My big hairy list of concerns

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Roy
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Re: My big hairy list of concerns

Post by Roy » 06 Mar 2018, 09:19

Beefster wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 23:43
I would be fine with that if it weren't for the fact that the term "prophet" comes with a lot of expectations. A prophet should prophesy. A seer should have visions. A revelator should reveal. If they admitted that they were "prophets" in name only, this would be fine. But that sort of involves throwing out most of the truth claims.
For me a big part of StayLDS does involve managing expectations. If I remember correctly a seer is someone that can "see" hidden things with the aid of a peep stone. A revelator is someone that translates or reveals ancient languages by the power of God. Nobody since JS has made any claims to be able to do that.

Prophesy - even JS did not seem to be able to foretell the future. If that is your expectation, I predict frustration in your future. ;)

I honestly do not believe current church leaders have made any claims to know the future, translate lost languages, or see hidden things beneath the ground. I cannot wait for them to explicitly say that they cannot do these things. I need to adjust my understanding and expectations now for my own well being.
"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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DarkJedi
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Re: My big hairy list of concerns

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Mar 2018, 10:39

I recall a class very early in my church membership when the word prophet was defined as "teacher" as opposed to one who prophesies. Since it was obvious to me even then that the prophet rarely prophesies (and it was a sticking point to my joining the church actually) this made some sense and I'm OK with that definition. The Bible Dictionary doesn't it in those words exactly, but does allude to the idea:
The work of a Hebrew prophet was to act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will. The message was usually prefaced with the words “Thus saith Jehovah.” He taught men about God’s character, showing the full meaning of His dealings with Israel in the past. It was therefore part of the prophetic office to preserve and edit the records of the nation’s history; and such historical books as Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings were known by the Jews as the former Prophets. It was also the prophet’s duty to denounce sin and foretell its punishment and to redress, so far as he could, both public and private wrongs. He was to be, above all, a preacher of righteousness. When the people had fallen away from a true faith in Jehovah, the prophets had to try to restore that faith and remove false views about the character of God and the nature of the divine requirement. In certain cases prophets predicted future events, such as the very important prophecies announcing the coming of Messiah’s kingdom; but as a rule a prophet was a forthteller rather than a foreteller. In a general sense a prophet is anyone who has a testimony of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost, as in Num. 11:25–29; Rev. 19:10.
And yes, this is one of the areas of my testimony in which I have lowered my expectations - or raised them depending on your point of view (that is, I expect "Thus saith the Lord" is sort of a requirement for me to believe something is revelation).
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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Roy
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Re: My big hairy list of concerns

Post by Roy » 06 Mar 2018, 11:12

DarkJedi wrote:
06 Mar 2018, 10:39
In certain cases prophets predicted future events, such as the very important prophecies announcing the coming of Messiah’s kingdom; but as a rule a prophet was a forthteller rather than a foreteller.
I was not familiar with the term forthteller, so I did some Google searching. (all quotes below are from non-LDS sites)
Comment: The prophet's preaching is often predictive, and we often think of prophecy as about the future. Indeed, the test of a prophet was that his words prove true (Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:18-22). However, the work of the prophet was to preach God’s word as he or she was moved by the Holy Spirit. The prophet was a "forthteller", rather than merely a "foreteller". The prophet’s message from God might be as much about the past and present as about the future.
Forthtelling, not Foretelling. Christian readers typically misunderstand prophecy in the Bible because they assume that its primary intent is to foretell the future. This chapter shows that the intent of the genre of prophecy in the Hebrew Bible was not primarily to predict the future—certainly not hundreds of years in advance—but rather to address specific social, political, and religious circumstances in ancient Israel and Judah. This means that there is no prediction of Christ in the Hebrew Bible. The writers of the New Testament and later Christian literature reinterpreted or reapplied the Hebrew prophecies. This is not to disparage these later Christian authors, however, for they were participating in a long-standing process of reinterpretation that goes back to the prophetic books themselves.
Simply and broadly, a prophet is one who is given a message by another of greater authority and speaks for him to those for whom the message is intended. Thus, Moses was God's prophet, but Aaron was Moses' prophet. [snip] In the New Testament sense, the word prophet probably means "preacher"—someone speaking under the inspiration of God. It would not exclude someone who foretells the future, but in the New Testament context, prophet generally means somebody who forth-tells—who preaches something strongly, in a straightforward manner, giving the truth of a matter.
Therefore "forthteller" can be considered synonymous with the spokesman, mouthpiece, loud speaker, mega phone, preacher, proclaimer, or truth teller roles of a prophet.
"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

