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Setting aside the rhetoric that some would consider inflammatory, does this article make any good points?


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Thinking more about Elder Oak's and Ballard's comment, something else occurs to me.

It's not "gaslighting" (as Juliann pointed out, the pop-psychology du jour among ex-mormons).  No, it's actually simple misdirection.

Because the question that was asked wasn't about the different accounts of the First Vision

Quote

What advice/guidance would you give for answering tough questions about Church history when we are asked about them by someone who is struggling with their faith?

The question was about "tough questions about Church history", but they respond by pointing out that the Church had published info about the different accounts of the First Vision back in 1970.

A real interviewer would have responded "That's great, Elder Ballard, but what about all the other stuff that is proving so damaging to the testimonies of our friends and families as it becomes more widely known?"

(Crickets Chirping).

Instead, they found the male and female YSA interviewing equivalent of John Dehlin and stuck the Apostles in front of two people who didn't know anything about what was going on and obviously weren't going to call them on their ephemeral answers.

Edited by cinepro
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Question for fearless fixxer: how do the multiple versions of the First Vision negatively affect one’s faith? In other words, what about them does the Church want to hide in the first place?

Also, 

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FearlessFixxer

Setting aside the rhetoric that some would consider inflammatory, does this article make any good points?

By FearlessFixxer,  9 hours ago in General Discussions

No, no good points and was “inflammatory” an intended pun? :)

Edited by Darren10
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32 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Thinking more about Elder Oak's and Ballard's comment, something else occurs to me.

It's not "gaslighting" (as Juliann pointed out, the pop-psychology du jour among ex-mormons).  No, it's actually simple misdirection.

Because the question that was asked wasn't about the different accounts of the First Vision

They respond by pointing out that the Church had published info about the different accounts of the First Vision back in 1970.

A real interviewer would have responded "That's great, Elder Ballard, but what about all the other stuff that is proving so damaging to the testimonies of our friends and families as it becomes more widely known?"

(Crickets Chirping).

Instead, they found the male and female YSA interviewing equivalent of John Dehlin and stuck the Apostles in front of two people who didn't know anything about what was going on and obviously weren't going to call them on their ephemeral answers.

That's an interesting point. As if that's all there is to worry about, the FV accounts. Oh boy, Elder Ballard and Oaks got off easy then. 

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Isn't the real problem that if the entire history were always recited, discussed, examined and reviewed, and not just the favorable parts, less would join and less would remain?  This seems to be why the leaders have massaged the history a bit to make it more heroic.

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10 minutes ago, Exiled said:

Isn't the real problem that if the entire history were always recited, discussed, examined and reviewed, and not just the favorable parts, less would join and less would remain?  This seems to be why the leaders have massaged the history a bit to make it more heroic.

do you think the Leaders should be preaching the Gospel of Christ or the history of the Gospel of Christ? what will save you?

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6 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

This thread title is way too long! I can convey the same idea in six words instead of 16:

Rhetoric notwithstanding, is this article valid?

What do you mean by valid?

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8 hours ago, Exiled said:

Isn't the real problem that if the entire history were always recited, discussed, examined and reviewed, and not just the favorable parts, less would join and less would remain? 

With the exception of professional historians, I suspect most members of the church would consider not 'always recit[ing], discuss[ing], examin[ing] and review[ing]' the history of the church to be more of a feature than a bug.

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8 hours ago, Duncan said:

do you think the Leaders should be preaching the Gospel of Christ or the history of the Gospel of Christ? what will save you?

True.  As the dear, departed, great Davis Bitton put it, "I don't have a testimony of the history of the Church" of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/publications/review/16/2/S00017-5176ad2f5804e17Bitton.pdf

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9 hours ago, Duncan said:

do you think the Leaders should be preaching the Gospel of Christ or the history of the Gospel of Christ? what will save you?

 

9 hours ago, Exiled said:

It's tough to avoid talking about history.  We all do it and in fact we are engaging in it right now in discussing the past Ballard/Oaks presentation.

Years ago when I started hearing a lot of things about how our church didn't share history, I asked people on another message board if their church shared the history of their church. So few did and rarely did they have anything like what is taught in our lesson manuals, seminary and Institute classes - those that might have come close were maybe the catholics with catchechism? I'm not sure how much history is in that. 

Since then I can clearly see that we need to do better with history, but I have to laugh that we are responsible to do it when it seems no one pins that responsibility on any other church. In fact, my question confused many because why would you teach that kind of history in church services?

