A little talk advice, please?

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Roy
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Re: A little talk advice, please?

Post by Roy » 13 Aug 2014, 16:06

Nice to hear from you OON!

It is hard for me to say about general trends from 5 years ago because there are so many false starts and "1 step forward, 2 steps back" moments. I am, however confident, that the church has made significant progress from the 1970's and 80's.

DJ, you may want to reference something that is not universal in the church. Perhaps drinking Pepsi or playing with face cards. Can you imagine a member who does both of these things being made to feel unwelcome? Is there a higher good associated with having these cultural markers/ expectations? Under what circumstances should we allow such things to supersede the gospel of love?
On Own Now wrote:3 - We had an Area Authority 70 visit our ward and teach a combined third-hour lesson a few weeks ago. He talked about how the old demographic of two married parents with children doesn't represent everyone and we need to recognize that individuals have different stories. He said, "We need to remember that the Gospel is for everyone. But we unintentionally send a message that we only want certain types of people. We need to get past that and be welcoming to everyone."
Great quote!

As an aside - I don't believe the LDS model works well for broken people. They will always be lacking and insufficient. I believe the LDS model works best for people who are logical, goal oriented, "do-it-yourselfers" or at the very least are good at hiding their inadequacies.
"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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: A little talk advice, please?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Aug 2014, 16:52

Can anyone point out one time where a prophet has come out since 2009 and said that white shirts were not doctrine... not needed to pass/bless the sacrament?


Elder Holland said it explicitly in his talk about that exact topic - in 1995. So, the last "official" statement from the General Conference pulpit says exactly what you say hasn't been taught - and it hasn't been countered from that pulpit since then. Also, it is in the Church Handbook of Instructions (revised after 2009) - explicitly and directly.
Those who bless and pass the sacrament should dress modestly and be well groomed and clean. Clothing or jewelry should not call attention to itself or distract members during the sacrament. Ties and white shirts are recommended because they add to the dignity of the ordinance. However, they should not be required as a mandatory prerequisite for a priesthood holder to participate. Nor should it be required that all be alike in dress and appearance. Bishops should use discretion when giving such guidance to young men, taking into account their financial circumstances and maturity in the Church.
Just because so many members won't listen to their prophets, to put this in your own words, doesn't mean those prophets aren't teaching what you want them to teach. I'd love to hear it repeated, but it is the actual policy - from the pulpit and in the Handbook of Instructions.

Also, just as a personal example, there often aren't enough young men in our ward to administer the sacrament fully, so adult men are asked regularly to help. They try to spread the requests around and involve as many men as possible, and, more than once, men in non-white shirts have been asked to help.

Finally, I have NO problem with encouraging but not requiring white shirts to pass the sacrament, given Elder Holland's framing of the sacrament as a re-baptism / symbolic continuation of baptismal covenants (which has been a common understanding for a long time) and white shirts as a visual reminder of what is worn to administer baptism. I don't like it when members ignore his clear statement that white shirts are not required, but, frankly, I also don't like it when other members completely ignore the symbolism of the white shirt and mock the concept. BOTH of those approaches are simply different sides of the same coin.
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

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cwald
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Re: A little talk advice, please?

Post by cwald » 13 Aug 2014, 18:29

FROM rationalfaiths.com

The way I see it, clinging happens today when we rely upon specific instruction to guide us on the path to higher ground. In addition to the Word of Wisdom, white shirts, ties, dresses vs. pants, sleeves on children, no facial hair for men, only one pair of earrings, and no long hair on men are more examples. In so many areas we have created policies that trump written scripture. Should we start counting the steps we take on the Sabbath now? We have even done this even with the temple garment. Nowhere in the temple do we covenant to wear the garment both day and night; we are instructed to where it “throughout our lives.” But policy rears its ugly head in the temple recommend questions when we are asked if we wear it both day and night. It even includes a bit about not taking it off during yard work. Where is our opportunity to exercise our agency? Where is the chance for personal, prayerful interpretation? It seems like if a principle is measurable, then we will measure it. It’s so much easier to measure – you either drink green tea or you don’t; you either wear garments while doing sweaty yard work in the Arizona sun or you don’t. Checklist complete!

As a parent of four boys it is exciting to watch them grow to say the least. I love the stages they are in right now. That being said, I can’t wait until my youngest is out of diapers and I can’t wait until he sleeps through the night. I can’t wait until they can wipe their own butts, well, at least do a better job at it. Different stages comes with different rewards. I love seeing my wife breastfeed our youngest. He is our last child so we treasure it even more. There is a tiny hidden battle I think that takes place in most parents, an inner battle of wanting to keep their kids locked into a certain age, cute and adorable. But as parents it is so rewarding to see our kids grow and mature. Don’t we want our children to think for themselves? Or do we want them coming to us for the rest of our lives to make sure they wiped their butts properly? I don’t think our Heavenly Parents want that either.

1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (not including Star Wars figures)


So instead of asking whether or not something is agai. nst church rules, perhaps we should ask if it is beneficial for our bodies, if it’s moral, if it harms others, if it harms ourselves, etc. Study it out. Thoughtfully. Make calculated risk. Be mindful of yourself and others. Exercise moderation. Try to eat organic. THINK, search, ponder, and pray. Don’t give up your most precious gift – your free agency. And stop clinging – that is so 600 B.C.

