Being honest with myself.

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Re: Being honest with myself.

Post by SilentDawning » 02 Oct 2012, 09:52

OK, I see. Funny, JS challenged the status quo and rejected all formal authority figures on the subject of religion when he was 14. But then, adopted a stance that others should not do the same -- if the current culture of the church can be considered a shadow of his former leadership. This is what I find interesting about Mormonism. WE are encouraged to find our own answers, and get our own testimony. But once we have it, the prevailing thought is that we need to get in lock step with what the leaders thing -- and that our personal testimonies cannot conflict with the priesthood line of authority.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

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Re: Being honest with myself.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 02 Oct 2012, 12:06

SD, I think that's an inaccurate summary of Joseph's view. He drew a line between "loyalty" to leaders and believing everything in the same way. There were all kinds of intense arugments and disagreements among the early apostles and members (even those who never left the Church) about theological issues. Parley P. Pratt and Brigham Young were a classic example of that. It wasn't that Joseph wanted everyone to think alike; he wanted them united collectively in loyalty to the Church and to him.

That ability to disagree personally, privately and in leadership groups hasn't changed at the top level of the Church - and it has been preached in the World-Wide Leadership training over the past few years. For example, Bishops were told explicitly in 2010, I think it was, that they shouldn't give their opinions in Ward Council and then ask what everyone else thought - that they should ask what everyone else thought and consider the different opinions thoughtfully before making any decision or giving a pre-existing opinion. I see this as a desire to have the Church run in the way that Joseph seems to have wanted - the ability to express differing views but support of leaders when they consider those views and make an executive decision. That is what we now call the "council model".

I see two main issues:

1) When a leader makes a bad decision (sometimes an atrocious decision), even after asking for and getting other opinions, it obviously can be difficult to address and/or "support" him or her in the implementation of that decision. It's really hard for most people to separate supporting the leader from supporting everything the leader wants to do.

2) That style is harder than doing what you want individually to do, so the default for too many local leaders (up to the Area Authority level) is to share their own opinions and do what they want to do, rather than lead as has been described in the council model the Church teaches.
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: Being honest with myself.

Post by wayfarer » 02 Oct 2012, 12:32

SilentDawning wrote:OK, I see. Funny, JS challenged the status quo and rejected all formal authority figures on the subject of religion when he was 14. But then, adopted a stance that others should not do the same -- if the current culture of the church can be considered a shadow of his former leadership. This is what I find interesting about Mormonism. WE are encouraged to find our own answers, and get our own testimony. But once we have it, the prevailing thought is that we need to get in lock step with what the leaders thing -- and that our personal testimonies cannot conflict with the priesthood line of authority.
While I agree that the church culture today is quite different than Joseph Smith's more open, wild, and wooly model, I don't think the shutdown of heterodoxy occurred until much later -- to recap how I see the history here:

To the very end of Joseph's life, he opposed creeds:
Joseph Smith, on January 1, 1843, wrote:The prominent points of difference in sentiment between the Latter Day Saints & sectarian viz: the latter are all circumscribed by some peculiar creed which deprives its members of the right of believing anything not contained in it; whereas the Latter Day Saints have no creed, but are ready to believe all true principles existing, as they are made manifest from time to time.
History of the Church, V5 p215
Joseph Smith, on October 15, 1843 wrote:I cannot believe in any of the creeds of the different denominations, because they all have some things in them I cannot subscribe to, though all of them have some truth. I want to come up into the presence of God, and learn all things: but the creeds set up stakes, and say, "Hitherto shall thou come, and no further;" which I cannot subscribe to.
History of the Church, V6 p57
I do not think that orthodoxy really became a point of absolute enforcement until Correlation came about. If you look at Melchizedek Priesthood handbooks of the 1950s, authored in part by BH Roberts, you can see a wide spectrum of beliefs and teachings -- an open field to speculation. Absolute loyalty to leadership and correlated doctrine was a hallmark of Ezra Taft Benson, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B Lee, Boyd K Packer, and Gordon B Hinckley. JS, BY and many others emphasized the need for personal witness and not blind obedience.

Further, as a point of Doctrine, we CAN believe anything we want within limits, as long as we don't deny the Christ or the first principles. The key, though, is that we aren't to teach anything but that which is supposed to be taught:
Alma 12:9 wrote:And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
The point is that there is a standard, limited set of teachings: 'the portion of his word which he doth grant'. As we understand the workings of god within us, some of that 'portion of the word' necessarily gets eclipsed by a higher understanding, meant to be personal to me. As paul said,
Paul, in 1 Cor 13:9-12, wrote:For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
at some point, our increased spiritual understanding doesn't just augment 'what is taught', but indeed renders some of it obsolete. Church leaders typically do not have a problem with one who seeks and finds increased understanding, but none of this increased understanding is meant to supplant what is taught.