DancingCarrot
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Re: My big hairy list of concerns

Post by DancingCarrot » 06 Mar 2018, 11:37

I think DJ and Roy bring up excellent points about the role and responsibilities of a prophet. Also in the vein of the difficulty of quantifying the frequency or number of prophecies a prophet must expound, what happens when something used to be considered revealing doctrine, but the present-day church disavows it? For me, it's much easier to start from the premise that they're men, human, and in a difficult position. If they happen to say or do things that resonate with me, then in those moment *I* believe they were being prophetic, revelatory, etc. If they happen to say or do things that don't resonate with me, I try my best to focus on other things.

I view my membership in the church much like I view my citizenship: I don't agree with a lot of things the government bodies do, policies that politicians enact, even the activities of political parties I tend to align with disappoint me frequently. However, I don't want to become a citizen of another country. At least not yet ;) My main decision is to remain a US citizen, all other problems get worked out from that point of view. Similarly, my main religious decision is to remain LDS. All other problems get worked out from that point of view, and if others don't agree with my process of making that decision fit, then that's their issue, not mine. All decisions regarding friends, dating in AND out of the church, spouse, etc get worked out from that thought process so if someone can't handle it, regardless of their religious affiliation, I don't keep them very close. At the end of the day, I am the only constant in my life so I figure I better make the most of it, which includes taking responsibility for how I see, interpret, and live my life.

I think knowing what concerns you have is important, so I support you figuring out what bothers you and why. However, they're also *your* concerns, and much of what the organizational church says and does is out of your and our control. It's awful feeling disappointed, foolish, humiliated, lost, confused - all things that come with a faith or commitment crisis. Asking the church, its leaders, and the culture to change to make you feel better is not a wise road, in my opinion. It's difficult, but focusing on what we can individually control and contribute is a much more fruitful path. I wish you well on navigating your way through this.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

JAC
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Re: My big hairy list of concerns

Post by JAC » 06 Mar 2018, 13:46

Beefster wrote:
04 Mar 2018, 18:46
And don't give me any of the garbage like "you have to believe first" or "it's too sacred to talk about" (when referring to whether they have seen Christ) because the former is weak to confirmation bias and the latter is a total copout.
This always strikes a cord with me. Many members believe that the apostles have seen Christ and most members presume the president has seen Christ, however, none of the apostles(to my knowledge) have claimed this. This pisses me off... Just a little. Okay, a lot. For the following reasons:

1. If they have not seen Christ, why are they letting members believe they have seen Christ by failing to correct these false assumptions? Come on, set the record straight!
2. If they have seen Christ, why the HELL are they not telling us?! They are supposed to be special witnesses of Christ! So why keep those special experiences with Christ to yourself? I'm not expecting details, but how about boldly saying, "I know Christ lives - I have seen Him!"

That is all.

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SamBee
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Re: My big hairy list of concerns

Post by SamBee » 06 Mar 2018, 17:32

Roy wrote:
06 Mar 2018, 09:19

Prophesy - even JS did not seem to be able to foretell the future. If that is your expectation, I predict frustration in your future. ;)
.
I do see JS as predicting the future in certain respects (but not all). The wandering and settling of Lehi's family in the desert on the face of it may seem to be an echo of Moses, but it also curiously foreshadows the journey of many LDS into Utah, long before anyone had thought of taking the church there.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Beefster
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Re: My big hairy list of concerns

