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President Oaks Address on the Need for a Church


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22 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

I don’t think tattoos have been banned by anyone. Prophets have opined that they don’t think them a wise choice of what to do with one’s body, but banned?  No.

From the Church's web site

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Latter-day prophets strongly discourage the tattooing of the body. Those who disregard this counsel show a lack of respect for themselves and for God. The Apostle Paul taught of the significance of our bodies and the danger of purposefully defiling them: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17).

If you have a tattoo, you wear a constant reminder of a mistake you have made. You might consider having it removed.

 

Bold added to address your question on banning.  A constant source of shame.  Pretty strong language to me.

 

 

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1 hour ago, california boy said:

She got the tattoo prior to tattoos being banned by the prophet.  

I am practically positive there was an official rule against tattoos since I was a kid, so since the 60s. I can see some not being aware of it because it was a given in my youth that only the wild ones would get tattooed. It wasn’t until they became popular that it needed to be repeated across the pulpit, I am guessing. 
 

I am not condemning anyone for getting a tattoo, just going for accuracy. I will try and find a reference to back up my memory on this.  It is possible I just had teachers who taught this. 
 

So far the oldest specific instruction is from 1996, one of those I Have a Question pages iirc. The oldest mentioned is from the 80’s and he is referring to his youth in the Navy and being urged to get a tattoo…implying that “Mormons” don’t get them. 
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/liahona/1989/06/where-would-i-be-without-the-church?lang=eng

Edited by Calm
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53 minutes ago, california boy said:

So your solution you offer my son is to tell him he is not being a good enough disciple?  Isn't this the exact problem that is being talked about.  Shaming people for having a disagreement with the amount of wealth the Church's stock portfolio when he wants to focus his tithing more on helping the less fortunate?  

yeah I can see why he is struggling with this issue.

 

Is anyone a good enough disciple?  I know I am not and I feel no shame in acknowledging that, why would your son feel any shame.  I trust we are both trying.

Your son has told you he has questions that make him uncertain about what he should do.  Why would inviting him to think about those questions in a different way to see if that approach provides him the certainty he seeks be perceived as shaming him?

I thought the “exact problem” was his uncertainty.

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Just now, let’s roll said:

Is anyone a good enough disciple?  I know I am not and I feel no shame in acknowledging that, why would your son feel any shame.  I trust we are both trying.

Your son has told you he has questions that make him uncertain about what he should do.  Why would inviting him to think about those questions in a different way to see if that approach provides him the certainty he seeks be perceived as shaming him?

I thought the “exact problem” was his uncertainty.

Probably because I respect his opinion and can see his point.  He wants his tithing to go towards caring for the unfortunate rather than a 100 billion dollar stock portfolio.  

 
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Matthew 19:16-22

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, california boy said:

I always seem to regret answering your posts.  You seem to slice and dice what I write to portray it in the worse possible light even when I compliment the Church for what it does do right.

Huh.  I thought we were having a reasoned discussion, that's all.  

But I'll leave you to it.

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, california boy said:

So your solution you offer my son is to tell him he is not being a good enough disciple?  

Since your son is not withing our stewardship, no.

2 hours ago, california boy said:

Isn't this the exact problem that is being talked about.  Shaming people for having a disagreement with the amount of wealth the Church's stock portfolio when he wants to focus his tithing more on helping the less fortunate?  

Encouraging members of the Church to keep the commandments is not "shaming" them.

2 hours ago, california boy said:

yeah I can see why he is struggling with this issue.

So can I.  It's a reasonable concern to have.  But I think it's been way overblown by the critics of the Church.  See, e.g., here:

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So the Trib has an interesting article today: Records reveal how money from Utah and U.S. Mormons props up LDS operations overseas

Some excerpts:

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Among the distinctions the LDS Church is known for are its missionaries in white shirts, its towering temples and saying next to nothing about its money.

After all, the Utah-based faith doesn’t have to reveal much about its wealth in the United States and many other locales around the globe.

But, in a few countries, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must make public at least some basic information about the revenue it collects, the money it spends and the assets it owns.

...

For his new book, “The Mormon Hierarchy: Wealth & Corporate Power,” noted historian D. Michael Quinn obtained the LDS Church’s financial disclosures for 2010 in six countries that require churches or charities to make such filings: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Philippines, Tonga and the U.K.

...

The combined assets in those six countries added to $1.8 billion in 2010. They include cash, investments and real estate like a stake center (regional meetinghouse) in view of Australia’s Gold Coast, the Mormon temple south of London and hundreds of chapels across the six countries.

...

The historian, who was excommunicated from the LDS Church in 1993 for his writings about early Mormon polygamy, says he was most struck by the money church leaders in Utah directed overseas. Of the six countries, only Australia did not report a supplement from headquarters in 2010.

