Joseph Smith makes me angry

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nibbler
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Re: Joseph Smith makes me angry

Post by nibbler » 13 Sep 2018, 05:32

SamBee wrote:
13 Sep 2018, 03:04
Roy wrote:
12 Sep 2018, 14:32
SamBee wrote:
12 Sep 2018, 09:07
Stalin yes - one of the biggest mass murderers in history. Possibly killed more than Hitler.
I think that proves my point. I am not angry at Stalin. I barely think about him at all. When I do I most often think about him in the context as a ally in WW2. Even if I remember his atrocities, I do not think that it makes me angry. What can make me personally angry at any historical figure ... long since dead?
We may be using angry differently. I am using it as an emotional response of rage. I am not angry at the boston massacre or the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. What about JS brings him out of the relatively detached history books and makes him into a personal affront?
I suppose it would depend who you were and what your background was. Many people are still affected by Stalin today - lost their homelands or moved across a continent. I know a woman whose entire village was uprooted to Siberia from near the Black Sea because they were the wrong ethnic group.
DoubtingTom wrote:
12 Sep 2018, 22:11
And yet, he is so revered, almost next to the Savior. We sing hymns praising his name. All while the church white-washes his history. This reverence in the face of what we know about him as a man frustrates me.
To head this one off at the pass, I'm not comparing JS to Stalin. There are several orders of magnitude of wrong between them.

If we attended a church that praised Stalin and presented a whitewashed caricature for us to consume we might get angry when we discover unflattering details and we might get angry when our tribe that forms a large part of our identities smacks our knuckles with a ruler when we replace some of the praise for Stalin with what we feel is deserved criticism.

Stalin isn't a part of our identities. We don't spend hours per week talking or even thinking about Stalin. We don't have people we view as leaders of our spiritual journeys and leaders that guide our families telling us to give Stalin a break.

There are internal and external factors.

Internally, emotions come from attachments. The greater the attachment, the greater the emotion. Stalin? No attachment, no emotion. Joseph Smith? Historically we've made him the linchpin of the church. People sacrificed a lot for his vision, there's an attachment. There's skin in the game.

Externally, our sense of belonging to a community can be greatly affected by how much we continue to revere someone that perhaps we'd rather not revere. Say you'd like to move on, stop singing Praise to the Man, shift your focus to Christ. The congregation will still sing Praise to the Man and family members may place conditions on their relationship with you over how much you revere something you'd like to move away from.

I'd also like to piggyback on something Own On Now said.

I feel like anger can be an important step towards healing but I also feel like we should be tourists in angerland. It's probably not a good idea to buy blueprints and start laying a foundation there.

I also find myself wondering just how much control we have over how much time we spend in angerland. Do we will ourselves away from it or only move on once we're ready to move on?
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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LookingHard
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Re: Joseph Smith makes me angry

Post by LookingHard » 13 Sep 2018, 05:46

nibbler wrote:
13 Sep 2018, 05:32
I also find myself wondering just how much control we have over how much time we spend in angerland. Do we will ourselves away from it or only move on once we're ready to move on?
Very good question. I have thought about this also as I see staying in the anger phase isn't all that healthy. It does seem to me that there are some that get "stuck" in the anger phase. I do think there are reasons people are stuck there. My GUESS is that many of these folks would probably be better if they saw a therapist to help work past this. It could be they need to have boundaries with their TBM family, or they need emotional healing, or they just need to go focus on what their life is going to be "FOR" instead of focusing on what they are against (i.e. the church).

Minyan Man
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Re: Joseph Smith makes me angry

Post by Minyan Man » 13 Sep 2018, 06:27

I find it interesting. This is a general observation without judgement.
We can have a topic titled: JS make me angry.
And a comment of: That's all.

And it creates so many responses. That's all.

AmyJ
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Re: Joseph Smith makes me angry

Post by AmyJ » 13 Sep 2018, 06:51

nibbler wrote:
13 Sep 2018, 05:32
I also find myself wondering just how much control we have over how much time we spend in angerland. Do we will ourselves away from it or only move on once we're ready to move on?
I think its a combination of both. I view the time we spend being angry as part of the grief process that leads to acceptance. I think a certain amount of anger has to run its course so that a person can move on in a healthy, safe way. I think that there is an internal wrestle between the part of the self that wants to stay angry and the part of the self that wants to make peace with the anger and move on - and that we can use techniques similar to those taught in CBT therapy to create habits of better thinking.

