Compare & Contrast...

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DarkJedi
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Re: Compare & Contrast...

Post by DarkJedi »

I agree that perhaps church leaders are not speaking out about the right things. The United States is undoubtedly becoming more divided each day, and many of the things Nibbler mentions (greed, hate, spite, etc.) are at the heart of that divisiveness and are demonstrated by political leaders ad nauseum. Even if an idea is good and beneficial to the general public, if it didn't come from your side it has to be vilified. I do recognize that the church is a worldwide organization, and other parts of the world do not have the same problems we do in the US (and also recognize not all posters here are American). But hate and spite and dishonesty exist everywhere and are all anti-Christian. Jesus taught the opposite of all of these ("Love your enemy." "Do good to those who hate you.") We do get messages in GC about loving one another and other Christian principles. BUT we also get messages like using the word Mormon is a delight for Satan and gay marriage is an abomination. And these messages come from top leaders and get way more coverage on Sundays in local meeting houses than the other messages about love. Here's an example that stands out to me. In one of President Monson's last conferences he gave a beautiful message about love, kindness and charity (https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... e?lang=eng and I note here that he always talked about love). He also gave a message about reading the Book of Mormon daily, the only time I recall hearing him say much in that regard. (https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... n?lang=eng) I'm not saying reading the BoM is a bad thing, but guess which one got months of coverage in multiple meetings despite Pres. Monson mentioning it once while mentioning love every conference. I think that's a real problem in the church from top to bottom - we lose focus on core Christian principles in favor "don't call us Mormons" or "reading the BoM every day will solve all your problems" (it might for you, it didn't for me).

I think that's the point Nibbler, PMX, and IM are making - we get caught up in stuff that makes little difference and fail to address that which really could make a difference. Pres. Nelson doesn't have to stand up and condemn Putin's war, but he could address war in general and the remedies to war. We could talk a lot more about basic Christian principles in our Sunday meetings than we do. In the past we got caught up in things like prepping and journal keeping (not bad things, just not core gospel principles), and while there has been a decided repentance toward more focus on Our Savior Jesus Christ we're not there yet. There is still too much strict obedience, follow the prophet, the "covenant path" and too little love God and love your neighbor.
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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nibbler
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Re: Compare & Contrast...

Post by nibbler »

Uchtdorf had a good one. Lord, is it I?.

I think we'd all be better off focusing on what needs to change in ourselves rather than focusing on what needs to change in others. I'm certainly guilty of the latter in this thread.
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Arrakeen
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Re: Compare & Contrast...

Post by Arrakeen »

InquiringMind wrote: 20 Sep 2022, 23:19
What would you hope to accomplish by having Church leaders speak out on geopolitical issues? If President Nelson condemned Putin's invasion, would that do anything to help the Ukrainians? If President Nelson condemned communism in Venezuela, would that end communism there? That would just be a lot of virtue signaling, and it would accomplish nothing of any value.
I think my frustration with the church's silence on certain issues is just another manifestation of my own disillusionment with the idea of prophets. Growing up, I was taught that the prophet was God's chosen mouthpiece on the earth to boldly declare the truth, condemn evil, and lead people towards the path of righteousness. To be the watchman on the tower and warn of danger. I heard about how the prophet was just like having Moses on the earth today. Prophets could perform miracles, stopping armies or parting the seas. I think if they really could do those things, it would seem a gross dereliction of duty to not do or say anything about the atrocities being committed in the world today.

But alas, I no longer believe that way. And I am left profoundly disappointed by how powerless prophets seem to me now. It now feels to me like they are just motivational speakers without the charisma. Every time they fail to speak out on an important issue, I am reminded of how little they can really do. But part of me still wishes they would try. Not doing anything is like admitting defeat and giving up hope. I think if they were to speak out, perhaps they would inspire others. Perhaps they could spread the hope that we can actually change the world for the better.
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InquiringMind
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Re: Compare & Contrast...

Post by InquiringMind »

nibbler wrote: 21 Sep 2022, 11:35 Uchtdorf had a good one. Lord, is it I?.

I think we'd all be better off focusing on what needs to change in ourselves rather than focusing on what needs to change in others. I'm certainly guilty of the latter in this thread.
This is a great talk, and very much on point.
Watcher
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Re: Compare & Contrast...

