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Pentecostalism in the LDS Church?


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Let me begin by expressing my admiration for the Pentecostals, their commitment and ability to adapt and learn while growing. My question is this, is there any kind of an underground or below the radar Pentecostal movement or interest in the LDS Church? My limited experience with the LDS church is that it in some ways prides itself in not having formalized doctrinal structures, but at the same time desires to keep a tight control on doctrine! Does that make sense?

My experience and knowledge is that Pentecostalism thrives in a restorational environment more than in a "must maintain the status quo, especially doctrinally" environment. At any rate,are there any Pentecostalism seeds growing in the modern LDS church. I say modern, because it seems evident that such seeds were there in the early LDS church in a different kind of Pentecostalism than today's. I am not sure that sentence made sense. Thanks for your thoughts. Those of you who are not in the US, what are your thoughts about modern Pentecostalism being of interest in the modern LDS church?

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In my experience the higher someone rises spiritually the less sure they are of codified doctrine. I am not talking about their faith wavering and not believing anything. The zeal is still there. The greatest gospel teacher I ever knew made the comment that we should have taken a class with him when he was in his 20s or early 30s. Back then he knew everything. Now he knows Jesus Christ is the messiah and can save us all but the rest is a bit hazy. He wasn’t ignorant. He had opinions and speculations (which he always clearly labeled) and knew scripture, read extensively, and taught doctrine very well.

If you mean Pentecostal in terms of the ‘charismatic’ spiritual gifts they happen though not as often as some like and they don’t tend to be public. I sometimes wonder if someone started genuinely speaking in tongues in a sacrament meeting would most members even know what was going on? Most miss the gift of prophecy when it manifests and I am sure I have been guilty of missing it too.

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6 hours ago, Navidad said:

Let me begin by expressing my admiration for the Pentecostals, their commitment and ability to adapt and learn while growing. My question is this, is there any kind of an underground or below the radar Pentecostal movement or interest in the LDS Church? My limited experience with the LDS church is that it in some ways prides itself in not having formalized doctrinal structures, but at the same time desires to keep a tight control on doctrine! Does that make sense?

My experience and knowledge is that Pentecostalism thrives in a restorational environment more than in a "must maintain the status quo, especially doctrinally" environment. At any rate,are there any Pentecostalism seeds growing in the modern LDS church. I say modern, because it seems evident that such seeds were there in the early LDS church in a different kind of Pentecostalism than today's. I am not sure that sentence made sense. Thanks for your thoughts. Those of you who are not in the US, what are your thoughts about modern Pentecostalism being of interest in the modern LDS church?

There is in The sense of shifting beliefs on doctrine. Not necessarily disagreeing or changing doctrine, but rather seeing a more widened scope of the doctrine we believe.

I agree with @The Nehor’s statement on how the higher someone rises spiritually, the less likely they are to peg a teaching as doctrine. I know plenty of people that hold too views they see as “doctrine”. Views like the Prophet speaks face to face with Jesus every day, evolution is undeniably false, various Mormon mythical stories that have no historical backing, the Book of Mormon is better than the Bible, and Jesus said verbatim “green tea is of the devil, but herbal tea is ok”. Such people are not studying the scriptures, or if they do, they refuse to understand them.

So there is this attempt to expand our doctrine to allow in as much change from the cultural norm, but not much “restoration” or “reformation” like doctrines. Nothing new, just expanding of the old in an attempt to chip away at cultural fences.

Elder Holland said it best at his recent BYU speech. 

“I and many of my Brethren have spent more time and shed more tears on this subject than we could ever adequately convey to you this morning or any morning. We have spent hours discussing what the doctrine of the Church can and cannot provide the individuals and families struggling over this difficult issue. So it is with a little scar tissue of our own that we are trying to avoid—and hope all will try to avoid—language, symbols, and situations that are more divisive than unifying at the very time we want to show love for all of God’s children.”

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I don't know if this will add anything, but I listened to a Gospel Tangents podcast last fall where Rick interviews a Chris Thomas who is a Pentecostal who wrote a book about his experience reading the Book of Mormon from a Pentecostal viewpoint. Might be an interesting addition to the topic: https://gospeltangents.com/category/chris-thomas/

It seems to me as a non-expert in such historical things that the early Church incorporated several of the charismatic elements that I associate with Pentecostalism and other charismatic sects. As the Church developed, we seem to have lost (or express them in a much more subdued way) many of these charismatic elements.

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On 1/18/2022 at 5:14 AM, Calm said:

Define what you see are Pentecostal elements as I suspect your definition may differ than many of ours, if we have them. 

Bump

I think of "holy rollers", unfortunately but clearly speaking in "tongues" etc was a part of our early church, so it's confusing

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/gift-of-tongues?lang=eng

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 1/18/2022 at 3:37 AM, Navidad said:

Let me begin by expressing my admiration for the Pentecostals, their commitment and ability to adapt and learn while growing. My question is this, is there any kind of an underground or below the radar Pentecostal movement or interest in the LDS Church?

