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What Are The Greatest Challenges In Communication For Lds To Non-Lds And Vice Versa.


Mudcat

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The new missionaries will be coming by the house next Wed.

I was open to them scheduling a date but after scheduling I explained a bit about myself and my exposure to LDS theology. I offered that they were welcome to follow whatever guidelines they normally had set for a first visit, but I also acknowledged that there was the possibility of redundancy on the matter.

At that point, one of the Elders said, "Hey.. we will talk about whatever you want to talk about."

I said, "Okay I'll get back with you on what it is."

I have thought about and decided on a topic.

In short, it is the topic posted in title of the OP.

"What are the greatest challenges in communication for LDS to non-LDS and vice versa?"

I informed the missionaries and they thought it was cool. I didn't want to hog the discussion on that topic, so I left the caveat that after a half hour at most we would move on to whatever they wished to discuss. They informed me that they would update me on their particular topic of choice after they had come up with one.

I suppose I am glad they are prepared to do a bit a "free-styling".

Regardless, I thought it might be an interesting subject for the forum.

What do you think are the greatest challenges in communication for LDS to non-LDS and vice versa?

Furthermore, what do you think are the best ways to surmount such challenges?

Respectfully,

Mudcat

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I agree with TAO... common respect is essential...

But, IMO, closed minds are the greatest challenge. For instance, I have received a strong testimony of the restored gospel, and many answers to prayers that strengthen that testimony. Therefore, Mudcat, if you and I were to sit down together, even though I do respect you greatly and your right to your views, I would take what I could from them but still not change my basic beliefs or position.

By the same token, I'm sure you hold similar feelings about your own views as opposed to mine. Therefore, you would treat me with respect and patience but not be willing to change your position. Because of our strong individual views, we may be able to have some common ground, but because our individual minds, and hearts, and made up, we probably would not change positions to any serious degree.

After all, look how long you've been participating here, and you're married to an LDS wife... I'm glad you've been participating here and have made friends that you care about and trust. I believe that has hopefully eased some of your views toward LDS, but it hasn't changed your basic position. Nor has your wife changed hers, although I'm sure you both realize you have common ground and now have an easier relationship when it comes to spiritual matters.

from the beach on a lovely, sunny morning (7:45 a.m.) as I prepare to leave to go clean the chapel... GG

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I agree with TAO... common respect is essential...

But, IMO, closed minds are the greatest challenge. For instance, I have received a strong testimony of the restored gospel, and many answers to prayers that strengthen that testimony. Therefore, Mudcat, if you and I were to sit down together, even though I do respect you greatly and your right to your views, I would take what I could from them but still not change my basic beliefs or position.

By the same token, I'm sure you hold similar feelings about your own views as opposed to mine. Therefore, you would treat me with respect and patience but not be willing to change your position. Because of our strong individual views, we may be able to have some common ground, but because our individual minds, and hearts, and made up, we probably would not change positions to any serious degree.

After all, look how long you've been participating here, and you're married to an LDS wife... I'm glad you've been participating here and have made friends that you care about and trust. I believe that has hopefully eased some of your views toward LDS, but it hasn't changed your basic position. Nor has your wife changed hers, although I'm sure you both realize you have common ground and now have an easier relationship when it comes to spiritual matters.

from the beach on a lovely, sunny morning (7:45 a.m.) as I prepare to leave to go clean the chapel... GG

I think one can have an open mind without changing one's position. There are barriers to communication, perhaps I can bring up a couple (on both sides) that I've personally encountered:

1. The one-true-church philosophy

2. Viewing non-LDS as worldly

3. Viewing LDS as religious fanatics

4. Viewing LDS as unintelligent (due to a strong belief)

H.

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Hi GG,

I agree with TAO... common respect is essential...

I agree as well. The difficulty is how do we get common respect? I think on some level a lot of people feel you have to earn the right to be understood.

But, IMO, closed minds are the greatest challenge. For instance, I have received a strong testimony of the restored gospel, and many answers to prayers that strengthen that testimony. Therefore, Mudcat, if you and I were to sit down together, even though I do respect you greatly and your right to your views, I would take what I could from them but still not change my basic beliefs or position.

