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


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On 1/23/2023 at 4:47 PM, Amulek said:

If one can't bring oneself to sustain President Nelson as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator because some guy who was born in 1900 (and has been dead for nearly 40 years now) once said something objectionable in a talk given 50+ years ago, and that - because of this talk (by some other guy, mind you) - that somehow means one suspects President Nelson of currently being a closet racists, then...okay. Don't sustain him, I guess.

That seems like kind of a stretch to me, but whatevs. :unknw:

 

I see you cannot grasp the issue.  One wonders what things President Nelson says today might be ignored and tossed away 50 years from now.  Seems pretty common for the church to do this.

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On 1/23/2023 at 4:58 PM, pogi said:

I don't think that is what he is saying in regard to Peterson.   But in regards to President Oaks, who is next in line to be President of the church, that is his valid concern.   

I don't think President Oaks currently holds those views based on the current direction of the church, but I must admit, I don't know his personal opinions on the current direction of the church in that regard.  I think he has likely changed with the church, but I can understand why he might be concerned.   

Again, there is no way he is the only person who has similar concerns.  It is worth taking this stuff seriously and trying to understand so that we can avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and lost faith. 

 

Well for me this is one of the reasons why I find the idea of giving heed to the words of church leaders much credence. When LDS scriptures say that their words are the same as the Lord's, when they constantly repeat that we need to follow what they say, when they teach the conference issue of the Ensign is like scripture, when you have things like Benson's 14 fundamentals of a prophet, which is about as close as you can get to a dogma of infallibility, yet they get a lot wrong, and the church remains silent on such things, then why should I live my life by what they say?  I read in the recent Bio of President Kimball by his son the  President  Kimball was not happy with Benson's 14 point talk.  I never knew that.  Why did he not repudiate it then?  Why?  And it has been cited in recent conferences. 

So yea this ended up, among many other things, as being a big issue for me.

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20 minutes ago, Teancum said:

I see you cannot grasp the issue.  One wonders what things President Nelson says today might be ignored and tossed away 50 years from now.  Seems pretty common for the church to do this.

Seems to be the usual course of human events.

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15 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Well for me this is one of the reasons why I find the idea of giving heed to the words of church leaders much credence. When LDS scriptures say that their words are the same as the Lord's, when they constantly repeat that we need to follow what they say, when they teach the conference issue of the Ensign is like scripture, when you have things like Benson's 14 fundamentals of a prophet, which is about as close as you can get to a dogma of infallibility, yet they get a lot wrong, and the church remains silent on such things, then why should I live my life by what they say?  I read in the recent Bio of President Kimball by his son the  President  Kimball was not happy with Benson's 14 point talk.  I never knew that.  Why did he not repudiate it then?  Why?  And it has been cited in recent conferences. 

So yea this ended up, among many other things, as being a big issue for me.

Wouldn’t it be best just to ignore them?

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12 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Seems to be the usual course of human events.

I am quite fine judging the church by standards we use for the rest of humanity.  The leaders claim to be prophets, seer and revelators. Yet their track record is no better than any other human leaders.  Thus I treat what they say as thus. Thanks for confirming my position.

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

One wonders what things President Nelson says today might be ignored and tossed away 50 years from now.  Seems pretty common for the church to do this.

It's common because it's baked into the system and has been transparently acknowledged since the very beginning.

Here's George Q. Cannon in General Conference, 6 April 1879 (Journal of Discourses 20:25) --

Quote

I hope what I have said may be blessed to your profit. If I have said any unwise thing, forget it. If I have said any improper thing, I hope it will pass from your minds, and that which is good, cling to you.

Of course, the key has always been the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Here's Brigham Young in General Conference, 6 October 1855 (Journal of Discourses 3:8) --

Quote

Suppose that business which would prove injurious to this people should now be presented for them to decide upon, or suppose that the leaders of this people had forsaken the Lord and should introduce, through selfishness, that which would militate against the kingdom of God on the earth, that which would in the issue actually destroy this people, how are you going to detect the wrong and know it from the right? You cannot do it, unless you have the Spirit of the Lord. Do the people enjoy that Spirit? Yes, many of them do. Do they enjoy it in as great a degree as it is their privilege? A few of them do ...

