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“Relaxed but Engaged” Mormons


SteveO

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9 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

So, who do we believe and why: a few  Millenial Mormons or ordained Prophets?

Ideally we all develop our own sense of authority and don't need to be told what or who to believe. We recognize that we have a personal connection with God, and as Joseph Smith learned in the first vision, we don't need a middle man to tell us God's will for us. We should be comfortable recognizing and walking our own path, not worried about what a Millenial or the prophet might think of us.

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16 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Ideally we all develop our own sense of authority and don't need to be told what or who to believe. We recognize that we have a personal connection with God, and as Joseph Smith learned in the first vision, we don't need a middle man to tell us God's will for us. We should be comfortable recognizing and walking our own path, not worried about what a Millenial or the prophet might think of us.

 
 
“When the Children of Israel came to the promised land from Egypt, under the guidance of the Almighty, on one occasion, when they were weary and footsore, the people of the Amalikites came out against them, and harassed them upon the right hand and upon the left and slew their women and their children and their tender ones.
 
Because of this piece of treachery and unfriendliness to a people who had never injured them, the Lord determined that they should be destroyed, and he told the prophet to write it down in a book of remembrance, that when the people were established in the promised land and became strong they should go against the Amalikites and carry out the commandment of the Lord with respect to that people. Saul was selected by the prophet to perform this duty. He was told to gather together the hosts of Israel and to give battle to the Amalikites. He was commanded to destroy them from the face of the earth, because they had fought against Israel in the day of their weakness and trouble. Saul gathered the hosts of Israel and went against them, and destroyed them. But it is said in the scriptures that Saul and the people spared Agag the king and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fatlings and all that was good, but everything that was vile they destroyed utterly. Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said unto him:
 
Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king, and have utterly destroyed the Amalikites.
But the People took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal.
And Samuel said, hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offering and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the far of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. (1 Sam. 15:20-23)
 
The Lord did not say to Saul that there was anything wrong in burnt offering and sacrifice, but he said that obedience was better than sacrifice.
 
And later on Samuel said unto Saul, "I will not return with thee; for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel."
 
In another place it is said that the Lord repented that he made Saul king over Israel, because he had forsaken him and failed to keep his commandments.
 
It seems to me, brethren and sisters, that we can draw a lesson of wisdom from this story of the king of Israel. We can see that when the Lord gives a commandment to the children of men He requires the strictest obedience to that command. When the Lord speaks he means something. It is not as the conversation of one man with another, when we do not weigh our words and think not of the result thereof, but when the Lord delivers a commandment to his people it is binding upon them. We have the commandments of the Lord in the Bible, in the Book of D&C, in the Book of Mormon and in other Church works, wherein is set forth the mind and will of the Lord unto His people. Furthermore, we have the living oracles; we have the prophet of God to stand forth in the midst of Israel and deliver unto us the mind and will of God.
 
The Lord has said in these last days that he will not be mocked, and that we cannot disregard or treat lightly his words. We know that many troubles and evils have come upon the people from time to time because of the disregard of the word of the Lord… No doubt some of the evils under which we are struggling at the present time are due in a measure to our disobedience, for we have been instructed that Zion might have been redeemed long ago if the Saints had been faithful”. 
 
 (Rudger Clawson, Conference  Report, October 1899, First Day—Morning Session, 124)
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16 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Ideally we all develop our own sense of authority and don't need to be told what or who to believe. We recognize that we have a personal connection with God, and as Joseph Smith learned in the first vision, we don't need a middle man to tell us God's will for us. We should be comfortable recognizing and walking our own path, not worried about what a Millenial or the prophet might think of us.

Sounds like you are tilting towards Luther and Protestantism? :) 

Of course we must have our own walk with God. I'm not worried about what Millenials (a meaningless word) or prophets think about me, but I don't feel a need to marginalize prophets. What is the point of having the Priesthood, prophets, and apostles? I see them as more than trip advisors and future tellers.

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29 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Sounds like you are tilting towards Luther and Protestantism? :) 

Of course we must have our own walk with God. I'm not worried about what Millenials (a meaningless word) or prophets think about me, but I don't feel a need to marginalize prophets. What is the point of having the Priesthood, prophets, and apostles? I see them as more than trip advisors and future tellers.

What would you do with Jesus when He picks corn on the Sabbath, an offense that required the Jews to stone anyone who breaks the Sabbath?  Should Christ be stoned for not following church leaders and their laws?  Throughout Christ's ministry, He sharply criticized the church leaders.  Was Christ a "Relaxed but engaged Jew"?  

