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The Grand Fundamental Principles Of Mormonism


Tsuzuki

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"The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism", by Don Bradley

Just wondering what other people's thought on it are.

As for me, these are the same conclusions I came to over a decade ago.

I don't think anything in the article seemed particularly new, but I don't think too many in the Church practice those principles particularly well. I guess that's why the Church is "under condemnation" for not properly embracing the precepts of the BoMormon. It's really a shame, because when we finally come around, it's going to be awesome. The Church is already a great, shining stand-out among churches. Just think of our potential.

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"The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism", by Don Bradley

Just wondering what other people's thought on it are.

As for me, these are the same conclusions I came to over a decade ago.

I've read it! I read it dozens of times before publication, and then, for a long time afterward couldn't bring myself to even look at the final version. I was so burned out. But I'm really pleased with the way it came out. I give it a big <_<

:P

Don

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I really can't see that the principles of truth, friendship and relief, as defined, are missing or neglected today. We are constantly counseled to seek for truth. We have been told over and over to open ourselves up to our larger communities. I myself have been deeply involved in the humanitarian effort and local "relief" efforts. If you had just merely given your exposition on those sermons it would have been a nice article. But in an attempt to batter the Saints, it falls pretty flat.

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I really can't see that the principles of truth, friendship and relief, as defined, are missing or neglected today. We are constantly counseled to seek for truth. We have been told over and over to open ourselves up to our larger communities. I myself have been deeply involved in the humanitarian effort and local "relief" efforts. If you had just merely given your exposition on those sermons it would have been a nice article. But in an attempt to batter the Saints, it falls pretty flat.

Despite your ironically uncharitable reading of my paper, Charity, I don't make any attempt to "batter the Saints." The "grand fundamental principles of Mormonism" are among the principles of the faith with which I most resonated, and continue to resonate, and it was long a source of deep disappointment and frustration to me that their prophetically declared centrality to the faith had been almost entirely forgotten. They've never been quoted in a church meeting I've attended, and aren't treated as central and normative by most members.

Indeed, your own demonstrated willingness to bite the hand of friendship far more often than you extended, and the insularity, rather than expansiveness of your thinking, are symptomatic of just much the saints tend to neglect the principles of friendship and openness to truth from all sources.

Don

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Despite your ironically uncharitable reading of my paper, Charity, I don't make any attempt to "batter the Saints." The "grand fundamental principles of Mormonism" are among the principles of the faith with which I most resonated, and continue to resonate, and it was long a source of deep disappointment and frustration to me that their prophetically declared centrality to the faith had been almost entirely forgotten. They've never been quoted in a church meeting I've attended, and aren't treated as central and normative by most members.

Indeed, your own demonstrated willingness to bite the hand of friendship far more often than you extended, and the insularity, rather than expansiveness of your thinking, are symptomatic of just much the saints tend to neglect the principles of friendship and openness to truth from all sources.

Don

Don, surely you know that to judge someone's global behaviour by a very specific and limited discussion format is improper in any serious study. You have no way of knowing how charity or most of the rest of us act outside these forums or what in particular motivates our actions here.

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Actually, this article is quite impressive. I especially like tht idea of embracing truth where one can find it. I think that this aspect of JS is not known by most people. How often have we heard here, that Mormonism condemns all faiths? and yet, we have Joseph giving counsel to embrace truth from religious sources regardless of the source.

The act of brotherly and sisterly love is important and it should be one of the Grand Principles of Mormonism. Let us all seek enlightenment from good and wholesome sources.

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I agree, why me. We have always been told to do that. For you younger members, you probably don't remember when the Relief Society lessons included 1 per month called "Out of the Best Books." We studied small snippets of literature, both prose and poetry, by great authors. They were really good lessons.

"And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." Doctrine and Covenants 88:118

And Don, what I objec to in your article is the primary assumption, not supported in any way by you except to make the statment, that the Church teachings today neglect these fundamental principles. I see them every day. And I see your article as attacking the Saints and the Church. For no reason.

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On March 8, 2000, President Hinckley participated in a Q&A in the National Press Club in Washington D.C. A transcript is available here. An excerpt:

Q. How should members of the church respond to efforts of some other religious groups to convert them to other beliefs and religions?

A. Well, I say this: We don't downgrade any religion. We recognize the good they all do. I say to those of other faiths: 'You bring all the good that you have and let us see if we can add to it.' Now that's our attitude reduced to a very short statement, and it works.

President Hinckley made a substantively similar point during a speech at BYU in 1997 and during an interview with Larry King in 1998.

I think this sentiment comports with and reiterates Joseph Smith's statement: â??One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from where it may.â?

