Jump to content

Does anyone else have concerns about the current state of the church?


LDS Watchman

Recommended Posts

I'm a lifelong active member of the church. I served a full time mission, sealed in the temple, and have had multiple local leadership callings in the church. 

I love the church and have a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel and prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. 

Several years ago I began to become troubled over what I consider to be problems in the church today. Notably I'm concerned about changed teachings and practices since the days of Joseph Smith and worldliness in the church. 

For several years now I have grappled over what is really going on in the church today and what to do about it. 

Does anyone else have similar concerns?

 

Link to post

Give us two areas that concern you and we might be able to comment. Personally I think corporate entities that are heirarchical (sic) have similar problems. Anyone who has personal dealings with the Church building committee knows how that is. 

Link to post
5 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

Give us two areas that concern you and we might be able to comment. Personally I think corporate entities that are heirarchical (sic) have similar problems. Anyone who has personal dealings with the Church building committee knows how that is. 

One thing that concerns me is changes to the ordinances of the temple. Joseph Smith said that the ordinances of the temple were not to be changed. I consider this a sign that something is wrong. 

In my opinion the changes are either unauthorized and our leaders are wrong for changing them, or if the changes are authorized it is a sign that we members have collectively rejected the higher truths and require a watered down version of the endowment. 

Either way, in my opinion it's not good. 

Another issue I have is in regards to a general worldly attitude in the church. We members generally watch worldly TV programs and movies, listen to worldly music, and are obsessed with watching sports (even on the Sabbath). We wear worldly clothing (often immodest, costly, or both). We seek after beautiful homes, nice cars, boats, cabins, and other idols. We limit the size of our families and our wives work so we can obtain the vain things of this world.

And yet in spite of our worldliness our leaders praise us for our goodness and never tell us to repent of any of these things. 

Link to post
14 minutes ago, LDS Watchman said:

Another issue I have is in regards to a general worldly attitude in the church. We members generally watch worldly TV programs and movies, listen to worldly music, and are obsessed with watching sports (even on the Sabbath). We wear worldly clothing (often immodest, costly, or both). We seek after beautiful homes, nice cars, boats, cabins, and other idols. We limit the size of our families and our wives work so we can obtain the vain things of this world.

Say hello to the " Nephite " disease we were warned about !

Link to post
56 minutes ago, LDS Watchman said:

... Another issue I have is in regards to a general worldly attitude in the church. We members generally watch worldly TV programs and movies, listen to worldly music, and are obsessed with watching sports (even on the Sabbath) ... [Emphasis added by Kenngo1969.]

Good news!  Black Lives Matter now has cured me of that particular inclination ...  Ah, well!  At least I can still enjoy college sports ... for awhile, anyway! :rolleyes:<_<  (Apologies for steering the thread in a somewhat political direction: You'd probably best not pursue me down this particular rabbit hole ...)

As for your first concern, I think the Brethren have placed particular emphasis lately on the gulf between where we are and where the Lord expects us to be.  That's something of a delicate balance: One certainly doesn't want to emphasize the gulf too much, lest one simply throw up his hands in frustration and conclude that it is simply unbridgeable. 

Edited by Kenngo1969
  • Like 1
Link to post
7 hours ago, strappinglad said:

Say hello to the " Nephite " disease we were warned about !

Yes, we have become sick with this Nephite disease we were warned about repeatedly. In Mormon 8, Moroni says he saw us and knows are doing and that we are walking in the pride of our hearts. So why aren't our prophets calling us to repentance over this?

Link to post
7 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Good news!  Black Lives Matter now has cured me of that particular inclination ...  Ah, well!  At least I can still enjoy college sports ... for awhile, anyway! :rolleyes:<_<  (Apologies for steering the thread in a somewhat political direction: You'd probably best not pursue me down this particular rabbit hole ...)

As for your first concern, I think the Brethren have placed particular emphasis lately on the gulf between where we are and where the Lord expects us to be.  That's something of a delicate balance: One certainly doesn't want to emphasize the gulf too much, lest one simply throw up his hands in frustration and conclude that it is simply unbridgeable. 

I think the brethren are trying to get us to take baby steps in the right direction rather than telling us we need to repent in sackcloth and ashes. 

The idea may be to get us to figure out what we need to repent of on our own as we are pricked by the Spirit.

If they gave it to us straight and boldly told of us of our sins, many would be offended. 

There are also many members who struggle with self esteem and think they'll never be able to measure up, even with the current bar being set as low as it is.

