An ominous developement for Middle Way Mormons

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SilentDawning
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Re: An ominous developement for Middle Way Mormons

Post by SilentDawning » 12 May 2011, 21:21

Ray Degraw wrote:
"The only way I see that this situation be avoided in the future is if the lds church becomes a more mainstream Christian Church"


Fwiw, I personally disagree strongly with this - and "strongly" actually is a major understatement.

I don't want the LDS Church to become a more mainstream Christian Church. I want it to remain the unique, peculiar, paradoxical oddity that it is. That, to me, is the heart of its glory and power and potential. I just wish all of the members could understand and love better those who struggle - seeing the sinner in ALL of us and loving ALL of us just the same.

If we, the people (at all levels), could embrace faith as we actually teach it a little more and insist on knowledge in a way that really isn't taught in the Gospel itself a little less . . . I would be happy with that.
I agree with Ray to some extent. For one, we will never be able to let go of our history. It will be held against us for decades to come. Becoming mainstream won't help erase our past. In fact, the rest of the world is out to keep us on the fringe and marginalized, in spite of our efforts. I think the best we can do is be examples of the gospel in action.

I'm ruminating on your idea that you don't have to necessarily believe in the restoration to be a member of our Church. Personally, that thought is totally convincing given the First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel -- what matters is faith, repentence, baptism and gift of the holy ghost. Not the restoration, unless you hitch authority to baptism. AS far as I know, the baptismal covenant as described in the BoM doesn't specifically mention the restoration -- it's really a commitment to follow Christ's example.

One other thing - Ray, what do you mean by:
If we, the people (at all levels), could embrace faith as we actually teach it a little more and insist on knowledge in a way that really isn't taught in the Gospel itself a little less . . . I would be happy with that
What do we teach about faith that is not currently embraced? And how do we teach knowledge according to your way of thinking?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Curt Sunshine
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Re: An ominous developement for Middle Way Mormons

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 May 2011, 21:30

I was editing my comment as you were typing yours, SD - to clarify a little exactly what you asked in your last sentences. :oops:

The edited version says, with the additional detail bolded:
If we, the people (at all levels), could embrace faith as we actually teach it (as motivation despite uncertainty) a little more and insist on knowledge in a way that really isn't taught in the Gospel itself (as required certainty) a little less . . . I would be happy with that.
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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Tom Haws
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Re: An ominous developement for Middle Way Mormons

Post by Tom Haws » 13 May 2011, 05:27

SilentDawning wrote:... the rest of the world is out to keep us on the fringe and marginalized, in spite of our efforts.
I think this is a dangerous and paranoid idea that comes from a part of us we ought to examine closely.
SilentDawning wrote:I'm ruminating on your idea that you don't have to necessarily believe in the restoration to be a member of our Church.
Right. You don't have to believe in "the" restoration to be a member of our Church. But I think all spiritual people on earth believe in the principle of "restoration" and "revelation". And to be a member of our Church, it helps to explore deeper meanings of "the" restoration. What are strengths and weaknesses of the LDS religion? How are they related to Joseph's ministry? What did Joseph's ministry bring to his associates and to himself (both good and bad)?
Last edited by Tom Haws on 13 May 2011, 09:01, edited 1 time in total.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: An ominous development for Middle Way Mormons

Post by SilentDawning » 13 May 2011, 05:46

Tom Haws wrote:
SilentDawning wrote:... the rest of the world is out to keep us on the fringe and marginalized, in spite of our efforts.
I think this is a dangerous and paranoid idea that comes from a part of us we ought to examine closely.
Paranoid -- only to the extent you consider it a blanket statement about everyone in the world. I did word it that way, so I take responsibility for sounding paranoid on a grand scale, when I'm not sure I meant it that way.