Surely "all the good" that people outside the Church have includes "truth."

I wonder if Don Bradley's gripe is not that Latter-day Saints are unwilling to accept truth from sources outside the Church (that is, frankly, an absurd proposition IMHO). Rather, he's referring to what he perceives to be "truths," but which are not compatible with the Restored Gospel. He then gets irked that we don't accept these philosophies of men in lieu of revealed truths.

-Smac

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I think that he could be referring to the idea that members believe that only lds books or doctine is truth. And the understanding that one should not read catholic, buddhaist, protestant ect, literature. And even though the lds are counseled to seek out the best books, in meetings such best books may rarely come up.

But maybe I should let Don speak for himself about what he means...

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teancum, I haven't heard the podcast. Was there any discussion of how he came to the conclusion that these principles were sadly lacking in the Church today? There is no discussion of it in the article itself, just the statement that this is the case.

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I think that he could be referring to the idea that members believe that only lds books or doctine is truth.

An idea that President Hinckley has clearly debunked.

An idea that, in my experience, has little or no prominence in the thinking of my LDS acquaintances (who are not few in number).

And the understanding that one should not read catholic, buddhaist, protestant ect, literature.

Huh? References, please, for where this "understanding" has been taught. Also, please provide references that demonstrate the prevalence of this "understanding" among observant Latter-day Saints.

And even though the lds are counseled to seek out the best books, in meetings such best books may rarely come up.

Right. They may rarely come up in meetings. The LDS Church only has a few hours a week to provide lessons to its members. There's nothing wrong with filling that time with the scriptures and LDS lesson manuals.

The LDS Church is a wise steward with its members' time spent "in meetings." Those meetings are taken up with teaching the basic principles of the Restored Gospel. There's simply not a lot of time to engage in a broad survey of literature on any particular subject. To suggest that these considerations somehow give rise to the "idea" or "understanding" as you've noted above is, IMHO, unwarranted.

-Smac

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Hi Tsuzuki,

Interesting article--thanks for sharing it. :P

The "Grand Fundamental Principles" discussed in the article are articulated differently, but do not differ in essence from what we are regularly taught in church. Sometimes wording things differently, or viewing things from a different perspective, can stimulate thought and/or help one better understand things.

One could further reduce the Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism to a single word: Atonement. Indeed, accepting truth, "come from whence it may," friendship, and relief all contribute to atonement, as do the two great commandments Christ enunciated, and many principles taught by other religions and philosophical systems.

Better yet, since Jesus Christ is the personification of atonement and all the other principles mentioned, faith in Christ could be seen as THE Grand Fundamental Principle of Mormonism. As a Christian and a Mormon, I define my beliefs primarily in terms of my relationship with Christ (and by extension with Father). This is at least partly because it seems more concrete to me, and therefore easier to "grasp onto" than abstract principles. This is also why I prefer "WWJD" to "CTR"--the first is a real person, the second is an abstraction.

A couple of other possible grand fundamental principles: continuing revelation and the literal parent/child relationship between God and humans. These last two serve to distinguish Mormons from most other Christian groups and are far more fundamental to our beliefs than, say the Word of Wisdom, which also distinguishes us from other groups.

Thanks again! I've skimmed through the article already, but will read it more carefully later.

Daniel

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teancum, I haven't heard the podcast. Was there any discussion of how he came to the conclusion that these principles were sadly lacking in the Church today? There is no discussion of it in the article itself, just the statement that this is the case.

I don't think Don is lamenting the loss of the principles per se, but rather the lack of emphasis placed on this particular summation of Mormon beliefs. Contrasted with, say, the Articles of Faith--which every child learns in Primary--I think Don's statement that "one can attend ward meetings and read works by LDS authors for a lifetime without ever becoming aware of this summation of the faith's foundations" is fairly self-evident.

I too find it strange that Joseph Smith's final thoughts on the essence of Mormonism have received so little play. Perhaps he should have gone for something a bit pithier, like the great Jewish teacher Hillel:

A pagan appeared before Shammai and said, 'I will convert to Judaism provided that you teach me the entire Torah while I stand on one foot.' Shammai pushed him out with a builder’s cubit-measure that was in his hand. He went to Hillel who converted him, saying, 'What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbor: that is the whole law; the rest is commentary. Go, study.' (B. Shab. 31a)

Anyway, I think it's a great essay.

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Don, surely you know that to judge someone's global behaviour by a very specific and limited discussion format is improper in any serious study. You have no way of knowing how charity or most of the rest of us act outside these forums or what in particular motivates our actions here.

I agree, these discussions could simply be displaying people at their worst.

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An idea that President Hinckley has clearly debunked.

