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Brigham young's infallibility


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I totally want to clarify, in case this turns into "MN thinks the scene is an example of pedophilia!" that I brought it up as banter. I do think the scene was a little weird, and I would have cut it if I were the director/editor, but it's not scandalous or uncomfortable. Just odd. And I totally didn't mean it as a focus of the thread, ha.

Let's get back to all the times your prophets were wrong and their teachings were later disavowed ;) 

(also banter... maybe I should stop with the banter...)

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7 minutes ago, Calm said:

He posted a link and Webbles gave the time stamp around 45/49 minutes.  It was very short, a quick glance during the prayer and then a kiss goodnight on his cheek. 
 

I have never seen the movie before, btw. 

Did it strike you that the filmmaker was intending to convey the idea of flirtation or merely childlike hospitality for an interesting stranger from back East? 
 

It’s a good movie, by the way. I recommend watching it in its entirety. 

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56 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Did it strike you that the filmmaker was intending to convey the idea of flirtation or merely childlike hospitality for an interesting stranger from back East? 

It struck me as an awkward stranger in an old fashioned setting with cute kids.  The 20/30 year old looking panic stricken when handed a baby, for example, is a common trope.  Awkward adults interacting with poised, adult behaving kids in a bit piece makes frequent appearances in entertainment in my experience.
 

I think it was a simple going for a cute factor, with the peeking during the prayer first followed by sweetness. 
 

I don’t think the kiss would happen today, more likely an ‘ah, that’s cute’ adult like handshake with the boy as if between two men.  Or possibly with the girl.

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6 minutes ago, Calm said:

It struck me as an awkward stranger in an old fashioned setting with cute kids.  The 20/30 year old looking panic stricken when handed a baby, for example, is a common trope.  Awkward adults interacting with poised, adult behaving kids in a bit piece makes frequent appearances in entertainment in my experience.
 

I think it was a simple going for a cute factor, with the peeking during the prayer first followed by sweetness. 
 

I don’t think the kiss would happen today, more likely an ‘as, that’s cute’ adult like handshake with the boy as if between two men.  Or possibly with the girl.

I think that’s an apt description from what I can recall of the film. 

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7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

There sure are some people who feel that way, even about secular leaders.  It has been over 70 years since I was baptized during the Presidency of George Albert Smith, and I was never taught that the Brethren were infallible.  And I never entertained that belief about them or Abraham, Moses, or any of the classical Israelite prophets.  I have always suspected that there was something wrong with those who believed such nonsense.  Seemed more like an affectation than true faith.

Obedience is important in an organization, and when I was in the USMC I learned that one obeys regardless of individual opinion.  Otherwise the organization cannot be effective.  But actual belief is another matter entirely.

Obedience is definitely impactful, but it is not necessarily adaptive. Sometimes disobedience to authority figures is more adaptive and essential to survival and growth, not to mention moral.

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9 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Well, it is the first law of heaven.  It's why Christ was Christ.  It's how the world was created.  There's a principle there.

Obedience to what?

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10 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

I totally want to clarify, in case this turns into "MN thinks the scene is an example of pedophilia!" that I brought it up as banter. I do think the scene was a little weird, and I would have cut it if I were the director/editor, but it's not scandalous or uncomfortable. Just odd. And I totally didn't mean it as a focus of the thread, ha.

Let's get back to all the times your prophets were wrong and their teachings were later disavowed ;) 

(also banter... maybe I should stop with the banter...)

I think it instructive though, to examine this particular topic of banter. What one person sees as a child peeking during a prayer (I have, which means that I was peeking too), or as an adult unaccustomed to family/group prayer peeking around (like I did as a new convert, or even after my baptism while attending a girlfriend's parents' Charismatic Catholic prayer circle), another might see as provocative pedophilia (something I've never experienced either as a victim, perpetrator or observer). What one takes to be a subject for playful and friendly teasing, another takes to be quite serious. I mentioned earlier our home/life experiences colors how we see the Church and Church media productions which also illustrates the important role of empathy in understanding others.

11 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The LDS Church has no canon lawyers or professional theologians, and such scripts are produced quite innocently, without any real thought about the implications.  Woodruff may actualy have made such a statement, which should be taken in any case as hyperbole.

Brigham always insisted that silly notions of his infallibility be subjected instead to the witness of the Holy Spirit, rather than automatic acceptance and belief.  In our own day, we have heard Apostle Bruce R. McConkie tell us that Brigham was wrong on the priesthood of Black men because he spoke without light and knowledge.  That and the scene of a good Mormon girl flirting with a reporter would be de rigueur for LDS film making.  That is about as risque as it gets in the LDS community.

Woah Nellie! Except in this case it was a six-year old girl peeking at an adult awkwardly joining a family prayer! I do not see a cultural tendency to encourage underage coquetry in this.

Edited by CV75
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6 hours ago, CV75 said:

.........................

Woah Nellie! Except in this case it was a six-year old girl peeking at an adult awkwardly joining a family prayer! I do not see a cultural tendency to encourage underage coquetry in this.

