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Should anyone care about historical hate speech by senior Church leadership?


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2 hours ago, pogi said:

I am having a hard time seeing where you and Calm are in disagreement, honestly.  I think you are both in agreement that failings and fallibility should not cause us to disregard the holistic teachings of an individual or church.  You both seem to understand how it can be a hinderance to trust for some, however.  

While I am happy that you see things this way, I don't think you can speak for the church as a whole by using "we".  I know for a fact that it is a very common view, and perhaps even the dominant view, that we are supposed to take the prophets word for it.  That is how I was raised in the church and by my parents. I was raised to believe that the prophet will never lead us astray, meaning that we can always trust them.  It was always taught that way to instill trust in everything they say.  I was taught that they are an anchor that will keep us from drifting with false teachings/doctrines.  I was never taught until much, much later that they could potentially be the source of false teachings/doctrines.  But...even then, I was taught that even if the prophet is wrong, the Lord will bless us for trusting and sustaining our prophet in obedience to them, so even when they are wrong, we still need to follow them and the Lord will bless us for it.  They wont lead us astray in the end, we will make it to celestial glory if we just follow them, even when they are wrong, because they will not be so wrong that it will place our exaltation at risk.  Honest to goodness, that is how I was raised in the church.  I know that you have all probably heard this too, because that is a prevalent culture, perspective, and way of living in the church.   "Spiritual self reliance" meant that we are supposed to pray and receive spiritual confirmation of their words for ourselves, but that if we receive an answer, or feel our conscience directing us to believe contrary to the words of the prophet, then we need to sustain the prophet over our own feelings of inspiration/conscience.  Not following the prophet would lead us "astray".  Period.  It was the road to apostasy.  There was no nuance in that teaching to me.  Even still we see how prevalent this idea is with an Area President teaching missionaries that they shouldn't pray to know if they should go on a mission or not.  "Stupid question!".  What was his reasoning?  Because if we know that a prophet is called of God, and we know that he is telling us to go on a mission, then there can only be one conclusion, asking God about it is "stupid".  In other words, "take their word for it".  Period.  Don't question.  If you have a testimony of the prophet, there is no need to question. 

You know that joke about how the Catholic church teaches that the Pope is infallible, but that the members don't believe it; while the Mormon church teaches that the prophet is fallible, but that the members don't believe it.  It is funny because it is relatable - we recognize it in our culture. 

That is the difference between MLK and a Mormon prophet.  How we were raised to perceive and trust them above our own best judgment as God's mouthpiece places a much greater expectations on their heads.  One has much lower expectations for what MLK does in his personal life and is not held to that same high and even unsustainable standard that is required to maintain that level of trust.   With higher expectations and higher levels of trust comes much less wiggle room for maintenance of that trust, and trust therefore can be more easily lost over missteps when you are a Mormon prophet with those levels of expectation and trust. 

This is a popular video about those that discover a different faith paradigm than the one they thought was the truth and nothing but the truth, going from b&w to color. It's one I saw at the beginning of my transition, but I'd say the end of the video isn't where I went, and I could pass, for the most part, as a Latter-day saint, minus my not being active. Nothing has changed beyond that really. I still hold a belief in a God or something close. ETA: I rather like this video instead:

 

Edited by Tacenda
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Saying Black and White thinking is always wrong  sums up the topic of the thread quite nicely.  "Should anyone care about historical hate speech by senior church leadership"  Is a yes no, black/ white question.  Whether or not any speech is hate speech is also a black/White. Yes/No question.   Speeches, church leadership, how much we should care, are all topics that are best approached in a non black/white way.

Other things are better suited to a black/white approach.

Edited by Danzo
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2 hours ago, pogi said:

This conclusion only makes sense if we are talking about two people with the EXACT same histories, experiences, perspectives and interpretations of such things.  

From one perspective b&w thinking might work for a time to support belief, from another it could be detrimental to belief.

Again, I am a perfect example of this.  My belief could not be sustained under my old b&w filter. Ideally, we want to remove our filters all together, but that ain’t happening in mortality.  No filter is ideal or perfect.  But some might relatively work better than others to produce fruit.

For many reasons I think b&w thinking is less useful and potentially dangerous, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it “negative” (your words, not mine) in all situations and for all people. It might work for some folks in some conditions, it is therefore not negative for them…yet.  It may or may not become a hinderance to belief later depending on their upbringing, experience and perspective.

From my experience and perspective, I either had to let go of my b&w paradigm or let go of my belief in the church.  Period.  They cannot mutually exist from where I stand.  That may change (I highly doubt it), but as it is, nope.  No way possible. 

When we consider factors other than black and white thinking (personal history, experience, perspective and interpretation, etc.), we instantly shift the discussion / narrative away from black and white thinking as the cause of belief / unbelief in the restoration to something else. Which I think is appropriate and consistent with what I've been saying.

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12 minutes ago, Danzo said:

Saying Black and White thinking is always wrong  sums up the topic of the thread quite nicely.  "Should anyone care about historical hate speech by senior church leadership"  Is a yes no, black/ white question.  Whether or not any speech is hate speech is also a black/White. Yes/No question.   Speeches, church leadership, how much we should care, are all topics that are best approached in a non black/white way.

Other things are better suited to a black/white approach.

It did go a little off topic, and my post certainly didn't help.

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2 hours ago, pogi said:

I am having a hard time seeing where you and Calm are in disagreement, honestly.  I think you are both in agreement that failings and fallibility should not cause us to disregard the holistic teachings of an individual or church.  You both seem to understand how it can be a hinderance to trust for some, however.  

I think that's probably correct.  Calm is a more expressively empathetic person than I am, whereas I am a bit more expressive in my clinical/objective assessments.  I harbor some of Calm's empathy, and she harbors some of my clinical assessments.  

2 hours ago, pogi said:
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What makes it likely the teacher would be right with other teachings if they are very, very wrong with ones that are seen as very important?