Some may say, "Brethren, you who lead the Church, we have all confidence in you, we are not in the least afraid but what everything will go right under your superintendence; all the business matters will be transacted right; and if brother Brigham is satisfied with it, I am." I do not wish any Latter-day Saint in this world, nor in heaven, to be satisfied with anything I do, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the spirit of revelation, makes them satisfied. I wish them to know for themselves and understand for themselves, for this would strengthen the faith that is within them. Suppose that the people were heedless, that they manifested no concern with regard to the things of the kingdom of God, but threw the whole burden upon the leaders of the people, saying, "If the brethren who take charge of matters are satisfied, we are," this is not pleasing in the sight of the Lord.

 

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

These people you mentioned changed the world in which they lived, hopefully for the better.

I agree.  And they did this while also making some pretty serious mistakes.  

10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

They were not ordained by God to be the his mouthpiece here in this world.

I did not say they were.  But I think God worked through them to an extent anyway.

In any event, being ordained to a priesthood office does not make a person immune from making mistakes.

10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

Would I ever take Dr. Kings advice regarding marriage? Nope.

Nor would I.  

But if you had the chance, would you listen to what he had to say about the importance of civil rights for black people?  I'll go out on a limb and say "yes." 

10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

My issue with bigoted leaders of the Church is that bigotedness is not in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Neither is judgmentalism.  Neither are all sorts of human frailties and weaknesses.

Save One, we all have flaws and sins.  We are all works in progress.  

10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

It doesn't matter what era you were raised in.

With respect, it most certainly does.  Context matters.  Avoiding presentism matters.  Mormon 9:31 matters.

Take a look at the Gospel Topics essays.  One of their primary functions is to help people living today contextualize the lives and actions of people living in very different times and very different circumstances.  

10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

The mouthpiece for the Lord should abide by "Love one another."

I agree.  "Should" being the operative word.

We all "should" obey every commandment with exactness, and yet we don't.  Hence the need for the Atonement.  Repentance.  Forgiveness.  Service.  Hard work.  General Authorities are not exempted from any of these failings, or any of these needs.  I don't think we ought to expressly or tacitly harbor expectations of infallibility.  

What are your thoughts about Jonah and his feelings about the Assyrians?  He was "the mouthpiece for the Lord," yet it's rather hard to attach "Love one another" to his views about the people of Nineveh.  And yet the Lord worked with and through him anyway.  

10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

If I was seeking advice about how to run a newspaper, maybe I would listen to Elder Petersen, but I will not listen to him on how to treat and think about my fellow man.

Really?  I can certainly see grounds for rejecting his views on race / racialism.  And since the Church has  disavowed and repudiated all such things, we are not called upon to listen to them.

What about other aspects of the Restored Gospel which Elder Petersen may have addressed?  Is the entirety of his tenure as a apostolic "Special Witness" nullified because he - as with most Americans of his era - harbored racist views?

10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

The words he used are hateful and disgusting, and they have infiltrated my home even to this day, thanks to a mother-in-law that shares "her" thoughts with my children. These are the same thoughts she learned from Leaders and people such as Elder Petersen. 

From the "Race and the Priesthood" essay:

Quote

In theology and practice, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces the universal human family. Latter-day Saint scripture and teachings affirm that God loves all of His children and makes salvation available to all. God created the many diverse races and ethnicities and esteems them all equally. As the Book of Mormon puts it, “all are alike unto God.”
...
Despite this modern reality, for much of its history—from the mid-1800s until 1978—the Church did not ordain men of black African descent to its 
priesthood or allow black men or women to participate in temple endowment or sealing ordinances.
...
Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in 
the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.
...
Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.

From "Racial and Cultural Prejudice":

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The gospel of Jesus Christ is for all of God’s children. The Book of Mormon teaches that the Lord invites “all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female” (2 Nephi 26:33). Our standing with God depends on our devotion to Him and His commandments, not on the color of our skin, our ethnicity, or other attributes.
...
Striving to follow the Savior’s teachings and example, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints condemns racial and cultural prejudice in any form. President Russell M. Nelson has taught: “The Creator of us all calls on each of us to abandon attitudes of prejudice against any group of God’s children. Any of us who has prejudice toward another race needs to repent!” (in “
President Nelson Shares Social Post about Racism and Calls for Respect for Human Dignity,” June 1, 2020, newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).

President Nelson also taught that Church members should “lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice. I plead with you,” he said, “to promote respect for all of God’s children” (“Let God Prevail,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2020, 94). When we understand “the true Fatherhood of God, … that understanding inspires us with passionate desire to build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of segregation” (in “‘All Are Equal,’ Prophet Proclaims at ‘Be One’ Celebration,” Church News, June 1, 2018; see also General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints38.6.14).