Roy
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Re: Joseph Smith makes me angry

Post by Roy » 13 Sep 2018, 09:12

nibbler wrote:
13 Sep 2018, 05:32
Internally, emotions come from attachments. The greater the attachment, the greater the emotion. Stalin? No attachment, no emotion. Joseph Smith? Historically we've made him the linchpin of the church. People sacrificed a lot for his vision, there's an attachment. There's skin in the game.
Yes, this is what I was getting at. I chose examples of people that have done HORRIBLE things - yet it does not make me angry. In part because it was so long ago and all the parties involved are dead. Also in part because I am not personally affected. If my grandparents had been murdered by Stalin or my great grandparents murdered in the MMM, I might still have some anger over it.

The thread title states "JS makes me angry". I realize that this is a common phrase but it is not technically accurate. It suggests that JS is actively doing things to make the individual angry (which cannot be the case because he has been dead for a long time). It also assigns responsibility to another for our own emotions. This may seem like semantics but I believe it is an important part of healing. Instead of saying "JS makes me angry", try "I am feeling angry at JS because..." I believe this moves one closer to understanding oneself and perhaps making meaningful and healthy changes.
AmyJ wrote:
13 Sep 2018, 06:51
I view the time we spend being angry as part of the grief process that leads to acceptance.
Yes! My wife shares a story about doing HT where the lady they visited was in grief and mad at God. DW told her that this is normal and ok. Her companion was shocked (thinking perhaps that anger at God would lead to atheism). DW later explained that anger is a natural phase of grief that must be lived through. To suppress it can complicate matters and hinder us from processing our grief in healthy ways.
"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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On Own Now
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Re: Joseph Smith makes me angry

Post by On Own Now » 13 Sep 2018, 09:21

nibbler wrote:
13 Sep 2018, 05:32
I also find myself wondering just how much control we have over how much time we spend in angerland. Do we will ourselves away from it or only move on once we're ready to move on?
Of course, it is different for everyone. I believe that there is a large portion of the population that WANTS to be angry. I believe there is another large portion that is angry because they don't know any other way.

And even for an individual it probably depends a lot on the specific situation.

When I experienced FC ages ago, I tried to find others like me on the fledgling internet. I was able to find some forums, but in them, I was exposed to a lot of anger aimed at the Church by others who were in a similar situation and I found it pretty much intolerable. I had to get away from that. I believe that the experience helped send me on a path knowing what I did NOT want to become. It also served to make me all alone for many years. I didn't have any access to an echo chamber. It wasn't until I came across this site that I realized that there were others out there who were like me in FC/FT, but also like me in not living in Angertopia. I have always appreciated that here, while we do experience anger and frustration, we are trying to get past that and find peace with regard to the Church.

I think part of what helped me was that while I did feel initial anger toward JS/BY and others from the past, I didn't feel anger toward anyone living. When I first spoke to my bishop, I explained that my issues were all about the Church's early history and not the present-day Church, and I remember that he commented how unusual that was (at that time); that he had experience with people who had problems with the present-day Church not being enough like the early Church, but not the other way around. But because my issues were with the past, I was able to move on from the anger a little easier than if I had had problems with living people, because I believe it's easier to harbor anger when we have a target for it.

I have sometimes been angry over some things, and felt anger toward current leaders of the Church occasionally, but these never last long, in a large part, no doubt, because I don't like the feeling of being angry.