I think you are touching on the largest problem that all people of faith have. In that personal testimony can not be conveyed in a real sense. Unlike a rock that sits on a table the we can both touch feel and verify. Our own testimonies are like rocks we hold in our spiritual hands. They seem completely sound to each of us for our own beliefs, but all I can do is tell you about my particular "rock" and vice versa.

That will always be an issue that is intractable to some degree.

Regards,

Mudcat

....................

I think one of the biggest challeges is that we often use the same terms but mean them in different ways.

I was just thinking about posting something similar Bluebell. For example, "Saved" typically means one specific thing to an EV and could have multiple meanings to an LDS. Seeking clear definitions, is about the only past that hurdle.

IMO this particular barrier is significantly larger when dealing with a person who has no good understanding of the others faith, doubly so if both parties are unfamiliar with the others faith. I would imagine under such circumstances, either or both parties could feel they have a much better understanding of another faith but actually have a number of false conceptions.

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I agree with BB. We often need to first define our terms. Then we need to find common ground and go from there. I think of Ammon with King Lamoni and how Ammon took the belief in the Great Spirit and expanded on that.

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I think one can have an open mind without changing one's position. There are barriers to communication, perhaps I can bring up a couple (on both sides) that I've personally encountered:

1. The one-true-church philosophy

2. Viewing non-LDS as worldly

3. Viewing LDS as religious fanatics

4. Viewing LDS as unintelligent (due to a strong belief)

H.

Bold mine.

From my particular side of the fence, this one poses a deal of difficulty and I have encountered it quite a bit.

It puts any other person automatically in the category of "wrong". It makes people defensive and unwilling to listen, because they feel the other person thinks they have nothing that could contribute to the discourse.

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Bold mine.

From my particular side of the fence, this one poses a deal of difficulty and I have encountered it quite a bit.

It puts any other person automatically in the category of "wrong". It makes people defensive and unwilling to listen, because they feel the other person thinks they have nothing that could contribute to the discourse.

I agree this is a tough problem.

How would recommend, as a non-LDS, getting past it? Do LDS have to lose their belief in the trueness of their religion before they can successful discuss religion with nonmembers?

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Do LDS have to lose their belief in the trueness of their religion before they can successful discuss religion with nonmembers?

It seems the only way the discussion can go it into the Apostasy and then the discussion of restoring the church as it was established in Christ's day, ie, apostles, prophets, etc. Outside of denying that we have the proper authority I don't know how else it can go and then a person has to decide if they agree with that or not.

I don't recall the missionaries saying to me when I was getting the lessons that my church was false and theirs was true. Rather they approached through the Bible and what Christ had established and how that was lost.

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It seems the only way the discussion can go it into the Apostasy and then the discussion of restoring the church as it was established in Christ's day, ie, apostles, prophets, etc. Outside of denying that we have the proper authority I don't know how else it can go and then a person has to decide if they agree with that or not.

I don't recall the missionaries saying to me when I was getting the lessons that my church was false and theirs was true. Rather they approached through the Bible and what Christ had established and how that was lost.

I think it's hard for nonmembers to not feel their faith or church is being looked down upon by members because of our bold claims concerning authority and the apostasy. I think sometimes, because it's an uncomfortable place for them (as it would be for LDS in the same shoes), they fault members for daring to claim that the LDS church is the only true church-they take offense to it because all they hear is 'you are wrong' and immediately go on the offensive. (and i'm not saying that all nonmembers come at it from this angle. Many don't. Some do though.)

If it helps such nonmembers to see the issue differently though, they might try, when discussing religious claims with LDS, to remember how their beliefs and their truth claims would come across to a Jewish person, or a Muslim, or a Pagan.

If they feel it is acceptable for themselves to declare the superiority of the truthfulness of Christianity over other belief systems, and if they feel it is unreasonable for nonChristian faiths to expect them to ignore their own beliefs because they seem arrogant to them, then maybe they can see LDS truth claims in a different light.

In a religious discussion, it's easy to take things personally. Sometimes you just have to meet people where they are though and let them have the beliefs they have without demanding that those beliefs are offensive because they imply other beliefs are wrong. This is something that nonLDS and LDS could work on, myself included.

