Giving a talk, need some advice

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Bear
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Giving a talk, need some advice

Post by Bear » 12 Sep 2017, 12:48

Need help with a talk.

First of all, Thanks!

Short introduction:
I am a non-literal believer.

Maybe there is a God, maybe not, but I believe in him/her/whatever.

I can find value in tbom boa etc, but do not believe them to be factually correct.. i don't believe Nephi ever existed or that tboa has anything to do with Abraham.

I enjoy (mostly) going to church. I value the community, how we try to seek good and God, but dislike the black and white thinking/orthodoxy etc.
I consider myself a thinker to some extend, but not super well-read or anything.

I was asked by someone in the bishopric (who knows a tiny little bit about where i stand, but not at all the full extend of it) to give a talk (about 15 min) on the topic of "oppositions/opposites/opposition". My native language is not English, so the topic can be translated into any of the 3 words.

I am generally thinking "opposition in all things" etc.
I accepted because there are some great opposing thoughts within mormonism that maybe i could talk about a bit.

Quick thoughts that came to me to use as topics/general outcome of the talk:

-We all have opposing views in the church regarding doctrine. Is coca-cola bad? Does it not matter? Do we take the sacrament with our left/right/whatever hand? What do we think about gays/lesbians, do we believe in darwinism or not?

For every question, i want to come up with opposing sources from church material, so that people can see that each side is right, there is no wrong.

I hope to do this, to rock the boat, and let everyone know that stuff isnt so black and white etc.

Another thought:

Fowler stages of faith: We are all on different ends of the spectrum. Nothing is right, and there should be room for all of us. There was recently an lds article circulating on facebook where the speaker talked about fowlers stages of faith. (it had a pretty bad title, but the good part was that it talked about the stages of faith in church material).

My main goal is to let everyone feel welcome, no matter what they believe/dont believe. Love is above everything. I hope to affect people in a way to be more accepting of everyone around them, and be accepting of new ideas as well. Some good examples from the Bible with Jesus Christ would be grea.t

Any other thoughts? Suggestions? I'm open for completely different things here as well.
Thanks!

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Giving a talk, need some advice

Post by hawkgrrrl » 12 Sep 2017, 13:06

There's a concept called the Christian Paradox, inspired by the parables of Jesus. Jesus was always talking about things that are paradoxically true, where basically two opposing things are true but in different ways. Here's a simple blog post I found that introduces this topic:

http://www.robertjmorgan.com/devotional ... istianity/

From the article:
We see unseen things.
We conquer by yielding.
We find rest under a yoke.
We reign by serving.
We are made great by becoming small.
We are exalted when we are humble.
We become wise by being fools for Christ’s sake.
We are made free by becoming bondservants.
We gain strength when we are weak.
We triumph through defeat.
We find victory by glorying in our infirmities.
We live by dying.
I'll add to that that a few more:
- leadership is service
- the teacher is the one who needs the lesson
- when we think we know, we know not
- growing up means becoming like a child
- kingdom of God is not of this earth, but render unto Caesar (and pay tithing)

Paradoxes aren't exactly the same as opposites, but I think it can be helpful on this topic, and it's a deeply Christian discussion.

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dande48
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Re: Giving a talk, need some advice

Post by dande48 » 12 Sep 2017, 13:27

When speaking of "opposition", the Church/gospel is usually referring to the push-back we recieve while doing the right thing or being on the right path. It's usually spoken of in black and white terms, i.e. "I'm doing what's right, and the world is opposing me". It's used mostly as justification for why we continue to do what we're already doing, despite others encouraging us to do otherwise.

One bit of advice: If people feel their core beliefs are challenged, most will reject what you've said, and oppose you all the stronger. In psychology, it's known as "the backfire effect". You might feel greater resolve, in the face of increasing opposition, but you're not going to do much good.

It might even be good to mention "the backfire effect" in your talk. You can mention Giordano Bruno, who was an Italian Fryer. He preached that the Earth was not the center of universe, but that it revolved around the sun. He also declared that God's creation was infinite, with every star being its own sun, with its own planets. He was burned at the stake for hersey.

