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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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I do not fit into the same rubric as you, but I might offer some useful suggestions, if we both agree on some foundational values. "I am a child of God. You are a child of God. They are children of God." From a secular point of view, as an atheist, I would reword this as "I have value, you have value, others have value." As I navigate my relationship with the church as a post-believing Mormon, these values help me. I feel more confident in LDS thought and practices which affirm these values, I am more skeptical of LDS thought and practice which contradict these values.

Whatever you do, it's not easy to travel within a culture in a manner that is different and which is less frequently accepted by that culture. However, I am sure that you will find kindred spirits even among devout LDS--who also share your core values--and that you can add value to their lives and they yours. My best wishes.

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On 10/5/2020 at 11:18 AM, Fair Dinkum said:

 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.

Have you considered that your concerns are based on a flawed premise? I do not believe that there was no death before the fall, in a universal floor or a tower of babel where languages magically emerged. The scriptures do not speak to these misconceptions. There is overwhelming evidence of a culture in central America that matches what is found in the Book of Mormon, and the text of the Book of Mormon cannot be explained away as a fictional account created by Joseph Smith. There is too much in the details to be dismissed. You put a lot of effort into putting weight onto criticisms that have long been disputed and found lacking. For example you say you do not believe in an Adam and Eve that lives in what is now the eastern united States - this is an example of an argument from silence. You have no evidence that this cannot be, you just feel that there is no proof that they were there and therefore you do not believe. This is fine, you are welcome to question and to not accept doctrines, but there is a difference between deciding not to believe something and having evidence that supports your decision not to believe. I have no evidence that the ancient greek gods do not exist but I still do not accept that they do exist. 

 

Poking at the peripherals do not lead to truth. Start with some foundation truths:

Do you believe there is a God?

Do you believe there is a Savior?

Do you believe that God speaks to prophets?

 

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23 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

ok...I agree with all of these points

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. 

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.

 

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?

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.

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.

Assuming He exists

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 🙂

Been busy, but I will reply.  This delay for tax returns because of Covid was great for procrastinators like me, but eventually it all hits the fan after all.  ;)

 

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16 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

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"

Yes of course I've had feelings that I interpreted as the Spirit...but I've also come to understand that this is a human condition that is not unique to the LDS experience.

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4 hours ago, Freedom said:

Have you considered that your concerns are based on a flawed premise? I do not believe that there was no death before the fall, in a universal floor or a tower of babel where languages magically emerged. The scriptures do not speak to these misconceptions. There is overwhelming evidence of a culture in central America that matches what is found in the Book of Mormon, and the text of the Book of Mormon cannot be explained away as a fictional account created by Joseph Smith. There is too much in the details to be dismissed. You put a lot of effort into putting weight onto criticisms that have long been disputed and found lacking. For example you say you do not believe in an Adam and Eve that lives in what is now the eastern united States - this is an example of an argument from silence. You have no evidence that this cannot be, you just feel that there is no proof that they were there and therefore you do not believe. This is fine, you are welcome to question and to not accept doctrines, but there is a difference between deciding not to believe something and having evidence that supports your decision not to believe. I have no evidence that the ancient greek gods do not exist but I still do not accept that they do exist. 

 

Poking at the peripherals do not lead to truth. Start with some foundation truths:

Do you believe there is a God?

Do you believe there is a Savior?

Do you believe that God speaks to prophets?

 

Like I said in my OP I'm not here to debate or seek recruit's.  I've merely shared some of the conclusions I've reached.  I'd be happy to share how I got to where I am but I don't think that is a perpose of this board.  I'm trying to be respectful and yet still have a conversation. so I won't go into how I decided that Adam and Eve were myths, but I'm guessing it wouldn't be any different than anyone else who has studied evolution, age of the earth, geography and genetics.

As for your other questions:

Do you believe there is a God?  I don't know whether there is a God or isn't a God.  I hope one exists but I also understand that there is no way to demonstrate the existence of a god.

Do you believe there is a Savior?  I consider myself one who adheres to Christian values.  Was there a person name Jesus Christ who died for my sins?  I have no idea, but the stories in the new testament are not credible as proof texts as far as I'm concerned.  That doesn't mean that they don't have great value as something on which glean life lessons from.