Post by Watcher »

PazamaManX wrote: 21 Sep 2022, 09:49
nibbler wrote: 21 Sep 2022, 04:12
I mentioned this in the other post. The church doesn't really do a good job of teaching people correct principles anymore. The church is more concerned with teaching members to obey authority figures. The principle being taught is to embrace authoritarianism.
This has been one of my bigger complaints for awhile now. I can't remember the last lesson or talk that taught something resembling a moral principle. In my ward at least, most of what I hear is how great it is that we have the plan of salvation and a prophet to listen to. I mean, that's fine and all, but it would be nice to hear about something that makes you a better human being.

Watcher wrote: 21 Sep 2022, 09:21
I have never heard anyone (member or leader) ever teach at the LDS church that anyone should ever embrace greed, hatred, spite, vindictiveness, divisiveness, dishonesty, combativeness, etc. If anyone practices such behaviors, I am sure they did not learn it at church.
I haven't heard anything like that intentionally taught either. My personal complaint, is that I feel the opposite of those things, stuff like contentment, unity, honesty and peace aren't taught enough. I do hear a fair bit about loving one another, but it seldom goes deeper than platitudes.

At least that is the experience I've had in my own ward and some other local wards around where I live. Perhaps there are wards out there that discuss things that are more along the lines of what I'm looking for.
Thanks for your efforts to try to help me understand. Mostly likely I am among those that you are trying to point out. I do not know if someone is having a problem unless they say there is a problem. My wife seems to understand how others are feeling. To be honest I have great difficulty when someone talks about feelings. I personally do not understand the term love. When Jesus said we need to love our enemies – I have no idea what that means.

I do understand service and helping others. I make it a point to volunteer for all service projects or whenever someone asks for assistance. I have discovered that with few exceptions (there always seem to be exceptions) that those involved in service, especially at ward levels, are the same individuals that are quite a small minority of the ward family. And there is very little, or nothing, done by leaders in authority to enforce service. I spent two years in the army and so I believe I have a very good idea what it is like to live under authoritarian control. I also served two years as a missionary – which I believe is the closest that our church gets to authoritarian control and I believe I can say with authority that the church is anything but authoritarian. On my exit interview for my mission, my second mission president surprised me by telling me I was one of his most difficult missionaries to deal with. I asked him what he asked of me that I did not do. He responded that I did what I was asked but I always pushed the limits. Pushing limits is too vague for me to understand. I had no idea what he was talking about and had no problem telling him so. What is interesting is that this mission president and I got along very well later in life.

My point in this is that it makes no sense to me when someone complains that the church is too authoritarian in one breath and then complains in the next breath that members are somewhat hypocritical in what they say and do. This looks like a reality disconnect to me. If the church is authoritarian – how is it possible so many members are behaving and saying stuff that is out of line from what the church teaches???

I am thinking that perhaps you should be the example to others to help them understand what they are missing. I wish I had your kind of insights. For me, I know that it is taught that we should love everyone but I have great difficulty loving anyone that I do not like very much. I could really use some insights and a good example from someone that understands such things.
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DarkJedi
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Re: Compare & Contrast...

Post by DarkJedi »

Watcher wrote: 22 Sep 2022, 08:24 I am thinking that perhaps you should be the example to others to help them understand what they are missing. I wish I had your kind of insights. For me, I know that it is taught that we should love everyone but I have great difficulty loving anyone that I do not like very much. I could really use some insights and a good example from someone that understands such things.
I think love can be either an emotion or an action (or sometimes both). You sort of answered your own question. Love as an action would be doing the service project for someone you don't like very much, and since you said you sign up for all service projects it would seem this has probably happened. One doesn't have to like someone to love them in this way.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you
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
Watcher
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Re: Compare & Contrast...

Post by Watcher »

nibbler wrote: 21 Sep 2022, 10:35 Watcher, I think you may have misread or misinterpreted my post or maybe I wasn't clear. I didn't claim that the church teaches people bad behaviors nor did I say I was angry.
Watcher wrote: 21 Sep 2022, 09:21 I have never heard anyone (member or leader) ever teach at the LDS church that anyone should ever embrace greed, hatred, spite, vindictiveness, divisiveness, dishonesty, combativeness, etc. If anyone practices such behaviors, I am sure they did not learn it at church.
People may have picked up those behaviors elsewhere or it may just be a part of human nature, it doesn't matter. My question is why isn't the church addressing the problem more directly? Like it or not, the problem is here. What do we do about it?