We're not taking "the teacher's" word for it.  We're not supposed to.

While I am happy that you see things this way, I don't think you can speak for the church as a whole by using "we". 

I don't think my comment is out of turn.  The "teacher{s}" in question, prophets and apostles, have long exhorted us to not just take their word for it, but to seek out confirmation from the Spirit.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

I know for a fact that it is a very common view, and perhaps even the dominant view, that we are supposed to take the prophets word for it.

I apologize, as I think I have given you the wrong impression.  I concur that "we are supposed to take the prophet's word for it."  But that's not the sum of things.  It is, instead, a qualified statement.  Not all of their words are prophetic.  Whether they are speaking/acting in their prophetic capacity matters.  Whether they are speaking when moved upon by the Holy Spirit matters.  Whether the Spirit ratifies their words matters.  We have an independent duty to seek and obtain personal revelation, which often involves more than just taking prophets' "word for it."

We are asked to "sustain" the General Authorities as part of this.  That is not blind obedience.  We are not agreeing to convert ourselves into mindless automatons.  Instead, we proceed in faith, but with a rather clear caveat that the Brethren have been called of God, but they are also human and can make mistakes.  Those mistakes, however, generally do not utterly deplete these men of prophetic authority.  

I had these caveats in mind when I made the foregoing observation.  

2 hours ago, pogi said:

That is how I was raised in the church and by my parents. I was raised to believe that the prophet will never lead us astray, meaning that we can always trust them.

"Never lead us astray" and "we can always trust them" are fine as broad aphorisms, but nuance can come to matter quite a bit.  

For example, "we can always trust them" may be deployed in ways incompatible with the various exhortations for us to keep in mind that “a prophet [is] a prophet only when . . . acting as such,” to seek personal revelation, and so on.

Consider these remarks by Kent Jackson:

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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:

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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.

And these remarks by President Lee:

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If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church, were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion.  The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church.  And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard  Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth. (The First Area General Conference for Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Spain of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in Munich Germany, August 24–26, 1973, Reports and Discourses, p.69)

And then there is this excellent compilation from FAIR.

 

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. 

When I was in the military, huge amounts of time and effort were expended to drill into us the concept of rank and structure, and of following orders.  However, these concepts are not absolute.  In fact, there can be extreme and unusual circumstances in which a solder is required to disobey an order.  See, e.g., here:

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It's generally called a "duty to disobey," and is empowered by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The UCMJ is more concerned about the need to obey orders, but specifies the conditions when military personnel may feel justified in not following them:

  • If the order is "contrary to the constitution" or "the laws of the United States."
  • If the order is "patently illegal, ... such as one that directs the commission of a crime."

Paying the Price for Following Bad Orders

Over the years, there's been a recognition that "duty to disobey" is sometimes warranted. Former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, for instance, has suggested that military members could be justified in refusing to torture prisoners.

The most famous of them, perhaps, have been instances where prosecutors felt that people should have disobeyed orders. Nazi defendants in the Nuremberg Trials after World War II argued, to limited effect, that they were just following orders. U.S. Army Lt. William Calley used the same argument in defending himself against murder charges following the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam. (He ultimately served 3 1/2 years in military prison.)

The generalized statement of "When you are in the Army you are obligated to follow the orders of your superiors" is not incompatible with the foregoing "duty to disobey."  Virtually every law or moral principle allows for exceptions in extraordinary or very unusual circumstances.

Similarly, the generalized statement of "the prophet will never lead us astray, meaning that we can always trust them" is not incompatible with the foregoing statements from Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee and others.  

2 hours ago, pogi said:

It was always taught that way to instill trust in everything they say. 

As a general, but not completely and inflexibly absolute principle, this is fine.  As a solder, I was first trained to obey, and then later taught about the very rare circumstances in which disobedience could be allowed, or even mandatory.  The same general concept applies, I think, to counsel from the Brethren.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

I was taught that they are an anchor that will keep us from drifting with false teachings/doctrines.  I was never taught until much, much later that they could potentially be the source of false teachings/doctrines.  But...even then, I was taught that even if the prophet is wrong, the Lord will bless us for trusting and sustaining our prophet in obedience to them, so even when they are wrong, we still need to follow them and the Lord will bless us for it. 

I see nothing wrong with this.  We are not, after all, really talking about extraordinary "Jews in the Attic" conundrums.  We are looking at a broad principle that, at its extreme margins, has some exceptions to it.

Again, I have a a rebuttable presumption that I should listen to the counsel from the leaders of the Church, but that circumstances may arise in which a leader in the Church may, in the words of President Smith above, issue remarks which "do not square with the revelations."  If so, the presumption is "rebutted," and I am under no obligation to acquiesce to such remarks.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

They wont lead us astray in the end, we will make it to celestial glory if we just follow them, even when they are wrong, because they will not be so wrong that it will place our exaltation at risk. 

Broadly speaking, I think that is probably correct.  Can you cite an example of a General Authority saying or doing something that has imperiled someone's exaltation?  I don't discount the possibility, but it seems to be a far smaller risk than the risk at the opposite end of the spectrum.

The general rule is that we ought to follow the inspired (and cumulative, and in-accordance-with-the-scriptures) words of prophets and apostles.  I acknowledge that this rule may have exceptions in extraordinary circumstances, but the vast majority of the time, this counsel holds up very well.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

Honest to goodness, that is how I was raised in the church. 

Same here.  Mostly.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

I know that you have all probably heard this too, because that is a prevalent culture, perspective, and way of living in the church.   "Spiritual self reliance" meant that we are supposed to pray and receive spiritual confirmation of their words for ourselves, but that if we receive an answer, or feel our conscience directing us to believe contrary to the words of the prophet, then we need to sustain the prophet over our own feelings of inspiration/conscience. 