As for Black Lives Matter, that's another issue. I wish our leaders would denounce this marxist organization in no uncertain terms. But considering our corporate status and the absolutely bonkers political climate in our country, they're hands may be tied on this one. 

 

 

Link to post

I think there is nothing more effective in overcoming pride than service to others, including sincere service of those we would normally never interact with. 

The Church offers endless opportunities and the Brethren are always pushing us to not only attempt, but excel in our efforts to serve.

Perhaps the Brethren are using what works to change hearts and minds the most rather than solely acting in their role of witnesses to evil. 

  • Like 4
Link to post

The one and only thing that has helped me in understanding the changes in the temple and so many other policies, particularly the blacks getting the Priesthood, is that we're told the church is not stagnant and can change because we have living prophets. This is my true believing self of a while ago. In the last 13 or so years though, I've been navigating my way in unbelief, ever since discovering church history I hadn't known for 40 years of being an active member.

Link to post
12 hours ago, LDS Watchman said:

I'm a lifelong active member of the church. I served a full time mission, sealed in the temple, and have had multiple local leadership callings in the church. 

I love the church and have a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel and prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. 

Several years ago I began to become troubled over what I consider to be problems in the church today. Notably I'm concerned about changed teachings and practices since the days of Joseph Smith and worldliness in the church. 

For several years now I have grappled over what is really going on in the church today and what to do about it. 

Does anyone else have similar concerns?

 

In fulfilling your multiple leadership callings in the Church, what have you been inspired to teach and counsel those in your stewardship regarding your concerns and what invitations have you extended regarding those concerns?

My experience in seeking Divine guidance in teaching and counseling the Saints (as well as guidance regarding my own discipleship) is that guidance has been to focus on the two great commandments.  Experience has taught me that as we come to know and commune with Deity our actions reflect that communion. 

Said another way, if we invite Saints to dress modestly or cease certain activities on the Sabbath and they comply, the risk is all that will change is how they dress and what they won’t do on the Sabbath.  If we invite the Saints to use the invitations in the two great commandments to come to know, and be led by, Deity, not only will their actions change but, more importantly, their hearts will change as well.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
22 minutes ago, let’s roll said:

In fulfilling your multiple leadership callings in the Church, what have you been inspired to teach and counsel those in your stewardship regarding your concerns and what invitations have you extended regarding those concerns?

My experience in seeking Divine guidance in teaching and counseling the Saints (as well as guidance regarding my own discipleship) is that guidance has been to focus on the two great commandments.  Experience has taught me that as we come to know and commune with Deity our actions reflect that communion. 

Said another way, if we invite Saints to dress modestly or cease certain activities on the Sabbath and they comply, the risk is all that will change is how they dress and what they won’t do on the Sabbath.  If we invite the Saints to use the invitations in the two great commandments to come to know, and be led by, Deity, not only will their actions change but, more importantly, their hearts will change as well.

This!

I believe you're right, the changes people make are because of being told like little children what to do, what to wear, or not wear or do. But if people govern themselves, it's going to go further. Such as following the two first commandments as you mentioned. That is the ideal, the change comes from themselves, not of being told to do something, and doing it half hearted. 

Link to post
2 hours ago, Calm said:

I think there is nothing more effective in overcoming pride than service to others, including sincere service of those we would normally never interact with. 

The Church offers endless opportunities and the Brethren are always pushing us to not only attempt, but excel in our efforts to serve.

Perhaps the Brethren are using what works to change hearts and minds the most rather than solely acting in their role of witnesses to evil. 

I agree that the church does offer many service opportunities, and serving does help one develop more charity towards others.

This might be the best thing about the church today.

Link to post
1 hour ago, let’s roll said:

In fulfilling your multiple leadership callings in the Church, what have you been inspired to teach and counsel those in your stewardship regarding your concerns and what invitations have you extended regarding those concerns?

My experience in seeking Divine guidance in teaching and counseling the Saints (as well as guidance regarding my own discipleship) is that guidance has been to focus on the two great commandments.  Experience has taught me that as we come to know and commune with Deity our actions reflect that communion. 

Said another way, if we invite Saints to dress modestly or cease certain activities on the Sabbath and they comply, the risk is all that will change is how they dress and what they won’t do on the Sabbath.  If we invite the Saints to use the invitations in the two great commandments to come to know, and be led by, Deity, not only will their actions change but, more importantly, their hearts will change as well.

I have mostly felt prompted kept my concerns to myself and have only hinted at things. 

