Individualization

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
Shell
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Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 06:15

Individualization

Post by Shell » 27 Aug 2018, 10:52

Newest member here, If you haven't ready my intro, it may be worth it to get a little perspective on my question. But as they say, you can do you. :lol: I'll give a little bit here though that I hope is pertinent. For the sake of ease, when I say that I realized something or think something, I don't mean it as a definitive qualifier for everyone. It's just my opinion.

My biggest break happened while reading a conference talk from Oaks about the two lines of communication. I realized in that talk that I was being told that I was only worthy of personal revelation if I submitted to priesthood revelation on everything but the personal stuff. That's huge to me. So if I don't see it their way, I'm not even worthy... seemed odd to be. Seemed a little manipulative. As a father, I cannot imagine ever abandoning my children, especially when they are confused and seemingly need me the most. I believe in a God like that. Yes he is God, but I cannot imagine every time his kiddos slip up (which he knows is going to happen with every one of us) he would abandon them and see them as not even worthy for his guidance. I still see him as seeing himself as a father, which I would assume based on my experience is one of his most treasured titles.

I seem to be dealing with a much larger question, as I'm sure a lot of you are, than just if the church is true. I have very few beliefs that I have concluded on. One of my beliefs is that spirituality is so individualized that we will never find another person who is the same in every aspect. I believe that any choice made in faith can be correct, but may only be correct for that individual. I believe God made us all different visually, so that we could see that we are all different spiritually. I'd be interested to hear some other thoughts.

I have an idea of how to, maybe, look at that talk and see a way around it. What if my personal revelation is valid, so long as it fits in some way with priesthood revelation. Maybe I don't have to agree 100% in every aspect, just be able to see what they are saying. Maybe what God means is that we should come to him asking for guidance on priesthood revelation so that he can build us up. Maybe Oaks just got it a little confused. I'm not sure, just my rambling thoughts.

AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Individualization

Post by AmyJ » 27 Aug 2018, 11:06

Shell wrote:
27 Aug 2018, 10:52
I have an idea of how to, maybe, look at that talk and see a way around it. What if my personal revelation is valid, so long as it fits in some way with priesthood revelation. Maybe I don't have to agree 100% in every aspect, just be able to see what they are saying. Maybe what God means is that we should come to him asking for guidance on priesthood revelation so that he can build us up.
We had that talk in the Pathways class I took earlier this year. The only way I got through it was using an analogy from Chieko Okazaki to illustrate how I rely on personal revelation - and that I don't expect it to look like everyone else's.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... s?lang=eng

As a woman, when it comes to family decisions, I encounter this dilemma whenever my husband and I aren't on the same page. My options are usually a) smile sweetly and explain my reasoning one more time, b) complete a mental cost-benefit analysis to see if going in a different direction really matters OR is a safe opportunity to learn from failure, c) insist on going back to the drawing board, or d) have a persistent, stubborn fuss about it.

But then, I am not the best person to talk about authority issues... :shock:

Shell
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Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 06:15

Re: Individualization

Post by Shell » 27 Aug 2018, 11:26

I liked that talk, thank you for sharing. I guess Elder Oaks is entitled to his opinion as well. Maybe it's just that, his spirituality, How he sees things.

As for the family thing, I don't know that kind of issue. From the day we got married, my wife and I decided things together. Some of the best decisions we have made have been contrary to what I initially thought was the right course.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Individualization

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Aug 2018, 11:35

Defining the line between what an organization is, does, teaches, and expects and what an organization's members are, can do, can say, and should expect is perhaps the most foundational and controversial aspect of individual identity within a communal structure. It isn't just religious; it applies just as much and just as centrally to any group of people, including a marriage and family.

At the heart, it is a question of who decides what to do and how to do it. It is an issue of authority.

In the end, all healthy human interaction requires compromise to some degree. Sometimes, that compromise is formal and mutual; sometimes, it is informal and unilateral. Most often, it is a complex combination of all of that.

For me, the effort is to live a balance where I can "be authentic" in such a way that I "do no harm" to others around me who are being their authentic selves in ways that do not harm me unduly - or harm me only in ways that I can handle without serious damage. The unique thing about the LDS Church is that the worst they can do is take away my formal membership - but, for example, they can't stop me from attending meetings and associating with the membership, unless I become bitter, argumentative, aggressive, etc. If I were to be excommunicated and continue attending and fellowshipping with the membership, as the same person I am now, it actually would reflect worse on the Church than if I remained a member - since everyone would see I hadn't changed a bit, and many would question my excommunication.

That actually has happened to me in my professional life. Twice, I have been forced to leave a job, once over unethical practices by the company and once because of a change in ideological focus within the top leadership that made me an inappropriate fit for my position. In each case, my departure made other employees question the organization, since they knew I was a good, loyal, successful employee and a good, honest, moral, diligent person. Each organization had the absolute right to want me gone. I understood and accepted that. It was difficult each time, but I was at peace knowing I had done my absolute best to make it work.

That is my objective within any organization: Be the best me possible **within the organization**, so it doesn't matter, in the end, what any organization does to me. Their actions won't change me, and everyone who knows me will see that simple fact.

