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Ideals Vs. Culture


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5 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Thus, I would feel a greater spiritual  kinship with the most recently baptized devout Latter-day Saint in the remotest Third World country than with a disaffected member of record in my own locale, especially one who has set himself up as a strident critic of the Church or its teachings. 

I am curious as to the purpose of the post. With this ending, it feels you are thinking of a particular conversation.

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21 minutes ago, Calm said:

I am curious as to the purpose of the post. With this ending, it feels you are thinking of a particular conversation.

A purpose of the post — as I’m sure a purpose is with most posts here — is to promote thought and reflection. 
 

And no, I’m not tying it to any specific conversation, though it could apply to a number In the past that I’ve observed or engaged in, both here and elsewhere. . 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I can’t find the precise statement right now, but not long ago, I ran across a comment from Ben Shapiro to the effect that his adherence to the Jewish faith/religion is based more upon ideals than it is upon culture or tradition.

That pretty much characterizes my own adherence to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m not so much impressed by the richness of your “Mormon” pioneer ancestry or by how long you’ve been a member, or whether you attended seminary or graduated from BYU,  or how many or how high the callings you’ve held prior to your disaffection/apostasy as I am by your faithfulness to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and your embracing of the doctrines, principles, policies, teachings of the Savior’s Church as conveyed through inspired prophets and apostles. In other words, any affinity we might share is grounded in ideals, not so much in culture. 
 

Thus, I would feel a greater spiritual  kinship with the most recently baptized devout Latter-day Saint in the remotest Third World country than with a disaffected member of record in my own locale, especially one who has set himself up as a strident critic of the Church or its teachings. 

The culture of Zion is based on the Lord's ideals. The kinds of cultural things you listed (ancestry/genealogy, tenure, prior education and related attainments, prior positions of responsibility -- and others I can think of) are not important in Zion. I think the kinship you mention is from sharing one heart and one mind, and the attendant ideals of righteousness and abundance (Moses 7:18), under the uniting name of Christ.

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1 minute ago, CV75 said:

The culture of Zion is based on the Lord's ideals. The kinds of cultural things you listed (ancestry/genealogy, tenure, prior education and related attainments, prior positions of responsibility -- and others I can think of) are not important in Zion. I think the kinship you mention is from sharing one heart and one mind, and the attendant ideals of righteousness and abundance (Moses 7:18), under the uniting name of Christ.

Well said. And I suppose this is why I’ve never held the concept of the “cultural Mormon” in very high regard. 

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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I can’t find the precise statement right now, but not long ago, I ran across a comment from Ben Shapiro to the effect that his adherence to the Jewish faith/religion is based more upon ideals than it is upon culture or tradition.

That pretty much characterizes my own adherence to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m not so much impressed by the richness of your “Mormon” pioneer ancestry or by how long you’ve been a member, or whether you attended seminary or graduated from BYU,  or how many or how high the callings you’ve held prior to your disaffection/apostasy as I am by your faithfulness to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and your embracing of the doctrines, principles, policies, teachings of the Savior’s Church as conveyed through inspired prophets and apostles.

I agree that placing principle ahead of cultural norms is right.  It's interesting that the importance you always place on following Church policies seems to be the top principle for you.

I  can't help but wonder how you would respond if Church policies ever ran up against a deeply held doctrinal belief.  I don't want to speak for you but it seems like such principled belief would take a backseat if the leaders told you to.

Should following our priesthood head be supreme to following doctrinal principles?  Or is that truly the supreme principle ?

Edited by JLHPROF
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37 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

I agree that placing principle ahead of cultural norms is right.  It's interesting that the importance you always place on following Church policies seems to be the top principle for you.

I  can't help but wonder how you would respond if Church policies ever ran up against a deeply held doctrinal belief.  I don't want to speak for you but it seems like such principled belief would take a backseat if the leaders told you to.

Should following our priesthood head be supreme to following doctrinal principles?  Or is that truly the supreme principle ?

Speaking for me is precisely what you seem to be doing here — and wrongly so. 
 

Since I believe that Church policies are virtually always driven by inspired doctrine, principles and teachings, I don’t accept the dichotomy that you seem so determined to impose here. 
 

To me, doctrines, principles, teachings, policies, standards all belong under the umbrella term ideals  Hence my use of that term. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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18 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Should following our priesthood head be supreme to following doctrinal principles?

Isn’t following a priesthood head a doctrinal principal?

4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
6 For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

D&C 21

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24 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Should following our priesthood head be supreme to following doctrinal principles?  Or is that truly the supreme principle ?

Please provide a practical example where this kind of choice needs to be made.

2 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

Isn’t following a priesthood head a doctrinal principal?

4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
6 For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

D&C 21

I think his question is about whether this is a "supreme" principle, or, which doctrinal principle might be less important than this one?

