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We are a question asking people


Deborah

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This is an offshoot of the chapel vs internet Mormons thread, which has gone off on a tangent (imagine that!).

I was listening to a Fireside talk by Elder Uchtdorf given Nov. 1, 2009. I. This is the talk if you want to listen to it : Uchtdorf talk. The remarks I

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Do you think that it is possible that sometimes our 'knowledge' might be in error?

It depends on what that knowledge is based on. What seems to happen is that people who actually got a spiritual confirmation, and once even bore testimony of that, will change the meaning of that spiritual confirmation to conform to their new found "knowledge" rather than table the supposed knowledge because of the power of the spiritual confirmation. I think this is the backward approach.

Are you speaking of a subset of LDS critics? Could you clarify please?

I am referring to the professional critics (the bloggers, the book writers, the protestors) on whom the falling-away-from-the-church critics and the never LDS tend to base their information.

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our responsibility to find out for ourselves and strengthen our own testimonies.

I think this is what was meant by Moses commanding the people to look and be saved: Helaman 8:15, "And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal." Each person had to turn his own head.

And as Jesus invites us to do: Isa. 45: 22, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."

But the asking has to be done with the right heart: 1 Nephi 15:2-4, "...I beheld my brethren, and they were disputing one with another concerning the things which my father had spoken unto them. For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought."

To me, "looking unto" and "looking upon" is much different than "looking at"--"looking unto/upon" conveys a dependency, expectation or need for an answer or a result.

The Lord encourages this: Matthew 21:22, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

And this builds obedience, 1 John 3:22, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."

And this builds testimony: John 7:17, "If any man will ado his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

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Deborah--Thanks for this thread, as this has been on my mind also.

Concerning the meat VS milk issue and as you mentioned, the critics' demands that all information be given up front. Remember how Joseph Smith received the Gospel? Little by little. He wasn't given everything up front either. Nor was anyone else. The Lord continued to instruct, and add new doctrine, and let the Gospel, or the knowledge of it, evolve. Sometimes He would give out a bit of new doctrine, patiently let us act upon it in our usually clumsy manner, then slowly He'd add the rest till we had the whole principle.

A perfect example is baptism of the dead. When this was first revealed, people seized upon it and baptized anyone, for anyone. Women were baptized for deceased sons, fathers, etc., and men were baptized for women, with very poor records kept. Much of it had to be redone. Also the sealing powers, wherein people were sealed to anyone they chose, rather than to their own family. It seems a little chaotic, but nevertheless, the Lord sometimes seems to step back and let us figure it out.

My point is -- none of us received the meat with the milk. We ALL learned piece by piece, line upon line.

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As I recall, Tony Robbins once said that the quality of our life depends upon the quality of the questions we ask.

I probably can't overstate the importance of that meme.

That is a great point. Often the questions the Lord would want us to ask aren't the questions we actually ask. However, the Lord knows our unasked questions, better than we do, and is willing to give us more than we ever thought we could get.

Joseph never received any revelation save he asked a question first. And then the Lord would give him more than what a simple answer to his question would be. I think the same goes for us, even though we may never get such powerful visitations. Still when we ask a question we may get answers that are powerful testimony builders or that lead us in another direction where we can gain insights we might otherwise never have gotten.

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Alma 22 has an interesting discussion with King Lamoni's father. When Aaron began asking him about the Great Spirit, the king replied "Yea, I believe that the Great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should tell me concerning all these things, and I will believe thy words." Why was the king willing to take such a leap of faith: because he had seen the transformation in his own son and the love Ammon had for him.

I think this is a key to what sources we choose to believe for our information. I have grown to love and trust the Prophets and Apostles. I know from being in positions of leadership myself what care goes into the selection of people and how the Spirit works to inspire those leaders. Therefore I will trust those sources above those where the writer's motive is not to uplift me in my faith but to tear down the faith that I have. People talk about objectivity. There is no objectivity where the gospel is concerned; why, because in order to believe one first has to take that leap of faith and have a desire to believe. That is why in my very personal opinion when someone starts trusting other sources outside the Lord or his leaders, one is already looking for a way out.

