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'Lazy learner'


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12 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I think this could be a good approach for investigators, but that is was clearly not his audience.

I think his talk was more about "doubt your doubts" than anything 

Au contraire. The church marketed conference to nonmembers. Typically nonmembers are welcomed at the beginning. Members are encouraged to invite nonmembers to attend.

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3 hours ago, ttribe said:

Perhaps, I need to elaborate - as my faith was falling apart, I was pleading with God for help in reaffirming the truth.  I was pleading for guidance.  I was willing myself to believe, every day, for at least a year.  I was evaluating my life to determine if I was doing something to cause the heavens to be shut to me.  No answer ever came.  Ever.  I became dangerously depressed and finally had to stop.  The point to my admittedly rhetorical question is that such a prescriptive answer on how we are supposed to get answers from God makes God seem like a vending machine and if we don't get the predetermined answer then it must be the case that we simply aren't putting in enough money (continuing the vending machine analogy).  I find these prescriptive lists to be dangerous to people like me who tried and tried and plead and wept only to have no response because it casts the blame right back at our feet.  Maybe, just maybe, the problem is with the prescription, not with those of us who are taking the prescription.

You were looking to be rescued from your burgeoning unbelief through a manifestation of proactive divine intervention, when, in reality,  the answer you were seeking was within you all along. All you had to do was choose to believe. And yes, believing in God is a choice.

Perhaps unlike yourself, I Instated out as a hardcore, proselytizing atheist but eventually came around to making the very conscious decision to believe in spite of the fact that I was surrounded with a million different reasons not to believe. Why did I choose to believe? Because I found it very detrimental to my mental wellbeing to believe that death, oblivion, futility and meaninglessness were going to win in the end. Talk about a party pooper!

Remarkably, after making the conscious decision to believe the “good guys” are going to win, the very signs every sign seeker and every individual enmeshed in a faith crisis hopes to receive descended upon me like pure life-giving rain from heaven that has continued to flow down upon my soul for over 50 years. I know of a surety that those coveted, consoling signs of God’s sovereignty, power and love really do follow those who choose to believe.

And I must say that it hasn’t been too difficult for to stay on track as long I continue to consciously choose to believe that light, life, goodness, virtue, mercy and love are going to win a most glorious ultimate victory in the end.

It’s such a wonderfully liberating idea to come to the realization that belief is a choice, and the only one who can rob me of that belief is myself. Because he is a moral agent, even God himself must consciously choose to live a life of faith, hope and charity because even he is perfectly free to choose the way of life or the way of death. Because the powers of the priesthood flow without compulsory means, even God must choose to confidently believe that the right will always win in the end. 

 

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13 hours ago, bluebell said:

Honestly (and I'm being very sincere), I would expect their leaders to say such things.   I would be disappointed in what they had to offer if they didn't believe that.  I am all for religious and spiritual beliefs that "set their gods high" (to quote a line from a novel).   Those are the beliefs (if they are sincerely held) that I respect, even if I might not agree with them.

 

Thanks for the answer. I remember that we have talked about this before. I wonder if that would still be your answer if you were experiencing the type of isolation I described.

 

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13 hours ago, bluebell said:

If he does not believe that is true, is it still the more honest approach?

Belief is not knowledge. Intellectual honesty recognizes that.

I think I understand your respect for religious zeal. I just don't equate it to a devotion to truth, and I see the dangers and suffering it causes.

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5 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

You were looking to be rescued from your burgeoning unbelief through a manifestation of proactive divine intervention, when, in reality,  the answer you were seeking was within you all along. All you had to do was choose to believe. And yes, believing in God is a choice.

Perhaps unlike yourself, I Instated out as a hardcore, proselytizing atheist but eventually came around to making the very conscious decision to believe in spite of the fact that I was surrounded with a million different reasons not to believe. Why did I choose to believe? Because I found it very detrimental to my mental wellbeing to believe that death, oblivion, futility and meaninglessness were going to win in the end. Talk about a party pooper!

