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Let's believe all visions


Monster

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If we are going to be a church based on the visions of one man, and we are going to focus our entire belief structure on that man's visions and pronouncements, then how can we discount the visions of anyone else. How can we say our guy had visions but yours did not? How do we differentiate Joseph's visions from the founders of so many other religions at the time. If you say yon can pray to find out that is not accurate because most believers of any religion believe their leaders claims through prayer. How can we with honestly and with integrity so esily discount the visions of others and yet so proudly hold up the visions of Joseph?

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If we are going to be a church based on the visions of one man, and we are going to focus our entire belief structure on that man's visions and pronouncements, then how can we discount the visions of anyone else. How can we say our guy had visions but yours did not? How do we differentiate Joseph's visions from the founders of so many other religions at the time. If you say yon can pray to find out that is not accurate because most believers of any religion believe their leaders claims through prayer. How can we with honestly and with integrity so esily discount the visions of others and yet so proudly hold up the visions of Joseph?

We are not a church based on the visions of one man. I count Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris, Sidney Ridgon, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Mary Whitmer, Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith, David O. McKay, Spencer Kimball, David B. Haight, just to cite a few.

We do not focus our entire belief structure on one man's visions or pronouncements. There have been many prophets and apostles and counselors since Joseph Smith. And I, for one, know and consider 28 Biblical Keys for True and False Prophets.

I certainly do not discount the visions of anyone else. Alma 29, for instance, says that God gives to all men (and women and children) all that he sees fit for them to have. Moroni 7 says the light of Christ is given to all. D&C 1 says that God spoke not only to Joseph Smith, but unspecified "others."

It's not a matter of exclusive revelation. D&C 1 nowhere makes that claim. Rather it explicitly says, "I am no respecter of persons and am willing to make these things known unto all flesh."

It's quite simple to differentiate Joseph's visions from the founders of many other religions with having to a make a binary true/false distinction, but rather, what justifies a description as only well pleasing, relative to specific distinction of "true and living." Try reading Richard Bushman's essay "The Visionary World of Joseph Smith," for instance, on what sets Joseph Smith apart from other visionaries of his day.

http://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=6465

Add in my essay "A Model of Mormon Spiritual Experience" which I have linked on my About Me profile.

And consider the things that do actually distinguish Joseph Smith revelations from others. Consistency with the Bible, witnesses, priesthood authority, ordinances and covenants, temple, restoration of ancient truths, all of which correspond to Biblical passages that use "true and living" imagery.

I don't feel a need or concern to distinguish or judge another's answer to prayer, because, as Alma 29 says for me to be content with what God has given me, and recognize that he loves all people and gives them all that he sees for for them to have. The answers to my prayers are binding on me, and no one else.

To my way of thinking, you're stuck in the trap of either/or, all-or-nothing thinking. There are other paradigms that are far more tolerant and robust. And you might want to consider where the pattern of questions offered here might fit on the Perry Scheme of Cognitive and Ethical Growth.

Just a thought.

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

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How can we with honestly and with integrity so esily discount the visions of others and yet so proudly hold up the visions of Joseph?

How can we discount others? I dont know that we do. But we do know, by the spirit confirming this to us, who we should follow.

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Monster, I don't think I view this question the way you do. I agree that other people pray about their leaders visions/doctrines/etc and feel that their leaders are inspired by God, but those other people's experiences with prayer are not mine and I'm not responsible to respond to their experiences. Likewise, they are not responsible to respond to my experiences from prayer. I do think prayer is a legitimate method for determining the truth of things, however. I'll gladly admit that people make mistakes when interpreting the response they get to prayer, but, at least in my belief, God only holds people responsible for the things that they know. If what I believe is false, then I'm out of luck--at least I can say to God, "I tried to be sincere in evaluating everything that came my way, and I always tried to do what I felt was right." In the same way, when I present what I believe to others, I think they would do better to reject it (even though I know it's the truth), if they, in sincerity, do not feel that it is the truth. Better to honestly follow a (unknown) lie, then to dishonestly follow the (unknown) truth. I could certainly be wrong, and I don't mind that, but that's how I view this issue.

So, in answer to your question--I don't think we should easily discount the visions/doctrines/etc of other sincere believers. I think we should sincerely consider their message and follow what our hearts instruct us to do. If we feel it's possibly true, we ought to ponder it, pray about it, and make a decision. As Henry Eyring (the chemist) said, "In this church, you only have to believe in the truth. Find out what the truth is." There are many other statements from church leaders that say the same thing. We are instructed to search for and believe truth regardless of its source.

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Right--your method of distinguishing is probably better than mine, "(the chemist)". Thanks!

