I have a question.

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Heber13
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Heber13 » 19 Oct 2016, 12:21

Cnsl1 wrote:When we get people to do things because we make them believe "God" wants it, we can get them to do some pretty horrific things.
I believe that is the definition of "antichrist". Right?

Cnsl1...do you think there has been more "bad" done in the world in the name of God than there has been "good"? Should we throw out the baby with the bathwater?
Cnsl1 wrote: I just don't accept or like the idea of using God to justify actions that clearly hurt people
This is a good point. But...is there a difference based on intent? I would say Korihor is an example of someone trying justify actions with ideas (of course...he was not using God's justification but the opposite...but the same idea is at play). He knew what he was doing, and was using ideas to justify what he knew was wrong. People can use God in that way. And that is wrong.

Is it different when a person is trying to do what they think is right...and says God told them to do it. That isn't justification. It isn't really the same thing. Right? Or...how do you see it?

For example...is there a difference between these two things:
1) Joseph Smith is unsatisfied in his marriage, and starting to feel power feeding his ego, and wants young brides to feed his desire...and therefore gives "revelations" to start to justify polygamy;
vs.
2) Joseph is reading the Old Testament, and wants to know about concubines and how that is allowed, and feels God telling him to restore all things...if it was good for the prophet Abraham, Joseph should also restore this principle. He doesn't know how to do it....but he feels strongly God is telling him to live this law.

The outcome is 33 wives, some young women, some cover up at times, some manipulation to Emma, some mistakes, some repentance, some adoption in the sealing process, etc..

Does that outcome matter if it is rooted in #1 vs. #2?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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nibbler
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Re: I have a question.

Post by nibbler » 19 Oct 2016, 13:14

I'll continue the RSR conversation over in the book review thread:

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=7469
You can't just have your characters announce how they feel... that makes me feel ANGRY!
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Ann
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Ann » 19 Oct 2016, 15:32

Heber wrote:
But...is there a difference based on intent?
I don't think intent did anything to change the hurt. Why do you think we (the church as a whole, leaders, apologists,etc.) can't just let intent take the way, way, way backseat to result? It's still there as an issue, but the church treats it like the only one. The conversation revolves around Joseph.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

amateurparent
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Re: I have a question.

Post by amateurparent » 19 Oct 2016, 16:38

When someone goes to God and asks for inspiration and revelation, and then follows what they feel is an inspired path, I look for one very specific thing. Who is sacrificing and who is benefiting. The answer to that tells me many things. It mirrors the old "Follow The Money" adage.

If someone feels inspired to dedicate their time, talents, and their resources to a specific cause, I can respect and honor that. When that same person gives up nothing, but feels inspired to tell me that I should donate MY all to their cause, then I am suspicious.

Applying that to JS: if JS had felt inspired to promote polygamy, but never personally participated himself, he would have more credibility. If he had married Emma to other men to bring about pure spiritual sealings, it would be easier to believe that the practice was not about purely sexual relationships. If the marriages and sealings were to elderly widows and the infirm, JS would come across as a saint.

Unfortunately, the ages, the numbers, and the secrecy of the marriages all make it appear more self-serving than inspired.

If JS was trying to bring back all the things found in the OT, he could've started with dietary laws, laws about not mixing
textiles, and sabbath observation. Why jump straight to polygamy unless it was an attempt at self-justification.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

Minyan Man
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Minyan Man » 19 Oct 2016, 21:19

ap, excellent observation. I never considered that before. This will change the way I look at other issues that come up. Thank you.

Cnsl1
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Cnsl1 » 20 Oct 2016, 22:02

Heber13 wrote: Cnsl1...do you think there has been more "bad" done in the world in the name of God than there has been "good"? Should we throw out the baby with the bathwater?
(reply) That's a good question. I'm not suggesting throwing out anything good done in the name of God, I'm just questioning the goofy stuff, the things that just do not seem like good things to do. The stuff that most sane, rational people would frown on and say... "no, I don't think that's a good thing right there."
Heber13 wrote:
Cnsl1 wrote: I just don't accept or like the idea of using God to justify actions that clearly hurt people
This is a good point. But...is there a difference based on intent? I would say Korihor is an example of someone trying justify actions with ideas (of course...he was not using God's justification but the opposite...but the same idea is at play). He knew what he was doing, and was using ideas to justify what he knew was wrong. People can use God in that way. And that is wrong.