My call out about the "Mormon" church was to juxtapose what's important enough for the leaders to address during general conference with what I feel are more weightier matters.

It's not fair to say weightier matters go unaddressed, leaders do address the problems I mentioned but it's interesting to me how many members' takeaway from conference is to start getting angry when other people say the word Mormon, not even in the context of talking about the church, just the word in general. Some people's takeaway from conference is to become angry about one more thing (other people saying the word Mormon) and to be divisive and confrontational (start policing others over using the word).

We heard the talk to not say Mormon. We heard the talk saying it's not a big deal. We heard the second talk to not call it the Mormon church. We even heard a third talk on it not being negotiable. I guess I'd like at least one ore two more talks on not being jerks to others that say Mormon to counterbalance. :D

In general we need a lot more "quit being jerks" talks during conference.
I think I may understand in some small part what you are talking about. I have great difficulty understanding just about everybody. My dear wife is always telling me that I think and see the world differently than everyone else. For me there is logic to everything. My wife tells me that there are very few things that are logical – but she is unable to give me any examples of something real that is not logical.

When I listen to conference, and we have one coming up in a few weeks, I try to relate everything that is said to me personally. I do not know that much about everybody else. So when it is said that the term “Mormon” should be used less – I think to myself – this is something very easy that I can do. And in truth – I find it about the easiest thing of all the things presented at conference. I am most happy to comply and support anyone else in their efforts.

There are lots of other things talked about and recommended at conference that are not so easy for me. I do not love very many people. I assume others have similar difficulties, so I do not want to be critical or complain about much. I am likely one of those members you reference that is having problems with the important things. I have so many problems with myself and being compassionate to others – I really cannot complain how others treat me. This is because I have discovered that often I am misunderstood or something else is going on that I do not know anything about. Since I do not understand much concerning others – I really cannot respond well to how others are treating each other. My wife is very often telling me to be less blunt and filter things I say to others. This is so confusing because I am just attempting to understand and make things clear. Actually, I find most misunderstandings to be somewhat comical but any such suggestion that something is kind of funny is seldom helpful. And yet most comedy in entertainment is built on that premises.

I know I am not doing so well of an example on this forum. I have not been here long and yet I have been reminded several times I am not being very helpful. Obviously, there are many others here that understand life much better than me and can communicate it better. I am somewhat out of touch because I do not connect that well with whatever is the problem. I am quite happy to be a member of the church and try as I will to be helpful to others – what works great for me and I find to be wonderful does not seem to be helpful for others. Sorry I do not understand why or how to figure out anyone but myself.
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Re: Compare & Contrast...

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DarkJedi wrote: 22 Sep 2022, 08:57
Watcher wrote: 22 Sep 2022, 08:24 I am thinking that perhaps you should be the example to others to help them understand what they are missing. I wish I had your kind of insights. For me, I know that it is taught that we should love everyone but I have great difficulty loving anyone that I do not like very much. I could really use some insights and a good example from someone that understands such things.
I think love can be either an emotion or an action (or sometimes both). You sort of answered your own question. Love as an action would be doing the service project for someone you don't like very much, and since you said you sign up for all service projects it would seem this has probably happened. One doesn't have to like someone to love them in this way.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you
Thank you for your effort. As much as I would like to be or think otherwise - in over 76 years of experience and with all my effort - the bless them that curse you thing -- I have not made much progresss. My father and my mother could do that and a few others I have known (my wife included and a couple of general authorities I have know personally). I am not sure I can figure it out before I die - hopefully begging for mercy will help - it is about all I have left as hope in such things.
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DarkJedi
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Re: Compare & Contrast...