People don't like it when their core beliefs are challenged, but it's how we grow. Some beliefs, which are not central to our lives are rather harmless to our self image. For example, the Emperor Napoleon wasn't short. He was 5'7", which is slightly taller than the average french man at the time. However, some facts we reject immediately on hearing. For example, Christopher Columbus was a child sex-slave trader.

A good BOM story to illustrate the point, is when Captian Moroni wrote a very angry letter to the Chief Judge Pahoran, condemning him for failing to send troops and supplies, threatening his life, and stating that God commanded Moroni to take up arms and send Pahoran to hell for his sloth, if he did not send aid. Turns out, Pahoran had been already been dethroned. Moroni was wrong. But he accepted it, was greatful, and helped Pahoran to set things right.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Giving a talk, need some advice

Post by hawkgrrrl » 12 Sep 2017, 14:23

To dande48's point, I would also suggest if you want to talk about "opposition" in terms of opposing viewpoints and people being black & white (which is very clearly in contrast with the ambiguity in Jesus' parables, but you'll never convince people of that if they don't actually read the scriptures, preferring to be told what they say), keep this excellent Carl Jung quote in mind: That which we resist, persists.

Here's a great article on that topic: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ev ... resist-why

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DarkJedi
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Re: Giving a talk, need some advice

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Sep 2017, 16:47

hawkgrrrl wrote:
12 Sep 2017, 14:23
To dande48's point, I would also suggest if you want to talk about "opposition" in terms of opposing viewpoints and people being black & white (which is very clearly in contrast with the ambiguity in Jesus' parables, but you'll never convince people of that if they don't actually read the scriptures, preferring to be told what they say), keep this excellent Carl Jung quote in mind: That which we resist, persists.

Here's a great article on that topic: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ev ... resist-why
In addition to needing to be told what to think (which we criticize other churches for), members are often too busy reading the BoM to read what Jesus actually said.
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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Always Thinking
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Re: Giving a talk, need some advice

Post by Always Thinking » 13 Sep 2017, 07:03

I love everyone else's ideas! I think this will be a great talk! To make it into the inclusive talk that you're wanting, you could turn all these previous ideas and turn it toward the idea that "even if you have different views that most people at church, it's good that you're here, so we can have differing opinions". And I'd encourage them to have the courage to voice their differing opinions so that we can see their unique perspective on things. I have a hard time speaking up in class when I disagree with something, and this would help at least give me a boost of courage in the idea of being able to say my viewpoints in class, so that the church can hear differing opinions from within its own walls. I think it'd be good to also point out that it's very possible that there is at least one other member who agrees with their differing opinion, but if neither person speaks up, both people will feel alone in their opinion.

Roy
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Re: Giving a talk, need some advice

Post by Roy » 13 Sep 2017, 10:20

I like the idea that I first heard from Teryl Givens that there is not enough evidence to prove or even compellingly convince people of the truthfulness of the gospel. On the other hand, there is a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that the gospel is not true. IOW, there is "evidence" on both sides. Neither the prosecutor nor the defense have an open and shut, slam dunk case. We are as the jurors that deliberate.

1) This is where agency comes in because multiple options are valid constructions of the evidence. 2) This should hopefully give us some patience with individuals that ultimately vote (and sit in the pews) with us but do so with some reservations. 3) I also hope that this gives us compassion on people with different conclusions.

My mind goes back to "12 angry men" where there was initially substantial frustration with the lone juror not willing to declare certain guilt from the outset of deliberations.

God appears to have set up a world where His purpose (and even His existence) is not obviously known. Perhaps it had to be this way to achieve the unencumbered exercise of agency. However, surely God will be charitable to those of his children that, in the face of contradictory evidence, honestly follow the dictates of their conscience to a different conclusion.
"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

Bear
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Re: Giving a talk, need some advice

Post by Bear » 15 Sep 2017, 13:56

Thanks everyone. Some good stuff here:) keep it coming!