Now of course we know how the critics like to quote long dead prophets, out of context mind you. But they can't get it through their heads that is is living prophets we pay heed to when it comes to how we live the gospel principles. They can quote BY all they want, but what Brigham said to those people in that venue was for them, not for us. That isn't to say what they taught wasn't true within the context of the day and the knowledge they had, but that for us the same principles may not apply. Nor is it to say that general truth they taught regarding our salvation still aren't important for us today. If anything is learned it's that obedience to whatever the Prophet of the day is teaching is what is important.

When we have a trusted source then we will be willing to believe what they say, whether we understand it or not. It is then up to us to get our own testimony of the truthfulness of what is taught; sometimes that testimony comes without fully understanding the reasons behind it.

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That is why in my very personal opinion when someone starts trusting other sources outside the Lord or his leaders, one is already looking for a way out.

Huh. So in your reality, everyone who has ever cited C.S. Lewis must have already been packing their bags? :P

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Huh. So in your reality, everyone who has ever cited C.S. Lewis must have already been packing their bags? ;)

We are talking in the context of finding answers to gospel questions or church history, not in the context of finding inspiration per se. In any case the GA's have quoted C.S. Lewis, so I think it is a good source for inspiration. :P

RS used to have monthly lessons called "Out of the Best Books." I wish they'd bring it back. There are many great and wonderful works by non LDS writers. I think the 13th Article of Faith shows where we should go for our sources "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

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It is, in my opinion, a complete lack of integrity to accept only answers which confirm the bias of a pre-existing authority figure.

It isn't a question of not being aware of what the opposition says, and in fact we ought to know what the arguments are. It's a matter of what one chooses to accept as true. If someone whose goal is to tear down, why would you give them more weight than those who have studied the same issue and retained their faith? Or why would you throw out all the other things you already know are true because of one area that you can't find satisfactory answer on; to me this is the lack of integrity and I think one would question his ability to discern truth if he thought he once had it but now lets something conjectured about destroy everything that came before. The question then is was I right before or am I right now and how can I trust myself in the future.

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I think Deborah meant other sources that contradict the Lord and His servants.

Ah. If so, that makes much more sense.

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It isn't a question of not being aware of what the opposition says, and in fact we ought to know what the arguments are. It's a matter of what one chooses to accept as true. If someone whose goal is to tear down, why would you give them more weight than those who have studied the same issue and retained their faith? Or why would you throw out all the other things you already know are true because of one area that you can't find satisfactory answer on; to me this is the lack of integrity and I think one would question his ability to discern truth if he thought he once had it but now lets something conjectured about destroy everything that came before. The question then is was I right before or am I right now and how can I trust myself in the future.

I am reminded of D&C 6:22-23, "cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?"

I've had that peace spoken to my mind. I know what it feels like. Even though it may have been on another matter, and not the current matter I am concerned with, I still reflect back on that night when I truly felt God's peace, concerning the truthfulness of the Gospel.

So when questions arise and I can't find the answer, I set them aside until God feels I'm ready for the answer. I don't start questioning everything else He's already answered.

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I think this question would be best answered by those who have dared question the authority, message, teachings or guidance of the church leadership. Wait....most of them have probably been disfellowshipped or exed. In the LDS church, one gets the impression that it's okay to pose questions, only if the answers to those questions eventually lead to support for the faith. However, if one were to publicly question the motives or message of church leadership, they might find themselves in hot water. Personally, I wouldn't classify Mormons as a "question asking people."

In light of this question, I have always given great credence to Nietzsche's saying "the will to a system is a lack of integrity."

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I think this question would be best answered by those who have dared question the authority, message, teachings or guidance of the church leadership. Wait....most of them have probably been disfellowshipped or exed. In the LDS church, one gets the impression that it's okay to pose questions, only if the answers to those questions eventually lead to support for the faith. However, if one were to publicly question the motives or message of church leadership, they might find themselves in hot water. Personally, I wouldn't classify Mormons as a "question asking people."

It may seem that way. But it depends upon the questioner's attitude. There are always answers/responses to the questions, but sometimes pride gets in the way of accepting those answers. It's really all about pride.

And what is the need for public questioning? Most any priesthood leader would be accessible for a private discussion involving questions. Maybe one person's perception of public questioning, is another person's version of criticism.

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Personally, I wouldn't classify Mormons as a "question asking people."

I can't speak to that. It is clear, however, that such principles are at the very core of what Joseph taught and did.

And such is at the core of the more modern message you choose to doubt.