From "What is the Church’s stance on racism?":

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We believe that God is the Father of all humankind and that “he denieth none that come unto him, [both] black and white … ; and all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33). Because all people are equal before God, we believe that no person can rightly claim to be superior to another because of their racial or ethnic background. In addition, we believe that it is sinful to look down upon, denigrate, or discriminate against others because of their race.

Modern prophets and apostles have condemned racism in the strongest possible terms. For instance:

  • President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008): “No man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ.

  • President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism.”

  • President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency: “Racism is probably the most familiar source of prejudice today, and we are all called to repent of that.”

From "Church Releases Statement Condemning White Supremacist Attitudes":

Quote

The Church released a statement August 13 decrying racism and calling for peace and compassion after one person was killed and more than a dozen injured when a car slammed into a throng of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a white nationalist rally on Saturday, August 12.

On August 15, the Church offered the following additional statement:

“It has been called to our attention that there are some among the various pro-white and white supremacy communities who assert that the Church is neutral toward or in support of their views. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the New Testament, Jesus said: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’ (Matthew 22:37–39). The Book of Mormon teaches ‘all are alike unto God’” (2 Nephi 26:33).

White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful, and we condemn them. Church members who promote or pursue a ‘white culture’ or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church.

From "Race and the Church: All Are Alike Unto God": 

Quote

People of all races have always been welcomed and baptized into the Church since its beginning. In fact, by the end of his life in 1844 Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opposed slavery. During this time some black males were ordained to the priesthood. At some point the Church stopped ordaining male members of African descent, although there were a few exceptions. It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church, but it has ended. Church leaders sought divine guidance regarding the issue and more than three decades ago extended the priesthood to all worthy male members. The Church immediately began ordaining members to priesthood offices wherever they attended throughout the world. (See also: Race and the Priesthood)

The Church unequivocally condemns racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church. In 2006, then Church president Gordon B. Hinckley declared that “no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.”

Recently, the Church has also made the following statement on this subject:

“The origins of priesthood availability are not entirely clear. Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometimes cited in publications. These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine.”

You seem to be suggesting that your (presumably) Latter-day Saint mother-in-law is sharing racist comments with your children.  If I am understanding you correctly, I am very sorry to hear that.  She is not acting in harmony with the teachings of the Church.

10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:
Quote

And it's special pleading.  And a non sequitur.  Nobody says things like "Martin Luther King, Jr. cheated on his wife, therefore I reject the totality of his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement."

Um, people do say this, fairly frequently these days.

Really?  CFR, then.  I'd like to see these fairly frequent comments.

10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

The position of Elder or President of the Church , and the process to become such, is incredibly different than the historical figures you mention.

Yes.  But so what?  Does that process make them infallible?  Immune from any flaw?  Does it immediately and permanently leech of them every error in thought and word and deed?

What are you saying here?  

10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

No one had to listen to any of them, people chose to listen/follow them. As members of the Church, titles and positions have meaning and we are all taught to listen and respect them. It almost feels like this part of your argument is a non sequitur... 

Not sure what you are saying here, either.

10 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

I have a pretty low standard of what I expect out of my Church leaders, don't be bigot. 

So you say.  In 2023.  With all sorts of beneficial hindsights and social/cultural changes.  

Again, what are your thoughts about Jonah?  He was, it seems, a "bigot" relative to the Assyrians.  And yet the Lord worked with and through him anyway.  Why do you think that happened?

And if the Lord could worth with and through Jonah despite his flaws, could He not also have worked in and through . . . Mark E. Petersen (and Delbert Stapley, and Brigham Young, and many more)?

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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12 hours ago, Snodgrassian said:

My issue with bigoted leaders of the Church is that bigotedness is not in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter what era you were raised in. The mouthpiece for the Lord should abide by "Love one another." 

It doesn't matter what era you were raised in? Really?

  • It doesn't matter that the priesthood ban had been in place for almost half a century when Mark E. Petersen was born?
     
  • It doesn't matter that he was indoctrinated in a racist ideology from a young age? That prophets and apostles since the 1840s had taught that Black people belonged to a cursed lineage and were ineligible for priesthood blessings? That the scriptures equated dark skin with divine disfavor and declared that Ham's lineage "could not have the right of Priesthood"?
     
