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It seems a lot of people are seeking help to their questions on the Church, yet they are getting fed by the Anti/Post/Whatever LDS who are going to bend them in a direction that the Church is "whitewashing".

What can we do as members to be the one to feed them instead?

JMS

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Eh...

If you've got suspicions that you're being misled, you're probably going to assume that other members and the leadership are the ones doing the misleading, at least in some measure. You're probably more likely to hear the 'other side' of the story, as it were, and ignore what you've been hearing for your whole life from LDS sources. People listen to sources they trust. When a member hears something opposite of what they heard through LDS channels, the first reaction is (understandably so) mistrust.

It's the next few steps that the member chooses that ultimately decide where they end up, in my opinion.

Do they decide there's more to the story and it's possible the critical position doesn't hold all the answers?

Do they decide that their spiritual experiences through with the Gospel and Priesthood were all in their head, or not?

Do they decide to confide in a family member with whom they feel comfortable discussing these issues?

Do they decide that the Church has been disingenuous, and so they feel wronged, and distrustful of LDS sources?

Me personally, when I first heard of Joseph Smith's polyandrous relationships, Kinderhook plates, MMM, etc... when I was in high school, I had already found out for myself that the Book of Mormon came from God. I also was blessed with a great father with whom no subject of Gospel discussion was out of bounds. I realized that there was a false imminence to the questions. That is to say, I felt rushed, and that if I didn't have an answer ready for all these sticky issues right then and there then I had to accept the critical ones. My father helped me go slower and rely on the Lord to guide me.

I think that unless you hold that special position of trust, you can't really do anything but love and serve your neighbor.

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It seems a lot of people are seeking help to their questions on the Church, yet they are getting fed by the Anti/Post/Whatever LDS who are going to bend them in a direction that the Church is "whitewashing".

What can we do as members to be the one to feed them instead?

JMS

"Feeding" is only possible if the person is "hungry". Otherwise what we do is force-feeding. Parents do this routinely to their children and it is not pretty.

People come to fora like this one to hear differing points of view. If they were not inquisitive or troubled in the first place they would not visit these kinds of "places". So don't be so concerned about what impression they might be getting. At some point we all must "grow up" and start questioning everything and thinking for ourselves....

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At some point we all must "grow up" and start questioning everything and thinking for ourselves....

The OP didn't say that, and certainly didn't imply that. The OP expressed a desire to help those who doubt retain their faith, rather than have critics be the only guides during a time of struggle.

I certainly hope you're not implying that faithful members aren't grown up, never question, and never think for themselves?

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I certainly hope you're not implying that faithful members aren't grown up, never question, and never think for themselves?

Apparently in some people's minds, usually those who leave the church, you aren't grown up until your questions lead you out of the church. That is thinking for yourselves.

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What can we do as members to be the one to feed them instead?

Unless you are the one being asked probably not a lot. It's sad that there is so much anti stuff out there. Really hard to combat unless people are smart enough to realize if you want to know the truth about something ask those who are actually living it.

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Unless you are the one being asked probably not a lot. It's sad that there is so much anti stuff out there. Really hard to combat unless people are smart enough to realize if you want to know the truth about something ask those who are actually living it.

The problem is that people can be swayed by a "keystone" event that taints all further interpretations of Church History.

For example, KEP. If you are looking for excuses to disbelieve, there is plenty to build a case. And I think the opposite is true. If you are looking for excuses to believe, there are penty to build that case.

DNA and the Book of Mormon. Plenty of counters to it, but plenty of cases for it. I disagree with "Limited Geography" theories, or "Two Hill Cumorah" type theories. I think Jeridites and the "Adpotion" phrases in the BoM (including generalizations like that anyone against the Nephities was a Lamanite, which IMHO almost makes the DNA issue illrelivant).

The problem is finding the Keystone event that pushes them the "wrong" direction (yes, my interpretation). And as my previous post indicates, I think a lot of times that keystone event is hurt feelings.

JMS

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That is to say, I felt rushed, and that if I didn't have an answer ready for all these sticky issues right then and there then I had to accept the critical ones. My father helped me go slower and rely on the Lord to guide me.

That is a key issue. I've been down virtually every antiMormon rabbit hole and found them all to be disengenuous and false. But some do take time to research.

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jskains, people will find what they are looking for. And the human mind has a way of interpreting whatever it finds to fit what it wants it to. That is why people can look at the same evidence and one comes away with a stronger testimony and another saying "I've been deceived." But I agree with you there was a precipitating factor prior to this that set the direction one would take with what he finds.