Like I said, "That is about as risque as it gets in the LDS community. "  :pirate:

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11 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Obedience to what?

Many things.  Including people.

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1 minute ago, JLHPROF said:

Many things.  Including people.

Wilford Woodruff also said,

Quote

It is necessary that all the members of the Church should exercise their powers of reason and reflection, and thoroughly understand why they take the course which God points out. Intelligent obedience on the part of His Saints is desired by our Father in Heaven. He has given us our agency to think and act for ourselves, on our own volition, to obtain a testimony for ourselves from Him concerning the truth of the principles which He teaches, and then be firm and unshaken in the performance of all which is necessary for salvation.

 

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17 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Obedience is definitely impactful, but it is not necessarily adaptive. Sometimes disobedience to authority figures is more adaptive and essential to survival and growth, not to mention moral.

Bear in mind that the USMC is a dictatorship, not a democracy, and that all the men are willing volunteers who signed a contract and took a sacred oath.  All of us were willing to die.  Most people probably do not think of their church or synagogue membership in quite the same way.

Disobey an order in the military and one may find himself in a Federal Prison.  Disobey at church and you are likely to be ignored.

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18 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Bear in mind that the USMC is a dictatorship, not a democracy, and that all the men are willing volunteers who signed a contract and took a sacred oath.  All of us were willing to die.  Most people probably do not think of their church or synagogue membership in quite the same way.

Disobey an order in the military and one may find himself in a Federal Prison.  Disobey at church and you are likely to be ignored.

To be adaptive, the success of perfect obedience depends entirely on the integrity of the system that is obeyed. Plenty of soldiers have committed atrocities or died needlessly in the name of obedience.

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12 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

To be adaptive, the success of perfect obedience depends entirely on the integrity of the system that is obeyed. Plenty of soldiers have committed atrocities or died needlessly in the name of obedience.

That's right.  But there are rules of engagement, and there are rules of war.  In the U.S. armed forces, it is illegal to obey an unlawful order, and plenty of men have been placed in Federal Prison for failing to obey that rule.  We even celebrate that rule dramatically in films like "A Few Good Men."

There is no such thing as "perfect obedience," and that is not possible for ordinary humans.  However, you must not ignore the crucial distinction between voluntary systems and dictatorial systems.  Some anti-Mormons claim that the LDS Church is a dictatorship, and that it actively punishes those who do not obey.  I consider that a sick lie.  The LDS Church is soft and weak, and it mostly just ignores the disobedient.  Members can go at their own speed, or just leave, as they wish.  No one kicks them din the teeth -- like some nightmare cult.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

There is no such thing as "perfect obedience," and that is not possible for ordinary humans. 

That really depends on the system and its rules. Some systems can be so broadly and specifically controlling that perfection is impossible. Other systems can be less controlling and more reasonably calibrated, making perfect obedience frequently possible and common.

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

However, you must not ignore the crucial distinction between voluntary systems and dictatorial systems.  Some anti-Mormons claim that the LDS Church is a dictatorship, and that it actively punishes those who do not obey.  I consider that a sick lie.  The LDS Church is soft and weak, and it mostly just ignores the disobedient.  Members can go at their own speed, or just leave, as they wish.  No one kicks them din the teeth -- like some nightmare cult.

Well I had not addressed enforcement. Our thread in this post began with my common to HJW, "Yes, and there seems to be an increasing pattern to support following even if it might be wrong, the fact of obedience taking precedence." I was talking about the pattern of increasing rhetoric to obey the words of the human leaders even when they could be/ seem to be wrong. That is a shift from the idea to obey because they are inspired and speak the testable good word of the Lord. 

To me that represents a noticeable divergence from Option 1 of Euthyphro's Dilemma, Option 1 being to believe that God is God because God is Good, the other, Option 2 being to believe that Good is Good because God decrees it Good. In essence Option 2 would mean that all ability to perceive Good and evidence of God can be overridden by God, and presumably God's spokesman. Obviously that eliminates the ability to judge the nature of a revelation claim based on principled merits.

When it comes to enforcement, religions tend to structure that through afterlife claims, and also social pressure. I would be careful about downplaying either of those. Both are still extremely influential, and people do not necessarily perceive themselves as free from either.

Edited by Meadowchik
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On 3/30/2021 at 6:58 PM, Meadowchik said:

Yes, and there seems to be an increasing pattern to support following even if it might be wrong, the fact of obedience taking precedence.

I've heard it said that we Mormons don't believe in prophetic infallibility; we just act like we do. In practice, it's easier to see fallibility in dead prophets than living ones. One can, for example, dismiss Brigham Young's teachings on race or Joseph Smith's polyandry without anyone batting an eye, but one cannot question a living prophet's teachings without being accused of apostasy. 

