthood (assuming those are "accommodated" policies and not more true than our current heteronormative, patriarchal teachings). Then there is Leo Winegar's (of Uplift) "restorative light" model (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oPeKD7Zwym_VeAIfM566K7HYqvqbAaxIGqMZxQ9QIC0/edit that makes sense to me. Except that past prophets (including our case study here, Elder McKonkie) gave little indication that they were having trouble seeing truth and right. I think I would be more comfortable with this model if prophets and apostles were better at saying, "It's a bit fuzzy so I'm not sure what I'm seeing, but I think this is right." As Elder McKonkie demonstrates "Forget everything..." speech, they can sometimes be good at recognizing after the fact when they could not see clearly, but that doesn't seem to help when you are looking forward into the darkness around current issues (LGBT, women and priesthood and patriarchy, etc.) I recall seeing Given's "viceroy" model (in The Crucible of Doubt) where prophets speak as authoritative viceroys and God "makes what they say right". Not very comfortable with this model. It seems like, under this kind of model, there is no sense of eternal truth or morality because God can make anything right and moral and true. I don't really know the answer to the questions I see being raised in this discussion. It seems to me that a lot of the difficulty is that we really don't understand our own model of prophets and revelation and scripture well enough to account for errancy and fallibility.
  7. I feel like I can agree with this. Except that I find that, as I focus on my personal relationship with Deity, I find Him telling me things that contradict what the Church officially teaches. The main source of confusion, I find, is trying to answer the question of whether or not I should stay in relationship to the Church. The Church is where I learned about God and built that relationship. I participated in ordinances and (mostly) believe in the covenants that go with those ordinances. If the Church becomes more of a hindrance in developing my relationship to God and a hindrance to keeping my covenants, at what point should I change (maybe even sever) my relationship to the Church in order to pursue my relationship with God?
  8. A very interesting article. I wonder if it really supports the absolute abstinence stance in our current practice of the WoW, or if it is better suited to a caffeine in moderation stance. It's obviously a short article that is no where near complete, so I'm not sure what conclusions to draw. The author mentions that 100 mg of caffeine per day (Mayo Clinic says coffee has about 100 mg per 8 oz and green tea has about 30 mg per 8 oz) over 3 weeks increases the adenosine receptors. Do you know if that 100 mg per day is an absolute threshold, or is 30 mg per day over 9 weeks equivalent? How does dosage change the effect?
  9. Randomish thoughts. Re 1. This sounds rather like St. Augustine's view of sex before the fall. [quote="St. Augustine"]In Eden, it would have been possible to beget offspring without foul lust. The sexual organs would have been stimulated into necessary activity by will-power alone, just as the will controls other organs. Then, without being goaded on by the allurement of passion, the husband could have relaxed upon his wife's breasts with complete peace of mind and bodily tranquility, that part of his body not activated by tumultuous passion, but brought into service by the deliberate use of power when the need arose, the seed dispatched into the womb with no loss of his wife's virginity. So, the two sexes could have come together for impregnation and conception by an act of will, rather than by lustful cravings (City of God, Book 14, Chapter 26).[/quote] I don't know how true it is. Personally, I tend to think there is something eternal about passion and desire, but that could just be wishful thinking. Re 2. A lot has been said about different kinds of love. This seems to suggest our aim is to eventually "overcome" all of the "inferior" kinds of love (erotic, romantic, philial) in favor of charity for all. Again, I tend to think that we will still experience these different kinds of love (including the erotic), but I don't know exactly what that looks like or if it's even true. I will say that, after years in a sexless marriage (with no intention of leaving), I feel like I am getting a good head start on this (maybe even a bigger head start than @Kenngo1969), because I already have significant experience with suppressing the sexual desire in favor of other, "superior" kinds of love. (At the same time, I am not convinced that this is at all what God intended. It's an interesting discussion that crops up in LDS and Christian sexology circles). Another thought. There might be something eternally impossible about same sex marriages -- something special about male-female marriage that makes it eternal. It seems all speculative to me. Even so, if, as you hypothesize, we become essentially asexual in the next life -- all of our relationships effectively become Platonic -- why oppose the marriages of same-sex couples in this life? If sexual desires and passions are going to be purged from our relationships eventually, what is the harm in letting two men or two women make a lifelong, monogamous commitment to each other and experience the growth that comes from marriage? When all is said and done, the one thing that the OP confirms to me is that we still do not have a comprehensive, unified theology of sexuality. There is still a lot we don't really know.
