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Expectations of a prophet…


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21 hours ago, CV75 said:

I wouldn’t call a lack of light and knowledge a lack of discernment, and I wouldn’t call either of these a mistake, any more than the brother of Jared and his contemporaries made a mistake in not knowing for who-knows-how-long “that the Lord had flesh and blood.” Fallibility takes many forms.

Those whom we might assess acted without light and knowledge or without discernment still had the keys to preside over the Church, and the keys were not taken away, and everybody’s ordinances – the most important exercise of the keys -- remain intact.

I believe everybody is unaware of their own blindness until they know better. I think our curriculum shows this principle applies for everyone in the Church. So, President Y declares R and T and you have a witness or disposition to the contrary. I would say that is an opportunity for growth.

I'm not sure about the equivalence of "brother of Jared suddenly learns that God is (is to be) embodied" is the same as "amidst the strife and such around racial issues in mid 20th century America, church leaders suddenly learn that God wants all, regardless of race, to have access to salvific ordinances". The revelation to the brother of Jared appears to have taken place in complete vacuum on the embodied nature of God. The '78 revelation did not take place in a vacuum. I don't know why it took until '78, but there are allegations that Pres. Brown had, for years (in the '50s at the earliest??) called for change. I am uncertain how it can be anything but a lack of discernment on the part of those present during that time. If a few of your apostle colleagues in the quorum are calling for change (a change that in hindsight seems more correct than the tradition) or are open to change, and you resist that change (and I realize we don't have the public records that can really tell us who advocated for change and who resisted change almost everything is inferred from public statements), somehow that represents a failure of discernment to me. Fallibility takes many forms, but the priesthood and temple ban still feels to me like a failure on someone's part in discerning God's truth (usually some form of putting personal opinion or tradition in the place of God's truth).

I feel to resist the idea of the Church as a mere dispenser of salvific sacraments/ordinances. In the end, maybe it is true, though, that is all the Church is. If so, can we therefore say that the Church may not always be a good source of moral teaching? Do we need to more carefully separate the two Church functions (dispense sacraments is very different from teaching moral truth)?

I agree that it can be an opportunity for growth. I guess the question that hangs in my mind is whether or not participation in the Church is the best way to grow? In hindsight, it seems like growth on racial issues is best accomplished outside the Church where one can interact with other races as equals and not in the Church where one is taught that race is in some way an indicator of God's favor/disfavor. Should we be more open to the possibility that some people's best growth is going to occur when they leave the Church behind and seek growth from other sources?

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13 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

why did the Lord either inspire or allow policies based on race to exist in the Church for a time? I have found possible answers to that question -- both ones that have come to my mind and ones that have been shared with me by my black brothers -- to be essential in shaping me as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I think myself (and if the bruhaha over Br. Wilcox's talk is any indication, the Church as a whole) is wanting the answers you seem to have found. Obviously, it is between you and God whether or not it is appropriate for you to publicly share the inspiration/revelations/answers you feel you have received and in what venue (an obscure thread on MDDB might not be the right place), but I think the Church wants these answers.

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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

I think myself (and if the bruhaha over Br. Wilcox's talk is any indication, the Church as a whole) is wanting the answers you seem to have found.

Thanks for the invitation. 

I know with certainty that there are people (of all races) who struggle with this issue. I respect that. I've had my own struggles.

At the same time, I know with certainty that those who struggle are not the whole Church. For example, my housemate doesn't, and neither do the other black families in my current ward. I know. I was instrumental in the conversion of one of these families, and we've discussed the issue thoroughly. The other family have spoken openly in sacrament meeting talks on this topic. (He's also my GP!)

My branch in the Caribbean was predominantly black, and I served in the branch presidency. None of the other men in the presidency struggled with a lack of satisfying answers, and we weren't aware of any families in the branch who did either.

Once again, I emphasise that I know people who do struggle. There's a whole spectrum on this issue, but interestingly most of the people I know who struggle aren't black. (Pure anecdote, for what it may be worth!)

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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

there are allegations that Pres. Brown had, for years (in the '50s at the earliest??) called for change.

If I recall correctly President McKay spent a good deal of time pondering and praying over the issue, but was instructed to leave things as they were for the time.

