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Navigating Faith After Concluding Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham Are 19th Century Works by Joseph Smith


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16 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

I don't think they are the same thing at all. God is our Father whereas the Church is God's organization created to assist his children to learn more about him. There are many churches and one Body of Christ. I think of the teachings of scripture where God gives the degree of truths to different groups based on what they are able to live. It is not a question of who is "better", but an acknowledgement of who I am and what I can live.

My point is that they are dependent on each other.  If the church is true then God is at the head of it, if there is no God, then the church is just a well organized human endeavor.

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I wrote this a while back:

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If approached without reference to any particular doctrinal interpretation, Ian Barbour suggests that these kinds of experience can serve as a common ground for discussion, a place of solid footing, a point of little disputed reference from which to examine the varied interpretations and traditions. Those I shall discuss in this paper (following Barbour) can be seen as generally framing a movement:

(a) From responses to external impressions regarding:

Order and creativity in the world

The common mythic symbols and patterns underlying most religious traditions

Key historical events that define separate traditions and bind individuals

 

(b) Through the innermost experiences of the individual:

Numinous awe and reverence40

Mystical union

Moral obligation

Reorientation and Reconciliation with respect to personal sin, guilt, and weakness, the existence of evil, suffering, and death, and tensions between science and faith.

 

(c) Then returning to the external world as human action:

Personal dialogue where you begin interpret external events as God speaking to you, and you answer through your own actions.

Social and Ritual behavior

These matters cannot objectively prove the existence of a God (whether personal or impersonal), but, as I hope to demonstrate, they do constitute the core of religious experience for believers. They provide the ground of experience on which reasoned and feeling assessments of the validity and worth of faith are based. They encompass the ways in which spirituality is manifest in history and symbol. They are the wine—and doctrine the wine-bottles. To argue and contend about doctrine is to emphasize the wine skin over the wine. In Alma‘s terms, it is to emphasize what you think you ―know‖ over what ultimately gives ―cause to believe‖ (Alma 32:18).

And after exploring how such matters are all part of the wine of LDS experience, as they are across the world of religious experience, I conclude this way:

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Summing Mormon Religious Experience

Like it or not, people within the Mormon tradition can and do enjoy the full range of all the experiential and historic aspects of religion, along with access to rich symbolism. Each aspect becomes like a thread in a rope: awe at the creation, numinous and mystic encounter, moments of reorientation of the mind, and reconciliation of the heart, moral obligation, the likening of scriptures to ourselves, making ancient stories into personal biography, dipping into the common mythic experience of humankind, or any number of individual historic events that define and bind our community. Like it or not, when you look at the Mormon community and the Mormon faith at this level of core experience, all that defines religion anywhere exists here. Therefore, like it or not, at the outset, any assessment of the religious value of Mormonism should admit that here the fountain of living waters flows briskly. In assessing Mormonism, in dealing with questions raised about any particular thread in what can be a complex bundle of threads of varied strengths, some more significant than others, but no single thread carrying all the weight, keep in mind that the validity of Mormon spiritual life must be accepted as a given.

The point is to demonstrate that "all or nothing" thinking is not the only, nor the best way to approach our faith.  

https://oneclimbs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/A-Model-of-Mormon-Spiritual-Experience.pdf

That particular essay does not draw on the Perry Scheme of Cognitive and Ethical Growth, but I've elsewhere made similar points using it.  For instance, here:

https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/sophic-box-and-mantic-vista-a-review-of-deconstructing-mormonism/

I've often recommended Ian Barbour's 1974 book, "Myths, Models, and Paradigms: A Comparative Study of Science and Religion."  You can get it at Amazon, or online here:

https://www.religion-online.org/book/myths-models-and-paradigms-a-comparative-study-in-science-and-religion/

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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19 hours ago, pogi said:

All that ultimately matters (for me) is if God is content with the path I am on, and if the fruit tastes good.  I don't need to make many other absolute conclusions beyond that.  Above all else, maintain a healthy intimacy with God.  He will direct you for good.  There are few things that "I know", but I do know that God is content with the path that I am on, and I intend to keep going straight until He (and not my own faulty reckoning) impresses upon me to turn left or right.  Without that direct connection to God and confident familiarity with His voice, all hope in "knowing" spiritual truth is on shaky ground.

That is a good anchor to start with.  Above all else, maintain your faith, and relationship with God.

This to me has been my journey.  I am amazed at how much God will guide you to a path that will be the best path for you.  Trust God.  

Like you Fair Dinkum, I have lost faith in many of the claims of the Church and its leaders.  The Church is at its best when it is inclusive and supportive of anyone that is on a path towards Christ.  And it is at its worse when it puts roadblocks in the path of someone reaching towards God.  What you have to decide for yourself is this.  Does the Church help you towards God or does it put roadblocks in that path that prevent you from progressing.  In my own family, I have members that are very strong in the Church.  I have some that have walked away from the Church.  Some seem to thrive in the Church.  Some seem to thrive outside the Church.  What I am most proud of is that they are all progressing in their own way, on their own path towards God.

What I would say is that there IS a path towards God outside the Church.  God does not only reside in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or any other Church.  Some think that if you leave the Church, you must find another church to stay connected with God.  That is not true.  You don't need an organization to  pick up the lessons that Christ taught. You don't need an organization to feel the Spirit guide you.  You don't need to be baptized anywhere to have that Spirit with you.   If the Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, Garden of Eden, Noah's flood etc, etc, etc are blocking your path towards God, then walk around them and move forward with your life.  God will grant you a peace in your life that you are now missing.  And that peace is worth far more than any teaching or belief that others have told you you must have to be "saved" whatever that means.  If you can put those things aside and find that the Church enriches your life, then stay in the Church on your own terms and not rely on others telling you what you must believe to be a member.

Trust God like billions of other people through the history of the world has done.  If a church is required to get you back to God then the whole Plan of Salvation is an utter failure.  All of this was not built so that a tiny fraction of one percent of mankind could return to live with God.  

Sometimes it is the Church that is blinding you from seeing the Elephant.   The best idea is to just open your eyes and realize for yourself that it is just an elephant.  

Edited by california boy
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11 hours ago, teddyaware said:

I’m wondering how it’s possible to have genuine, life transforming faith in a religion when it’s most important truth claims turn out to be nothing but an exceedingly long string of elaborate lies. Perhaps it’s analogous to a loving wife who discovers her husband of many years has been a serial cheater whose been unfaithful since before they were married. But she mulls it over and eventually decides to not confront him on the issue and decides it’s best to spend the rest of her life pretending she didn’t learn the truth because she’s too emotionally attached and dependent on her “husband” to let him go.