Your welcome, just wanted to make sure that people didn't get confused between Henry Eyring and Henry B. Eyring

As Patrick R. Gentry with my dad as Patrick G. Gentry, I know how easy it is to get confused when father and son have similar names with no Jr/Sr to differentiate. My worst decision ever was to bank at the same bank my dad did, I was getting calls from the bank looking for him years because they couldn't tell the difference between R and G

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If we are going to be a church based on the visions of one man, and we are going to focus our entire belief structure on that man's visions and pronouncements, then how can we discount the visions of anyone else.

You don't. You choose what you believe Monster, that you do. I have chosen what I believe, and others may choose otherwise.

I am not basing my belief on the visions of one man, actually. I am basing them on the visions of the apostles and prophets, as well as many of the people in the Book of Mormon. It is good enough for me... it may not be good enough for other people, but it is for me.

How can we say our guy had visions but yours did not?

You don't say it. You feel it. It's all done with the Spirit only, I believe.

How do we differentiate Joseph's visions from the founders of so many other religions at the time.

Feel with the spirit, and decide then. I am not so worried about other people's visions, because I know which one is the right one for me. I know which one speaks to me, but doesn't seek to dominate me, and that is how I know. =)

If you say yon can pray to find out that is not accurate because most believers of any religion believe their leaders claims through prayer.

You go and do it yourself. It is important to receive a personal witness from God about the truth of things, you shouldn't be relying so much on other people as you do the Spirit =).

How can we with honestly and with integrity so esily discount the visions of others and yet so proudly hold up the visions of Joseph?

I don't discount them. I know some of them aren't for me. I know some of them contain the wrong spirit. I know some of them I'm not supposed to worry about. I know some of them are correct. There are many spirits out there with each vision and revelation, and you must use that to decide which one is correct based on the whisperings of the Spirit to you, that is, the Holy Ghost. Only then will you know which of the other spirits follows God, and which, does not.

It's confusing... and scary, yes, but it's the way I have found is easiest and happiest to go.

Best Wishes,

TAO

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From: God/dess

To: Our Children of Earth

Re: Idiotic Religious Rivalries

Dear Children (and believe us, that's all of you), We consider ourselves pretty patient folks. For instance, look at the Grand Canyon. It took millions of years to get it right. And about evolution? Boy, nothing is slower than designing that whole Darwinian thing to take place, cell by cell, and gene by gene.

We've been patient through your fashions, civilizations, wars and schemes, and the countless ways you take Us for granted until you get yourselves into big trouble again and again.

We want to let you know about some of the things that are starting to tick Us off.

First of all, your religious rivalries are driving Us up a wall. Enough already! Let's get one thing straight: These are YOUR religions, not Ours.

We're the whole enchilada; We're beyond them all. Every one of your religions claims there is only one of Us (which by the way, is absolutely true). But in the very next breath, each religion claims it's Our favorite one.

And each claims it's scriptures were written personally by Us, and that all the other scriptures are man-made. Oy Vey. How do We even begin to put a stop to such complicated nonsense?

Okay, listen up now. We're your Father AND Mother, and We don't play favorites among Our children.

Also, We hate to break it to you, but We don't write. Our longhand is awful and We've always been more of "doers" anyway. So ALL of your books, including those Bibles, were written by men and women. They were inspired, remarkable people, but they also made mistakes here and there. We made sure of that so that you would never trust a written word more than your own living heart.

You see, one human being to Us, even a bum on the street, is worth more than all the Holy Books in the world. That's just the kind of folks we are.

Our spirit is not a historical thing. It's alive right here, right now, as fresh as your next breath.

Holy books and religious rites are sacred and powerful, but not more so than the least of you. They were only meant to steer you in the right direction, not to keep you arguing with each other, and certainly not to keep you from trusting your own personal connection with Us.

Which brings Us to Our next point about your nonsense. You act like We need you and your religions to stick up for Us or "win souls" for Our sake.

Please, don't do Us any favors. We can stand quite well on our own, thank you. We don't need you to defend Us, and We don't need constant credit. We just want you to be good to each other.

And another thing, We don't get all worked up over money or politics, so stop dragging Our names into your dramas. For example, We swear to Us ::::smile::::, that We never threatened Oral Roberts. We never rode in any of Rajneesh's Rolls Royces. We never told Pat Robertson to run for president, and We've never, EVER had a conversation with Jim Baker, Jerry Falwell, or Jimmy Swaggart! Of course, come Judgment Day, We certainly intend to....

The thing is, We want you to stop thinking of religion as some sort of loyalty pledge to Us.

The true purpose of your religions is so that YOU can become more aware of Us, not the other way around. Believe Us, We know you already. We know what's in each of your hearts, and We love you with no strings attached.

Lighten up and enjoy Us. That's what religion is best for. What you seem to forget is how mysterious We are.