At the moment I don't recall if I read this in a biography of President McKay or one of President Kimball.  What I do know is that it happened at the time that the Lord deemed right and felt the church was sufficiently prepared for the change.

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2 hours ago, MrShorty said:

I'm not sure about the equivalence of "brother of Jared suddenly learns that God is (is to be) embodied" is the same as "amidst the strife and such around racial issues in mid 20th century America, church leaders suddenly learn that God wants all, regardless of race, to have access to salvific ordinances". The revelation to the brother of Jared appears to have taken place in complete vacuum on the embodied nature of God. The '78 revelation did not take place in a vacuum. I don't know why it took until '78, but there are allegations that Pres. Brown had, for years (in the '50s at the earliest??) called for change. I am uncertain how it can be anything but a lack of discernment on the part of those present during that time. If a few of your apostle colleagues in the quorum are calling for change (a change that in hindsight seems more correct than the tradition) or are open to change, and you resist that change (and I realize we don't have the public records that can really tell us who advocated for change and who resisted change almost everything is inferred from public statements), somehow that represents a failure of discernment to me. Fallibility takes many forms, but the priesthood and temple ban still feels to me like a failure on someone's part in discerning God's truth (usually some form of putting personal opinion or tradition in the place of God's truth).

I feel to resist the idea of the Church as a mere dispenser of salvific sacraments/ordinances. In the end, maybe it is true, though, that is all the Church is. If so, can we therefore say that the Church may not always be a good source of moral teaching? Do we need to more carefully separate the two Church functions (dispense sacraments is very different from teaching moral truth)?

I agree that it can be an opportunity for growth. I guess the question that hangs in my mind is whether or not participation in the Church is the best way to grow? In hindsight, it seems like growth on racial issues is best accomplished outside the Church where one can interact with other races as equals and not in the Church where one is taught that race is in some way an indicator of God's favor/disfavor. Should we be more open to the possibility that some people's best growth is going to occur when they leave the Church behind and seek growth from other sources?

Of all the differences that might be pointed out, the brother of Jared lacked light and knowledge until it was revealed, and this was not called out by the Lord as a mistake. This is the parallel with lifting the ban.

The quorum discussed lifting the ban from various points of view, and along the way to unanimity the prophet shared his revelation. No one is calling out those who thought differently as having made a mistake, or those who changed their mind toward the unanimous decision as having previously lacked discernment. This is how a Zion society works and moves forward. The Lord is training and teaching us collectively, and is accessible individually according to our various rates of growth (or, most often, lack thereof) in various divine attributes. This is grace in action.

From the ordinances come the fruits (too many to mention here), a holy people who gather together to build Zion. For this reason, the Church is a good place to grow, both in getting the ordinances and developing the fruits through participation of all kinds.

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1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Thanks for the invitation. 

I know with certainty that there are people (of all races) who struggle with this issue. I respect that. I've had my own struggles.

At the same time, I know with certainty that those who struggle are not the whole Church. For example, my housemate doesn't, and neither do the other black families in my current ward. I know. I was instrumental in the conversion of one of these families, and we've discussed the issue thoroughly. The other family have spoken openly in sacrament meeting talks on this topic. (He's also my GP!)

My branch in the Caribbean was predominantly black, and I served in the branch presidency. None of the other men in the presidency struggled with a lack of satisfying answers, and we weren't aware of any families in the branch who did either.

Once again, I emphasise that I know people who do struggle. There's a whole spectrum on this issue, but interestingly most of the people I know who struggle aren't black. (Pure anecdote, for what it may be worth!)

I wonder if that's because they aren't African Americans?  I think that race relations here in the US can be incredibly fraught, and our history, even from just 50 years ago, on the issue is horrible.  There is so much baggage that comes with these conversations here in the states that it must impact how everything is viewed in the church as well. 

Is it different in places without that history and baggage, to the point that people see it in ways that we can't really imagine from our neck of the woods?

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24 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I wonder if that's because they aren't African Americans?  I think that race relations here in the US can be incredibly fraught, and our history, even from just 50 years ago, on the issue is horrible.  There is so much baggage that comes with these conversations here in the states that it must impact how everything is viewed in the church as well. 

Is it different in places without that history and baggage, to the point that people see it in ways that we can't really imagine from our neck of the woods?

I think that's entirely possible. Every black member I know personally who has struggles with past priesthood/temple policies is an African-American. At the same, not all of my African-American friends have those struggles.