The church in Canada received $166,728, while the Philippines got $63.8 million — 85 percent of its revenue.

Even in a developed country like the United Kingdom — home to almost as many Mormons as in Canada — headquarters sent $1.8 million in 2010, indicating that the church infrastructure exceeds what the locals can support. That and the other subsidies lead Quinn to assume the U.S.-born church is subsidizing its work and wards in Africa and Latin America, too.

Based on some general statements Mormon apostles have made through the decades about the church’s income from profit-making corporations and members’ tithing, Quinn says, the source of those subsidies must be offerings from Americans and the businesses the faith owns.

"{T}he U.S.-born church is subsidizing its work {in other countries}."'

"Quinn says {that} the source of those subsidies must be offerings from Americans and the businesses the faith owns."

I am emphasizing this not to toot the horn of the American Saints, but to gently rebut the rather frequent criticism of the Church's ownership of business interests.  Those business interests seem to be revenue generators.  That is, they are making more money than they are taking in.  And those profits are, as we all know, being used to prop up the opulent and profligate "jetset" lifestyle of the General Authorities, what with all of their mansions, beachfront condos, private jets, wild n' crazy parties, and so on.

Oh, wait.  That's not it.  The profits are being used to subsidize the Church's efforts in places like Africa and Latin America.

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Every time a meatpacker buys cattle from a church-owned ranch in, say, Florida, a retailer leases space at downtown Salt Lake City’s City Creek Center, or a Mormon purchases a novel at Deseret Book, Quinn explains, they are helping the nearly 16 million-member faith expand overseas.

“My conclusion,” he adds, “is the international church could not exist to the extent that it does with buildings and services were it not for the commercial investments and for-profit businesses of the LDS Church.”

I think the Church's successful for-profit businesses are a very good thing, particularly given the modest lifestyle exhibited by the General Authorities.

My sister's father-in-law is a GA, so I have had some opportunity to observe him and his wife in an informal setting.  My assessment is that they . . . are very, very normal.  

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“Even not many church members in the U.K. know about these reports,” says Chris Mace, who for about 10 years has monitored Mormon finances from his home in Huddersfield, England.

...

Mace agrees with Quinn’s conclusion. In the U.K., he says, the church is trying to support between 1,000 and 2,000 missionaries and a slew of meetinghouses in one of the most expensive countries in the world.

Mace notes the church recently bought a site for a chapel near the Tower of London. The land alone cost about $15 million in today’s U.S. dollars.

“If they want a chapel in prime real estate,” Mace says, “they’re going to have to pay for it, and U.K. members aren’t paying enough tithing to pay for that.”

...

While the reports offer far more detail than what the LDS Church shares about its U.S. finances, they still leave some Mormons wanting.

...

Quinn understands the desire for more transparency, but he cautions Mormons against criticizing the LDS Church’s commercial ventures. Apostles long have preached that making profits builds the overall church, Quinn says, and the foreign filings appear to support that.

“Theologically,” he says, “the business of Mormonism has always been business.”

I appreciate Quinn's remarks here, though I would quibble a bit about that last bit.  "Mormonism has always been business?"  As a matter of theology?  Sorry, no.  The Church's business interests are a means, not an end unto themselves.  The Church maintain business endeavors to make money, but not for the sake of making money.  The Church uses these funds to support not-yet-self-supporting areas of the Church.  Church buildings, and temples, and missionary work, and so and and so forth.  These are the theological "ends" of Mormonism.  Pointing the children of men toward God.  The Church's existence and efforts, including its business efforts, are designed to facilitate that objective.  And I am glad that it seems to be working well.

And here:

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I agree that most people trust the church to use funds wisely. The disconnect sometimes comes in what qualifies as "use". People expect expenses for missional purposes, facilities, etc. But "using" donations to create a $100 billion investment fund doesn't always translate to the average person as a wise "use".

I get that.  The way forward, then, is to give the matter some thought and study, rather then reflexively and ignorantly denounce what we have only just recently encountered.

As D. Michael Quinn put it:

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Some Mormons — and plenty of others — were appalled to witness their church build a $1.5 billion mall in downtown Salt Lake City and hear their prophet proclaim, “Let’s go shopping.”

Isn’t religion, they argued, supposed to be about feeding the hungry and clothing the poor? How is selling Tiffany jewelry, Nordstrom cocktail dresses and luxury condos any part of a Christian faith?

Such critics, though, fail to understand Mormonism, says historian D. Michael Quinn. The American-born movement has always seen its mission as serving both the spiritual and physical needs of its people. It doesn’t distinguish between the two.

“It’s as spiritual [for Latter-day Saints] to give alms to the poor,” Quinn told Bloomberg Businessweek in 2012, “... as it is to make a million dollars.”

 

On that last score, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been wildly successful, says Quinn, author of the newly published “Mormon Hierarchy: Wealth & Corporate Power.”

