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Wonderful 'quotable' words from president nelson.


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9 minutes ago, Maestrophil said:

Thank you all for your thoughtful response.  Gave me a lot to think about, especially @SeekingUnderstanding. I agree words matter.

So what I think I am hearing is that there will not be a good way to approach this unless the church includes a "and at the end of it all - if you find your searching leads you away from the church, then that is alright."  Is that correct?  My personal approach tends to lean this way with my loved ones, but I can understand why the church would not officially want to let the camel's nose in the tent this way. 

From Uchtdorf (never found before and never found again to my knowledge from an apostle in modern times):

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In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth. It may break our hearts when their journey takes them away from the Church we love and the truth we have found, but we honor their right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, just as we claim that privilege for ourselves.5

 

There is a lot of pain to go around when people lose their faith. This is especially so with mormonism (still not sure what term Latter-day Saints prefer here, and I mean no disrespect). When you believe in eternal marriage, a spouse leaving can feel like a divorce is coming at death regardless. Parents feel like they've lost a child. Church leaders, in my opinion don't help heal such relationships with talks like these in my opinion, but they do much to further drive wedges. 


It's not my place to tell them what to do, they can do what they want. I am merely pointing out some of the fruits.

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5 hours ago, bluebell said:

If they all produce the same result, they are all valid.

Not the point of my response.

 

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17 hours ago, Teancum said:

No anger behind the comment at all.  Maybe cynicism.  Telling someone not to talk to other doubters (apostates) is discouraging a step of critical thinking.

When I spoke of “anger”, referring to your words, not mine, it was in reference to the term, “those evil apostates”, again your words. I was speaking to the fact, that very often, those, “apostates” one various “anti-Mormon” websites, are very loud (if there is such a thing in print) outspoken, and very angry, a too many having a “white hot hate”, for all things Mormon. There a few websites that come to mind, but I won’t mention them for fear of causing a “board war”. I have to, and seen such places, where nothing is off limit, including the worst language, about the most sacred of things. This website, and another allow debate, concerning doubts that members have, and are debated almost daily, as is anther similar website. What is different, is the fact that we have moderators, who keep such debates from getting to out of hand, prohibit vulgar language, and attacks on those sacred things in the Temple. I have expressed my own doubts, and also debated the doubts of hundreds of posters in my 14+ years as a member here. 
 

I think this was the message that @bluebell, said so well, that some websites, in her words, how “echo Chambers can be so dangerous” (here is hoping I quoted her correctly). By discussing our doubts, with those who “only doubt”, or not longer believe at all, we will only hear one side, be our doubts, large or small. In fact, those doubts will “always and only”, (sorry if redundant), whatever the doubt, it will return back, amplified by that “echo chamber”. Here, and other websites like this, that are “well moderated”, those doubts will be allowed, and debated. Even encouraged, but it will (with respect) be allowed to continue, but the debate will come from every side of the issue. It will also come from those less eloquent, like myself, and from those who excel in both  “debate skills, and the written word”, as well as scholars, even those who have never been members of the Church. So, I think you misunderstood President Nelson, he only spoke the words of Jesus Christ, too paraphrase, “doubt not, but be believing”. Unless I read you wrong, when hearing this, or reading this quote, your first Internet was to a group, filled with those who doubt, only to find what you would expect, upset and anger. If I am wrong, I beg your forgiveness. Anyway, not feeling well, and long posts are difficult for me to post, but to my injuries. So, Papa has to bow out for a few hours. I also got my first COVID-19 shot yesterday, and not felling to good 

 

God bless you brother, but if I may, I want to quote a scripture for all who struggle with doubt or disbelief...

Alma 5:26 “And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can you feel it now? 
 