So the woman ends up spending the rest of her life in an emotionally taxing charade in which she’s constantly lying to her man and he’s constantly lying to her. But, at least outwardly, the marriage appears to remain intact because in their mutual neuroses there’s too much codependency to just admit the truth and live lives of honesty, forthrightness and integrity.

But perhaps there’s something in all the pretending that’s worthwhile after all because, at least for the wife, a nebulous and tentative something is far better than nothing at all. Perhaps it’s something like stage actors who really “get into character,” and for a few fleeting moments feel as if they actually are the people they are portraying. Come to think of it, throughout history there have no doubt been millions of marriages that have played out in exactly the same way until one of them goes down to the grave and leaves all the playacting behind.

But perhaps it would be better if the wife would simply confront the husband on his infidelity and tell him he can continue on in his extramarital shenanigans as long as he comes home to her and sees her temporal and physical needs. At least this way they could stop with all the hassles and stresses of pretending and at least be honest with each other. I’m thinking this later option would be analogous to you going to your bishop or stake president and being fully transparent by admitting that you believe the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are fraudulent and not what they purport to be. At least that way you could hold on to your integrity and self-respect.

But just know this, regardless of your admissions to the priesthood leaders, your interactions with the believing members will be fraught with danger lest you be perceived as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So it would likely be best if you were also fully transparent with the members of your congregation and stake, because at least that way it would be far less likely that you’d be accused of mingling with the believing saints while having a surreptitious agenda to undermine their faith. But then again, many would wonder why you would want to remain an active member when you no longer believe the ‘keystone’ of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a true history of very real ancient people.

The bottom line? Be true to yourself and honest with the members unless the priesthood leaders direct that you should keep your loss of faith private.

 

Well stated

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11 minutes ago, california boy said:

This to me has been my journey.  I am amazed at how much God will guide you to a path that will be the best path for you.  Trust God.  

Like you, I have lost faith in many of the claims of the Church and its leaders.  The Church is at its best when it is inclusive and supportive of anyone that is on a path towards Christ.  And it is at its worse when it puts roadblocks in the path of someone reaching towards God.  What you have to decide for yourself is this.  Does the Church help you towards God or does it put roadblocks in that path that prevent you from progressing.  In my own family, I have members that are very strong in the Church.  I have some that have walked away from the Church.  Some seem to thrive in the Church.  Some seem to thrive outside the Church.  What I am most proud of is that they are all progressing in their own way, on their own path towards God.

What I would say is that there IS a path towards God outside the Church.  God does not only reside in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or any other Church.  Some think that if you leave the Church, you must find another church to stay connected with God.  That is not true.  You don't need an organization to  pick up the lessons that Christ taught. You don't need an organization to feel the Spirit guide you.  You don't need to be baptized anywhere to have that Spirit with you.   If the Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, Garden of Eden, Noah's flood etc, etc, etc are blocking your path towards God, then walk around them and move forward with your life.  God will grant you a peace in your life that you are now missing.  And that peace is worth far more than any teaching or belief that others have told you you must have to be "saved" whatever that means.  If you can put those things aside and find that the Church enriches your life, then stay in the Church on your own terms and not rely on others telling you what you must believe to be a member.

Trust God like billions of other people through the history of the world has done.  If a church is required to get you back to God then the whole Plan of Salvation is an utter failure.  All of this was not built so that a tiny fraction of one percent of mankind could return to live with God.  

I respect your current perspective of the elephant, which is different from mine, and am glad to hear that you have not abandoned the elephant all together, as many do once they doubt the church.  If we both keep stretching and palpating around the elephant, neither of us should be surprised as our current perspective evolves into something new, and some day we may see eye to eye.  If our hearts are pure, we will evolve and adapt to the elephant, and the elephant will reveal itself fully in time. 

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1 hour ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Arn't they one and the same?

Not at all, but sadly many ex LDS lump them together and turn Atheist. Not that they are bad for doing so..they just go through a tough transition and it messes with you.

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

Not at all, but sadly many ex LDS lump them together and turn Atheist. Not that they are bad for doing so..they just go through a tough transition and it messes with you.

For me, they are the same.  And that is because I believe in the God that is taught by the church.  I've studied and looked at what other churches (including non-Christian and Christian) teach about God and I just can't accept their version of God.  If I ever loose the belief that Joseph Smith is an actual prophet and spoke with God and angels, then I'll also loose the belief in God.  There isn't another version of God that I'm willing to believe in.

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2 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

I honestly appreciate this nuanced approach.  My difficulty is in moving from a literal belief to a more nuanced allegorical belief and the underlying consequences of doing so.  While I take comfort knowing that others have taken this approach before me and have still found value in doing so, if the foundation is squishy, what am I standing on to begin with.  If the very core claims of the church can't be relied on for more their allegorical value or the lessons learned in parables whats the point.  There is great value in the safety that the teachings of the church add to our lives, but ultimately if the promises and rewards of eternal life are allegorical one needs to ask if the sacrifices in this life are worth it.

To borrow from Bluebells analogy, I feel that I've anchored my repelling rope to what I believed was a firm and fixed foundation and it is only after venturing over the side of the cliff that I discovered that I've been mistaken.  I relied of trusted leaders who told me I was securely anchored only to discover that that anchor is not as secure as I was led to believe.  I blame no one but myself for being too trusting.

Well, there IS another step to this and I appreciate your problem with it.

The other step is the big one I guess, and that is that all you can know is what YOU can know.

In other words, what YOU personally know and take as a belief-set IS your reality!!   So your reality WAS on of faith in the church, now your reality is one of doubt and probably fear for the future.

But what has changed in the "real world"??

Nothing but YOUR WAY of seeing it!

The key is understanding that YOU have a choice in how you see the world and THAT becomes reality for you.

I hear you know mentally making the objection that nearly everyone makes- "That's ridiculous- there IS a real world out there that I have to deal with.   I cannot jump off a cliff and just fly because I believe that!"

But of course I am not talking about that.   I am talking about your ATTITUDE toward reality.

You get to choose what to believe and what not to believe.   Honest!   You can!

And no one is saying that there is only ONE way to see it.   You can believe in a real flood and six day creation if you want to- AND yet keep a relativistic perspective simply by admitting that WE DON'T KNOW what way God chose to create the world

WE DON'T KNOW so either way of seeing could be "true" if you need to believe there is one truth about it all.   One cannot prove anything either way - or take a position which is impossible to doubt.   THAT is the strength of relativism.   It could be just as true that God created the world in 6 days as that he didn't.   WE DONT KNOW!!