Post by DarkJedi »

Watcher wrote: 22 Sep 2022, 09:44
DarkJedi wrote: 22 Sep 2022, 08:57
Watcher wrote: 22 Sep 2022, 08:24 I am thinking that perhaps you should be the example to others to help them understand what they are missing. I wish I had your kind of insights. For me, I know that it is taught that we should love everyone but I have great difficulty loving anyone that I do not like very much. I could really use some insights and a good example from someone that understands such things.
I think love can be either an emotion or an action (or sometimes both). You sort of answered your own question. Love as an action would be doing the service project for someone you don't like very much, and since you said you sign up for all service projects it would seem this has probably happened. One doesn't have to like someone to love them in this way.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you
Thank you for your effort. As much as I would like to be or think otherwise - in over 76 years of experience and with all my effort - the bless them that curse you thing -- I have not made much progresss. My father and my mother could do that and a few others I have known (my wife included and a couple of general authorities I have know personally). I am not sure I can figure it out before I die - hopefully begging for mercy will help - it is about all I have left as hope in such things.
I'm far from great at it. I almost never sign up or attend service projects (mostly because the ones my ward does are lame, I'll give an example in a moment) and especially if the project involves someone I don't like. Truth is I have known most of the members of my ward the entire time I've been here (30+ years) and I don't like most of them. And there are some I really dislike. I generally scoff at those who say they forgive the drunk driver who killed their wife and children (yeah, right, sure you do :roll: ). That said, I also recognize there is value in service to others (real, helpful service) whether that's a person I like or not. The value could be to that person, but it's more likely to me (and it can be both). I more or less interpret "do good to them that hate you" as being reversible - do good to them that you hate. I don't know that I am hated by anyone, although I have had a few people that I have supervised over the past couple years who probably come close.

OK, as promised, the lame service project example. Our ward conference is coming up next month (we'll be conferenced to death with general, stake and ward conference all in October). As part of ward conference the stake asked the ward to schedule a service project the Saturday before and invite the stake council members who would be at ward conference the next day. My ward council contact tells me they hemmed and hawed quite a bit and decided at last (drum roll) to do a thorough cleaning of the building including windows. Knowing our dear stake president as I do, I know that this is not what he intended. He is always after members to be serving the community because he sees the value in reaching outside ourselves. But this is not out of the ordinary for our ward - when the idea comes up they never (and that's not hyperbole - they never) think outside of themselves. So couple the lame service project with me standing my ground that I believe the church should have professional cleaners (and can afford to) and guess who won't be washing any windows (or anything else that day).
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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PazamaManX
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Re: Compare & Contrast...

Post by PazamaManX »

Watcher wrote: 22 Sep 2022, 08:24
My point in this is that it makes no sense to me when someone complains that the church is too authoritarian in one breath and then complains in the next breath that members are somewhat hypocritical in what they say and do. This looks like a reality disconnect to me. If the church is authoritarian – how is it possible so many members are behaving and saying stuff that is out of line from what the church teaches???
I do think calling the church 'authoritarian' is a bit extreme. There are certainly better examples of authoritarians out there. But, I have known church leaders who were high on their own power.

There was one stake presidency I had in particular who had a pretty nasty "what we says goes" mentality. They would frequently squash discussions with them that went against how they wanted things done. Granted, that stake president was a former chief of police, so that's how he was used to leading. But, it still angered a lot of people in the stake.

The church also does tend to expect a lot of subservience from its members, which it usually gets.
Watcher wrote: 22 Sep 2022, 09:25
For me there is logic to everything. My wife tells me that there are very few things that are logical – but she is unable to give me any examples of something real that is not logical.
I agree, pretty much everything has logical reasons for it. If something is illogical, it's usually because all of the variables aren't known. But I do think there are some things that can be beyond the ability to explain logically. Particularly emotions and desires.

A personal example: I have a huge phobia of wasps and hornets; both black and yellow, stinging insects. I also have a strange desire to get into beekeeping; also a black and yellow stinging insect. And I don't even really like honey. Without some serious psychoanalysis, my urge to take care of thousands of bees appears very illogical.
Watcher wrote: 22 Sep 2022, 09:44 As much as I would like to be or think otherwise - in over 76 years of experience and with all my effort - the bless them that curse you thing -- I have not made much progresss. My father and my mother could do that and a few others I have known (my wife included and a couple of general authorities I have know personally). I am not sure I can figure it out before I die - hopefully begging for mercy will help - it is about all I have left as hope in such things.


I'm not as far along as you are, but I also can say that I haven't had much success with figuring that one out. The best I can do is 'ignore them that curse you'. I have a long way to go to before I get to 'bless them'.
"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness, even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." ~ Thomas Jefferson
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