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Can The Church Admit Some Fault In Order To Heal And Move On?


cion

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Since it is quite obvious that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other top leaders of the church made mistakes (just like any other person on this earth has done), do you think the Church will ever decide to make a big announcement to the world that these mistakes were made in an effort to heal and move on with their current agenda of becoming a more "mainstream" church?

For example, they could announce on www.lds.org and Deseret Morning News something about Joseph's practice of polygamy. They don't need to go into detail, but they could just say Joseph made a mistake in the way he practiced plural marriage. If the public asks for more, they could point them to FAIR.

What good would this action take?

It would provide a way for the church to truly move on. It would be a way of repenting and healing. I think the public would appreciate this as a sign of maturity in the organization.

Now when young people start looking on the Internet and see weird LDS church history, they will know it was a mistake and be able to understand that their beloved church is in a better place now. It would provide some comfort to those who wish to stay LDS.

Thoughts?

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Before one gets to that question, I think this one needs to be answered first:

How does one determine a particular action or teaching was a mistake? Something beyond opinion or speculation that it was a mistake....

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Since it is quite obvious that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other top leaders of the church made mistakes (just like any other person on this earth has done), do you think the Church will ever decide to make a big announcement to the world that these mistakes were made in an effort to heal and move on with their current agenda of becoming a more "mainstream" church?

For example, they could announce on www.lds.org and Deseret Morning News something about Joseph's practice of polygamy. They don't need to go into detail, but they could just say Joseph made a mistake in the way he practiced plural marriage. If the public asks for more, they could point them to FAIR.

What good would this action take?

It would provide a way for the church to truly move on. It would be a way of repenting and healing. I think the public would appreciate this as a sign of maturity in the organization.

Now when young people start looking on the Internet and see weird LDS church history, they will know it was a mistake and be able to understand that their beloved church is in a better place now. It would provide some comfort to those who wish to stay LDS.

Thoughts?

Sounds good, I just wonder if critics would come back

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Speaking as a non-LDS, it would be alright to say that your leaders were sinful, but you can't back off of teachings that were big parts of the reason why God is said to have led the saints to Utah. If the teaching of polygamy is condemned, or any other well-documented and accepted teaching, it would be more difficult to demonstrate that the CoJCoLDS is the one true church. It might create more problems than it solves. It seems to me that by becoming more of a "mainstream church" you would begin to lose claims to being a Restoration.

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They don't need to go into detail, but they could just say Joseph made a mistake in the way he practiced plural marriage. If the public asks for more, they could point them to FAIR.

Where does FAIR say JS made a mistake in the way he practiced plural marriage?

Just to be clear, this is a CFR (call for references).

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Can The Church Admit Some Fault In Order To Heal And Move On?

Sure. I just don't see any that need to be done now or in the future. The plural sealings of JS have been well known for quite a long time and don't need to be taught up front as it were. It certainly is a stumblingblock for the spiritually and intellectually dishonest though. I'm not sure the Lord is looking for that type of person to inherit his kingdom.

If you have a problem with them, one of the easist and best ways to understand why they're not a problem is to live by that old adage "Have you checked the children?" If JS was some sort of perverted horndog as is claimed or implied by those who put forth this argument, then one should give a 19th century person much less benefit of the doubt than a couple of 21st teenagers using birth control at Inspiration Point. In otherwords, Inspiration Point often leads to pregnancy, even in this day and age, so why not JS and his wives?

I'm not claiming JS never had sex with any of his other wives, but I am claiming he probably didn't have sex with many of them and these sealings were likely of other purpose than you know.

DNA tests have been done. No children. Hmmmmmmm.

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If the teaching of polygamy is condemned

The problem with not going into detail as the OPer suggests is that we still have the problem with speculation on what the mistake actually was, some could claim that it was plural marriage in toto and then you have the problem that 3DOP speaks of. Even among others that identify the problem as minor, there would still be debate as to what the mistake actually was so I don't see things settle by addressing it that way. If there is any admission that something was a mistake, it would be important to identify what the mistake or at the very least state whether it was in the teaching/doctrinal side of things or in the personal application of it.