One of the African-American missionaries from my mission, then a recent convert, assured everyone that he was fine on this topic, and I believe he was. But over time, he's grown less fine. From a distance, it appears to me that things he and his family (especially his children) have experienced have contributed to that shift. I get that.

Again, pure anecdote for what it may be worth.

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7 hours ago, Thinking said:

How big of a mistake is a prophet allowed to make and still be a prophet?

Not my call, but there are some big mistakes by prophets in the scriptures. Each person has to determine for him- or herself what is over the line. As others have said, I imagine it has something to do with whether the prophet is doing more harm than good in accomplishing the work of exaltation.

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19 hours ago, CV75 said:

The quorum discussed lifting the ban from various points of view, and along the way to unanimity the prophet shared his revelation. No one is calling out those who thought differently as having made a mistake, or those who changed their mind toward the unanimous decision as having previously lacked discernment. This is how a Zion society works and moves forward.

I am not sure if the "discussion along the way to unanimity" is speaking into the short term discussions in the days/months before OD2 or longer term. Choosing to see it as a longer term view, it seems that those discussions leading up to OD2 took years to decades. If it takes hours or days or weeks for Zion to dismiss false traditions in favor of new revelations, I would agree that seems like what I would expect from a prophetic discernment process. When it takes years and decades for Zion to dismiss its false traditions, that feels to me like a discernment problem. Maybe this comes back to the title of the thread (and brother Erekson's talk/fireside) but what kind of expectation should we have for our leadership? Perhaps my expectation that prophets/apostles should overcome false tradition in days or months but not decades is too high??

Another thing that I see in a decades long process to overcome false tradition is that the process seems to strongly favor a conservative approach, which I think creates a real problem for progressive members. If it is reasonable to expect that leadership needs years and decades to overcome false traditions, what is a progressive member supposed to do? This seems like a big part of the cognitive dissonance that progressives experience (and that oftentimes drives them out of the Church). In hindsight, there were many progressive members in the mid 20th century believing that the ban should be changed, but they had to sit on the margins waiting for Revelation to trickle through the stubbornness of the conservative contingent that didn't want things to change.

Expectations is a powerful concept here. It seems that the discussion suggests that one should expect conservatism to dominate the Church. One should expect change -- no matter how false the traditions that block the change -- should be slow as one cannot expect members or leaders to overcome their false traditions easily or timely. Maybe I just have a hard time reconciling these kinds of conservative expectations with a Church that claims to be led by revelation.

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17 hours ago, rchorse said:

I imagine it has something to do with whether the prophet is doing more harm than good in accomplishing the work of exaltation.

 

On 2/9/2022 at 12:21 PM, The Nehor said:

When he stops leading people to exaltation.

 

On 2/9/2022 at 12:35 PM, CV75 said:

Anything short of doing whatever it takes to mistakenly create another Great Apostasy

How do we know if the prophet is still leading people to exaltation and has not created another Great Apostasy?

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4 minutes ago, Thinking said:

 

 

How do we know if the prophet is still leading people to exaltation and has not created another Great Apostasy?

I would have bore my testimony on that subject if I had attended my last Sacrament meeting in person.  I'm still doing the Zoom thing.  Anyway I was thinking about this question as I listened to the people who were bearing their testimony and I hoped somebody would touch on that point.  The "how" part of what we know.  Some of them may have explained how they know what they know in their own way, without specifically explaining the process, but I was hoping for a more direct and detailed explanation.  And I would have explained it myself if I had been there in person.

Anyway, maybe next time, or sometime soon.  I know how I know what I know but I like to hear other people explain how they know what they know.  Most people seem to just want to tell us what they know without explaining the how part.

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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

I am not sure if the "discussion along the way to unanimity" is speaking into the short term discussions in the days/months before OD2 or longer term. Choosing to see it as a longer term view, it seems that those discussions leading up to OD2 took years to decades. If it takes hours or days or weeks for Zion to dismiss false traditions in favor of new revelations, I would agree that seems like what I would expect from a prophetic discernment process. When it takes years and decades for Zion to dismiss its false traditions, that feels to me like a discernment problem. Maybe this comes back to the title of the thread (and brother Erekson's talk/fireside) but what kind of expectation should we have for our leadership? Perhaps my expectation that prophets/apostles should overcome false tradition in days or months but not decades is too high??

