YSA Fireside

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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mom3
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YSA Fireside

Post by mom3 » 10 Sep 2018, 16:16

Last night's YSA fireside is ummm, well, it's up to you.

I am surprised by those who like it and not so surprised by those who don't.

The focus was the new book "The Saints".

The thread we were using to discuss the book is here viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9119

The fireside link here https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/face-to- ... _&lang=eng

I will not link to anyone else.

Did you see it? What did you think?
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

AmyJ
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Re: YSA Fireside

Post by AmyJ » 11 Sep 2018, 05:29

Yes, I saw it with my husband. I wanted to see it to see what would be said, and because I putter in church history periodically.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
  • I still have the impression that Elder Cook was "catering" to a group of people whose concerns he does not share, and does not feel that he should share them - but the numbers of people leaving are too high now, so it has to be dealt with.
UNDECIDED ON GOOD OR BAD:
  • I felt every question answered was in part a ploy to link back to the book. It makes a certain amount of sense, but that wasn't why I was there - though maybe I should have been.
  • The questions were "safe" and "predictable" in that those selected were ones the leadership felt they could inoculate with.
WHAT I FELT WAS DONE WELL:
  • I am glad to see a female historian up there - and the deference that was shown regarding their secular as well as spiritual education.
  • I found the male historian to be more interesting and thought-provoking. I am glad that he handled the question about researching stuff on the internet (which is a question my husband has posed several times). He focused on checking for bias and in a general sense, what to look out for. What is implied in his answer is that there is good information outside of lds.org and related sources to investigate.
  • I was touched by the male historian's statement regarding his 8 years of service with the church, and how the message/theme is "how can be more transparent" instead of obscuring history.

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nibbler
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Re: YSA Fireside

Post by nibbler » 11 Sep 2018, 05:58

Before I launch into this, I'm not the target audience. The target audience is the youth. The approach to answering questions isn't going to be tailored to someone in my situation. To better understand my perspective, I believe leaders recognize the problem and their approach appears to be to inoculate rising generations. I've come to feel that leaders either do not know how to minister to people that can no longer be inoculated or they have accepted that people in that situation will just have to be "written off."

I'm only going to listen to this one question at a time but the response to the first question makes me think this event will be filled with apologetics that ceased to work for me years and years ago. But again, I'm not their target audience. Their target audience may respond well to apologetics. I would have 15 years ago.

Questions and timestamps from the youtube video. Time stamps included in parenthesis in case the links don't function.

First Question (14:18): Some young adults feel that the church has been hiding information regarding historical events. And so this question coming from Idaho sums them up. Why isn't the church more open about some of the controversial things that happened at the start of the church? I have learned a lot of things that I did not know before and I've been a member of the church my whole life. Some of the things I've learned have caused me to struggle with doubts, and have no clear idea of where to get real answers.

Kudos for addressing a tough question.

Highlights from the answer:
  • The church didn't hide the information, it just wasn't emphasized.
  • There was that one article about seer stones 40 years ago.
  • Church lessons taught us to repent and follow the gospel of JC.

    I believe the insinuation is that we didn't hear about peep stones at church because we were busy talking about things that are far more important to our salvation. I could get behind this if not for all the time we've spent over the years reiterating the whitewashed retelling of the restoration. Entire months have gone by at church where the lessons felt like they were preparing us for restoration trivia night. The whitewashed restoration was the central focus.
  • "It can be really painful to learn about something that you thought you should have known and that you didn't know."

    Confession. I almost turned if off right there. That's when I decided that I'd only listen to one question at a time and come back to it later. That's not the best way to validate someone that has that question. Revisiting the question - some young adults feel like the church has been hiding information. The way the validation is phrased flips the narrative from "I feel bad because I feel the church hid things from me" to "I feel bad because I should have known." Please don't do that. The youth may be struggling to regain trust. I'm not sure the "you should have known" approach is the best one to take in that situation. In their defense, the person answering did qualify the statement with "some people."
  • We know more now. The information wasn't hidden, we're discovering it together.
  • The information age is spreading the word. The information needs to be related in a safe environment, like church and the family.
  • The conversation among the leaders is not how do we hide history or censor it, it's about how to make history available and understandable.
  • Plug for the new book Saints.
I did want to comment on making history available and understandable. The information age has done its thing but largely in English. I read somewhere that the Saints book has been translated into 14 languages. Some information is reaching a larger audience than before.
Each one of us has our own evolution of life, and each one of us goes through different tests which are unique and challenging. But certain things are common. And we do learn things from each other's experience. On a spiritual journey, we all have the same destination.
— A. R. Rahman

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nibbler
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Re: YSA Fireside

Post by nibbler » 11 Sep 2018, 06:59

Segue between questions 1 & 2
As young adults we are excited about the new history of the church.
I know what they mean, but I'm still going to wring a sensible_chuckle.gif out of that statement.