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How you choose to interpret information that you find depends a lot on your mindset going into the discovery.

A woman who has been suffering from phyiscal or mental abuse from her husband who still has a temple recommend, is going to have a much different reaction to "discovering" information about Joseph Smiths polygamous wives than someone who is reading that same information looking for historical significance.

Someone who is doubting the Book of Mormon (for whatever reason) will find the mDNA evidence damning to the Book of Mormon, where others find that same evidence as justification for believing in a Limited Geography Model vs a Hemispheric one.

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How you choose to interpret information that you find depends a lot on your mindset going into the discovery.

A woman who has been suffering from phyiscal or mental abuse from her husband who still has a temple recommend, is going to have a much different reaction to "discovering" information about Joseph Smiths polygamous wives than someone who is reading that same information looking for historical significance.

Someone who is doubting the Book of Mormon (for whatever reason) will find the mDNA evidence damning to the Book of Mormon, where others find that same evidence as justification for believing in a Limited Geography Model vs a Hemispheric one.

I agree, I had this conversation last night with a friend of mine who quit the Church a year ago? something, We had a guy in our stake some years do some horrible, horrible and illegal things to his wife and daughter (the wife went to the bishop who didn't believe her, "he's a good man" apparently...) and then maybe 6 years later he was in a leadership role in our YSA branch at the time and later in a Temple Presidency. So my friend looks at this and says, "how can you go from that sickness to this callings, it is all BS and a huge soap opera and phony gameshow, wouldn't someone get the revelation that something isn't right about this guy?" and I say, "thank heavens for the justice of God, neither of us know what really happened but God does and we have to trust that, and in the meantime you can easily fool people and appear righteous but inwardly it is all dead man's bones"

Edited by Duncan
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I agree, I had this conversation last night with a friend of mine who quit the Church a year ago? something, We had a guy in our stake some years do some horrible, horrible and illegal things to his wife and daughter (the wife went to the bishop who didn't believe her, "he's a good man" apparently...) and then maybe 6 years later he was in a leadership role in our YSA branch at the time and later in a Temple Presidency. So my friend looks at this and says, "how can you go from that sickness to this callings, it is all BS and a huge soap opera and phony gameshow, wouldn't someone get the revelation that something isn't right about this guy?" and I say, "thank heavens for the justice of God, neither of us know what really happened but God does and we have to trust that, and in the meantime you can easily fool people and appear righteous but inwardly it is all dead man's bones"

That is a common thread. People assume God puppeteers the Church. *Shrug*

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That is a key issue. I've been down virtually every antiMormon rabbit hole and found them all to be disengenuous and false. But some do take time to research.

I think this kind of dismissal is very harmful to anyone who is questioning the church.

Many of the discoveries which cause concern are most definitely not false. Joseph Smith (for example) was sealed to several very young girls, and to married women. I'm not sure what kind of faith it takes, to simply dismiss that as insignificant, but I couldn't muster it. And, that's only one small example. The Book of Abraham was even more problematic and I did and continue even to this day to read and study things that have been written about it.

I'm not even claiming that I am "right" about any of the things that caused me to fall away, but I don't think they are so insignificant as to be easily dismissed (as you seem to believe).

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I think this kind of dismissal is very harmful to anyone who is questioning the church.

Many of the discoveries which cause concern are most definitely not false. Joseph Smith (for example) was sealed to several very young girls, and to married women. I'm not sure what kind of faith it takes, to simply dismiss that as insignificant, but I couldn't muster it. And, that's only one small example. The Book of Abraham was even more problematic and I did and continue even to this day to read and study things that have been written about it.

I'm not even claiming that I am "right" about any of the things that caused me to fall away, but I don't think they are so insignificant as to be easily dismissed (as you seem to believe).

i see what what you are saying but at the end of the day I don't see why it matters about Joseph Smith all of us will be judged for our actions and thoughts not someone's else's- Faith in Christ is what will save us not faith in anyone else, regardless of who they are or think they are

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It seems a lot of people are seeking help to their questions on the Church, yet they are getting fed by the Anti/Post/Whatever LDS who are going to bend them in a direction that the Church is "whitewashing".

What can we do as members to be the one to feed them instead?

JMS

Hi jskains,

IMO, the best thing you can do "to feed them" (as members) is to extend love, compassion, understanding, and remain a supportive friend (just like you were before they began to "question") no matter where their journey leads.

Peace,

Ceeboo

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It seems a lot of people are seeking help to their questions on the Church, yet they are getting fed by the Anti/Post/Whatever LDS who are going to bend them in a direction that the Church is "whitewashing".