Is it different when a person is trying to do what they think is right...and says God told them to do it. That isn't justification. It isn't really the same thing. Right? Or...how do you see it?
(REPLY) I see it as a type of mental illness, frankly. I believe that most people doing awful things in the name of God really think they are fulfilling or performing God's will. I do not doubt their fervor or faith. I just think there is some craziness involved.
Heber13 wrote: For example...is there a difference between these two things:
1) Joseph Smith is unsatisfied in his marriage, and starting to feel power feeding his ego, and wants young brides to feed his desire...and therefore gives "revelations" to start to justify polygamy;
vs.
2) Joseph is reading the Old Testament, and wants to know about concubines and how that is allowed, and feels God telling him to restore all things...if it was good for the prophet Abraham, Joseph should also restore this principle. He doesn't know how to do it....but he feels strongly God is telling him to live this law.

The outcome is 33 wives, some young women, some cover up at times, some manipulation to Emma, some mistakes, some repentance, some adoption in the sealing process, etc..

Does that outcome matter if it is rooted in #1 vs. #2?
Well, obviously it seems worse if Joseph concocted the revelation to fulfill sexual and power needs and told everyone it was of God, but to the lives of those negatively affected by these policies, the motivation probably doesn't matter. Actually, it's probably worse for a woman caught in the mess to believe God is asking her to do something she might find repulsive, rather than find out it was just a horny dude with a power trip. It's easier to realign with God when you find out you've been duped, rather than force an alignment that goes completely against everything you feel is right. Just my thoughts.

For what it's worth, I don't know what Joseph's motivation was. I see evidence either way.

And I apologize that I don't know how to answer within quoted text.

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Shawn
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Shawn » 21 Oct 2016, 08:13

Bushman does present a lot of problematic things, but he seems to excuse Joseph Smith too much and ultimately lead the reader toward belief. This is from the "Marriage" section of chapter 25 of Rough Stone Rolling:
Before the marriage revelation, women were in the shadows in Joseph’s theology, implied but rarely recognized. Now they moved to the center….

The marriage revelation redressed the balance of the political and the familial, shifting emphasis from the corporate to the personal. While women gained by this shift, the revelation also relieved the loneliness and burden of male autonomy. Men would not become gods alone. Through the continuation of seed, husbands and wives passed by the angels and became gods together—and only together. Women—in partnership, not as individuals—were at last represented in Joseph’s theology….

The marriage revelation culminated the emergence of family theology. More than any previous revelation, this one put family first….

The revelation was about bonding, not dominance; its concern was to preserve family into eternity.
He seems to argue that the revelation on polygamy somehow benefited women and made families stronger.

By the way, I have Rough Stone Rolling in text format, so I can post any part of it if anyone is interested. I won't post all of it, of course.
Last edited by Shawn on 21 Oct 2016, 08:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Shawn
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Shawn » 21 Oct 2016, 08:25

This is also from the "Marriage" section of chapter 25 of Rough Stone Rolling:
We might expect that Joseph, the kind of dominant man who is thought to have strong libidinal urges, would betray his sexual drive in his talk and manner. Bred outside the rising genteel culture, he was not inhibited by Victorian prudery. But references to sexual pleasure are infrequent. Years later, William Law, Joseph’s counselor in the First Presidency, said he was shocked once to hear Joseph say one of his wives “afforded him great pleasure.” That report is one of the few, and the fact that it shocked Law suggests such comments were infrequent.
Bushman left out something important. Here is a more complete quote from William Law taken from The Law Interview, Salt Lake Daily Tribune, 31 July 1887:
Joseph was very free in his talk about his women. He told me one day of a certain girl and remarked, that she had given him more pleasure than any girl he had ever enjoyed. I told him it was horrible to talk like this.
The same man Bushman quotes to support the idea that "such comments were infrequent" actually said "Joseph was very free in his talk about his women."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 21 Oct 2016, 09:31

Bushman is a believer. It is that simple.

Yes, the post raises an important point about dangerous ideas - but it cuts across all lines: religious, political, social, familial, etc.

People justify what they want to do and/or believe they are supposed to do. We do it here. The key is attempting to recognize and acknowledge it and being open to changing our views in light of what we accept as evidence.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Ann
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Ann » 21 Oct 2016, 10:32

When divine command trumps all very good men - faithful, intelligent, believing men - feel bound to defend the past and can't distance themselves from the polygamous option because Joseph said God commanded it. Otherwise, I really think these same men would look at the situation with more empathy for their wives, apply the Golden Rule and guarantee monogamy*. The Bushmans are a case in point, and I say that with respect.

*not referring to widowers remarrying. That's different.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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