Or to put it in my own pitiful words, if you have ever felt the Spirit of God, when in need, or as a result of your prayers. If you have ever felt his influence before you had some, or many doubts, but struggle now because study, or Internet searches. Things that have created doubt, maybe like many of us, we are letting our heads get in the way of our hearts. Make no mistake about it, anything touched by man, will have flaws, as all men and women are flawed. But, if there were no truth in this Latter-say work, you nor I, nor anyone else could have, and would have felt the Spirit of God. Nor could the many miracles that the Saints experienced would have come to pass. Also, like so many such movements in the 1800’s, claiming to be the restored Church, could have never become what our Church is today. There were many claiming to be the “Restored Church”, just do a Goggle Search, for a place called, “Field of the Woods”, in North Carolina. You would think their tenants and claims were written by Joseph Smith, but rather than filling the world, they barely got out of North Carolina. In fact, other than the very beautiful grounds, where they have the 10 Commandments, on a mountainside, in stone. 

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1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

Not the point of my response.

 

I get that. Your response probably wasn’t the point of Rain’s post either, but it was truthful and therefore valid. 

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20 hours ago, Analytics said:

Its precise nature is still being discovered, sure. But its existence is not in dispute.

From where I sit, it appears that it is. Here's another paper: Homo Heuristicus: Why Biased Minds Make Better Inferences. It does not directly address confirmation bias, but it does address the general argument that the use of heuristics leads human beings to irrationality. Notably, it defines rational behavior as "leading to better inferences" as opposed to adhering to abstract axioms of rationality and logical probability. More on that here:  Axiomatic rationality and ecological rationality. In fact, in many cases simpler heuristics are not only more economical but also more accurate than more complex rational programs. There exists an inflection point where more information and computation = less accurate assessments. This conclusion is extremely counterintuitive and goes against Carnap's "principle of total information"...but the data supports it anyways. 

Cognitive biases do come into existence for a reason, and further research has found that a lot of them have purposes which are not elucidated by research programs designed to frame them as "biases". 

Now for Enron. It's true, the auditors were grossly negligent and did not look at a lot of information.  Confirmation bias and gross neglect are not the same thing. So, I question the applicability of the Enron case. Furthermore, I don't think that this sort of neglect is what President Nelson tells us to do!

I've already said that he doesn't tell us to hide from these things, but he does tell us to reference faithful sources and not permit critical sources to control the frame and the narrative. He tells us to study and go on a journey of discovery, which are incompatible with the notion that our beliefs are simply to be clung to like the rock of Andromeda. In fact, as I look at it, I don't see any condemnation against interacting with critical sources and arguments! The only thing he tells us to avoid is "rehearsing [our doubts] with other doubters". In other words, don't go in circles with other doubters and incessantly reinforce yourselves in such a manner. 

20 hours ago, Analytics said:

The self-serving bias even affects how people remember information. Studies show that people are more likely to recall evidence that supports their point of view than evidence that opposes it. People involved in negotiations tend to remember information that supports their bargaining position more than information that undermines it.

I'm not sure what to do with this. If ever I disagree with your take, this bias can be invoked to render it illegitimate. That's a remarkably useful rhetorical tool for dismissal, but less so for persuasion. Nevermind that I could just say the same: what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Welcome to a regime of Mutually Assured Dismissal. 

20 hours ago, Analytics said:

The question is whether we are going to indulge in our own biases or are we going to challenge them to come closer to an objective evaluation of what's really going on. Even people who sincerely endeavor to do the latter often fail--such is the nature of the human brain--but that just means that rational analysis is difficult, not impossible. Studying something with "a desire to believe" is directly indulging in these biases. It is encouraging it. Relying on it. Letting it carry the day. Somebody who is trying to come to the actual truth will in fact do the opposite of this.

And deleting one's desire from the picture is a form of self-deception and tampers with our mental processes which, as we have learned lately, are tied up in our capacity to process emotion. Such attempts to move to "objectivity" require us to put our fingers on the scales and suppress natural cognitive functions. I don't think I can do that responsibly since our understandings of the brain, its interconnectedness, and the interconnectedness of cognitive features are not yet known. Neither are the adaptive functions for things like confirmation bias, even though it is unlikely that it's entirely maladaptive (since it has, after all, persisted this long.) And indeed, there are already papers reaching the market which purport to demonstrate ways in which even the confirmation bias serves some useful purpose. Take this one, for instance. Or this paper, which argues that one of the chief empirical supports for confirmation bias, the Wason selection task, can in fact be reinterpreted as a rational means of Bayesian hypothesis testing. On balance I think we don't know enough to make prescriptions regarding confirmation bias. 

