What Mormonism boils down to

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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hawkgrrrl
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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by hawkgrrrl » 18 May 2015, 21:29

The last time I tried this, my kids were rolling on the floor laughing at some of the clunky language and stories. Admittedly we started in Ether, but still. These kids have no respect, even less than I did at their age.

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LookingHard
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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by LookingHard » 19 May 2015, 06:27

DarkJedi wrote:I share Heber's skepticism and Nibbler's realism. I know I'm a bit of a dinosaur, but I remember these talks by Pres. Benson and didn't believe all those promises then (even as a TBM). Others eat them like candy though.
I know even when I was closer to being a TBM I remember hearing that some GA said, "if you go to the temple very regularly I can promise that even if your child wanders from the church he or she will return in the end." I thought about that and I said, "what about the freeagency of the child? It seems like the parents and God are taking away the child's freeagency." I just couldn't agree that this was a true promise.
DarkJedi wrote:In the interest of full disclosure, ETB is my least favorite of the prophets in my church lifetime (which started with SWK), and possibly of all time.
I also have SWK as the first prophet I remember (I do remember pictures of David O. McKay). Having studied a bit more of ETB the last few months, I think I will also need to use this picture as it shows it better Image
The guy was certainly self confident. He seemed to be willing to go against the 1st Presidency and all of the Q of the 12. Next month we are having Lesson 11 in High Priest group that goes over the 14 fundamentals of following the prophet. The amazing thing is that ETB got in all kinds of trouble for this with SWK and even had to 'splain himself to the 12 and even some of the 70's. I won't even mention how right wing he was (and I consider myself a conservative). What puzzles me is how this has now ended up in the curriculum. I generally keep my questions that I know are not safe to bring up to myself in church, but this is one lesson I am going to prepare for (I already have been for weeks).

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DarkJedi
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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by DarkJedi » 19 May 2015, 07:37

I don't want to derail too much, but the things that bother most about the 14 Fs are that it wasn't a GC talk and it doesn't appear to have been universally accepted among the Q15 - yet as you point out it gets referenced as "doctrine" more frequently than it should. I'm thinking as lesson 11 approaches (it's still over 3 weeks off) we'll probably have a thread about 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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mom3
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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by mom3 » 19 May 2015, 09:19

DJ wrote
I'm thinking as lesson 11 approaches (it's still over 3 weeks off) we'll probably have a thread about it.
So we can share the parts we like most, right?
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by Heber13 » 19 May 2015, 11:14

I don't dislike ETB. On my mission, he was a huge source of inspiration for me, and the talk on Pride was outstanding, and his emphasis on BOM was good for the church and moved many people to good actions.

I don't love everything he said. But at least he wasn't boring and never said any opinionated things. As a leader, he had a job to do, and sometimes did it.

Brigham Young doesn't seem like a warm guy either...idk...but he had to keep the church together after JS and move the masses to a new place. He was successful in somethings he had to do (although I didn't care for the polygamy or Adam-God stuff).

I am not sure what Mormonism boils down to. At different times it seems to have different things it needs to be to benefit people. Not necessarily what people want it to be, but what it needs to be.

I think it needs the Book of Mormon. It is a big part of what makes the religion different. And ETB kicked the church in the pants and said to everyone..."Read it! This is our scripture...we need to know it!"
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by startpoor » 19 May 2015, 11:28

nibbler wrote:I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of complaining bitterly about having to read scripture will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. :angel:
Nibbler, this was a tradition in my childhood, that I have proudly passed on to my family :)

Heber--I totally agree with you. I think it's the reading of good books that does indeed help fulfill the promise ETB speaks of. Doing those things as families helps common values permeate our homes. I'm fine with parts of the BofM making into that rotation.
DarkJedi wrote: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent, Startpoor.
You're welcome. Admittedly, my ward's BofM lesson didn't mention this quote. It was all sorts of other madness.
Ray DeGraw wrote:What works for some people doesn't work for others - but most people don't understand that, even some prophets.

In his defense, he did say, "I feel certain . . ." That isn't a promise, no matter how much too many members think it is.

I don't defend Pres. Benson very often (okay, almost never), but there is NOTHING inaccurate in what he actually said. He did feel certain about it - and he was right for many members but wrong for many others.

Also, to be as blunt as possible, I think the title of this post is just as inaccurate as the accuracy of the quote being discussed. I think to say that Mormonism boils down to being blessed for reading the Book of Mormon is incredibly simplistic and wrong - kind of the polar opposite mirror-image of the quote in question.

If we condemn or criticize hyperbole from others, we ought not use it ourselves.
Benson's quote wasn't intended to be hyperbole, he meant it, and whether it was a promise or not, it has taken on a life of its own and has become such by well meaning members and leaders. Pardon my title, but I really cannot think of a "promise/teaching" that has influenced the culture of Mormonism more than that one. What surprises me is how many members will "admit" this in one way or another. My dad's advice to me when going through my FC, is "everybody knows about this stuff, but nobody cares. Just do what you're supposed to and you'll be happier." A member in my ward told me he knows there are historical issues but he willfully ignores them to maintain peace in his marriage. I put off serious study for the same reason. The bulk of DW's testimony comes from the fulfillment of his quote. It has become a member fulfilled prophecy!
Happiness (n.) The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

George, Sr.: Faith is a fact. No, faith is a facet. I almost said faith is a fact.

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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by Roy » 19 May 2015, 14:15

The church works well for many people. IME when people are happy and fulfilled they are less likely to be bothered by historical stuff. Also some people just do not have a mind for history.