Edited by CV75
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30 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Well said. And I suppose this is why I’ve never held the concept of the “cultural Mormon” in very high regard. 

I agree. Unlike cultural Jews, appeals to this identity usually comes with a defensive or apologetic stance about having lapsed from the faith.

How might "Mormon culture" and "cultural Mormon" be differentiated?

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28 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Speaking for me is precisely what you seem to be doing here — and wrongly so. 
 

Since I believe that Church policies are virtually always driven by inspired doctrine, principles and teachings, I don’t accept the dichotomy that you seem So determined to impose here. 

I apologize if that is how it came across.  I however believe there is a gospel principle that leads to the very dichotomy you reject.

20 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

Isn’t following a priesthood head a doctrinal principal?

Yes, 100%.  Which is what makes this topic so interesting.  Christ specifically said he did nothing but his Father's will (his priesthood head).  Joseph taught when God commands, do it.  Brigham taught the oracles of God through revelation trump even scripture.

18 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Please provide a practical example where this kind of choice needs to be made.

Brigham and Heber being introduced to plural marriage by the Prophet Joseph in Nauvoo would be an obvious one.  Orson Pratt vs Brigham on theology would be another.  Or the Jews in Christ's day seeing seeming contradiction between the Law and Jesus (whether there was or not).

Some others come to mind regarding other topics.  If I have time I'll post them.

Edited by JLHPROF
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27 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Unlike cultural Jews, appeals to this identity usually comes with a defensive or apologetic stance about having lapsed from the faith

Maybe originally, I don't think it is that way now as it is broadly used.  Rather now often from what I see it is a shorthand way of explaining choices not to use alcohol, clothing style, etc. even though not a member or not active.  They are not being defensive about no longer being a devout Saint.

Edited by Calm
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19 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Brigham and Heber being introduced to plural marriage by the Prophet Joseph in Nauvoo would be an obvious one.  Orson Pratt vs Brigham on theology would be another.  Or the Jews in Christ's day seeing seeming contradiction between the Law and Jesus (whether there was or not).

Where is following the priesthood head (assuming you don't mean the Lord) placed as the supreme doctrine over following the doctrinal principles in these examples (other than what you might find to be only a seeming contradiction)? I'm suggesting that faith in Christ drives the faith in those difficult-to-accept principles and requirements (and callings and assignments) revealed through them.

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11 minutes ago, Calm said:

Maybe originally, I don't think it is that way now as it is broadly used.  Rather now often from what I see it is a shorthand way of explaining choices not to use alcohol, clothing style, etc. even though not a member or not active.  They are not being defensive about no longer being a devout Saint.

So they identify as cultural Mormon because they were brought up in families practicing standards where the Church is known to have established them, though the religious rationale for these standards is not of  much value anymore. This is interesting because cultural Jews generally follow the various unique mores of their ancestral / origin regions (though not practicing Jews), and the same would go here except the region seems limited to communities along the Mormon Trail / Western settlements, and the customs a bit more homogeneous. For example, are Iowan cultural Mormons very different in their cultural practices than Ohioan, Illinoisans, Utahn/Utahan or Californian cultural Mormons?

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40 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Where is following the priesthood head (assuming you don't mean the Lord) placed as the supreme doctrine over following the doctrinal principles in these examples (other than what you might find to be only a seeming contradiction)? I'm suggesting that faith in Christ drives the faith in those difficult-to-accept principles and requirements (and callings and assignments) revealed through them.

In the plural marriage case you had canonized scripture and all Christian tradition banning plural marriage and the Prophet of God telling them differently.  In the Orson/Brigham issue you had an Apostle whose scripturally founded testimony of the nature of God disagreed with his priesthood head's teachings to the point he was threatened with removal.

I believe it is a correct principle that at some point a priesthood head (somewhere up the chain) will inevitably require something if you so against your religious beliefs that you have to decide which principle is higher.  Nephi and Laban is another.  Abraham and Isaac.  Heber/Vilate and Joseph.  I believe it's a requirement for exaltation to have your deeply held principled belief tried.

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4 hours ago, Calm said:

I am curious as to the purpose of the post. With this ending, it feels you are thinking of a particular conversation.

Scott's post did bring to my mind an interview I just heard by Doug Fabrizio of Joanna Brooks.  Her primary subject was race and the LDS Church from the outset till now (based on her book Mormonism and White Supremacy).  As she covered the subject in detail, I kept thinking how carefully she chose to present virtually everything in the worst possible light, and to leave out key points which invalidated much of what she had to say.  I was very disappointed.  I would have preferred to hear from Coleman Hughes, who brings solid perspective to the discussion.   Brooks is a university professor, and should know better.  Yet the white intellectual elite seems intent on throwing Dr King under the bus, as though he and others accomplished nothing at all.