  10. From the choices give, I think I want the place to debate, and I think one of the things I like about this forum is that there are people with a variety of opinions so that it is not a simple echo chamber. Hard or controversial questions come up and there are voices to tackle all sides of the issue.
  11. I would double down on this. One of the interesting things I got out of David Ostler's Bridges was that a high percentage of those in faith crisis did not trust leaders (either local or general) to be able to help with their faith crisis issues. I might even go so far as to suggest that answering specific q&a questions that are submitted to the Bishop during such a meeting is a secondary goal -- secondary to the goal of fostering trust that this Bishop might be a good resource for those in faith crisis. I know there can be a lot of different facets to trusting a church leader with these kinds of questions, so it is not necessarily an easy thing. IMO, no matter how good your answers are to the specific questions submitted, if those in the audience asking themselves those questions come out of the meeting feeling less inclined rather than more inclined to trust the Bishop, then I think the meeting is a net loss.
  12. My top three: 1) Prophetic fallibility and epistemology -- how do we decide what is "true" when prophets and scripture make mistakes. 2) LGBT issues (and other sexual issues). 3) Women's issues (egalitarianism vs. complementarianism) Bonus: Jana Riess's top three from the Next Mormons Survey: 1) "I could no longer reconcile my personal values and priorities with those of the Church” (38%) 2) “I stopped believing there was one true church” (36.5%) 3) “I did not trust the Church leadership to tell the truth surrounding controversial or historical issues” (31%) Of course, if you know about her book, you know that she also breaks the reasons down by gender and by generation to see how things vary depending on how you slice up the survey population.
  13. This makes sense to me. Regarding discussions around race and priesthood, I find that I don't even try to engage with DezNat types (with their BrighamDidNothingWrong hashtag) because it seems to me that they are unwilling to even consider or discuss the possibility that Brigham Young made mistakes. I guess the next question, if it's mostly about finding respectful dialog and avoiding those who would refuse to respectfully engage with a different perspective, why assume that "I" am available and willing to receive God's word and "they" are not? It seems to me that a big part of many of these difficult conversations is trying to find God's word and will and truth amidst the differing perspectives. While I recognize that some are truly arguing from an agnostic/atheistic perspective, others aren't, and it seems a bit presumptuous to always assume that I have God's truth, if only the questioner(s) could see it.
  14. This part of the question stood out to me, perhaps because I think your right about the "many", I also think there are many who pose question about the nature of God and His Church and Kingdom who also have staunch faith in the existence of God and the atonement of Christ. If we drop the assumption that questioners are somewhere on the (or headed towards) the agnostic/atheist spectrum, does our discussion in this thread change at all?
  15. @InCognitus That is an interesting line of thought. The thing that I think would make the discussion more complete would be to not only analyze the process where D&C 76 was accepted, but find examples where fallible prophets or errant scripture claim revelation that is really not revelation. This is a topic I don't think we deal with very well in the Church. A couple of examples that come to my mind: I know there are multiple possible explanations, but what if Nephi was just plain wrong to claim that God made the Lamanite's skin dark as a sign of a curse? The orthodox position in the Church is that the priesthood and temple ban was a revelation from God that did not include explanations (people made those up later). What if Pres. Young was mistaken to claim that such a revelation came from God? Elder Bednar in Apr 2014 GC claimed that we know by revelation that 6 Apr (Gregorian) is Christ's birthdate. What if Elder Bednar is mistaken about this revelation? You point to Pres. Young talking about "sitting with" an alleged revelation until the confirmation comes ("put it on a shelf" to put it in the words of today's faith crises). How long should we sit with an alleged revelation before we conclude that something really isn't revelation?
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