I do remember in SS the instructor asking the meaning of the word "panacea". I had actually looked that word up not to long previous so I explained that it means "cure-all" and is usually used to say that xyz is not a cure-all because it will not fix EVERYTHING.

The teacher then read the quote from the manual that said that the gospel was a panacea. I was quiet. :silent:
"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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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by Curt Sunshine » 19 May 2015, 14:33

startpoor, I am not defending the quote in any way. It works for many and doesn't for many others. However, I still say Mormonism absolutely doesn't boil down to, "Read the Book of Mormon and everything will be rosy in your life." I dare say the VAST majority of members would not accept that statement, as worded, especially if removed from the context and not attributed to a Church President.

Of course, the way so many members uncritically accept whatever one Church President says is an issue - but most of them only do that with statements with which they agree already, generally. As we say here fairly often, we all are cafeteria members; most just don't see it in themselves because they choose to ignore the things they don't put on their plates and assume they aren't picking and choosing.

If that quote is what Mormonism boils down to, where does temple theology fit - or eternal progression - or the nature of the Godhead - or building Zion - or continuing revelation - or all of the Articles of Faith - ad infinitum.

If I were to say what I believe Mormonism boils down to, I would say, "I am a child of God." (and all of the implications of taking that statement literally)

Each person here probably would say something different - slightly or significantly, and so would most orthodox, traditional members. That diversity is part of the beauty of Mormonism, imo - and it is beautiful to me, even with the messiness of so many things.
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: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by DarkJedi » 19 May 2015, 20:28

Heber13 wrote:I don't dislike ETB. On my mission, he was a huge source of inspiration for me, and the talk on Pride was outstanding, and his emphasis on BOM was good for the church and moved many people to good actions.

I don't love everything he said. But at least he wasn't boring and never said any opinionated things. As a leader, he had a job to do, and sometimes did it.

Brigham Young doesn't seem like a warm guy either...idk...but he had to keep the church together after JS and move the masses to a new place. He was successful in somethings he had to do (although I didn't care for the polygamy or Adam-God stuff).

I am not sure what Mormonism boils down to. At different times it seems to have different things it needs to be to benefit people. Not necessarily what people want it to be, but what it needs to be.

I think it needs the Book of Mormon. It is a big part of what makes the religion different. And ETB kicked the church in the pants and said to everyone..."Read it! This is our scripture...we need to know it!"
I don't dislike ETB, either - saying he is my least favorite still denotes he's a favorite (depending on your point of view, of course :D ). I highlighted part of your comment because I found the talk on pride one of the most distasteful. I agree with Pres. Uchtdorf:
I also remember one interesting side effect of President Benson’s influential talk. For a while it almost became taboo among Church members to say that they were “proud” of their children or their country or that they took “pride” in their work. The very word pride seemed to become an outcast in our vocabulary.
I vividly recall these conversations in classes and even SM talks - pride became as vile a word as doubt is to some today. (I've been hit with "doubt your doubts" twice in the last three days.) I didn't like the pride talk then and I don't like it now - but that doesn't mean it has no value and it doesn't mean ETB was evil. DFU goes on to say many of the same things, just in a softer way and with some clarification.

The jury is still out for me on the BoM. As I have said, it's a good book, it can bring people closer to God and Christ, and it is unique to Mormonism (including offshoots). But I think it should be no more than equal to the Bible (which does the first two above and also contains the fullness of the gospel), and for me making it more important than the "New" Testament does not put it in its place as "another" testament (a rather recent addition to the title). That is my point of view, however, and I understand that others may get more out of it, and less out of the Bible, than I do.
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."

My Introduction

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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 20 May 2015, 07:25

startpoor wrote:This quote from ETB manual from ch 9 on the Book of Mormon, I think, is the core reason behind the motivation and fear that drives members to remain orthodox, to willfully ignore facts, refrain from reading the scriptures objectively and to lack empathy when someone else refuses to do so:

“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (Ensign, May 1980, p. 67).

Thoughts?
As far as I can tell Mormonism mostly boils down to, "Follow the prophet(s)." If you think about it at this point being LDS is primarily about a handful of Mormon traditions like temple marriage, full-time missions, and the checklist of temple-worthiness points and other explicit expectations that often have little or nothing to do with what Jesus originally taught according to the Bible or even what you will read about in the Book of Mormon such as the Word of Wisdom and garments. Well how do we know these things are all that important? Basically because Church leaders said so, that's why. And why exactly is it so important to listen to what Church leaders say? Because they claim to speak directly for God, that's why.

Sure you can make it more complicated than that if you want to but to me it looks like anything above and beyond the basic checklist that is actually enforced by interviews and/or other members checking up on whether you did what you were supposed to according to the Church are basically optional afterthoughts for practical purposes. Take away the confidence in LDS prophets and apostles and what are we really left with? I guess in theory we should still have some variation of Christianity at that point but even in that case we are still left with the expectations of other Church members that continue to believe LDS prophets and apostles absolutely know what they are talking about to deal with.

So to me it looks like many of the negative aspects of the current Church doctrines and culture are all a direct product of the single basic root problem of overconfidence in revelation as the best way to know what we should do and why, what is true or not, etc. This quote demonstrates some of the overconfidence that if we just do what we are told then everything will supposedly work out for the best when in many cases it's simply not going to happen that way in practice but it could be hard for many members to see what is wrong with the quote at first glance especially if they are already on board with the Church's program because if they don't experience the promised blessings like happiness, prosperity, etc. then it seems like they could always blame themselves for not doing enough or as much as they could have instead of questioning how realistic these claims and promises really are to begin with.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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