Pros and Cons of Supplementing

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felixfabulous
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Pros and Cons of Supplementing

Post by felixfabulous » 15 Mar 2019, 07:24

My wife and I have decided that we love the community of the Church and love having our family be a part of it (great programs for our kids and really good people, good values system). Both of us have felt like the messages don't necessarily resonate a lot and can fill pretty spiritually unfulfilled. About a year ago, I started supplementing my spiritual instruction with a variety of things (Richard Rohr, Rob Bell, Marcus Borg) and have found some great stuff. My wife had a friend who recently left the church and started attending another church and raved about the female pastor's sermons. We listened to one online just out of curiosity and have listened to several and they are fantastic.

On the one hand, this seems like a great way to supplement what may be spiritually lacking in our church and find meaning other places. On the other hand, it kind of seems to highlight a lot of the things we find lacking in the Church. It's amazing how much power there is in the simplicity of the message of Jesus, the call to love others unconditionally and the call to service and reckless love. I feel like this message is obfuscated in the Church because we've built up so many things around it, obedience, priesthood, following leaders, tithing, temple, etc. to name a few. I love being able to find meaning in both experiences, but it's hard not to think we would be so much better off if we could strip away so many other things down to the essential message of Jesus. Curious if anyone else supplements and if you've had a similar experience.

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dande48
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Re: Pros and Cons of Supplementing

Post by dande48 » 15 Mar 2019, 09:12

A few thoughts I had:
  • Our biggest selling point, is that we are God's one and only true church. Because of that, we need to stand out. We have to have all the ordinances, the right ordinances, the priesthood authority, living prophets who speak directly with God, etc, etc. Take those away, and we're no different from any other Christian church. Worse yet, with our local "lay ministry", our meetings kind of suck when compared to career preachers. We don't have the training, experience, "passion", or motivation to give those sort of rousing sermons. So if we're reduced to a popularity contest based on the quality of our church meetings, we're going to lose.
  • There are both advantages and disadvantages to having a "business religion" on the local level (though we're still a business on the higher levels). For one, I don't trust anyone to be honest with me, when their pay is linked with how much I like them. I'm always worried their only going to say what's popular, what will get them the most liked, and what will continue to bring in revenue. As cynical as I am of the Church, I do have faith that they'll tell me the cold hard truth (as they see it), even if I don't like it. I might doubt the truth of it, but I don't doubt they believe every word. But lets say there was some "truth" about God that was highly unpopular... would that female pastor have the courage to say it, and jeopardize her livelihood?
  • Charisma is a double edged sword. It builds trust, and it motivates... but it says nothing of the intentions, integrity, or other capabilities of the leader, even though subconsciously we think it does.
"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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felixfabulous
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Re: Pros and Cons of Supplementing

Post by felixfabulous » 15 Mar 2019, 10:27

I think that is a fair point about a pastor wanting to keep people coming and generating revenue. But, I think the same argument could be made with us, that our leaders at the local level are trying to keep the people above them happy (stake presidents, area authorities, seventies) and that the people at the top are invested in keeping people loyal to the institution and paying their tithing. This creates a "yes man" culture at the local level and leaders who are shielded from problems. There is no real avenue for dissent, we can preach unpopular doctrines, but only when those are what the leaders want, not when they question authority.

nibbler
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Re: Pros and Cons of Supplementing

Post by nibbler » 15 Mar 2019, 12:10

Yes, I try to supplement outside of our church meetings. I think that was the overall spirit of the "home church" initiative, to get people to take the reigns of their own spiritual journies. In practice I see us paring home church back down to a program that recreates the types of instruction we receive at church, another opportunity to indoctrinate with correlated beliefs and to assign family members more tasks... but it doesn't have to be. It can be whatever you want it to be.

In the past I used the first Sunday (F&T Sunday) to visit with and experience other faiths. Sometimes the faiths were similar to my "base" church (LDS), other times it was with faiths that were completely alien to me. Still, it was an experience that I found rewarding.

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mom3
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Re: Pros and Cons of Supplementing

Post by mom3 » 15 Mar 2019, 13:37

I think that was the overall spirit of the "home church" initiative, to get people to take the reigns of their own spiritual journies.
I think so, too.

or

The new change gives us room to do that.

Right now we are still pouring old wine into new bottles. Whether by intent or by coincidence most members and wards are trying to keep things the same, all the while, everything is changing. When Elder Bednar was here, something he taught in the priesthood training, was that the changes we are seeing are because the world outside the US does church differently. We in the states are catching up - according to him - from the person who passed it along in a Stake Training Meeting. If that is the case, then the home model, self taught stuff should continue to grow.

Think of yourselves ahead of the curve.