The church, launched in 1830 in upstate New York with six members, counts nearly 16 million members worldwide — and untold billions in assets.
...
Quinn estimates — and estimating is about the best even a top-notch researcher can do — the church took in about $33 billion in tithing in 2010, based on a model of projected growth rates that followed a consistent pattern starting in the 1950s. It earns another $15 billion annually, he says, in returns on its profit-making investments. (The Bloomberg Businessweek piece from five years ago cited an investigation pegging the LDS Church’s worth at $40 billion.)

No matter the precise bottom line, these figures represent an astonishing accomplishment, Quinn says.

“It is an American success story without parallel,” the longtime historian says in an interview. “No institution, no church, no business, no nonprofit organization in America has had this kind of history.”

Yet LDS general authorities — from the most senior apostle to the lowest-ranking Seventy — all receive the same yearly “living allowance”: $120,000. Though the church has enormous wealth, he {Quinn} says, none of the leaders is getting rich off it.
...
{Quinn} says the LDS Church’s financial trajectory, as well as the self-sacrificing actions of its hierarchy, is “an enormously faith-promoting story.”

If everyday Mormons could grasp “the larger picture,” he says, they would “breathe a sigh of relief and see the church is not a profit-making business.”

See, I think it matters a lot that the Brethren are not enriching themselves.  I also think it matters a lot that nobody is accusing the Church of profligate or wasteful or unwise spending.

The complaint - and it seems to be coming mostly from people who are not contributing to the Church - is that the Church is not spending enough on charitable efforts.

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The primary use of funds seems to be to create more funds to save for uses on a rainy day.

"Seems to be" being the operative phrase there.

And noticeably absent from you statement is any indication of enrichment of the Brethren.  I keep coming back to that because I think Analytics' comparison of the Church to a hedge fund is absurd to the point of dishonesty.  If the purpose of the Church's investments was to enrich investors - and the people in control of the Church's - then I could understand the venom and outrage.  If the Church was going skint on missionary work, physical facilities, schools, humanitarian/charitable work, etc., then I could understand the venom and outrage.

But those things aren't happening.  The Church is spending huge amounts of money on good and proper things.  The Church is also growing in areas that are nowhere near being self-sustaining.  The Church's management of its funds is plainly within the bounds of the law, as even folks like Analytics seem to be conceding.  So all the hooplah is less about what the Church is doing, and more about what critics and opponents think the Church should be doing.

Well, fine.  Free Speech and all that.  But then let's stop pretending that Hunstman's lawsuit is anything but a pretext.  It's not about "fraud."  It's about Huntsman wanting to vent his spleen and tell the Church what to do.

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I think it's impossible to know how much invested money is spent advancing the missions of the church.

I'm pretty okay with that.  The Church has all sorts of committees and checks and balances and safeguards in place, and by every indication those seem to be functioning quite well.

If we had evidence of the Brethren enriching themselves, or of unwise or wasteful spending, then I would be more concerned.  As it is, however, I see no evidence of misconduct, and plenty of evidence that the Church is doing what it is supposed to do.

I get that critics are endlessly looking for dirt on the Church, but I think it's inappropriate to file vexatious lawsuits (as Huntsman, Gaddy and others have done), or to encourage Church employees to steal from the Church and secretively send it to critics (as Ryan McKnight has done), or to protest on sacred ground during a sacred convocation (as Kate Kelly has done), or to malign the bishops of the Church has latent perverts and child molesters (as Sam Young has done).

I think a reasoned and fairminded inquiry into the Church's finances would yield some findings, such as:

We can see that the Brethren are not enriching themselves. 

We can see that the Brethren are not living lavishly. 

We can see that nobody is getting rich of the Church's funds.

We can see that the Church's funds are being spent on missionary work, temple and family history work, construction and maintenance of facilities, educational endeavors, charitable/humanitarian/philanthropic work, and on and on and on.

We can see that Bishops spend 100% of fast offerings on helping people in need.

We can see missionaries and members volunteering millions of man-hours of time and labor to serve others.

We can see all this and more.  But none of this matters to the critics.  No credit is given for what we do "right."  Instead, the search will continue for what they think we've done wrong.  And if something that we've done "right" comes into view, they'll just move the goalposts and demand more.  Because the objective is not to find information, but to find fault

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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9 minutes ago, california boy said:

Probably because I respect his opinion and can see his point.  He wants his tithing to go towards caring for the unfortunate rather than a 100 billion dollar stock portfolio.  

 

 

 

 

 

I get it...I suggested only a second tithe...we’re asked by the Savior to be willing to do much more than that. 😀

I’ve mentioned to you in a few posts how much I admire your sincerity and respect your resolve.  I recall that I said in one post that your father was fortunate to have you as a son.  I feel the same about your son, he’s fortunate to have you as a father.   I reiterate my admiration and respect for you and in that spirit share with you this brief parable for your consideration.

