The New Gospel Pinciples Manual

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
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Katzpur
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Re: The New Gospel Pinciples Manual

Post by Katzpur » 13 Aug 2009, 20:09

bridget_night wrote:Have you all heard about this: http://latterdaymainstreet.com/?p=741#more-741 And what are your thoughts.... I have mixed feelings.
Wow! No mixed feelings here. I absolutely love the changes. I wonder if it's also available in Spanish already. My husband and I are assistant ward missionaries with the Church's "Hispanic Initiative" and attend the Gospel Principles class in a Spanish-speaking branch here in Salt Lake. I'd love to see them start using the new manual. I'm going to check into it.

I guess, on second thought, I do have reservations about one thing. The elimination (or minimalization) of the "doctrines" that were listed will just give the anti-Mormons more fodder. They'll be saying, "Well, the LDS Church used to teach its members that (as an example), Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. They don't teach that any more. They're always changing their doctrines so that they'll appear to be more mainstream." Oh well... the heck with them. The changes are good.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

jeriboy
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Re: The New Gospel Pinciples Manual

Post by jeriboy » 15 Aug 2009, 20:49

Bruce in Montana said...What about prophecy and seership?
Exactly. What happened to current prophecy? Where are the angelic visitations and visions? What happened that seership would be reduced to "feeling the spirit"? It sounds suspiciously like the heavens are shut for some reason....maybe it's just me.

I am just happy God is willing to let me feel his spirit, I ask for no more than that. But I do know...men and women who are more worthy than I still receive visitations from angles and God (Holy spirit of promise). This church is led by men who please God, other wise their hearts stop beating.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The New Gospel Pinciples Manual

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Aug 2009, 23:55

I am just happy God is willing to let me feel his spirit, I ask for no more than that.
I agree, essentially.
But I do know...men and women who are more worthy than I still receive visitations from angles and God (Holy spirit of promise).
I agree, in theory, but I believe that is true of people all over the world - in lots of different circumstances and without the "more worthy than I" disclaimer.
This church is led by men who please God,
I agree, but with the same disclaimer as above - that MANY people all over the world please God, even many who lead other congregations and religions, men and women. I truly do believe that God still is "well pleased" in general with the leadership of the LDS Church, even as I don't believe the leadership of the Church understands and accomplishes everything perfectly in accordance with the full will of God - and I am positive they would agree with that last part.
otherwise their hearts stop beating.
We disagree about as completely as we can on this one.
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

Pappanoon
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Re: The New Gospel Pinciples Manual

Post by Pappanoon » 16 Aug 2009, 06:59

(Sorry for the length on this one. I got a bit carried away.)

My problem with the changes we see in the church isn't that changes exist. For example, the church obviously changed a lot during Joseph Smith's time. I would also say that things changed a lot during the time of Christ. To some extent, that's the whole reason they came to earth in the first place - to change things.

My problem comes in the nature of the changes. In the time of JS and Christ the changes we're progressive. They added to our cannon of knowledge and new things to think about. IMO, most of the changes made today are digressions - they are taking things away rather than adding more. The changes to the temple ceremony is a classic example of this. Those changes mostly involved removing things and lowering expectations (e.g. no longer covenanting to "obey" the law of consecration but rather to "accept" it). For me, those changes don't mean that it was once true and is no longer true. For me it would be like ripping out the book of Alma from the Book of Mormon. Would the book still be true? Of course. That's not the issue. The real question would be whether it contained more truth or less truth than it did before. (If the BOM doesn't work for you, pick any "true" book and the analogy still applies.)