This actually leads me into another query. The idea that one can ditch all of one's priors is ridiculous, so any attempt to move towards "more objective" thinking must entail selective suspension of priors and selective maintenance of others. This renders calls to be "more objective" highly problematic as it simply entails another form of selection bias. 

20 hours ago, Analytics said:

Like I said. If the objective is to believe, relying on these biases is a great way to achieve that objective.

I don't have anything in particular to say to this. I thought I had presented objections to this characterization, but naturally you are entitled to your opinion. 

Edited by OGHoosier
Edited for tone because I'm too snarky for my own good
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4 hours ago, Maestrophil said:

Thank you all for your thoughtful response.  Gave me a lot to think about, especially @SeekingUnderstanding. I agree words matter.

So what I think I am hearing is that there will not be a good way to approach this unless the church includes a "and at the end of it all - if you find your searching leads you away from the church, then that is alright."  Is that correct?  

I have long felt that if I want to trust the process of others joining the church I had to trust when they left as well. How can I really understand what others go through if I can't put myself in their place with my church? How could I be humble enough if I wasn't willing to see I might have some things wrong too? 

That really was tested when a close family member started leaving.  I had to think back to another prompting I had had - before he was my loved one he was God's son. 

Now I still think that too many make big decisions about church without being willing to accept they might be wrong or they are unwilling to change no matter what God says, but that isn't my place to judge.  All I can do is love each person in my life and trust they are in God's hands even if they make a different choice than I would.

 

Quote

My personal approach tends to lean this way with my loved ones, but I can understand why the church would not officially want to let the camel's nose in the tent this way. 

 

Edited by Rain
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11 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

From where I sit, it appears that it is. Here's another paper: Homo Heuristicus: Why Biased Minds Make Better Inferences. It does not directly address confirmation bias, but it does address the general argument that the use of heuristics leads human beings to irrationality. Notably, it defines rational behavior as "leading to better inferences" as opposed to adhering to abstract axioms of rationality and logical probability. More on that here:  Axiomatic rationality and ecological rationality. In fact, in many cases simpler heuristics are not only more economical but also more accurate than more complex rational programs. There exists an inflection point where more information and computation = less accurate assessments. This conclusion is extremely counterintuitive and goes against Carnap's "principle of total information"...but the data supports it anyways. 

Cognitive biases do come into existence for a reason, and further research has found that a lot of them have purposes which are not elucidated by research programs designed to frame them as "biases". 

Now for Enron. It's true, the auditors were grossly negligent and did not look at a lot of information.  Confirmation bias and gross neglect are not the same thing. So, I question the applicability of the Enron case. Furthermore, I don't think that this sort of neglect is what President Nelson tells us to do!

I've already said that he doesn't tell us to hide from these things, but he does tell us to reference faithful sources and not permit critical sources to control the frame and the narrative. He tells us to study and go on a journey of discovery, which are incompatible with the notion that our beliefs are simply to be clung to like the rock of Andromeda. In fact, as I look at it, I don't see any condemnation against interacting with critical sources and arguments! The only thing he tells us to avoid is "rehearsing [our doubts] with other doubters". In other words, don't go in circles with other doubters and incessantly reinforce yourselves in such a manner. 

I'm not sure what to do with this. If ever I disagree with your take, this bias can be invoked to render it illegitimate. That's a remarkably useful rhetorical tool for dismissal, but less so for persuasion. Nevermind that I could just say the same: what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Welcome to a regime of Mutually Assured Dismissal. 

And deleting one's desire from the picture is a form of self-deception and tampers with our mental processes which, as we have learned lately, are tied up in our capacity to process emotion. Such attempts to move to "objectivity" require us to put our fingers on the scales and suppress natural cognitive functions. I don't think I can do that responsibly since our understandings of the brain, its interconnectedness, and the interconnectedness of cognitive features are not yet known. Neither are the adaptive functions for things like confirmation bias, even though it is unlikely that it's entirely maladaptive (since it has, after all, persisted this long.) And indeed, there are already papers reaching the market which purport to demonstrate ways in which even the confirmation bias serves some useful purpose. Take this one, for instance. Or this paper, which argues that one of the chief empirical supports for confirmation bias, the Wason selection task, can in fact be reinterpreted as a rational means of Bayesian hypothesis testing. On balance I think we don't know enough to make prescriptions regarding confirmation bias. 