I don't know about this part.  I have found this comment from Michael Ash very helpful:

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In a previous installment I explained that Roman Catholics take a three-legged tripod-like approach to determining truth—Scripture, Tradition, and the Pope. I believe that we Latter-day Saints are asked to take a four-legged approach to truth, like the four legs of a stool. These would include: Scripture, Prophets, Personal Revelation, and Reason. By utilizing the methodologies for all four of these tools, we have a better chance of accurately determining what is true.

The other legs of the stool (scripture, prophets and reason) function well in "vetting" personal revelation.  Utilizing all four "legs" is, in my view, a far more reliable mechanism for discerning truth than relying on just one of them exclusively.

But if one of the "legs" is at odds with the others, what do we do?  For me, if the odd-leg is what I have perceived as "personal revelation," or else a conclusion based on my "reason," and if what I have perceived is at odds with the scriptures and/or the cumulative voice of living prophets and apostles, you can bet I'm going to take a very long second look at my own sense of "revelation" and "reasoning."  The Lord's house "is a house of order."  (D&C 88:119.)  The chances of me as an individual being correct regarding X where X is contravened by the scriptures and living prophets and apostles is . . . remote.  I'm not saying it can't happen, just that it is far more likely for my personal "legs of the stool" (my sense of "Personal Revelation" and "Reason") to be out-of-harmony with the Lord's will as compared to the other legs ("Scripture" and "{Living} Prophets").

There are examples where this has happened.  Prior to June 1978, Lester E. Bush and others reached conclusions about the origins of the Priesthood Ban, and ending it, before the Brethren did (at least collectively).  And Bro. Bush was not appreciated for his candor at the time.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

Not following the prophet would lead us "astray".  Period.  It was the road to apostasy. 

I believe the sentiment expressed here (attributed to Joseph Smith): "‘I will give you a key that will never rust, —if you will stay with the majority of the Twelve Apostles, and the records of the Church, you will never be led astray."

So I guess we may need to discuss what we mean by "astray."

2 hours ago, pogi said:

There was no nuance in that teaching to me. 

Small children generally can't grasp "nuance." 

Heck, soldiers in Basic Training are not counted on to "grasp" the nuance between "Obey orders!" versus "Obey orders except when an order is 'contrary to the constitution' or 'the laws of the United States' or is 'patently illegal, ... such as one that directs the commission of a crime.'"  But that nuance has to be taught eventually, right?

So it is, I think, with members of the Church.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

Even still we see how prevalent this idea is with an Area President teaching missionaries that they shouldn't pray to know if they should go on a mission or not.  "Stupid question!". 

I don't know what you are referencing here.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

What was his reasoning?  Because if we know that a prophet is called of God, and we know that he is telling us to go on a mission, then there can only be one conclusion, asking God about it is "stupid".  In other words, "take their word for it".  Period.  Don't question.  If you have a testimony of the prophet, there is no need to question. 

His presentation of this concept could be improved (seeing as you were apparently offended by the "stupid" comment).  See, e.g., here:

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The personal decision each young man must make is whether or not he will fulfill his priesthood duty to serve a mission. As President Thomas S. Monson has said: “Every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary” (“As We Meet Together Again,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 5–6).

There do seem to be commandments and such that are "settled" and don't leave much room for anything other than acquiescence and obedience.  For example, what if the Area President had said "Don't pray about whether you should have sex outside of marriage or commit adultery.  That's a stupid question."  Would you find that objectionable?  Or do you really think such a prayer would be worthwhile and appropriate?  Or this: "Don't pray about whether you should illicitly use harmful and addictive and mind-altering substances like meth.  That's a stupid question."  Is that objectionable?

I suspect the Area President was trying to be humorous, while still making an important point.  Nevertheless, I think the point was off or poorly framed.  We should always pray about important matters about which there is ambiguity as to the proper course forward.  I am less persuaded, however, regarding praying about matters that are essentially beyond reasonable dispute (see the above examples).

2 hours ago, pogi said:

You know that joke about how the Catholic church teaches that the Pope is infallible, but that the members don't believe it; while the Mormon church teaches that the prophet is fallible, but that the members don't believe it.  It is funny because it is relatable - we recognize it in our culture. 

I think it's often more a caricature than a legitimate point.

I also think there are far bigger tendencies amongst the Latter-day Saints to resort to rationalizations and equivocations to justify disobeying clear precepts.  

2 hours ago, pogi said:

That is the difference between MLK and a Mormon prophet. 

Well, no, that not the difference.  If popular (and tacit) notions of prophetic infallibility exist in the Church, they run contrary to the scriptures and to the counsel from prophets and apostles.  

2 hours ago, pogi said:

How we were raised to perceive and trust them above our own best judgment as God's mouthpiece places a much greater expectations on their heads. 

With respect, I don't think we are taught to "trust them above our own best judgment."  Again, see Michael Ash's four-legged-stool comment.

We have a far bigger problem with plain old vanilla disobedience to God's commandments (increasingly characterized as being based on the "best judgment" of the individual) than we do with principled-and-ultimately-correct-but-contrary-to-what-the-Brethren-are-currently-saying scenarios.  So we are taught a general rule that is sound and appropriate, with nuance regarding possible exceptions/limitations to that rule coming later.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

One has much lower expectations for what MLK does in his personal life and is not held to that same high and even unsustainable standard that is required to maintain that level of trust.

MLK was a pastor.  And he was married.  You don't think he should have adhered to "high" moral standards?

In any event, this is sort of beyond the point.  I am not excusing or minimizing MLK's marital infidelity.  I am, instead, suggesting that MLK is a highly venerated person because of his worthwhile efforts in Civil Rights, and that perhaps our collective and individual assessment of the man ought to be based on the entirety of his life, not just his sins and omissions.

I am also suggesting that we take this same broad perspective when evaluating the lives of past (and even present) leaders of the Church.

