What's My Line?

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GBSmith
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What's My Line?

Post by GBSmith » 20 Sep 2016, 21:25

Under the JS polygamy thread Ray mentioned that:
I would say most members are fine with serious missteps.

I think the issue for most members is serious sins.

I am fine with prophets having serious sins, but that is a line many people just can't cross.
So, I know what my line is and I'm wondering what others would say. For me deceit and infidelity would render invalid any claim to priesthood authority but it's actually only a personal opinion as it would take a disciplinary council to make anything official. I don't believe in this day and age anyone would excuse any member of the 1st Presidency of the 12 of any serious sin and I don't know why it should be any different for JS.

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nibbler
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Re: What's My Line?

Post by nibbler » 21 Sep 2016, 05:07

My justification would require a text wall that no one wants to read but I'm similar to Ray. I'm fine with prophets having serious sin.

The short version is that it depends on how you define a prophet and how you define a prophet's role. I realize that explanation can be viewed as nuancing away from the majority view definition of a prophet within Mormonism but you asked how I view things.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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DarkJedi
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Re: What's My Line?

Post by DarkJedi » 21 Sep 2016, 05:36

I agree that we wouldn't tolerate Pres. Monson or any of the current Q15 (or 70 or SPs or bishops) acting like many of the early church leaders including Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. I suppose part of that might be cultural - we wouldn't tolerate what some of the founding fathers of the USA did either. I think another huge part of our view from the modern standpoint is that Joseph has been put on such a pedestal and his history was scrubbed squeaky clean for so long. I believe there is a belief among at least some members that Joseph was infallible. There are many others that just put the stuff on the proverbial shelf.

I do believe that Joseph had a profound spiritual experience as a young man. I'm not sure about the accuracy any of the first vision descriptions, but I believe something happened (not necessarily physically happened) Joseph believed it as well because otherwise he could have just walked away and gotten lost on the frontier and never been heard from again. If a teenager had a story about the first vision and the other stuff in the modern world the world at large would probably not know and the kid would be thought a crackpot at the very least. I don't actually believe much else about Joseph's revelations or visions or whatever, and honestly think he made much of it up (or perhaps he believed he was getting revelation but really wasn't).

To sort of answer the question, I don't know if I have a line. I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ and little else about the church. I suppose in some sense I am a cultural Mormon because the church is where I feel most comfortable. I am also more orthoprax than orthodox as far as church participation goes. Joseph was the founder of the church (although I'm not sure he would recognize the modern version) and he is what he is - a man who had more faults than I do (which in some ways gives me hope). He is part of church history and we can't change that. I sin and I still "receive revelation" and "feel the Spirit" so I suppose Joseph, Brigham, et al, could do the same.
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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Ann
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Re: What's My Line?

Post by Ann » 21 Sep 2016, 07:07

I don't know if I'm really answering, but my line is: Don't tell me what to think or say.

I can't control who speaks the truth. If Galileo or Einstein did something awful, it doesn't make their truth false. But don't tell me what they did wasn't wrong because they got something else right.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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Holy Cow
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Re: What's My Line?

Post by Holy Cow » 21 Sep 2016, 07:46

Ann wrote:If Galileo or Einstein did something awful, it doesn't make their truth false. But don't tell me what they did wasn't wrong because they got something else right.
Bingo!! Nailed it! For me, what really bothers me is that we can't just say that JS made mistakes. Before my FC, as a TBM, I grew tired of feeling like I had to justify JS's actions. The more I found out about his misbehavior, the more I had to stretch to justify it. I know we don't HAVE to justify anything he did, but in order to remain TBM, I felt like I had to find ways to justify what he did for myself in an effort to keep my testimony of JS intact. JS bothers me a lot less now that I've allowed myself to believe what I want to believe, and drop what I don't believe. I go to Gospel Principles, because most of the lessons are about generic topics. JS didn't do one specific thing that crossed my line. He crossed my line with his general character, and way he lived his life as a whole. I can overlook a few missteps over the line, if a person recognizes their mistake and corrects it. But, for me at least, JS crossed the line and never turned back. He was becoming more extreme as time went on.
How do I reconcile this, and 'stay LDS?' By remembering that I'm staying to participate in the church as it is NOW. I don't have a testimony in the church as it was in the time of JS and BY. I don't belong to that church. I try to live Christ's gospel, and I see opportunities to serve and help others by being a part of this church. I stay for me, not for JS.
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GBSmith
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Re: What's My Line?

Post by GBSmith » 21 Sep 2016, 13:28

Another thing to consider is why some are bothered and other's not. Hans Mattson, the area authority seventy, that either left the church or retired from any active church life, along with a number of Swedish saints, after learning about JS's polygamy/polyandry. Why are some OK with serous sins in leaders and for others it's a deal breaker. I know the essays are supposed to inoculate but it seems to me that's there's more too it than that. Just wondering.

