What Mormonism boils down to

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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by DarkJedi » 26 May 2015, 08:25

DevilsAdvocate wrote:
DarkJedi wrote:So are you saying that all of us either have to believe it boils down to follow the prophet or we're screwed? In that case I'm not the only one here who is screwed...Personally speaking, even in my more orthodox days I didn't keep the WoW because I thought I was following the prophet, I did so because I thought it was a commandment. Now I keep my own understanding of it because I think it's a pretty good idea. I kept the WoW throughout my years of inactivity for the same reason - but were I not living it I don't think I would insult my LDS friends who thought I was living it by opening a beer or drinking coffee with them present...I think part of the point of this thread is that we are taught so many things - including following the prophet - that it's hard to decide what it really means to be a member of the church. I'm not sure follow the prophet sums it up, but I'm sure there are many members who do believe that. We don't all have to believe the same things, and there is no "Do you follow the prophet?" TR question (noting, of course, that some people could interpret following the prophet as sustaining the prophet and therefore believe we are asked that).
I guess I don't see much of a difference between doing something because you believe it's a commandment and following the prophet(s) that told people it was a commandment in the first place; to me that simply sounds like a different choice of words to describe the same basic thing (D&C 1:38). Similarly if you go along with what the Church teaches mostly because other Church members expect you to they could say it's important to do this or that for different reasons such as it is supposedly required to be with our families forever, simply because Mormons don't do that, etc. but as whole it reflects how much being LDS is currently about strict conformity to what Church leaders have officially taught recently. That's all I'm saying, basically if you think being Mormon should mean something else other than, "Follow the prophet" in practice you will typically still be expected to follow the prophet by other Church members in addition to whatever else you want to add to the list.
Except, DA, that this is looking at it through an LDS lens. People of other faiths follow commandments or rituals as well - not because a prophet said it but because they believe they are commandments from God (and some of them believe the Bible to be the literal word of God). They don't follow the words of modern prophets because they don't know they exist or don't believe in them. I thinks that's the difference for me as well - I'm not following the 10 commandments to follow Moses or because Moses gave them, I'm following them because I believe God gave them (but not literally). Going back to the WoW example, I don't believe God gave that as a commandment (although it may have been inspired). I live it not because I follow JS or TSM, I live it for purely selfish reasons - but people I know don't know that and I don't go around talking about what I do and don't do. I don't keep the WoW to fit in, I do it because I want to for me.
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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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 May 2015, 10:13

For me, the message of that ETB quote - and the message I hear almost every week in church - is that if things are less than 100% perfect in your life, it's your own fault for not trying hard enough. And I can't even begin to express how incredibly messed up that is.

Amen, Joni. That is a really messed up message, and it gets repeated and taught, usually subtly but sometimes blatantly, way too much.

Otoh, the opposite message of atonement and grace and mercy and life just being hard no matter what also gets repeated and taught - as much as the first one, if not more often, numerically.

Competing and even conflicting messages get repeated and taught in all kinds of ways - and that isn't a bad thing, in and of itself. Paradox and uncertainty and our best attempts to understand are part of life, and people simply see things differently than other people. For a natural slacker, perhaps the "try harder and exercise more faith" actually needs to be taught - but that same message harms others who aren't natural slackers and don't need to hear it.

The key is learning to understand ourselves and tune out / ignore / contextualize / whatever the messages that aren't helpful for us.

That is not an easy thing to do. In fact, I see it as one of the great challenges of life.
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: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by nibbler » 26 May 2015, 10:24

To add to what Ray said, or maybe subtract, I'll let you decide.

We have the story of Job and we also have lessons to address this very subject, that bad things happen to good people. I think it's encoded in our DNA to assume that the bad things that happen in our lives are the result of us having done something wrong. Sometimes that is the case, other times there's no reason at all... but we want to apply order and reason to our lives. Whether it's to convince ourselves that we won't befall a similar fate as someone that had something bad happen to them or whether we're trying to convince ourselves that we can prevent something bad from happening to us again.

We need that reason to give us some sense security. Something to tell us that our chaotic world is somehow under control. It's human nature and runs deep. We probably need the lesson of Job repeated once a month just to stave off the interpretation that the natural man comes up with as a natural result of just living life.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by amateurparent » 26 May 2015, 19:42

We are told repeatedly not to look for signs. We are told that rain falls equally on the wicked and the righteous .. But our religious culture and our entire religious modern body of publications are based on the premise that Good Works bring about Good Blessings From God. Doctrinally, IT IS WRONG. (All caps intended.)

Over the years, I cannot tell the the number of times members of the church have asked me how I had sinned or wronged God .. Because my children died. I was a really devote-TBM-primary-president-daily-scripture-reading-full-tithe-paying-member. My husband and I lived lives that were truly devoted to God.

My RS president recently asked me if I had always secretly questioned the church. She was surprised when I said no. She was thinking that the problems that we have had in our lives were outward signs of my inward doubts.

The deaths of children and my youngest daughter's Aspergers gets brought up ... In weird ways. Sometimes, it feels like people think if we had read the BOM a little more often, we would not have had such problems in life. I just want to shake them and shout WE READ IT EVERY NIGHT FOR YEARS.

A friend's sister was critically ill in ICU. We went to visit. Our friend sat us down and told us that he knew we were good people and he was sure that we had loved our kids a lot ... But his sister was really special in God's eyes. And God would give her a miracle because she was especially worthy. And he didn't want to diss our family, but he knew his sister and knew she was more deserving than any of our children ever could have been. His sister died .. And we felt badly for him. But we also haven't been able to forget that particular conversation. He put into words what so many people feel .. That they are special and they have earned a miracle through their dutiful church study and attendance.

That viewpoint of "we are more special" permeates our LDS culture. When someone thinks they are better than their peers due to pioneer ancestors, higher callings, younger age to achieve certain callings, or more years of wheat stored, personally, I think that attitude separates them from God.

The mantras, "Follow The Prophet" and "Read the Book of Mormon" are too often taken as a way to cause factions and separate us from God.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

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Re: What Mormonism boils down to

Post by startpoor » 04 Jun 2015, 13:05

That is completely insane AP. And it is so common to think that way. It was so freeing to let go of that mindset during my FC. I'm sorry to hear about your losses.

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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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