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Am I Mormon Or A Wolf In Sheep'S Clothing?


Brian 2.0

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I started thinking about this from the John Dehlin thread, but I would like to start a separate thing here that doesn't relate to John, but a myself, and trying to come to a general guideline on terms.

Basically... what constitutes a "wolf in sheep's clothing"

I'll lay out exactly where I am right now and I'm curious if some would think I am a that. Or curious when I would become that if I did certain things...

NOTE: Please don't comment on why i'm wrong on my views, that's not the point of this.

I'm a born and raised Mormom, served a mission, was on High Council and was High Priest Group Leader. I'm a big reader, and slowly encountered harder and harder topics (all that standard ones you would find on MormonThink, etc. Those details aren't important). I eventually lost my belief in a lot of the church's truth claims. I asked to be released as High Priest Group leader. I have big doubts about the extisence of God. I would say I'm a basically agnostic/athetist. I'm pretty fully deconstructed at this point. I keep an open mind about finding a way to reconstruct it all. I'll read faithful books like Given's "A Weeping God" and I will look at this board and FAIR articles to try, but it's not really sticking with me. Who knows if it will.

I attend church fairly regularly still. I do not hold a calling currently. I hold a temple recommend still, because it hasn't expired, but I don't go. I do not wear my garmets. My old bishop knows about my feelings, my new bishop does not (I just moved, but within the stake). I plan on telling my new bishop where I stand because he wants to give me a calling. So I'm about a 30-50% attendee at church. My parents know a little about my feelings, but not the full extent. My brothers and the rest of my family do not. The church members around me do not.

If someone who is also questioning, or is out, asks me about where I am at I will tell them. I will discuss the issues I have with anyone (faithful or non) if they ask. I try not to get into details with faithful members unless they continually ask detailed questions.

I will gives talks in church sometime when asked and focus on parts that I can get behind.

I don't know what the future holds for me and the church but I still partially attend with my wife and kids and there are a lot of things about the church I love... service opportunities, sense of community taking care of each other, some of the basic moral teachings, etc.

Most of the ward and stake and a lot of my family think of me as a full believing member because of my past service and testimonies, but I am pretty much an atheist right now. I'm not trying to be two-faced, but I'm also not seeking people out to say, "hey, just so you know I don't believe in God."

Am I "Mormon"? Am I a "wolf in sheep's clothing"?

If I'm not a wolf in sheep's clothing, would I be if I did any of these things:

1) Told my active brother why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" without him asking

2) Told my active borther why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" because he is asking

3) Told members of my ward what why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" because they ask

4) Started a blog where I talked about why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" and welcomed comments to help me look at it differently

5) Had meetings at my home with anyone who wants to come to talk "XYZ" where I express why I have a hard time believing "XYZ" and welcome discussion to try and see it perhaps another way

6) Became a Home Teacher to someone who did not know my issues

7) Accepted a calling such as Young Men's advisor and just talked about the principles I could get behind, not mentioning the other stuff

I know labels aren't great to be putting onto people... but when it comes down to... "Mormon" "Apostate" "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" I kind of would like some clarification.

Thanks.

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okay. my bad if it is.

Can I post this WITHOUT referring to myself? It doesn't need to be about myself, this questions still stand as is, I just thought I'd use myself because I A) Don't want to use John Dehlin and B) don't want a response of "it's pointless to deal in hypotheticals, I don't know the heart of this made-up guy"

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okay. my bad if it is.

Can I post this WITHOUT referring to myself? It doesn't need to be about myself, this questions still stand as is, I just thought I'd use myself because I A) Don't want to use John Dehlin and B) don't want a response of "it's pointless to deal in hypotheticals, I don't know the heart of this made-up guy"

It's something the mods will have to adjudicate. I'm not one.

But what makes you think we'd know your heart any better than the heart of a "made-up guy"?

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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I just looked it over and I'm sort of maybe in violation of it. it's definitely not a "why I left" thread or working out my issues thread, but I am making myself the subject which that same guidline says not to do. I can repost and the mods can lock this/delete it if they want.

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I started thinking about this from the John Dehlin thread, but I would like to start a separate thing here that doesn't relate to John, but a myself, and trying to come to a general guideline on terms.

Basically... what constitutes a "wolf in sheep's clothing"

I'll lay out exactly where I am right now and I'm curious if some would think I am a that. Or curious when I would become that if I did certain things...