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FaithfulSkeptic
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Re: What's My Line?

Post by FaithfulSkeptic » 21 Sep 2016, 14:11

This is a great topic! I must say that I agree more with GBSmith than with Ray or Nibbler, but this may just be where I'm at in my faith journey (stuck mostly in Fowler's stage 4). Maybe Ray and Nibbler have transitioned to stage 5 or 6 and no longer have an issue with a prophet committing serious sin. I have a hard time giving brother Joseph or Brother Brigham a break (as Elder Anderson would say) because of the bad things that they taught and did. For me, they both crossed the line.

This is also why I have a hard time accepting the Q15 as "prophets, seers, and revelators." For me, the Nov. 2015 exclusion policy crossed the line and I don't know that I can trust anything that comes from them now as revelation or inspiration.
nibbler wrote:My justification would require a text wall that no one wants to read but I'm similar to Ray. I'm fine with prophets having serious sin.

The short version is that it depends on how you define a prophet and how you define a prophet's role. I realize that explanation can be viewed as nuancing away from the majority view definition of a prophet within Mormonism but you asked how I view things.
Nibbler or Ray, can you explain more about how you define a prophet and a prophet's role that allows you to be ok with a prophet committing serious sin? I believe JS said that a prophet is only a prophet when speaking as such. How do you know when he is speaking as such?

I also love what Ann said:
If Galileo or Einstein did something awful, it doesn't make their truth false. But don't tell me what they did wasn't wrong because they got something else right.
I'm trying to see the truths that JS & BY brought to us. Or even what the current Q15 bring to us now. I guess I'm more focused on the 2nd part of what Ann said - don't tell me what they did wasn't wrong because they got something else right. Yes, I struggle with nuance!

Matt 18
15 ¶Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
That's pretty black & white - I think there are both good and bad fruits that have come from JS, BY, and the current Q15. How can I just take the good fruit and cast the rest away?
I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, “Your testimony must be this tall to enter.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2014

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nibbler
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Re: What's My Line?

Post by nibbler » 21 Sep 2016, 14:22

GBSmith wrote:Why are some OK with serous sins in leaders and for others it's a deal breaker.
That's a good question.

I feel like we spend far too much time in church trying to prove its truthfulness. The restoration narrative, Joseph Smith, and a modern day prophet are the things we often focus on in order to convince people (or ourselves) to accept a deal. What happens to that deal when something comes along that challenges the restoration narrative, Joseph Smith, or the modern day prophet?

I'd smack my own hand for saying this but I don't know a way to talk around it... some people have a strong testimony of Joseph Smith and the One True Church. It's not surprising, that seems to be the endgame of a lot of the instruction we receive at church. I'd smack my own hand because it feels like I'm saying that some people placed their testimony in the wrong thing, or that there's something "better" for people to have a testimony in, and that's not what I'm saying.

It's not the same for everyone but for me the process wasn't:

These are Joseph Smith's serious sins. :thumbup:

It was more like:

These are Joseph Smith's serious sins. :roll: :problem: :think: :shock: :o :? :thumbdown: :evil: :eh: :think: :| :smile: :thumbup:

It was a process that lasted a while.

I like Ann's answer, it touches on the text wall in my mind but in a more succinct way. What if a prophet is called to reveal one thing to the world but it goes to their head (and maybe other people's heads as well) and they think that because they did this one thing that it sets them up for a lifetime of channeling god, meanwhile god has moved on to inspiring someone else in some other corner of the vineyard.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

Ann
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Re: What's My Line?

Post by Ann » 21 Sep 2016, 14:49

nibbler wrote:...they think that because they did this one thing that it sets them up for a lifetime of channeling god, meanwhile god has moved on to inspiring someone else in some other corner of the vineyard.
I think the very best a church can hope for is evidence in its fruit that God visits often. We'd be so much better off to call attention to those few brilliant moments than keep up the "my country [prophet] right or wrong" mentality. The wrong is still wrong; the beauty of the truth can't and shouldn't be forced to cover what is false or ugly. When we do that, does God move on to people who can better distinguish between the two?
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

Roy
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Re: What's My Line?

Post by Roy » 21 Sep 2016, 15:04

What shocked me much more than any wrongdoing on the part of JS was the level of uncertainty in what he was doing. The doctrines that JS taught evolved over time. JS did not know how things would turn out - even though he made many statements at different times to the effect that God had promised success. It was much more of God planting a seed and JS deciding where to take it from there rather than God personally directing or commanding anything.

My current view is that JS was a transformative or change leader. He upended the his own little corner of the religious world. I do not see any "sin" violating that perspective of him. I see him in much the same light as MLK. Part of this is that I see him as being sincere and actually caring about the saints. He is not the detached conman. He loved his people and seems to have believed in his divine calling on some level.
"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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