2 hours ago, pogi said:

With higher expectations and higher levels of trust comes much less wiggle room for maintenance of that trust, and trust therefore can be more easily lost over missteps when you are a Mormon prophet with those levels of expectation and trust. 

I agree.  Corianton was preaching a true message, but his hypocrisy (his sins with Isabel) had the effect of undermining the credibility of that message in the eyes of the Zoramites.  That is a tragedy, to be sure, but Corianton's hypocrisy and sin did not negate the truthfulness of his message.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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1 hour ago, Grug the Neanderthal said:

I would like to know what you are referring to. 

I am referring to people’s perceptions and interpretations of apostles’ comments from the pulpit and other venues.  I believe there have already been given enough examples of such perceptions in this thread to demonstrate my point, so I am not interested in repeating the effort. 
 

Just to clarify, my point in the thread is primarily it is understandable why some people question the quality of the inspiration of apostles when they view an apostle’s teaching in such a way (as wrong, especially if perceived as consistently wrong).  They don’t need to be even right about it to respond this way.  Nor am I saying they are right to do so.  I think it is a waste of time to argue that people are wrong in feeling this way if you want to change their minds, prevent it happening again.  You need to respond to people where they are, not where you want them to be.

If you only care about proving them wrong, then of course you can argue the accuracy of beliefs to your heart’s content…and sometimes I am interested in doing this. But not today. 
 

Since this is relatively easy, I will simply use a quote from Elder Holland to provide an example (his comment is not the example, but is pointing one out):

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Well, some of the folklore that you must be referring to are suggestions that there were decisions made in the pre-mortal councils where someone had not been as decisive in their loyalty to a Gospel plan or the procedures on earth or what was to unfold in mortality, and that therefore that opportunity and mortality was compromised. I really don't know a lot of the details of those, because fortunately I've been able to live in the period where we're not expressing or teaching them, but I think that's the one I grew up hearing the most, was that it was something to do with the pre-mortal councils. ... But I think that's the part that must never be taught until anybody knows a lot more than I know. ... We just don't know, in the historical context of the time, why it was practiced. ... That's my principal [concern], is that we don't perpetuate explanations about things we don't know. ...

We don't pretend that something wasn't taught or practice wasn't pursued for whatever reason. But I think we can be unequivocal and we can be declarative in our current literature, in books that we reproduce, in teachings that go forward, whatever, that from this time forward, from 1978 forward, we can make sure that nothing of that is declared. That may be where we still need to make sure that we're absolutely dutiful, that we put [a] careful eye of scrutiny on anything from earlier writings and teachings, just [to] make sure that that's not perpetuated in the present. That's the least, I think, of our current responsibilities on that topic. ..

https://www.pbs.org/mormons/interviews/holland.html

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

When we consider factors other than black and white thinking (personal history, experience, perspective and interpretation, etc.), we instantly shift the discussion / narrative away from black and white thinking as the cause of belief / unbelief in the restoration to something else. Which I think is appropriate and consistent with what I've been saying.

It seems like a hasty conclusion without actually considering the details of those other factors. You are just assuming that they must be the "cause" of one losing their testimony.   That is the first problem I perceive with your conclusion.  Second, it seems too simplistic and reductionist to try and pin loss of belief and faith on a single cause.  There can be several contributing factors, b&w thinking can be one of them. 

For example, you are just assuming, without reason, that the change in perspective/experience is not an experience of enlightenment and progression in spirit/light/truth.  

Another example, what if the change in perspective had to do with history of the church?  What if this new perspective of history is more accurate than what they understood before, but their b&w filter through which they interpret this new history causes them to fall into crisis mode? It is no longer perceived as white, therefore it must be black.  See you later church!  I think their b&w filter plays a significant role in their leaving. I have seen it happen more times than I care to. 

Belief is the fruit of how we interpret things, history, experience, and even the spirit.  The filters/lenses that we interpret the world through (b&w lens, for example) may work with primary level knowledge/experience, but may not work for some beyond that depending on their larger relative position/perspective.    

Edited by pogi
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2 hours ago, CA Steve said:

Maybe the problem is teaching members to not question leadership regardless of what they say or do. Perhaps if leadership got more pushback from members about issues, they might actually question whether or not what they are saying is from God or their own cultural bias.

I have often thought that a more robust implementation of the principle of common consent could be useful, but I'm not sure it is any kind of silver bullet. Racism was so prevalent in US society (including among the Saints) that I get the impression that there was very little resistance to implementing the priesthood and temple ban. I'm not aware of any kind of polling type numbers that track how the Saints' views on race were changing in the early to mid 20th century. Even if there were data, at what point in the Saints' changing opinions does the leadership decide that there is enough grassroots support for a change that they begin to seriously consider the change? Part of the point of my "conservative vs. progressive history" thread was to explore just how often the church can overcome its conservative inertia to make a needed change. We seem inherently conservative, so it takes a lot of grassroots and leadership change (essentially all 15 of the Q15, plus a substantial majority of the other leaders and members) before the church will cast off a false tradition.

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

This is a popular video about those that discover a different faith paradigm than the one they thought was the truth and nothing but the truth, going from b&w to color. It's one I saw at the beginning of my transition, but I'd say the end of the video isn't where I went, and I could pass, for the most part, as a Latter-day saint, minus my not being active. Nothing has changed beyond that really. I still hold a belief in a God or something close. ETA: I rather like this video instead:

 

How have I never seen this?  

"Look at my face", she says in full spectrum color, beaming with a flesh toned smile.

"It'll go away!", the b&w husband, visibly uncomfortable and worried, demands.

"I don't want it to go away!"

That is brilliant!  That captures well the feeling and experience I have had with many in the church over the last several years.  I am so grateful that the gospel comes in color too. 

Edited by pogi
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11 minutes ago, pogi said:

How have I never seen this?  

"Look at my face", she says in full spectrum color, beaming with a flesh toned smile.