A certain man had 5 sons.  They all played basketball.  When the oldest was drafted, he bought his father a house to  demonstrate his love and gratitude for all his father had done for him.  The second son did the same.  As did the third, and the fourth.

When the fifth son was drafted he bought his father a house to demonstrate his love and gratitude for all his father had done for him.  He was asked why he would buy a house for his father who had already been given four houses rather than for another relative or a needy family.

The fifth son responded that he didn’t buy his father a home because his father needed a home but  because he had the same love and gratitude for his father that his brothers had and wanted to demonstrate that love and gratitude in the same manner as his brothers.  He said his father could do whatever he wanted with the house but that he, like all of his brothers, felt compelled to present the home to their father as a tangible symbol of their intangible love, honor and respect for him.

Understanding the motivation of the fifth son’s gift to his father, do you need to know what the father did with each of the five houses in order to form an opinion regarding the wisdom of the fifth son’s gift?

Godspeed to you CB, and to your son.

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3 hours ago, california boy said:

She got the tattoo prior to tattoos being banned by the prophet.  How was she to know that tattoos would become an issue for God.  Now she is uncomfortable when she attends meetings for the very reason you brought it up.  While she got the tattoo as a reminder to choose the right, it is now a brand that somehow makes her feel shame for something she did before God had issues.

That altogether changes the complexion of the matter and neutralizes the irony that was apparent before, I will readily admit.
 

Is there any reason in particular why you waited until now to disclose this essential information?

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2 hours ago, mrmarklin said:

I don’t think tattoos have been banned by anyone. Prophets have opined that they don’t think them a wise choice of what to do with one’s body, but banned?  No.

CB is right. Tattoos have been strongly discouraged since President Hinckley addressed the matter in general conference. I’d have to go back and look, but it has been longer ago than a decade. It was in the same general conference talk in which he said women/girls should not have any more  than one pair of ear piercings. 
 

It has been repeatedly emphasized by Church leaders since then. 

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12 hours ago, Calm said:

I am practically positive there was an official rule against tattoos since I was a kid, so since the 60s. I can see some not being aware of it because it was a given in my youth that only the wild ones would get tattooed. It wasn’t until they became popular that it needed to be repeated across the pulpit, I am guessing. 
 

I am not condemning anyone for getting a tattoo, just going for accuracy. I will try and find a reference to back up my memory on this.  It is possible I just had teachers who taught this. 
 

So far the oldest specific instruction is from 1996, one of those I Have a Question pages iirc. The oldest mentioned is from the 80’s and he is referring to his youth in the Navy and being urged to get a tattoo…implying that “Mormons” don’t get them. 
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/liahona/1989/06/where-would-i-be-without-the-church?lang=eng

I don’t recall it being much of an issue in the Church prior to President Hinckley giving that conference talk in which he also mentioned ear piercings. There was not much reason to talk about it before it became a pervasive fad in society particularly among younger people. Apparently, that caused the Brethren to see a need to call a halt to it, at least among our own people.  

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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11 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

That altogether changes the complexion of the matter and neutralizes the irony that was apparent before, I will readily admit.
 

Is there any reason in particular why you waited until now to disclose this essential information?

Sorry.  I was only addressing the tattoo, not when she got it.  She did it when she was in high school.

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23 hours ago, smac97 said:

I've been attending the same ward in the same building for nearly sixteen years.  I have been in the building many hundreds of times, for cumulatively some thousands of hours.

The last few weeks I have been working on a project at home.  I am converting my carport into a garage.  I hired a guy to pour the cement footings, frame the walls and install a window and a door.  I am doing the tyvek wrap, flashing, trim, siding, sealing, painting, etc.  It's taking me a while, as I'm doing it in my (limited) spare time, and I've never done it before, and I'm not very good with my hands.  However, I have been taking pains to install these things in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations and in line with YouTube tutorials I've watched.  In the process I've become, well, pretty critical of the work.  I cut some of the siding too short (these are 4 by 8 foot panels, trimmed to fit).  Some of the gaps are too wide.  Some of the cuts aren't perfectly straight.  Not all of the screws have been into the studs.  Also, the carport is about 60 years old, so its angles are not perfect.  The concrete on one corner has settled a little.  