We need to learn to live with uncertainty

THAT is the big issue.

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2 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

The point is to demonstrate that "all or nothing" thinking is not the only, nor the best way to approach our faith.  

THIS !!!!

And....

12 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

WE DON'T KNOW so either way of seeing could be "true" if you need to believe there is one truth about it all.   One cannot prove anything either way - or take a position which is impossible to doubt.   

 

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49 minutes ago, webbles said:

 If I ever loose the belief that Joseph Smith is an actual prophet and spoke with God and angels, then I'll also loose the belief in God.

I don't personally have a personal direct relationship with Joseph Smith.  I do have a personal and direct relationship with God though, independent of my belief in Joseph Smith. 

For me, it is less about how I currently believe, perceive, and describe the elephant (I accept that I am currently just a blind man palpating a small portion of the elephant), and more about the fact that I am touching an elephant. 

Though other people describe the elephant differently, and perceive Him in different ways (which we don't agree with), they are all still touching the elephant.  One can't avoid the elephant in the room forever :)   If I come to learn that Joseph's description (and my current perspective of God) is just as faulty and un-whole as the rest of Human kind, that says more about Joseph then it does about the elephant.  The elephant is real.  I can feel him for myself.  He is always there when I reach out.  It is undeniable at this point.

Edited by pogi
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2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Well, there IS another step to this and I appreciate your problem with it.

The other step is the big one I guess, and that is that all you can know is what YOU can know.

In other words, what YOU personally know and take as a belief-set IS your reality!!   So your reality WAS on of faith in the church, now your reality is one of doubt and probably fear for the future.

But what has changed in the "real world"??

Nothing but YOUR WAY of seeing it!

The key is understanding that YOU have a choice in how you see the world and THAT becomes reality for you.

I hear you know mentally making the objection that nearly everyone makes- "That's ridiculous- there IS a real world out there that I have to deal with.   I cannot jump off a cliff and just fly because I believe that!"

But of course I am not talking about that.   I am talking about your ATTITUDE toward reality.

You get to choose what to believe and what not to believe.   Honest!   You can!

And no one is saying that there is only ONE way to see it.   You can believe in a real flood and six day creation if you want to- AND yet keep a relativistic perspective simply by admitting that WE DON'T KNOW what way God chose to create the world

WE DON'T KNOW so either way of seeing could be "true" if you need to believe there is one truth about it all.   One cannot prove anything either way - or take a position which is impossible to doubt.   THAT is the strength of relativism.   It could be just as true that God created the world in 6 days as that he didn't.   WE DONT KNOW!!

We need to learn to live with uncertainty

THAT is the big issue.

Interesting perspective...If I understand you correctly, then I have to  completely disagree with you.  Let me repeat what I believe you are saying for clarification.  I hear you say that I can make a choice in what to believe.  While I guess that it is true that I can believe what I want to and that people often choose to believe in all kinds of things that are both true & false, following this rule will often lead to believing in things that are not true.  Wouldn't it be more wise to base our search for truth on evidence and form beliefs in claims that are built on at least some basic foundation of underlying truth?  Faith can fill the information gap and lead to truth if the underlying premise is at least somewhat truthful, but even then repeated testing of ones faith against any new evidence must take place to keep one on the path to truth.  And if a cherished belief fails to meet this test then it must be rejected other wise we will continue down a path believing in a false reality.

Using the earth for an example.  There are those who chose to believe that the earth is flat.  Believing in a flat earth does not make the earth flat nor true particularly when one has to completely dismiss empirical evidence that when examined would conflict with a belief in a flat earth.  No matter how much I might chose to believe in a flat earth...the earth will NEVER be flat.

All of the evidence that I am aware of supports the premise that the process that resulted in our planet earth took billions of years and not 6 days.  So yes I can believe in a 6 day creation by ignoring the empirical evidence, but doing so will not lead me to the truth.

Am I missing or misunderstanding something?

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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5 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Interesting perspective...If I understand you correctly, then I have to  completely disagree with you.  Let me repeat what I believe you are saying for clarification.  I hear you say that I can make a choice in what to believe.  While I guess that it is true that I can believe what I want to and that people often choose to believe in all kinds of things that are both true & false, following this rule will often lead to believing in things that are not true.  Wouldn't it be more wise to base our search for truth on evidence and form beliefs in claims that are built on at least some basic foundation of underlying truth?  Faith can fill the information gap and lead to truth if the underlying premise is at least somewhat truthful, but even then repeated testing of ones faith against any new evidence must take place to keep one on the path to truth.  And if a cherished belief fails to meet this test then it must be rejected other wise we will continue down a path believing in a false reality.

Using the earth for an example.  There are those who chose to believe that the earth is flat.  Believing in a flat earth does not make the earth flat nor true particularly when one has to completely dismiss empirical evidence that when examined would conflict with a belief in a flat earth.  No matter how much I might chose to believe in a flat earth...the earth will NEVER be flat.

All of the evidence that I am aware of supports the premise that the process that resulted in our planet earth took billions of years and not 6 days.  So yes I can believe in a 6 day creation by ignoring the empirical evidence, but doing so will not lead me to the truth.

Am I missing or misunderstanding something?

yes.  you are missing everything.  

You can believe that there is a story that God created the earth in 6 days, which cannot be proven "wrong" logically- BUT is actually irrelevant to any useful information about God OR the purpose of your life.   How would your life be different IF God created the earth in 6 days as opposed to billions of years?

Which story tells you more about God's nature, or you has a human being?   What does it matter if the word "day" is simply a period of time or not?

Do you regularly read to bible for scientific information?   Why read the bible at all?  Do you go to it for scientific information or for information about what your life is for?

Galileo said "Scripture teaches us how to go to heaven, not how heaven goes"

HE had the point, and you can too!

Have you heard of Bertrand Russel?  He was a brilliant mathematician and philosopher - arguably the best of the Twentieth Century.  He was famously atheist. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell

To make a logical point, he showed that one could not prove that the world was not created 5 minutes ago.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalos_hypothesis#:~:text=The five-minute hypothesis is,other signs of history included.