I think the Church's structure is designed to encourage and facilitate intensely individualistic (but not exclusively individualistic) experiences with God.  There is a huge emphasis on personal prayer, personal study, personal revelation.  There is a huge emphasis on fasting, temple worship, family history, service, and other things that a person can do to be filled with the Spirit.

I sense that the sort of "Pentecostalism" that you have in mind is the sort of things described in the chapter 2 of the Book of Acts, and also the miraculous occurrenses associated with the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.

Broadly speaking, I think these "public" spectacles are likely intended to be few and far between.  That said, I think we Latter-day Saints tend to be living "beneath our privileges."  See, e.g., this 2017 talk by the president of BYU-Hawaii:

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DON’T LIVE BENEATH YOUR PRIVILEGES

JST: Before we talk about this prophetic charge to “live up to your privilege,” we need to remember that prophets have also often chastised the Church for living below our privileges?

Brigham Young said that as Latter-day Saints “we live far beneath our privileges” because we fail to seek and receive the guidance he Lord wants to give us in our spiritual and temporal affairs. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 32). Elder Neal A. Maxwell made similar comments about the gift of the Holy Ghost. He said that, “The gift of the Holy Ghost truly is one of the greatest blessings available to members of the Church. . . .Yet, for different reasons, many of us live far below, or are unaware of, our privileges! [The Promise of Discipleship, pp. 92-93].

SWT: The Holy Ghost is rightly called a gift. At our baptism we are invited to “receive” this gift. Yet for many, the gift is never unwrapped and enjoyed. We live beneath our privilege. The Lord describes our situation in D&C 88:33:

“For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.”

JST: President Uchtdorf illustrated the predicament of those who live below their privileges by the story of an unfortunate man who went on a cruise. Unaware that his ticket included all the meals and ship activities, he sat in his room and ate beans and crackers. Here is a Church video that accompanied President Uchtdorf’s talk:

There once was a man whose lifelong dream was to board a cruise ship and sail the Mediterranean Sea. He dreamed of walking the streets of Rome, Athens, and Istanbul. He saved every penny until he had enough for his passage. Since money was tight, he brought an extra suitcase filled with cans of beans, boxes of crackers, and bags of powdered lemonade, and that is what he lived on every day.

He would have loved to take part in the many activities offered on the ship—working out in the gym, playing miniature golf, and swimming in the pool. He envied those who went to movies, shows, and cultural presentations. And, oh, how he yearned for only a taste of the amazing food he saw on the ship—every meal appeared to be a feast! But the man wanted to spend so very little money that he didn’t participate in any of these. He was able to see the cities he had longed to visit, but for the most part of the journey, he stayed in his cabin and ate only his humble food.

On the last day of the cruise, a crew member asked him which of the farewell parties he would be attending. It was then that the man learned that not only the farewell party but almost everything on board the cruise ship—the food, the entertainment, all the activities—had been included in the price of his ticket. Too late the man realized that he had been living far beneath his privileges.

We live beneath our privileges when we fail to partake of the feast of happiness, peace, and joy that God grants so bountifully. We can be satisfied with a diminished experience and settle for experiences far below our privileges. Or we can partake of an abundant feast of spiritual opportunity and universal blessings. (“Your Potential, Your Privilege” Deiter F. Uchtdorf, April 2011)

JST: Our message to you today is to live up to your privileges. Unwrap the gift of your education here. Feast on the meals provided on the good ship BYUH. Relish the journey as you learn from your classes, wards, teachers, classmates, work experiences, activities, and, above all, the Spirit. Don’t sit by yourself in your room eating dry crackers and canned beans!

I hope this helps.

On 1/18/2022 at 3:37 AM, Navidad said:

My limited experience with the LDS church is that it in some ways prides itself in not having formalized doctrinal structures, but at the same time desires to keep a tight control on doctrine! Does that make sense?

I'm not sure I follow.  The Church is both heavily hierarchical and individualistic.  The heirarchy (ordained prophets and apostles), both past and present, are the conduits for "group" revelations/doctrines.  The individual is then tasked with following these revelations and tailoring them to his particular circumstances.  

That said, we don't "take any statement by an apostle" and automatically and necessarily "attribute it to Christ."  And it's simply false to suggest that whether Elder Oaks's remarks reflect the will of God "doesn't matter."

We do not unthinkingly accept just any statement.  We are supposed to analyze and evluation and determine for ourselfs the inspiration of our leaders.  I think we should operate from a position of faith.  I also think we should give the Brethren the benefit of the doubt.  That is, I think we should generally "decide that you will believe someone, even though you are not sure that what the person is saying is true."  I think such a presumption would a healthy thing.  I also think such a presumption would be subsequently vindicated almost all of the time.  (There are way too many "I thinks" in this paragraph, I think.)