Edited by california boy
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I've been kind of amused by this thread, because it is a reminder we are all on a spectrum regarding how casual or serious we are with our beliefs.

I have always felt that temple worthiness is the barometer that actually matters, an easy way to determine if you are on track to go to the Celestial Kingdom, and I get this from the counsel of numerous bishops and implied through many conference talks.  See, e.g., Joseph B. Worthlin, Cultivating Divine Attributes, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1998/10/cultivating-divine-attributes?lang=eng.  I personally think that this is a primary goal of temple worthiness interviews - to make it clear and explicit what the standards of admittance to the Celestial Kingdom so one can see how they are doing towards that goal.  

 

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9 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I don't think you're understanding what I'm saying.  No one obeys commandments that they don't believe come from God.  That's why I eat pork, and don't baptize my babies, or go to church on Saturday with the Jews and 7th Day Adventists-I don't believe those commandments come from God.  

The debate is not about how we react to commandments that we don't believe come from God.  We all react the exact same way to commandments that we don't believe come from God. The debate is about how people react to commandments they disagree with.

Rather than trying to divide people into 'those who need strict rules and authoritarian structure to feel close to God' and 'those don't (which the distinction that you used and that I disagree with), it seems more accurate (in relation to the OP) to divide them into those who are willing to obey commandments that they believe come from God but don't necessarily agree with, and those who believe that if they disagree with a commandment it means it's not of God.

 

 

Perfectly said.  Well done

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41 minutes ago, california boy said:

What would you do with Jesus when He picks corn on the Sabbath, an offense that required the Jews to stone anyone who breaks the Sabbath?  Should Christ be stoned for not following church leaders and their laws?  Throughout Christ's ministry, He sharply criticized the church leaders.  Was Christ a "Relaxed but engaged Jew"?  

You keep focusing on the corn picking.  There is an insurmountable gulf between corn picking and the work for the dead.  Or the endowment.  Or tithing.

If all we were talking about was whether  coffee was okay or the seriousness of strapless dresses, you’d have a point.  But we aren’t.  We’re discussing things that form the centrality of being a member of this church. 

Edited to add that there were things that ignited the righteous anger from the Lord as well.  i.e. making a whip and forcing out the money changers to protect the sanctity of the temple.  Don’t confuse corn picking on the sabbath as meaning the Savior didn’t think there were some things that needed to be followed strictly.

Edited by SteveO
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22 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I don't think you're understanding what I'm saying.  No one obeys commandments that they don't believe come from God.  That's why I eat pork, and don't baptize my babies, or go to church on Saturday with the Jews and 7th Day Adventists-I don't believe those commandments come from God.  

The debate is not about how we react to commandments that we don't believe come from God.  We all react the exact same way to commandments that we don't believe come from God. The debate is about how people react to commandments they disagree with.

Rather than trying to divide people into 'those who need strict rules and authoritarian structure to feel close to God' and 'those don't (which the distinction that you used and that I disagree with), it seems more accurate (in relation to the OP) to divide them into those who are willing to obey commandments that they believe come from God but don't necessarily agree with, and those who believe that if they disagree with a commandment it means it's not of God.

If you're talking about Jack Mormons who are orthodox in their beliefs but not in their practice, I think that's an entirely different topic from the one in the OP.  The "relaxed but engaged" group are following the commandments they think are Godly.

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13 minutes ago, Gray said:

If you're talking about Jack Mormons who are orthodox in their beliefs but not in their practice, I think that's an entirely different topic from the one in the OP.  The "relaxed but engaged" group are following the commandments they think are Godly.

Everyone is following the commandments that they think are Godly, not just those in the "relaxed but engaged" group.

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30 minutes ago, rongo said:

There is a third type: those who believe commandments are from God, but don't follow them (usually due to weakness or frailty). I know people like this, and my heart goes out to them. They are squarely on the Church's side as far as belief, but for different reasons don't keep certain commandments (even while acknowledging that they are weak or in sin; they recognize that the commandments themselves are important and of God). 

Living the gospel and the commandments is not always simple and cut-and-dried for some people. It is really hard to not be fully living according to one's beliefs (cognitive dissonance).

I agree.  I was speaking only to the topic of the OP.  I think we all fall into this third group for certain commandments since none of us are perfectly obedient, not even to the commandments we believe are from God. 

