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Distinct polygamy concerns


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8 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

This is more than just a difficult subject.  This is one where lots of people have planted their flag into a certain position and are pretty much committed to it.  So yes contention can always pop up but some topics to a much greater degree than others.  Rongo is a much braver soul than I am.   I wish him well if he decides to go ahead of this. 

Keep in mind that the audience and discussion isn't going to be anything like this thread.  We here are a poor comparison to an audience in a local unit somewhere. Sometimes we lose sight of that.

If there actually was a ward where the class was composed of the 20-30 personalities who participate regularly here (including some ex-members who still somehow come to church every week :) ) --- can you even imagine? 

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2 hours ago, rongo said:

 I think more discussion and exposure in faithful church settings (even if not as "advanced" as we all would like) would only help with people who get ambushed by things they don't know or haven't heard of online (who then usually have no faithful church setting to try to deal with it). 

I call this reinforcement of our "shelves".  Some have a shelf with a firm testimony on top but little understanding bracing it.

2 hours ago, rongo said:

I think some Church members mistake any deviation from our "safe" lesson format we are used to as "contentious," simply because it has the potential to dip its toes into the waters of "unsafe." I think some people mistake this feeling of discomfort and nervousness as "contention." 

So true.  Was Joseph being contentious when he refused to join a local Church and instead went into the grove?  Was the Savior carrying a spirit of contention when he disagreed with the Pharisees on doctrine?  Discomfort and disagreement are not the same as contention.  You can disagree without contention, even if uncomfortable.  Contention is about winning.  A contest.

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29 minutes ago, bluebell said:

In the instance with Peter, James, and John, they could have just said "we've been commanded not to talk about it".  So I disagree with the bolded part of your statement.

There are some times when not answering would be an answer I suppose, such as being asked if you are practicing polygamy.  An answer of "I've been commanded not to talk about it" is the same as "yes".  So perhaps being dishonest would be necessary under those circumstances (though I'm not completely convinced).  But I think that most times a divine command for secrecy does not need to collide with a desire for absolute honesty. 

We have plenty of examples of this when it comes to the dealing with people asking questions about what goes on in temples.  No one has to lie in order to keep from revealing things they've covenanted not to reveal.

Very good point that "no comment" or "commanded not to talk about it" is a yes answer in the polygamy situation. 

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5 hours ago, rongo said:

Lying to cover it up (whether commanded/endorsed by God, or not) is a front-and-center concern with this, regardless of where one is at on the issue, and it may be a central concern for some. 

I agree.

If Joseph did indeed lie (or equivocate or otherwise give intentionally misleading responses) about polygamy, one of the conclusions a person might draw is that Joseph set the example and therefore it is okay, and even right, to lie or equivocate or mislead under some circumstances.  (I'm under the impression this was the late-19th-century interpretation of many in the Church, but I could be wrong.)  What are your thoughts around that aspect?

Edited by manol
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23 minutes ago, manol said:

I agree.

If Joseph did indeed lie (or equivocate or otherwise give intentionally misleading responses) about polygamy, one of the conclusions a person might draw is that Joseph set the example and therefore it is okay, and even right, to lie or equivocate or mislead under some circumstances.  (I'm under the impression this was the late-19th-century interpretation of many in the Church, but I could be wrong.)  What are your thoughts around that aspect?

I think you are probably right about the 19th century impressions.  And I don't judge them for that.

But this topic always reminds me of Corrie ten Boom and her experiences that she shared as a Christian trying to save Jews in Holland during WWII in her book The Hiding Place.  She talks about being raised in a home where lying was never ok under any circumstances, and how her sister raised her kids the same way.  This sister had a Jewish woman working for her passing as a gentile, and one day the SS raided their home and flatly asked her if the woman who was her maid was a Jew.  This sister (I cannot remember her name off the top of my head) said 'yes' with no hesitation.  Both the sister and the maid were arrested and the sister ended up with Corrie in a concentration camp.

When Corrie found out what had occurred she was put out by it, being upset that her sister didn't lie to save the young woman's life.  The sister basically said that she knew that God would not let any harm come to that woman because the sister told the truth.  It was not long after that they found out that this woman had escaped and made it to a safe area.

I'm not saying that there is never a reason to lie.  But I don't think that we appreciate or realize the power and miracles that God gives us access to when we are strictly obedient to God's commandments either.  I think that sometimes our fear leads us to believe that lying (or some other sin) is the only option.  

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@rongo

I am hopefully you will make it clear with every question/answer that there ate learned responses and not authoritative answers.

Perhaps even the talk from President Oaks about thinks we do not know.

Also, Doctrine and Covenants 132:

”66 And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.”

 

I would also stress what I believe Dan Peterson has posted before, something along the lines of “reviewing all the evidences, I choose”.

There are certainly to be people in the room that wont accept and explanation; which is why I hope you will frequently acknowledge there are learned responses or that what you say is how you personally have come to terms with whatever question. And let the audience know that what works for you may not work for them.