Another thing that I see in a decades long process to overcome false tradition is that the process seems to strongly favor a conservative approach, which I think creates a real problem for progressive members. If it is reasonable to expect that leadership needs years and decades to overcome false traditions, what is a progressive member supposed to do? This seems like a big part of the cognitive dissonance that progressives experience (and that oftentimes drives them out of the Church). In hindsight, there were many progressive members in the mid 20th century believing that the ban should be changed, but they had to sit on the margins waiting for Revelation to trickle through the stubbornness of the conservative contingent that didn't want things to change.

Expectations is a powerful concept here. It seems that the discussion suggests that one should expect conservatism to dominate the Church. One should expect change -- no matter how false the traditions that block the change -- should be slow as one cannot expect members or leaders to overcome their false traditions easily or timely. Maybe I just have a hard time reconciling these kinds of conservative expectations with a Church that claims to be led by revelation.

Years or decades, the principle is the same. I think expectations on timing inevitably vary by individual, and when these widely varying expectations are to unite in the exercise of common consent, I take that to pertain to the exercise of the restored keys (sustaining the leaders, the canon, Church articles and covenants, etc.). I don’t judge anyone’s expectations, especially given that the tradition is false in retrospect.

I would add that holding up today’s standard is more an indicator of accepting a newer tradition, not an innate, advanced capacity for discernment among the population. Otherwise, the improved environment would facilitate more forgiving behavior than knee-jerk calls to cancel. Spiritually more progressive (I read into that “advanced”) individuals would have greater spiritual wherewithal to both influence and suffer long, like Jesus did. It is instructive to see how they behave in councils involving their more conservative colleagues. Zion has a place for both, and for everyone in-between.

I do not see cognitive dissonance as a spiritual phenomenon. I see the concept as having been co-opted by unhappy saints to counter the intellectual approach taken by apologists with contrasting intellectualism. By focusing too heavily on that, as a scholar might on his defense, they lose grounding spiritual opportunities. So, when either’s expectations about our leaders are not met, they falter spiritually. I believe putting the focus back on Christ helps with a loss of faith.

Politically/socially conservative and progressive people certainly have a place in the Church and her leadership, and together with the Spirit sort out that which moves the Church forward in councils.

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1 hour ago, Thinking said:

 

 

How do we know if the prophet is still leading people to exaltation and has not created another Great Apostasy?

Luckily it's not my problem. But if I pray about it and get personal revelation that he's off the rails, I'll stop doing what he says. Anything else is out of my hands. I don't think it's my place to convince others of a fallen prophet.

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On 2/8/2022 at 7:52 PM, LoudmouthMormon said:

Yes.  I left shortly after declining to serve a mission, and was inactive and unbelieving for around 6 years.  

 

Yes.  Both here on line, interacting with folks like you, and IRL.  Random acquaintances, friends, peers, co-workers, family members.  

 

I believe you are describing your experience accurately and truthfully.  Do you believe me?

I believe you, but I'm struggling to determine how you can conclude that "most people" who leave do so for the reasons you stated. Additionally, I do think it is a very different experience to leave in your youth than to do so later, but that's probably a discussion for much later.

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4 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Believe fervently in a God who answers prayers, but content yourself with nothing more than good feelings here and there.

Disagree big time here. 
 

Lots of unspoken assumptions that I also disagree with.  That may be her experience, but it is nothing like mine.

Edited by Calm
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3 minutes ago, Calm said:

Disagree big time here. 
 

Lots of unspoken assumptions that I also disagree with.  That may be her experience, but it is nothing like mine.

Great. Maybe I'll just delete, don't want to hurt feelings. 

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4 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Great. Maybe I'll just delete, don't want to hurt feelings. 

Didn’t hurt my feelings as at all.  Why would it?  She is wrong to assume her own experience and perhaps others she knows is somehow the standard of our faith though.  It is as wrong as it would be for myself or others who have experienced revelation or don’t assume God never changing means the Church should never change to discount her personal experience as invalid…though I do think she has some unfortunate interpretations of doctrine.  But my feelings typically aren’t hurt anytime someone is wrong.

Edited by Calm
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4 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Saw this post today and it sums up some of my feelings. The woman wrote it a while back after starting a faith crisis and posted on reddit awhile back.