  • It doesn't matter that the Sunday School manual in 1935 contained study questions like, “How do we know the negro is descended from Cain through Ham?” “Name any great leaders this race has produced” and “Discuss the truth of the statement in the text, p. 101, that Cain ‘became the father of an inferior race’”?
     
  • It doesn't matter that the First Presidency issued a statement in 1949 declaring the priesthood restriction a "direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization"? 

Petersen's comments in 1954 were absolutely mainstream in the Church. He was not some particularly bigoted outlier.

As for abiding by "Love one another," what do you make of this?

Quote

In 1955, . . . [Joseph Fielding Smith] proposed a program to the First Presidency to better meet the needs of Black Latter-day Saints in the Salt Lake Valley. He recommended that “all the Negro members in the [Salt Lake] area be organized into a unit and made a part of one of the stakes of Zion.” He envisioned that it would act as “an independent unit which would function somewhat the same as the Deaf Branch or the Spanish-American Branch.” Of the “144 Negroes in this area,” Smith explained, “very few of them are active, undoubtedly because the church has not met their needs.” The following year, he instructed apostle Mark E. Petersen to hold “Cottage Meetings in Negro homes for the purpose of finding out why so few Negroes belonged to the Mormon Church.” On instructions from Smith, his file leader, Petersen promised Black Latter-day Saints that the Church “would build them a chapel of their own where they could worship themselves” if they remained loyal to the Church. (Harris, "Joseph Fielding Smith's Evolving Views on Race," 31–32).

Is this the behavior of a hateful bigot? To meet with Black Latter-day Saints in their homes to listen to their concerns?

And should Brent Metcalfe's positive assessment of Mark E. Petersen, based on his personal interactions with him, count for anything? Metcalfe met many General Authorities when he worked in the Church security department in the early 1980s and had also had many General Authorities visit his home due to his dad's position in the Church. Metcalfe states: "Mark E. Petersen was probably one of the most cordial, down-to-earth apostles I ever met" (Part 1, starting at 38:22; story starts at 35:55).

The views Petersen expressed in 1954 had everything to do with the era he was raised in in the Church (and were shared by all Church presidents up to Spencer W. Kimball and nearly all of the apostles—Hugh B. Brown being the only exception that I know of). 

Edited by Nevo
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4 hours ago, Teancum said:

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?

I'm guessing that the church couldn't go on without the leadership.

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10 hours ago, Calm said:

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):

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

Thank you for clarifying that you were only speaking of people’s perceptions and not making a definitive pronouncement that "apostles and other church leaders believed some very wrong things and even taught them consistently.” 

This is the very point I was trying to get at. Whether or not what past apostles and other church leaders believed and consistently taught was "very wrong" is really a matter of individual perception. I doubt that there is a consensus on single consistent teaching of past apostles and church leaders being "very wrong." There are definitely past teachings that many people today will claim were "very wrong," but not everyone agrees. And ultimately right and wrong is determined by God and not peoples' perceptions, which are heavily influenced by the societal norms they live in, and therefore very subjective. 

So we need to be very careful in making definitive declarations of "very wrong" teachings having been consistently taught by apostles and other church leaders. 

As for people’s perceptions, I believe that we should be sensitive and understanding. But I also don’t think that we need to apologize or change our teachings based on people’s perceptions. I consider that to be very slippery slope. 

Instead I think the approach of Elder Holland you quoted is sound. He didn’t apologize for past teachings, nor did he say they were false. Instead he said that we shouldn’t teach some of them unless we have a lot more knowledge on the subject. Basically, Elder Holland said that we’re simply not going to talk about it anymore and let everyone reach their own conclusions. 

I think that this approach is sensitive to the perceptions of many people today, without throwing past leaders under the bus or risking teaching false doctrine in order to appeal to the current philosophies of man. 

 

Edited by Grug the Neanderthal
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On 1/25/2023 at 2:49 PM, John L said:

What's hate speech? Seriously,  please explain.

The U.N. definition is fine by me: https://www.un.org/en/hate-speech/understanding-hate-speech/what-is-hate-speech

My opinion, which I accept may be wrong but which remains my view, is that Church leaders who adopt a position of having a mandate from God to guide a community on specific (or all) matters (on the basis that God is all truth and unchangeable, and, ipso facto, their message is too) — and who make public, punitive statements that are subsequently overturned and therefore not at all like the attributes of God — will someday be held accountable for any collateral damage arising from those statements. To mitigate the potential for further damage, I believe it would be appropriate for some form of balancing retraction to be made in respect of said comments; not simply changing the tune for the sake of convenience or credibility. If not, I could imagine God ultimately saying, "What have you done in my name?"