Remarkably, after making the conscious decision to believe the “good guys” are going to win, the very signs every sign seeker and every individual enmeshed in a faith crisis hopes to receive descended upon me like pure life-giving rain from heaven that has continued to flow down upon my soul for over 50 years. I know of a surety that those coveted, consoling signs of God’s sovereignty, power and love really do follow those who choose to believe.

And I must say that it hasn’t been too difficult for to stay on track as long I continue to consciously choose to believe that light, life, goodness, virtue, mercy and love are going to win a most glorious ultimate victory in the end.

It’s such a wonderfully liberating idea to come to the realization that belief is a choice, and the only one who can rob me of that belief is myself. Because he is a moral agent, even God himself must consciously choose to live a life of faith, hope and charity because even he is perfectly free to choose the way of life or the way of death. Because the powers of the priesthood flow without compulsory means, even God must choose to confidently believe that the right will always win in the end. 

 

So you recognize that your belief is a choice and that you choose to believe as a strategy for your own mental health?

Thanks for your candor.

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13 hours ago, bluebell said:

Anyone who applies those labels to others, instead of using them to judge their own actions, needs to repent.

True, but there is virtually no leadership anywhere with the nerve to do it cuz they cant contradict the prophet.

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51 minutes ago, secondclasscitizen said:

True, but there is virtually no leadership anywhere with the nerve to do it cuz they cant contradict the prophet.

I'm confused. Would you explain what you mean please?

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15 hours ago, Stargazer said:

In a sense, doubt is the mother of certainty, because working through one's doubts should lead to certainty.

I think I can agree to that. I would prefer to use knowledge instead of certainty, though.

15 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Does one trust God and seek His assurance, or does one lean on the arm of flesh? For me, I prefer God's assurance, because there is no scientific proof of even the very existence of God. The best one can achieve using science is agnosticism. And is not knowing enough?

Which God's assurance? Just pick one that works?

15 hours ago, Stargazer said:

"Put it to the test! Pray about it!" the scriptures say. "But no!" the evil Spirit says. "Don't pray about it! Believe what [insert name of your favorite anti-Mormon here] says about it! That's the objective test -- ignore what God has to say, or rather, there is no God, so He can't tell you anything!"

Well I suppose that is one way to look at how doubters think. But I have discovered something else in my own process.

Like you say, there is no scientific proof for the existence of God. I suppose, for a moment, that there is a God/s. Then I consider the possibilities of Gods.

1)What if the only God/s that exists is a baddie? Do you want to worship a bad guy?

2)So of course, it is clear to me that worshipping God just because they're God is not enough. They must be worthy of worship. 

3)Perhaps reconsidering worship is also in order. Would a Good God worthy of worship require worship of Them? 

4)What would a Good God require?

That last is, imo, a core question. And it is one that I think I can manage as an atheist. I put it this way recently, in my private social media post:

Euthyphro's Dilemma, on Good and Evil: Is God God because God is Good, or is Good Good because God says it is Good? When I was a believing, theist youth, I believed the former, and this was consistent with the teachings of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism: God is God because God is Good. I still ascribe to the idea that if there is a God worth worshipping, that God must be Good. And I still believe in choosing Good over Evil. I think that one of the greatest weaknesses of religion and humankind is when people choose the latter, when they decide what is Good based on some authority figure or so-called representative of God, but without also confirming independently that it is Good. If people use their empathy and intelligence to figure out the difference between Good and Evil, I believe Good has a better chance at prevailing. If those of you who believe in God choose to seek out the Good, and if those of us who are atheist choose to seek out the Good, we can find common ground. Perhaps we will even find more common ground with each other than you would with some other theists or we would with some other atheists. And if there is a God who is Good, then we would be closer to God, too. 