Edited by Rain
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6 minutes ago, Rain said:

 

Years ago when I started hearing a lot of things about how our church didn't share history, I asked people on another message board if their church shared the history of their church. So few did and rarely did they have anything like what is taught in our lesson manuals, seminary and Institute classes - those that might have come close were maybe the catholics with catchechism? I'm not sure how much history is in that. 

Since then I can clearly see that we need to do better with history, but I have to laugh that we are responsible to do it when it seems no one pins that responsibility on any other church. In fact, my question confused many because why would you teach that kind of history in church services?

I think there is a difference with the church in that it uses its history as a tool to make conversions. The first vision, priesthood restoration, the book of mormon are all supposed historical facts used in that context. So, because history is so prominent with the church, some will think it important to research the entire history and that has proven to be problematic for the church as there are some important differences in how the church portrays itself and what historians have found. Compounding this problem is the use of restricted archives and church vaults where documents are kept from the public and that makes it look like the church is hiding something.

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Mormonism is tied to its history (and relies on its history as the heart of its truth claims) in a way that sectarian Christianity is not. While some people try to make a model where the history doesn't matter, for the vast majority of people, the historical claims are either the keystone or the deal-breaker.

We should embrace this. The answer to "why should I become a Mormon / why should I keep my covenants" lies in the truth of the historical claims. 

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12 hours ago, Darren10 said:

Question for fearless fixxer: how do the multiple versions of the First Vision negatively affect one’s faith? In other words, what about them does the Church want to hide in the first place?

Also, 

No, no good points and was “inflammatory” an intended pun? :)

Multiple versions of the FV is a problem to me. Seeing Jesus and God in one, seeing an angel/angels in another and only Jesus in another. Asking for forgiveness in one. Asking which church to join in another. The only thing that would help is if these were different events on different days. Also, the several people that had the same visions right around that time makes me skeptical. And the fact that these are "visions" maybe not actual occurrences and all in his mind's eye. Growing up this never occurred to me. 

Edited by Tacenda
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52 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Multiple versions of the FV is a problem to me. Seeing Jesus and God in one, seeing an angel/angels in another and only Jesus in another. Asking for forgiveness in one. Asking which church to join in another. The only thing that would help is if these were different events on different days. Also, the several people that had the same visions right around that time makes me skeptical. And the fact that these are "visions" maybe not actual occurrences and all in his mind's eye. Growing up this never occurred to me. 

Accounts of past events always vary. This is just a basic aspect of doing history. Typically one only reports elements relevant for the theme one is pushing in that particular retelling's account. It would be far, far more surprising if they all agreed. If you look up research on oral histories you'll see this is the way they all go. Also he doesn't say he only saw Jesus in one. He merely talks about Jesus. That's an important distinction. 

1 hour ago, rongo said:

Mormonism is tied to its history (and relies on its history as the heart of its truth claims) in a way that sectarian Christianity is not. While some people try to make a model where the history doesn't matter, for the vast majority of people, the historical claims are either the keystone or the deal-breaker.

We should embrace this. The answer to "why should I become a Mormon / why should I keep my covenants" lies in the truth of the historical claims. 

It doesn't matter whether there was a Jesus? Maybe for the most liberal of Christian theologians. But not for most. If anything general Christianity depends upon history even more since it is fully about an historic event. Lose that event and you lose Christianity. Now if you're talking about Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism or the like I'm all with you. But Christianity? The whole point is history.

11 hours ago, Exiled said:

Isn't the real problem that if the entire history were always recited, discussed, examined and reviewed, and not just the favorable parts, less would join and less would remain?  This seems to be why the leaders have massaged the history a bit to make it more heroic.

It's definitely true that critics think we ought be just presenting anti-Mormon accounts of history. Were that the way we shared the gospel there definitely would be fewer conversions. One can be honest without trying to make the case against the Church. But in my experience once we got people curious and able to pray, then the anti-Mormons would show up with all the troubling history and it would actually strengthen their testimony. If they got there before we taught the basics and got people to earnestly pray then it prevented them from trying to find out if it was true. Which is of course what critics want.

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1 hour ago, rongo said:

Mormonism is tied to its history (and relies on its history as the heart of its truth claims) in a way that sectarian Christianity is not. While some people try to make a model where the history doesn't matter, for the vast majority of people, the historical claims are either the keystone or the deal-breaker.

We should embrace this. The answer to "why should I become a Mormon / why should I keep my covenants" lies in the truth of the historical claims. 

While I agree with this, i think it illustrates a problem with history that most members don't understand--that since none of us were there, our understanding of the history is always going to be flawed in some way.  

A lot of people (most people who haven't studied history and don't know what they don't know) don't understand that.  They think that history is something that can be proven, when it can't.  History is interpration and some interpretations are better than others.  While the answer to 'why' might lie in the truth of historical claims, a study of the history can never prove what claims are true.  