That's about the sum of it.

When values change and former messages begin to sound overzealous, uncharitable, prejudiced, or simply wrong, I believe the First Presidency has a moral duty to "do the needful," as IT personnel from India are wont to say, and make it clear that these are no longer teachings espoused by the Lord's church. They won't do it, of course, because it would undermine their own legitimacy. People would say, "Why should I believe you? I believed them, and we now consider them to have been wrong."

The world is full of Christians who state "eye for an eye" without the vaguest notion that Christ fulfilled the Mosaic Law. "But it's in the Bible, innit guv?"

I'd really like to see an online database of disavowed teachings by general authorities — with an overarching acknowledgement that some individuals may have been harmed by those teachings despite their being made in good "conscience," and that we look to an ever brighter future in the hope that the grace of God will make all things right through the Atonement. Blah, blah, blah.

Edited by The Great Pretender
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On 1/25/2023 at 4:31 PM, Craig Speechly said:

Taking prophetic pronouncements with a grain of salt has helped. Church leaders are not super human, they do not wear a large "S" on their chest, they are just mortals doing what they believe is best at the time and often stumble in that attempt particularly when viewed through history.  Some prophetic pronouncements have not aged well.

PS: Both my grandparents immigrated from Nottingham and I still have cousins living there.  I love the UK and visit often.  In fact, I'll be back in April.

Fair point well made. Maybe I'm autistic or gullible, but my entire life has been based on the assumption that general authorities at all levels speak the words of God rather than the philosophies of men mingled with scripture — which, in turn, are the philosophies of other men mingled with the assertions of even fewer who claimed to wield authority from God. Perhaps it's all a massive distortion.

I have a testimony of something, but whatever I have always believed about general authorities seems to be heading for the trash.

In a ward conference I attended on Sunday, the two stake leadership speakers both laboured a point about there being no coincidences because God holds the minutiae of our lives in his hands and directs our paths. And then we learned yesterday morning that a well-loved, faithful sister in one of our wards died from injuries sustained in a car crash last week (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-64345995), leaving a husband and six children — the youngest of whom is 10 years old. Was that God's plan for her and her family? Some may believe that. To me, it is nonsense, especially when there are those who testify each first Sunday of the month that they prayed to find their missing car keys, and the Lord led them to the precise location. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord. It seems to me that leaders and individuals at all levels preach their hopes and aspirations as truth from the pulpit every week, and we are easily convinced. I'm left trying to figure out how much of my belief set is contrived bunkum. I have no plans to abandon my faith; I'm simply wondering how much of it is an exhausting fabrication.

Edited by The Great Pretender
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On 1/25/2023 at 5:15 PM, smac97 said:

I think the conversation would be more productive if you responded to the points I have raised instead of sidestepping them.

Thanks,

-Smac

So you are an attorney, huh? Quelle surprise.

I decided against answering your questions because I am suspicious of your motives, which seem to be to demonstrate how well you can dismantle an argument. That is part of your employment after all, is it not? My reason for posting wasn't about point scoring, it was to express dismay and bewilderment. I have no problem offering answers to any question you might pose (though my answers are unlikely to be the least bit interesting), but I suspect said answers would simply be turned against me. No one wishes to be made to look silly.

Edited by The Great Pretender
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13 hours 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. 

The church thrives on its members living a black/white life. Like teaching members that someone who drinks coffee is sinning and someone who doesn't is not sinning. There's no "gray" area for most members. That can be said for most of what is taught in the church. Like the word apostate. Once a member is seen as an apostate, a switch is flipped in the brain and the member is seen in a totally different perspective when members interact with him or her. We're taught to be that way because it makes us easier to control as a group. Take the word mormon for instance. One day it's used in the churches multi million dollar add campaign, the next day it's being condemned by the prophet. Most members have just accepted it and moved. 

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18 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I could pass, for the most part, as a Latter-day saint, minus my not being active. 

If you don't mind my asking, why do you frequent such a place as this? Are you hedging your bets? I rather suspect that if I became sufficiently disenfranchised to stop attending church that I would head in the opposite direction from where its members gather.

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8 hours ago, Nevo said:

It doesn't matter what era you were raised in? Really?

  • It doesn't matter that the priesthood ban had been in place for almost half a century when Mark E. Petersen was born?
     