 

15 hours ago, Stargazer said:

But I prefer the certainty of personal revelation, and having obtained it, I pass Go and collect my 200 tokens.

It sounds to me like you are saying that you require the belief in God. I can understand that, for sure. It is a tantalizing thing, belief. But I have learned to be cautious, not just because of the harm I can see caused by belief, but this:

5)If there is a Good God, would They want people to treat belief in God as knowledge of God? I mean, what is the likelihood of God being misrepresented by human beings?

16 hours ago, Stargazer said:

He must know he is right, and all he can really say is "I know I am right, and you can find out for yourself that this is so, if you ask the One who called me."

He must? 

Quote

and all he can really say is "I know I am right, and you can find out for yourself that this is so, if you ask the One who called me."

Many people say this, throughout time and all over the world. 

6)If there is a Good God, do we owe Them a testing of any of these human claims? Would that Good God want us to submit our understanding to the authority of another human being?

I don't think so.

It is not easy to live without the feeling of certainty that I had for forty years of my life. But it terms of truth-seeking and goodness-seeking, I think that getting to the core of it, What is Good, and seeking that, is far better.

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On 4/6/2021 at 2:59 AM, bluebell said:

Apparently I missed where Pres. Nelson called everyone who had doubts lazy learners.  Does anyone have a quote?  I'm starting to see it crop up on Facebook and there's a lot of hurt and indignation going around.  Lots of "if I doubts it has nothing to do with me" type of stuff.

Edit to add the quote:

“Your mountains may be loneliness, doubt, illness, or other personal problems. Your mountains will vary, and yet the answer to each of your challenges is to increase your faith. That takes work. Lazy learners and lax disciples will always struggle to muster even a particle of faith."

My perspective isn't going to be popular with some but I think most of us have been lazy learners and lax diciples sometimes, haven't we?  And how can being a lazy learner and lax disciple not impact our faith?  I don't think that Pres. Nelson was saying that every time we struggle with faith it's our fault.

Did you wonder why President Nelson chose to even communicate faith this way, by invoking name-calling? Why? He did not have to include it. But he did.

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4 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Did you wonder why President Nelson chose to even communicate faith this way, by invoking name-calling? Why? He did not have to include it. But he did.

In the parable of the talents, Jesus used the phrase "wicked servant" to describe the one that didn't do anything. Perhaps you would have preferred President Nelson use that phrase?

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8 minutes ago, JustAnAustralian said:

In the parable of the talents, Jesus used the phrase "wicked servant" to describe the one that didn't do anything. Perhaps you would have preferred President Nelson use that phrase?

No, I would prefer neither. But in any case I don't see Jesus' use of language in a parable as comparable. 

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2 minutes ago, JustAnAustralian said:

You think Jesus saying that someone that doesn't put in work is a wicked servant is comparable to President Nelson saying that someone that doesn't put in work is a lazy learner?

I said I don't.

A parable is intentionally vague enough to leave lots of room for interpretation. So, to me it is not at all the same thing.

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7 hours ago, Rain said:

I'm confused. Would you explain what you mean please?

If a member uses pres Nelson’s statement to label others, a leader would be contradicting the prophet in criticizing it. Regardless of what pres Nelson meant, without elaboration and clarity members are free to run with it. A bishop who shoots it down is criticizing the prophet. Hopefully that is clear now.

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14 minutes ago, secondclasscitizen said:

If a member uses pres Nelson’s statement to label others, a leader would be contradicting the prophet in criticizing it. Regardless of what pres Nelson meant, without elaboration and clarity members are free to run with it. A bishop who shoots it down is criticizing the prophet. Hopefully that is clear now.

I understand what you mean now. Thanks.

I don't agree with what you said.  Using it to judge others is quite different than using it to measure yourself which in context was what President Nelson was saying.

For the record, I don't believe he was using it on people such as ttribe with what he describes he has been through.  