Post by Beefster » 06 Mar 2018, 18:33

DarkJedi wrote:
06 Mar 2018, 10:39
I recall a class very early in my church membership when the word prophet was defined as "teacher" as opposed to one who prophesies. Since it was obvious to me even then that the prophet rarely prophesies (and it was a sticking point to my joining the church actually) this made some sense and I'm OK with that definition. The Bible Dictionary doesn't it in those words exactly, but does allude to the idea:
The work of a Hebrew prophet was to act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will. The message was usually prefaced with the words “Thus saith Jehovah.” He taught men about God’s character, showing the full meaning of His dealings with Israel in the past. It was therefore part of the prophetic office to preserve and edit the records of the nation’s history; and such historical books as Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings were known by the Jews as the former Prophets. It was also the prophet’s duty to denounce sin and foretell its punishment and to redress, so far as he could, both public and private wrongs. He was to be, above all, a preacher of righteousness. When the people had fallen away from a true faith in Jehovah, the prophets had to try to restore that faith and remove false views about the character of God and the nature of the divine requirement. In certain cases prophets predicted future events, such as the very important prophecies announcing the coming of Messiah’s kingdom; but as a rule a prophet was a forthteller rather than a foreteller. In a general sense a prophet is anyone who has a testimony of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost, as in Num. 11:25–29; Rev. 19:10.
And yes, this is one of the areas of my testimony in which I have lowered my expectations - or raised them depending on your point of view (that is, I expect "Thus saith the Lord" is sort of a requirement for me to believe something is revelation).
I suppose this is more in line with my expectations for a prophet, but that still doesn't change the fact that there doesn't seem to be a lot of up-to-date messages from God through our "prophets". When you look at GC talks, it's pretty clear that they mostly quote scriptures and past talks, offering commentary on them, rather than revealing new words of God. The last canonized scripture was over 100 years ago (not counting Official Declaration 2) and the last major document touted as revelation is the Proclamation, which, given its origins, doesn't really scream revelation, but more of a legal document and pet project of Oaks.

I can get scriptural commentary from any church and inspiring words from TED talks. While the GAs do occasionally make claims of revelation, they tend to use it as a trump card and typically only in retrospect. Almost anything touted as a revelation is labeled such only after the fact, when it's convenient to dispel objections. Frankly, I'd like to see some canonization and upfront and unapologetic revelation claims every once in a while. When changes come, they come in formal letters that, to my recollection, do not claim revelatory influence.

I suppose I can sustain the "prophet" as President (whatever that means...), but the title "prophet" is a little misleading IMO.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

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SamBee
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Re: My big hairy list of concerns

Post by SamBee » 07 Mar 2018, 08:26

Like I say above, "a prophet" and not "the prophet"
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

JAC
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Re: My big hairy list of concerns

Post by JAC » 07 Mar 2018, 08:44

Beefster wrote:
04 Mar 2018, 18:46
There's great advice tucked away in chastity standards, but I think it may be a mistake to categorize these issues as next to murder in severity. Scott Cannon's story resonates strongly with me because of how these teachings have affected my self worth. Had I started younger or gotten into more serious porn, I guarantee you my story would look a lot like his.
Thanks for sharing about Scott Cannon. I had never heard of him before but I just listened to his story on a podcast and I was blown away at how his story sounded exactly like mine. His history with porn mirrors my own. He is my age, lives in my town, and started his faith crisis/transition the exact same month as me in February of 2014. Although, that is where our stories diverge drastically, as I chose a different path than he did.

I chose to give up porn completely and work on my relationship with God. I also chose to stay LDS. I'm very happy with the path I chose and have found peace, happiness, and have become much closer to my wife and others I care about. I'm happier than I've ever been. I know I could not have found the happiness I have with porn still apart of my life.

I have no doubt porn was destroying my happiness. Shame played a role, but the biggest factor was the damage porn was doing to my brain. It was literally inhibiting my brain from feeling joy. Even with shame removed from the equation it would have sucked the life out of me.

As I listened to his story it was eerie, almost like I was listening to a podcast of me in an alternate universe where I took a different path in 2014. I fear his story is not going to end well.

Roy
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Re: My big hairy list of concerns

Post by Roy » 07 Mar 2018, 09:40

SamBee wrote:
06 Mar 2018, 17:32
Roy wrote:
06 Mar 2018, 09:19

Prophesy - even JS did not seem to be able to foretell the future. If that is your expectation, I predict frustration in your future. ;)
.
I do see JS as predicting the future in certain respects (but not all). The wandering and settling of Lehi's family in the desert on the face of it may seem to be an echo of Moses, but it also curiously foreshadows the journey of many LDS into Utah, long before anyone had thought of taking the church there.
Even before my FC, I read Rough Stone Rolling and I was shocked that JS did not seem to know or be prepared for major events to hit the church. Perhaps it seems silly to expect that much of JS but that was my vision of him. The Kirtland banking scandal was a big event where the prophet led the church in an arguably illegal speculative venture, giving (IMO unethical) divine promises of success. When the whole thing collapsed many lost life savings and it nearly broke the church. I read example after example of JS not knowing what was going to happen in advance. In personal matters, in church administration, even in "thus saith the lord revelations" that were later canonized in D&C - I find example after example of JS not accurately predicting the future. I do not believe that predicting the future was one of Joseph's gifts.
"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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