Hi everyone. Thanks, nibbler, for the link(s). Some comments:
On the discussion, in general
. I think it's useful to remember that it is THEIR forum. So, yeah, they are going to say things the way they see them. That won't mesh well with our view. In exactly the same way, if RAR/SisRAR came here to StayLDS they would roll their eyes a lot at what we say in OUR forum. Bottom line: they get to say what they believe are legitimate answers to questions based on how they see the questions and how they would answer... same way we do here. We can criticize, but in all honesty, I think the world needs less critique and more understanding.
On following the prophet
. First, this is such an important question. I was glad it was raised in that forum, and I was disappointed in the response. The response makes sense to them. It doesn't make sense to Harriet, I'm sure, and it doesn't to me. Is it the worst response? No. It is a perfectly clear and harmonious response, for people who are as deeply in the faith as RAR/SisRAR.
One thing I'll add. I think RAR was misquoted in this thread.
Rasband wrote:We wanted to firmly establish for all of you the importance of following God's living prophet on the Earth. That's the safest, most sure way to follow the Lord's mouthpiece on the Earth.
What I think RAR said, punctuation corrected:
Why the answer makes sense to RAR/SisRAR
Rasband wrote:We wanted to firmly establish for all of you the importance of following God's living prophet on the Earth. That's the safest, most sure way — to follow the Lord's mouthpiece on the Earth.
: They have done this their entire lives. In response, they have a great family, material wealth, and high standing in what they see as the most important organization on Earth. Not bad results for their investment. Their life experience confirms their life choices. They assume that the same will be true for others. And for many it is that way.
Why the answer makes no sense to me
: Others have already pointed out the logical issues. All I can say is that where there is a disconnect between the Prophet and the Adherent over a policy, asking the Adherent to acquiesce comes across as uncaring at best.
What could have been said
: I would prefer (but again, that's just my own perspective, and I can pretty much guarantee that RAR/SisRAR don't share my perspective) that they acknowledge that some policies are more difficult for some than others, so while it might not bother me, I can understand why it bothers you. It is OK for there to be disagreement, but we do strive for and hope for spiritual unity as part of the Family of Christ. Whether you, like Harriet have concerns over some policies or have no concerns, I ask all of you to read Romans 14 and apply that to your practices and dealings with your brothers and sisters. I'd also like to take this opportunity to roll out the Church's new program to solicit input from the membership that we can use to ... <just kidding... that's never happening>...
On separating with the Church over a loss of belief in the truth claims
. I'm not actually sure that RAR's response was off the mark. I know that is an unpopular opinion here. I think there is a certain amount of logic to it. Instead of "why should I stay?" RAR asks to look at it as "why do others stay?" It is an appeal to our common ground as members of the Church. We have a certain shared experience that people outside the Church can't share. That can make us somewhat close conceptually. So RAR says, look around and see that there are many who choose to stay and maybe that will be enough. Does it answer the direct question? No. I'm not sure what would. I mean, what could RAR have said that would make anyone here suddenly increase their activity and belief in the Church? It's an unanswerable question, as asked, without saying the Church has something to offer you that you can't find outside (AKA truth claims).
I actually found SisRAR's response more hard to hear, because she focused on the age-old argument of finding anti stuff on the internet and then becoming confused. That shows a clear misunderstanding of people like us.
I did really appreciate the video of Dominic and I'm happy that he has found meaning in the Church. It underscores that for some, it is deeply beautiful. For others, it isn't. From the standpoint of people here at StayLDS, I feel that is wonderful. The Church is great for people like that, and I would never want to tear at their conviction or the peace they find through it. For me, I have found a way that works better for me. Win-win.
Why the answer makes sense to RAR/SisRAR
: To them, the Church is true. The truth claims are accurate. Why should Harry stay? Because it's true. It would be hard to hold their position and really be able to understand the question or answer on other grounds.
Why the answer makes less sense to me
: I'm an Atheist. My perspective is so different from RAR/SisRAR that any answer they give will not match mine.
What could have been said
: I think it was a missed opportunity to reach out with kindness and love, instead of doubling-down on the truth claims. To paraphrase DFU, who avoided language of truth exclusivity, but still talked of the Atonement and Discipleship of Christ, which can be viewed as universal truths of Christianity, with an action spin somewhat unique to the LDS Church:
With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
If these are your desires, then regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church. Come, join with us!
In spite of our human imperfections, I am confident that you will find among the members of this Church many of the finest souls this world has to offer. The Church of Jesus Christ seems to attract the kind and the caring, the honest and the industrious.
If you expect to find perfect people here, you will be disappointed. But if you seek the pure doctrine of Christ, the word of God “which healeth the wounded soul,” and the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost, then here you will find them. In this age of waning faith—in this age when so many feel distanced from heaven’s embrace—here you will find a people who yearn to know and draw closer to their Savior by serving God and fellowmen, just like you. Come, join with us!
If you seek truth, meaning, and a way to transform faith into action; if you are looking for a place of belonging: Come, join with us!
If you have left the faith you once embraced: Come back again. Join with us!
If you are tempted to give up: Stay yet a little longer. There is room for you here.
I plead with all who hear or read these words: Come, join with us. Come heed the call of the gentle Christ. Take up your cross and follow Him.