Todd Christofferson addressed crisis of faith issues

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dash1730
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Todd Christofferson addressed crisis of faith issues

Post by dash1730 » 28 Sep 2013, 05:17

D. Todd Christofferson, of the Q12 gave a talk at BYU Idaho that directly addresses some issues facing many people on this forum. Following are some points I pulled from the article which I thought was particularly relevant, and perhaps worth a discussion. A link at the bottom leads to the full talk.

• Joseph Smith has flaws
• Don’t be superficial in studying JS
• We don’t have all the answers
• The absence of evidence is not proof
• Don’t confuse honest issues with unexamined assertions or incomplete research.
• Projecting 21st-century concepts on 19th century people is misleading
• Some accuse the Church of hiding secrets, as the Church is publishing the 24 volumes of the Joseph Smith papers, without filtering out
uncomfortable facts.
• Don’t claim JS was perfect.
• The wonder is this imperfect man succeeded in his mission. His fruits are undeniable and incomparable. (The church he founded has
survived and now has nearly 15 million members, 29 thousand congregations in 160 different countries, active members have fewer
divorces, higher educations, better health and live longer than their peers)

The whole talk can be viewed here: http://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-ch ... h?lang=eng
I may not walk the straight and narrow, but I try to cross it as often as I can.
---J Golden Kimball

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cwald
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Re: Todd Christofferson addressed crisis of faith issues

Post by cwald » 28 Sep 2013, 08:55

I read the article.

It is condescending, and very dishonest, IMO.

Example...
To criticize the critic, who claims the church has hidden its history, and then cite the 24 volumes of JS Papers project as proof, is REALLY dishonest and will give my family more fodder to use against me.

Btw, how many of you have read the 24 volumes of JS papers?

Didn't think so.

Anyway,
That is my opinion today.

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  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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cwald
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Re: Todd Christofferson addressed crisis of faith issues

Post by cwald » 28 Sep 2013, 09:04

This talk was obviously given to reassure the faithful. It was not given to help the doubter or those who struggle. It was apologetic and was meant to give ammo and talking points to those who confronts family members who are questioning the church.

IMO, if course.

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  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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MayB
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Re: Todd Christofferson addressed crisis of faith issues

Post by MayB » 28 Sep 2013, 10:06

Hm...I didn't really feel like this addressed anything. It seemed quite defensive. He encourages us to study Joseph's revelations and how he lived his life. That's exactly what I did and that's exactly what led me to where I am today....on my way out.
MayB

wl44
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Re: Todd Christofferson addressed chrisis of faith issues

Post by wl44 » 28 Sep 2013, 10:09

cwald wrote:
Example...
To criticize the critic, who claims the church has hidden its history, and then cite the 24 volumes of JS Papers project as proof, is REALLY dishonest and will give my family more fodder to use against me.
Ya I have to call foul too. The JS papers argument seems to imply that the church has always been transparent. A more appropriate framing for the JS papers would have been to show an increase in transparency.

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bridget_night
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Re: Todd Christofferson addressed chrisis of faith issues

Post by bridget_night » 28 Sep 2013, 10:50

My brother and sister in law sent me the DVD cd's of the JS papers. I watched them all and they had no real answers for why JS did with polygamy, behind Emma's back etc.

But it looks like the church is trying and at least recognizing that many are having a crisis of faith in the church. A friend of mine, with her husband and gay son met with Elder Christofferson recently regarding her gay son. He was instrumental in starting mornongays.org and has a gay brother. Here is what she posted online:

We were fortunate to meet with Elder Christofferson yesterday. My anxiety was high and I wondered what he could do to help us on our journey. There are barriers that not even he can knock down. If I expected the dynamics of our world to change, I knew I would be disappointed.

My wife and I needed our hope re-energized. As we told him our story and the ugliness we had experienced in the Church, he cried with us. I needed to see the tears on his cheeks. He validated everything that we have done to protect and guide our son. He blessed us with words that encouraged us to continue doing what we are doing. We went into our meeting with him looking for hope, but I think, in the end, he was looking to us for hope. The revelation we need to change the Church can't come until the hearts of members change and they can overcome their own pride. She spook at a Affirmation conference recently and said it was awful how her son and their family was treated by ward members and their bishop and stake leadership. Her son is only 14 and totally worthy but would not pass the sacrament to him and told the family they do not belong in the church and many other things. This made Elder Christofferson cry and they told him that non of the leaders even knew about the new church mornongays.org website where he talks and to announce it in GC or sacrament meetings. Elder Christofferson called their hostile bishop and suddenly he is all nice to them. Still need some changes.

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mackay11
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Todd Christofferson addressed chrisis of faith issues

Post by mackay11 » 28 Sep 2013, 14:35

cwald wrote:I read the article.

It is condescending, and very dishonest, IMO.

Example...
To criticize the critic, who claims the church has hidden its history, and then cite the 24 volumes of JS Papers project as proof, is REALLY dishonest and will give my family more fodder to use against me.

Btw, how many of you have read the 24 volumes of JS papers?

Didn't think so.