An idea that, in my experience, has little or no prominence in the thinking of my LDS acquaintances (who are not few in number).

Huh? References, please, for where this "understanding" has been taught. Also, please provide references that demonstrate the prevalence of this "understanding" among observant Latter-day Saints.

Right. They may rarely come up in meetings. The LDS Church only has a few hours a week to provide lessons to its members. There's nothing wrong with filling that time with the scriptures and LDS lesson manuals.

The LDS Church is a wise steward with its members' time spent "in meetings." Those meetings are taken up with teaching the basic principles of the Restored Gospel. There's simply not a lot of time to engage in a broad survey of literature on any particular subject. To suggest that these considerations somehow give rise to the "idea" or "understanding" as you've noted above is, IMHO, unwarranted.

-Smac

Has not the church counseled that only scriptures and church related sources should be used in meetings? I think that they have. Also, how many lds venture into a catholic bookshop or read protestant texts on beliefs, understandings and practices? I think very few. Do I have references? No. But I have not seen a protestant or a catholic book in lds home libraries. But I may see something from Dessert.

That being said, I will not find lds books in catholic, protestant or jewish home libraries for that matter. Truth is sought in neutral or familiar surrondings.

In your opinion, do you believe that the average lds person seeks truth from a variety of sources?

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Why Me,

You are moving the goal posts here. You previously said:

I think that he could be referring to the idea that members believe that only lds books or doctine is truth.

And this:

And the understanding that one should not read catholic, buddhaist, protestant ect, literature.

I asked for references to substantiate these allegations. You responded:

Has not the church counseled that only scriptures and church related sources should be used in meetings? I think that they have.

That is nonresponsive. Again, please provides references to support your suggestion that "members believe that only lds books or doctine is truth" or that there is an "understanding that one should not read catholic, buddhaist, protestant ect, literature."

-Smac

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Why Me,

You are moving the goal posts here. You previously said:

And this:

I asked for references to substantiate these allegations. You responded:

That is nonresponsive. Again, please provides references to support your suggestion that "members believe that only lds books or doctine is truth" or that there is an "understanding that one should not read catholic, buddhaist, protestant ect, literature."

-Smac

I have no references....just my gut feeling from my own experiences. Although personal experiences are not the most valid of evidence, it is still evidence.

Lets do an experiement....give your lds relatives the catholic catechism...and say to them...'please read this...there is truth in this book' and watch their reaction. Then get back to me with your results. If they have a positive reaction and they are reading the book, you win. If they look puzzled, thank you for the book and put the book in the far corner of the bookshelf behind the latest Roth novel....I win.

And has not the church counseled that only lds books and references should be used in meetings? I think that that is pretty responsive.

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Has not the church counseled that only scriptures and church related sources should be used in meetings? I think that they have.

If that's the case, the Brethren disobey their own counsel practically every six months (at Conference).

Also, how many lds venture into a catholic bookshop or read protestant texts on beliefs, understandings and practices? I think very few. Do I have references? No. But I have not seen a protestant or a catholic book in lds home libraries. But I may see something from Dessert.

You haven't seen my home library! :P While it's true that some LDS don't read religious books they don't feel have the Church's imprimatur (there is no such thing I am aware of), plenty us do.

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I agree, why me. We have always been told to do that. For you younger members, you probably don't remember when the Relief Society lessons included 1 per month called "Out of the Best Books." We studied small snippets of literature, both prose and poetry, by great authors. They were really good lessons.

"And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." Doctrine and Covenants 88:118

And Don, what I objec to in your article is the primary assumption, not supported in any way by you except to make the statment, that the Church teachings today neglect these fundamental principles. I see them every day. And I see your article as attacking the Saints and the Church. For no reason.

I didn't see it as an attack. It was merely an assertion that the CENTRAL principles of Mormonism are truth from ANYWHERE, friendship and relief. Now, we do focus on these things, but they aren't generally presented as CENTRAL. Well, friendship/love is to a large degree, I would hope. Pres. Hinckley, has done a fantastic job of preaching that we ought to reach out to our neighbors in friendship, regardless of who they are. I also think that the Church leadership PRACTICES these principles. I don't know how much "getting truth anywhere it is found" is emphasized, though, as a teaching. For me, I haven't seen that emphasized, although I definitely know that principle. Brigham Young was quoted as saying, "All truth is part of our religion," and Joseph Smith once chastized someone for criticizing another church, because all churches have truth. The D&C itself condemns the WHOLE CHURCH for not embracing the BoMormon, and we've been counciled to pray that this condemnation be lifted. If Bradey is criticizing the Church, he's in good company, in fact. It's not a good idea to say, "All is well in Zion," as you know.

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