Second Question (20:55): As the church becomes more global, how will the new history of the church include members from around the world, and what kinds of stories do we have to look forward to in the upcoming volumes of the church history?

There it is again, new history. inigo_montoya.jpg

This question felts a little too on the nose. Like it was written specifically to plug the book.... then they didn't plug the book! :crazy: I think the meat of the answer was relating a story where there were 7th generation members of the church in Polynesia, meaning the work was established there before the Nauvoo temple was built. The idea being that members have histories in other places and that missionary work continues.

I can't think on my feet... or off them, so I can't fault Cook on this, but at one point he said, "He was successful. He had about 60 baptisms." The mission culture does view baptism as a measure of success but I think we're actively trying to move away from that measure.
We want you to know that wherever you are in this world, whatever lineage you come from, you're important, you're a part of the church history. We very much need you and want you and you will bless people's lives.
Third Question (23:47): We live in such a world where google has answers to every question but is there a way to search church history to find reliable answers and stories? Where are some online resources to search for doctrinally correct answers beyond the search bar on lds(dot)org?
  • Answers are everywhere, the challenge is to discern good answers from bad answers.
  • Look for information from firsthand accounts and try to be fair to the people.
  • The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there, don't be an ugly tourist. Understand people in their context and culture. Be patient with their faults, be humble about our own understanding, and have charity.
  • 100+ additional essays that provide some context for the stories told in the book Saints.
  • You need to go to credible sources, people will distort things. One of the reasons the Saints was produced.
This probably goes without saying but the Saints book has a bias, all things do. I think that was one of the principle dominoes that had to fall to push me towards a FC, recognizing that the church materials had a pro church bias. Before then I may have been too trusting or naive and believed that only anti material had a bias/agenda. Realizing that the church material also had a bias/agenda was eye opening and eventually led to greater understanding of both sides. This isn't a criticism of the church or of anti material, it's more of a completion of a duality of something I often see at church.
Each one of us has our own evolution of life, and each one of us goes through different tests which are unique and challenging. But certain things are common. And we do learn things from each other's experience. On a spiritual journey, we all have the same destination.
— A. R. Rahman

AmyJ
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Re: YSA Fireside

Post by AmyJ » 11 Sep 2018, 07:41

nibbler wrote:
11 Sep 2018, 06:59
This probably goes without saying but the Saints book has a bias, all things do. I think that was one of the principle dominoes that had to fall to push me towards a FC, recognizing that the church materials had a pro church bias. Before then I may have been too trusting or naive and believed that only anti material had a bias/agenda. Realizing that the church material also had a bias/agenda was eye opening and eventually led to greater understanding of both sides. This isn't a criticism of the church or of anti material, it's more of a completion of a duality of something I often see at church.
Yeah.
To me, the nature of truth has an added tension expectation since "I came to myself". I now expect to hear/reason through apparently conflicting information/points of view as part of the total truths.

For example, "He who hesitates is lost" is balanced by "Haste makes waste". The duality of both points of view causes me to reflect on which advice is good to tend towards in my thinking and actions as I strive to balance the tension between the 2 schools of thought. But when I am confronted with the equaivalent of one of those statements, I now routinely look for the other statement, "the other side" as it were. I think that this is a refinement of my thinking/analysis - but then, it could be "wishful thinking".

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dande48
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Re: YSA Fireside

Post by dande48 » 11 Sep 2018, 08:46

We know more now. The information wasn't hidden, we're discovering it together.
I keep coming back to the fact, that many of the collections in the Church History Archives, are kept restricted from the public. This includes anything the Church considers "sacred", "private", "confidential", "defaming", or has any other restricted access requests by their donors or creators. Or in other words, "Whatever the Church doesn't want us to have access to".
"It can be really painful to learn about something that you thought you should have known and that you didn't know."
This statement is very deflective, and the "you thought" I felt especially manipulative. It places the blame on the person. "You thought" absolves the Church from any responsibility, and takes the stance "you didn't really need to know". In other words, "All of this new information is not pertinent to your salvation, because at it's core the Church is true, and that's what matters." But, like many people, I founded my testimony on "the feelings of the Spirit" on what I later found out was grossly biased and incomplete information; Information which, now that I have a more complete understanding of, greatly changes "the feelings of the Spirit" I have towards the Church. In other words, I feel like the commitments I made to the Church were done under false pretense. And that hurts.
You need to go to credible sources, people will distort things. One of the reasons the Saints was produced.
Follow-up question: Is the Church a credible source?
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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nibbler
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Re: YSA Fireside

Post by nibbler » 11 Sep 2018, 09:21

Fourth Question (30:19): I've struggled for years to come to peace about polygamy in the early church. Why was it necessary for Joseph Smith and many other leaders to practice it? What do I tell my family when they ask about polygamy in the early days of the church, they aren't generally satisfied with the, "Well, we don't practice it anymore." answer.