These kinds of changes are even noticed by non-Mormon scholars. For example, Professor Harold Bloom, a non-Mormon scholar of religion from Yale University once stated,

"It has become somewhat of a commonplace to observe that modern Mormonism tends to reduce itself to another Protestant sect, another Christian heresy, while the religion of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Parley and Orson Pratt and other leading early Mormons was a far more radical swerve away from Protestant tradition." (The Annual David P. Gardner Lecture, Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah, November 15, 1990)

Notice that this guy isn't really attacking Mormonism or the LDS church. He’s simply stating that there is a difference between early Mormonism and modern Mormonism - a difference that seems to be moving us away from the (IMO) great stuff taught by JS and others. For those who truly love the gospel (e.g. me), and like the "radical" stuff Joseph Smith taught (me again), this can become kind of depressing. Regarding some issues, either they were right then or they are right now, but not both. Trying to reconcile the various points of disagreement is difficult to say the least.

Elder B. H. Roberts once made an observation about this problem that likely applies to many people on this forum:

"Suppose your youth receive their impressions of church history from 'pictures and stories' and build their faith upon these alleged miracles [and] shall someday come face to face with the fact that their belief rests on falsehoods, what then will be the result? Will they not say that since these things are myth and our Church has permitted them to be perpetuated ...might not the other fundamentals to the actual story of the Church, the things in which it had its origin, might they not all be lies and nothing but lies? ... [Some say that] because one repudiates the false he stands in danger of weakening, perhaps losing the truth. I have no fear of such results. I find my own heart strengthened in the truth by getting rid of the untruth, the spectacular, the bizarre, as soon as I learn that it is based upon worthless testimony." (Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story, p. 363)

Elder Roberts’ insight seems to have proven prophetic. He seems to describe well what is happening among many Latter-day Saints today (including many of us here).

As I see it, the real problem here isn't that changes are being made. It is that most (all?) of the changes are taking things away rather than adding more. They are reducing our level of gospel understanding rather than increasing it. If you will permit me one scripture that may be applicable:

"For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have." (2 Nephi 28:30, underline added)

If this passage is true, it kinda makes me wonder just how the Lord would go about taking away even that which we have.
I maintain ‘simple faith’...which is faith without understanding of the thing believed, is not equal to intelligent faith,...hence the duty of striving for a rational faith in which the intellect as well as the heart has a place. B.H. Roberts

jeriboy
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Re: The New Gospel Pinciples Manual

Post by jeriboy » 16 Aug 2009, 10:00

Pappanoon » 16 Aug 2009, 07:59

(Sorry for the length on this one. I got a bit carried away.)

My problem with the changes we see in the church isn't that changes exist. For example, the church obviously changed a lot during Joseph Smith's time. I would also say that things changed a lot during the time of Christ. To some extent, that's the whole reason they came to earth in the first place - to change things.

My problem comes in the nature of the changes. In the time of JS and Christ the changes we're progressive. They added to our cannon of knowledge and new things to think about. IMO, most of the changes made today are digressions - they are taking things away rather than adding more. The changes to the temple ceremony is a classic example of this. Those changes mostly involved removing things and lowering expectations (e.g. no longer covenanting to "obey" the law of consecration but rather to "accept" it). For me, those changes don't mean that it was once true and is no longer true. For me it would be like ripping out the book of Alma from the Book of Mormon. Would the book still be true? Of course. That's not the issue. The real question would be whether it contained more truth or less truth than it did before. (If the BOM doesn't work for you, pick any "true" book and the analogy still applies.)


This is on the just thinking out loud level, prehaps things are becoming more simple in church teachings because there are alot of people like me who just can't get off their duff, go to church and show forth alot of zeal for the faith. So God gives according to our abilities. Joseph Fielding Smith was discouraged that LDS were not living worthy enough to be recieving more revelation and scripture. If it's true half the members don't attend church, in what condition are those that do? And I'm not suggesting I know. Brigham Young said people would be joining the church in droves if the members were living their religion, and that that would be without sending forth any missionaries. I know people who have moved to Utah from out of state who find it hard going to church here. I guess there must be a reason for that. I better get back to church to find out what the heck is going on.