"It'll go away!", the b&w husband, visibly uncomfortable and worried, demands.

"I don't want it to go away!"

That is brilliant!  That captures well the feeling and experience I have had with many in the church over the last several years.  I am so grateful that the gospel comes in color too. 

Last line. " Well we're safe now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley." 
Where things are still black and white. Leave the bowling alley to where the gospel and people are in all sorts of colors.

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Of course, Black/White Thinking can be highly useful at times. Anytime a salesperson comes by my office, I usually employ black/White thinking to send him on his way.  I also find black/white thinking becomes useful when driving (turn left or right).  Computer logic is a whole system based on off/on binary.

 

So I guess black/white thinking isn't always bad (or good).  Its a question of using the right tool for the job. 

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

I think that's probably correct.  Calm is a more expressively empathetic person than I am, whereas I am a bit more expressive in my clinical/objective assessments.  I harbor some of Calm's empathy, and she harbors some of my clinical assessments.  

I don't think my comment is out of turn.  The "teacher{s}" in question, prophets and apostles, have long exhorted us to not just take their word for it, but to seek out confirmation from the Spirit.

I apologize, as I think I have given you the wrong impression.  I concur that "we are supposed to take the prophet's word for it."  But that's not the sum of things.  It is, instead, a qualified statement.  Not all of their words are prophetic.  Whether they are speaking/acting in their prophetic capacity matters.  Whether they are speaking when moved upon by the Holy Spirit matters.  Whether the Spirit ratifies their words matters.  We have an independent duty to seek and obtain personal revelation, which often involves more than just taking prophets' "word for it."

We are asked to "sustain" the General Authorities as part of this.  That is not blind obedience.  We are not agreeing to convert ourselves into mindless automatons.  Instead, we proceed in faith, but with a rather clear caveat that the Brethren have been called of God, but they are also human and can make mistakes.  Those mistakes, however, generally do not utterly deplete these men of prophetic authority.  

I had these caveats in mind when I made the foregoing observation.  

"Never lead us astray" and "we can always trust them" are fine as broad aphorisms, but nuance can come to matter quite a bit.  

For example, "we can always trust them" may be deployed in ways incompatible with the various exhortations for us to keep in mind that “a prophet [is] a prophet only when . . . acting as such,” to seek personal revelation, and so on.

Consider these remarks by Kent Jackson:

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

And these remarks by President Lee:

And then there is this excellent compilation from FAIR.

 

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. 

When I was in the military, huge amounts of time and effort were expended to drill into us the concept of rank and structure, and of following orders.  However, these concepts are not absolute.  In fact, there can be extreme and unusual circumstances in which a solder is required to disobey an order.  See, e.g., here:

The generalized statement of "When you are in the Army you are obligated to follow the orders of your superiors" is not incompatible with the foregoing "duty to disobey."  Virtually every law or moral principle allows for exceptions in extraordinary or very unusual circumstances.

Similarly, the generalized statement of "the prophet will never lead us astray, meaning that we can always trust them" is not incompatible with the foregoing statements from Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee and others.  

As a general, but not completely and inflexibly absolute principle, this is fine.  As a solder, I was first trained to obey, and then later taught about the very rare circumstances in which disobedience could be allowed, or even mandatory.  The same general concept applies, I think, to counsel from the Brethren.

I see nothing wrong with this.  We are not, after all, really talking about extraordinary "Jews in the Attic" conundrums.  We are looking at a broad principle that, at its extreme margins, has some exceptions to it.

Again, I have a a rebuttable presumption that I should listen to the counsel from the leaders of the Church, but that circumstances may arise in which a leader in the Church may, in the words of President Smith above, issue remarks which "do not square with the revelations."  If so, the presumption is "rebutted," and I am under no obligation to acquiesce to such remarks.

Broadly speaking, I think that is probably correct.  Can you cite an example of a General Authority saying or doing something that has imperiled someone's exaltation?  I don't discount the possibility, but it seems to be a far smaller risk than the risk at the opposite end of the spectrum.

The general rule is that we ought to follow the inspired (and cumulative, and in-accordance-with-the-scriptures) words of prophets and apostles.  I acknowledge that this rule may have exceptions in extraordinary circumstances, but the vast majority of the time, this counsel holds up very well.

Same here.  Mostly.

I don't know about this part.  I have found this comment from Michael Ash very helpful:

The other legs of the stool (scripture, prophets and reason) function well in "vetting" personal revelation.  Utilizing all four "legs" is, in my view, a far more reliable mechanism for discerning truth than relying on just one of them exclusively.

But if one of the "legs" is at odds with the others, what do we do?  For me, if the odd-leg is what I have perceived as "personal revelation," or else a conclusion based on my "reason," and if what I have perceived is at odds with the scriptures and/or the cumulative voice of living prophets and apostles, you can bet I'm going to take a very long second look at my own sense of "revelation" and "reasoning."  The Lord's house "is a house of order."  (D&C 88:119.)  The chances of me as an individual being correct regarding X where X is contravened by the scriptures and living prophets and apostles is . . . remote.  I'm not saying it can't happen, just that it is far more likely for my personal "legs of the stool" (my sense of "Personal Revelation" and "Reason") to be out-of-harmony with the Lord's will as compared to the other legs ("Scripture" and "{Living} Prophets").

There are examples where this has happened.  Prior to June 1978, Lester E. Bush and others reached conclusions about the origins of the Priesthood Ban, and ending it, before the Brethren did (at least collectively).  And Bro. Bush was not appreciated for his candor at the time.

I believe the sentiment expressed here (attributed to Joseph Smith): "‘I will give you a key that will never rust, —if you will stay with the majority of the Twelve Apostles, and the records of the Church, you will never be led astray."

So I guess we may need to discuss what we mean by "astray."

Small children generally can't grasp "nuance." 