  • It doesn't matter that he was indoctrinated in a racist ideology from a young age? That prophets and apostles since the 1840s had taught that Black people belonged to a cursed lineage and were ineligible for priesthood blessings? That the scriptures equated dark skin with divine disfavor and declared that Ham's lineage "could not have the right of Priesthood"?
     
  • It doesn't matter that the Sunday School manual in 1935 contained study questions like, “How do we know the negro is descended from Cain through Ham?” “Name any great leaders this race has produced” and “Discuss the truth of the statement in the text, p. 101, that Cain ‘became the father of an inferior race’”?
     
  • It doesn't matter that the First Presidency issued a statement in 1949 declaring the priesthood restriction a "direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization"? 

Petersen's comments in 1954 were absolutely mainstream in the Church. He was not some particularly bigoted outlier.

As for abiding by "Love one another," what do you make of this?

Is this the behavior of a hateful bigot? To meet with Black Latter-day Saints in their homes to listen to their concerns?

And should Brent Metcalfe's positive assessment of Mark E. Petersen, based on his personal interactions with him, count for anything? Metcalfe met many General Authorities when he worked in the Church security department in the early 1980s and had also had many General Authorities visit his home due to his dad's position in the Church. Metcalfe states: "Mark E. Petersen was probably one of the most cordial, down-to-earth apostles I ever met" (Part 1, starting at 38:22; story starts at 35:55).

The views Petersen expressed in 1954 had everything to do with the era he was raised in in the Church (and were shared by all Church presidents up to Spencer W. Kimball and nearly all of the apostles—Hugh B. Brown being the only exception that I know of). 

All that is true but I think rather than excuse Peterson's behavior it is an indictment of past leadership in general, who allowed/encouraged such thinking. It may be easier to blame an outlier than it is to condemn the entire group in this regard.

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14 minutes ago, The Great Pretender said:

If you don't mind my asking, why do you frequent such a place as this? Are you hedging your bets? I rather suspect that if I became sufficiently disenfranchised to stop attending church that I would head in the opposite direction from where its members gather.

Why do you assume that only active members gather here?

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43 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Why do you assume that only active members gather here?

Good question. Because I don't make a habit of hanging around social media platforms in general. I guess if I were to conclude that the Church is untrue or I no longer wanted to live by its precepts, I'd close that chapter of my life and find new interests. I certainly wouldn't hang around arguing with members to justify my position. That, to me, seems like miserable ground to occupy.

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9 hours ago, Nevo said:

It doesn't matter what era you were raised in? Really?

  • It doesn't matter that the priesthood ban had been in place for almost half a century when Mark E. Petersen was born?
     
  • It doesn't matter that he was indoctrinated in a racist ideology from a young age? That prophets and apostles since the 1840s had taught that Black people belonged to a cursed lineage and were ineligible for priesthood blessings? That the scriptures equated dark skin with divine disfavor and declared that Ham's lineage "could not have the right of Priesthood"?
     
  • It doesn't matter that the Sunday School manual in 1935 contained study questions like, “How do we know the negro is descended from Cain through Ham?” “Name any great leaders this race has produced” and “Discuss the truth of the statement in the text, p. 101, that Cain ‘became the father of an inferior race’”?
     
  • It doesn't matter that the First Presidency issued a statement in 1949 declaring the priesthood restriction a "direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization"? 

Petersen's comments in 1954 were absolutely mainstream in the Church. He was not some particularly bigoted outlier.

 

9 hours ago, Grug the Neanderthal said:

Whether or not what past apostles and other church leaders believed and consistently taught was "very wrong" is really a matter of individual perception. I doubt that there is a consensus on single consistent teaching of past apostles and church leaders being "very wrong." There are definitely past teachings that many people today will claim were "very wrong," but not everyone agrees. And ultimately right and wrong is determined by God and not peoples' perceptions, which are heavily influenced by the societal norms they live in, and therefore very subjective.

To summarize, then, we believe that God bends and fudges morality based on the mainstream teachings of the church, and/or the beliefs of broader society, and/or personal perceptions. Personally, I find that hard to believe, but it seems to be a common belief. Perhaps before we can come to a consensus on what errors past prophets, apostles, and people might have made, first we need to come to some consensus about how bendable morality is.

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13 hours ago, Teancum said:

Ignore them?  Ignore who? The LDS leaders? I do. For good reason.

But you appear to be obsessed with them here. 

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