However, this presumption should not be unthinking or devoid of analysis.  To the contrary, we are supposed to examine the words of our leaders.  Consider these remarks by Kent Jackson:

Quote

The more restrictive view of what constitutes scripture would include only what is called "the scriptures"-that is, the four standard works: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These constitute the canonized, authoritative corpus of revealed writings against which all else is measured. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught, "My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them…. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man's doctrine" (DS 3:203).

And these by then-Elder Harold B. Lee of the Twelve:

Quote

It is not to be thought that every word spoken by the General Authorities is inspired, or that they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost in everything they speak and write. Now you keep that in mind. I don’t care what his position is, if he writes something or speaks something that goes beyond anything that you can find in the standard church works, unless that one be the prophet, seer and revelator — please note that one exception {when he is speaking as the prophet, taught from earlier in the paragraph} — you may immediately say, “Well, that is his own idea.” And if he says something that contradicts what is found in the standard works (I think that is why we call them “standard” — it is the standard measure of all that men teach), you may know by that same token that it is false, regardless of the position of the man who says it.

So my rule of thumb is to give a presumption of good faith to the Brethren.  To give them the benefit of the doubt.  To assume that what they are saying is in accordance with the Standard Works, and with the Spirit.  Again, I think such a presumption would be subsequently vindicated almost all of the time.  

However, although I give the Brethren the benefit of the doubt, this is - in legal vernacular - a rebuttable presumption.  That is, I leave open the possibility that a leader in the Church may, in the words of President Smith above, issue remarks which "do not square with the revelations."  That he may say "something that goes beyond anything that you can find in the standard church works."  That he may say "something that contradicts what is found in the standard works."  We must leave that possibility open, because our leaders have told us that it is a possibility.  So if a leader in the Church says something that I feel may be problematic, I feel obligated to test it.  To think about it.  To study it.  To discuss it with those whom I find trustworthy.  To weight it against the Standard Works.  And most of all, to pray about it. 

On 1/18/2022 at 3:37 AM, Navidad said:

My experience and knowledge is that Pentecostalism thrives in a restorational environment more than in a "must maintain the status quo, especially doctrinally" environment.

I think Brigham Young cautioned us against becoming to complacent, too reliant on others (including prophets and apostles).  See here:

Quote

What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.

We have work to do individually, I think.

On 1/18/2022 at 3:37 AM, Navidad said:

At any rate,are there any Pentecostalism seeds growing in the modern LDS church. I say modern, because it seems evident that such seeds were there in the early LDS church in a different kind of Pentecostalism than today's. I am not sure that sentence made sense. Thanks for your thoughts. Those of you who are not in the US, what are your thoughts about modern Pentecostalism being of interest in the modern LDS church?

I think popular notions of "Pentecostalism" hew toward the likes of Benny Hinn and Robert Tilton.  We're not headed there, I think.

Thoughts on this?

 

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On 1/18/2022 at 3:37 AM, Navidad said:

Let me begin by expressing my admiration for the Pentecostals, their commitment and ability to adapt and learn while growing. My question is this, is there any kind of an underground or below the radar Pentecostal movement or interest in the LDS Church? My limited experience with the LDS church is that it in some ways prides itself in not having formalized doctrinal structures, but at the same time desires to keep a tight control on doctrine! Does that make sense?

My experience and knowledge is that Pentecostalism thrives in a restorational environment more than in a "must maintain the status quo, especially doctrinally" environment. At any rate,are there any Pentecostalism seeds growing in the modern LDS church. I say modern, because it seems evident that such seeds were there in the early LDS church in a different kind of Pentecostalism than today's. I am not sure that sentence made sense. Thanks for your thoughts. Those of you who are not in the US, what are your thoughts about modern Pentecostalism being of interest in the modern LDS church?

I think these are good questions. I know that if you were to look at the experiences of the early church you would see numerous instances of the charismatic gifts of the spirit, and they would be talked about frequently. As others have mentioned, although these are still reported, they aren't discussed. There was an apostle named Elder Boyd K. Packer who gave a talk about keeping spiritual experiences sacred and close to the heart, and discouraged frequent telling of these stories. I don't know if this was a major reason that we don't freely share spiritual experiences like we used to but it could be. To be sure, you don't have to look very far to find stories of people who still feel that God is in their life. I was reading a story yesterday in the new issue of the Liahona of a woman in Brazil who talked about hearing an audible voice tell her to help someone who she later found out was praying for help. 

As far as attitudes towards modern Pentecostalism and the LDS church, I'd say it's mostly negative, not necessarily on our end, but Pentecostals are associated with the larger umbrella of Evangelicalism, which has historically been extremely hostile to the LDS faith. Anecdotally I think LDS either aren't aware of them, or if they are they feel that the Pentecostal churches they attended were silly at best or creepy at worst. So I don't think there's much goodwill on either side. I know that  their legitimacy took a big hit when some of their prominent leaders prophesied of Trump's victory in 2020, and when this failed they continued to prophesy he would be reinstated within the year.  

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