taletotell wrote:We are talking about what the church believes, and though it doesn't come up directly in the temple interview, when they ask if you believe the teachings they are not asking if you believe in the teachings you like. I feel like the church is anti-buffet mormon. I think it is all black and white. No hyperbole. After all, "You cannot approach the gospel as you would a buffet or smorgasbord, choosing here a little and there a little. You must sit down to the whole feast and live the Lord’s loving commandments in their fullness." It’s Your Choice By Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin 1994. I know he is not infallible, but I won't accept that the church is only fallible when they disagree with me, and based on the quote he doesn't want me to either. Going buffet style means I reject the church's authority to rule in god's name, placing my own authority above that of the church. If I do that I am in apostasy.
If I were Unitarian I could get away with that, but not so much in the LDS church.
First, I know this has been said, but the "church" doesn't believe or teach anything. It's a matter of semantics, of course, but it's really only members of the church - some of them admittedly leaders - who teach anything. IMO those teachings should be limited to the gospel, another word that is open to interpretation (but if we read the Biblical definitions and even what some leaders say we'll find it's very simple).
Second, which has also been said, I have never been asked what I believe except if I believe in God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. The rest of the questions all have to do with what I do - like sustaining, living the WoW and LoC, and paying tithing. The questions are what they are and not anything more.
Third, also already pointed out, Elder Wirthlin (also one of my favorite guys very close to Pres. Uchtdorf for the same reasons) did say gospel and not church. I was just as guilty of equating the church and the gospel in my TBM days - until I came to my current understanding that they are separate and even distinct entities. The gospel exists (and has always existed) without the church, the church exists to teach the gospel. Neither I nor my bishop and SP believe I am an apostate.
A few quotes regarding simplicity:
Joseph Smith taught this central truth: “The fundamental principles of our religion [are] the testimony of the apostles and prophets concerning Jesus Christ, … ‘that he died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended up into heaven;’ and all other things are only appendages to these, which pertain to our religion.”10
If we keep our focus on the Lord, we are promised a blessing beyond comparison: “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”
Sometimes faithful Latter-day Saints and sincere investigators begin to focus on the “appendages” instead of on the fundamental principles. That is, Satan tempts us to become distracted from the simple and clear message of the restored gospel. Those so distracted often give up partaking of the sacrament because they have become focused, even preoccupied, with less important practices or teachings.
-M. Russell Ballard, Oct. 2014
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep. …
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
The invitation to “follow Him” is the most simple, direct, and powerful invitation we can receive. It comes from a clear voice that cannot be confused.
-Elder Eduardo Gavarret, Oct. 2014
In the concluding days of His mortal ministry, Jesus gave His disciples what He called “a new commandment” (John 13:34). Repeated three times, that commandment was simple but difficult: “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12; see also verse 17). The teaching to love one another had been a central teaching of the Savior’s ministry. The second great commandment was “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). Jesus even taught, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). But the commandment to love others as He had loved His flock was to His disciples—and is to us—a challenge that was unique. “Actually,” President Thomas S. Monson taught us last April, “love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar. His life was a legacy of love.”
-Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Oct. 2014
“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”1
From that simple statement it is not hard to summarize all I have learned about what choices lead to happiness in families.
-President Henry B. Eyring, October 2013
Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, no matter how much we try to make it complicated. We should strive to keep our lives similarly simple, unencumbered by extraneous influences, focused on those things that matter most.
What are the precious, simple things of the gospel that bring clarity and purpose to our lives? What are the flecks of gospel gold whose patient accumulation over the course of our lifetime will reward us with the ultimate treasure—the precious gift of eternal life?
I believe there is one simple but profound—even sublime—principle that encompasses the entirety of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we wholeheartedly embrace this principle and make it the focus of our lives, it will purify and sanctify us so we can live once again in the presence of God.
The Savior spoke of this principle when He answered the Pharisee who asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
-Elder M. Russell Ballard, Oct. 2012
“This is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
“And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
“And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
“… And whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. …
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them” (3 Nephi 11:32–35, 39).
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.
-D. Todd Christofferson, April 2012