And while you pass the coffee, here is a fun list of Word of Wisdom rebels:

Joseph Smith (President of Church) – Alcohol, Tobacco
Brigham Young (President of Church) – Alcohol
John Taylor (President of Church) – Alcohol
Brigham Young, Jr. (Apostle) – Alcohol
John Henry Smith (Apostle) – Alcohol
BH Roberts (President of 70) – Alcohol
Anthon H. Lund (1st Presidency) – Alcohol
Matthias F. Cowley (Apostle) – Alcohol
Charles W. Penrose (1st Presidency) – Alcohol
Emmeline B. Wells (Relief Society president) – Coffee
George Albert Smith (President of Church) – Alcohol
James Talmage (Apostle) – Tobacco

And last but not least: Jesus (Savior of the world) – Alcohol

CHEERS
Last edited by Anonymous on 13 Aug 2014, 18:56, edited 2 times in total.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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nibbler
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Re: A little talk advice, please?

Post by nibbler » 13 Aug 2014, 18:36

DarkJedi wrote:Because human nature desires rules, it is easy for us to get caught up in how far one should walk on the Sabbath and what color shirt one should wear to church and forget what it’s really all about.
I had a lesson, not a talk, that followed a similar approach. I posted more detail about that lesson elsewhere but:

Essentially the lesson focused on the more Pharisaical aspects of our culture. Since it was a lesson I had a bit more freedom with the delivery. My approach was to put the frog in water and then slowly raise the temperature, transitioning from a real-world, somewhat humorous Pharisaical narrative into the more Pharisaical aspects of our culture.

I specifically mentioned white shirts and beards. I knew a few people in that class were very particular about white shirts so I knew I was pushing the envelope. I wore a blue shirt and had a beard when I taught the class and I called attention to that fact in a self deprecating manner to take some of the edge off. Going into the lesson knowing that the church handbook had my back gave me a bit of confidence on the matter as well.

Switching gears:
Because human nature desires rules
In this case I think the aspect of human nature at the root of hedging the law is our disposition to compare ourselves to others. It's in our nature to compare ourselves with others to determine self worth and what better way to do that than with a myriad of rules. If society creates thousands of rules to follow it's a lot easier to compare ourselves with others. I obey 1,285 rules while my brother only obeys 934. Drop that down to two commandments and suddenly the prospect of measuring ourselves against others becomes much more difficult. My scorecard now says two commandments obeyed... but my brother's scorecard also says two commandments obeyed. Uh oh. Better move on to income to establish a pecking order. :sick:

Anyway, if our desire for rules is at the root of hedging the law I'd say that our desire to judge and compare ourselves to others is at the root of desiring rules.

Sure a desire for rules is more complex than that, there's that whole establishing a civil society thing, but white shirts kind of falls outside the scope of creating a safe society.

Good luck on the talk.
It’s strange. When I couldn’t find the drop and the plague came, you seemed so far away I would not ever be able to find you again. But I know now that you were here all along, and that nothing, not the Black Death nor seven hundred years, nor death nor things to come nor any other creature could ever separate me from your caring and concern. It was with me every minute.
― Connie Willis , Doomsday Book

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cwald
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Re: A little talk advice, please?

Post by cwald » 13 Aug 2014, 20:10

Ray DeGraw wrote:... I don't like it when members ignore his clear statement that white shirts are not required, but, frankly, I also don't like it when other members completely ignore the symbolism of the white shirt and mock the concept. BOTH of those approaches are simply different sides of the same coin.
Who is mocking?

Disagreeing, criticizing and pointing out how Pharasacial this "commandment" is, is not mocking.

1995?

Perhaps an issue that is causing the church to bleed needs to be addressed more often than every 19 years?

This, this "culture of commandments" is bleeding the church. Maybe if they would address the issue, the Bishops and SP would stop practicing what they supppse is the commandments and doctrine, and start focusing more on the gospel?

I'm going to take you for you're word though. If what you say is correct, than maybe all those Bishops and SPs who are pushing this, are in direct opposition to the prophets and church doctrine, and need to be corrected and they need to stop doing it, or lose their temple recommends for being in a state of apostasy?

Agree?

I think DJ needs to do some pulpit pounding.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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cwald
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Re: A little talk advice, please?

Post by cwald » 13 Aug 2014, 20:13

OON. That is a fair response.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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Re: A little talk advice, please?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Aug 2014, 22:36

cwald, you KNOW I have written here extensively about our tendency to build hedges about the law. You KNOW I have written extensively about how we need to change so much of our current culture.

I stand by my statement, however:

1) I understand and have NO problem with encouraging white shirts for the young men who administer the sacrament, as long as it doesn't become what Elder Holland and the Handbook of Instructions says it shouldn't be - a requirement or a mandated uniform. I know it has become that in too many units, and I said so. That doesn't mean, however, that the symbolism itself is wrong, bad or Pharisaical - any more than wearing white for baptism or in the temple is wrong, bad or Pharisaical.