This actually leads me into another query. The idea that one can ditch all of one's priors is ridiculous, so any attempt to move towards "more objective" thinking must entail selective suspension of priors and selective maintenance of others. This renders calls to be "more objective" highly problematic as it simply entails another form of selection bias. 

I don't have anything in particular to say to this. I thought I had presented objections to this characterization, but naturally you are entitled to your opinion. 

OGHoosier,

I appreciate you taking the time to respond in detail. I can't help but wonder if I haven't expressed my position very clearly.

When I go to a restaurant I might order a steak because everybody else at my table is ordering steak, and I might order a glass of Merlot because that is what I always order. Using heuristics such as these certainly isn't "rational"--at least not compared to trying to evaluating each item on the menu in terms of nutritional benefit, carnal pleasure, and opportunity cost, assigning each permutation of orders a utility score, and then selecting the package that rationally maximizes my utility. In that situation, relying on my heuristics/biases is in fact the most rational thing to do.

However, biases not only effect quick decisions. They also affect things that require sober, objective evaluation. Serving as a judge or jury member in a trial. Prescribing medication as a doctor. Landing a jet airliner in an emergency situation. Auditing a public corporation. Making a go/no-go decision on whether to launch a space shuttle. These decisions call for making sober, rational decisions. And it is well proven that people have failed in these situations not out of negligence, but because of cognitive biases.

I don't think this is something that you or President Nelson really deny existing, and I don't see the point in arguing with you about it. After all, the admonition to avoid "rehearsing [our doubts] with other doubters" seems to be based on the correct understanding that this activity can be expected to lead to cognitive biases against the Church. 

“Choose to believe the Church is a fraud, if you start to think any of it might be true, then choose to believe it is false and have faith that it is false. Take your questions to professional antiMormons and other skeptical sources. Study with a desire to doubt, rather than with the hope that you can find a redeeming quality in the Church. Stop listening to believers. Allow the antiMormons to lead you, on you journey of discovery.” 

Surely you can see how doing the opposite of what President Nelson admonishes would lead to strong biases against the Church. 

My point is simple. We aren't required to make an a priori decision about whether we are going to brainwash ourselves to believe or to disbelieve. The opposite of trying to grow our faith that it is true is not trying to grow our faith that it is false. Rather, the opposite of trying to grow our faith is to grow our critical thinking skills and use them to figure out the truth.

Trying to figure out what is really true is not the same thing as trying to grow your faith in a particular religious tradition.

Edited by Analytics
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48 minutes ago, Analytics said:

OGHoosier,

I appreciate you taking the time to respond in detail. I can't help but wonder if I haven't expressed my position very clearly.

When I go to a restaurant I might order a steak because everybody else at my table is ordering steak, and I might order a glass of Merlot because that is what I always order. Using heuristics such as these certainly isn't "rational"--at least not compared to trying to evaluating each item on the menu in terms of nutritional benefit, carnal pleasure, and opportunity cost, assigning each permutation of orders a utility score, and then selecting the package that rationally maximizes my utility. In that situation, relying on my heuristics/biases is in fact the most rational thing to do.

However, biases not only effect quick decisions. They also affect things that require sober, objective evaluation. Serving as a judge or jury member in a trial. Prescribing medication as a doctor. Landing a jet airliner in an emergency situation. Auditing a public corporation. Making a go/no-go decision on whether to launch a space shuttle. These decisions call for making sober, rational decisions. And it is well proven that people have failed in these situations not out of negligence, but because of cognitive biases.

I don't think this is something that you or President Nelson really deny existing, and I don't see the point in arguing with you about it. After all, the admonition to avoid "rehearsing [our doubts] with other doubters" seems to be based on the correct understanding that this activity can be expected to lead to cognitive biases against the Church. 

