Member perception of happiness

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
User avatar
SamBee
Posts: 5592
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Member perception of happiness

Post by SamBee » 14 Nov 2020, 15:13

I think the problem is that not everyone is happy all the time. I've spent times of my life where I've been reasonably happy and then something came along and smashed it with a sledge hammer. Illnesses or deaths in the family. Break ups. Work issues etc. Or even this year. You're sailing along, feeling okay and then these come along and knock you flat. I think they expose your weaknesses. In one case, I was happy, but hadn't realized how isolated I'd become. I was attending another church, which imploded (long story), and I'd left school, and almost none of my friends hung around. So when the crisis came I had to deal with it mostly by myself which caused extra problems, and I also had no means to distract myself.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

User avatar
SamBee
Posts: 5592
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Member perception of happiness

Post by SamBee » 14 Nov 2020, 15:26

Ilovechrist77 wrote:
15 Oct 2020, 03:18
I agree, Roy, especially with Number 5. I think that's one of the reasons why the brethren weren't always so open or honest about our church's history. One thing I've noticed in the standard works is that although the ancient prophets were showed with weaknesses or sins here and there, mostly they seem more like 1-2 dimensional fictional characters than real people. That is annoying.
They do that with Joseph Smith. The whitewashed version doesn't interest me much. The real Joseph Smith is a much more interesting character, and I sincerely believe we could have even become friends if we'd met. He did many things wrong, but I have never thought he was evil, and he never deserved to be murdered. The real Joseph Smith had a sense of humor and a way with words. I was delighted to find out, for example, that he was apparently great with kids, and used to horse around with them. That's a side to the man we never hear about. He also enjoyed old school wrestling, and I think he had an intense intellectual interest in new ideas. Again, not stuff we talk about.

We do get hints of things. He lost those 116 pages, which I sometimes bring up as an example of how he could occasionally fail in his missions.

Of course, the whitewashing is a gift to critics of the church. They use all or any faults they can find, and of course invent a few too. The devout member ends up getting their shelf broken (to use a phrase from here.) I can't excuse some things he did, but I think neither side presents him fairly. In fact, Joseph Smith was actually partly chastised because of the hypocrisy and intolerance of the time.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Roy
Posts: 6217
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Member perception of happiness

Post by Roy » 16 Nov 2020, 11:58

SamBee wrote:
14 Nov 2020, 15:26
That's a side to the man we never hear about. He also enjoyed old school wrestling, and I think he had an intense intellectual interest in new ideas. Again, not stuff we talk about.
I remember hearing about the prowess of JS in stick pulling. He was reportedly quote good. It was interesting to read something about him losing to his brother William once and then JS saying that he only lost because of an old injury that he had sustained. This led me to consider 1) that JS was perfectly capable of being a poor loser (and other less desirable human qualities) and still be a prophet and 2) why is it that we as a culture tend to paint such a perfected, whitewashed version of the man that any human would likely fail to measure up against?
"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

User avatar
SamBee
Posts: 5592
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Member perception of happiness

Post by SamBee » 17 Nov 2020, 03:34

Roy wrote:
16 Nov 2020, 11:58
SamBee wrote:
14 Nov 2020, 15:26
That's a side to the man we never hear about. He also enjoyed old school wrestling, and I think he had an intense intellectual interest in new ideas. Again, not stuff we talk about.
I remember hearing about the prowess of JS in stick pulling. He was reportedly quote good. It was interesting to read something about him losing to his brother William once and then JS saying that he only lost because of an old injury that he had sustained. This led me to consider 1) that JS was perfectly capable of being a poor loser (and other less desirable human qualities) and still be a prophet and 2) why is it that we as a culture tend to paint such a perfected, whitewashed version of the man that any human would likely fail to measure up against?
This makes me like him more. We know - to put it bluntly - that JS had a zipper problem (not that they had zippers back then), but I dislike both the whitewashed version of him and the anti-Mormon version of him. The rounded JS is much more appealing to me.

The whitewashed version is impossibly handsome, and could pop up in a Jane Austen film (or Henry James?), where he sweeps the heroine off her feet. It's no coincidence some church films look like that (or an American version of it)

The anti-Mormon version is more a Brontë character - like a rough and angry Heathcliff from "Wuthering Heights" or secretive Mr Rochester from "Jane Eyre" who is a secret bigamist.

So yes, I agree.

JS was probably like your #1. I think we've all been sore losers at some point. Some of the vitriol directed at the younger Joseph Smith was not deserved though. The early USA could be hypocritical when it came to religious freedom. He was perfectly entitled, under US law to set up his own church without harassment. The settlements he set up in the mid-west were actually fairly successful compared to most others. Robert Owen's New Harmony project turned out to be anything but harmonious - and there are hundreds of ghost towns across the USA with no merit... Nauvoo and Kirtland were attractive cities with beautiful buildings at their hearts. JS was terrible when it came to politics and finance and that's where I think problems crept in.

#2 - people want ideals. That's why we look to folk heroes like Hercules, or Maui, or even Luke Skywalker (let's forget about the character assassination in recent films). When we had those books on the Teachings of the Presidents, they discussed George Albert Smith - and mentioned the terrible eye problems he had. He also had lupus (which I don't think was mentioned), but more importantly GAS suffered from terrible depression at points in his life. Given all the talk about how mental illness is caused by bad life choices and not sticking to the gospel, it would have been helpful for church members to know a church president himself had suffered.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Post Reply