...I have always given great credence to Nietzsche's saying "the will to a system is a lack of integrity."

It sounds like you've adopted Nietzsche's system.

Do you ever question his teaching? Or his authority?

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I attended the fireside where President Uchtdorf gave that talk. I just wanted to remark on what a powerful speaker he is and how impressed I was with his remarks. A lot of them really hit home with me and helped me through that week.

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It sounds like you've adopted Nietzsche's system.

Do you ever question his teaching? Or his authority?

What kind of questions are these? If one were to quote Shakespeare, would you ask if that person has adopted "Shakespeare's system"?

As one who speaks German and is married to a German member of the Church, I happen to be a fan of Nietzsche.

Do I question his philosophy? Absolutely.

Do I agree with everything he taught and stood for? Absolutely not. Some of it has proven, with the advance of time, be useless and even counterproductive. But he was brilliant in the time in which he lived and is valued for his contributions to philosophy and especially to a better understanding of the role and effects of Christianity in society.

Did Nietzsche have authority? He did only to the extent that he based his philosophy and teachings on evidence, and described a coherent, internally self-consistent worldview.

I take your comments to imply that one should compare Nietzsche's philosophy as the basis of a worldview to that of the Mormon Church. Such a comparison would show that both have been overtaken by social progress. Those who admire Nietzsche are free to discount what no longer works and adapt and use those parts of his philosophy that remain pertinent.

Such appears not to be the case with the teachings of Mormon leaders (unless such changes are sanctioned by other more contemporary Mormon leaders, or leaders of higher authority).

My response to the OP question would be a qualified "No". Mormons in good standing are expected to not question their leaders. The theme of obedience is frequently found in the leaderships' message to members and runs strong and deep in Mormon culture. These "obedience messages" are supported by such admonitions as, "when Church leaders speak, the thinking has been done".

If questions are asked, then the members are directed only to Church approved information sources for the answers, and any data they might find there is interpreted for them by the leadership. When such interpretation is unavailable or uncomfortable, then apologists take over, providing Church leaders with credible deniability, if the interpretation should prove untenable.

Mormons who wish to remain in good standing can only be a "question asking people" within the limits and boundaries set forth by their leaders. This would seem to be more the case now than it ever has been.

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The key word in Arc's rant, of course, is "seem".

However it might appear to Arc and his fellow zealots, the reality is quite different.

His use of the tired old "the thinking has been done" chestnut is ample evidence that his position is based on deliberate distortions and innuendo, rather than the actual statements of Church members and their leaders.

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My response to the OP question would be a qualified "No". Mormons in good standing are expected to not question their leaders. The theme of obedience is frequently found in the leaderships' message to members and runs strong and deep in Mormon culture. These "obedience messages" are supported by such admonitions as, "when Church leaders speak, the thinking has been done".

Pulling out that old canard? In the first place we are talking about questions regarding doctrine or teachings, which is quite different from "questioning" leaders. There is however a process for that and I know of Bishops or Stake Presidents and even General Authorities who have been removed when people have legitimate issues and go through proper channels.

There is a difference between questioning something and openly rebelling against the church, and as Brenda has indicated it is a matter of attitude and pride. Contrary to what the apostates like to announce, no one is excommunicated for questioning belief. It is when that person actively begins to proselyte their own belief which is contrary to the church's teachings that a problem arises. And even then the leaders will give every opportunity to step back and review what it is one is doing. And why would someone who openly opposes the church choose to remain a member in any case?

If questions are asked, then the members are directed only to Church approved information sources for the answers, and any data they might find there is interpreted for them by the leadership.

Interesting interpretation when the church is openly publishing the original historical documents without interpretation for all to review. The sources I have found for answers haven't been any interpretations but the actual scriptures or personal prayer. Yes, I've read many sources, both church related and anti, but in the end it comes down to what do the scriptures say and what answers do I get via personal revelation. And yes I do love listening to the scholars who have studied the historical context of the scriptures and can add insights to what is being said in the scriptures.

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I attended the fireside where President Uchtdorf gave that talk. I just wanted to remark on what a powerful speaker he is and how impressed I was with his remarks. A lot of them really hit home with me and helped me through that week.

He is a wonderful speaker. How fortunate you were able to be there. There is something to be said for being present in such a talk to really get the power of the Spirit in such a meeting.

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