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3 hours ago, CV75 said:

I agree. Unlike cultural Jews, appeals to this identity usually comes with a defensive or apologetic stance about having lapsed from the faith.

How might "Mormon culture" and "cultural Mormon" be differentiated?

Beyond the established and orthodox elements of our liturgy (the sacrament, hymn singing, a lay clergy, priesthood ordinances, temples, etc.) I think we ought to be wary about designating this or that thing as part of Latter-day Saint culture, lest we find ourselves imposing on new converts certain non-essentials, as it were (funeral potatoes, anyone?). 
 

We can identify this phenomenon in the early Christian church in which certain of the Jewish Christians endeavored to impose upon new converts old-time Mosaic rites such as circumcision, even though the law of circumcision had been “done away” in Christ. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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10 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Scott's post did bring to my mind an interview I just heard by Doug Fabrizio of Joanna Brooks.  Her primary subject was race and the LDS Church from the outset till now (based on her book Mormonism and White Supremacy).  As she covered the subject in detail, I kept thinking how carefully she chose to present virtually everything in the worst possible light, and to leave out key points which invalidated much of what she had to say.  I was very disappointed.  I would have preferred to hear from Coleman Hughes, who brings solid perspective to the discussion.   Brooks is a university professor, and should know better.  Yet the white intellectual elite seems intent on throwing Dr King under the bus, as though he and others accomplished nothing at all.

Worst possible light? How unlike Joanna Brooks 😉

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7 hours ago, Calm said:

Maybe originally, I don't think it is that way now as it is broadly used.  Rather now often from what I see it is a shorthand way of explaining choices not to use alcohol, clothing style, etc. even though not a member or not active.  They are not being defensive about no longer being a devout Saint.

Occasionally, a self-styled “cultural Mormon,” having effectively abandoned the faith, will retain a sense of proprietorship over the Church such that he/she feels entitled to engage in a fair amount of ark steadying and criticism of the institution he/she has forsaken. A form of the can’t-leave-it-alone attitude, I suppose.  

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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57 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Occasionally, a self-styled “cultural Mormon,” having effectively abandoned the faith, will retain a sense of proprietorship over the Church such that he/she feels entitled to engage in a fair amount of ark steadying and criticism of the institution he/she has forsaken. A variety of the can’t-leave-it-alone attitude, I suppose.  

In many cases its more like an invested-so-much-into-it-and-still-connected-to-many-others-in-the-church-and-feel-like-they-can-now-more-freely-express-themselves attitude.

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3 hours ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

In many cases its more like an invested-so-much-into-it-and-still-connected-to-many-others-in-the-church-and-feel-like-they-can-now-more-freely-express-themselves attitude.

Sounds like a rationalization for the can’t-leave-it-alone attitude. 

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5 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Sounds like a rationalization for the can’t-leave-it-alone attitude. 

You don’t see it as likely that someone who has lived the majority of their life, especially their formative childhood, youth, and often early adulthood as Saints and whose family remain Saints feels still intimately connected with the culture and faith?  And feels like now there is little reason to consider their speech as representative of members, so might say things differently?

If an American moves in later life to another country, but loves American food and films even though they love their new country’s as well and still has all their family there so visits from time to time, don’t you see it as likely they will still maintain an interest in the States, what is politically happening, disasters or achievements, how their families might be affected, etc?  But perhaps having experienced the country from outside looking in, they might express different views than when their sole experience was living in the States?

Edited by Calm
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7 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Occasionally, a self-styled “cultural Mormon,” having effectively abandoned the faith, will retain a sense of proprietorship over the Church such that he/she feels entitled to engage in a fair amount of ark steadying and criticism of the institution he/she has forsaken. A form of the can’t-leave-it-alone attitude, I suppose.  

Professor Sterling McMurrin was certainly a cultural Mormon.  He had great admiration for cohesive Mormon socio-cultural norms, and even defended normative Mormon theological foundations.   Yet he rejected the Book of Mormon as fiction and did not believe in any sort of God.  His great debate with Hugh Nibley was particularly interesting, with Hugh as the harsh social critic, and McMurrin even defending BYU.  We need to be kind to our lapsed brethren.

Also, we shouldn't always have to go outside the shadows of the everlasting hills (Wasatch Front) to find sincere and penetrating analysis of our community and its astonishing history.  Thomas F. O'Dea, Harold Bloom, and Jan Shipps, for example, have brought useful perspectives to the debate table.  It doesn't hurt for us to see ourselves as outsiders see us.

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This sounds like quite a tribal use of your religion. 

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4 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Sounds like a rationalization for the can’t-leave-it-alone attitude. 

Your approach is an oversimplification and an untrue negative stereotype. I understand the defensive position it comes from, but it’s so unsympathetic and tone-deaf it’s mind-numbing.

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