A long post about deception...

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Heber13
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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by Heber13 » 12 May 2009, 09:19

From 'jmb275' and 'just me' raising some great points in the other thread about the book of mormon one liners and how the facts on the origin of the BOM from the church teachings are deceitful (correct me if the wording is not accurate, but that was the gist I got from the other thread), I posted this note:

I can see there have been things in church history the leaders have not brought to the public's eye, but I also think we live in an information age where we expect access to all information, good or bad. My grandfather who died of cancer had a different philosophy he lived by, and he would always draw my attention to the good things he was thankful for, and didn't want me dwelling on the controversial because it didn't help me. Certainly that point can be debated, but our generations see more value in that than older generations, IMO.

My question to the group is twofold:
1) Is my premise correct, that older generations tried to just focus on the good and not talk about the bad (not just church leaders but generations of society in general)?

2) If so, is our discussion on the decietfullness of the church leaders really a discusssion on generation gaps more than it is on integrity and honesty of church leaders past and present?
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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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 May 2009, 10:27

My grandfather lived through WWI and WWII - an age of intense, public propaganda. He was typical of his generation - and absolutely believed that some true things aren't worth mentioning. I agree totally that the post-Vietnam/post-Watergate era can be characterized as craving all information be disclosed, while the former eras can be characterized as viewing information as both positive and negative - as believing in protecting people from TMI. The simple existence of that phrase (too much information) is insightful, I believe.

Another example from my childhood:

I have described my mother's disability and my father's sacrifices to make sure she could function properly. Of relevance to this thread is the fact that he would not have dreamed of revealing her condition to anyone else. In order to protect and help her, it was critical to him that nobody see her negatively - so he "hid" her condition from everyone (including her children) and simply took on the role of father AND mother. That might have been seen as "deceitful" by others, but to him it simply was a case of avoiding TMI in order to protect someone he loved.

I don't want to say that my father and grandfather were right or wrong in how they viewed things and in everything they did. I just see their actions and appreciate the effort. I would have loved to know of my mom's condition much earlier than I did, but I understand my father's reasoning and honor his dedication to her - even as I wish he would have explained her condition to me personally and not waited for her second breakdown when it could not be hidden any more.
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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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by just me » 12 May 2009, 12:59

Interesting thoughts on the generation gap thing. We are always evloving so of course we are different today than 100 years ago.
I do think that loyalty was seen as more important than honesty (and full disclosure) in the past. Loyalty by itself is not a bad thing, however I see loyalty to something damaging as a bad thing. Allowing loyalty to blind us doesn't seem good to me.

I also think the 1800's were different from the 1900's in the church. In the 1800's I think there was more room for dissent and people did complain about things. In one conference BY told all the women they could either quit complaining (about polygamy) or they could all leave the valley (divorce). Thus we begin a trend where people suffer in silence, don't question authority, etc. I see polygamy as a big catalist for deception among our people.

I can look at our history and see it, understand why they did what they did, forgive them, etc. But the more important thing is to learn and not repeat what I believe were mistakes. Does that make any sense? I would want my children to look at my life and learn from my mistakes not glorify them and think they came from God. That is why I look at past and present racism, sexism, lies, etc and decide where I stand on it (does it bring us closer to Christ).

Because we seem to worship our prophets and treat their words like they are infallible we are in a dangerous spot. Many people will not say "the PH ban was racist" because they believe all the words of the prophet come from God-that was me. So instead they rationalize the racism. Now, I think those men were trying to do the best they could, but I believe they made a mistake.

The finances of the church were fully disclosed until the 1950's. Why did they stop? They still make a disclosure in the UK because it is the law. Guess what, less than 1% of money received is used for charity. Yet, the church is spending billions of dollars to beautify SLC. There are women in 3rd world countries who pawn their wedding rings to get a temple built! We tell poor people that 10% of all their income needs to be given to a church that is worth billions and billions of dollars. These people forgo basic needs to pay tithing. Of course they are darned if they do and darned if they don't with disclosure-but error on the side of transparency.

I guess my problem is that I still believe there are very real evils and injustices in this world. I'm also naiave enough to think we can make a difference. If we are filled with love and compassion how can we not?

D&C 64:38-40 says:
38 For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion.
39 And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known.
40 And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead.

How do we know if these men are being faithful in their stewardship if a disclosure isn't made?
Why do the brethren spend more time testifying of eachother than of Christ? Have you noticed this?