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10 hours ago, teddyaware said:

You were looking to be rescued from your burgeoning unbelief through a manifestation of proactive divine intervention, when, in reality,  the answer you were seeking was within you all along. All you had to do was choose to believe. And yes, believing in God is a choice.

Perhaps unlike yourself, I Instated out as a hardcore, proselytizing atheist but eventually came around to making the very conscious decision to believe in spite of the fact that I was surrounded with a million different reasons not to believe. Why did I choose to believe? Because I found it very detrimental to my mental wellbeing to believe that death, oblivion, futility and meaninglessness were going to win in the end. Talk about a party pooper!

Remarkably, after making the conscious decision to believe the “good guys” are going to win, the very signs every sign seeker and every individual enmeshed in a faith crisis hopes to receive descended upon me like pure life-giving rain from heaven that has continued to flow down upon my soul for over 50 years. I know of a surety that those coveted, consoling signs of God’s sovereignty, power and love really do follow those who choose to believe.

And I must say that it hasn’t been too difficult for to stay on track as long I continue to consciously choose to believe that light, life, goodness, virtue, mercy and love are going to win a most glorious ultimate victory in the end.

It’s such a wonderfully liberating idea to come to the realization that belief is a choice, and the only one who can rob me of that belief is myself. Because he is a moral agent, even God himself must consciously choose to live a life of faith, hope and charity because even he is perfectly free to choose the way of life or the way of death. Because the powers of the priesthood flow without compulsory means, even God must choose to confidently believe that the right will always win in the end. 

 

Perhaps you missed the part where I said I tried the choosing to believe path for a full year.

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5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

I think I can agree to that. I would prefer to use knowledge instead of certainty, though.

According to some, knowledge is impossible to achieve. I don't know for sure where you stand on the question, but from all that you have written, you don't believe that one can know. 

5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Which God's assurance? Just pick one that works?

Well I suppose that is one way to look at how doubters think. But I have discovered something else in my own process.

Like you say, there is no scientific proof for the existence of God. I suppose, for a moment, that there is a God/s. Then I consider the possibilities of Gods.

I suppose I'd like to pick one that works, as opposed to one that doesn't work! LOL!

This reminds me of an video I once saw on YouTube which was part of a Q&A following a presentation given by either Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins (don't recall which). An audience member proposed a Pascal's Wager style question to the presenter, and his response was much like yours in flavor. He asked something like "There are so many gods out there -- which one am I to believe in?" Of course that's a hard question to answer under the circumstances. Or what could one do that would actually work?

It's very hard to approach this in a logical fashion that yields some kind of a sure pathway. All roads lead to Rome, they say, but it does matter which direction one picks to go in, if one wants to eventually arrive in Rome. Assuming Rome exists, that is.

I've known a few atheists whom I respected and cared for a great deal, and for their sakes wanted to be able to find a way to lead them to, or back to belief. It must necessarily start at the position of assuming no particular -ism or no particular God, and would hopefully lead eventually to the correct one, or, better said, to the one who is real. But it's a road fraught with uncertainty, and I've not yet been able to devise a pathway that could lead to the goal.

5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

1)What if the only God/s that exists is a baddie? Do you want to worship a bad guy?

No, but in that case one is doomed from the start, and there's really nothing to discuss. Abandon hope, all ye who enter herein, and so forth.

5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

2)So of course, it is clear to me that worshipping God just because they're God is not enough. They must be worthy of worship. 

3)Perhaps reconsidering worship is also in order. Would a Good God worthy of worship require worship of Them? 

4)What would a Good God require?

I think that God is worthy of worship only because God is Good. If God is not Good, then God is not God, and not worthy of worship. In short, there is no evil God because by definition there is no evil God.

As to whether God requires worship, God need not require it. For a good God, it would be as it is written in D&C 121:45,46 --

45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

In other words, the Goodness of God inspires spontaneous worship, and there is no compulsion.