I see no Con's. Even Joseph Smith would get behind it. At least according to the Givenses.
"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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dande48
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Re: Pros and Cons of Supplementing

Post by dande48 » 15 Mar 2019, 16:49

felixfabulous wrote:
15 Mar 2019, 10:27
This creates a "yes man" culture at the local level and leaders who are shielded from problems. There is no real avenue for dissent, we can preach unpopular doctrines, but only when those are what the leaders want, not when they question authority.
That's very true, but I think it's also true for most pastors in most denominations, who cannot descent against the "will of the flock" or the "authorities from above". But on the flip side, the religions who bring the most happiness, serenity, and comfort are the ones who prosper; and I think that's what most people are after. It doesn't matter if there's a conflict of interest, so long as they're giving people what they want and making them feel good. But I don't think going by what makes you feel good and happy will necessarily lead to lasting prosperity and happiness.

That being said, I think it's wonderful to supplement. Heck, sometimes I even go so far as to supplement my studies with the LDS Church :lol:.
"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

Roy
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Re: Pros and Cons of Supplementing

Post by Roy » 17 Mar 2019, 14:27

I have done quite a bit of supplementing. For me, this has taken the form of participating at other churches. This was mostly to involve our kids in the various programs. We felt that the LDS primary was a very poor program for kids under 12. Local churches in our area sponsored "Mothers of Preschoolers", Awanas, Royal Rangers, Pioneer Clubs, Vacation Bible Schools, Family Fun Nights, and other activities. We are particularly fond of the annual interfaith live nativity and annual interfaith "church in the park" service.

I sometimes get asked by members of other churches why I choose to participate with them. I usually say that the LDS church is our "home church" but that I enjoy supplementing my spirituality. If any LDS people asked me about it I might say that we enjoy being involved in the community and that we participate with other churches but we only "attend" the LDS church.

In addition to just getting access to free child care and awesome programs I am hopeful that my kids will remember that people from many faiths are just as devoted, spiritual, and all around good people as we tend to be in our church.

As our kids have aged (Now 13 and 11) we tend to do this less often. Part of this is because our kids have aged out of many of these programs and partly because our kids have aged into the LDS sponsored programs of YM/YW and Scouting. We have made lots of friendly associations with people throughout the community and I feel good about it.
"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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SilentDawning
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Re: Pros and Cons of Supplementing

Post by SilentDawning » 17 Mar 2019, 19:58

felixfabulous wrote:
15 Mar 2019, 07:24
Curious if anyone else supplements and if you've had a similar experience.
Definitely. I have long since believed the scriptures and GA talks are inadequate for solving problems in families, personal problems, unemployment, etcetera. The scriptures are "strategic" in that they give you general guidance, but not specifics. For specifics, you need help or counseling or books from experts in the field. Learned people, as the scriptures refer to them. And the church is negative on "the philosophies of men" or "learned men" based on the BoM scriptures to that effect. I believe there was likely an arrogance among the educated in JS time, and uneducated people like JS would often diss them in the scriptures and to others.

You can read other philosophers on the gospel, but I would be careful. I have a tendency to want to share what I am reading and learning with others, and church members won't accept ideas from non-church sources, most of them. After a while you may find yourself accepting and believing the ideas in these extra-church sources, and you CAN'T share these in your local ward or you get labeled apostate.

So, I say, read with caution, share new ideas only with open-minded people online, and enjoy the experience. Turn to books and experts for practical advice on nitty-gritty problems after considering the general direction in which the scriptures point.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

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On Own Now
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Re: Pros and Cons of Supplementing

Post by On Own Now » 18 Mar 2019, 07:31

felixfabulous wrote:
15 Mar 2019, 07:24
...we would be so much better off if we could strip away so many other things down to the essential message of Jesus.
ff, if by "we", you mean "my wife and I", then I completely agree. I support your desire to find your own essential message of Jesus!

If by "we" you mean the Church (LDS), then I would encourage you to find peace with the Church without expecting it to change in the ways you hope.

First, I've come to realize that "the essential message of Jesus" is completely in the eye of the beholder. There are many contradictory facets of Jesus' teaching, so when any one person reads the accounts, they will see different messages imbedded in them. After all, was Jesus' message that we should
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Or was it more about what he said 35 verses later during the same sermon:
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
In Luke, when one of the disciples reported to him that an exorcist was "casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him", Jesus said:
Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.
Then, later in Luke:
He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
Jesus was either a loving, kind, pacifist or a radical revolutionary who said "I came not to send peace, but a sword."

My point is that some see Jesus in one light, some in another. If you believe you have found the Essential Message, then I'm glad for you and I wish you all the best in following it. But it's likely different than the Essential Message that others see, so be careful not to project your Essential Message onto others and then hold them accountable for their adherence to your Essential Message.

Secondly, the Church. The Church is making strides. It is getting a lot better. But the Church operates on a completely different timeline than you or I do. I think the best way to be at peace with the Church is to acknowledge the progress and forego demands that it happen sooner.

Finally, and most importantly IMO, I am on my own spiritual path. I am completely at liberty to attend other churches, read other books, ponderize my own philosophies. The Church offers me a framework in which I can practice my own brand of spirituality, but it doesn't own it. The question about "supplementing" is better taken in reverse. Among all the inputs and experiences in my life that contribute to my spirituality, how can the Church supplement my path?
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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