As you can tell I still have one foot in "question everything" mode. I'm really trying to figure out my responsiblility. Is it just to myself and my own journey or does it extend beyond my family? I'm truly sorry if I have offended anyone. These are just the issues churning in my heart and mind. Sorry for the novel. ;)
Most of us, sooner or later, find that at critical points in our lives we must strike out on our own to make a path where none exists.~Elaine Pagels

Ultimately, you are the path-the path begins and ends with you.~Stephan Bodian

He who think he knows, doesn’t know: He who knows he doesn’t know, knows.~Sanskrit proverb

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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by hawkgrrrl » 12 May 2009, 13:22

1) Is my premise correct, that older generations tried to just focus on the good and not talk about the bad (not just church leaders but generations of society in general)?
Not entirely true, but on the whole, the older generations are more invested in maintaining the status quo than in pushing for change. Why? Because most of their lifetime is behind them, the stauts quo was good enough for them (they are comfortable), and change is threatening to them. At best, they probably won't live long enough to experience the benefits; at worst, they will find it greatly disrupting to their lives and sense of morality.
2) If so, is our discussion on the decietfullness of the church leaders really a discusssion on generation gaps more than it is on integrity and honesty of church leaders past and present?
Actually Albert Nolan in Jesus Before Christianity suggested this very thing was the proper interpretation of Christ's statements that he would divide families. All the examples of divided families were generational splits. I think that's a key observation. Younger generations will interpret Jesus' teachings based on their own cultural views and desire for positive changes. Older generations will interpret Jesus' teachings based on their own cultural views and desire to maintain what experience has taught them to value.

In a gerontocracy-led church like ours, this is particularly an issue. But contrast that with some of these flighty young televangelical pastor led churches, and you can see that not all that glitters is gold. Both models have problems.

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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by Heber13 » 12 May 2009, 13:34

Both models have problems.

...and surely both models have advantages. Many anthropologists will argue the value of elderly in a community is to teach and remind the younger generations of the cultural values that have helped keep the community/society successful and avoid making the same mistakes forefathers have; And the natural course of progression requires change.

Perhaps the church does offer both advantages, holding on to a conservative resistance to changing values over time from the perspective of elders, yet allowing for change through modern revelations that allows the staunch faithful to accept change.
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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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 May 2009, 13:50

It's also interesting that the local Church functions a bit differently in the Wasatch corridor than outside it in one way that rarely gets mentioned and analyzed:

The global Church is led by older men - roughly speaking, 50 years old and up. The local Church in the Utah region tends to mirror this generally - as huge numbers of members leads to Bishops and Stake Presidents often being of the same general age. In areas where there are not such huge numbers of members, Bishops and Stake Presidents often are MUCH younger. In my stake, in a very established ward, there is a 33-year-old Bishop with counselors who are 36 and 29. In my home ward, the Bishop is in his mid-50's, and his counselors both have elementary school children at home. Our High Council has three members under 45 - two of whom are under 40 - all three of whom have elementary school children at home. That basic age range is not rare in areas like this.

What that means is that the global Church reflects what is being described as the "old stability" factor, while the local Church often reflects the "new innovation and cultural sensitivity" factor - a balance that keeps the overall Church very much open to change and progress, while being able to do so in a Jacob 5 (measured and careful) manner.

Again, this doesn't mean I think it works perfectly, but as a sociologist by nature and inclination, it really does fascinate me.
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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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by jmb275 » 14 May 2009, 22:19

Oh man, I don't look at the forum for 2 days and I've missed an awesome discussion. Okay, I really want to answer this so here I go, it will probably be long, so please bear with me.
Heber13 wrote:1) Is my premise correct, that older generations tried to just focus on the good and not talk about the bad (not just church leaders but generations of society in general)?
Very good thought and I agree with hawkgrrrl on this. I see this same mentality in my parents (60+). Loyalty is key for them. They support the war in Iraq, torture, wiretapping, etc. because they value (perceived) safety, loyalty, and traditional values. However, like hawkgrrrl said it's not completely accurate. Jung's personality tests identify the Guardian type personalities. These make up over 40% of the population and are characterized by these same traits, i.e. loyalty, obedience to rules, etc.
Heber13 wrote:2) If so, is our discussion on the decietfullness of the church leaders really a discusssion on generation gaps more than it is on integrity and honesty of church leaders past and present?
Yes, I don't really believe our leaders are knowingly deceiving us to be evil. I have never thought that. I think it is institutionalized deception in the form of what our church leaders and even our nation think - that is, that their prescribed method is the right one, and hence the means of achieving the end are less critical than the end itself. This is, as I've said before, a very Machiavellian attitude. But I see it in my dad, and the older generation. They figure as long as we all play by the rules we'll be okay and they can't figure out why not everyone wants to play by the rules since they seem to work so well for them. In the church sense, the leaders believe so strongly in the message that getting people onto the "straight and narrow" reigns supreme.