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40 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Everyone is following the commandments that they think are Godly, not just those in the "relaxed but engaged" group.

Yes, both groups are doing that. But why do people think some commandments are Godly vs other not?

I would reiterate: The fact is some people need strict rules and authoritarian structure to get them to the spiritual place they want to be in, but for other people it's a hindrance between them and their relationship towards God.

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49 minutes ago, SteveO said:

You keep focusing on the corn picking.  There is an insurmountable gulf between corn picking and the work for the dead.  Or the endowment.  Or tithing.

If all we were talking about was whether  coffee was okay or the seriousness of strapless dresses, you’d have a point.  But we aren’t.  We’re discussing things that form the centrality of being a member of this church. 

Edited to add that there were things that ignited the righteous anger from the Lord as well.  i.e. making a whip and forcing out the money changers to protect the sanctity of the temple.  Don’t confuse corn picking on the sabbath as meaning the Savior didn’t think there were some things that needed to be followed strictly.

2

There are several issues we are commenting about. In my view, all of the rules you mentioned as well as many others (tattoos. ear piercings, etc.) are easy to attribute to church leaders using their position of power to insert their own views on what they think rather than what God thinks.  By using their position as apostles and prophets to insert their own personal beliefs, some members start to question even more what the church tells them comes from God in other areas of doctrine and expected behavior.  IMO, when church leaders lose that trust that they speak for God, then everything they say comes into question.  I think that is what is happening.  People no longer rely on church leaders to speak for God.  Why would they?  So evidently some members are making all decision based on their own understanding and beliefs.  

Evidently, this is transferring into other areas like the temple. From the article:

 

Quote

 

Homer hasn’t renewed her recommend because, she says, she finds the temple ceremony “irredeemably sexist.”

She does not wear temple garments but is “deeply committed” to the “personal covenants with God [she made in the temple] about loving my fellow sisters and brothers.

 

I can see why she feels this way.  The whole wives submit to your husbands.  Husbands submit to God.  Why not wives and husbands submit to God?  Was that sexist language put in by God or by man?  Given the above history, I can see why some feel temple ordinances are created by the same guys that had a problem with strapless dresses, shoulders showing, women wearing more than one earring, modesty standards that for the most part only apply to women.  Hence, according to the article you quoted, one-quarter of those sitting in the pews each Sunday are relaxed but engaged Mormons. Can you see what might be causing a lot of this to happen?

Yeah, Christ had finally had enough when he saw leaders of the church allowing moneychangers to profit and prey on members of the church in their temple worship.  But I don't think anyone is accusing anyone in the church of being guilty of anything like that.  This issue is more claiming to speak for God when God has not necessarily spoken on a particular issue.  In the past 75 years, a lot of opinions of men have crept into church dogma.  Evidently, one-quarter of church members are distinguishing between what they believe came from man and what they believe came from God.  Christ did much the same thing.  He threw out a lot of what had been corrupted by men claiming to speak for God.

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40 minutes ago, Gray said:

Yes, both groups are doing that. But why do people think some commandments are Godly vs other not?

I would reiterate: The fact is some people need strict rules and authoritarian structure to get them to the spiritual place they want to be in, but for other people it's a hindrance between them and their relationship towards God.

But I don't believe that the WoW is a commandment from God because I need strict rules and my protestant friend doesn't think it's NOT a commandment because they believe strict rules are a hindrance.  I've never known anyone who decides whether or not a commandment is of God based it's strictness.

My husband was a practicing (and very active) Lutheran before he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It's not like he had believed that he didn't need a religion with strict rules when he was Lutheran and then decided that he actually did need strict rules to have a good relationship with God when he decided to join the church.  

This is why I disagree that your premise is a fact.  

Edited by bluebell
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34 minutes ago, bluebell said:

But I don't believe that the WoW is a commandment from God because I need strict rules and my protestant friend doesn't think it's NOT a commandment because they believe strict rules are a hindrance.  I've never known anyone who decides whether or not a commandment is of God based it's strictness.

My husband was a practicing (and very active) Lutheran before he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It's not like he had believed that he didn't need a religion with strict rules when he was Lutheran and then decided that he actually did need strict rules to have a good relationship with God when he decided to join the church.  

This is why I disagree that your premise is a fact.  

I understand what you're saying but I think you're overstating Gray's position. He said.