You look at the petty differences in your Scriptures and say, "Well, if THIS is the truth, then THAT can't be!" But instead of trying to figure out Our Paradoxes and Unfathomable Nature, which by the way, you NEVER will, why not open your hearts to the simple common threads in all religions.

You know what We're talking about. Love and respect everyone. Be kind, even when life is scary or confusing. Take courage and be of good cheer, for We are always with you. Learn how to be quiet, so you can hear Our still, small voice. (We don't like to shout).

Leave the world a better place by living your life with dignity and gracefulness, for you are Our Own Children. Hold back nothing from life, for the parts of you that can die surely will, and the parts that can't, won't. So don't worry, be happy. (We stole that last line from Bobby McFerrin.)

Simple stuff. Why do you keep making it so complicated? It's like you're always looking for an excuse to be upset. And We're very tired of being your main excuse. Do you think We care whether you call Us.... Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, Diana, Wakantonka, Brahma, Cerridwen, Father, Mother, God, Goddess or even the Void of Nirvana? Do you think We care which of Our special children you feel closest to, Jesus, Mary, Buddha, Krishna, Gerald, Mohammed or any of the others? You can call Us and Our Special Ones any name you choose, if only you would go about Our business of loving one another as We love you. How can you keep neglecting something so simple?

We're not telling you to abandon your religions. Enjoy your religions, honor them, learn from them, just as you should enjoy, honor, and learn from your parents.

But do you walk around telling everyone that your parents are better than theirs? Your religion, like your parents, may always have the most special place in your hearts, We don't mind that at all. And We don't want you to combine all the Great Traditions in One Big Mess. Each religion is unique for a reason. Each has a unique style so that people can find the best path for themselves.

Know that Our Special Children, the ones that your religions revolve around, all live in the same place, (Our heart), and they get along perfectly, We assure you.

The clergy must stop creating a myth of sibling rivalry where there is none. Our blessed children of Earth, the world has grown too small for your pervasive religious bigotry and confusion. The whole planet is connected by air travel, satellite dishes, telephones, fax machines, rock concerts, diseases, and mutual needs and concerns.

Get with the program! If you really want to help, then commit yourselves to figuring out how to feed your hungry, clothe your naked, protect your abused, and shelter your poor. And just as importantly, make your own everyday life a shining example of kindness and good humor. We've given you all the resources you need, if only you abandon your fear of each other and begin living, loving and laughing together.

We're not really ticked off. We just wanted to grab your attention because We hate to see you suffer. But We have given you free will to choose your own paths, and We just want you to be happy.

In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust,

Us

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We are not a church based on the visions of one man. I count Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris, Sidney Ridgon, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Mary Whitmer, Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith, David O. McKay, Spencer Kimball, David B. Haight, just to cite a view.

All of those men just elaborated on the visions of Joseph. Yes I do believe we are totally a religion based on the visions of one man. Take joseph out of the equation and we have nothing to base our claims on.

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How can we discount others? I dont know that we do. But we do know, by the spirit confirming this to us, who we should follow.

I would say we discount others. We claim all other churches are not true. Therefore we must discount the visions of their leaders that claim they are true.

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All of those men just elaborated on the visions of Joseph. Yes I do believe we are totally a religion based on the visions of one man. Take joseph out of the equation and we have nothing to base our claims on.

I disagree there is tweleve witnesses to the plates, 4 who saw an angel of God tell them that the plates are true on top of seeing the plates. It is not based on one man, but 12 witnesses.

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I would say we discount others. We claim all other churches are not true. Therefore we must discount the visions of their leaders that claim they are true.

No, we must only refute that they contain the fullness of the Restored Gospel, God is not a respecter of persons, every faith has some truth in it, the problem is that a lot of the eternal truths are distorted or corrupted by man made philosophy or doctrine.

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How can we with honestly and with integrity so esily discount the visions of others and yet so proudly hold up the visions of Joseph?

I think it depends on exactly what the visions of others are, and the quality and quantity of of discernment and pride we have.

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All of those men just elaborated on the visions of Joseph. Yes I do believe we are totally a religion based on the visions of one man. Take joseph out of the equation and we have nothing to base our claims on.

There were others who had visions too, before they met Joseph, I believe.

But either way... even if it all depended on Joseph... so does everything depend on Christ as well. There are things which depend on a person... and we shouldn't say that isn't the way God is gonna do it... because sometimes he will.

I think we need to worry less about what logically makes sense, and more worry about trusting in the spirit. You can't really go wrong with the spirit. You've just gotta trust it... and truely seek with all of your heart after God. That is all that is needed really, and the rest falls in place.

Best Wishes,

TAO =)

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No, we must only refute that they contain the fullness of the Restored Gospel, God is not a respecter of persons, every faith has some truth in it, the problem is that a lot of the eternal truths are distorted or corrupted by man made philosophy or doctrine.