Do you believe that God speaks to prophets? This one is easier.  No I no longer believe that a god speaks to anyone on earth.  What I do believe is that men believe that he does and I'm ok with that.

 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Been busy, but I will reply.  This delay for tax returns because of Covid was great for procrastinators like me, but eventually it all hits the fan after all.  ;)

 

No rush, I appreciate the interaction.  I too will float in and out of here.

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Hang on a sec.

Why do the BoM and the BoA have to be historical records? I’m fine with them being inspired fiction, aren’t you?

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1 hour ago, Bede said:

Hang on a sec.

Why do the BoM and the BoA have to be historical records? I’m fine with them being inspired fiction, aren’t you?

Yes of course.

I can't figure out the arguments of those who demand them to be historical

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2 hours ago, Bede said:

Hang on a sec.

Why do the BoM and the BoA have to be historical records? I’m fine with them being inspired fiction, aren’t you?

Yes

 

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5 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Yes of course I've had feelings that I interpreted as the Spirit...but I've also come to understand that this is a human condition that is not unique to the LDS experience.

It shouldn't be unique to the LDS experience, the Holy Spirit's role is to testify of all truth, in whatever way, shape or form and wherever it is found.

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4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Yes of course.

I can't figure out the arguments of those who demand them to be historical

I can. Every prophet ever, including Joseph Smith, has taught that it’s a real historical record.

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3 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Yes

 

Alright. Then you really have no issues. If what God wants you to know is in the BoM and the BoA, it doesn’t really matter how we got them.

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If this delves deeper into a de-conversion story I will close the thread.  We don’t allow them as we don’t allow testimony barring.  

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9 hours ago, Nemesis said:

If this delves deeper into a de-conversion story I will close the thread.  We don’t allow them as we don’t allow testimony barring.  

Thank you.  This thread is not about de conversion but about maintaining belief in the church after gaining a nuanced faith.  There have been some good positive, helpful comments in this thread and I do appreciate that but I am NOT intending this thread to promote nor encourage de-conversion in the church.

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24 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

This thread is not about de conversion but about maintaining belief in the church after gaining a nuanced faith. 

Yesterday's doctrine is today's "I don't know that we teach that".

Today's "nuanced faith" is tomorrow's orthodoxy.

 

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18 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Like I said in my OP I'm not here to debate or seek recruit's.  I've merely shared some of the conclusions I've reached.  I'd be happy to share how I got to where I am but I don't think that is a perpose of this board.  I'm trying to be respectful and yet still have a conversation. so I won't go into how I decided that Adam and Eve were myths, but I'm guessing it wouldn't be any different than anyone else who has studied evolution, age of the earth, geography and genetics.

As for your other questions:

Do you believe there is a God?  I don't know whether there is a God or isn't a God.  I hope one exists but I also understand that there is no way to demonstrate the existence of a god.

Do you believe there is a Savior?  I consider myself one who adheres to Christian values.  Was there a person name Jesus Christ who died for my sins?  I have no idea, but the stories in the new testament are not credible as proof texts as far as I'm concerned.  That doesn't mean that they don't have great value as something on which glean life lessons from.

Do you believe that God speaks to prophets? This one is easier.  No I no longer believe that a god speaks to anyone on earth.  What I do believe is that men believe that he does and I'm ok with that.

 

I tried for a long time. Might I suggest leaving? It is incredibly freeing.

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On 10/5/2020 at 11:18 AM, Fair Dinkum said:

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?

I think there is a place in the Church for doubters and skeptics as long as you wear a mask and socially distance ;)

Actually, I've found the Church to be a big tent. As long as you're not trying to burn down the tent, there is room for you. If you are willing to sacrifice and serve and keep your covenants, a variety of levels of belief or unbelief can be accommodated.

I read something the other night from Robert Millet that caught my eye.