Quote

some people need strict rules and authoritarian structure to get them to the spiritual place they want to be in

I think that is definitely true for "some people" but not for all. Some people need more structure, and a highly structured moral and behavioral code works for them. I think it is similar to how some people really benefit from the structure of the military to give their lives focus, but not all do that. In fact, some really fail in that kind of high structure. Different strokes...

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13 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I understand what you're saying but I think you're overstating Gray's position. He said.

I think that is definitely true for "some people" but not for all. Some people need more structure, and a highly structured moral and behavioral code works for them. I think it is similar to how some people really benefit from the structure of the military to give their lives focus, but not all do that. In fact, some really fail in that kind of high structure. Different strokes...

But he's only including two categories.  Those who need strict rules and those who don't.  I don't agree with that dichotomy.  

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5 minutes ago, bluebell said:

But he's only including two categories.  Those who need strict rules and those who don't.  I don't agree with that dichotomy.  

I think most people are a mix. Some need more structure in different areas of life than they might in another but I actually find a lot of truth in the dichotomy. I have one child who needs a life built on routine. He needs to know what is expected of him in plain terms...with EVERYTHING. It can be rather frustrating. For him, lots of rules (commandments) works great. He doesn't like or want to think about any gray area of rules. Keep the commandment or don't. Be all in the church or all out. That works for a lot of people. I have a daughter who likes broad strokes. She wants to be pointed in the general direction and given the opportunity to experience and figure things out for herself. She does not learn by simply doing what she is told. She makes some mistakes, but not many. IMO she is much wiser than her older brother. Those are 2 extremes and I have a couple of other kids who are somewhere in between. Just because it's a dichotomy at the extremes doesn't mean there isn't also a spectrum.

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2 hours ago, Gray said:

If you're talking about Jack Mormons who are orthodox in their beliefs but not in their practice, I think that's an entirely different topic from the one in the OP.  The "relaxed but engaged" group are following the commandments they think are Godly.

I suspect that the more accurate characterization is that they are following the commandments they think are convenient, and disregarding those commandments they think are inconvenient / difficult.

I am reminded here of the Rich Young Ruler, who despite being a very good person in most material respects, ultimately loved his wealth more than God.  He was willing to follow Jesus, until what He asked became too inconvenient or difficult.

I am also reminded of John 6, in which Jesus Christ alienated a substantial number of His followers with the "Bread of Life" sermon.  They were willing to follow Him, until what He taught them became inconvenient or difficult.

I admire the generalized sentiment that we are each of us responsible for fostering our own independent relationship with God.  But "independent" is not intended to be exclusively so.  There are far too many scriptural exhortations about the mission of prophets, far too many about unity, and obedience, and authority, and so on, for me to buy into the notion that listening to the prophets is an only-when-you-are-in-the-mood kind of thing.

I thought this was interesting (from the OP): "In the end, Homer says, 'no one else has the power to decide what being Mormon means except for me.'"  That's simply not so.  She didn't unilaterally choose to be baptized, and she didn't baptize herself.  She didn't give herself a temple recommend, or officiate in the temple ceremonies all by herself.  She has a fundamental misunderstanding of the Gospel on this point.

Thanks,

-Smac

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9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I suspect that the more accurate characterization is that they are following the commandments they think are convenient, and disregarding those commandments they think are inconvenient / difficult.

I am reminded here of the Rich Young Ruler, who despite being a very good person in most material respects, ultimately loved his wealth more than God.  He was willing to follow Jesus, until what He asked became too inconvenient or difficult.

I am also reminded of John 6, in which Jesus Christ alienated a substantial number of His followers with the "Bread of Life" sermon.  They were willing to follow Him, until what He taught them became inconvenient or difficult.

I admire the generalized sentiment that we are each of us responsible for fostering our own independent relationship with God.  But "independent" is not intended to be exclusively so.  There are far too many scriptural exhortations about the mission of prophets, far too many about unity, and obedience, and authority, and so on, for me to buy into the notion that listening to the prophets is an only-when-you-are-in-the-mood kind of thing.

I thought this was interesting (from the OP): "In the end, Homer says, 'no one else has the power to decide what being Mormon means except for me.'"  That's simply not so.  She didn't unilaterally choose to be baptized, and she didn't baptize herself.  She didn't give herself a temple recommend, or officiate in the temple ceremonies all by herself.  She has a fundamental misunderstanding of the Gospel on this point.