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Five-minute hypothesis[edit]

The five-minute hypothesis is a skeptical hypothesis put forth by the philosopher Bertrand Russell that proposes that the universe sprang into existence five minutes ago from nothing, with human memory and all other signs of history included. It is a commonly used example of how one may maintain extreme philosophical skepticism with regard to memory.[13][18]

 

And so this famous atheist would not agree with your point  ;)  

If one is looking for meaning in their lives, who cares if it took God 6 days or billions of years?   Scripture is about what gives your life meaning and lets you communicate with God- it is not about scientific or historic accuracy.

Think about it!

If "truth" is correspondence of a statement to what we know about reality,  we would already have to know everything about reality to know that it DID correspond to what we know!!   Think about that one!!

You cannot get outside our perceptions of reality to compare our perceptions to "reality" to know it does correspond correctly!  How do you get out of your perceptions to "check them" against reality if all you can know is your perceptions!!  

And there are different kinds of "truth" depending on what one is discussing.   One cannot determine by science that it is wrong to kill people, for example.  There is nothing that would count as "evidence".   Finding out what gives your life meaning is in the same category 

It's like walking around wearing colored glasses permanently- all we would know in that situation is ONE COLOR!  You can never take off "your perceptions" to get to "reality" because your perceptions are really all you have to go by.

Anyway, these are difficult ideas!

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12 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

I honestly appreciate this nuanced approach.  My difficulty is in moving from a literal belief to a more nuanced allegorical belief and the underlying consequences of doing so.  While I take comfort knowing that others have taken this approach before me and have still found value in doing so, if the foundation is squishy, what am I standing on to begin with.  If the very core claims of the church can't be relied on for more their allegorical value or the lessons learned in parables whats the point.  There is great value in the safety that the teachings of the church add to our lives, but ultimately if the promises and rewards of eternal life are allegorical one needs to ask if the sacrifices in this life are worth it.

To borrow from Bluebells analogy, I feel that I've anchored my repelling rope to what I believed was a firm and fixed foundation and it is only after venturing over the side of the cliff that I discovered that I've been mistaken.  I relied of trusted leaders who told me I was securely anchored only to discover that that anchor is not as secure as I was led to believe.  I blame no one but myself for being too trusting.

In my humble opinion your foundation has to be built upon Jesus Christ. You need to have a testimony that Jesus died for you. From your post I guess you were born in the church? My wife and I received the testimony of Jesus Christ in our 20s and we were led to join the church after that. So it is possible to have a testimony of Jesus Christ without being a member of his church. In fact most of Christianity fits this mold. I believe God can withstand any truth that you can dig up and I wish you well on your journey.

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On 10/5/2020 at 12:18 PM, Fair Dinkum said:

I've been on the tipping point for some time but now feel quite confident that the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are not what they each claim to be. I respect those who have come to a different conclusion.  I feel quite confident that both works were not written by actual ancient authors, humans that existed in real time and space nor do I believe that Nephite's or Lamanite's nor Noah, Abraham and probably Moses actually ever existed. I have given up belief in an actual Adam and Eve, living in a Garden of Eden in Missouri, USA, No death before the fall, a universal flood and the tower of Babel. By default, I must also conclude that there was no actual translations of any ancient histories by Joseph Smith but that he was engaged in creating a pseudepigraphal scripture and that these works have their foundations in the 19th century and were creations from Joseph Smith's own creative mind.  They still hold doctrine and have value but my view of them has become more nuanced. 

My aim in this post is not to convince anyone else that my conclusions are correct nor am I asking anyone else to join me in my conclusions but am asking if there is anyone else who has come to a similar conclusion and how you were able to maintaine faith and belief in the church's other claims after coming to this conclusion.  I reached this place in order to maintain mental consistency with what I view as the facts.  I am not seeking a debate of my conclusions but am certainly willing to entertain additional information that might test my conclusions. My fear is that once this thread has been pulled the entire garment falls apart.

If there is anyone here who has traveled this road already and successfully navigated it...how did you maintain belief and faith in the church once you concluded that everything is not what you believed it was? is there still a place in the church for those who hold a nuanced belief?

Note to Administration:  If my post is inappropriate for this board please feel free to delete it.

Navigating the conundrum becomes easier if you assume that you don’t know what you don’t know. For example, for all the information you didn’t know 20 years ago that brought you to your present point, you can safely assume that there is more evidence that can return you to where you used to be. Time has been unrelentingly kind to Joseph Smith - which is counterintuitive. It’ll only get better. 

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11 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

yes.  you are missing everything.  

You can believe that there is a story that God created the earth in 6 days, which cannot be proven "wrong" logically- BUT is actually irrelevant to any useful information about God OR the purpose of your life.   How would your life be different IF God created the earth in 6 days as opposed to billions of years?

You're separating spiritual things from the physical. And I understand that we use different tools to measure against these.  While I agree that no one can actually prove beyond all doubt the timeline for the creation of earth...you can certainly propose theories and test them against known parameters to see if they measure up and past examination. But yes, whether a god took 6 days or a billion years  to create earth does not impact my life...but what it does do is introduce the 1. the very need for a god and 2. whether a god actually exists at all.  I mean seriously, no one can prove nor disprove the existence of God but we can certainly disprove the stories in the bible being highly improbable and better seen as parable rather than literal life lessons

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Which story tells you more about God's nature, or you has a human being?   What does it matter if the word "day" is simply a period of time or not?

Point taken.  It with respect to the nature of god

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Do you regularly read to bible for scientific information?   Why read the bible at all?  Do you go to it for scientific information or for information about what your life is for?

Galileo said "Scripture teaches us how to go to heaven, not how heaven goes"

HE had the point, and you can too!

I keep coming back to this but...the very reality of the church being what it claims to be has to ultimately rest on something that is actually true and bankable.  Other wise we are all wasting our lives on a false reality.  I used to think I knew where and what that foundation was, I know longer know where it is

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Have you heard of Bertrand Russel?  He was a brilliant mathematician and philosopher - arguably the best of the Twentieth Century.  He was famously atheist. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell

To make a logical point, he showed that one could not prove that the world was not created 5 minutes ago.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalos_hypothesis#:~:text=The five-minute hypothesis is,other signs of history included.

And so this famous atheist would not agree with your point  ;)  

Yes the Tea Cup man.

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If one is looking for meaning in their lives, who cares if it took God 6 days or billions of years?   Scripture is about what gives your life meaning and lets you communicate with God- it is not about scientific or historic accuracy.

Think about it!