I only will add that I actually like the Church's more recent focus on apostasy being limited to actively fighting the organization in ways that are public - meaning actively trying to pit others against the Church. Of course, local leadership roulette means some members get disciplined for nothing more than quiet disagreements, but the Church's standard is open battle. I understand and can respect that.
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

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dande48
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Re: Individualization

Post by dande48 » 27 Aug 2018, 11:47

Lol, but what if President Oaks didn't receive revelation for that talk, but only thought he did? ...

I think it'd be a rather cruel God, who would punish people for not believing everything that was said over the pulpit. Looking at Church history, modern leaders pretty strongly denounce the "Adam-God" theory (and many other doctrines) taught over-the-pulpit by Brigham Young. Sometimes, certain individuals get called to callings through "revelation", despite the fact that they had some grievous sin which would continue into their calling, and ultimately hurt many people. Sometimes, even members of the Q15 disagree with each on doctrinal matters (ex. Bruce R McConkie's "Mormon Doctrine", and evolutionary biology).

My point is, revelation isn't often cut and dry. Sometimes even the most well-intentioned, God fearing people will make mistakes and call them revelation. Sometimes, because we want all the answers and for everything to make perfect sense RIGHT NOW, we imagine up revelation where there is none. In the end, your relationship with Heavenly Father is between you and Him alone. It's your prerogative to do what you feel the Savior would have you do, and seek His inspiration. I think God would hold us all accountable, were we to follow any Church leader against our conscience, whether or not they turned out to be right. That does not seem like a very wise thing to do.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

AmyJ
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Re: Individualization

Post by AmyJ » 27 Aug 2018, 12:02

Shell wrote:
27 Aug 2018, 11:26
I liked that talk, thank you for sharing. I guess Elder Oaks is entitled to his opinion as well. Maybe it's just that, his spirituality, How he sees things.
One of the things I have learned in my current path is that everything is how someone perceives something.

I can see what President Oaks was trying to say when he was imparting part of his faith narrative - the way the process works for him and the principles that weave it together.

But he loses nothing and I lose nothing when I authorize myself to receive inspiration for circumstances I have jurisdiction in, and to request clarification from leadership and/or God as appropriate for the times when leaders say something that doesn't fit with my narrative and priorities.

At the end of the day, I'm the one who has the most to lose if the leadership inspiration doesn't work out. It's up to me to follow the best path I can see, and listen intently to those whom I perceive as wise and/or having authority of being worth listening to.

Shell
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Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 06:15

Re: Individualization

Post by Shell » 27 Aug 2018, 12:59

Curt, Thank you for your insights. I too can respect the churches stance on a variety of things much more now that I am working individual spirituality into my beliefs. I see what you are saying about it, ultimately, being an authority issue. Thank you.

Dande, I agree whole heartedly, or at least I think I do ha. Don't know what else to say other than thank you.

Amy, perception does seem to be crucial. I just really struggle to perceive that talk in what I am sure is the spirit of what Elder Oaks is saying. It's just so foreign to me as a father.

Again, thank you everyone.

AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Individualization

Post by AmyJ » 27 Aug 2018, 13:31

Shell wrote:
27 Aug 2018, 12:59
Amy, perception does seem to be crucial. I just really struggle to perceive that talk in what I am sure is the spirit of what Elder Oaks is saying. It's just so foreign to me as a father.
I can relate - I am not a fan of that talk in part for that reason.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Individualization

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Aug 2018, 13:44

She'll, I wrote on my personal blog in 2013 the following summary of a youth Sunday School lesson I led at that time. It is a recap of Elder Oaks' "Two Lines of Communication" talk. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but it is how I viewed the talk after reading it carefully and focusing only on what I thought the words actually said.

https://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/201 ... ncing.html
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

DoubtingTom
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Re: Individualization

Post by DoubtingTom » 27 Aug 2018, 14:23

I have many thoughts on this but I’ll keep this comment brief. Your personal relationship with God is between you and Him. Your ability to receive personal revelation for your life has nothing to do with “worthiness.”

I know for a fact that receiving revelation and having deeply meaningful spiritual experiences is not tied to being worthy or even to a belief in God. How do I know this? Because I (currently) don’t believe in God. And yet, even in my moments of quiet disbelief, I have continued to have profound experiences and deeply meaningful insights that are identical experientially to those when I was a “worthy” fully believing member.

So whether those sorts of revelations actually come from God through the Holy Ghost (as I used to see it) or there is a more naturalistic explanation that invokes what we currently know about human psychology and neuroscience (as I currently see it), it doesn’t particularly matter to me. I will believe what I currently believe and live according to what I feel right about and let those amazing and wonderful spiritual experiences happen as they will, without regards to my relationship to the church.

The church as an institution can decide how they want to distribute church authority and run their ship, but they cannot dictate the terms under which you experience your relationship with divinity. Whatever your beliefs or actions, that relationship is for you to experience and it is beautiful. There is danger in tying that personal relationship to your church relationship. From the church’s viewpoint it makes sense, but from a personal growth viewpoint that sort of attitude is damning to the soul.

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