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One of the biggest blocks to communication is wanting to just be understood. How can you communicate with me if you don't understand what I am saying. Actually, that is saying it the wrong way. The question should be "How can I communicate with you if I don't understand what you are saying?"

I have tried teaching this to my boys, the old Covey principle of "seek to understand before being understood" thingy. That is something very hard for many people to learn. For instance, my boys, when they were younger, thought that if I truly understood what they wanted and were saying, that I would agree with them and change my mind. It took a long time to convince them that I can truly understand them and know exactly what they want, but I could still still disagree with them. I had to tell them over and over again that being open-minded didn't mean empty-headed.

We would get into discussions and I would listen to them and then I would repeat back to them what they were trying to tell me and then I would put what they said into my own words and then I ask them if I had understood them correctly. They would light up and say that I had understood them "perfectly" and they knew then that I had to agree with their faultless logic and reasoning. Life is cruel and parents are even worse.

I would explain to them why I disagreed and then they would have to explain to me why I disagreed with them. They hated that. It took so long and eventually they would see my POV and why I disagreed. They would still insist that I didn't understand them, but when I would start asking questions about how I had misunderstood them, they realized that they didn't have a response.

Sad to say, but my sons, as teenagers, were totally bullheaded, completely unlike their father, blessed be his mother and father. I finally got to the point that if I disagreed with them, I would say "no" and when asked why, the response was "I'm dad." They hated that response. That usually meant the discussion was over with.

I also found out that how I tried to teach them to listen to what the other person was saying and trying to understand why he was saying it and what he really wanted was working because I heard one of them doing what I do to a friend of his.

Another huge block in communication is not wanting to make the necessary sacrifices to open the channels of communication.

Heb. 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

A lot of people forget or haven't learnt that true communications require a lot of sacrifices.

Marvin J. Ashton talked about this back when I was young and I have never forgotten this talk: http://lds.org/new-era/1978/10/family-communications?lang=eng

1. A willingness to sacrifice. Be the kind of a family member who is willing to take time to be available. Develop the ability and self-discipline to think of other family members and their communication needs ahead of your own—a willingness to prepare for the moment—the sharing moment, the teaching moment. Shed the very appearance of preoccupation in self, and learn the skill of penetrating a family member’s shield of preoccupation. Sad is the day when a daughter is heard to say, “My mother gives me everything except herself.”

Too early and too often we sow the seeds of “Can’t you see I’m busy? Don’t bother me now.” When we convey the attitude of “Go away, don’t bother me now,” family members are apt to go elsewhere or isolate themselves in silence. All family members on some occasion or other must be taken on their own terms so they will be willing to come, share, and ask.

It takes personal sacrifice to communicate when conditions are right for the other person—during the meal preparation, after a date, a hurt, a victory, a disappointment, or when someone wants to share a confidence. One must be willing to forego personal convenience to invest time in establishing a firm foundation for family communication. When communication in the family seems to be bogging down, each individual should look to himself for the remedy.

If we would know true love and understanding one for another, we must realize that communication is more than a sharing of words. It is the wise sharing of emotions, feelings, and concerns. It is the sharing of oneself totally. “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” (James 3:13.)

Bolding and coloring are mine.

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I agree this is a tough problem.

How would recommend, as a non-LDS, getting past it? Do LDS have to lose their belief in the trueness of their religion before they can successful discuss religion with nonmembers?

No I wouldn't think so. I would think it wouldn't make for the best opening topic though.

When I have bumped into this, it has had a great deal more to do with attitude of the speaker. Some opt to preach rather than communicate. Preaching is typically, one way communication where the preaching personality doesn't want to provide the right of reciprocal communication because they feel they are the only one who really has anything worth saying. It hasn't got so much to do with the belief that a persons faith is the "one true" faith. It's the association of an authoritarian type style of communication with that.

I don't want impugn LDS specifically.. or even most LDS for that matter. There are certainly EV's who do the same. In example, I had one of the most abrasive conversations with a dogmatic Lutheran minister the other day. When I informed him I was aligned a to some degree with Southern Baptist theology he spent a great deal of time informing all the various doctrines I likely believed were unscriptural with about the same tone my High School Principal used when you got sent to the office for scolding. I must tell you, it really made we want to study Lutheran doctrine all the more. :rolleyes:

I think the best solution is psychotherapy for the speaker or in the event that is impossible. A set of earplugs for the listener.