2) Call it mocking or ridiculing or whatever else you want: Completely rejecting the concept and belittling the Church for having a clothing color standard for an ordinance like the sacrament (which you obviously do in your comments) is something that bothers me just as much as insisting on ignoring the clear standard of the leadership by limiting administration to only those who wear a white shirt and tie. Each position is merely the opposite extreme of the other. In this case, ironically, it is the LDS Church and the leadership (and I) who are taking "the middle way", with lots of members ignoring that middle way to enforce an extreme - and that irony should not be lost at a site like this or on you. On this issue, you are the counter-mirror image (the opposite extreme) of the Pharisaical stance you are condemning.

3) Just to say it bluntly, listing modern leaders who lived before the Word of Wisdom was changed to a requirement as examples of people who didn't keep the Word of Wisdom to say those who follow it as a requirement are Pharisees is like listing people in the Old Testament who weren't baptized prior to baptism becoming a requirement to say those who require baptism are Pharisees. There are plenty of legitimate examples of Pharisaical issues in our church; we don't need to be making issues of things like the change to the Word of Wisdom - which, by the way, doesn't fit at all the question of whether or not the LDS Church is more or less Pharisaical than it was five years ago. 100 years ago? Sure. Even 50 years ago? Nope.
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

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DarkJedi
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Re: A little talk advice, please?

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Aug 2014, 04:35

I find myself agreeing with both cwald and Ray. Yes, cwald, I clearly agree that the church is too Pharisaical and I have said that here before. I have actually been gratified of late as I have realized that at least my two older children, and very likely the third, understand this. Part of that gratification is because I believe with that point of view they are less likely to be influenced by those who are too Pharisaical and think for themselves. I also agree, Ray, that the church leadership is much less so than they were 30 years ago when I joined the church and BRM was considered to be the ultimate authority on almost any gospel subject. And while local leaders and members do run the gamut, generally speaking there is more diversity of thought than there was 30 years ago - nevertheless, there are at least some who are very Pharisaical in almost every ward and some of them are in leadership positions.

Part of this subject does have to do with what one considers to be "the church." If the church is the core leadership in SLC, then we are for the most part less Pharisaical - GBH and one set of earrings notwithstanding. If the church is the synergistic sum total of active members, we're probably also less Pharisaical albeit as pointed out there are some in every area who are much more so than others. If the church is some theoretic ideal institution consisting of thoughts, ideas, and theories, it could go either way.

While experiences like cwald's are more the exception than the rule, they cannot be dismissed, nor can the perceptions of the younger generations. That is why I believe it is important for those of us who are in a position to do so get the message out. That is why this talk, with the assigned subject being inviting others to come unto Christ, has a section like this. I told the bishop upfront that this was not going to be a missionary talk, and it is not.

FWIW and as a side note, my recently-ordained-as-an-elder son headed to BYU fairly consistently wore a blue shirt (he does have a white shirt) to church and sported a beard for the last few months - including the time he was interviewed for the MP and ordained. He also blessed the sacrament almost every week and not a word was said to him (except sometimes by TBM mom). I'm not so sure that this would be a universal response in all ward or stakes. In fact one sister whose children are a bit older (in their 20s) recently commented to my wife that her son was not allowed to bless the sacrament when he had a beard (the sons did not grow up in our ward).

This is also in my talk: The gospel of Jesus Christ is so simple and we need to not lose focus. It includes Elder Christofferson quoting 3 Nephi 11 and his comments: "This is our message, the rock upon which we build, the foundation of everything else in the Church. Like all that comes from God, this doctrine is pure, it is clear, it is easy to understand—even for a child. With glad hearts, we invite all to receive it."
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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SunbeltRed
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Re: A little talk advice, please?

Post by SunbeltRed » 14 Aug 2014, 05:46

Thanks DJ.

I'm glad we have messengers out there like you, spreading the "good" word, which is to love and be loved. The little things; not so important. I think its a good message for me as well, as sometimes I get as hung up on being non-orthodox as those who lean more the other way. We must find the space in between where we can care for and love each other.

We all need tolerance for each other. My speaking topic this week is on personal revelation, and I am basically making the point in my talk that with personal revelation comes the ability to make our own decisions about things, and members need to recognize there is going to be variety in what people feel is best for them and their families and it's not our place to impose our personal revelation on others. IMHO, their is a huge space for members to progress and interact with the divine in the way they see best. The general commandments and covenants we make are pretty general (and there are not a lot of them). It just took me a few decades to realize it.

-SBRed
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cwald
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Re: A little talk advice, please?

Post by cwald » 14 Aug 2014, 08:59

Ray DeGraw wrote: we don't need to be making issues of things like the change to the Word of Wisdom - which, by the way, doesn't fit at all the question of whether or not the LDS Church is more or less Pharisaical than it was five years ago. 100 years ago? Sure. Even 50 years ago? Nope.
Actually. It does.

The word of wisdom is a perfect example of Pharisaical behavior and doctrine. So much so, that it almost mirrors, like you said, Old Testament behavior and rules.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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