Strategies to Stay LDS: Word Parsing

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Heber13
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Re: Strategies to Stay LDS: Word Parsing

Post by Heber13 » 30 Nov 2009, 16:29

In my experience, some people like to parse words and challenge the meanings to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts, almost like a mental exercise.

Others are less patient and pretty much just take words at face value or generally accepted meanings or intent of meanings, and seem to avoid getting into prolonged discussions on things.

Perhaps there are different settings where parsing is advantageous and times when it is just too cumbersome for some people.

I tend towards parsing meanings more...though I'm not as good with words as you are MC.
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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MisterCurie
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Re: Strategies to Stay LDS: Word Parsing

Post by MisterCurie » 30 Nov 2009, 18:09

Is it better to parse in an attempt to arrive at a conclusion that is personally palatable (so that one can stay LDS), or to parse in an attempt to understand the original intent?

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Strategies to Stay LDS: Word Parsing

Post by Brian Johnston » 30 Nov 2009, 20:24

MisterCurie wrote:Is it better to parse in an attempt to arrive at a conclusion that is personally palatable (so that one can stay LDS), or to parse in an attempt to understand the original intent?
Hmmmm, great challenge. I think those are radically different goals, but both valid in all practicality. Parsing to adapt statements to what you need is a way to put ideas to use in your own context. Parsing to understand someone else's idea more deeply is also a valuable exercise. It has a different destination though.

I say this is apples and oranges. Can I pick "C: All of the Above"?
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Tom Haws
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Re: Strategies to Stay LDS: Word Parsing

Post by Tom Haws » 08 Dec 2009, 14:53

Parsing doesn't work for me. (At least that's what I am saying at the moment.)

Since my second conversion in 2003, my general attitude has been that most of the time words are not worth parsing. Maybe I have felt they are best enjoyed like fine art or avoided like grating violence. If Nephi's revelation to kill Laban offends me, why parse? I'm probably expressing in an extreme way how I have felt and lived, but the general idea has been that the meaning and the glory and the beauty of life and eternity transcend single words. Just be there or elsewhere and enjoy it.

I hope that doesn't ruin me as an engineer and computer programmer.

At the same time, the meaning of temple recommend questions has certainly changed for me in the past five years. And to me, it's more real and it's richer. Much, much richer.
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
----
Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

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Rix
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Re: Strategies to Stay LDS: Word Parsing

Post by Rix » 08 Dec 2009, 18:23

Not to offend anybody, but I really think "parsing" is/can be a way to justify to oneself something that may not make sense by altering the original author's meaning to something that is acceptable.

I think we Mormons have mastered this. For example, look at McConkie's teachings about the "Great and abomonable Church." It was clear what he meant, but we "parse" it to mean something that is more palatable to us today, rather than just saying, "he meant the Catholic Church, and he was wrong" (or, he was right?).

Language is an interesting thing. English especially! We have the same word for many different meanings...that allows us to parse more easily, I guess. But the original author had one thing in mind when he/she said something, and I think it is our ethical duty to attempt to repeat his words the way he intended and meant. I always get a kick out of somebody coming to me and saying "this is what you said, so I'm sure you meant (such and such)...when it wasn't what I meant at all!

:lol:
Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the
truth.] - Friedrich Nietzsche

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that. -- Joseph Campbell

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Strategies to Stay LDS: Word Parsing

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 Dec 2009, 19:53

Are there really members who claim that McConkie didn't mean Catholicism? I thought he made that crystal clear - then bowed to pressure from above to delete it in the 2nd edition. Since I believe he was wrong, I'm glad it got deleted, but I can't remember every hearing anyone claim he meant anything else.
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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Rix
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Re: Strategies to Stay LDS: Word Parsing

Post by Rix » 09 Dec 2009, 10:19

Ray Degraw wrote:Are there really members who claim that McConkie didn't mean Catholicism? I thought he made that crystal clear - then bowed to pressure from above to delete it in the 2nd edition. Since I believe he was wrong, I'm glad it got deleted, but I can't remember every hearing anyone claim he meant anything else.
I had a seminary teacher that taught (in the 70s) that McConkie "said" words that implied Catholicism, but that he really meant the entire Christian world, since every other church was an offshoot of the Catholic church.
Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the
truth.] - Friedrich Nietzsche

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that. -- Joseph Campbell

AmyJ
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Re: Strategies to Stay LDS: Word Parsing

Post by AmyJ » 09 Feb 2018, 13:30

Brian Johnston wrote:
29 Nov 2009, 19:07
I am not sure there is always a single meaning in what someone says, at least not so much in a religious context. That would assume that something is said by someone or through them (as in divine revelation) perfectly. The conversion from soul to mind to tongue isn't always a lossless conversion.

For example, how do you parse a passage of scripture that isn't clearly translated or that contains error? The NT is notorious for this.
One of the great pieces of wisdom I have gained in the last 6 months is to assume that the single meaning I am getting from a communication is incomplete and false - and that is OK. I can check/clarify for multiple meanings - even enjoy it at times.

Life became a lot easier for me when I could not longer submit to single meanings of anything scriptorial (between the prophetic viewpoint, translation/transmittal viewpoint, cultural viewpoint and religious basics, I am probably missing a lot of intended meaning) - a lot less black/white and a lot more watercolory...

Roy
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Re: Strategies to Stay LDS: Word Parsing

Post by Roy » 11 Feb 2018, 14:49

AmyJ wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 13:30
One of the great pieces of wisdom I have gained in the last 6 months is to assume that the single meaning I am getting from a communication is incomplete and false - and that is OK. I can check/clarify for multiple meanings - even enjoy it at times.

Life became a lot easier for me when I could not longer submit to single meanings of anything scriptorial (between the prophetic viewpoint, translation/transmittal viewpoint, cultural viewpoint and religious basics, I am probably missing a lot of intended meaning) - a lot less black/white and a lot more watercolory...
Amy, I like where you are going with this. In one of the other recent posts there was an analogy to an art museum. For me "revelation" and "spiritual expression" is much more like art than like science. Suppose we have a piece of cat art that has become iconic with multiple compelling schools of thought as to its meaning. It is one of those pieces that can "speak" at different metaphorical levels.

Suppose, someone went back in time and met the artist and asked him what his intention was in making the art. He responds that he was looking for a subject to paint and his neighbors cat wandered by. Would that make those "schools of thought" wrong? I believe that art can take on valid and even contradictory meanings beyond the creators specific intent.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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