A long post about deception...

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by hawkgrrrl » 08 May 2009, 14:29

@jmb275 - more food for thought
@hawkgrrrl

hawkgrrrl wrote:
When I speak of historical issues, I personally endeavor to be more accurate and more complete, similar to what you outlined in your last note, although I disclose even more.

Would you mind sharing some insight into how you do this? From my standpoint (our bishop is very VERY conservative especially for Bay Area, CA and has no clue about church history) this a very daunting thing for me. I don't know how to raise my hand in class and answer a question with historical "fact" (as closely as we know) without being viewed as heretical.
Well, this is trickier given a conservative yet ignorant bishop (the worst opponent you could have). In THAT situation (which isn't the one I'm in), you can insert real info, but cite benign sources (e.g. the Ensign, apostle quotes, church sources). Just be certain of your sources, and always cite them. If you cite sources that are questionable to a conservative TBM, you may end up in hot water.

In my ward, our previous GD teacher brought up many of these points in the course of the lesson. He is very scholarly and knowledgeable. Our current one, not so much. But as an example, the new guy threw out the question: "What was the process to translate the BOM?" A loaded question, if ever there was one. SSSA (Standard Sunday School Answer) might be "through the U&T," but you could add the peepstone hat thing quite easily because it was in the Ensign (cite your source). You could answer that one method was that JS put his face in a hat to block out the light and the words appeared below as if written on a strip of parchment.
hawkgrrrl wrote:
I want to reiterate my argument that many of the church leaders aren't aware of some of the intricacies in the history.

I must admit this is a bit hard for me to swallow in spite of the Marlin Jensen quote. Who looks in those vaults after all? And don't they ever read the books written by the myriad of Mormon historians? Are they too busy writing their own faith-promoting obedience books? What about President Hinckley. He spent his lifetime in the church and wrote "Truth Restored." Surely he had to run across some of this stuff?
I agree it's hard to swallow this, and in a way I'm disappointed by it. OTOH, why are they in these roles? Probably because they live very good lives of service for a very long time, they are kindly, they are good examples, they have some leadership experience, some experience in the world, and to some extent, they've played the internal political game well enough to get where they are (or been pedigreed - that seems to help too) - in short, they "fit in." There's nothing on that list that says they read intellectual books or have depth of knowledge of history. Some doubtless do know quite a bit - I would bet that there are some that are interested. But the idea that any of them are spending time poring over dusty tomes in a vault is unlikely. GBH may have been more knowledgeable than TSM. Each person has his own interests to pursue.

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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 May 2009, 15:52

The early apostles were fishermen, a despised tax collector, a doctor, etc. I wonder how much history they delved into when they taught of Jesus. Paul is the one whose writings we see most, and he was a highly educated and trained theologian. He also is the one whose writings are the most controversial.

It's worth considering how we would have responded to them.
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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jmb275
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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by jmb275 » 08 May 2009, 17:50

@Ray
No worries about the bluntness. In fact, I can hardly call that bluntness. I served my mission in Russia, I know about bluntness! ;)

In any case, I must say, I already knew and understood much of what you said (even though I recognize I don't demonstrate it very well). I understand becoming comfortable with uncertainty, and most of the time when I use the absolutes (which you're right, I do use a lot) I really mean "I think it more probable that..." Maybe I should phrase it that way.

However, let me try to explain my view of things. You are right Ray, nuanced views and uncertainty, and understanding, and coming to peace is important and I have a long way to go in this regard. However, Martin Luther King Jr. didn't effect change by merely coming to peace with his situation and understanding it. My point is, as Tom has pointed out there is a clear danger in relying too much on this nuanced view. That is to say, if taken too far it is easy to accept any type of behavior as acceptable, or maybe even unacceptable but we are unwilling to get "angry" enough to do something about it. Anger can be a very constructive thing. It brought me to where I am today, for which I am thankful. Sometimes this anger is justified and can be a key agent in revolutionizing old, broken, worn out, or immoral or incorrect conventions and tyrannies. It seems to me we have to strike a balance but remain open to the possibility of getting "angry" enough to grab the "torches and pitchforks" as it were. Clearly at this point I haven't found the balance and am leaning toward the anger. But it seems to me that we must be vigilant to not root out all the potential anger with passive inevitability.

Maybe you have already found this balance. Thoughts?
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)

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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 May 2009, 18:20

Well said. I agree - with one caveat:

We need to be very careful to choose "anger" and not allow it to choose us.
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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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by asha » 08 May 2009, 21:24

Ray Degraw wrote:We need to be very careful to choose "anger" and not allow it to choose us.
Well said. Very "Obiwan Kenobi"-ish. I like it.