Quote

The reality of golden plates and Cumorah and angels may be known only by an independent and individual revelation. Such an experience, as well as the reinforcing and renewing ones thereafter, comes to those demonstrate patience and faith. "The finished mosaic of the history of the Restoration," Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, "will be larger and more varied as more pieces of tile emerge, adjusting a sequence here or enlarging there a sector of our understanding. . . . There may even be," he added, "a few pieces of the tile which, for the moment, do not seem to fit. We can wait, as we must." One day, he promised, "the final mosaic of the Restoration will be resplendent, reflecting divine design. . . . At the perfect day, we will see that we have been a part of things too wonderful for us. Part of the marvel and the wonder of God's 'marvelous work and a wonder' will be how perfect Divinity mercifully used us—imperfect humanity. Meanwhile, amid the human dissonance, those with ears to hear will follow the beckoning sounds of a certain trumpet."

– Robert L. Millet, Precept Upon Precept: Joseph Smith and the Restoration of Doctrine, 60, quoting Neal A. Maxwell, "Out of Obscurity," Ensign (November 1984): 11.

I think patience, faith, and humility are all key if you are going to go forward in the Church with a "nuanced belief."

Edited by Nevo
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39 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I tried for a long time. Might I suggest leaving? It is incredibly freeing.

Maybe he has family members and relationships that could be negatively affected. That seems to be a lot of people's hesitancy's.

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28 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Maybe he has family members and relationships that could be negatively affected. That seems to be a lot of people's hesitancy's.

And there comes a point where if we really don’t believe (there is no God communicating with Earth as stated by the OP) then it is incredibly freeing to own that and let the chips fall where they may. (Speaking from personal experience)

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On 10/5/2020 at 8:18 PM, Fair Dinkum said:

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?

Not quite where you are but similar-ish.

I was baptised at age eight, but since my earliest recollection thereof I thought the first vision was far fetched and Joseph Smith's claims rather fantastic.

I liked church and what I learned about how to be a better person... I can't say that I was very good at some aspects of that as a teen or that I knew anything for sure. I did however, over all those years, stick with the church, the scriptures and gospel principles.  At age 20, after all the previous years of not knowing or having a "sure testimony and witness" of many aspects of the gospel, that all changed. 

Has it all been smooth sailing since then... no... but my convictions have always mapped to my obedience and commitment levels.

When President Hinckley challenged us to read the Book of Mormon daily and finish it before the end of the year. I found myself much more committed to what I knew and since then the dips have always been followed by higher peaks. To the point that now I can honestly say that the mysteries of God have been unfolded to me and that in many areas of the gospel I no longer operate on faith but by sure knowledge. I have little use for belief anymore, that has been eclipsed.

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52 minutes ago, Nevo said:

I think there is a place in the Church for doubters and skeptics as long as you wear a mask and socially distance ;)

Actually, I've found the Church to be a big tent. As long as you're not trying to burn down the tent, there is room for you. If you are willing to sacrifice and serve and keep your covenants, a variety of levels of belief or unbelief can be accommodated.

I read something the other night from Robert Millet that caught my eye.

I think patience, faith, and humility are all key if you are going to go forward in the Church with a "nuanced belief."

If you need a recommend, there's no room for you if you don't really believe.

"Nuanced belief" is a meaningless term coined by Bill Reel. Kind of like "narrative" or "paradigm."

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1 hour ago, Bob Crockett said:

If you need a recommend, there's no room for you if you don't really believe.

"Nuanced belief" is a meaningless term coined by Bill Reel. Kind of like "narrative" or "paradigm."

I agree I can be a full tithe payer, keep the WoW, be free of all moral sin and yet if i fail to declare the leaders as prophets seers and revelators, declare a belif in God etc...I'm screwed, no recommend for you

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1 minute ago, Fair Dinkum said:

I agree I can be a full tithe payer, keep the WoW, be free of all moral sin and yet if i fail to declare the leaders as prophets seers and revelators, declare a belif in God etc...I'm screwed, no recommend for you

I sustained church leaders as prophets, seers, and revelators for 10 years without believing the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham were literally translations of ancient records. I never had an issue getting a recommend. I couldn't do it forever, though. No regrets for finally letting go and getting out.

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