5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

That last is, imo, a core question. And it is one that I think I can manage as an atheist. I put it this way recently, in my private social media post:

Euthyphro's Dilemma, on Good and Evil: Is God God because God is Good, or is Good Good because God says it is Good? When I was a believing, theist youth, I believed the former, and this was consistent with the teachings of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism: God is God because God is Good. I still ascribe to the idea that if there is a God worth worshipping, that God must be Good. And I still believe in choosing Good over Evil. I think that one of the greatest weaknesses of religion and humankind is when people choose the latter, when they decide what is Good based on some authority figure or so-called representative of God, but without also confirming independently that it is Good. If people use their empathy and intelligence to figure out the difference between Good and Evil, I believe Good has a better chance at prevailing. If those of you who believe in God choose to seek out the Good, and if those of us who are atheist choose to seek out the Good, we can find common ground. Perhaps we will even find more common ground with each other than you would with some other theists or we would with some other atheists. And if there is a God who is Good, then we would be closer to God, too. 

I definitely appreciate your bringing this up, for I had never heard of Euthyphro's Dilemma before. It is a very interesting concept.

But I see it as a false dilemma. The question "Is it good and just because God wills it or does God will it because it is good and just?" requires a choice to be made, but the answer must be: "It is both."

5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

It sounds to me like you are saying that you require the belief in God. I can understand that, for sure. It is a tantalizing thing, belief. But I have learned to be cautious, not just because of the harm I can see caused by belief, but this:

5)If there is a Good God, would They want people to treat belief in God as knowledge of God? I mean, what is the likelihood of God being misrepresented by human beings?

God gets misrepresented by humans all the time. Humans are good at it.

5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

He must? 

For a prophet to be a prophet, he must have certainty. If he has communicated with God in a meaningful way, he must know it. Joseph Smith is the archetype of this. I don't know if Russell M. Nelson has had a experiences similar to what Joseph claimed to have had -- but he must be certain of his calling. And by saying "claimed to have had" I don't mean to imply that I don't believe he had them, quite the opposite.

5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Many people say this, throughout time and all over the world. 

Out of all who have claimed some divine authority, which of their faiths still exist as faiths, with practitioners?  Darned few.  Which of them that ever existed and now exist that are confident enough to say "Ask God if my authority derives from Him"? And then expect God to give an endorsement?

 

5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

6)If there is a Good God, do we owe Them a testing of any of these human claims? Would that Good God want us to submit our understanding to the authority of another human being?

I don't think so.

It is not easy to live without the feeling of certainty that I had for forty years of my life. But it terms of truth-seeking and goodness-seeking, I think that getting to the core of it, What is Good, and seeking that, is far better.

I can definitely understand the allure of atheism. I have no real quarrel with it, other than to be quite sure atheists are incorrect in their disbelief. I would try to encourage atheists to reconsider their position, but for their own good, not for mine. 

I am out of time for the moment. I had a pile of thoughts that I wanted to express, but it will have to wait.

Thanks for engaging with me, Meadowchik!

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12 hours ago, secondclasscitizen said:

True, but there is virtually no leadership anywhere with the nerve to do it cuz they cant contradict the prophet.

Nerve to do what?  I’m not sure what you are saying. 

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2 hours ago, ttribe said:

Perhaps you missed the part where I said I tried the choosing to believe path for a full year.

Why did you choose to stop believing?  What or who was it that gave you the idea that you should or that it would be a good idea for you to stop believing in God?  Whoever it was or whatever it was that caused you to stop should have been ignored.

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On 4/5/2021 at 10:11 PM, teddyaware said:

All President Nelson is saying is when it comes spiritual progress and gaining a deeper love and appreciation for God, we will reap as we have sown, also known as the law of the harvest. On other occasions the prophet speaks of the gift of repentance and how the atonement of Christ allows us to put past failures behind us and begin our spiritual walk with God anew. Both are oft repeated themes in the scriptures. And it goes without saying that if one remains a lazy learner and never gets around to repenting of his indifference, he will reap in equal measure to what he has sown. Simple common sense advice..