NOTE: Please don't comment on why i'm wrong on my views, that's not the point of this.

I'm a born and raised Mormom, served a mission, was on High Council and was High Priest Group Leader. I'm a big reader, and slowly encountered harder and harder topics (all that standard ones you would find on MormonThink, etc. Those details aren't important). I eventually lost my belief in a lot of the church's truth claims. I asked to be released as High Priest Group leader. I have big doubts about the extisence of God. I would say I'm a basically agnostic/athetist. I'm pretty fully deconstructed at this point. I keep an open mind about finding a way to reconstruct it all. I'll read faithful books like Given's "A Weeping God" and I will look at this board and FAIR articles to try, but it's not really sticking with me. Who knows if it will.

I attend church fairly regularly still. I do not hold a calling currently. I hold a temple recommend still, because it hasn't expired, but I don't go. I do not wear my garmets. My old bishop knows about my feelings, my new bishop does not (I just moved, but within the stake). I plan on telling my new bishop where I stand because he wants to give me a calling. So I'm about a 30-50% attendee at church. My parents know a little about my feelings, but not the full extent. My brothers and the rest of my family do not. The church members around me do not.

If someone who is also questioning, or is out, asks me about where I am at I will tell them. I will discuss the issues I have with anyone (faithful or non) if they ask. I try not to get into details with faithful members unless they continually ask detailed questions.

I will gives talks in church sometime when asked and focus on parts that I can get behind.

I don't know what the future holds for me and the church but I still partially attend with my wife and kids and there are a lot of things about the church I love... service opportunities, sense of community taking care of each other, some of the basic moral teachings, etc.

Most of the ward and stake and a lot of my family think of me as a full believing member because of my past service and testimonies, but I am pretty much an atheist right now. I'm not trying to be two-faced, but I'm also not seeking people out to say, "hey, just so you know I don't believe in God."

Am I "Mormon"? Am I a "wolf in sheep's clothing"?

If I'm not a wolf in sheep's clothing, would I be if I did any of these things:

1) Told my active brother why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" without him asking

2) Told my active borther why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" because he is asking

3) Told members of my ward what why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" because they ask

4) Started a blog where I talked about why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" and welcomed comments to help me look at it differently

5) Had meetings at my home with anyone who wants to come to talk "XYZ" where I express why I have a hard time believing "XYZ" and welcome discussion to try and see it perhaps another way

6) Became a Home Teacher to someone who did not know my issues

7) Accepted a calling such as Young Men's advisor and just talked about the principles I could get behind, not mentioning the other stuff

I know labels aren't great to be putting onto people... but when it comes down to... "Mormon" "Apostate" "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" I kind of would like some clarification.

Thanks.

Before it gets closed please tell why you chose to turn your life over to somebody else s interpretations?

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I'm not. I'm just to understand common vocabulary so as to have a discussion. There's a lot of allegations flying around about John Dehlin being a "wolf in sheep's clothing" And as someone who doesn't see him as one (from what I've known about him), I'm just curious what the common acceptable usage of the term is. And if I would fall under that phrase according to some of the posters here.

Not turning my life over, just trying to understand what we are saying when we say certain labels.

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I'm not. I'm just to understand common vocabulary so as to have a discussion. There's a lot of allegations flying around about John Dehlin being a "wolf in sheep's clothing" And as someone who doesn't see him as one (from what I've known about him), I'm just curious what the common acceptable usage of the term is. And if I would fall under that phrase according to some of the posters here.

Not turning my life over, just trying to understand what we are saying when we say certain labels.

A wolf in sheep's clothing would one who attempts to deceive others in order to harm them. It is obvious that some do not think this was his intention. It also appears that he may have done just that. If this is true one would not expect him to admit to it. One would have to evaluate the results of his work to answer the question of whether he was or not.

Your post indicates you already have succumbed to the interpretations from church detractors of church doctrine and/or events in church history.

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A wolf in sheep's clothing would one who attempts to deceive others in order to harm them. It is obvious that some do not think this was his intention. It also appears that he may have done just that. If this is true one would not expect him to admit to it. One would have to evaluate the results of his work to answer the question of whether he was or not.

Your post indicates you already have succumbed to the interpretations from church detractors of church doctrine and/or events in church history.

There's a lot of loaded words in that definition that would have to be confirmed in order to use the phrase on someone, and I don't think evaluating "the results of his work" would necessarily answer the question.