Thanks,

-Smac

When I read that statement I read into it a little because I think she's really just saying "no one else has the power to decide what being Mormon means TO ME except for me."

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Just now, HappyJackWagon said:
Quote

I suspect that the more accurate characterization is that they are following the commandments they think are convenient, and disregarding those commandments they think are inconvenient / difficult.

I am reminded here of the Rich Young Ruler, who despite being a very good person in most material respects, ultimately loved his wealth more than God.  He was willing to follow Jesus, until what He asked became too inconvenient or difficult.

I am also reminded of John 6, in which Jesus Christ alienated a substantial number of His followers with the "Bread of Life" sermon.  They were willing to follow Him, until what He taught them became inconvenient or difficult.

I admire the generalized sentiment that we are each of us responsible for fostering our own independent relationship with God.  But "independent" is not intended to be exclusively so.  There are far too many scriptural exhortations about the mission of prophets, far too many about unity, and obedience, and authority, and so on, for me to buy into the notion that listening to the prophets is an only-when-you-are-in-the-mood kind of thing.

I thought this was interesting (from the OP): "In the end, Homer says, 'no one else has the power to decide what being Mormon means except for me.'"  That's simply not so.  She didn't unilaterally choose to be baptized, and she didn't baptize herself.  She didn't give herself a temple recommend, or officiate in the temple ceremonies all by herself.  She has a fundamental misunderstanding of the Gospel on this point.

Thanks,

-Smac

When I read that statement I read into it a little because I think she's really just saying "no one else has the power to decide what being Mormon means TO ME except for me."

Okay.  I'm not sure that's much of a difference.  And it's still unworkable.  It's not like she can say "Hey, bishop.  Give me a recommend, but skip the questions.  You don't have any authority or power to decide what being Mormon means to me except for me."  

The message of the Restored Gospel did not originate with her.  She learned about it as it was revealed to others, and then (ideally) the truth of it was revealed to her personally.  We are all necessarily reliant, to a significant extent, on the prophetic callings of the prophets and apostles.  To disclaim that - as she appears to do - is to disclaim the scriptural canon, the foundation of prophets and apostles, and so on.

I think Ephesians 4 is relevant here:

Quote

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

 Homer's reasoning, such as it is, would require us to utterly reject this.  

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Okay.  I'm not sure that's much of a difference.  And it's still unworkable.  It's not like she can say "Hey, bishop.  Give me a recommend, but skip the questions.  You don't have any authority or power to decide what being Mormon means to me except for me."  

The message of the Restored Gospel did not originate with her.  She learned about it as it was revealed to others, and then (ideally) the truth of it was revealed to her personally.  We are all necessarily reliant, to a significant extent, on the prophetic callings of the prophets and apostles.  To disclaim that - as she appears to do - is to disclaim the scriptural canon, the foundation of prophets and apostles, and so on.

I think Ephesians 4 is relevant here:

 Homer's reasoning, such as it is, would require us to utterly reject this.  

Thanks,

-Smac

 

No, but for her being Mormon may be "No thanks, Bishop, I'm not interested in attending the temple so I don't need a recommend". The bishop can't exert power over her to make attending the temple significant and desirable.

She never claimed it originated with her. But she's claiming to find value in A, C, D, Y & Z but not in B, E, F L, & X. She decides for herself what has value in her life. She decides for her self how she will practice her religion. Makes sense to me. Unless or until someone tells her she is not allowed to consider herself Mormon (which no one can- excommunication or not), she totally gets to decide what being "Mormon" means in her life, whether socially, culturally, theologically.

 

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45 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I suspect that the more accurate characterization is that they are following the commandments they think are convenient, and disregarding those commandments they think are inconvenient / difficult. 

I am reminded here of the Rich Young Ruler, who despite being a very good person in most material respects, ultimately loved his wealth more than God.  He was willing to follow Jesus, until what He asked became too inconvenient or difficult.

I am also reminded of John 6, in which Jesus Christ alienated a substantial number of His followers with the "Bread of Life" sermon.  They were willing to follow Him, until what He taught them became inconvenient or difficult.

I admire the generalized sentiment that we are each of us responsible for fostering our own independent relationship with God.  But "independent" is not intended to be exclusively so.  There are far too many scriptural exhortations about the mission of prophets, far too many about unity, and obedience, and authority, and so on, for me to buy into the notion that listening to the prophets is an only-when-you-are-in-the-mood kind of thing.