Last Saturday morning I and my family went to the church building because it is our ward's turn to clean.  Few people showed up, so we ended up being there a while (1.5 hours, instead of the typical 20-30 minutes).  While there I found myself noticing . . . all sorts of flaws in the building.  A small crack running several inches in the masonry above the door to the library.  A small gap in the trim in one of the foyers.  A "rise" in the carpet outside the bishop's office (the subfloor is buckling up about 1/2 an inch). I had previously been aware of some odd design/construction things with the building.  For example, the "funeral door" leading out of the chapel has about a 1.5 inch concrete lip on the outside, which makes getting a casket into the chapel through that door very difficult.  Also, the Primary Room was, I've been told, added on years after the construction of the building.  It's ceiling is plenty high in the middle of the room, but it slops downward and at each end is very low (under six feet).  The fire alarm goes off fairly often, often for no apparent reason.  The heating and cooling systems don't seem to reach the classroom in the northeast corner of the building, where the young women meet.  They are often hot in the summary and sold in the winter while meeting there.

Anyway, last Saturday I began pointing these things out to my wife.  We both remarked how we had been coming to this building for years and had never noticed them.  I told her that I think I had noticed these flaws because of the work I had been doing with our carport/garage.  My wife then remarked that she had likewise not noticed the flaws in my work on the siding and such until I had specifically pointed them out to her.  Prior to that she had thought I had been doing a really good job.  She said that even after I pointed out the flaws, the overall work still looked quite good, even though she was now more cognizant of my mistakes.  She then said something like "I guess it's the same with these flaws in the church building.  They are certainly there, but you don't really notice them unless you go looking for them."

Thanks,

-Smac

Would you be willing to accept it is a matter of perspective and experience?  You see minor flaws similar to the minor flaws of you garage project.  The flaws you have encountered at church are cosmetic and haven't really impacted you.  What would you do with your garage project if you encountered a 2 inch gap in the roof that allowed rain and snow to come in?  What would you do if one of the electrical outlets you installed was faulty and would severely shock anyone who tried to use it?   What if some of the lumber you used was full of black mold that led to the rotting of the wood in a year or two and black mold was growing in your garage.  What if the garage door wasn't aligned properly and the door would only close three quarters of the way?  Would you just ignore these flaws and keep using your garage?  What if you rented and your landlord built the garage and they refused to fix the problems?  The experience of many who don't attend church is that they are getting rained on or several shocked every week they go to church.  They choose to stay dry and avoid the risks of being shocked by not attending.  Maybe where you sit you never get rained on and never have to use the outlet that severely shocks.  It seems like you are saying since I don't get rained on or shocked everything is good and no one else has any reason to complain. 

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On 10/21/2021 at 8:01 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

CB is right. Tattoos have been strongly discouraged since President Hinckley addressed the matter in general conference. I’d have to go back and look, but it has been longer ago than a decade. It was in the same general conference talk in which he said women/girls should not have any more  than one pair of ear piercings. 
 

It has been repeatedly emphasized by Church leaders since then. 

I have been taught tattoos were “against our religion” and a sign of a sinner long before Hinkley was the prophet. I doubt it is in print anywhere before that but in my mind as a youth a tattoo, cigarette, beer, Pepsi, long hair etc were all indicators of a bad person. Product of my environment. I got some tattoos in the military and my mother has never gotten over it. Given how it was reacted to I should have just got naked women tattoos on my forearms ad I wouldn’t have been treated any differently. All tattoos are evil lol. 

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On 10/21/2021 at 8:08 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

I don’t recall it being much of an issue in the Church prior to President Hinckley giving that conference talk in which he also mentioned ear piercings. There was not much reason to talk about it before it became a pervasive fad in society particularly among younger people. Apparently, that caused the Brethren to see a need to call a halt to it, at least among our own people.  

Bednar still has a hang up about ear piercings. Enough to essentially trash talk a young lady in a byu devotional re the fake rule. 

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On 10/22/2021 at 12:11 PM, kimpearson said:

Would you be willing to accept it is a matter of perspective and experience? 

Not fully, no.  Subjectivity has a real-world impact, but I don't think it can or ought to always carry the day.  So an individual may, as "a matter of perspective and experience," find prophetic counsel about, say, earrings to be hugely important.  As a substantial factor in deciding whether or not to join or remain in the Church.  But it shouldn't be.  It needn't be.

On 10/22/2021 at 12:11 PM, kimpearson said:

You see minor flaws similar to the minor flaws of you garage project. 

I started to notice these flaws, yes.  Once I developed an overly critical and faultfinding habit.  Once I started looking for these flaws.  And then, having found them, they became more serious and glaring to me.  Not because the flaws had changed, but because my perspective and outlook had changed.

On 10/22/2021 at 12:11 PM, kimpearson said:

The flaws you have encountered at church are cosmetic

Yes.

On 10/22/2021 at 12:11 PM, kimpearson said:

and haven't really impacted you.

Well, that's another question.  I can certainly let them impact me.  Or not.  I can let these defects materially affect my appreciation of the building, or I can continue to worship there and not let these defects diminish my affection and appreciation for the building overall.

On 10/22/2021 at 12:11 PM, kimpearson said:

What would you do with your garage project if you encountered a 2 inch gap in the roof that allowed rain and snow to come in?