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Tom Haws
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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by Tom Haws » 09 May 2009, 14:43

"God made man in his own image, and man has been returning the favor ever since" -Mark Twain

Despite our anthropomorphisms and human weaknesses, let me come squarely against the value of anger. Not only is it ungodly, but it is handicapping and a very winding shortcut to where we want to be. Here's a passage from Swedenborg's Heaven and Hell I believe in.

"545 An opinion has prevailed with some that God turns away His face from man, casts man away from Himself, and casts him into hell, and is angry with him on account of his evil; and some believe also that God punishes man and does evil to him. In this opinion they establish themselves by the sense of the letter of the Word, where such things are declared, not knowing that the spiritual sense of the Word, by which the sense of the letter is made clear, is wholly different; and consequently that the genuine doctrine of the church, which is from the spiritual sense of the Word, teaches otherwise, namely, that God never turns away His face from man, and never casts man away from Himself, that He casts no one into hell and is angry with no one [57.1]. Every one, moreover, whose mind is enlightened perceives this to be true when he reads the Word, from the simple truth that God is good itself, love itself, and mercy itself; and that good itself cannot do evil to any one, and love itself and mercy itself can not cast man away from itself, because this is contrary to the very essence of mercy and love, thus contrary to the Divine Itself. Therefore those who think from an enlightened mind clearly perceive, when they read the Word, that God never turns Himself away from man; and as He never turns Himself away from him He deals with him from goodness, love, and mercy, that is, wills good to him, loves him, and is merciful to him. And from this they see that the sense of the letter of the Word, in which such things are declared, has stored up within itself a spiritual sense, and that these expressions that are used in the sense of the letter in accommodation to man's apprehension and according to his first and general ideas are to be explained in accordance with the spiritual sense. "

"549. The Lord from His Divine Essence, which is goodness, love, and mercy, is unable to deal in the same way with every man, because evils and their falsities prevent, and not only quench His Divine influx but even reject it. Evils and their falsities are like black clouds which interpose between the sun and the eye, and take away the sunshine and the serenity of its light; although the unceasing endeavor of the sun to dissipate the opposing clouds continues, for it is operating behind them; and in the meantime transmits something of obscure light into the eye of man by various roundabout ways. It is the same in the spiritual world. The sun there is the Lord and the Divine love (n. 116-140); and the light there is the Divine truth (n. 126-140); black clouds there are falsities from evil; the eye there is the understanding. So far as any one in that world is in falsities from evil he is encompassed by such a cloud, which is black and dense according to the degree of his evil. From this comparison it can be seen that the Lord is unceasingly present with every one, but that He is received variously."
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
----
Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 May 2009, 14:47

Tom, I agree with you. That's why I phrased my comment the way I did. I personally don't think that consciously choosing to act forcefully (even in a way that appears "angry") is the same thing as "being angry" - and I don't believe that we ever should act in anger.
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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asha
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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by asha » 09 May 2009, 19:35

Ray Degraw wrote: I personally don't think that consciously choosing to act forcefully (even in a way that appears "angry") is the same thing as "being angry" - and I don't believe that we ever should act in anger.
I absolutely think there is such a thing as "healthy" anger. This type of outrage can motivate people to take a stand against injustice and evil, and make positive changes in the world and in their own lives. The trick is to not let anger cloud your emotions and control your actions, as that will almost certainly have negative results.

The only world in which anger would have no place at all would be a perfect one... and we are not living in that.

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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 May 2009, 20:42

asha, I am an inveterate parser, so I draw careful distinctions between words.

I agree totally that outrage can be a motivator for good; I don't think we can act in anger - which I define as acting under the influence of anger. I believe any outrage we feel must be channeled (used to cause focused, intentional, "measured" action) - even if the "measurement" is expansive and forceful. I believe anger distorts and causes a disconnection from the Spirit (from clarity) - that we are commanded to not be angry with our brother for a vital reason.
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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jmb275
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Re: A long post about deception...

Post by jmb275 » 11 May 2009, 20:51

A few thoughts one what has been said.

@Ray
I have learned not to draw any conclusions about what you have written until I get a full explanation detailing the nuances as you see them. I agree with your last post. Anger is useful as a tool to motivate us to action. That action should be carefully planned and not done in the heat of the moment, or under the influence of the anger. Faith is a similar construct in my mind, and in the same way as anger, things should not be done in the heat of the moment or under the influence of faith. That is to say, actions spawned from faith should be carefully planned using rational thought and reasoning. To do the opposite, I think, is "blind faith."

Hence, asha, I am agreement with you and Ray based on Ray's nuanced explanation.

@Tom
I am opposed to the idea that God is only good and love. I much prefer the Hindu idea that there is diametrical opposition in things but that this comes out of the same God (referenced in "Power of Myth"). We try to tend toward the "good." However, good is generally defined in a place, time, and culture.
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)

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