“Choose to believe the Church is a fraud, if you start to think any of it might be true, then choose to believe it is false and have faith that it is false. Take your questions to professional antiMormons and other skeptical sources. Study with a desire to doubt, rather than with the hope that you can find a redeeming quality in the Church. Stop listening to believers. Allow the antiMormons to lead you, on you journey of discovery.” 

Surely you can see how doing the opposite of what President Nelson admonishes would lead to strong biases against the Church. 

My point is simple. We aren't required to make an a priori decision about whether we are going to brainwash ourselves to believe or to disbelieve. The opposite of trying to grow our faith that it is true is not trying to grow our faith that it is false. Rather, the opposite of trying to grow our faith is to grow our critical thinking skills and use them to figure out the truth.

Trying to figure out what is really true is not the same thing as trying to grow your faith in a particular religious tradition.

The purpose of “rehearsing” is to intentionally and actively overcome one bias and replace it with another. Sometimes this is done for rational purposes (learning the finer skills of a new vocation), and sometimes for irrational purposes such as nursing negative emotions rather than resolving them; e.g. anger: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/culture-shrink/201508/angers-allure-are-you-addicted-anger.

In other words, the opposite of trying to grow our belief or faith in one thing is to try and grow it in something else, whatever the subject. Critical thinking supports an intentional process, and the lack of it feeds a more heuristic, emotional or other irrational process. This "trying" can be conscious or not. President Nelson draws upon that principle and counsels us to manage our rational and irrational tendencies to grow faith in Christ and the Restored Gospel.

Edited by CV75
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On 4/5/2021 at 6:53 PM, CA Steve said:

I am not comparing Scientology to Mormonism rather I am comparing the methodology suggested. 

I would hope not, as “Scientology”: is a viscous organization, h***l bent on of robbing it’s members of every spare dime, and destroying the lives if disaffected members. They have policies that by design, to meant to destroy, both the individual, and  the family, for darning to have a single count. Having not seen the quote you are referring too, how and who sought to compare our Faith, to a “criminal enterprise”? The term quote that President Nelson spoke of, and  referred to as “faithful sources”, does not imply, or suggest one can only reveal doubts to local Priesthood leaders. But could or would apply to any “faithful member”. Be they a next door neighbor, close friends and family, and every other category I cannot think of at this moment. However expressing any doubt to a “Scientology auditor”, could and would lead to  an “action report”, and quickly lead to being called a “suppressive person”, and family members to “disconnect” from that person. President Nelson’s sermon was that of an attempt to help those in doubt, “to be believing”, and to seek out the believing. It was not given as a commandment, that would lead to some form of punishment, it was just “good and Godly advice”. Advice taken from scripture, and the words of Jesus Christ, he was not speaking as some rouge agent, bent on retribution of any kind. Everything he said, was as a Loving Prophet, with the hope that we all “be believing”, until God gives us the patience, or the answer we seek. He was, speaking as what he is, an Apostle and Prophet, of the Lord Jesus Christ, out of love, and out of concern. BTW, the quote and topic of the thread, was but a small part of other topics of guidance to The Church. I know you did not bring this “comparison up”, or so I hope. But there is no comparison between a “Faith and Church”, to a non-Faith or Church such as Scientology. 

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On 4/6/2021 at 8:35 PM, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

When I spoke of “anger”, referring to your words, not mine, it was in reference to the term, “those evil apostates”, again your words. I was speaking to the fact, that very often, those, “apostates” one various “anti-Mormon” websites, are very loud (if there is such a thing in print) outspoken, and very angry, a too many having a “white hot hate”, for all things Mormon. There a few websites that come to mind, but I won’t mention them for fear of causing a “board war”. I have to, and seen such places, where nothing is off limit, including the worst language, about the most sacred of things. This website, and another allow debate, concerning doubts that members have, and are debated almost daily, as is anther similar website. What is different, is the fact that we have moderators, who keep such debates from getting to out of hand, prohibit vulgar language, and attacks on those sacred things in the Temple. I have expressed my own doubts, and also debated the doubts of hundreds of posters in my 14+ years as a member here. 
 