I'm influenced by my missionary experiences and experiences with other Christian religions who seem determined to block our attempts at mainstreamism. For example, their assertion we are not Christian because our conception of the physical form of Christ is different from theirs is a great example. They completely ignore our commitment to try to live the principles Christ preached, His name in our Church's official moniker, and the fact that we ourselves consider ourselves Christian with Christ at the head of our Church. They ignore all this commitment to Christ given their academic definition of a Christian -- specially crafted to exclude and marginalize us.

I believe the root of their assertions is simply to make us seem strange and abnormal so the rank and file Christian will never consider converting to us. The fact that they continue to bring up the history all the time, when we are a different organization now is a case in point. It's like continually holding a sinner responsible for their sin long after they have repented.

However, I'm sure there are others who do not want to marginalize us, and will accept us for what we are now, in spite of our history or differences in theology. So perhaps I should reword my statement to its intended meaning. "The organizations intent on marginalizing us with continue to hold our history and former doctrines against us, even if we try to be more mainstream".
Right. You don't have to believe in "the" restoration to be a member of our Church. But I think all spiritual people on earth believe in the principle of "restoration" and "revelation". And to be a member of our Church, it helps to explore deeper meanings of "the" restoration. What are strengths and weaknesses of the LDS religion? How are they related to Joseph's ministry? What did Joseph's ministry bring to his associates and to himself (both good and bad)?
I also think its a harder road to travel if you join without a testimony of the restoration. I did that. Joined on the strength of a revelation that I should join the Church, leaving several of the historical questions that bothered me unanswered. Joined for the clean living, the hope of greater spirituality, etcetera. When the required sacrifices become siginificant, it can be hard to sustain commitment without a burning commitment of the restoration.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

doubtingthomas
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Re: An ominous developement for Middle Way Mormons

Post by doubtingthomas » 13 May 2011, 06:22

I've been following this post not knowing what to say. First off, I'm sorry that this is even happening to you, and hope it doesn't have to happen to anymore of us. I mean, I can understand why the Church might want to keep an eye on a group or groups that are actively seeking to undermine or rebel or otherwise cause damage to the institution, but at the same time, what I've seen here is pretty far from that in the first place.
"Look, maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense, and maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up, but I have a great life, and a great family, and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don't care if Joseph Smith made it all up, because what the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice and helping people. And even though people in this town might think that's stupid, I still choose to believe in it." Gary

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My3GirlsDad
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Re: An ominous developement for Middle Way Mormons

Post by My3GirlsDad » 13 May 2011, 15:49

Ray Degraw wrote:
"The only way I see that this situation be avoided in the future is if the lds church becomes a more mainstream Christian Church"



I don't want the LDS Church to become a more mainstream Christian Church. I want it to remain the unique, peculiar, paradoxical oddity that it is.
That, to me, is the heart of its glory and power and potential.
The lds church history will always be peculiar and unique. I see no power or glory in it all because of issues that are often discussed on this board. I do see power and glory in all believers being unified in their faith in Christ and His Good News. No matter their history, dogma they once believed in, religion they once or still belong to- acceptance of the true Good News of the Gospel is what should unite us. That is Power!!
I just wish all of the members could understand and love better those who struggle - seeing the sinner in ALL of us and loving ALL of us just the same. That's NOT "mainstream Christianity, as mainstream Christianity (at least theologolically) is anything BUT accepting and understanding and empowering of those who are different. Many mainstream Christians are, but mainstream Christian theology is not. I'll take the natural tension within the LDS Church between an inclusive theology and many non-inclusive members any day over the tension between an exclusive theology and some non-exclusive members. (If you don't understand what I mean by that, ask mainstream Christians where Mormons [and Buddhists and Muslims and Jews and many others] will end up and ask mainstream Mormons where non-Mormons of all kinds will end up - then analyze the responses to gauge inclusiveness on a sliding scale. The difference, in general terms, is shocking.)
You need to visit my church and I think you would have a new perspective. Your view of "exclusive theology within Christianity" would change if you came with me this Sunday :).