Obviously we have a slightly different opinion.
Heber13 wrote:...and surely both models have advantages. Many anthropologists will argue the value of elderly in a community is to teach and remind the younger generations of the cultural values that have helped keep the community/society successful and avoid making the same mistakes forefathers have; And the natural course of progression requires change.
Absolutely. See my post about a weird reason for me staying in the church that expresses my opinion along these lines. If we are in a homogeneous group we are almost guaranteed to make stupid decisions and not progress as people. There must be cognitive diversity, and independence. Unfortunately, our church tends toward homogeneity rather than diversity.

@just me
Awesome thoughts, I couldn't agree more. The 1800's church was much more open, democratic, and liberty oriented. In fact, Joseph himself was very progressive for his time in relation to blacks. It was BY, then culminating in Joseph Fielding Smith, and Bruce R. McConkie, and Ezra T. Benson that sealed our authoritarian fate. We are pushing back now, but it will be slow. Incidentally JFS was church historian for 50 years.
just me wrote:Because we seem to worship our prophets and treat their words like they are infallible we are in a dangerous spot.
Absolutely. For me, when I listen to conference I don the "filter." That is to say, what is said is immediately translated in my mind into reasonable things I can agree with, and accept without moving back into TBM land. I try to learn what I can from them without succumbing to the black and white attitude.
just me wrote:The finances of the church were fully disclosed until the 1950's. Why did they stop? They still make a disclosure in the UK because it is the law. Guess what, less than 1% of money received is used for charity. Yet, the church is spending billions of dollars to beautify SLC. There are women in 3rd world countries who pawn their wedding rings to get a temple built! We tell poor people that 10% of all their income needs to be given to a church that is worth billions and billions of dollars. These people forgo basic needs to pay tithing. Of course they are darned if they do and darned if they don't with disclosure-but error on the side of transparency.
Amen, amen. This is something that will probably bother me for a long time. I simply have decided I have to not worry so much about it (although now that I don't pay 10% of my gross, but interpret tithing as I want to, it doesn't bug me much anymore). I do not know their reasoning, but I believe strongly in openness and transparency, especially for a church who gets its income from its members.
just me wrote:How do we know if these men are being faithful in their stewardship if a disclosure isn't made?
We don't, this is the problem and you nailed it. This is exactly why openness, honesty, and transparency are so important. Then we remove all doubt. I believe that if there is a true church of God on earth it would exemplify the modern ideas of complete honesty and transparency. To do otherwise is to create doubt, I think.
just me wrote:Why do the brethren spend more time testifying of eachother than of Christ? Have you noticed this?
Yes, this bothers me a lot too. They do testify of Christ a lot (as I saw a word study on general conference by hawkgrrrl on Mormon Matters), but they almost always close with a testimony of the prophet, Christ, and restored Gospel. I think the primary reason is that they truly believe it. But a very important side affect is that it continues to breed the attitude you mentioned above about "worshipping our prophets." In fact, if one takes the view of affirming authority, and applies it to many different scenarios, one can easily get the impression that many decisions, and things are said to reaffirm that authority, or rather, to not undermine that authority. This may be generational as Heber13 indicated, or it could be a personality thing. In any case, the result for me is that the organization seems to be more important than the individuals.

For me this goes back to the importance of learning to choose, rather than simply making choices. The church, and any organization are most interested in helping its members make what they believe are the "right" choices. To me, learning to make good choices is of far more worth.

@Ray
I appreciate your comments. I would never attempt to pass judgment on your father. That is an intensely personal decision, and one I hope I don't ever have to make. I actually did live in a slightly similar situation. My mother has had chronic severe depression for basically her whole life. She attempted suicide on many accounts, and both me and my brother have saved her life. I believe my dad did do a little bit of repression of the truth in order to maintain appearances. I wear my emotions on my sleeve too much to keep things like that private, so my close friends all knew. I think many in the neighborhood knew there were problems, but they didn't know the extent. At some level, this is simply keeping personal information personal. This is a far cry different than the church allowing people to continue to make decisions that they otherwise may not make if they had access to the truth from a source they trust. For me, I continue to think it is deception, but I am no longer upset about it, and I do not blame the leaders.
I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women--all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there.
- Joseph Smith, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 304)

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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by Heber13 » 17 May 2009, 21:09

In looking through materials on another subject, I came across this point from Elder Haight that then struck me about this conversation thread on deception of church leaders...
“The object, of course, is not merely to hold a meeting of the required length but to plan and execute each one in a way that will provide the spiritual uplift and the sound doctrinal teaching which the Church members need in these critical times. Toward this end, speakers should be urged to relate faith-promoting experiences, to bear testimony, to expound doctrinal subjects, and to speak in a spirit of love and brotherhood. At the same time, they should be urged to avoid travelogues, argumentations, criticism, and the discussion of controversial subjects which have no direct bearing on the saving principles of the gospel."
This quote is about the importance of leaders making sacrament meetings spiritual (like I said, a whole other topic).