I thought this was interesting (from the OP): "In the end, Homer says, 'no one else has the power to decide what being Mormon means except for me.'"  That's simply not so.  She didn't unilaterally choose to be baptized, and she didn't baptize herself.  She didn't give herself a temple recommend, or officiate in the temple ceremonies all by herself.  She has a fundamental misunderstanding of the Gospel on this point.

Thanks,

-Smac

I can't think of any group that can't be criticized in this way. Christians (in the early days, with their burgeoning number of pagan converts and dwindling Jewish roots) found it convenient not to practice the law of Moses, as required by scripture. Mormons find it convenient to not follow the strict commandment of Jesus against divorce and remarriage. And so forth.

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19 hours ago, california boy said:

And if you don't buy into the 3 Kingdoms of Glory with the top one being exclusive for those few souls that find the church and actually can believe in it?

The they're not actually believing LDS no matter what  they claim.

Edited by mnn727
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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:
Quote

Okay.  I'm not sure that's much of a difference.  And it's still unworkable.  It's not like she can say "Hey, bishop.  Give me a recommend, but skip the questions.  You don't have any authority or power to decide what being Mormon means to me except for me."  

The message of the Restored Gospel did not originate with her.  She learned about it as it was revealed to others, and then (ideally) the truth of it was revealed to her personally.  We are all necessarily reliant, to a significant extent, on the prophetic callings of the prophets and apostles.  To disclaim that - as she appears to do - is to disclaim the scriptural canon, the foundation of prophets and apostles, and so on.

I think Ephesians 4 is relevant here:

 Homer's reasoning, such as it is, would require us to utterly reject this.  

Thanks,

-Smac

No, but for her being Mormon may be "No thanks, Bishop, I'm not interested in attending the temple so I don't need a recommend". The bishop can't exert power over her to make attending the temple significant and desirable.

Well, we agree on that much.  If "being Mormon" does not include saving ordinances (going to the temple, getting baptized, etc.), then she is all good (I guess - I'm not sure what "being Mormon" means without the ordinances).  But if "being Mormon" does include temple worship or other ordinances (including baptism), or holding a calling, etc., then she is quite mistaken. 

Quote

She never claimed it originated with her. But she's claiming to find value in A, C, D, Y & Z but not in B, E, F L, & X. She decides for herself what has value in her life. She decides for her self how she will practice her religion. Makes sense to me.

In some ways, yes, other ways, no.  Membership is a mutually-agreed-upon kind of thing.  The administration of saving ordinances is a mutually-agreed-upon kind of thing.  

The scriptures are quite clear that the saving ordinances come through the Lord's servants. Consider D&C 128:8:

Quote

{T}he nature of this ordinance consists in the power of the priesthood, by the revelation of Jesus Christ, wherein it is granted that whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Or, in other words, taking a different view of the translation, whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven; for out of the books shall your dead be judged...

So the records of the Church matter.  The actions of the Church matter.

We also have D&C 132:

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All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

This is significant to me.  It speaks both of "revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed" (the prophets and apostles), but also speaks of ordinances needing to be "sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise" in order to be efficacious.

I just can't wrap my head around the notion that the role of prophets and apostles, and the priesthood authority they hold and delegate, have no actual meaning.

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Unless or until someone tells her she is not allowed to consider herself Mormon (which no one can- excommunication or not),

I'll have to disagree with you there.  Excommunication has real meaning.  "Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven..."

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she totally gets to decide what being "Mormon" means in her life, whether socially, culturally, theologically.

Well, no.  Not really.  What I "consider {my}self" to be is not determinative in most respects.  I "consider myself" to be the husband to my wife, but only so long as she and the state agree on that point.  Absent their consent, I am not her husband.

I "consider myself" a lawyer, but only insofar as I am licensed by the Utah State Bar.  Without licensure, I am not a lawyer in any meaningful sense.

I "consider myself" a member of the Church in good standing, but only insofar as the Church and the Church's records concur with that.  The Church indisputably has veto power over that assertion.

"Being Mormon" covers a broad spectrum of people, but the concept is not endlessly malleable.  Membership in the Church has real meaning to me.  Being able to attend the temple and hold callings have real meaning to me.  To hold a recommend and attend the temple (surely one of the more distinctive elements of "being Mormon"), I must submit to the authority of the Church.

So to the extent "being Mormon" involves participating in its sacred ordinances, the Church plainly does play a part in that.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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