I think this was the message that @bluebell, said so well, that some websites, in her words, how “echo Chambers can be so dangerous” (here is hoping I quoted her correctly). By discussing our doubts, with those who “only doubt”, or not longer believe at all, we will only hear one side, be our doubts, large or small. In fact, those doubts will “always and only”, (sorry if redundant), whatever the doubt, it will return back, amplified by that “echo chamber”. Here, and other websites like this, that are “well moderated”, those doubts will be allowed, and debated. Even encouraged, but it will (with respect) be allowed to continue, but the debate will come from every side of the issue. It will also come from those less eloquent, like myself, and from those who excel in both  “debate skills, and the written word”, as well as scholars, even those who have never been members of the Church. So, I think you misunderstood President Nelson, he only spoke the words of Jesus Christ, too paraphrase, “doubt not, but be believing”. Unless I read you wrong, when hearing this, or reading this quote, your first Internet was to a group, filled with those who doubt, only to find what you would expect, upset and anger. If I am wrong, I beg your forgiveness. Anyway, not feeling well, and long posts are difficult for me to post, but to my injuries. So, Papa has to bow out for a few hours. I also got my first COVID-19 shot yesterday, and not felling to good 

 

God bless you brother, but if I may, I want to quote a scripture for all who struggle with doubt or disbelief...

Alma 5:26 “And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can you feel it now? 
 

Or to put it in my own pitiful words, if you have ever felt the Spirit of God, when in need, or as a result of your prayers. If you have ever felt his influence before you had some, or many doubts, but struggle now because study, or Internet searches. Things that have created doubt, maybe like many of us, we are letting our heads get in the way of our hearts. Make no mistake about it, anything touched by man, will have flaws, as all men and women are flawed. But, if there were no truth in this Latter-say work, you nor I, nor anyone else could have, and would have felt the Spirit of God. Nor could the many miracles that the Saints experienced would have come to pass. Also, like so many such movements in the 1800’s, claiming to be the restored Church, could have never become what our Church is today. There were many claiming to be the “Restored Church”, just do a Goggle Search, for a place called, “Field of the Woods”, in North Carolina. You would think their tenants and claims were written by Joseph Smith, but rather than filling the world, they barely got out of North Carolina. In fact, other than the very beautiful grounds, where they have the 10 Commandments, on a mountainside, in stone. 

I understand where you are coming from.  But it is not a simple things to just simply believe in spite of knowledge and information. If you are interested here is a blog on how the LDS Church has been dealing with doubts and doubters recently. It is a long blog post but I think worth the read:

 

https://www.ldsdiscussions.com/doubts

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

I understand where you are coming from.  But it is not a simple things to just simply believe in spite of knowledge and information. If you are interested here is a blog on how the LDS Church has been dealing with doubts and doubters recently. It is a long blog post but I think worth the read:

 

https://www.ldsdiscussions.com/doubts

The simplest thing to figure out from all of the debate between doubt and belief is that people can and do believe all kinds of things.  Some are totally convinced Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God, at any time ever, while some other people believe he was at least some of the time when he was acting like one.  Nobody is ever going to convince someone else of something that is against their will to believe.  You can believe whatever you want to believe and you will always have at least some other people who will agree with you and believe whatever you tell them, because those other people believe the same things.  Regardless of what anyone else says or what anyone else believes. What each person believes is true is always in the eyes of each beholder.

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On 4/7/2021 at 9:50 AM, Analytics said:

OGHoosier,

I appreciate you taking the time to respond in detail. I can't help but wonder if I haven't expressed my position very clearly.

When I go to a restaurant I might order a steak because everybody else at my table is ordering steak, and I might order a glass of Merlot because that is what I always order. Using heuristics such as these certainly isn't "rational"--at least not compared to trying to evaluating each item on the menu in terms of nutritional benefit, carnal pleasure, and opportunity cost, assigning each permutation of orders a utility score, and then selecting the package that rationally maximizes my utility. In that situation, relying on my heuristics/biases is in fact the most rational thing to do.