I'm kinda burnt out on the subject. To me there doesn't have to be a satisfying answer, I'm no longer in a position where I have to make it work, so I don't.

It's an understandably sensitive subject. I've noticed that sometimes when people openly express their aversions to polygamy it puts descendants of polygamous relationships on the defensive, as if people are expressing aversion towards their family and heritage and not the practice itself. Is it possible to untangle the practice from the people?

This section includes lots of apologetics we've all heard. It feels like the only answer left is, "god said so." Whatever floats your boat.

Fifth Question (40:18): Why are the accounts of Joseph Smith's first vision a little different? Why do we use the version that we use?
  • Acknowledged four accounts.

    Weren't there a lot more, I don't know.
  • Each focuses on different details. The differences make it more plausible and can be attributed to differences in audience.
  • The 1838 account was longer and had the goal of explaining the church to the outside world, so that's why we use it.
  • It's hard to put spiritual things to words.

    I'll help the guy out here. Symbols have different meaning to different people and words are just symbols. To borrow from Tao, the first vision that can be told is not the eternal first vision. :P
  • Differing accounts widens the perspectives.
Each one of us has our own evolution of life, and each one of us goes through different tests which are unique and challenging. But certain things are common. And we do learn things from each other's experience. On a spiritual journey, we all have the same destination.
— A. R. Rahman

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nibbler
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Re: YSA Fireside

Post by nibbler » 11 Sep 2018, 09:57

Sixth Question (43:56): We know that the early saints had to work hard to build the Kirtland temple so that the Savior might have a place to manifest himself and restore priesthood keys. With this in mind, would you teach us about the significance of those events and what the Lord would have us sacrifice as young adults so that we can benefit from those keys and feel a greater manifestation of the Savior in our lives?

Confessional. Talk of PH keys puts me to sleep so I'll skip most of the answer and only quote a gaffe by Elder Cook:
Those keys, with the feeling that prophets always have about temples, have never been important... more important.
No... you were right the first time. I kid, I kid. :angel: :angel:

Seventh Question (47:25): Did Joseph translate the gold plates or was it strictly revelation? What role did the Urim and Thummim play in the translation of the Book of Mormon?
  • Joseph Smith said that he translated the BoM through the gift and power of god. Some want more detail, but that's what he said.
  • Scribes and friends did elaborate on the translation process.
  • Scholarly approach didn't work so he turned to a revelatory approach.
  • U&T and peepstone used, later JS didn't need either when working on the JST.

    I believe the insinuation here is that the U&T and peepstone(s) were crutches for receiving revelation and that JS progressed to a point where he no longer needed them.
  • The content is more important than the way the content was delivered.
Eighth Question (55:28): As we know, the pioneers suffered a lot and had a lot of persecution but they remained strong. How can we take their examples to stand firm in our trials and afflictions of our earthly life?

Another minor gaffe by Elder Cook in this section:
We went to Carthage where the Savior was martyred.
Just a gaffe and it has been edited out of the youtube video... which is ironic considering the first question of the evening was about the church hiding things. It's a gaffe. Does it have to be combed over, correlated, and corrected?
Each one of us has our own evolution of life, and each one of us goes through different tests which are unique and challenging. But certain things are common. And we do learn things from each other's experience. On a spiritual journey, we all have the same destination.
— A. R. Rahman

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nibbler
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Re: YSA Fireside

Post by nibbler » 11 Sep 2018, 10:39

Ninth Question (1:03:06): What has been the event of the restoration that has most strengthened your testimonies and how can we apply it to ourselves? I want to know what the restoration means to you and how it has helped you and your families.

- - - - - - - - - -

I wanted to separate the questions out so people could skip to the ones that interested them.

One thing I found interesting is how youth serving missions was weaved into the answers to several questions, the subject kept coming up. I know, I know. Leaders would like the youth to serve a mission, news at 11.
Each one of us has our own evolution of life, and each one of us goes through different tests which are unique and challenging. But certain things are common. And we do learn things from each other's experience. On a spiritual journey, we all have the same destination.
— A. R. Rahman

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mom3
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Re: YSA Fireside

Post by mom3 » 11 Sep 2018, 11:56

Thanks Nibbler for the break down of questions.

I am weary of processing The Church. For the time being I will just enjoy "church" in my little world. It's a nice ward. Amazing leadership at present, both ward and stake. I can't do "The Big Church" I've run out of resources.

The good news - they don't care. Thank heaven.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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