Yes religion and scripture such as the Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C and PoGP all have great value as instruments of allegorical lessons that we can use to better our lives and I believe these things can and do add value to our lives, but if they are not grounded in Truth then we are all dedicated to living in a false reality whcih ends with nothing

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If "truth" is correspondence of a statement to what we know about reality,  we would already have to know everything about reality to know that it DID correspond to what we know!!   Think about that one!!

Yes I agree...our reality is limited to what we know and must allow room to expand and change with the introduction of new tested information.

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You cannot get outside our perceptions of reality to compare our perceptions to "reality" to know it does correspond correctly!  How do you get out of your perceptions to "check them" against reality if all you can know is your perceptions!!  

Don't we do this every day by relying on confirmed tested truths??  We rely on those confirmed tested truths and use them as our foundation upon which to measure our perceived reality against.

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And there are different kinds of "truth" depending on what one is discussing.   One cannot determine by science that it is wrong to kill people, for example.  There is nothing that would count as "evidence".   Finding out what gives your life meaning is in the same category 

It's like walking around wearing colored glasses permanently- all we would know in that situation is ONE COLOR!  You can never take off "your perceptions" to get to "reality" because your perceptions are really all you have to go by.

Anyway, these are difficult ideas!

Yes this is helpful, I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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2 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

You're separating spiritual things from the physical. And I understand that we use different tools to measure against these.  While I agree that no one can actually prove beyond all doubt the timeline for the creation of earth...you can certainly propose theories and test them against known parameters to see if they measure up and past examination. But yes, whether a god took 6 days or a billion years  to create earth does not impact my life...but what it does do is introduce the 1. the very need for a god and 2. whether a god actually exists at all.  I mean seriously, no one can prove nor disprove the existence of God but we can certainly disprove the stories in the bible being highly improbable and better seen as parable rather than literal life lessons

Point taken.  It with respect to the nature of god

I keep coming back to this but...the very reality of the church being what it claims to be has to ultimately rest on something that is actually true and bankable.  Other wise we are all wasting our lives on a false reality.  I used to think I knew where and what that foundation was, I know longer know where it is

Yes the Tea Cup man.

Yes religion and scripture such as the Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C and PoGP all have great value as instruments of allegorical lessons that we can use to better our lives and I believe these things can and do add value to our lives, but if they are not grounded in Truth then we are all dedicated to living in a false reality whcih ends with nothing

Yes I agree...our reality is limited to what we know and must allow room to expand and change with the introduction of new tested information.

Don't we do this every day by relying on confirmed tested truths??  We rely on those confirmed tested truths and use them as our foundation upon which to measure our perceived reality against.

Yes this is helpful, I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Would it help to say that I agree with you on NEARLY every point here- but you are just not seeing those agreements for what they are??

What is separating us is...  what it always is....  LANGUAGE!!!  So I quoted you above and now I will take what you said line by line and show you what I mean.

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You're separating spiritual things from the physical. And I understand that we use different tools to measure against these. 

YES!  That's it right there and we could end the discussion if you really understand what you just said!!!

You don't look for empirical data when you choose whom you love.

You don't look for empirical data when you try to figure out your purpose- or occupation- in life.

You don't look for empirical data when decide to join or not join the military

You don't look for empirical data when a relative asks you for a kidney

You don't look for empirical data when you decide who you will vote for

You don't look for empirical data when you are down and out and it all looks like it could be over, or just got the phone call that you have terminal cancer

Yes I am separating spiritual things from physical things- that is the whole point!!

NOT  separating them is a logical error called a "category error", well known to philosophers, although Ryle did an extensive study of them in regard to what we understand as the "mind"   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_mistake

In this example below- you are the person in the quote below stuck in "Cartesian Dualism"- the difference, to put it into context in this discussion- between science and religion.

Quote

 

A category mistake, or category error, or categorical mistake, or mistake of category, is a semantic or ontological error in which things belonging to a particular category are presented as if they belong to a different category,[1] or, alternatively, a property is ascribed to a thing that could not possibly have that property. An example is a person learning that the game of cricket involves team spirit, and after being given a demonstration of each player's role, asking which player performs the "team spirit": team spirit is not a task in the game like bowling or batting, but an aspect of how the team behave as a group.[2]

To show that a category mistake has been committed one must typically show that once the phenomenon in question is properly understood, it becomes clear that the claim being made about it could not possibly be true.

Gilbert Ryle[edit]

The term "category-mistake" was introduced by Gilbert Ryle in his book The Concept of Mind (1949) to remove what he argued to be a confusion over the nature of mind born from Cartesian metaphysics. Ryle argued that it was a mistake to treat the mind as an object made of an immaterial substance because predications of substance are not meaningful for a collection of dispositions and capacities.[citation needed]

The phrase is introduced in the first chapter.[3] The first example is of a visitor to Oxford. The visitor, upon viewing the colleges and library, reportedly inquired "But where is the University?"[4] The visitor's mistake is presuming that a University is part of the category "units of physical infrastructure" rather than that of an "institution". Ryle's second example is of a child witnessing the march-past of a division of soldiers. After having had battalions, batteries, squadrons, etc. pointed out, the child asks when is the division going to appear. "The march-past was not a parade of battalions, batteries, squadrons and a division; it was a parade of the battalions, batteries and squadrons of a division." (Ryle's italics) His third example is of a foreigner being shown a cricket match. After being pointed out batsmen, bowlers and fielders, the foreigner asks: "who is left to contribute the famous element of team-spirit?"[3]

He goes on to argue that the Cartesian dualism of mind and body rests on a category mistake. In the philosophy of the mind, Ryle's category mistake argument can be used to support eliminative materialism. By using the argument, one can attack the existence of a separate, distinct mind. The argument concludes that minds are not conscious, but a collective predicate for a set of observable behaviour and unobservable dispositions.[5]

 

 

What you are doing here is a "category error" in logic.  

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While I agree that no one can actually prove beyond all doubt the timeline for the creation of earth...you can certainly propose theories and test them against known parameters to see if they measure up and past examination. But yes, whether a god took 6 days or a billion years  to create earth does not impact my life...but what it does do is introduce the 1. the very need for a god and 2. whether a god actually exists at all.  I mean seriously, no one can prove nor disprove the existence of God but we can certainly disprove the stories in the bible being highly improbable and better seen as parable rather than literal life lessons

Nope.  Category error.  Imagine the silliness of someone who would want to weigh God, and not being able to do so, conclude that He does not exist.

We all KNOW that we cannot prove the existence of God that way- so why continue with the category error?   You are effectively wanting to measure "school spirit"with a scale.