Simply because people left the church after listening to John in no way establishes his "intent to harm or deceive."

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Your post indicates you already have succumbed to the interpretations from church detractors of church doctrine and/or events in church history.

If I came back to church after listening to your thoughts would I have "succumbed to the interpretation from church defenders"?

Give me a little credit for my own decisions.

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In the classic sense, a "wolf in sheep's clothing" deliberately assumes the office of a believer with an intent to harm the flock for his own selfish reasons. I am Catholic so I can say this. A priest who used his position to prey on altar boys would be a "wolf in sheep's clothing". It is rare though not impossible that we repeatedly engage in activities that we hold to be abhorrent. Most often an adjustment of conscience is made. If a predator priest repeatedly violates his vows and goes to confession with contrition for his sin, fine. He is struggling. He is trying to free himself of a horrible vice. This does not appear toi be the usual pattern. If a predator priest reconciles his actions by a personal denial of Catholic moral principles he has another opportunity to "play the wolf". If in addition to being a sexual predator, a priest should deliberately try to corrupt the moral beliefs of his flock either from the confessional or pulpit, he would in a second way be a wolf in sheep's clothing, even toward those who held no interest for him as a predator.

It all has to do with motive. To be a wolf you have to subjugate everything to your own selfish desires. Unless you try to gain some kind of position from which you are hoping to undermine the faith of others, it would seem difficult to perceive you as a wolf in the sense of the expression as I understand it.

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It all has to do with motive.

Thanks for the reply.

And motive is really hard to determine sometimes. When a person commits an action that results in a certain consequence, it does not necessarily mean that the person had motive or intention for said consequence to occur. You first have to convince me that the person had full understanding that his action would result in said consequence.

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1 Kings 18:21 . What is it you WANT? Do you feel like a fraud ? In the "olden days " we called them ' Jack Mormons ' Now they are NOM or some other version. Jack Mormons were generally the smokin' and drinkin' bunch and avoided church so as to not feel guilty or at least not feel looked down upon. Active members knew who and what they were and generally accepted them as such . From your description , that sheepskin coat is becoming hotter and heavier .

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I want to still attend church, even if I don't believe in its truth claims. And I don't actually feel looked down upon there, but most don't know my current status. I wouldn't mind them knowing but I'm not going to seek out to tell them. Testimony meeting doesn't seem like a appropriate place to do it.

I'm not going to go up to the stand and say, "Brothers and Sisters, ALOHA!" Congregation: ALOHA! Me: "so I don't believe in God anymore. But I love you." I mean I could. And it would be interesting, that's for sure.

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I find it so hard to understand your path and your situation. Oh, I understand it in the sense that I understand the English sentence "Seek and ye shall find", but I do not understand how you could have found what you found. You know, as in walking in someone else's moccasins.

I could say that it might be laid at the door of intellectualism, except I suspect I am just as intellectual as you, yet have deepened my faith with much searching. There are some on this board who have gone from where you were, to where you are now, and back again. Only to find even stronger faith than before.

And as to your original question? Wolf in sheep's clothing -- nah, not at all. 3DOP had it exactly right. There are lots of people who still come to church, perhaps not as regularly as they used to, but who have given over belief to doubt. And they are quiet about it. There is nothing wrong with this.

And you're right, testimony meeting isn't the proper venue! :D If you ever do, however, please invite me, I want to watch! I assume you live in Hawaii (from the "Aloha"), and I'd like to visit that fair state again some time.

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So, you don't believe in God anymore ,but you believe in Love. As we are told God is Love,I'm a bit confused. Where did Love come from? It's not real is it? It's just some brain chemistry .

Sorry ,I am getting personal and must ban myself from this thread!

Edited by blackstrap
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So, you don't believe in God anymore ,but you believe in Love. As we are told God is Love,I'm a bit confused. Where did Love come from? It's not real is it? It's just some brain chemistry .

Sorry ,I am getting personal and must ban myself from this thread!

Some would say that love can come from the human spirit. May have loved, and loved deeply without the need to believe in God.

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1) Told my active brother why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" without him asking

Depends on why you tell, and how you do it.

2) Told my active borther why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" because he is asking

Probably not going to make you a wolf.

3) Told members of my ward what why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" because they ask

Probably not, unless you attempt to be persuasive about your beliefs or lack thereof in an attempt to make others share your doubts-- even if they are asking.