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jmb275
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Re: The New Gospel Pinciples Manual

Post by jmb275 » 16 Aug 2009, 10:25

This is a double edged sword for me. Let me explain:
1. I actually agree with Bruce. Joseph taught unequivocal, clear, unmistakable, and profound doctrines that recently we have nigh abandon. I can really sympathize with the fundamentalist stance on these things and I understand why people would become such. People want something to latch onto, to be certain of. Joseph, and his first few successors gave clear speech ("thus saith the Lord...") that gave little room for interpretations. If we are to accept that Joseph knew what he was talking about, had a direct line to God, as most TBMs seem to believe, then picking and choosing which revealed doctrines we accept now, is nothing short of apostasy!

2. OTOH, I think it is unwise to be so certain in Joseph's abilities, revelations, etc. The worldview that is generated by such certainty is a dangerous one as evidenced by the abundance of ill-functioning cult members in our society. When will society learn that a single individual running the show is not a wise idea? Yet, we give full confidence to those we deem as prophets, assuming they are somehow beyond the reach of collective human wisdom showing this point. For this reason, I am very glad to see the church adopting a healthier worldview to pass on to its members. The leaders are admitting uncertainty in Joseph and past prophets by letting these things go (a fact supported by historical evidence IMHO).

Hence, I am very torn on the issue. The TBM part of me, and one who has studied Joseph's life, feels sad to see such powerful teachings going by the wayside. Yet, the realistic side of me is grateful that we are embracing a better view of reality. If the church eventually takes a stance on the BoM similar to the CoC church (as Bruce alluded to in his extreme example) I will be grateful again that we are embracing reality, while saddened at the implications for normal TBM thought.

I think rank and file members are in such a precarious position. We are taught that Joseph was a prophet, and are frequently reminded of how humble, honest, wonderful, powerful, spiritual, and charismatic he was. Indeed according to Taylor, "save Jesus only" no one has done more for the salvation of mankind (quite a lofty statement IMHO). And most members know something of the teachings in the King Follett discourse. But they are also taught dependence on and submission to the current prophet and his teachings. Throw in a dash of science, psychology, and reality and you have a recipe for something very hard to sort through. Fortunately for the church, they have done a good job I think of emphasizing that current prophets trump past prophets, so the pull toward fundamentalism will be diminished by loyalty to the current prophet.

Of course, in all honesty, I bet hardly anyone will even analyze it like we have here. Most will barely even notice anything changed. I think people are joining the church because of what it is today, not because of its history or founder.
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)

jeriboy
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Re: The New Gospel Pinciples Manual

Post by jeriboy » 16 Aug 2009, 10:46

jmb 275 said...Of course, in all honesty, I bet hardly anyone will even analyze it like we have here. Most will barely even notice anything changed. I think people are joining the church because of what it is today, not because of its history or founder.

Pardon me while I assume that many other's, like myself, have studied alot of church history and managed to come away with no shattered vision of Joseph Smith and it's early history. Meaning no disrespect here, when I have had conversations with knowledgable active LDS about this very subject, their take was that such people fall into the catagory of having been overcome of the world. And yes, I fall into that catagory. To me this is the very purpose of life, I really wonder if what I have come to believe this far, how much of it is acceptable to God. When I go back to church I want to be able to say my beliefs are in line with what the current leaders believe. Anything less, I believe God will find me wanting.

jeriboy
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Re: The New Gospel Pinciples Manual

Post by jeriboy » 16 Aug 2009, 12:58

Ray Degraw said...I agree, but with the same disclaimer as above - that MANY people all over the world please God, even many who lead other congregations and religions, men and women. I truly do believe that God still is "well pleased" in general with the leadership of the LDS Church, even as I don't believe the leadership of the Church understands and accomplishes everything perfectly in accordance with the full will of God - and I am positive they would agree with that last part.


I have A LOT of markers in my life that I use to show personal growth. One such marker was when I figured out that other people on the planet were as loved and looked after by God as the LDS. One BYU speaker told how the church's that formed from the Catholic church, starting with Martin Luther were sent by God for that express purpose, and that that prepared the world for the restoration. I like your cosmopolitan outlook.

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