But everyone does that at a certain point in life- at least intelligent thinking people often go through that.  Sorry- but I am an old guy who has dealt with students and hundreds of people who see it that way- until they don't.   It is a logical error that everyone who thinks has been programmed with in Western Civilization.  THAT is the error of secular humanism right there- they don't understand the point of what spirit even IS!

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Point taken.  It with respect to the nature of god

And yet again we agree!

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I keep coming back to this but...the very reality of the church being what it claims to be has to ultimately rest on something that is actually true and bankable.  Other wise we are all wasting our lives on a false reality.  I used to think I knew where and what that foundation was, I know longer know where it is

It is as "true" in that sense as the statement "You should not eat human babies" is "TRUE" and "bankable".

Of course not for one second would you do that- (I presume- ;) 🤪) but why not?   What evidence do you have that that behavior is "wrong"?   Why is it disgusting and reprehensible?   What's your evidence?   

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Yes religion and scripture such as the Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C and PoGP all have great value as instruments of allegorical lessons that we can use to better our lives and I believe these things can and do add value to our lives, but if they are not grounded in Truth then we are all dedicated to living in a false reality whcih ends with nothing

Yep I agree fully!  Listen to yourself!!   This is by entire point!   They are ALL ABOUT "bettering our lives" and adding value and NOT about empirical data.

But you do not understand that NO ONE - I repeat- NO ONE has ever been able to define "TRUTH"   The alleged "truth" you are seeking is the REAL illusion you are chasing.

The theory which you describe of truth is called the "correspondence theory of truth"  https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-correspondence/

The basic idea is that "truth" must "correspond to reality" when we supposedly still don't know about "reality" and all we can know is our perceptions- not "reality as it is"

I am sorry to throw this stuff at you but if you get to throw around terms like "truth" then so do I!!  ;)   Here is the real story about it:
 

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Objection 1: Definitions like (1) or (2) are too narrow. Although they apply to truths from some domains of discourse, e.g., the domain of science, they fail for others, e.g. the domain of morality: there are no moral facts.....

Objection 2: Correspondence theories are too obvious. They are trivial, vacuous, trading in mere platitudes. Locutions from the “corresponds to the facts”-family are used regularly in everyday language as idiomatic substitutes for “true”. Such common turns of phrase should not be taken to indicate commitment to a correspondence theory in any serious sense. Definitions like (1) or (2) merely condense some trivial idioms into handy formulas; they don’t deserve the grand label “theory”: there is no theoretical weight behind them (cf. Woozley 1949, chap. 6; Davidson 1969; Blackburn 1984, chap. 7.1).....

Objection 3: Correspondence theories are too obscure.

Objections of this sort, which are the most common, protest that the central notions of a correspondence theory carry unacceptable commitments and/or cannot be accounted for in any respectable manner. The objections can be divided into objections primarily aimed at the correspondence relation and its relatives (3.C1, 3.C2), and objections primarily aimed at the notions of fact or state of affairs (3.F1, 3.F2):

3.C1: The correspondence relation must be some sort of resemblance relation. But truthbearers do not resemble anything in the world except other truthbearers—echoing Berkeley’s “an idea can be like nothing but an idea”.

3.C2: The correspondence relation is very mysterious: it seems to reach into the most distant regions of space (faster than light?) and time (past and future). How could such a relation possibly be accounted for within a naturalistic framework? What physical relation could it possibly be?

3.F1: Given the great variety of complex truthbearers, a correspondence theory will be committed to all sorts of complex “funny facts” that are ontologically disreputable. Negative, disjunctive, conditional, universal, probabilistic, subjunctive, and counterfactual facts have all given cause for complaint on this score.

3.F2: All facts, even the most simple ones, are disreputable. Fact-talk, being wedded to that-clauses, is entirely parasitic on truth-talk. Facts are too much like truthbearers. Facts are fictions, spurious sentence-like slices of reality, “projected from true sentences for the sake of correspondence” (Quine 1987, p. 213; cf. Strawson 1950).

I am sorry this is technical- but you have gotten into an area of "truth" that IS technical!!  ;)

You said:

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Yes I agree...our reality is limited to what we know and must allow room to expand and change with the introduction of new tested information.

YES exactly- tested as Alma 32 tells us to test NEW BELIEFS!!  Does it work in your life?   THAT is the empirical testing you should be looking at!  It is not about scientific empiricism.  Again- testing yes, but by another method given by Alma!

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Don't we do this every day by relying on confirmed tested truths??  We rely on those confirmed tested truths and use them as our foundation upon which to measure our perceived reality against.

Yes of course but there are different realms of "truth" and what works! 

Give unto science the things that are scientific and to God the things that are God's!!

And those latter things are tested through Alma's Theory of Truth ;)

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Yes this is helpful, I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Well I hope it IS helpful and I will take the time that needs to be taken if it IS helpful

We are so close- but you do not understand the philosophy behind your questions which could not be expected!!   Virtually no one- no matter how intelligent or educated seems to get educated in philosophy any more!!

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On 10/5/2020 at 1:18 PM, Fair Dinkum said:

I've been on the tipping point for some time but now feel quite confident that the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are not what they each claim to be. I respect those who have come to a different conclusion.  I feel quite confident that both works were not written by actual ancient authors, humans that existed in real time and space nor do I believe that Nephite's or Lamanite's nor Noah, Abraham and probably Moses actually ever existed. I have given up belief in an actual Adam and Eve, living in a Garden of Eden in Missouri, USA, No death before the fall, a universal flood and the tower of Babel. By default, I must also conclude that there was no actual translations of any ancient histories by Joseph Smith but that he was engaged in creating a pseudepigraphal scripture and that these works have their foundations in the 19th century and were creations from Joseph Smith's own creative mind.  They still hold doctrine and have value but my view of them has become more nuanced.....

If there is anyone here who has traveled this road already and successfully navigated it...how did you maintain belief and faith in the church once you concluded that everything is not what you believed it was? is there still a place in the church for those who hold a nuanced belief?

Note to Administration:  If my post is inappropriate for this board please feel free to delete it.

I will say this. The LDS Church provides a lot of people with a great community. They are genuinely good people who care about each other, keep in contact, and serve. And if you want to be a part of that community, they will accept you if you keep the conclusions you refer to above to yourself. For both good and bad, the myths are something that hold this particular community together, and there is a strong orthodox core of the church that insists these myths are literally true and that believing they are literally true is very important. I think there are many members who go along with it without thinking about the literal truthiness of it all very much, and that there are others who compartmentalize their thinking--just as a father doesn't fret on Christmas Eve about how the stories of Santa are really false although he is actively leading his kids to believe they are true, these members of the Church don't fret about whether the truth claims of the Church are true--one of the things you do as a member of the Church is get together, repeat the stories, and repeat the mantra that you know it is true. Doing that is part of the package.