I have invited others to search the scriptures more deeply, stop participating in worldly entertainment, and so forth.

The problem I see is that because the church does not speak out against most of our worldliness, that people don't think there's anything wrong with it. 

Link to post
1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

The one and only thing that has helped me in understanding the changes in the temple and so many other policies, particularly the blacks getting the Priesthood, is that we're told the church is not stagnant and can change because we have living prophets. This is my true believing self of a while ago. In the last 13 or so years though, I've been navigating my way in unbelief, ever since discovering church history I hadn't known for 40 years of being an active member.

That's the general view of the church membership. Anything and everything can change because we are a "living church" led by "living prophets."

But when I look at what the scriptures and original teachings of the church say, I don't think all the changes are okay. 

Blacks and the priesthood is one example. The reason for the ban is pretty well documented in the scriptures and early church teachings. Now the church disavows all those reasons. We are left to decide for ourselves what the deal with that is. Are the scriptures and original church teachings on blacks wrong? Are the current teachings wrong? Are both right? If both are right, why does the church today disavow the previous teachings? It's problematic. 

There are also questions about political pressure in regards to the change in 1978. 

In trying to understand what's going on, I have looked to the scriptures. From what I can tell, it was prophesied that the state of the house Israel (the church) in the latter days was not going to be good. Overall I believe we have strayed from the Lord and need to repent.

Link to post
1 hour ago, let’s roll said:

I invite you to ponder why the Spirit would prompt you to keep your concerns to yourself.

In your study of the scriptures, have you found any sermons by Jesus on modesty in dress?  Did he discuss modesty in dress when ministering to those who church leaders of the time deemed immodest?  Any sermons on Sabbath day activities do’s and don’ts?  Wasn’t the Savior himself criticized by the church leaders of His time for His choice of activities on the Sabbath.

l don’t ascribe to your premise that Church leaders don’t address “worldly” behavior, I think you can find numerous admonitions to avoid such behavior.  That said, I am heartened by our leaders’ focus on inviting conversion from the inside out.

The Savior certainly addressed modesty.

The apostle Paul said the following:

9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

(1 Timothy 2:9-10)

In a revelation to the restored church Jesus Christ said:

40 And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands;

(D&C 42:10)

While we do have the For Strength of Youth pamphlet which addresses modesty, in practice we don't really address it unless it is extreme. Instead we have repeatedly shortened the garments and made them tighter to accommodate worldy and less modest dress. 

Speaking through the mouth of Isaiah the Lord said:

16 ¶ Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.
18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,
19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
21 The rings, and nose jewels,
22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils.
24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.

(Isaiah 3 16:24)

I think the immodesty and worldliness of our wives and daughters is in fact a real problem. That's not to say their aren't modest and humble Latter-day Saint women, of course there are, but many are quite worldly and see nothing wrong with it. 

 

Link to post
2 hours ago, strappinglad said:

Seems like the Amish have the modesty stuff figured out. A statement of praise is their community is " brother X , you are looking quite plain today " .

 

Link to post
17 hours ago, LDS Watchman said:

One thing that concerns me is changes to the ordinances of the temple. Joseph Smith said that the ordinances of the temple were not to be changed. I consider this a sign that something is wrong. 

In my opinion the changes are either unauthorized and our leaders are wrong for changing them, or if the changes are authorized it is a sign that we members have collectively rejected the higher truths and require a watered down version of the endowment. 

Either way, in my opinion it's not good. 

This is the social hall. This discussion needs to move to the general discussion area. IMHO. I understand you have insufficient posts to start topics there, but this space is for less disputacious discussions.

That being said, I invite you to provide a citation that Joseph ever said such a thing, as found in the bold text above. In any case, you're late to the party because the original endowment was, I understand, much longer than the one I first experienced in 1972. Do you want a return to string-tied and wrist- and ankle-length garments, too? Surely they weren't supposed to change, either?

And how about blacks and the priesthood? Was that too far? Women were formerly not permitted to say opening and closing prayers in sacrament meeting, only Melchizedek priesthood holders. Roll that one back, as well? Let us know how far back you want to take things. I'm sure we're very interested in your opinion of these things.

 

Edited by Stargazer
  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Just now, strappinglad said:

Seems like the Amish have the modesty stuff figured out. A statement of praise in their community is " brother X , you are looking quite plain today " .

I have a lot of respect for the Amish and the sacrifices they make in order to try and remove worldly influences from their lives and communities. They may take things a bit too far, but I think that's a lot better than walking two steps behind Babylon like so many of us members of the church tend to do. 