Heck, soldiers in Basic Training are not counted on to "grasp" the nuance between "Obey orders!" versus "Obey orders except when an order is 'contrary to the constitution' or 'the laws of the United States' or is 'patently illegal, ... such as one that directs the commission of a crime.'"  But that nuance has to be taught eventually, right?

So it is, I think, with members of the Church.

I don't know what you are referencing here.

His presentation of this concept could be improved (seeing as you were apparently offended by the "stupid" comment).  See, e.g., here:

There do seem to be commandments and such that are "settled" and don't leave much room for anything other than acquiescence and obedience.  For example, what if the Area President had said "Don't pray about whether you should have sex outside of marriage or commit adultery.  That's a stupid question."  Would you find that objectionable?  Or do you really think such a prayer would be worthwhile and appropriate?  Or this: "Don't pray about whether you should illicitly use harmful and addictive and mind-altering substances like meth.  That's a stupid question."  Is that objectionable?

I suspect the Area President was trying to be humorous, while still making an important point.  Nevertheless, I think the point was off or poorly framed.  We should always pray about important matters about which there is ambiguity as to the proper course forward.  I am less persuaded, however, regarding praying about matters that are essentially beyond reasonable dispute (see the above examples).

I think it's often more a caricature than a legitimate point.

I also think there are far bigger tendencies amongst the Latter-day Saints to resort to rationalizations and equivocations to justify disobeying clear precepts.  

Well, no, that not the difference.  If popular (and tacit) notions of prophetic infallibility exist in the Church, they run contrary to the scriptures and to the counsel from prophets and apostles.  

With respect, I don't think we are taught to "trust them above our own best judgment."  Again, see Michael Ash's four-legged-stool comment.

We have a far bigger problem with plain old vanilla disobedience to God's commandments (increasingly characterized as being based on the "best judgment" of the individual) than we do with principled-and-ultimately-correct-but-contrary-to-what-the-Brethren-are-currently-saying scenarios.  So we are taught a general rule that is sound and appropriate, with nuance regarding possible exceptions/limitations to that rule coming later.

MLK was a pastor.  And he was married.  You don't think he should have adhered to "high" moral standards?

In any event, this is sort of beyond the point.  I am not excusing or minimizing MLK's marital infidelity.  I am, instead, suggesting that MLK is a highly venerated person because of his worthwhile efforts in Civil Rights, and that perhaps our collective and individual assessment of the man ought to be based on the entirety of his life, not just his sins and omissions.

I am also suggesting that we take this same broad perspective when evaluating the lives of past (and even present) leaders of the Church.

I agree.  Corianton was preaching a true message, but his hypocrisy (his sins with Isabel) had the effect of undermining the credibility of that message in the eyes of the Zoramites.  That is a tragedy, to be sure, but Corianton's hypocrisy and sin did not negate the truthfulness of his message.

Thanks,

-Smac

I will respond in short that I think, in the end, we both follow similar approaches to the gospel in our personal lives.  Publicly, you take more of a defensive role than I do and are always careful to qualify and counter-balance everything, and that is fine.  It is good to contextualize things and look at nuances and the broader picture in defending the church. I am often left feeling however, that in defense of the church people's perspectives of their own personal experience in the church are often invalidated.  The church/brethren didn't really mean that, it is your fault for seeing it that way, etc.  In other words, I often leave these discussions feeling like it is presumed that I am the problem, and the church has no accountability.  If I was an outlier in my experience and perspectives from being raised in the church, I might concede that the church probably has no accountability for how I ended up perceiving and believing, but I am not an outlier in this.  My family and home ward were not radical orthodox conservatives.  But we were orthodox and we were conservative, and we were black and white.  We were the norm.  When I tell you that I was raised to believe that I need to always place the teachings of the prophets above my own conscience and better judgment, that is true.  That is the belief and conviction that was instilled in my soul and has been the source of much trouble and pain in trying to recover from the fear in following my own conscience.  It did not come out of a vacuum, and perhaps there may be other ways to interpret the words I was taught, but that is what I walked away with.  Again, if I was an outlier, I would concede that the church might not have any accountability for how these perceptions were created. 

I want to clarify that my intent is not necessarily to point the finger and place blame.  I don't want to defame the brethren.  I just want to protect future generations from the same unecessary struggles and pain that I have experienced from being raised in the church.  No, I am not saying it has been all bad.  Not even close.  I cherish my experiences in the church.  All greatly value what I have received from the church.  I believe in the church, but I believe that much can be done differently.  I think it can be done better in some ways to prevent unnecessary disillusionment.  But only when we are willing to be vulnerable and let down our instinct to defend the way things have happened in the church, and defend the status quo of the way things have been.

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, JAHS said:

Last line. " Well we're safe now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley." 
Where things are still black and white. Leave the bowling alley to where the gospel and people are in all sorts of colors.

Aww, but I like bowling!

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2 hours ago, pogi said:

It seems like a hasty conclusion without actually considering the details of those other factors. You are just assuming that they must be the "cause" of one losing their testimony.   That is the first problem I perceive with your conclusion.  Second, it seems too simplistic and reductionist to try and pin loss of belief and faith on a single cause.  There can be several contributing factors, b&w thinking can be one of them. 

For example, you are just assuming, without reason, that the change in perspective/experience is not an experience of enlightenment and progression in spirit/light/truth.  

Another example, what if the change in perspective had to do with history of the church?  What if this new perspective of history is more accurate than what they understood before, but their b&w filter through which they interpret this new history causes them to fall into crisis mode? It is no longer perceived as white, therefore it must be black.  See you later church!  I think their b&w filter plays a significant role in their leaving. I have seen it happen more times than I care to. 

Belief is the fruit of how we interpret things, history, experience, and even the spirit.  The filters/lenses that we interpret the world through (b&w lens, for example) may work with primary level knowledge/experience, but may not work for some beyond that depending on their larger relative position/perspective.    