I would work to get it fixed.  My church building apparently has an ongoing leak in the roof, as evidenced by an area of the wall high up in the foyer showing "sagging" paint (water has apparently leaked from the roof and trickled down and accumulated between the wall and the paint).  As it happens, I had previously noticed this and pointed it out to our bishop, who is the agent bishop for the building (three wards use the building, but our ward's bishop is assigned with monitoring the maintenance and security of it).  He said he had already notified the FM ("Facilities Management") group about this issue.

What I would not do, however, is publicly berate and act against the bishop and the Church because of the gap in the roof.  I will not turn against my people, my community.  I will not become an adversary to the Lord's Church. 

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it."  (Ephesians 5:25.)  

"Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments . . . And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually."  (D&C 1:17, 30.)

On 10/22/2021 at 12:11 PM, kimpearson said:

What would you do if one of the electrical outlets you installed was faulty and would severely shock anyone who tried to use it?   What if some of the lumber you used was full of black mold that led to the rotting of the wood in a year or two and black mold was growing in your garage.  What if the garage door wasn't aligned properly and the door would only close three quarters of the way?  Would you just ignore these flaws and keep using your garage?  What if you rented and your landlord built the garage and they refused to fix the problems? 

In D&C 85:8 God himself appears to metaphorically compare ark-steadying with those who presume to instruct the Lord's anointed regarding the leadership of the Church.  The Prophet Joseph Smith said of the direction of the Church in difficult and turbulent conditions and times: “… men cannot steady the ark—my arm cannot do it—God must steady it.” (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 20.).  Presidents McKay and Taylor, and Elder Maxwell expressed similar sentiments.

The Church is subject to the laws of the land.  "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."  (AoF 1:12.)  If there was a proverbial "gap in the roof" that caused injury, I would expect the Church to take its legal lumps just like anyone else.

If the Church has a policy or practice that I think merits modification, I would express my thoughts with respect, tact and decorum.  I would not resort to publicity stunts and shaming tactics like those used by Sam Young, Kate Kelly and others.  I will not work against the Church, nor against its leaders.  I will also not presume to present demands to the Church regarding the revelations and doctrines, as folks like Dan Reynolds have done.

On 10/22/2021 at 12:11 PM, kimpearson said:

The experience of many who don't attend church is that they are getting rained on or several shocked every week they go to church. 

Sorry, but I'm just not buying into this narrative.  Allow me to explain:

A few years back I attended a sentencing hearing of a friend who had pleaded guilty to serious criminal charges.  He had hoped for probation, but was given a sentence of several years and immediately taken into custody in front of his wife, family and friends.

And yet . . . the sentence was appropriate.  Because the wrong had been committed.  Because he had admitted to it.  Because there need to be consequences for misconduct.  Because no society can function where severe misconduct is deliberately ignored or left unaddressed.

The Church has no ability to incarcerate or fine or otherwise punish its members, except that it can put constraints on or terminate the membership of the individual.  When such measures are necessary, the Church goes to great lengths to keep such matters confidential and to encourage the individual to do all that he or she can to return to full fellowship and membership in the Church.

I suspect that what you are calling "getting rained on or ... {getting} shocked {by a defective electrical outlet" is a nearly exclusive reference to the Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity and marriage.  That is, you are suggesting that the Church teachings these precepts is metaphorically like subjecting members of the Church to electrical shock from a defective outlet.

The metaphor does not work, for a number of reasons.  First, membership in the Church is bilaterally voluntary.  Second, the Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity are intentional and deliberate, not negligent or inadvertent.  Third, the Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity are reasonable.  Fourth, the Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity are scriptural and revelatory.  Fifth, the Church is obligated to teach these things even if they cause offense in some quarters (check out John 6 for an example of Christ "shocking" His followers).

On 10/22/2021 at 12:11 PM, kimpearson said:

They choose to stay dry and avoid the risks of being shocked by not attending. 

That's their choice, of course.  But being "shocked" by the Church teaching the Law of Chastity is akin to me being "shocked" at profanity in a Quentin Tarantino film.

On 10/22/2021 at 12:11 PM, kimpearson said:

Maybe where you sit you never get rained on and never have to use the outlet that severely shocks.

There are aspects of the Church, principally in some of the localized "cultural" manifestations, that I find problematic to varying degrees.  And certainly the Church has ample room for improvement in a variety of ways.  But I just don't see the Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity and marriage as being metaphorically comparable to "get{ting} rained on" or electrically shocked by a defective outlet. 

I think our society has distorted the healthy concept of the worth of the individual by stripping away the value of the individual in a community.  There seems to be this idea that each individual in a community is a law unto himself.  He and his personal preferences take priority over the cohesive principles that make the community what it is.  He feels at liberty to demand that the community radically alter its fundamental moorings and replace them with his in-the-moment (and often socially popular and trendy) notions of what the community can and ought to do, to teach, to expect of its constituent members, and so on.