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18 hours ago, juliann said:

Gaslighting is a fun new fad word that has been divorced from its full meaning. It is fun to throw at people because it is a way of accusing them of a psychological disorder without being forthright.

People who use the term gaslighting are usually the ones gaslighting.

20 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I don't know that it should.  But it argues against the notion that the Church has always been open and transparent.  

I think this misrepresents greatly what they said. Ballard said, "We’re as transparent as we know how to be in telling the truth. We have to do that; that’s the Lord’s way." At no time did Oaks and Ballard claim they were transparent in the sense of releasing every bit of data or making every text publicly available. People are attacking them for something they never claimed. Rather they were saying that they told the truth. And no one is disputing that. The only place one could possibly criticize on that point is McConkie on Brigham Young and Adam/God. Even that is a bit more complex than it first appears.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

It's definitely true that critics think we ought be just presenting anti-Mormon accounts of history. Were that the way we shared the gospel there definitely would be fewer conversions. One can be honest without trying to make the case against the Church. But in my experience once we got people curious and able to pray, then the anti-Mormons would show up with all the troubling history and it would actually strengthen their testimony. If they got there before we taught the basics and got people to earnestly pray then it prevented them from trying to find out if it was true. Which is of course what critics want.

If new converts truly get their testimonies strengthened by troubling history, then why doesn't the church tell them about it after conversion? Maybe put in a polyandry lesson for the new members? How about follow that up with mountain meadows?

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13 hours ago, cinepro said:

The question was about "tough questions about Church history", but they respond by pointing out that the Church had published info about the different accounts of the First Vision back in 1970.

A real interviewer would have responded "That's great, Elder Ballard, but what about all the other stuff that is proving so damaging to the testimonies of our friends and families as it becomes more widely known?"

Again this is very misleading regarding what he said. After being asked the question he gives several principles people should follow. "The facts are we don’t study; we don’t go back and search what has been said on the subject. For example, Dr. James B. Allen of BYU in 1970 produced an article in the Church magazines explaining all about the different versions of the First Vision.” That is he explicitly states as an example of the principles he and Oaks just gave he discusses the First Vision. He's completely correct too. In nearly every case of "hidden teaching" people are claiming the last 10 years there was already a lot published on lds.org that a simple search would have found. 

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3 minutes ago, Exiled said:

If new converts truly get their testimonies strengthened by troubling history, then why doesn't the church tell them about it after conversion? Maybe put in a polyandry lesson for the new members? How about follow that up with mountain meadows?

Note I said strengthened when anti-Mormons present the charges. But again for people who study such things are encountered quickly. The problem is that most people don't study. You're bringing up elements of Mormon history but of course there's far worse in the Bible. Ask the typical Christian basic questions about the Bible and they're woefully ignorant. Why? Because they don't even read their scriptures. 

But of course what you say is ironic since it appears that the Church is starting to do what you say. (Although I'm not sure how Mountain Meadows is that relevant - but hey bring the charge if you want) But such things are at lds.org. Look at the writeup on my hero Zina Huntington from 2012. "In a rare instance of polyandry, Zina remained married to Henry Jacobs after being sealed to Joseph Smith."

Edited by clarkgoble
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9 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

. . . already a lot published on lds.org that a simple search would have found. 

In my experience, there are no simple searches on lds.org. It's like the worst search engine, ever. You get hundreds of hits, none of which (at least, not those in reasonable proximity to the top) relate to your search (what you're actually looking for). But, I'm notoriously bad at key word searches. 

I am confident, though, that a concerned person looking for solid and relevant information on lds.org by doing key word searches, isn't going to find much that's helpful and relevant. 

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      This is by far the best forum currently discussing the leaks.
       
      Anyway, I thought I would offer myself up to you all and do an AMA (Ask Me Anything).
       
      No questions are off the table, but I reserve the right to say no comment 
       
      If you need proof that this is really me you can PM me at https://www.facebook.com/FearlessFixxer
       
      Cheers
       
      Moderator advice: Welcome to the board, feel free to join in but we do not allow personal ads. 
    • By rockpond
      For anyone out there who has been dying to know how much a temple employee makes <crickets>, some 2006 data is now available!
      MormonLeaks has also created a page where they are compiling all leaks that have to do with church salaries, it's here:
      https://mormonleaks.io/wiki/index.php?title=Mormon_Church_Salaries
      If you were looking to become employed with the church, it appears that (as of 2006) the top salaries there maxed out around $130k.  Likely a bit higher now.
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