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38 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I've heard it said that we Mormons don't believe in prophetic infallibility; we just act like we do. In practice, it's easier to see fallibility in dead prophets than living ones. One can, for example, dismiss Brigham Young's teachings on race or Joseph Smith's polyandry without anyone batting an eye, but one cannot question a living prophet's teachings without being accused of apostasy. 

What is your personal experience as part of "we Mormons?" and in light of what you've heard said, what is the characterization you stand by?

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2 minutes ago, CV75 said:

What is your personal experience as part of "we Mormons?" and in light of what you've heard said, what is the characterization you stand by?

In my experience most members have an understanding of the living prophet's fallibility in the abstract, but not always when it comes to specifics. The best example I can think of is President Hinckley's suggestion that women have only one piercing per ear, which to a lot of people seemed to be not only a prophetic commandment from God but a marker of one's willingness to "follow the prophet." 

I'm certainly not saying this to be critical, but just noting a cultural feature of Mormonism I've seen all my life. As always, feel free to disagree.

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1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

In my experience most members have an understanding of the living prophet's fallibility in the abstract, but not always when it comes to specifics. The best example I can think of is President Hinckley's suggestion that women have only one piercing per ear, which to a lot of people seemed to be not only a prophetic commandment from God but a marker of one's willingness to "follow the prophet." 

I'm certainly not saying this to be critical, but just noting a cultural feature of Mormonism I've seen all my life. As always, feel free to disagree.

Another example is an atheist anti-Mormon who went by the name rpcman. For years he severely criticized the church and took deep dives into polygamy, Adam-god, BOA, BOM, etc. The Church ignored him until he criticized the Proclamation in the Family. That is when they promptly called him in and excommunicated him.

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2 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

In my experience most members have an understanding of the living prophet's fallibility in the abstract, but not always when it comes to specifics. The best example I can think of is President Hinckley's suggestion that women have only one piercing per ear, which to a lot of people seemed to be not only a prophetic commandment from God but a marker of one's willingness to "follow the prophet." 

I'm certainly not saying this to be critical, but just noting a cultural feature of Mormonism I've seen all my life. As always, feel free to disagree.

How does taking a suggestion as a commandment and as a marker to judge others require a belief in the issuer's infallibility? This seems more like a specific example of taking a suggestion as a commandment and of judging others, but not as justifying the behavior with the belief that the issuer is infallible. Just not seeing a clear connection here.

I understand this may be your perception and experience among the sample of members comprising your family/social circle and doesn't necessarily inform your general view of members of the Church.

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1 hour ago, Analytics said:

Another example is an atheist anti-Mormon who went by the name rpcman. For years he severely criticized the church and took deep dives into polygamy, Adam-god, BOA, BOM, etc. The Church ignored him until he criticized the Proclamation in the Family. That is when they promptly called him in and excommunicated him.

Do you believe he was excommunicated because he thought the prophets were fallible and taught that they were?

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4 minutes ago, CV75 said:

How does taking a suggestion as a commandment and as a marker to judge others require a belief in the issuer's infallibility? This seems more like a specific example of taking a suggestion as a commandment and of judging others, but not as justifying the behavior with the belief that the issuer is infallible. Just not seeing a clear connection here.

I understand this may be your perception and experience among the sample of members comprising your family/social circle and doesn't necessarily inform your general view of members of the Church.

It was just an example of how a lot of people (not all) react to any stated disagreement with something the prophet says. If there is no sense of infallibility, then there should be no stigma attached to disagreeing with the prophet. Yet there is a huge stigma generally attached to publicly disagreeing with a living prophet; not so much with past prophets. The connection seems clear to me, but maybe I'm just weird. Well, yes, I am weird, but not necessarily in that way. 

Edited by jkwilliams
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3 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

, but one cannot question a living prophet's teachings without being accused of apostasy. 

or the living prophet's investments. 

 

Hi John.

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1 minute ago, CA Steve said:

or the living prophet's investments. 

 

Hi John.

You're sounding almost more cynical than I am. Maybe the Valley breeds cynicism. 

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53 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

It was just an example of how a lot of people (not all) react to any stated disagreement with something the prophet says. If there is no sense of infallibility, then there should be no stigma attached to disagreeing with the prophet. Yet there is a huge stigma generally attached to publicly disagreeing with a living prophet; not so much with past prophets. The connection seems clear to me, but maybe I'm just weird. Well, yes, I am weird, but not necessarily in that way. 

I do not see a given connection. I think learned habits and attitudes are far more likely to contribute to this behavior (taking a suggestion as a commandment, judging others on their observance of that suggestion, etc.) than an intent based in a belief in infallibility. Of course you know the people in your circle better than I do! I have all sorts of people in mine, and have from the start (I'm a convert of some 50 years) and the example reaction you describe to the earrings was a rarity. Where President Hinkley's suggestion was influential, I think it was more generally due to trust in his wisdom, appreciation of his leadership and a willingness to try things out, and not on the basis of believing in his infallibility.

Public disagreement with dead and living prophets, depending on its nature and content, would appropriately be subject to ecclesiastical discipline.

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