The Achilles heel of the whole thing is this: part of the myth is that it is really important to figure out the truth and have the intellectual integrity to follow the truth wherever it may lead. If participating makes you feel bad and makes you feel like a hypocrite, then stop participating. If playing along with the culture floats your boat, then play along. It's your choice.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Would it help to say that I agree with you on NEARLY every point here- but you are just not seeing those agreements for what they are??

What is separating us is...  what it always is....  LANGUAGE!!!  So I quoted you above and now I will take what you said line by line and show you what I mean.

YES!  That's it right there and we could end the discussion if you really understand what you just said!!!

You don't look for empirical data when you choose whom you love.

You don't look for empirical data when you try to figure out your purpose- or occupation- in life.

You don't look for empirical data when decide to join or not join the military

You don't look for empirical data when a relative asks you for a kidney

You don't look for empirical data when you decide who you will vote for

You don't look for empirical data when you are down and out and it all looks like it could be over, or just got the phone call that you have terminal cancer

Yes I am separating spiritual things from physical things- that is the whole point!!

NOT  separating them is a logical error called a "category error", well known to philosophers, although Ryle did an extensive study of them in regard to what we understand as the "mind"   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_mistake

In this example below- you are the person in the quote below stuck in "Cartesian Dualism"- the difference, to put it into context in this discussion- between science and religion.

ok...I agree with all of these points

Quote

 

What you are doing here is a "category error" in logic.  

Nope.  Category error.  Imagine the silliness of someone who would want to weigh God, and not being able to do so, conclude that He does not exist.

Ok I may be guilty of making another category error...but doesn't your preposition presuppose the reality of a God?... I say this knowing that no one can prove nor disprove the existence of God, just as no one can prove or disprove the existence of that tea pot orbiting Jupiter...at least not yet despite the odds being very minuscule to none. 

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We all KNOW that we cannot prove the existence of God that way- so why continue with the category error?   You are effectively wanting to measure "school spirit"with a scale.

As stated, I know that this is not possible. I presented my case in the manner that I did because I felt your argument presupposed the existence of a god and that too is a logical error.

Quote

But everyone does that at a certain point in life- at least intelligent thinking people often go through that.  Sorry- but I am an old guy who has dealt with students and hundreds of people who see it that way- until they don't.   It is a logical error that everyone who thinks has been programmed with in Western Civilization.  THAT is the error of secular humanism right there- they don't understand the point of what spirit even IS!

 

Quote

And yet again we agree!

It is as "true" in that sense as the statement "You should not eat human babies" is "TRUE" and "bankable".

Of course not for one second would you do that- (I presume- ;) 🤪) but why not?   What evidence do you have that that behavior is "wrong"?   Why is it disgusting and reprehensible?   What's your evidence?   

Yep I agree fully!  Listen to yourself!!   This is by entire point!   They are ALL ABOUT "bettering our lives" and adding value and NOT about empirical data.

I understand this, but then why not Buddha, Vishnu or Allah?  They too add value to life, but I'm guessing that you aren't worshiping them.  Why then do you choose to worship our version of God?  I know I'm having a difficult time communicating my point but why, may I ask, do you worship the Mormon God instead of one of those others?  Each adds "value to life" on some level and yet you've rejected them and chosen the God we worship in the COJCOLDS. I'm guessing that you have done so not only because it has made your life better, but on some level you actually believe that your chosen God is real and is in fact the one and only True God of the Universe.  Am I right?  Would you still worship Him if you came to the conclusion that He didn't exist or that he was made up even if maintaining belief bettered your life?

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But you do not understand that NO ONE - I repeat- NO ONE has ever been able to define "TRUTH"   The alleged "truth" you are seeking is the REAL illusion you are chasing.

The theory which you describe of truth is called the "correspondence theory of truth"  https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-correspondence/

The basic idea is that "truth" must "correspond to reality" when we supposedly still don't know about "reality" and all we can know is our perceptions- not "reality as it is"

I am sorry to throw this stuff at you but if you get to throw around terms like "truth" then so do I!!  ;)   Here is the real story about it:

No please don't hold back on my account I am enjoying this exchange, so please throw all you wish, I'm loving this...and I do agree with you on many levels.

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I am sorry this is technical- but you have gotten into an area of "truth" that IS technical!!  ;)

You said:

YES exactly- tested as Alma 32 tells us to test NEW BELIEFS!!  Does it work in your life?   THAT is the empirical testing you should be looking at!  It is not about scientific empiricism.  Again- testing yes, but by another method given by Alma!

I understand the difference...and I apologize if I'm being too pedantic, I do understand that Alma's word's hold value whether he existed or not, it is wise council, but if God does not exist or if we've chosen to worship the wrong God, yes the church can still better our life, but it can't and won't be able to fulfill its promises of families being together forever. So rather then spend ones life following a promise that won't be fulfilled, isn't it better to travel a path, even one that may not be as life fulfilling, that is based on reality?  I know the impossible dream.

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Yes of course but there are different realms of "truth" and what works! 

Give unto science the things that are scientific and to God the things that are God's!!

Assuming He exists

Quote

And those latter things are tested through Alma's Theory of Truth ;)

Well I hope it IS helpful and I will take the time that needs to be taken if it IS helpful

We are so close- but you do not understand the philosophy behind your questions which could not be expected!!   Virtually no one- no matter how intelligent or educated seems to get educated in philosophy any more!!

PS I love philosophy and yes I'm only beginning to explore it.  Again thank you for taking to time to educate me.

 

EDIT to Add: I don't eat Babies 🙂

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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On 10/6/2020 at 12:06 PM, webbles said:

For me, they are the same.  And that is because I believe in the God that is taught by the church.  I've studied and looked at what other churches (including non-Christian and Christian) teach about God and I just can't accept their version of God.  If I ever loose the belief that Joseph Smith is an actual prophet and spoke with God and angels, then I'll also loose the belief in God.  There isn't another version of God that I'm willing to believe in.

That is most disbelieving LDS's problem, I've wondered why that is so? Did the church tie in the church too much with belief in God? Is it more about the organization than the God alone, do we need the church and Jesus, and not Jesus alone? 