That aside. I think how the notion of an Apostasy occured and so forth can be worded either poorly or worded well. LDS don't seem to actually think that all things were lost in "the Great Apostasy", just some very important things. However, if the concept is expressed to poorly this may not be conveyed and the listener may be completely alienated in the process.

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I think one of the biggest challeges is that we often use the same terms but mean them in different ways.

I second this. It has been my experience that we offten talk past each other because we have a different understanding of the same terms or we describe the same concept in terms that seem to mean something else to the other party.

bluebell said it best.

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Bold mine.

From my particular side of the fence, this one poses a deal of difficulty and I have encountered it quite a bit.

It puts any other person automatically in the category of "wrong". It makes people defensive and unwilling to listen, because they feel the other person thinks they have nothing that could contribute to the discourse.

I think this concept is misunderstood by both sides.

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Biggest issue? Wanting to be right rather than wanting to do right. When we care more about a principle than the person our principles were designed to save, we are immediately in trouble. I've posted this quote here before but it really speaks to me so here it is again.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton, April 1992 GC:

We are reminded that Jesus Christ, the only perfect person to ever walk the earth, taught us through quiet example to say nothing or to be silent in stressful times in our lives rather than to spend time and energy bashing for whatever purpose.

So what is the antidote for this bashing that hurts feelings, demeans others, destroys relationships, and harms self-esteem? Bashing should be replaced with charity. Moroni described it this way:

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all. …

“Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.” (Moro. 7:46–47.)

Charity is, perhaps, in many ways a misunderstood word. We often equate charity with visiting the sick, taking in casseroles to those in need, or sharing our excess with those who are less fortunate. But really, true charity is much, much more.

Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again. It makes the thought of being a basher repulsive.

Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.

None of us need one more person bashing or pointing out where we have failed or fallen short. Most of us are already well aware of the areas in which we are weak. What each of us does need is family, friends, employers, and brothers and sisters who support us, who have the patience to teach us, who believe in us, and who believe we’re trying to do the best we can, in spite of our weaknesses. What ever happened to giving each other the benefit of the doubt? What ever happened to hoping that another person would succeed or achieve? What ever happened to rooting for each other?

It should come as no surprise that one of the adversary’s tactics in the latter days is stirring up hatred among the children of men. He loves to see us criticize each other, make fun or take advantage of our neighbor’s known flaws, and generally pick on each other. The Book of Mormon is clear from where all anger, malice, greed, and hate come.

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The new missionaries will be coming by the house next Wed.

I was open to them scheduling a date but after scheduling I explained a bit about myself and my exposure to LDS theology. I offered that they were welcome to follow whatever guidelines they normally had set for a first visit, but I also acknowledged that there was the possibility of redundancy on the matter.

At that point, one of the Elders said, "Hey.. we will talk about whatever you want to talk about."

I said, "Okay I'll get back with you on what it is."

I have thought about and decided on a topic.

In short, it is the topic posted in title of the OP.

"What are the greatest challenges in communication for LDS to non-LDS and vice versa?"

I informed the missionaries and they thought it was cool. I didn't want to hog the discussion on that topic, so I left the caveat that after a half hour at most we would move on to whatever they wished to discuss. They informed me that they would update me on their particular topic of choice after they had come up with one.

I suppose I am glad they are prepared to do a bit a "free-styling".

Regardless, I thought it might be an interesting subject for the forum.

What do you think are the greatest challenges in communication for LDS to non-LDS and vice versa?

Furthermore, what do you think are the best ways to surmount such challenges?

Respectfully,

Mudcat

A most interesting topic would be the Urim and Thummim and what happened to them.

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Don't derail the thread, thews. Go start a new one.

Mudcat, I gotta admit... I've never understood the offense over the one true Church thinking. I think you're wrong and you think I'm wrong. It's not the end of the world, I never really got the feeling that just because a guy was wrong meant he was going to hell, or that God would punish it. I think anyone who honestly seeks to do what's right based on what he knows will end up receiving all the blessings God can give.