For me, I think the most important factor in avoiding anger, and I say this all the time here, as you all know, is that I don't easily find offense in what others believe or say or how they behave. It is OK with me that some people voted for Hillary and others for Donald. I didn't vote for either, and I recognize that we are all agents unto ourselves. The Church has a right to tell its own story with its own bias. People in F&T meeting can say "I know" and instead of feeling my chest tighten, I simply see them as expressing what they believe in very faithfully and I can respect them for that. When people have their facts askew regarding the basis of their faith, I don't argue, because their faith isn't my business. As an example, I was having lunch with a coworker on Tuesday of this week. He's a Christian convert and part of why he became a believer is wrapped up in how many witnesses there were of the resurrection. It is so well attested, in his mind, that it had to have happened. I see things much differently, but rather than being angry or trying to correct him, I just listened and enjoyed learning his perspective. I felt richer for the experience.
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“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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DarkJedi
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Re: Joseph Smith makes me angry

Post by DarkJedi » 13 Sep 2018, 12:12

I've thought a bot this a bit more over the past couple days, trying to relate it to my own FC. My FC had nothing to do with JS or any church history, it was more "doctrinal." The deception I felt was a false (from my point of view) understanding of what God really is and does. As a result I spent a long time (several years) being mad at God. I have shred this here before - my epiphany was the realization that God was not who or what I had been taught (and what we often hear in F&TM) and I was mad at the wrong guy. God didn't teach me those things, people did.

I think that applies in this situation. I do think the power went to Joseph's head to some extent, but in the end what I know about him was not taught to me by him or even by highly reliable sources. What I knew of him was mostly whitewashed (although I was aware he was a polygamist and I was aware of the "dirty affair"). That's who we should be mad at, if anyone - those who taught the false things to begin with. Again applying my own experience, after I (mostly) stopped being mad at God I really couldn't be mad at the people either because they were mostly as deceived as I was and it wasn't their fault either. Likewise with Joseph - those who whitewashed the history are gone now, and those who persist in teaching those things are mostly deceived relics of what is quickly becoming a bygone age.
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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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: Joseph Smith makes me angry

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 13 Sep 2018, 18:22

I guess I take more of a stoic view than an idealistic approach in this case so I have a hard time feeling very angry about something like this when there is nothing that can be done to change what already happened so long ago. Personally I think Joseph Smith had narcissistic personality disorder or something like that to the point that he didn't think about some of the things he did the way the average person typically would and that helps me feel less annoyed by what he did because from that perspective some of his actions no longer seem quite as shocking or inexplicable.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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Re: Joseph Smith makes me angry

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Sep 2018, 22:55

Dande48 said what I would have said about the whole "prophets" and Jesus issue. I simply will summarize by saying that looking st him without the lens of believing faith is a radically different view than with those particular glasses.

I have no intellectual clue if the historical Jesus of Nazareth actually was divine in a different way than we are. My heart is willing to place faith in that view, but my head balances that with what I believe is healthy skepticism. Both my heart and brain absolutely loathe much of what has been taught about him and still is taught about him - and what those teachings have done to so many millions of people.

I simply think it is okay to look at him without the lens of believing faith, and that is important **to me**.

Finally, Jesus angered and/or disappointed a whole lot of people, not just the religious and civil leaders of his time. At one point, most of his followers left him - and he questioned whether even his closest, most loyal disciples would do the same. Following him was difficult. It hurt in real ways. We tend to overlook that due to the way the Gospels have been whitewashed - almost surely in how they were selected, but absolutely in the way they have been interpreted and taught.

I am completely fine if others don't feel that way, so I am completely fine if this stops here and doesn't derail this thread. I just like to ask "why" about a lot of things. I am a thinker-tinkerer that way: I don't tear things apart and put them back together with my hands; I do that with my mind.

/BACK TO JOSEPH
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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SamBee
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Re: Joseph Smith makes me angry

Post by SamBee » 14 Sep 2018, 00:38

dande48 wrote:
12 Sep 2018, 21:24
All we have is the New Testament, coupled with our faith and interpretations. Christ, according to the NT and from a secular point of view, did possess some pretty distasteful characteristics by today's standards. He was explicitly racist, intolerant of other religious beliefs,
Not completely sure of this. There are at least two stories involving him with positive interaction with Samaritans, and his relations with Romans were not always negative.

He also highlighted hypocrisy, sanctimoniousness and mechanistic/hidebound religion.

(Although some have argued his exorcism of Legion is a veiled reference to the Roman occupation.)
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