However, that one part struck me: "...avoid travelogues, argumentations, criticism, and the discussion of controversial subjects which have no direct bearing on the saving principles of the gospel." relates to how the church leaders see what is important to address and what should be avoided.

Right or wronge, I think this shows the general mentality of the church...some controversial subjects have no bearing on my salvation, and therefore, not worth the time to address them. I think many of the things that some feel the church should respond to or should be open to discuss in church history falls under this area that the leaders simply would rather spend time teaching other doctrine. This is not deception but a choice on what to focus on and what is controversial and not of value. You can't teach investigators EVERYTHING before you ask them to have faith and join, you have to teach them the critical principles they need in order to enter the covenant with enough information to know what they're doing. Later if they learn things, it is not because they were duped...it is that they now have more tests of faith in their journey, just like I have to deal with some of these issues after 32 years of being a devout mormon.
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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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by jmb275 » 17 May 2009, 23:56

@Heber13
I always enjoy reading your thoughts. Let me try to clarify some things from my perspective.
Heber13 wrote: on deception of church leaders...
I believe you have misunderstood. Once again, I believe it is institionalized deception. I am not accusing any one leader or even all the leaders of deception (although Paul Dunn was clearly deceptive), I am accusing the entire organization of deception. Correlation of materials, missionary work, etc. all do not deal openly and completely honestly with the issues.
Heber13 wrote:some controversial subjects have no bearing on my salvation, and therefore, not worth the time to address them.
I agree. Topics such as blacks and priesthood, homosexuals, etc. probably have little to do with my salvation. Let us consider then what things do relate to our salvation. Temple ordinances, 3 degrees of glory, celestial marriage, priesthood. All those seem like very critical topics when it comes to salvation in Mormon theology. And yet, each of these ideas ultimately stem from Joseph Smith. Hence, Joseph Smith's credibility is extremely important. One need only read through an Ensign to observe the importance of Joseph Smith in our church. How is Joseph's credibility (including the fact of lying about polygamy for over 10 years) not relevant to a discussion about salvation? If those truths were "restored" via Joseph Smith, then his reliability as a spiritual guide, more particularly as a guide of declaring eternal truth is paramount in my mind.

To me, the fact that there were formerly penalties, even gruesome ones, and promises to pray for vengeance on the nation over the death of the prophet in the temple ceremony is a critical piece of information. I was unaware of this having gone through the temple in 1999. Is this important? I think so. It's also very cult-like, and I think many would change their mind about the temple if they knew about it. I was one to take the temple ordinance very seriously, very literally, believing I would really need to recite these exact phrases, and demonstrate the other pieces exactly. Is it important there are parallels to Masonry? I think so, since I previously believed the whole thing was revealed to Joseph Smith. My question for you would be why did I, and thousands of other Mormons have these types of views if there is no deception? Just our own lack of interpretation skills? Recognize that the question isn't whether or not where Joseph got the ideas for the temple ceremony are valid. The issue is that many, myself included, were led to believe it came directly from "revelation" where "revelation" for Joseph meant an experience like he had with Sidney Rigdon while receiving D&C 76.

I received this as a Church History Gem not long ago:
Russell M. Nelson wrote:"The temple endowment was given by revelation. Thus, it is best understood by revelation, prayerfully sought with a sincere heart. President Brigham Young said, 'Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, . . . and gain your eternal exaltation' (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 416)."
Here it is left as an exercise for the reader to determine that "revelation" in this sense means parts were taken from the Masonic ritual, in fact, according to Mormon-Masons the entire form of the ritual as a teaching mechanism was taken to explain truth. Why not be more clear? Why not be more forthright?