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Back to the stories that only pop up decades after the event, there are others and the church has not fallen apart by openly recognizing problematic accounts (as in calling the sword story "unauthenticated.") 

https://rsc.byu.edu/vol-10-no-2-2009/sweetwater-revisited-sour-notes-ways-learning?fbclid=IwAR2tVH_DnnqVM91HONAKgN7_faFXpV9_nqiPjDAUineugOamBatcUKA8Nfc

The students reactions to learning that the Sweetwater rescue account is problematic is what is happening here. This article gives a good account of how the story of the three rescuers grew, even to Pres. Hinckley using it, is instructive as to how these things happen. 

Quote

To illustrate, consider the thought process of a student who wrote about what he would say to someone who “felt the Spirit more with the less accurate version.” He began by acknowledging that he was one of those people stirred by the excerpt from Solomon Kimball’s article, which he remembered from a Church Educational System video. Having examined Orton’s evidence, the student observed that the 1914 version “seemed to focus in on a few and was really a ‘Hollywood’ version of the truth.” Upon initial reflection, he wondered if being moved by that account meant that he “really felt the Spirit as much as I just felt good.” Probing further, he considered what the Holy Ghost could teach a discerning learner: “The Spirit is trying to tell us that something significant happened here, and we can really learn from what happened. The Spirit, if listened to, might also be helping us hunger after the truth of the story.” Reflecting on his own emotional response to an incomplete account, he warned against a tendency “to feel so caught up in the magic that we forget to listen to the Spirit fully.”[24] In history and life, that kind of discernment can help us grow as learners and teachers of truth.

Also, the seagull and crickets story re-evaluated (when is the last time anyone saw it used in official sources?) It used to be one of the most told stories that I remember growing up. Utah even has a California gull as its state bird because of this:    https://issuu.com/utah10/docs/uhq_volume38_1970_number3/s/107089

I especially want to note that no one is calling anyone a liar over such things. It happens and it happens to good, honest people who believe the stories for whatever reason. I doubt there are many who have not told something as fact that we later found out had huge holes in it. I have told things that happened to me decades ago only to go look at my diary to see that I had misremembered an important aspect, including who else was involved. It is particularly telling when my siblings get together and relate their understanding of things that happened to us all. We need to stop holding our ancestors to standards we can't meet...and always, always check for contemporary accounts over decades later rememberances.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MustardSeed said:

The hereafter is supposed to be the big carrot, enticing me to live righteously on this earth and make the right decisions. The celestial kingdom has never looked particularly pleasing to me, but the men tell me this is where I’m supposed to work towards. I don’t trust that there’s a man on the planet not even my husband who can truly appreciate the conundrum this puts me in.

We know very little of the details of any of the kingdoms.  I do think it is reasonable to conclude their God forced nobody to be born in mortality. We all chose to come based on a much higher knowledge of all issues.  The celestial kingdom may not appeal to you in your current state but if you could meet your premortal self, you would be told that you do want it.  That is why you decided to be born in this world.  

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2 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

The hereafter is supposed to be the big carrot, enticing me to live righteously on this earth and make the right decisions. The celestial kingdom has never looked particularly pleasing to me, but the men tell me this is where I’m supposed to work towards. I don’t trust that there’s a man on the planet not even my husband who can truly appreciate the conundrum this puts me in.

I cannot imagine a heaven that is a hell of any sort for any of its inhabitants.   However I do not think we have a complete picture yet; clearly there was more information on the subject which was not included in Section 132, as the last verse of that section indicates:

1 hour ago, provoman said:

@rongo

Also, Doctrine and Covenants 132:

”66 And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.”

 And the fact that there is more to be revealed leaves the door open for the possibility of something like Calm's theory:

On 7/7/2022 at 7:44 PM, Calm said:

To me, Joseph was trying to create a celestial family that linked everyone through sealings...

On 7/7/2022 at 8:42 PM, Calm said:

A celestial web is how I have described what Joseph was trying to create.  It was Rough Stone Rolling that first gave me the impression and then later observing how he attempted to institute pluses marriage with wives, and then daughters and sisters when his friends freaked about sharing sealings with wives. The Law of Adoption makes sense under that family web as well, though the fighting over who would be son and who would be father shows that many (most) ended up interpreting it as glory building, not surprising with all the sermons on that subject.

And obviously I think Calm's theory (or something like it) is more than just a possibility. 

Edited by manol
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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

I'm not saying that there is never a reason to lie.  But I don't think that we appreciate or realize the power and miracles that God gives us access to when we are strictly obedient to God's commandments either.  I think that sometimes our fear leads us to believe that lying (or some other sin) is the only option.  

But we also have the example in the scriptures of the women and children being thrown into the fire and God allowing them to suffer what must have been enormous pain in order for his judgment of the wicked to be just in reaction to Alma’s missionary work and condemning of the wicked. Is it really appropriate to believe that someone will be saved and no one else will have to suffer tragedy if you stand faithful in all ways, including being honest?

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/bofm/alma/14?lang=eng

Edited by Calm
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47 minutes ago, manol said:

Obviously it wasn't clear that I agreed with you, so let me try again.

I agree with you.

It is totally legitimate that the concept of "men get to have multiple wives, and women have to share their husbands with many other women, in the Celestial Kingdom" is threatening to you. 

