My bishop and the Proclamation

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Brian Johnston
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by Brian Johnston » 23 Apr 2014, 05:59

I used to quote other fictional literature and even the "scripture" of other faiths when I taught lessons or gave a talk in sacrament meeting. I could sense brief vibes of awkward reflection among some people ... but I would argue with ANYONE that doing so as is purely "Mormon" as it gets. We're supposed to draw from the best books and the best thinking, from any and all sources, because truth and knowledge come from God.

Second, I also used to make it a point not to let that false teaching about "scripture" stand unchallenged: that anything a leader says is scripture. Conference talks are *not* canon scripture. Proclamations are not scripture. Policy manuals, lesson manuals, procedure manuals ... are not scripture. We host an excellent article that describes the process by which a text becomes canon or doctrine: "Mormon Doctrine, What is Official and What Isn't" by Donald Ashton http://www.staylds.com/docs/WhatIsOffic ... trine.html

Basically, it has to be acknowledged as a revelation and voted on by the WHOLE body of saints, approved "by common consent" as binding upon the church. Everything else is varying levels of inspiration, depending on your own personal revelation.
"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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DarkJedi
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by DarkJedi » 23 Apr 2014, 06:16

I understand where you're coming from Brian and appreciate that you have shared another perspective. I do submit however that were this a Dickens quote being shared as the scripture in sharing time the reaction of those involved would likely be very different.
Sometimes it is very difficult to challenge these minds of things, especially in a meeting setting and without support. How would you proceed in this particular case?
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Brian Johnston
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by Brian Johnston » 23 Apr 2014, 06:24

DarkJedi wrote:I do submit however that were this a Dickens quote being shared as the scripture in sharing time the reaction of those involved would likely be very different.
Agreed on the point of that specific example. That would be an interesting experiment and an interesting point to make ... but it would be hard to get away with it socially. I probably wouldn't attempt that one. (probably ... :twisted:)
"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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DarkJedi
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by DarkJedi » 23 Apr 2014, 06:33

I might be more tempted to do so than you might think. I believe Marley's words about mankind being his business are as close to "love thy neighbor" as it gets.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Curt Sunshine
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Apr 2014, 07:26

My son based a Sacrament meeting talk on a Tupac quote - and called him Brother Shakur. :clap:
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

jhp33
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by jhp33 » 23 Apr 2014, 08:10

Brian Johnston wrote:I used to quote other fictional literature and even the "scripture" of other faiths when I taught lessons or gave a talk in sacrament meeting. I could sense brief vibes of awkward reflection among some people ... but I would argue with ANYONE that doing so as is purely "Mormon" as it gets. We're supposed to draw from the best books and the best thinking, from any and all sources, because truth and knowledge come from God.

Second, I also used to make it a point not to let that false teaching about "scripture" stand unchallenged: that anything a leader says is scripture. Conference talks are *not* canon scripture. Proclamations are not scripture. Policy manuals, lesson manuals, procedure manuals ... are not scripture. We host an excellent article that describes the process by which a text becomes canon or doctrine: "Mormon Doctrine, What is Official and What Isn't" by Donald Ashton http://www.staylds.com/docs/WhatIsOffic ... trine.html

Basically, it has to be acknowledged as a revelation and voted on by the WHOLE body of saints, approved "by common consent" as binding upon the church. Everything else is varying levels of inspiration, depending on your own personal revelation.
Awesome. Thank you, Brian. I printed that article out and will be studying it for the next few days.

My appointment with the Stake President is on Sunday morning. I will be sure to update you all as to the nature and outcome of the meeting. My wife is nervous, but I am calm as a summer's morning. :lol:

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Brian Johnston
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by Brian Johnston » 23 Apr 2014, 09:04

A further point of clarification: the actual text of our scriptural canon is what is "official," NOT the interpretation of it. It says what it says.

What does it mean?
How do we implement the ideas in our life's context?
What does someone with a organizational title think it says?
How are contradictions and paradoxes in the text reconciled?
etc.

All of that is personal opinion. We're all on a journey of discovery and learning. We are all ultimately responsible for our experience.
"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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nibbler
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by nibbler » 23 Apr 2014, 12:09

Ray DeGraw wrote:My son based a Sacrament meeting talk on a Tupac quote - and called him Brother Shakur. :clap:
Hahah. Nice.
If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.
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jhp33
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by jhp33 » 27 Apr 2014, 20:32

Well, this morning was my meeting with the SP. Ended up being a marathon (almost 2 hour) meeting.

We started by me sharing my concerns about the Proclamation and referring to it as scripture in Primary. As expected, he went to D&C 68 and referenced the "if spoken by the Holy Spirit" definition of scripture. We went back and forth many times on the issue, talking about "little s" scripture and "big S" scripture and in the end, he wasn't really persuaded that it was at all a problem. He was not aware of the Elder Packer talk a few years ago where the reference to it being a "revelation" was intentionally redacted, and that very much surprised him.

He then transitioned into a discussion about what exactly it is about the Proclamation that bothers me. I told him in general I don't have a real problem with almost everything in the Proclamation, but that I'm not convinced that we're not living in our own version of the priesthood ban, or Adam-God theory being preached by the prophet. I'm not convinced that God condemns homosexuality.

Of course, that sent us down that rabbit hole. We unpacked all of my thoughts and feelings about Prop 8, past statements from church leaders about homosexuality being a disease, shock therapy, etc etc. He agreed that the church has rightly shifted toward distinguishing between thoughts/feelings and acting on it. I could have left it at that, but I just couldn't leave without going to the next level and taking a stand.

As we continued discussing, he started making comparisons between homosexuality and bestiality, a compulsion to steal, alcoholism, inability to marry and addiction to pornography. I began to get very flustered at that point and it was difficult for me to form my thoughts coherently because I couldn't really believe he was going there.

We agreed to disagree on the issue at that point, and went back to the nature of prophets and my struggles with the fact that I don't see the fruits of prophecy from our modern day prophets. He seemed blown away that I could possibly think that modern revelation has changed since Joseph's day. I told him that, as I study the scriptures, I see distinct differences between the way God communicated between to his prophets and his people and how it seems as though it's done today (philosophies of men, mingled with scripture..although I didn't use those exact words).

Again, he wasn't very convinced and kept repeating that he had a testimony that we are led today by a living prophet.

In the end, nothing really got resolved, but I was able to share my concerns and he was very receptive to me in general and patient with my concerns. There were some spots where it got a tad testy/contentious, but he always made a point to slow us down and make sure I understood that just because we didn't see eye to eye on things, that didn't mean he looked down on me.

We ended with me expressing my concern that I don't know how to be a fully functioning part of the ward when I see things so fundamentally differently than most ward members. He acknowledged that this must be difficult and he empathized with my situation, but at that point he was running very late for his next meeting, so we didn't get to unpack that fully.

So, bottom line, nothing changed, but it was nice to be heard and to be understood.

I am working on crafting an email to him with references to things that made him go "huh?" during our discussion. I will post tomorrow if it's of interest to anyone.

Thanks, all.

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DarkJedi
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Re: My bishop and the Proclamation

Post by DarkJedi » 28 Apr 2014, 03:32

I'm glad you were able to talk and that it wasn't a total waste of time, JHP. Sometimes just being listened to is all that's really needed, at least for our own peace of mind. I, too, become frustrated with people who think we have to believe everything just because we have a "testimony." I have a testimony - my SP told me so several times during our interviews - but he is quite aware that my testimony does not include blind obedience. I think a carefully worded email is a good idea. My own recent experience with talking with the SP included an email between meetings, and he said that was very helpful to him.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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