How do you view the Restoration?

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.

How do you view the Restoration?

A perfect restoration.
0
No votes
A perfect restoration, with a different perspective.
0
No votes
Practically the same, with a few modern adjustments.
0
No votes
Restored in function and purpose, but scaled down to reach a more universal audience.
1
9%
A minimalist restoration. Brought back the basics, and everything else is personal conjecture.
1
9%
A modern reinterpretation. The same basic form, reimagined for our day.
3
27%
A restoration of purpose only. Created to supersede the original, according to God's will.
0
No votes
Has some of the same "parts" as the original, but is really completely different.
6
55%
 
Total votes: 11

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dande48
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How do you view the Restoration?

Post by dande48 » 10 May 2018, 09:37

Amy bumped out a post, which mentioned the "Restoration". I thought I'd do a poll to see where everyone lands. I'd also going to use a Lego analogy to express the possible views. Let me know if I missed any.

This is the Church (religious organization/doctrines) Christ set up:
Image

This is the Church after the "apostasy":
Image

Was the Restoration:
1. A perfect restoration.
Image

2. A perfect restoration, with a different perspective.
Image

3. Practically the same, with a few modern adjustments.
Image

4. Restored in function and purpose, but scaled down to reach a more universal audience.
Image

5. A minimalist restoration. Brought back the basics and everything else is personal conjecture.
Image

6. A modern reinterpretation. The same basic form, reimagined for our day. Appropriated by us, reinvented by us, and declared canon by us.
Image

7. A restoration of purpose only. Created to be sleeker, faster, "better". In other words, much improved from the original version.
Image

8. Maybe uses some of the same parts, but is really completely different.
Image
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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Roadrunner
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Re: How do you view the Restoration?

Post by Roadrunner » 10 May 2018, 13:50

For some reason I can't see two of the pictures, maybe my work firewall blocked them. I liked the pics. :)

I remember many years ago reading an article in Sunstone speculating what Joseph Smith would think about the modern LDS church. The author's conclusion was that he wouldn't recognize much. That was only 170 years ago. Based on that criteria I have to think that if an unbiased observer compared today's church with the church at the time shortly after Christ's death they would bear only minimal resemblance. I'm not saying anything about truth claims, just that they are probably very different, which may actually be a very good thing.

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DarkJedi
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Re: How do you view the Restoration?

Post by DarkJedi » 10 May 2018, 15:21

I know I've been talking about this a lot, but I really am enjoying The Christ Who Heals (Fiona & Terryl Givens). Part of what fascinates me with this book is that authors look at what was taught in early Christianity (compared to current restoration doctrine), how those teachings were lost, than how they have been restored. They do not implicitly say so (at least not at the point I am in the book) but there is an underlying idea that some of these teachings are also obscured in modern Mormonism - and it's more than just the old works/grace debate. What JS restored is not necessarily what is taught today and not what was taught/believed by early Christians. I agree that I do not believe JS would recognize the modern church.

That said, I can't really choose any of the options above. Minimalist would probably be the closest, and at first I think what JS brought about was minimalist (Bushman calls it the simple church). However, the church did evolve during Joseph's time and did become more complicated, somewhat because of necessity. I have long said the gospel is simple, but the church complicates things. I think that's an appropriate comment here.

(Caveat: I do not believe Jesus actually organized a church.)
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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nibbler
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Re: How do you view the Restoration?

Post by nibbler » 11 May 2018, 07:14

Tough/interesting question.

First I'd have to figure out what was lost in order to determine what was restored and for me that's also a difficult question to answer. I know this goes against the church narrative but I'd venture to say that the main thing that was lost wasn't truth, ordinances, or organization; it was confidence.

I get the feeling that back in the day there was a backlog of unanswered questions related to religion and all confidence in settling the question[s] by an appeal to the Bible left people in a state of deadlock. So much so that a new volume of scripture that people could view as being as authoritative as the Bible was required to provide the answers. A restoration of confidence to go forward believing that something "new" was the will of god.

Take the example of baptizing people at an age of accountability. The Bible doesn't say anything specific, it leaves room for doubt and questioning. Along comes a restoration to help create enough room for people to allow themselves to think it's okay to believe that you have to be at least 8 years old - it's not me that's saying it, it's god.