However, biases not only effect quick decisions. They also affect things that require sober, objective evaluation. Serving as a judge or jury member in a trial. Prescribing medication as a doctor. Landing a jet airliner in an emergency situation. Auditing a public corporation. Making a go/no-go decision on whether to launch a space shuttle. These decisions call for making sober, rational decisions. And it is well proven that people have failed in these situations not out of negligence, but because of cognitive biases.

I don't think this is something that you or President Nelson really deny existing, and I don't see the point in arguing with you about it. After all, the admonition to avoid "rehearsing [our doubts] with other doubters" seems to be based on the correct understanding that this activity can be expected to lead to cognitive biases against the Church. 

“Choose to believe the Church is a fraud, if you start to think any of it might be true, then choose to believe it is false and have faith that it is false. Take your questions to professional antiMormons and other skeptical sources. Study with a desire to doubt, rather than with the hope that you can find a redeeming quality in the Church. Stop listening to believers. Allow the antiMormons to lead you, on you journey of discovery.” 

Surely you can see how doing the opposite of what President Nelson admonishes would lead to strong biases against the Church. 

My point is simple. We aren't required to make an a priori decision about whether we are going to brainwash ourselves to believe or to disbelieve. The opposite of trying to grow our faith that it is true is not trying to grow our faith that it is false. Rather, the opposite of trying to grow our faith is to grow our critical thinking skills and use them to figure out the truth.

Trying to figure out what is really true is not the same thing as trying to grow your faith in a particular religious tradition.

All I can say is from personal experience as I started exploring the issues about the Church and its founding claims I started with the position that it was true. I read critics but I read apologetics and spent many years and countless hours reading, studying, praying and so on. I also was on the apologist side as a defender for many many years.  I wanted to stay a believer.  I wanted it to be true. I based my entire life on it. And actually it was three books all written by believing Latter day Saints that really made me realize that the LDS Church did not seem what it claimed to be and Joseph Smith was not likely a prophet of God. My bias was so very much tilted towards the church and against the critics. But at least for me reached the point where I could no longer just choose to believe.

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On 4/7/2021 at 9:24 AM, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

The Church. I know you did not bring this “comparison up”, or so I hope. But there is no comparison between a “Faith and Church”, to a non-Faith or Church such as Scientology. 

My comparison was strictly about the methodology being encouraged in President Nelson's talk. And my point was intended to show how we accept that methodology when confirming our own beliefs but would reject it if it were used to confirm other beliefs that contradict our own. IOW when we share the gospel with others we don't ask them to confirm if their own beliefs are true, we ask them to consider ours. If you are uncomfortable with my substitution of Scientology feel free to consider any other religion in its place.

I also find it interesting that before someone joins the church and is evaluating its claims, that person is called an investigator, after that same person joins the church, if he or she continues questioning the claims, they become a doubter.

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32 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

I also find it interesting that before someone joins the church and is evaluating its claims, that person is called an investigator, after that same person joins the church, if he or she continues questioning the claims, they become a doubter.

I would hope nobody would join the Church, as a member of it, unless and until they were sure the Church is what it claims to be.  So, yes, first investigate, and then if and when God assures you it is what it claims to be, then join us, or doubt why you joined us.

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36 minutes ago, Zeniff said:

I would hope nobody would join the Church, as a member of it, unless and until they were sure the Church is what it claims to be.  So, yes, first investigate, and then if and when God assures you it is what it claims to be, then join us, or doubt why you joined us.

Little more difficult if you never had to ask if the church is true because you followed the lead of your family at age 8. Or heard it was true in the many weeks of primary and other meetings up to that point.

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4 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Little more difficult if you never had to ask if the church is true because you followed the lead of your family at age 8. Or heard it was true in the many weeks of primary and other meetings up to that point.

I'm sure there were still some people who mentioned how everyone needs to receive their own testimony from God our Father than to rely on "borrowed" light.  And all parents have that duty to teach that to their children.

Don't just believe what I say because I am your Mommy, or Daddy.  You, our precious daughter, should still ask God our Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, to give you his assurance of what is the truth.

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