Link to post
Just now, Stargazer said:

This is the social hall. This discussion needs to move to the general discussion area. IMHO. I understand you have insufficient posts to start topics there, but this space is for less disputacious discussions.

That being said, I invite you to provide a citation that Joseph ever said such a thing, as found in the bold text above. In any case, you're late to the party because the original endowment was, I understand, much longer than the one I first experienced in 1972. Do you want a return to string-tied and wrist- and ankle-length garments, too? Surely they weren't supposed to change, either?

And how about blacks and the priesthood? Was that too far? Women were formerly not permitted to say opening and closing prayers in sacrament meeting, only Melchizedek priesthood holders. Roll that one back, as well? Let us know how far back you want to take things. I'm sure we're very interested in your opinion of these things.

 

I'm not trying to get any body riled up. Just expressing some concerns and wondering if anyone else has similar ones. If a moderator wants to move this thread to the general discussion area that's perfectly fine with me as long as I can still participate in the discussion.

It's really not a matter of how far back I want things, it's a matter of what the Lord wants and what pleases him. I'm concerned that we've made changes that he is not pleased with. I don't have the quotes handy at the moment, but know that Joseph Smith and other early leaders of the church said that the garment was not to be changed. Perhaps the changes to the garment are not substantial and their purpose remains the same and perhaps not. The garment has been shortened substantially and endowed women (and men) can now wear much more revealing clothing than they originally could. Modern garments don't even cover the knee cap anymore and for women they allow for very low cut tops. Maybe that's okay with the Lord and maybe it isn't. Again, I'm just expressing my concerns, not taking a hard line stance.

Here's the quote by Joseph Smith regarding changing the temple ordinances:

The main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house and the glories of His kingdom, and teach the people the way of salvation; for there are certain ordinances and principles that, when they are taught and practiced, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose.

It was the design of the councils of heaven before the world was, that the principles and laws of the priesthood should be predicated upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world. Jesus did everything to gather the people, and they would not be gathered, and He therefore poured out curses upon them. Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles.

It is for the same purpose that God gathers together His people in the last days, to build unto the Lord a house to prepare them for the ordinances and endowments, washings and anointings, etc... If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.

(TPJS, p.308)

There's no question the endowment has been changed substantially, especially since 1990. Like the changes to the garment, the question is whether or not the essense has been changed and whether or not the Lord is pleased with the changes.

As for blacks and the priesthood and women giving opening and closing prayers in church, it again is not about what I want, it's about what the Lord wants. What do the scriptures and teachings of Joseph Smith say on these subjects? 
 

Link to post
2 hours ago, LDS Watchman said:

It was the design of the councils of heaven before the world was, that the principles and laws of the priesthood should be predicated upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world. Jesus did everything to gather the people, and they would not be gathered, and He therefore poured out curses upon them. Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles.

I do think it's worth asking what Joseph had in mind when he made the statement you have bolded. He said this in a discourse delivered in Nauvoo in 1844. He had already introduced the latest version of the endowment to associates in Nauvoo two years earlier in 1842, and certainly would have understood that that version of the endowment differed substantially from the one he introduced in Kirtland nearly a decade earlier. He also seemed aware that further changes would be made as Brigham Young reportedly said that Joseph told him: "Brother Brigham this is not arranged right but we have done the best we could under the circumstances in which we are placed, and I wish you to take this matter in hand and organize and systematize all these ceremonies with the signs, tokens, penalties and key words.’ I did so, and each time I got something more, so that when we went through the temple at Nauvoo I understood and knew how to place them there. We had our ceremonies pretty correct."

So though it's not clear to me exactly what Joseph may have meant in your bolded statement, it appears he didn't intend for it to be interpreted in an unyielding, wooden manner.

Edited by Derl Sanderson
clarity and sentence structure
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
2 hours ago, LDS Watchman said:

 

I share many of your concerns, and like you, am an active and believing member.

One thing you might consider is what the scriptures teach about the time of the Gentiles being fulfilled. I think the decline in the Church in a lot of areas can be ascribed to this --- not loss of authority, or corporate unworthiness. 

I think we're seeing new phases in the Restoration, and it's hard for us Gentiles (Book of Mormon definition, Israelites descended from Gentile nations, not the conventional definition of "non-Jew") because everything in the Restoration has been the Gentiles. Decline, loss of vitality, etc. are hard to take because it's sad and it means so much to us. 

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...