Sorry, but that's just anarchy.  The Church is a voluntary association of believers.  But it's the Lord's Church, not ours.  We can and ought to contribute to it and build it up.  That is what our covenants are about, after all.  And if there are flaws or errors or mistakes or even intentional misconduct, we work to overcome and correct such things.  Not by usurping authority, though.  Not by dictating to the Brethren.  Not by taking a my-way-or-the-highway approach.

Faith.  Humility.  Patience.  Forgiveness.  Hard work.  Service.  Keeping covenants.  These are the attributes that will help see us through.  These are the attributes that will help us repair damage, heal wounds, and strengthen our community.  

On 10/22/2021 at 12:11 PM, kimpearson said:

It seems like you are saying since I don't get rained on or shocked everything is good and no one else has any reason to complain. 

No, I am not saying that.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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On 10/19/2021 at 3:02 PM, kimpearson said:

I am a bit surprised by the narrowness of the discussion.  I have talked to many people who struggle with church attendance and boredom is not the main reason.  It's something they might mention but the primary reason is that they don't feel church is a place of safety where they are fully accepted.  They often feel like their views are not strictly aligned with the vocal majority at church and if they show any part of their true feelings, they will be looked down upon.  They often mention struggling with doubts and when they express those doubts at church, they feel attacked rather than comforted.  For most LGTBQ+ members and many of their families, church attendance is a weekly reminder that they don't fit the life model the the Church champions in every lesson and most talks.  For any who sympathize with queer members it feels like any discussion of the increasing sins of the world is code for gay marriage acceptance and transgender rights acceptance.  Many are struggling in their marriages or have rebellious kids and have done everything the Church told them to do such at temple marriage, family scripture study and daily prayer.  They then attend church where person after person will testify that the Lord blesses those who do these things and will be helped with their problems.  These struggling members feel no help even after doing these things and Sunday just increases their feelings of shame and pain.  In my opinion, President Oaks was only addressing a very small minority of those who struggle with church attendance.  It was those members he could squarely place the blame on their shoulders.  Like every church leader recently, he makes no mention of things that church leaders and active members are doing themselves that discourage church attendance.  Based on the discussions above, I guess my experience must be unique and the rest of you only know bored and spoiled members who only go to church to be entertained and since they are not, they quit attending.

You seem to be bringing up a few areas of concern:

  1. The need for full acceptance in a social setting such as Church (and by extension, perhaps the need for full acceptance in our personal relationships) – and add to this the layer of full acceptance of sexual identity in the broader community and personal relationships.
  2. Sharing views, true feelings and doubts in a broader Church social setting – and add to this a specific sharing of sexual identity and related social, political views, affecting one’s feelings and doubts about the gospel taught by the Church.
  3. The shame and pain people are vulnerable to when under the extreme stresses of life, especially when compounded by the tendency to compare with others in our personal and community circles and other internal dynamics that are largely invisible to the world outside one’s head.

These are complex problems that are not for the faint of heart. Oftentimes counseling is helpful in navigating these difficulties, which may involve resetting some expectations for broader community vs. interpersonal relationships, and taking care of the harmful effects of difficult personal relationships. But you are asking what can leaders and members can do to be more accepting, receptive, and approachable to those silently suffering in a Church social setting, including being more thoughtful and empathetic in matters of sexual identity.

Some simple answers from an untrained lay person: if people are listening to General Conference, for example, or reading their Liahona, or better yet, cultivating the Gift of the Holy Ghost, they will hear this particular message. I think this is true for the sufferer and for those leaders and members who are not suffering in these particular ways. I’m not sure what can be done programmatically, systemically or doctrinally to help. I do know that as we feel close to Christ personally, and feel His love, and feel to return His love, we can find a change in our perspective and experience as well as comfort, strength to endure and even solve problems, and grace.

Edited by CV75
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On 10/21/2021 at 9:23 PM, let’s roll said:

Is anyone a good enough disciple?  I know I am not and I feel no shame in acknowledging that, why would your son feel any shame.  I trust we are both trying.

Your son has told you he has questions that make him uncertain about what he should do.  Why would inviting him to think about those questions in a different way to see if that approach provides him the certainty he seeks be perceived as shaming him?

I thought the “exact problem” was his uncertainty.

Do you ever get weary of feeling like you are not a good enough disciple?  It was an awful way for me to live.  Before I lost my testimony I did find grace to some degree in LDS theology and I preached it quite a bit. 

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On 10/21/2021 at 9:50 PM, smac97 said:

I think a reasoned and fairminded inquiry into the Church's finances would yield some findings, such as:

We can see that the Brethren are not enriching themselves. 