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On Own Now
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Re: Giving a talk, need some advice

Post by On Own Now » 18 Sep 2017, 15:58

My favorite passage in the scriptures about not being too black & white is in Romans 14 (a snippet of which you can see in my signature, below). I suggest reading it in the NRSV or the NIV, whether English is your first language or not, because it's hard to parse in the KJV. Paul basically says here that there are those who are strict about what they eat and there are those that are less strict. But that ultimately, it's up to each person and that we shouldn't get so worked up about it. He's talking to a single community of believers who struggle to see things the same way.

A powerful sentence: "Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died." As you pointed out in your OP, love is above everything. Note that Paul's acquiescence here is to let the B&W thinkers have their space, so it goes both ways.

Paul's main point: "For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." ("Righteousness" here simply means to be aligned with and reconciled with God, not ultra-obedience, as we somethings think of it).

No matter what you decide to say, I suggest being careful about coming across as preaching. No one wants to be called out for not being perfect. Yet, we can all acknowledge that together we can help each other stand a little stronger.
- - -
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― Carl Jung
- - -
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." ― Romans 14:13
- - -

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Heber13
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Re: Giving a talk, need some advice

Post by Heber13 » 19 Sep 2017, 10:46

Talks are supposed to have a point and benefit a congregation of others who are on their own journeys to find God and be closer to Him through more righteous living.

I like when personal stories are used and the speaker is genuine and honest, but for a purpose, a lesson, a valuable point that others can relate to and build off.
hawkgrrrl wrote:
12 Sep 2017, 13:06
I'll add to that that a few more:
- leadership is service
- the teacher is the one who needs the lesson
- when we think we know, we know not
- growing up means becoming like a child
- kingdom of God is not of this earth, but render unto Caesar (and pay tithing)

Paradoxes aren't exactly the same as opposites
Ideas like these can stretch the thinking of believers, not just regurgitated stories or teachings, but real meaning that can be applied to learning.

Another one that comes to mind is to lose yourself, that you can find yourself. And sometimes that includes letting go of traditions to be open to new ideas led by the spirit and god, so we can find ourselves.

Even if you have personal doubts or things, you may find some things not worth talking about because they don't have a point to talk about, other than to show the church doesn't know everything..and that by itself isn't a point to build on.

One thing members can build on is the idea that ALL are welcome in the church. We are all in the process of growing and are at different stages. Therefore...we don't judge or look down on or shun others who are living the gospel differently than we are.

In a talk I gave about this subject, I said the following:
Elder Joseph B Wirthlin, and Apostle of the Lord, said in Conference in April of 2008:
True disciples of Jesus Christ have always been concerned for the one. Jesus Christ is our greatest example…
He goes on to say:
Some are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don’t belong. Perhaps because they are different, they find themselves slipping away from the flock. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.
Tied to this misconception is the erroneous belief that all members of the Church should look, talk, and be alike. The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.
Have you ever been to a hospital? Wouldn’t it be silly, if they hung a sign on all hospital doors that read:
• The doctors and nurses in here are healthy. You can be like us if you try harder. When you get to be healthy like us….then please enter the hospital and join us.

Interestingly, both hospitals and the church have wards. And neither work this way. We practice our religion, just like doctors practice medicine to heal and help others return to a healthy life.

President Uchtdorf of the First Presidency said in October 2014
The Church is a home for all to come together, regardless of the depth or the height of our testimony. I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, “Your testimony must be this tall to enter.”
I think this is good reminder to us that testimonies come in different sizes, in different time frames…some may seek for years to get the testimony they so desire.

But all are welcome as they are.

It is important for us to remember that…finding the one requires honest and true concern for individuals.
I find it encouraging when I hear speakers talk about how we are not all perfect, and there are problems in the church, but we plow ahead with hope and with an eye single to God's glory, that we can continue to work through our problems, our trials, our doubts and fears and things of this world that make us wonder what is right and what is not...and keep faithfully learning from the experiences we go through with love as the greatest commandment.
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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