4) Started a blog where I talked about why I don't believe the truth of "XYZ" and welcomed comments to help me look at it differently

Again, it depends. I put a disclaimer on my blog that says I am not looking for disciples, and that my personal views don't necessarily reflect the views of others I may associate with or write about. Then I don't try to be antagonistic, either. Actually, I try to avoid the specific topic altogether.

5) Had meetings at my home with anyone who wants to come to talk "XYZ" where I express why I have a hard time believing "XYZ" and welcome discussion to try and see it perhaps another way

I think this would not be viewed favorably. I recall a somewhat recent letter that came down from HQ, warning people of "self-help" groups. I don't remember the particulars, but it may have been that the DAMU and NOMs were well on the Church's radar by then, and this was a way to nip that in the bud before it got more traction. I hear other bits from Apostles that seem to address this movement, and for now the leadership seems content to leave it simmering at its present levels. I've been out to some of the DAMU forums, and they seem a little more antagonistic than helpful in my view.

6) Became a Home Teacher to someone who did not know my issues

No problem, if you keep your issues to yourself.

7) Accepted a calling such as Young Men's advisor and just talked about the principles I could get behind, not mentioning the other stuff

It's possible to "go by the manual" and not agree with everything, although the Church obviously wants to teach its full doctrine, and you'd be preventing that if you wanted to stay true to yourself by preaching only the agreeable bits. It's probably best for people in this situation to make the Bishop aware of where they stand, what they're willing to do and not do, and let him decide.

Anyway, I do think that disaffected members can still participate in a meaningful and active way, and that the Church would welcome and want it wherever possible. It's easiest to grow in faith and belief when one is in at least some communion with the faithful members. I have no doubt that the Church is going to be wary and watchful when it comes to the unbelievers in their midst, though. I think the disaffected ought to let their leaders know about their feelings. I think honesty demands some transparency there. I've found it extraordinarily difficult, however, to convince a bishop that one is disaffected when one serves faithfully in his calling... ;) That also is a challenge: making others understand that there are some struggles and disconnects. Not everyone needs to know this, though.

There are no easy answers.

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Thanks for the replies. Especially your detailed one pmccombs1.

And I don't think of myself as a wolf in sheeps clothing. And I don't think others that know my situation do either. But I'm also not your standard sheep. It's like someone else said, I'm more of a sparrow or something else. And has been mentioned in other threads it all comes down to how big that tent is and what it includes and what it does not.

I do think a lot of disaffected think that the church has set up the tent in a way that does not include them, but in reality, and especially when personally talking to a church leader, you get a sense that the tent is actually much bigger.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is really harder not to believe in God . .Every living thing that exsist has to come from a living thing . That is a law of science .

One cannot rationally deny the existence of GOD, unless he can account for the origin of LIFE without a Creator who,

Himself, is Life! The Creator, therefore, begins to be revealed, by science and by reason, as a LIVING God—a God in whom is LIFE,and who alone has imparted life to all that have it!

There is a micro-organisin that has scientist baffeled. It has an organic propulsion system that looks like an engine , complete with engine bock and pistions . Look it up , do a search about tiny organic engines .. Clearly it was designed and created by an intelligent being .

Scientist are now saying there is something intelligent directing this universe . They stop short of say God .

If you go to quantum physics . A whole new world opens up and the exsistance of God or as they quantum physist say a universal mind that thinks .

One of the laws of quantum physics is that " An electron does not exsist untill some one decides to try and look at one . That being said they state that every thing that exsist was once a thought of some one . Once again they stop just short of saying God . I could go on and on .

I think that people loss a belief in God because of concept of God that is not . In other word people think God as a cosmic Santa Claus that grants us blessing or prevents events in our life from causing pain and suffering .That is not God . I guess I should stop . I am starting to sound like a preacher .

Simon

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The official definition of apostasy in the handbook requires that you continue to do things AFTER the error has been pointed out to you by your leaders. Until or unless you start acting on hopes that others will validate you and your ideas/decision/interpretations that differ from official ones, and/or follow the beliefs in that category that you hold, you may be in personal spiritual danger, but you aren't a wolf in sheeps clothing.

Literally that term was for predators who made themselves act like, smell like and look like the prey they were trying to capture/kill/ make into their own meal so they would be successful at capturing/killing/eating them. Sheep wouldn't let a wolf anywhere near them, but they would let something pretending to be a sheep too close.

Edited by rpn
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