I agree that's what he's trying to say. But I do disagree with the sentiment. It does cast blame on the individual who falls away from the gospel because they didn't try hard enough. Or didn't study and pray enough. Or didn't attend church regularly enough, or attend the temple enough. Or serve faithfully enough in callings.

For many, that sentiment rings hollow because we know how much we've studied and how many hours we've spent praying pleading for guidance. We know the hours spent in the temple and at church faithfully living the gospel. We know how much effort, time and prayer we've put in to serving in callings. So to be called "lazy" in any way and have that as the explanation for why we no longer believe is really missing the point. I'm sure Pres. Nelson wishes the law of the harvest really applied here but ultimately the church would do well to look at its shortcomings and realistically assess how it (the church) has become a stumbling block of the gospel.

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3 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I agree that's what he's trying to say. But I do disagree with the sentiment. It does cast blame on the individual who falls away from the gospel because they didn't try hard enough. Or didn't study and pray enough. Or didn't attend church regularly enough, or attend the temple enough. Or serve faithfully enough in callings.

For many, that sentiment rings hollow because we know how much we've studied and how many hours we've spent praying pleading for guidance. We know the hours spent in the temple and at church faithfully living the gospel. We know how much effort, time and prayer we've put in to serving in callings. So to be called "lazy" in any way and have that as the explanation for why we no longer believe is really missing the point. I'm sure Pres. Nelson wishes the law of the harvest really applied here but ultimately the church would do well to look at its shortcomings and realistically assess how it (the church) has become a stumbling block of the gospel.

Are there no individuals who have fallen away because of their own weaknesses?  Obviously it doesn't apply to everyone, but does it not apply to anyone, to the point that it is wrong to suggest otherwise?  

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13 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Belief is not knowledge. Intellectual honesty recognizes that.

I think I understand your respect for religious zeal. I just don't equate it to a devotion to truth, and I see the dangers and suffering it causes.

I can completely understand your perspective and recognize you are expressing it honestly, even if I sometimes disagree with it.  What I don't really understand is this idea that because you disagree with him, Pres. Nelson isn't being honest when he speaks from his perspective.

It seems like a double standard. 

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5 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I agree that's what he's trying to say. But I do disagree with the sentiment. It does cast blame on the individual who falls away from the gospel because they didn't try hard enough. Or didn't study and pray enough. Or didn't attend church regularly enough, or attend the temple enough. Or serve faithfully enough in callings.

For many, that sentiment rings hollow because we know how much we've studied and how many hours we've spent praying pleading for guidance. We know the hours spent in the temple and at church faithfully living the gospel. We know how much effort, time and prayer we've put in to serving in callings. So to be called "lazy" in any way and have that as the explanation for why we no longer believe is really missing the point. I'm sure Pres. Nelson wishes the law of the harvest really applied here but ultimately the church would do well to look at its shortcomings and realistically assess how it (the church) has become a stumbling block of the gospel.

The Lord has consistently referred to us - we who believe in him and proclaim his true gospel - as the weak and despised of the earth.  We know we are flawed and imperfect and yet we are still his church. So we don't worship ourselves. We worship God.

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17 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Are there no individuals who have fallen away because of their own weaknesses?  Obviously it doesn't apply to everyone, but does it not apply to anyone, to the point that it is wrong to suggest otherwise?  

Sure. But I'd also suggest some are in the church because of their laziness as well.

The "lazy" trope has been the go-to line for many, many years. People believe it to such a degree that I would expect the vast majority of LDS to believe that anyone who leaves the church did it because they were lazy (or the variations of, Just wanted to sin, or couldn't hack it, or just didn't try hard enough). I think calling people lazy builds walls between us and I find that counterproductive and overly simplistic. Maybe even lazy ;) 

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