Great and that is good. But that does not address the fact that the LDS Church has amassed a massive fortune in stocks and pother investment.  I would venture a guess that if you take Ensign Peaks $120 billion and add the real estate and other non liquid assets in the Church is approaching $500 billion in assets. This for a 16 million member church with maybe 6 million active members. Certainly they have been very successful by the worlds standards. They could not take in another dime and operate the Church, even the non US church needs that you reference, likely into perpetuity.

 

 

On 10/21/2021 at 9:50 PM, smac97 said:

We can see that the Brethren are not living lavishly 

Ok but so what?  I don't see anyone accusing them of using the church's wealth for a lavish lifestyle.  You make this point often. It is irrelevant to the concerns people have.  But they are pretty comfortable and have lots of perks.

On 10/21/2021 at 9:50 PM, smac97 said:

We can see that nobody is getting rich of the Church's funds.

 

I am not sure this is true. Kirton and McConkie does quite well off Church work as do many other businesses.  There are a number of construction companies that the Church does business with that have made boatloads of money from building temples and the Conference center.  But that is fine. Someone needs to do this worl.

On 10/21/2021 at 9:50 PM, smac97 said:

We can see that the Church's funds are being spent on missionary work, temple and family history work, construction and maintenance of facilities, educational endeavors, charitable/humanitarian/philanthropic work, and on and on and on.

Proportionally there is very little of the bolded items.  But people do forget fast offering asssitance with I think is simple brilliant.

On 10/21/2021 at 9:50 PM, smac97 said:

We can see that Bishops spend 100% of fast offerings on helping people in need.

Agreed.

On 10/21/2021 at 9:50 PM, smac97 said:

We can see missionaries and members volunteering millions of man-hours of time and labor to serve others.

Member of the church certainly do give a lot of time.

On 10/21/2021 at 9:50 PM, smac97 said:

We can see all this and more.  But none of this matters to the critics.  No credit is given for what we do "right."  Instead, the search will continue for what they think we've done wrong.  And if something that we've done "right" comes into view, they'll just move the goalposts and demand more.  Because the objective is not to find information, but to find fault

I give the Church a lot of credit of much of what you state.

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44 minutes ago, Teancum said:

 I did find grace to some degree in LDS theology and I preached it quite a bit. 

Same here, during my last few years of church activity (early 90's).  While imo better than the alternative, grace still implied that its recipient deserved to be condemned.  By that time having kids of my own had started me down the slippery slope of seeing no need for condemnation in the first place.

Edited by Olmec Donald
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28 minutes ago, Olmec Donald said:

Same here, during my last few years of church activity (early 90's).  While imo better than the alternative, grace still implied that its recipient deserved to be condemned.  By that time having kids of my own had started me down the slippery slope of seeing no need for condemnation in the first place.

If you changed your perspective on this particular point, based on a review of leadership teachings at the time, would you return to Church activity?

Edited by CV75
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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Do you ever get weary of feeling like you are not a good enough disciple? 

God set up the world so that very few of us would be “good enough”…which means to me for him “not good enough” right now is good enough for what his goals for us are, it works just fine within the parameters of the plan of salvation, just as having the gospel available in only very limited ways over the centuries works for some reason better than having it available to all throughout all mortality.  I am headed in what I believe is the direction he wants me to head in, slow for sure, but still trying.  I have never felt a sense of condemnation from him for being slow, so why should I condemn myself?  Someday I will be good enough to move onto the next stage, but I have eternity to work in, so why get anxious over how fast it happens?

The only thing I feel rather upset about is my inability to help others when I know I could do so if I was healthier, as I did when I was younger…but for whatever reason the healing doesn’t come and things that are predicted to help don’t even though I try, so I don’t feel at fault for that, even if I feel sorrow at times. 

Edited by Calm
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6 minutes ago, CV75 said:

If you changed your perspective on this particular point, based leadership teachings at the time, would you return to Church activity?

That is an excellent question.  And I sincerely thank you for the implied invitation.

About twenty years ago I started regularly attending LDS church services again.  I did not go back for what the Church had to offer me; I went back for what I might be able to offer here and there.  I would look for who seemed to be hoping, perhaps even needing, to have their batteries recharged at church, so to speak.  And this may sound like arrogance, but I tried to play that role.  I tried to make coming to church a positive experience for them.  Unfortunately that is not all I did; I also expressed things to people on certain topics that I should have kept my mouth shut about.  I was excommunicated about nineteen years ago.  I had hard feelings about it for a while. 

In retrospect, I do not think my short-lived return to activity was a net benefit to anyone. 

The path to re-baptism would require me to profess beliefs which I do not hold, so that's not going to happen.  And "relatively friendly ex-member" is not a role I want to play in a church setting.

But again, thank you CV75. 

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