Looking for love and acceptance within the lds framework/doctrine is like looking for the Great Wall of China in Brazil. You will find it with certain, wonderful, loving, free-thinking members- but the doctrine is what creates this lack of acceptance. The doctrine of the church creates non-accepting people that would otherwise be totally accepting if put in a different doctrinal system. I have experienced it- and it is clear to me now where before I just thought there were a lot of self-righteous people in the lds church. That's not the case- the lds church's doctrine produces this fruit. It's almost unavoidable...unless you see or sense it and then proactively decide to break the mold like many here in this forum have done.
Any church that puts forward a gospel of works to merit salvation will always create a large segment of proud,non-accepting people. Look at any religion and those who are faithful followers- they become dogmatic, proud, judgmental etc. They can't help it in that system if they are devout doctrinal followers. That is not the Gospel the Christ taught. You can be a non-judgmental member of a religion- but you won't be a strict follower of their dogma. You actually become more loving and accepting by getting away from a religions core doctrine and their works/rules that they promise will save you.

The Christian Theology that you refer to is only as exclusive as you want it to be. There are New Order Christians just like New Order Mormons. I believe most of them choose to go to some type of Non-Denominational church. They go there because they don't want the dogma generally found in religions. They want to worship God and be accepted solely on the fact that they are a believer in Christ and Him crucified. That's it. We don't have to agree on the Trinity, what heaven will be like, who goes to hell, etc, etc. It's wonderful!! I find myself becoming more ok with knowing less and believing more. And any issue not pertaining to my Faith in Jesus as my Saviour is just not "a hill to die on" for me. And I try to influence other Christians to be more tolerant of those who may not believe the same way they do. It's all "Trivial Pursuit" knowledge in my book anyway- if it doesn't center on the Atonement of Jesus and the Grace offered us through faith and not of works.

The LDS doctrine of salvation is different than what is taught in the New Testament- particularly Romans. Until the lds church changes the doctrine of "saved by works then some grace" it will continue to produce the fruit that many in the religion find so bitter. In my opinion the lds gospel is a "Heretical Gospel of Worthiness" and is the main source of all the ills. It will continue to produce self-righteous followers because that is the end result of that doctrine. Members will continue to seek the peace they want and deserve- but will always be left wanting. That is why there is so much accommodation and mental gymnastics required to salvage their membership and feel a semblance of peace they seek.

My hope is that those of us who decide to remain in the lds church will be able put God before religion and find worthiness, peace and perfection in Christ alone. His Atonement makes you worthy and perfect right now- in spite of your works, not because of them. He just wants us to be broken and contrite...He stands ready and willing to save us daily.
M3GD

“Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening; no doubt, no awakening.”- Zen Proverb

Roy
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Re: An ominous developement for Middle Way Mormons

Post by Roy » 13 May 2011, 17:09

Cwald,

I love ya man! Someone said that maybe not being active LDS will help with the internal conflict. I hope that is so. I hope you are empowered to develop your spirituality in your own unique way.

You have such a gem in Jwald. She said that through your participation here you may have been helped to heal that feeling of betrayal so many disaffected feel. I hope you are able to love and accept that part of you that is and always will be LDS, to feel compassion and acceptance for your TBM self of yesteryear. I pray that this love will also enable you to look at your estranged family in a new light and move to heal the gulf with them. From what I have read from you - you are well on your way, continue the journey - even if our paths diverge at this point - may "God be with you till we meet again."

:::Big Hugs:::

P.S.
My3GirlsDad wrote:I just hope that people can separate a loving, kind, true God from this organization that claims to be His only bride.
When I read this I thought, "you mean God really is a polygamist!?!?" :wtf: :crazy: :lolno: Gotta keep the levity ;)
"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: An ominous developement for Middle Way Mormons

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 May 2011, 17:53

m3gd,

1) There is a HUGE difference in many cases between a theology and people - and non-denominational congregations aren't at all the type of "mainstream Christianity" I was addressing in my comment. Not. at. all.