You see, the issue isn't that there is one particular church history factoid, or perspective that proves anything about the truthfulness or lack thereof. It's the picture that is painted as one grows up in the church (at least in Utah, I can't speak for elsewhere), and then an often completely different picture that is painted upon discovering more of the truth.
Heber13 wrote:This is not deception but a choice on what to focus on and what is controversial and not of value. You can't teach investigators EVERYTHING before you ask them to have faith and join, you have to teach them the critical principles they need in order to enter the covenant with enough information to know what they're doing. Later if they learn things, it is not because they were duped...it is that they now have more tests of faith in their journey, just like I have to deal with some of these issues after 32 years of being a devout mormon.
I understand that every organization will spin things in their benefit. This is not my complaint. The evidence of deception is in the thousands of people who, upon uncovering more truthful information, feel deceived. I mean what are you saying, that they were all simply ignorant, didn't try hard enough, or that it's a trial of their faith? Think about the comparison to a multi-level marketing scheme. In those sales pitches no one ever tells any outright lies. They simply spin everything in their favor. Yet these types of companies are taken to court for fraud all the time. When an organization leads someone to believe a story in a particular way with a particular viewpoint, then discourages the individual from reading things that present an alternate viewpoint, especially when that alternate viewpoint is drastically different, that is a cult-like mind control technique, and is deceptive, in my book, according to my research.

And no one is asking missionaries to teach investigators EVERYTHING before asking them to join. It is not that difficult of a task to be more open and truthful in the missionary discussions. In one of my posts in this thread I illustrated a very rough attempt at such a thing. The problem is that it makes the church appear less glowingly perfect - but you know what - it's not glowingly perfect!! So why not spin the tale in that way if we claim to be honest and have integrity? Is perpetuation and image of the organization the thing that is important, or is it the individual making a decision in full light of the basic historical "facts."

Let me explain my situation a bit. I grew up orthodox Mormon. Not forced by my parents, but I had stalwart friends. I read a lot of church books. I prepared for lessons at church, read my scriptures daily, etc. etc. I had a certain view of Joseph and the early church. I knew of polygamy, but not that it started in 1833, that Joseph had 33 wives, many polyandrous, and that he, and other leader lied about it for quite some time. I absolutely knew nothing about the translation process of the Book of Mormon. I honestly believed, even after reading several Joseph Smith biographies that Joseph sat in front of the plates looking at them using the Urim and Thummim and translating them in the normal way the word "translation" is understood.

Once I started learning more about church history, many factoids jumped out at me. The peepstone, treasure hunting, polyandrous wives, Masonry and the temple ceremony, multiple first vision accounts. None of these facts individually were enough to persuade me the church isn't true. They represent the proverbial "Black Swan" when it comes to drawing conclusions from historical "facts." This is largely a problem because inductive reasoning is highly unreliable. This is what apologists perpetually point out. However, what they fail to grasp is the collective portrait portrayed when the many conundrums are amalgamated with the cult-like control mechanisms, culture, and "spiritual experiences" that lead one to believe the church is God's one and only true church on earth.

I hope I'm being clear here. This is not a single historical fact problem. It is an entire tapestry that is weaved. The correlated material, and missionary discussions sew the tapestry one way. But a look at all the conundrums easily lead one to sew the tapestry and obtain an entirely different result. And my number one complaint with virtually all apologists (of all religions, not just Mormon) is that they focus on the single historical conundrum while failing to observe the larger picture that is weaved in light of that conundrum. Just the fact that it is a conundrum is telling.

Let me end by saying that I think I have come to a place of understanding on this issue. Hawkgrrrl sees the problem and has a word, or series of words for it, Ray sees the problem and has a word or more nuanced series of words for it. I see the problem and I view it as deception. Not outright fraud and lies. But institutionalized deception. Just like many other cult-like organizations do, and have for thousands of years. I am not angry about it anymore, I am willing to just accept it while not being a part of it, or trying to defend it.
I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women--all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there.
- Joseph Smith, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 304)

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Heber13
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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by Heber13 » 18 May 2009, 08:14

jmb275,

Well worded response. You make your point clear and that has given me much to ponder about, and I'll probably need to go back and reread the post when I have more time, but thank you as this is exactly what I am searching for. My prior TBM paradigm did not seem to hold up and carry me through my recent crisis, and now I need to work through stage 4 to get to where I know what I believe anymore, and what I should be holding on to as literal, symbolic, and of value to my happiness. I have not viewed this as deception, but my own lack of understanding gospel principles because I never needed to dig for deeper meaning or application before. I put the deception on myself for deceiving myself with stage 3 faith.

I understand more of your position now. I think I get hung up on the word "deception" as a devious, intentional act tied to a specific leader. I need to better understand your "institutional deception" idea, which just may take some time to let it sink in.

The other element critical to our discussion here is really understanding revelation and how it works. More for us to discuss. Thanks for your post.
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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