What can we do as members to be the one to feed them instead?

JMS

I certainly don’t know…I am not sure I am going to survive my doubts and disbeliefs; but if I go down it will be with a fight.

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I think this kind of dismissal is very harmful to anyone who is questioning the church.

Many of the discoveries which cause concern are most definitely not false. Joseph Smith (for example) was sealed to several very young girls, and to married women. I'm not sure what kind of faith it takes, to simply dismiss that as insignificant, but I couldn't muster it. And, that's only one small example. The Book of Abraham was even more problematic and I did and continue even to this day to read and study things that have been written about it.

I'm not even claiming that I am "right" about any of the things that caused me to fall away, but I don't think they are so insignificant as to be easily dismissed (as you seem to believe).

Neither BCSpace nor I mentioned dismissal.

I mentioned the imminence of decision making and BCSpace commented on it.

I'm only offering my experience, and since I'm an expert on my own opinion I'll offer it again, hopefully to clarify the rubbish that is "this isn't a problem for me, why should it be for you?"

It's about understanding the claim, accusation, or criticism. I feel that many of the criticisms leveled against the Church are done in this way:

1.) Find something few people have heard of. This is a historical event, early yet obscure teaching of a specific Church leader, or some other negative 'thing.'

2.) Bring it up in an accusatory fashion.

3.) Attempt to play on the fear that will most certainly rise in gut of the LDS audience. During the moment of doubt, during the moment of them asking themselves "I've never heard of this before, is it true?" usurp authority on the issue. By bringing something up that's never been brought up before, the critic and the criticism offer the only information when the emotional pressure to have the answer almost tricks the LDS audience into thinking that this is the only answer.

4.) Lead the LDS audience to the conclusion that because of the negative 'thing,' then the claims of the Church cannot be true.

Again, my experience, though I don't think I'm alone in it. I had to learn to calm down, and slow down, and attempt to look further and see if there was another answer, or more information that was relative to the criticism that puts it in a new context. Many times I found that my cultural understanding was challenged; that was ok, nothing doctrinal or salvation-essential was compromised. Other times I found that there simply is not enough reliable evidence to draw any substantial conclusion. In some cases, I simply just let it sit on the shelf of "Hey, God, what's up with that?!" and I'll ask Him when I get there. I did have a very strong spiritual experience with the Book of Mormon that has led me to choose to believe the truth claims of the Church, so I'm ok moving forward without all the answers. Removing the pressure of finding an answer NOW is what did that for me.

Edited by Mars
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I think this kind of dismissal is very harmful to anyone who is questioning the church.

Many of the discoveries which cause concern are most definitely not false. Joseph Smith (for example) was sealed to several very young girls, and to married women. I'm not sure what kind of faith it takes, to simply dismiss that as insignificant, but I couldn't muster it. And, that's only one small example. The Book of Abraham was even more problematic and I did and continue even to this day to read and study things that have been written about it.

I'm not even claiming that I am "right" about any of the things that caused me to fall away, but I don't think they are so insignificant as to be easily dismissed (as you seem to believe).

It isn't that they are insignificant or easily dismissed. I think it comes down to whether you are pre-disposed to accept one answer or another.

For example, two issues that are brought up in questioning the Church are the method of translation of the Book of Mormon (the stone in the hat, if you will) and the translation of the Book of Abraham. I can see how both of these could be troubling to someone.

For me, though, learning that Joseph Smith translated most of what we have now as the Book of Mormon when the plates were either covered, put away, or sometimes in another room or building, actually helps explain the Book of Abraham "problem". Joseph didn't need to have the actual record in front of him to provide us with the translation of it (see D&C 7 as well, where Joseph translated a record of John that he didn't actually have in his hands.) So it doesn't matter to me whether or not the fragments of papyrous that we have now were written by Abraham or not.

I think the real question that we need to ask ourselves is, why are we predisposed to interpret new data in a certain way. It has been scientifically proven that two people can hear the same facts, but they "don't let the facts get in the way of their decision making process". While the link refers to politics, I can see parallels in faith as well.

If someone learns stuff about the Church that leads them away, it probably isn't the new information that led them away, as much as it just provided them with a more comfortable exit strategy. There are thousands of active members that have "discovered" the same new information, and for them it was faith promoting, rather than faith shaking.

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I think this kind of dismissal is very harmful to anyone who is questioning the church.

Why do you think anyone is dismissing anything. It's just that some people understand that not everything is as it appears to be. Furthermore some people have had so many confirming spiritual experiences that we can't possibly throw those aside just because we hear something that doesn't fit with our rosy image. It has already been said that rather than making a hasty judgment sometimes you need to just table the information until you can understand better what the truth is. Just because you hear or read something doesn't mean it's the truth. Truth is more than just apparent "facts". There is a whole context that isn't always known.