Hasty or not, I've been tracking along with the evolution of the thread from the original suggestion that people stop believing in the restoration when/because they stop thinking like children to the next idea that black-and-white thinking drives belief, to the next contradicting idea that black and white thinking drives disbelief, to the idea that black and white thinking, along with many other factors, drives disbelief. I objected to the first three premises, and the fourth is more consistent with why I object to them. The black and white filter is a convenient mental justification, pro or con, for someone's deeper spiritual state of belief. After all, it is "black and white thinking." I focus on belief on the restoration (with Christ at the center) as an example because it is so fundamental. All the "appending" beliefs -- alluding to Jospeh Smith's quote about the fundamental principles of our religion -- are just that, and black and white thinking does not drive which appendage or foundation we focus on. Even more so when dealing with lesser trappings, which are further removed from principle (or not attached at all).

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40 minutes ago, Danzo said:

Of course, Black/White Thinking can be highly useful at times. Anytime a salesperson comes by my office, I usually employ black/White thinking to send him on his way.  I also find black/white thinking becomes useful when driving (turn left or right).  Computer logic is a whole system based on off/on binary.

 

So I guess black/white thinking isn't always bad (or good).  Its a question of using the right tool for the job. 

Agreed.  It is relative.  In relation to the church though, the black/white model can be pretty dangerous in the internet age. 

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6 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Hasty or not, I've been tracking along with the evolution of the thread from the original suggestion that people stop believing in the restoration when/because they stop thinking like children to the next idea that black-and-white thinking drives belief, to the next contradicting idea that black and white thinking drives disbelief, to the idea that black and white thinking, along with many other factors, drives disbelief.  I objected to the first three premises, and the fourth is more consistent with why I object to them.

There are a lot of people commenting on this thread.  I never said the first.  The second is from my own personal experience.  Take it for what it is worth.  The the third is not a contradiction.  Neither is the fourth.  I NEVER said it is the soul driving force of belief/disbelief.  

6 minutes ago, CV75 said:

The black and white filter is a convenient mental justification, pro or con, for someone's deeper spiritual state of belief.

It is not a justification.  It is not a rational argument.  There is no argument in it, in and of itself to justify anything by.  It is just a filter that interprets information in a b&w way.    It is a filter by which we perceive and interpret the world through. 

6 minutes ago, CV75 said:

After all, it is "black and white thinking." I focus on belief on the restoration (with Christ at the center) as an example because it is so fundamental. All the "appending" beliefs -- alluding to Jospeh Smith's quote about the fundamental principles of our religion -- are just that, and black and white thinking does not drive which appendage or foundation we focus on. Even more so when dealing with lesser trappings, which are further removed from principle (or not attached at all).

It doesn't seem that we are going to see eye to eye on this and are starting to go in circles.  You can have the last word. 

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17 minutes ago, pogi said:

I will respond in short that I think, in the end, we both follow similar approaches to the gospel in our personal lives. 

It would seem so.

17 minutes ago, pogi said:

Publicly, you take more of a defensive role than I do and are always careful to qualify and counter-balance everything, and that is fine.  It is good to contextualize things and look at nuances and the broader picture in defending the church.

Yes.  I view the Church as a community.  As such, I think it is, in the main, a wonderful organization in form, in motive, in practice, in doctrine, and in practice.  It often catches way more flak, and is treated with far less respect and decency, than it deserves.  The Church has more than its share of critics and detractors, so I aspire to be one of its advocates and defenders.  

17 minutes ago, pogi said:

I am often left feeling however, that in defense of the church people's perspectives of their own personal experience in the church are often invalidated.  The church/brethren didn't really mean that, it is your fault for seeing it that way, etc.  In other words, I often leave these discussions feeling like it is presumed that I am the problem, and the church has no accountability.  

I'm not sure what this means.  We regularly acknowledge errors, shortcomings, etc. by the institutional Church and/or its constituent leaders and members.  I can't speak as to generalities about how you feel, as I think I would need to review my remarks in a particular context.

As for the Church having "no accountability," I don't know what this means.  Collective guilt?  Respondeat superior?  Legal accountability?  Moral?  Accountable to whom?

17 minutes ago, pogi said:

If I was an outlier in my experience and perspectives from being raised in the church, I might concede that the church probably has no accountability for how I ended up perceiving and believing, but I am not an outlier in this.

I am not following.  What do you mean by "accountability?"  What is the context?

By way of example: I grew up in northern Utah County.  Subjectively, I had a fair-to-so-so experience growing up in the Church.  It's hard to say, really, as I don't really have a frame of reference for how my childhood would have been like in other circumstances.  However, with a bit more objective retrospection, I think I had things really well.  I grew up in America.  In an intact family.  My dad worked hard, my Mom was a stay-at-homer and kept the home fires burning.  I was in a big family, so finances were always tight and particularized attention was sometimes wanting.  I took up music and debate and a few other hobbies.  My neighborhood was heavily Latter-day Saint.  No shortage of problems and challenges and individual failings and trials, but I nothing like a systemic or wide-ranging dysfunction.  Neighbors were generally attentive and kind to each other.   My home life was generally safe and stable.  My parents did not smoke or drink, and have been faithful to each other throughout their marriage.  They took us all to church, taught us sound principles, kept us fed and clothed, and in general did a very good job.  I grew up, avoided quite a few (but not all) of the self-inflicted problems to which teens often succumb.  Then I went into the Army, then on a mission, then returned and went to BYU, married there and started a family, went back there for a graduate degree, continued having kids, bought a house, and now I'm working, contributing to society, serving in the Church, loving and taking care of my wife and kids, and am a few years away from empty-nester-ness.