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I think our unexamined assumptions that colour how we define words and concepts in our own head that are the greatest problem....primarily because we assume that others understand them the same way or that they at least know that we understand them that way when they really don't. So we end up having these long involved conversations without realizing the other is talking about something different than we think s/he is talking about.

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Don't derail the thread, thews. Go start a new one.

Mudcat, I gotta admit... I've never understood the offense over the one true Church thinking. I think you're wrong and you think I'm wrong. It's not the end of the world, I never really got the feeling that just because a guy was wrong meant he was going to hell, or that God would punish it. I think anyone who honestly seeks to do what's right based on what he knows will end up receiving all the blessings God can give.

I think this is one area where most LDS hold different assumptions about what "one true Church" implies to most nonLDS so that most LDS don't see this as something beyond "I think you're wrong and you think I'm wrong" but most nonLDS see this as something that is much more aggressive in its condemnation.

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Don't derail the thread, thews. Go start a new one.

Mudcat, I gotta admit... I've never understood the offense over the one true Church thinking. I think you're wrong and you think I'm wrong. It's not the end of the world, I never really got the feeling that just because a guy was wrong meant he was going to hell, or that God would punish it. I think anyone who honestly seeks to do what's right based on what he knows will end up receiving all the blessings God can give.

What's to derail? This is an honest question I would be interested in having an answer to. To the OP, it's a relevant question to ask.

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Hey Mud,

Without question, the biggest challenge is the absolute need/demand to be right at all costs.

BTW, I am sure your upcoming date with the missionaries will be a time of great mutual value for all involved.

Peace,

Ceeboo

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I think this concept [one true church] is misunderstood by both sides.

[sic] added.

It is possible. I've always understood it to mean that the CoJCoLDS contains the only priesthood authority, directly from Jesus Christ, to administer the ordinances of salvation, namely baptism, confirmation, conferral of the priesthood, the washing and anointing, the endowment, and the sealing. No other church holds this authority, thus, no other church can bring about salvation.

Most members I know understand it this way. I recall, when I was baptised almost 20 years ago, the missionaries made a big deal about telling me that any other form of baptism was invalid, and that any other who claimed priesthood authority, outside the CoJCoLDS, was not acting with authority from God. Perhaps the missionaries don't teach this today, I don't really know.

I must admit that I don't know how non-LDS understand the one-true-church mantra. My experience is that, unless I bring it up, there is a very slim chance that the non-LDS have not even heard of this.

H.

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A most interesting topic would be the Urim and Thummim and what happened to them.

Hi Thews,

I would think the answer would be speculative at best. Not that there is anything wrong with speculation. But the topic has been laid out and I'll leave it where it stands.

If things trend toward speculative topics, I would be more inclined to introduce the question if they feel Christ's salvific efforts are Universal in a complete sense or if they feel that it is possible that future Christ type individuals must step forward for the sake of many.

Regards,

Mudcat

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[sic] added.

It is possible. I've always understood it to mean that the CoJCoLDS contains the only priesthood authority, directly from Jesus Christ, to administer the ordinances of salvation, namely baptism, confirmation, conferral of the priesthood, the washing and anointing, the endowment, and the sealing. No other church holds this authority, thus, no other church can bring about salvation.

Most members I know understand it this way. I recall, when I was baptised almost 20 years ago, the missionaries made a big deal about telling me that any other form of baptism was invalid, and that any other who claimed priesthood authority, outside the CoJCoLDS, was not acting with authority from God. Perhaps the missionaries don't teach this today, I don't really know.

I must admit that I don't know how non-LDS understand the one-true-church mantra. My experience is that, unless I bring it up, there is a very slim chance that the non-LDS have not even heard of this.

H.

Thanks for this LDST,

Bold mine. This seems to be a fair articulation of the "one true" paradigm.

This is the classic LDS high horse. Christ saves through the authorized priesthood....

Thus all that don't jive with that are unsaved from something, if not hell.

Well it's a good thing Christ put all this salvation "stuff" in the hands of the CoJCoLDS. It's a grand thing he has made it impossible to save anyone without the priesthood of the CoJCoLDS.

edit add...

IMO, the Church saves no one. Christ saves all who would come to him, those who come to him are part of the Church. Given your stance, the CoJCoLDS are the gatekeepers of salvation. I just don't think it works that way.

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