With the way we have correlated our beliefs I think we could stand another restoration or two, or three, or four. IMO that was one of the benefits of the creation of the church, an opportunity to give ourselves permission to adopt new beliefs into an otherwise stagnant system, but often we take the attitude that new thoughts are wrong simply because the do not align with tradition or canon that has become just as locked down as the Bible was at the time of the creation of the church.

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dande48
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Re: How do you view the Restoration?

Post by dande48 » 11 May 2018, 09:29

DarkJedi wrote:
10 May 2018, 15:21
(Caveat: I do not believe Jesus actually organized a church.)
I agree. At most, he tried to "restore" the Abrahamic religion, and did a pretty rushed job. It was the apostles who tried to figure out the tough questions of who they were and what they believed, and actually begun some semblance of a religious organization.
nibbler wrote:
11 May 2018, 07:14
With the way we have correlated our beliefs I think we could stand another restoration or two, or three, or four. IMO that was one of the benefits of the creation of the church, an opportunity to give ourselves permission to adopt new beliefs into an otherwise stagnant system, but often we take the attitude that new thoughts are wrong simply because the do not align with tradition or canon that has become just as locked down as the Bible was at the time of the creation of the church.
This is an interesting thought Nibs. It's not a restoration, but it is called a restoration to lend legitimacy to new beliefs. The trouble is, JS and his predecessors have stated both that the Prophet will never lead us astray, and that the fullness of the gospel will never again be taken off of the earth. The Church can't have another restoration and still remain the same organization. There would have to be another splinter.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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Re: How do you view the Restoration?

Post by nibbler » 11 May 2018, 09:53

dande48 wrote:
11 May 2018, 09:29
This is an interesting thought Nibs. It's not a restoration, but it is called a restoration to lend legitimacy to new beliefs. The trouble is, JS and his predecessors have stated both that the Prophet will never lead us astray, and that the fullness of the gospel will never again be taken off of the earth. The Church can't have another restoration and still remain the same organization. There would have to be another splinter.
That's probably why the Snufferites are a thing.

I have no way of knowing but I think many, many members are starved for continued revelation, so much so that minor changes to church policy and programs become revolutionary in nature. For some that isn't good enough so they start looking elsewhere.

Uchtdorf did give a conference talk where he said the restoration was ongoing... or maybe that's what I chose to hear. I also applaud some more recent things that were done to shake things up.

Digging up an old post:
nibbler wrote:
04 May 2016, 04:49
I beat a quote that was shared some time ago by Sheldon to death, sorry to pull it out yet again but I believe it fits:
William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience wrote:A genuine first-hand religious experience like this is bound to be a heterodoxy to its witnesses, the prophet appearing as a mere lonely madman. If his doctrine prove contagious enough to spread to any others, it becomes a definite and labeled heresy. But if it then still prove contagious enough to triumph over persecution, it becomes itself an orthodoxy; and when a religion has become an orthodoxy, its day of inwardness is over: the spring is dry; the faithful live at second hand exclusively and stone the prophets in their turn. The new church, in spite of whatever human goodness it may foster, can be henceforth counted on as a staunch ally in every attempt to stifle the spontaneous religious spirit, and to stop all later bubblings of the fountain from which in purer days it drew its own supply of inspiration.
I believe we've seen many restorations over the years. Restorations tend to start coming from external sources when a group gets really insistent that they are in sole possession of all revealed truth.

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Re: How do you view the Restoration?

Post by AmyJ » 11 May 2018, 10:02

nibbler wrote:
11 May 2018, 07:14
Tough/interesting question.

First I'd have to figure out what was lost in order to determine what was restored and for me that's also a difficult question to answer. I know this goes against the church narrative but I'd venture to say that the main thing that was lost wasn't truth, ordinances, or organization; it was confidence.
This is actually pretty huge. I think that there is a loss of confidence in religion in general, and some religions more than others as science supplies more answers - in terms of sheer numbers of scientific facts and in diverse theories about how/why things work the way they do. There is a loss of confidence in the societies/cultures set up by religious communities in part because of previous "sins" and "transgressions" of previous generations - both real and perceived. There is a question of whether those religious communities can withstand resources being spent by people in other communities (specialized to their interests/passions), or the equalizing force of globalization and it's attendant awareness.
nibbler wrote:
11 May 2018, 07:14
I get the feeling that back in the day there was a backlog of unanswered questions related to religion and all confidence in settling the question[s] by an appeal to the Bible left people in a state of deadlock. So much so that a new volume of scripture that people could view as being as authoritative as the Bible was required to provide the answers. A restoration of confidence to go forward believing that something "new" was the will of god.