By choice of the CES-dominated leadership, 'what is taught' is milk. No meat allowed. Milk is the child's diet, the understanding that santa-claus is making a list and checking it twice, and you better be nice or else Satan will come and get you. As well: George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and couldn't tell a lie, so also was joseph perfectly faithful to his wife and the perfect model of what a prophet should be. Follow the prophet, follow the prophet he knows the way.... And when we become lactose intolerant, such milk causes us to have diarrhea...

But not to justify any of this, the church does not encourage speculation today because when they did allow speculation, it was way too difficult to understand what the heck LDS actually believed. Joseph laid out the core precepts in the wentworth letter, but that was more of a PR document than a pronouncement of doctrine. In D&C 10, 2 Ne 31-32, and in 3 Ne 11, the only "Doctrine of Christ" is faith, repentence, baptism, holy ghost, and endure to the end. All else is 'not the doctrine of christ', although the church doctrine is much, much more. as for me and my house, we're keeping with the simpler "Doctrine of Christ", and letting all the rest be what it is: the commandments of men taught for doctrine.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
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Re: Being honest with myself.

Post by Heber13 » 05 Oct 2012, 23:01

Wayfarer wrote:
Gospel Principles wrote:
Lying is intentionally deceiving others.
When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.
I agree with the above. it is what the Church teaches. it is not what the church does. avoiding inconvenient truths, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men, knowing that there is no doctrinal justification for teaching them: i sense no integrity in these things, and I realize that i no longer can trust the declared normative or doctrinal statements, without fully vetting them for myself.
For the record, I don't see the Church has met the criteria for lying. I think they meet the criteria for being wrong, and choosing to present a positive uplifting message...but not leading people to believe in something that is not true. You have to know something is untrue, and persuade others to believe it for it to be a lie. Perhaps like Joseph saying he wasn't practicing polygamy when he was, or members of the Q12 practicing polygamy after the ban but denying it. Those are lies.

I don't feel the church has ever lied to me. But I wish they gave me more information while I was younger.

[and I've never had the church give me a gesture or a look ;) ]
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: Being honest with myself.

Post by AmyJ » 09 May 2018, 07:09

wayfarer wrote:
01 Oct 2012, 17:24
Perhaps learning and accepting for myself is exactly what Joseph Smith had in mind, but my skepticism profoundly isolates me in today's church of absolutes. i feel a progressive distancing by TBM family and friends as my words simply confuse them, that i should get back to simply accepting and believing.
I think part of the problem is that what we are working on/focusing on/thinking about "accepting" and "believing" is not what everyone else is working on/focusing on or thinking about.

As near as I can tell, it must be similar to some form or amnesia from their point of view - one morning we knew advanced math and were quadric equationing everything in sight, the next we can't even add/subtract like we used to do so. It is frustrating for them because they wonder what else we don't "remember" while trying to be patient with us.

I think for us, it is even more frustrating because we can hear others in our lives thinking that because we are too on some level until we let ourselves focus on what we are doing in our lives, rather then what others think we should be doing in our lives.

I have lived by President Holland's advice here:
I would say to all who wish for more faith, remember this man! In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. In the growth we all have to experience in mortality, the spiritual equivalent of this boy’s affliction or this parent’s desperation is going to come to all of us. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.
The words regarding holding the ground have grounded me when I was despairing about knowing anything. The ground that "grounded me" (pun intended) was that I am a human being who knows less then I thought I knew, but has encountered greater personal insights which enable me to "trade up" to make the best choices I can make in each situation I encounter. I think that I believe in God, but there has been a lot of growth in my understanding of the potential nature of God. And yes, I am cautiously hopeful about and waiting for "the further light and knowledge" that I believe God will send into my life. I am on the lookout for it as a point of celebration, but I no longer expect it and will probably be very skeptical about it first.

Ironically (I think that is the correct word), I have been talking to a former LDS friend who went through a transition of her own about 10 years ago as well. I doubt that she ever heard Elder Holland's talk, but she said to figure out and focus on what I believe more than what I disbelieve as well.

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Re: Being honest with myself.

Post by Minyan Man » 09 May 2018, 07:29

AmyJ, thank you for the quote from Bro Holland: attached is the video. ... t?lang=eng

I like that alot.

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