The issue I have with anyone who says they leave because of some bits of information that don't jive with what they thought was true, is that they end up throwing out all the other good things, including the spiritual experiences which they have had up to that point. It just seems one ought to give more consideration to all the good things and recognize if there is so much good then there must be more to the story than what they are perceiving.

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That is a common thread. People assume God puppeteers the Church. *Shrug*

Part of the problem is that people form unrealistic views of the Church.

For example, you point out that some people might have a view of the Church that overestimates the frequency and precision in which God is involved. Instead of shrugging, why not ask how this situation comes to be? Do people make it up on their own? Are anti-Mormons spreading it among active LDS?

No. It is simply a logical view that some people arrive at based on what they hear from Church leaders and Church publications. For example:

As a common judge, the bishop or branch president conducts worthiness interviews, counsels members, and administers Church discipline. In order to help them in these duties, the Lord has promised bishops and branch presidents the gift of discernment (see D&C 46:27).

The gift of discernment enables a bishop or branch president to know truth, to understand the differences between good and evil, and even to know what is in a person’s heart. Because he has this gift, we can seek his counsel and he can tell us what the Lord would have us do to grow spiritually.

But if an LDS has any expectation for a leader to detect and "discern" above and beyond what would be expected from normal intuition, they are setting themselves up for disappointment (and scorn from those LDS who have long ago shed their illusions).

Suppose you had three men. Dave is a manager at Kohl's Department store. Steve is a Police Officer. Bob is a Bishop in an LDS ward. All three of these men live in the same town. Bill, a child molestor, also lives in that town.

Bill works at Kohl's, and has regular employee evaluations with Dave. On his way home, he gets pulled over by Steve and given a ticket. That Sunday, he has a Temple Recommend interview with Bishop Bob.

Assuming Bill does not reveal his secret to anyone, should we have any expectation for Bishop Bob to expose his evil? And is Bishop Bob any more likely to pick up on it than Dave at Kohl's or Officer Steve?

LDS teachings lead us to expect that a Bishop should have some greater likelihood to detect such a person in their ward, but experience teaches that such an expectation is a setup for disappointment. Prudence teaches LDS to teach principles such as "discernment", but to never expect any greater insight than what would be had based solely on intuition and and good sense.

In other words, while some LDS are able to figure out exactly how inspired the Church leadership are, some overestimate it, and others probably underestimate it. If people overestimate it, then they are setting themselves up for disappointment and disillusionment.

Ultimately, the best solution to the problem would be for leaders to be more forthcoming about when they are acting under inspiration and when they are acting based on their own judgment.

Edited by cinepro
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Part of the problem is that people form unrealistic views of the Church.

That's why when a Bishop demanded my W2s to prove I am properly paying the 10%, I got mad at HIM, not the Church. It's my Church too, and I am more than happy to fight for it, including going over a bad Bishop's head if I have to.

For example, you point out that some people might have a view of the Church that overestimates the frequency and precision in which God is involved. Instead of shrugging, why not ask how this situation comes to be? Do people make it up on their own? Are anti-Mormons spreading it among active LDS?

No. It is simply a logical view that some people arrive at based on what they hear from Church leaders and Church publications. For example:

I don't see it as logical. The entire design of the Church (Law of Common Consent) is about protecting each other through personal inspiration and standing up against the uninspired.

In your example too, the entire concept is they are given a GIFT, but nothing forces them to use it. A Bishop who rapes a woman's daughter is just evil, and will get punished severely in the afterlife.

But the bottom line is we are ALL about agency.... We can't have agency if being chosen to be a Bishop turns you into a puppet.

JMS

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LDS teachings lead us to expect that a Bishop should have some greater likelihood to detect such a person in their ward, but experience teaches that such an expectation is a setup for disappointment.

It depends. Some bishops simply have a greater gift of discernment than others. I've had bishops who have read between the lines of what I was trying to say and others who I didn't think understood what I was saying point blank. God works with what he has.

Furthermore any discussions like this bring up several examples from the Bible. Samson comes to mind as does King Saul and even David. Part of the problem is that one may have potential to fulfill a calling but because of his own agency and weakness doesn't and can destroy others along the way.

We also have the case of Judas Iscariot. Jesus called him even knowing he would betray him. Perhaps one is allowed to stay because he is given every opportunity to prove himself or condemn himself. The responsibility for the effect on others will be placed where it should be.

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