You must believe in Mormonism without really believing in Mormonism. You must believe in angels while being highly skeptical of anyone who claims to have seen one.

Believe fervently in a God who answers prayers, but content yourself with nothing more than good feelings here and there.

You must believe in Moroni's promise while being satisfied that you never received its fulfillment because you've always known it was true. Believe in revelation without ever having heard one.

Believe the apostles speak with Christ without ever expecting them to say so. Believe the priesthood can heal while excusing all the times it doesn't. Believe the Holy Ghost answers all questions without thinking about all the times It hasn't.

Believe God would never lead you astray while forgetting all the times an answer to prayer led you astray. Believe the voices in Nephi's head came from God while backing away from anyone listening to the voices in their head.

Believe in a prophet without hearing any prophecies. Believe God communicates to the entire world through his prophet without expecting the prophet to address the most pressing global issues.

Believe the Holy Ghost is consistent in his messages without expecting the claimed revelation of the membership or even prophets to be in any way consistent.

Believe paying tithing will open the windows of heaven without expecting faithful tithe payers to be spared from financial hardship, job loss, or bankruptcy.

Believe God can inspire your life and ask you to do hard things while not following sound conventional wisdom in all important life and business decisions. Believe there are millions of spirits waiting for bodies and wanting to come down to the home of a faithful LDS family, while only having as many children as you can comfortably afford financially.

Believe God never changes while enthusiastically embracing every change in doctrine and policy from the church. Believe the church does not treat women unequally, while happily endorsing every little step it makes towards greater equality.

Believe the current prophets will never lead the church astray while also acknowledging that past prophets made mistakes.

Believe that of all religions, the LDS church has the only valid answer to the problem of evil, but never bother to figure out what it is.

Believe in the law of consecration while decrying socialism. Believe church leadership should be immune from accountability that you expect of every other organization in your life. Believe that when God tells you to go down the wrong path he just wanted you to be sure once you got back on the right path.

This was written by someone who was having a faith crisis and was angry at the church and it's members and it shows.  While I'm sure it matches her feelings (or matched them, I guess, since it was written a while ago), it does not at all speak for members who aren't having a faith crisis and aren't angry.

I get so annoyed at people who embrace doubt and live in anger towards the church and then believe they can speak for those who are still believing.  It's no different than people who are still believing thinking they can speak for those who don't anymore. 

If it's wrong to do that then this kind of stuff is wrong too!

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3 minutes ago, bluebell said:

This was written by someone who was having a faith crisis and was angry at the church and it's members and it shows.  While I'm sure it matches her feelings (or matched them, I guess, since it was written a while ago), it does not at all speak for members who aren't having a faith crisis and aren't angry.

I get so annoyed at people who embrace doubt and live in anger towards the church and then believe they can speak for those who are still believing.  It's no different than people who are still believing thinking they can speak for those who don't anymore. 

If it's wrong to do that then this kind of stuff is wrong too!

I didn't know it would cause strife. Didn't delete it fast enough, boy you and Calm are speed readers. How about this positive post by Jana Reiss in Religion News that goes with the topic perhaps.

https://religionnews.com/2022/01/18/the-top-10-changes-president-russell-m-nelson-has-made-in-the-lds-church/?fbclid=IwAR3hLhP8MDKfXpoai_02hJ1JRWoEmwi2FMt3qOfppuvy0b5Hi2chr6dHqZU

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48 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I didn't know it would cause strife. Didn't delete it fast enough, boy you and Calm are speed readers. How about this positive post by Jana Reiss in Religion News that goes with the topic perhaps.

https://religionnews.com/2022/01/18/the-top-10-changes-president-russell-m-nelson-has-made-in-the-lds-church/?fbclid=IwAR3hLhP8MDKfXpoai_02hJ1JRWoEmwi2FMt3qOfppuvy0b5Hi2chr6dHqZU

I saw that Teancum started a thread on this.  I always appreciate people who can admit to positives as well as negatives in any organization.

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Prophets throughout scripture can been in many cases “white hot messes”, to quote Iron Man. However, despite their personal shortcomings, they are able to do great things, revel great truths, and advance the purposes of God. God only calls flawed men and women, because their is no other kind.

Edited by Bill “Papa” Lee
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