I just happen to think that concept is mistaken (and totally inconsistent with a God who is good and fair and who loves his daughters).  But if you believe that concept of the Celestial Kingdom, and correct me if I'm wrong but apparently you do, then of course it is threatening - devastating even - to you. 

In my opinion, if something FEELS like darkness to you, don't accept it just because it's presented as part of the package deal. 

Thank you !  I appreciate that so much.  My bad I didn't read carefully.

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

But we also have the example in the scriptures of the women and children being thrown into the fire and God allowing them to suffer what must have been enormous pain in order for his judgment of the wicked to be just in reaction to Alma’s missionary work and condemning of the wicked. Is it really appropriate to believe that someone will be saved and no one else will have to suffer tragedy if you stand faithful in all ways, including being honest?

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/bofm/alma/14?lang=eng

The sister died in the concentration camp, so I don’t think she believed that nothing bad could happen due to obedience. She was willing to suffer whatever consequence came her way. Her belief seemed centered on the Jewish woman not being punished for her (the sister’s) choice.

 

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

The sister died in the concentration camp, so I don’t think she believed that nothing bad could happen due to obedience. She was willing to suffer whatever consequence came her way. Her belief seemed centered on the Jewish woman not being punished for her (the sister’s) choice.

 

And that is what would trouble me most…at least in my idealized ‘I hope I am that person who could stick to it if it was just me’ self picture…it is not my own suffering (which pain I hope would not have me giving in) I think about, but what suffering I might cause others when sticking to my principles…Alma and Amulek likely caused the severity of the response that included tossing women and children into the fire pit along with the scriptures they possessed.  The believing men were cast out and their families destroyed instead of them, my guess is it was seen as a fate worse than death knowing their ones are suffering such a horrible death and also likely a challenge to Alma and Amulek to stop it if their God was so powerful. 
 

I have always wondered how Amulek and Alma and other believers felt later on after it was over about how God withheld his hand when women and children were being slaughtered in horrible ways, but then wiped out the mockers who were beating A&A when Alma cried out for relief. It is one of the first things I am going to be asking in the afterlife to explain.  (And one of those scripture stories that make it look like women are plot devices/rewards and punishments in God’s view, that God uses women to fulfill men’s fate, in this case both the wicked and Alma and Amulek’s.)

It is much harder for me to reason that my self esteem of being the person who would die for Light and Truth is worth protecting at the cost of another’s pain. And if my standing strong wasn’t going to have any real impact on anyone else, wasn’t going to change the world, why would God need me to be a protector of Truth that ultimately doesn’t need my protection instead of being first a protector of the weak and innocent?  What a cruel test of my commitment if that is the purpose. I cannot reconcile it with other verses describing God’s relationship with even the least of his children. 

Thankfully, I have never been placed in such a difficult situation. 

Edited by Calm
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9 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Back in February we had a stake conference at a stake in Arizona, and the stake high counselor over missionary work gave an excellent talk in the leadership meeting about improving missionary work in our wards and stakes.  One of his bullet points was "being prepared for uncomfortable discussions when sharing the gospel with non-member friends".  He said that the ward leadership should "set aside time regularly to teach members how to deal with these questions", and said that we should prepare ward members to handle uncomfortable discussions.   

I was intrigued by what he was proposing and wanted to try to implement something like he was suggesting in our ward, although I wasn't sure exactly how it would play out.  But unfortunately I was preparing to move, and was released from my calling and moved shortly after that, so I never got a chance to get involved in it.  But I think the kind of thing you are doing is what a lot of people need.

Keep plugging away in your new stake! Area leader roulette is a big factor --- some leaders are very supportive, while others are very risk-averse. And others yet are blasé and completely uninterested (and therefore a "no"). It all depends. Good luck!

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8 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

So true.  Was Joseph being contentious when he refused to join a local Church and instead went into the grove?  Was the Savior carrying a spirit of contention when he disagreed with the Pharisees on doctrine?  Discomfort and disagreement are not the same as contention.  You can disagree without contention, even if uncomfortable.  Contention is about winning.  A contest.

Yes! Many members are used to "Mormon nice" --- no disagreement, and apparent agreement all-around. We even see some of that in this thread --- disagreement makes some very uncomfortable. 

Honestly, people who thought past "ask anything" and controversial topics activities were "contentious" were mostly uncomfortable that people were free to depart from the tightly-correlated party line in asking questions, or in discussing topics and issues that were beyond "the standard three-hour block." Or that non-members were openly invited and attracted, and able to ask questions or even "take shots" at the Church (they were actually very respectful, but we did get many expected "old chestnut" questions, too). 

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7 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

The hereafter is supposed to be the big carrot, enticing me to live righteously on this earth and make the right decisions. The celestial kingdom has never looked particularly pleasing to me, but the men tell me this is where I’m supposed to work towards. I don’t trust that there’s a man on the planet not even my husband who can truly appreciate the conundrum this puts me in.

All you can do in your boat, I would say, is to develop a close communication relationship with God (through the Holy Ghost). You probably already are. You seem to be navigating this as well as possible, in your case, from how it seems to me. 

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