Edited by Tacenda
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On 10/5/2020 at 2:18 PM, Fair Dinkum said:

I've been on the tipping point for some time but now feel quite confident that the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are not what they each claim to be. I respect those who have come to a different conclusion.  I feel quite confident that both works were not written by actual ancient authors, humans that existed in real time and space nor do I believe that Nephite's or Lamanite's nor Noah, Abraham and probably Moses actually ever existed. I have given up belief in an actual Adam and Eve, living in a Garden of Eden in Missouri, USA, No death before the fall, a universal flood and the tower of Babel. By default, I must also conclude that there was no actual translations of any ancient histories by Joseph Smith but that he was engaged in creating a pseudepigraphal scripture and that these works have their foundations in the 19th century and were creations from Joseph Smith's own creative mind.  They still hold doctrine and have value but my view of them has become more nuanced. 

My aim in this post is not to convince anyone else that my conclusions are correct nor am I asking anyone else to join me in my conclusions but am asking if there is anyone else who has come to a similar conclusion and how you were able to maintaine faith and belief in the church's other claims after coming to this conclusion.  I reached this place in order to maintain mental consistency with what I view as the facts.  I am not seeking a debate of my conclusions but am certainly willing to entertain additional information that might test my conclusions. My fear is that once this thread has been pulled the entire garment falls apart.

If there is anyone here who has traveled this road already and successfully navigated it...how did you maintain belief and faith in the church once you concluded that everything is not what you believed it was? is there still a place in the church for those who hold a nuanced belief?

Note to Administration:  If my post is inappropriate for this board please feel free to delete it.

If you believe in Jesus Christ, begin with that, and if you believe in personal revelation, try that.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2020/10/stand-on-the-rock-of-revelation?lang=eng

See this section entitled, "You Can’t Learn the Truth by Elimination" (quote): "Answers to the primary questions do not come by answering the secondary questions. There are answers to the secondary questions, but you cannot prove a positive by disproving every negative. You cannot prove the Church is true by disproving every claim made against it. It is a flawed strategy. Ultimately there has to be affirmative proof, and with the things of God, affirmative proof finally and surely comes by revelation through the spirit and power of the Holy Ghost."

 

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1 hour ago, Analytics said:

I will say this. The LDS Church provides a lot of people with a great community. They are genuinely good people who care about each other, keep in contact, and serve. And if you want to be a part of that community, they will accept you if you keep the conclusions you refer to above to yourself. For both good and bad, the myths are something that hold this particular community together, and there is a strong orthodox core of the church that insists these myths are literally true and that believing they are literally true is very important. I think there are many members who go along with it without thinking about the literal truthiness of it all very much, and that there are others who compartmentalize their thinking--just as a father doesn't fret on Christmas Eve about how the stories of Santa are really false although he is actively leading his kids to believe they are true, these members of the Church don't fret about whether the truth claims of the Church are true--one of the things you do as a member of the Church is get together, repeat the stories, and repeat the mantra that you know it is true. Doing that is part of the package.

The Achilles heel of the whole thing is this: part of the myth is that it is really important to figure out the truth and have the intellectual integrity to follow the truth wherever it may lead. If participating makes you feel bad and makes you feel like a hypocrite, then stop participating. If playing along with the culture floats your boat, then play along. It's your choice.

Thank you for this comment.  You've touched on a very important point...the great community.  I love the Mormon people

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On 10/6/2020 at 8:24 AM, Fair Dinkum said:

My point is that they are dependent on each other.  If the church is true then God is at the head of it, if there is no God, then the church is just a well organized human endeavor.

Suppose that God really is a Perfect Human like us- but perfect- and yes He is at the head and yes it IS a well organized Human endeavor that teaches us Perfect Humanism.

Of course WE are not perfect but He is and we see Him AS an Ideal Human - and that is the purpose he serves in our lives- to exist as an example to be "Alll We Can BE".

In a sense it doesn't matter if He exists at all- what is important is that we all try to become PERFECT Humans?!?

Have you ever felt the spirit?

What if that is really God speaking to you after all- making you want to be more perfect?   Even atheists believe in an internal observer if only your conscience- which can be seen as your "unconscious"

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On 10/6/2020 at 8:24 AM, Fair Dinkum said:

My point is that they are dependent on each other.  If the church is true then God is at the head of it, if there is no God, then the church is just a well organized human endeavor.

Suppose that God really is a Perfect Human like us- but perfect- and yes He is at the head and yes it IS a well organized Human endeavor that teaches us Perfect Humanism.

Of course WE are not perfect but He is and we see Him AS an Ideal Human - and that is the purpose he serves in our lives- to exist as an example to be "Alll We Can BE".

In a sense it doesn't matter if He exists at all- what is important is that we all try to become PERFECT Humans?!?

Have you ever felt the spirit?

What if that is really God speaking to you after all- making you want to be more perfect?   Even atheists believe in an internal observer if only your conscience- which can be seen as your "unconscious".   What if what we call God IS our unconscious?

I am not a Freudian by any measure but what if he was kind of right about the Super Ego?  "The kingdom of God is within you"...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Id,_ego_and_super-ego#Super-ego

 

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Super-ego[edit]

"Superego" redirects here. For the podcast, see Superego (podcast).

The super-ego[29] (German: Über-Ich)[30] reflects the internalization of cultural rules, mainly taught by parents applying their guidance and influence.[8] Freud developed his concept of the super-ego from an earlier combination of the ego ideal and the "special psychical agency which performs the task of seeing that narcissistic satisfaction from the ego ideal is ensured...what we call our 'conscience'."[31] For him "the installation of the super-ego can be described as a successful instance of identification with the parental agency," while as development proceeds "the super-ego also takes on the influence of those who have stepped into the place of parents — educators, teachers, people chosen as ideal models".

Thus a child's super-ego is in fact constructed on the model not of its parents but of its parents' super-ego; the contents which fill it are the same and it becomes the vehicle of tradition and of all the time-resisting judgments of value which have propagated themselves in this manner from generation to generation.[32]

The super-ego aims for perfection.[27] It forms the organized part of the personality structure, mainly but not entirely unconscious, that includes the individual's ego ideals, spiritual goals, and the psychic agency (commonly called "conscience") that criticizes and prohibits their drives, fantasies, feelings, and actions. "The Super-ego can be thought of as a type of conscience that punishes misbehavior with feelings of guilt. For example, for having extra-marital affairs."[33] Taken in this sense, the super-ego is the precedent for the conceptualization of the inner critic as it appears in contemporary therapies such as IFS.[34

 

 

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