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Cal's posts are my issues as well. Theoretically i think the church could admit mistakes, but dealing with specific issues...that's where it get's tricky.

And if it's a personal issue one (I hold the opinion that JS could have handled the situation with Emma better for example) then I see little reason for the Church to get involved save to point out that Joseph Smith was a human and made mistakes like the rest of us....which is nothing new to make an announcement about or anything that requires "healing" of anyone else beyond those directly involved (and I think it's likely that apologies have been offered all around in those cases already). add-on: There is a difference between suffering an actual injury and suffering confusion.
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I think there is a difference between saying all men sin and fall short of the glory of God, and claiming you personally did some specific sin. For the Church to repudiate Section 132 of its D&C would end the need for Temples and much of the Restored Gospel itself. We would become just another Protestant religion.

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their current agenda of becoming a more "mainstream" church?

Missed this one.

Please demonstrate that the Church has a "current agenda of becoming a more 'mainstream' church".

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Missed this one.

Please demonstrate that the Church has a "current agenda of becoming a more 'mainstream' church".

Maybe their agenda is to become the opposite of a mainstream church.

I'm defining "mainstream church" as a main or major Christian group. The opposite are lessor known groups, sometimes referred to as cults or sects.

I was thinking of all my Mormon friends/family and people in my Mormon community who sort of make up what is Mormon to me. I see websites like www.mormon.org and even the main site www.lds.org and I get the feeling the major themes of all the big "mainstream churches" are the focus of Mormonism today (i.e. focus on Christ and family).

I could be wrong, but I sure don't think the church wants me to be wrong. I truly believe they want to be a mainstream church.

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cion,

Apologies certainly help, but in this context, I think it's best to understand that the healing power of forgiveness comes when the person who feels wronged decides to let go of the pain that's caused them. Certainly real or imagined injustices cause burning rancor that makes it extremely difficult to let go of the pain, and certainly a humble apology can help mitigate, but it's only because the wronged person decides because of the apology to forgive.

Many victims of the most horrid and tragic events have found peace by simply forgiving, knowing their aggressors would never issue an apology. I'm certainly not going to paint the picture of the evil Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints preying upon the weak and uninitiated, lying to them to get them to believe for self-aggrandizement or for their tithing, all the while hoping they never decide to look into Joseph Smith too closely, otherwise they might discover something that makes them deny their faith. I don't think that's how it works.

I think the Church's job is to teach me the correct doctrines concerning God and Jesus Christ and how to get back to him. It's my job to confirm that message's truthfulness through my experience with God. When that's done, it's my job to move forward with faith.

I think that the confirmation of that message is more important than the man delivering it; if I found out that the missionary who taught me was the son of a businessman who ruined my father I might be just as likely to walk away from the Gospel for the exact same motivation as someone who found out that Joseph Smith engaged in polygamy/polyandry, or that Brigham Young said some really insulting things about black folks, or any other reason. In all cases the question would be "How can something be true when it came from someone so vile?" When the focus shifts from the personal worthiness of the messenger away from the message, the judgmental side of me might find any sin or shortcoming reason enough to disbelieve the message.

Mes deux sous. ;)

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I'm defining "mainstream church" as a main or major Christian group....

I see websites like www.mormon.org and even the main site www.lds.org and I get the feeling the major themes of all the big "mainstream churches" are the focus of Mormonism today (i.e. focus on Christ and family).

I could be wrong, but I sure don't think the church wants me to be wrong. I truly believe they want to be a mainstream church.