Anyway,
That is my opinion today.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
I'm inclined to agree. The article says:

"Individuals must not form conclusions based on unexamined assertions or incomplete research, or be influenced by insincere seekers, the Apostle taught. Drawing from the words of the Church’s assistant Church historian, Rick Turley, Elder Christofferson said, “Don’t study Church history too little.”

They are probably right. I should study it more. I look forward to the church offering good sources to do this, rather than solely spending time on the 'playground' looking at the 'dirty' version. I look forward to these 24 volumes of (often meaningless) papers shedding light on:

- why Joseph married and had sex with other men's wives and hid it from Emma.
- why Brigham, with no revelation, banned an entire race from both priesthood and temple based on racism and prejudice
- why a health code that was never a commandment got twisted into one of the make or break principles in the 1930s (while others like eating and sleep are laughed off)
- why the church have only decide to open up their books in the last 10-12 years after actively hiding its history for decades
- why, despite on the one hand teaching that prophets are fallible and shouldn't be expected to be perfect they also hold those prophets up as models to follow.

/end rant

(Sorry)

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Todd Christofferson addressed chrisis of faith issues

Post by Curt Sunshine » 28 Sep 2013, 15:20

These things can be and are seen through the prisms we bring to them.

I don't disagree that there are statements that can be taken in multiple ways, and that some of them don't ring at all with people who have been burned in the past, but I love that the general issue is being addressed by someone who is an advocate for members who are "non-mainstream" and who are focused on finding ways to include those who have been excluded for too long.

Elder Christofferson, I believe, is in a unique situation to help change things that need to be changed. I don't want to complain about attempts to start that needed change, even if they aren't as complete as we might like.
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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bridget_night
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Re: Todd Christofferson addressed chrisis of faith issues

Post by bridget_night » 28 Sep 2013, 16:14

mackay11 wrote:


- why Joseph married and had sex with other men's wives and hid it from Emma.
- why Brigham, with no revelation, banned an entire race from both priesthood and temple based on racism and prejudice
- why a health code that was never a commandment got twisted into one of the make or break principles in the 1930s (while others like eating and sleep are laughed off)
- why the church have only decide to open up their books in the last 10-12 years after actively hiding its history for decades
- why, despite on the one hand teaching that prophets are fallible and shouldn't be expected to be perfect they also hold those prophets up as models to follow.

/end rant

(Sorry)

I like these questions and would like answers to them.

dash1730
Posts: 295
Joined: 17 Oct 2009, 14:21

Re: Todd Christofferson addressed chrisis of faith issues

Post by dash1730 » 28 Sep 2013, 17:55

To criticize the critic, who claims the church has hidden its history, and then cite the 24 volumes of JS Papers project as proof, is REALLY dishonest and will give my family more fodder to use against me.
I agree that things like the JS Papers Project will mean different things to different people. But it is not an interpretative history project. It is instead one gigantic duplication project. The thrust of the project is to use rigorous standards defined and supervised by the Smithsonian Institution to present every document by and about JS and his contemporaries. The project is publishing EVERYTHING that can be found. By Smithonian rules, they add only objective analysis of the context and any ambiguities. They are not presenting a historical interpretation of the facts. This means that they are publishing the good, bad, and indifferent. It is published with warts but without added lipstick.

In addition, 20 volumes will be published in books, while that plus an additional 10 volumes will be published on the internet for anyone with internet connection to see. As someone mentioned above few read this, but it is expected that only those with a seriously scholarly interest will really dig into them and try to make sense of those documents. Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling is an example of that process. Also, many enemies have a hay day, quoting from it to rattle members who know little or nothing about such things.

I know of no other comparable effort by any other church to come clean, with an unabashed publication of a very difficult period in its history. Sure, this kind of openness is new to the Church, but IMO the Church should be congratulated, not condemned for its opening up. That doesn’t mean that the Church Correlation Committee is in sync. IMO, they are the tail that wags the dog. Their idea is that orthodoxy and obedience trumps the uncomfortable facts of history, and don’t have the foggiest idea what it epistemology is. ( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology ).

Nevertheless, I feel encouraged by Elder Christiansen’s talk to BYUI, which directly took on many of the epistemological challenges facing Church members. He gave encouragement and support to those who experience a crisis of faith. Sorry, but I just don’t see his remarks as defensive, but believe he was teaching people how to think clearly.

Look at his major points again, as he encourages increases objectivity and rationalism and against traditional blind faith pontifications we typically hear.
• Joseph Smith has flaws
• Don’t be superficial in studying JS
• We don’t have all the answers
• The absence of evidence is not proof
• Don’t confuse honest issues with unexamined assertions or incomplete research.
• Projecting 21st-century concepts on 19th century people is misleading
• Some accuse the Church of hiding secrets, as the Church is publishing the 24 volumes of the Joseph Smith papers, without filtering out
uncomfortable facts.
• Don’t claim JS was perfect.
• The wonder is this imperfect man succeeded in his mission.
I may not walk the straight and narrow, but I try to cross it as often as I can.
---J Golden Kimball

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