2) I think you are flat-out wrong that the only loving, accepting Mormons are the ones who break out of Mormon theology.

3) There really is a profound difference between the end result offered within Mormon **theology** and that offered in most of "mainstream Christian" **theology** - and there really is a difference in attitude toward the eternal end of "non-believers" among the majority of Mormons and the majority of Christians within "mainstream Christianity". Absolutely, there are many exceptions on both sides of that generalization, but it is an accurate generalization - "academically" and in my own experience living all over the US. I have lots of non-Mormon friends whom I love dearly and who are better people than I and many of my Mormon friends - but that doesn't change the fact that many of those dearly loved friends attend churches that teach that I and my LDS friends are destined to Hell. Of course, that's not universal - and I never would assert otherwise.

3) Frankly, the sentiments in your comment are your true feelings, I'm sure - but they aren't appropriate for this forum. You don't have to agree with me or any other participant, but this is NOT a place to bash LDS members as an entire group as unloving, un-Christian ignoramouses and the LDS Church as an institution that produces only that type of person - and that actually is the picture your comment paints. Please keep that in mind. We don't moderate much, but that type of comment will be moderated.
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

Roy
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Re: An ominous developement for Middle Way Mormons

Post by Roy » 13 May 2011, 18:39

I think there may be some truth to the idea M3GD is making about a "saved by works" theology reinforcing the natural tendency of humans towards judgmentalism.

I also agree with Ray that M3GD makes some sweeping generalizations and assumptions. (I will defer to Ray as to how many generalizations and assumptions are one too many) I believe this is partly due to confirmation bias. Once you have set your mind that the church is X - your mind naturally picks out the "proof" that confirms your theory while ignoring the "proof" that may refute your theory.

If this conversation is to continue on at any level (less generalizations and more attempts at understanding), I recommend that it be moved to a new thread.
"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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Fatherof4husbandof1
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Re: An ominous developement for Middle Way Mormons

Post by Fatherof4husbandof1 » 13 May 2011, 19:36

My3GirlsDad wrote:Silent Dawning-
And its too bad, because in its most basic format, our Church encourages a healthy, clean life.
They do encourage that. But they are like a controlling father figure who rousts you every day at 5:30am and demands that you get your exercise. Then he monitors what you eat/drink and follows up in a series of interviews. Its a bit silly. But they set the rules for membership and we need to follow the rules while we "live under their roof". I just think most people will eventually find "their own place" because although they are in great physical shape- the emotional/psychological toll is too high. That is why a lot of us have found community in web communities- because we need real, true, loving connection.

The members of your ward are the reason you suffer through it all. They are the bright spot, the community- they are suffering right along with you against the (oftentimes unseen) oppressive nature of the leadership. And this leadership style was inherited- it's not really the current leadership's fault at all. They believe that they are acting in accordance with God's will- in His only true church. The problem lies much deeper- and we inherited it...along with all the good stuff that came with it.

The problems, frustration, emotional distress, and unbelief will all continue as long as the core is faulty. And the bright spots will continue as well- but won't be able to outweigh the distress in the long run. Why the distress? Because we all want to be a part of something that we can REALLY believe in. Something that inspires us and is honest. Something that doesn't require mental gymnastics to get through or the "lowering of expectations" to appreciate. Or making a pro-con list. This is not an arranged marriage. We GET to love it- if we want to.

Sorry to go off topic- I just hurt for the pain that people have, are and will go through because of this religion- in spite of its good intentions. I am still lds by record only but find little peace in their brand of "Good News". I just hope that people can separate a loving, kind, true God from this organization that claims to be His only bride. Faith in Christ saves us and the Grace offered through Him is the easy yoke that we seek. A church can offer neither of these- even if they claim to be the conduit to them.

M3GD

M3GD I respect that others may feel differently, however, I agree with you 100%
to infinity...and beyond!!!!!

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