Most of the time I see a comment like yours it is accompanied by claims that the Church is downplaying its uniqueness in order to appear to be like "mainstream churches" so I think it is important to distinguish between wanting to become wellknown, wanting to become popular or wanting to become one of the "in crowd" so to speak. I would agree that the Church wants to become well known if that is your definition of "a mainstream church". If you mean that you think the Church wants to become one of the popular churches (though of course it would be happy if the rate of conversion went way up due to spiritual conviction as opposed to popularity) or wants to be part of the "in group", I would disagree.
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cion:

I didn't know the Church was sick, or injured. I don't believe we even want to be considered just another Protestant religion. I think we want to be considered Christians(which we are), but I'll defy any other religious groups' ability to cast me out of Christianity.

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Sure. I just don't see any that need to be done now or in the future. The plural sealings of JS have been well known for quite a long time and don't need to be taught up front as it were. It certainly is a stumblingblock for the spiritually and intellectually dishonest though. I'm not sure the Lord is looking for that type of person to inherit his kingdom.

If you have a problem with them, one of the easist and best ways to understand why they're not a problem is to live by that old adage "Have you checked the children?" If JS was some sort of perverted horndog as is claimed or implied by those who put forth this argument, then one should give a 19th century person much less benefit of the doubt than a couple of 21st teenagers using birth control at Inspiration Point. In otherwords, Inspiration Point often leads to pregnancy, even in this day and age, so why not JS and his wives?

I'm not claiming JS never had sex with any of his other wives, but I am claiming he probably didn't have sex with many of them and these sealings were likely of other purpose than you know.

DNA tests have been done. No children. Hmmmmmmm.

I was reading Sarah Pratt, last night, where she accuses Bennett of performing abortions on those of Joseph's wives, who were single.

Not saying I believe that, but there are so many stories out there, it's difficult to know what is true and what isn't. I don't think you have to be "spiritually and intellectually dishonest" to wonder about and be affected by these stories.

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I was reading Sarah Pratt, last night, where she accuses Bennett of performing abortions on those of Joseph's wives, who were single.

CFR please. I am wondering if she is claiming firsthand knowledge and if not, who is her source. I've seen the abortion claim once and it was a distant connection IIRC (and I couldn't find any others though that was online and long ago so I am not claiming there weren't others), it's been a decade or so since I read it. Don't remember if it was Pratt's claim or not.

Not saying I believe that, but there are so many stories out there, it's difficult to know what is true and what isn't. I don't think you have to be "spiritually and intellectually dishonest" to wonder about and be affected by these stories.
I don't either. There are multiple explanations that work, imo; the question is for me which works best and that depends a great deal on how one weights the evidence. For example, I will likely weight the evidence claiming Joseph as a prophet and that plural marriage was a commandment from the Lord much, much higher than someone who doesn't believe in God.
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I was reading Sarah Pratt, last night, where she accuses Bennett of performing abortions on those of Joseph's wives, who were single.
CFR please. I am wondering if she is claiming firsthand knowledge and if not, who is her source.

x2

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Well, it was just a Wiki article, but it does give a source.

In her 1886 interview with "vitriolic anti-Mormon journalist W. Wyl",[23] Sarah Pratt alleged that Joseph Smith allowed Bennett, a medical doctor, to perform abortions on Smith's polygamous wives who were officially single.[24][25] In a public charge "that was likely true," according to author Andrew Smith, Bennett was accused by many of performing abortions,[26] including Hyrum Smith;[10] Zeruiah Goddard claimed Bennett told Sarah Pratt "that he could cause abortion with perfect safety to the mother at any stage of pregnancy, and that he had frequently destroyed and removed infants before their time to prevent exposure of the parties, and that he had instruments for that purpose."[10] If the women refused, Bennett stated that he came with Joseph's approval.[26] Sarah Pratt herself recounted an incident in which

“ [bennett was en route to do] "a little job for Joseph [because] one of his women was in trouble." Saying this, he took [out] a pretty long instrument of a kind I had never seen before. It seemed to be of steel and was crooked at one end. I heard afterwards that the operation had been performed; that the woman was very sick, and that Joseph was very much afraid that she might die, but she recovered.[27]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Marinda_Bates_Pratt

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