In hindsight, the fingerprints of the Church are all over my life.  My parents, siblings, and friends have been largely wonderful examples and teachers to me.  The orthopraxy of the Church, such as the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, the Law of Tithing, missionary and other forms of service, regular church and temple attendance, etc., have had an enormously beneficial impact on my life.  I am strongly committed to my wife and my children because of the doctrinal/social/moral framework of the Restored Gospel.  My desire to work hard and provide for my family, to obey and uphold the law, to meaningfully contribute to society, etc., also come from this framework.

Yes, there have been some downsides and challenges to being a member of the Church, most of which are, frankly, attributable to either misconduct by individuals, or to negligence by the institutional church, or to my own foibles and failings, or some combination of these.  I'm not really interested in parsing out and allocating fault.  Such an adjudication would likely be too subjective and speculative.  Meanwhile, I really think "the Church" is doing a good job of improving itself, its policies and practices, etc.  I think it deserves credit for that.  And if and when I see some sort of structural or systemic challenge or defect or dysfunction, I'm more inclined to work with the Church than publicly act against and criticize it about such things. 

17 minutes ago, pogi said:

My family and home ward were not radical orthodox conservatives.  But we were orthodox and we were conservative, and we were black and white.  We were the norm.  When I tell you that I was raised to believe that I need to always place the teachings of the prophets above my own conscience and better judgment, that is true. 

I can't speak to the "above my own conscience and better judgment" part.  I don't recall ever encountering such a thing.

17 minutes ago, pogi said:

That is the belief and conviction that was instilled in my soul and has been the source of much trouble and pain in trying to recover from the fear in following my own conscience.  It did not come out of a vacuum, and perhaps there may be other ways to interpret the words I was taught, but that is what I walked away with.  Again, if I was an outlier, I would concede that the church might not have any accountability for how these perceptions were created. 

I still don't know what you mean by "accountability," or what you want to do regarding it.  

17 minutes ago, pogi said:

I want to clarify that my intent is not necessarily to point the finger and place blame.  I don't want to defame the brethren.  I just want to protect future generations from the same unecessary struggles and pain that I have experienced from being raised in the church. 

Could you elaborate on what you mean by "protect future generations"?  What do you have in mind?

17 minutes ago, pogi said:

No, I am not saying it has been all bad.  Not even close.  I cherish my experiences in the church.  All greatly value what I have received from the church.  I believe in the church, but I believe that much can be done differently.  It can be done better. 

Well, I'm certainly willing to listen to what you have to say.

I have a person in my life whom I greatly admire.  She is very smart, very capable, very astute.  She joined the Church as a young adult, and later came to work for the Church and had a hand in proposing policy changes, some few of which have actually since been implemented.  The lion's share of her ideas, however, have not been.  It is my understanding that this has caused her some anger, even to the extent of damaging her relationship with the Church (she no longer works there).  We have never directly addressed these things, and she has never solicited my opinion, so I have never offered it.  If she had, I would have encouraged her to "take the wins."  Some of her ideas were passed up and implemented.  Most were not.  That's the way large organizations and institutions always work.  Some bad ideas are implemented or retained, and some good ideas are dismantled or never given a real change in the first place.  There are judgment calls to be made all the time, and sometimes the decisionmakers are not the best ones suited for the job.  C'est la vie.  Meanwhile, however, the Church really seems to bare e trying to be what it claims to be, and it is succeeding in many ways.  I think that deserves some attention.  

Anyone who has served in the Armed Forces can attest to the endemic inefficiencies in pretty much everything.  "Hurry up and wait" is a daily occurrence.  To be sure, there is some structural "inertia" at play, but there are also "method to the madness" elements as well.  In many ways, I think such inefficiencies are an innate characteristic of a huge organization trying to do huge things. 

17 minutes ago, pogi said:

But only when we are willing to be vulnerable and let down our instinct to defend the way things have happened in the church, and defend the status quo of the way things have been.

I not sure I spend much time "defend{ing} the way things have happened in the church," and I certainly agree that the Church has room for improvement.

I really want the Church to succeed.  I want it to endure and grow and improve.  

17 minutes ago, pogi said:

You seem to attribute less accountability to the church for potentially damaging perceptions that lead to dangerous disillusionment that I have highlighted. 

I still don't know what you mean by "accountability."  

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

There are a lot of people commenting on this thread.  I never said the first.  The second is from my own personal experience.  Take it for what it is worth.  The the third is not a contradiction.  Neither is the fourth.  I NEVER said it is the soul driving force of belief/disbelief.  

It is not a justification.  It is not a rational argument.  There is no argument in it, in and of itself to justify anything by.  It is just a filter that interprets information in a b&w way.    It is a filter by which we perceive and interpret the world through. 

It doesn't seem that we are going to see eye to eye on this and are starting to go in circles.  You can have the last word. 

As I said, I’ve been engaged with the various premises I listed. I understood you to have postulated that many factors in combination with it drive belief. A finer point, black-and-white is not a filter but a pattern of thinking in extremes or absolutes; filtering is a separate thought pattern. People can have multiple. But these ways in which we think are how we address (justify or refute) religious and spiritual belief and disbelief. Changing the way we think only changes our mode of justification, not our belief, and my point is, the deeper our belief in the restoration, the less likely it is to be refuted by means of any thought pattern.

This is not to say that healthy thought patterns, which also are used to justify and refute belief, should not be sought after in the pursuit of a happier life.

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On 1/23/2023 at 4:36 PM, Craig Speechly said:

By today's standards,  Mark E. Peterson was a racist & white supremacist as were many of his peers and many of his generation.  Judge him by the standards of his day not by our enlighten standards.  

Is it to much to expect that men who claim to be apostles, prophets, seers and revelators to be a bit above their peers. If they are teaching things that are so egregious and teaching it from the pulpit it is no surprise that their adherents who are listening give it much credence.  Why would not God, who supposedly leads them somehow get a message to them that what they are saying is bad.  If they are just like everyone else and can get so much wrong why bother to give credence to what they say?

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