Take the example of baptizing people at an age of accountability. The Bible doesn't say anything specific, it leaves room for doubt and questioning. Along comes a restoration to help create enough room for people to allow themselves to think it's okay to believe that you have to be at least 8 years old - it's not me that's saying it, it's god.
After some thought, I have come to the conclusion that "scriptures/canon" only exist to provide 2 things:
1. Meaning (Usually Communal) - usually in the form of short statements like proverbs, or memorable stories as myths.
2. Protocols for Community Living - 10 commandments is the example that comes to mind.

So, I can write down/transcribe passages that have meaning for me, and the best protocols I can find for governing my life, and viola, I have personal scripture/cannon :D
[NOTE: I have a mental health "Everything's Not OK" paper on my fridge that I consider scripture. It covers the basics like hydration, hugs, movement - basic protocols to start "unsticking" yourself when you want to stick in bed/hide and be depressed. Not sorry that I elevate it to "scripture" level in my personal catalog of meaningful writings.
I plan to refer my moody teenager to it 99% of the time when she is being a whiny/hormonal teenager starting in about 3-4 years.]

It also is why one of the highly effective strategies from Covey is so useful. It takes thought to prioritize and figure out what is important and matters enough to write it down and live it.

It also explains why we get a lot of pioneer stories in sacrament meeting....
nibbler wrote:
11 May 2018, 07:14
With the way we have correlated our beliefs I think we could stand another restoration or two, or three, or four. IMO that was one of the benefits of the creation of the church, an opportunity to give ourselves permission to adopt new beliefs into an otherwise stagnant system, but often we take the attitude that new thoughts are wrong simply because the do not align with tradition or canon that has become just as locked down as the Bible was at the time of the creation of the church.
So the underlined part.

I am philosophical agreement with Curt Sunshine that I am not entirely certain that the restoration has ended. Speaking from the peanut gallery, I think it could use a jolt of adrenalin though.

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dande48
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Re: How do you view the Restoration?

Post by dande48 » 11 May 2018, 12:32

nibbler wrote:
11 May 2018, 09:53
That's probably why the Snufferites are a thing.
Great William James quote, BTW. Along the lines of Nibbler's and Amy's comments...

Looking at the Snufferite development, I feel mostly impartial, but I doubt Snuffer is going to get enough of a following with his reformation to reach anywhere near the scale of the LDS. And judging by all the reformation religions popping up at Joseph Smith's time, also with claims of visions of Christ (or to be Christ). A few of them had some growth, but almost all of them died off pretty quick. With early Church splinter groups, there were quite a few, and a couple of them strongly survived (Community of Christ and FLDS), for various reasons. But do you think with our modern, secular age there could ever be another strong restoration? Have we come to a point where there will be no more new and enduring "Restorations"?

I feel pretty ccertain that all religions from the beginning of time either evolve or die. But the rules are changing. I wonder how it will turn out.
"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

nibbler
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Re: How do you view the Restoration?

Post by nibbler » 11 May 2018, 12:44

dande48 wrote:
11 May 2018, 12:32
But do you think with our modern, secular age there could ever be another strong restoration? Have we come to a point where there will be no more new and enduring "Restorations"?
I've wondered this. Would a story of a golden Bible or angelic visitations survive in the 21st century or did it need to grow in the specific petri dish it grew in? Does each age need their own story? What would be an example of a story we could rally around in our age but maybe wouldn't hold up to scrutiny 170 years from now?

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dande48
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Re: How do you view the Restoration?

Post by dande48 » 11 May 2018, 13:19

nibbler wrote:
11 May 2018, 12:44
I've wondered this. Would a story of a golden Bible or angelic visitations survive in the 21st century or did it need to grow in the specific petri dish it grew in? Does each age need their own story? What would be an example of a story we could rally around in our age but maybe wouldn't hold up to scrutiny 170 years from now?
Well, they do change quite often, but there are a lot of fictional stories people rally around. But they also heavily influence and change the ideas around it. For example, "The Sorrows of Young Werther" and Dante's "Divine Comedy" both directly mentioned and influenced Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein". Frankenstein's themes have carried over into almost all of modern science fiction. "Star Wars" itself has quite the "cult" following, and many have felt spiritually inspired by it. Maybe this is a better model, since advancements in "Culture" (let's call it) pull in "truth" from all sorts of places and build on what's most inspiring.
"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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