I am not talking about a doctrine or belief of another church here. I am talking about those who have said they have had a vision from God about the way things should be and those directions contradict Mormon doctrine. How do we discount their visions in this case other than to say they are false because they do not agree with our leaders vision. Your comment would imply that God gives incorrect visions to some people because they can not handle the truth. Maybe he does.

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If we are going to be a church based on the visions of one man, and we are going to focus our entire belief structure on that man's visions and pronouncements, then how can we discount the visions of anyone else.

Wait, what? My faith isn't based on what Joseph said.

How can we say our guy had visions but yours did not?

Easy, the Holy Ghost told me.

How do we differentiate Joseph's visions from the founders of so many other religions at the time.

What God tells you about them.

If you say yon can pray to find out that is not accurate because most believers of any religion believe their leaders claims through prayer.

And? Do you seriously believe everything everyone else says?

How can we with honestly and with integrity so esily discount the visions of others and yet so proudly hold up the visions of Joseph?

Through revelation and no other way.

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Wait, what? My faith isn't based on what Joseph said.

Easy, the Holy Ghost told me.

What God tells you about them.

And? Do you seriously believe everything everyone else says?

Through revelation and no other way.

Thats always the answer in mormondom isn't it. When in doubt the Holy Ghost told me. It fixes everything. No thought required, just do what the Holy Ghost says. Problem is God or the Holy Ghost is telling everyone different stuff with little consistency.

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Thats always the answer in mormondom isn't it. When in doubt the Holy Ghost told me. It fixes everything. No thought required, just do what the Holy Ghost says. Problem is God or the Holy Ghost is telling everyone different stuff with little consistency.

But you can't feel for yourself what other people are saying.

Thus you must trust the experiences the Holy Ghost gives you.

I don't think God intended for life to be easy or straightforward... part of the challenge is going against the majority, and trusting in your heart and him.

May your life be at peace,

Best Wishes,

TAO

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I am not talking about a doctrine or belief of another church here. I am talking about those who have said they have had a vision from God about the way things should be and those directions contradict Mormon doctrine. How do we discount their visions in this case other than to say they are false because they do not agree with our leaders vision. Your comment would imply that God gives incorrect visions to some people because they can not handle the truth. Maybe he does.

As I previously told you we can discount them because we know as Mormons that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the one true Church of Christ. Now we cannot discount always discount that these visions happened, but we can discount that these visions if they did actually happen are from God and carry the prophetic authority for the world that the living Prophet Thomas S. Monson has.

The various explanations are to broad to list, without specific examples so I will not derail the thread with every possible way someone can believe they had a genuine vision and it the source not be God.

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I give other people's visions the benefit of the doubt unless I have good reason to do otherwise. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are relevant to me. There are a lot of things that are true that have nothing to do with obtaining exaltation.

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All of those men just elaborated on the visions of Joseph. Yes I do believe we are totally a religion based on the visions of one man. Take joseph out of the equation and we have nothing to base our claims on.

Not exactly a comprehensive, logical, line by line, point for point response.

In saying "all of those men just elaborated on the visions of Joseph" you shift the definition of "visions" I was responding to. Joseph Smith is not the only witness to his experience, the only one who had supernatural visions, in LDS history. LDS history and the personal experience of many LDS provide independent witnesses.

If you believe that the LDS are totally based on the visions of one man, and the rest of us are uncritical sheep who go through life, in lockstep, pointing back at Joseph saying, "Whatever he said," that is your privilege. My point is, and my perspective is, that we are not just a bunch of people who uncritically take his word and no other evidence or experience of any kind. As your argument "totally dependent" itself depends.

Not every important LDS claim has to do with Joseph Smith. As I recall, the Bible existed before Joseph came along. If I want to claim that Jesus is the Christ, I can do so without reference to Joseph Smith. As can a few billion other people.

I can back up a bit further, and consider the important religious claim that there is a God. And I can argue that case with out reference to the Bible. I have elsewhere considered that historically, people have justified their belief in God by appealing to numinous experience, mystical experience, feelings of awe and reverence for the cosmos and creation, experience of conscience and moral obligation, a sense of what Martin Buber calls "I and Thou", that God speaks to us through events, and that we answer through our actions, through personal experience of reorientation and reconciliation, through myths and social rituals, and finally through key historical events, some of which, not the total, for LDS involve Joseph Smith.

I've long thought that one of the problems in being stuck at a level of "all-or-nothing" thinking is that it engenders both blindness, a general eagerness to prematurely leap to dramatic conclusions, and to demonstrate brittle vulnerability to the slightest bumps that broader experience always provides.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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I give other people's visions the benefit of the doubt unless I have good reason to do otherwise. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are relevant to me. There are a lot of things that are true that have nothing to do with obtaining exaltation.

Ditto. Well said.

HiJolly

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