Plenty of reliable resources are available in the digital age. Not all of them
are flattering, but they can't be discounted.
The Internet is a great tool that is brining a lot of knowledge to many people,
including LDS church members.20 years ago it was harder to find
answers for those with questions.Answers and facts are literally at
our fingertips now.People's doubts are now being confirmed
daily about what they'd long been told by their parents and church
leaders.Knowledge is a great thing.
@ Hutterite - Between "digital" sources that are
"reliable" and "God", I choose "God".You?
I applaud this conference. However...For those who know, no
physical evidence is needed.For those who honestly don't want
to know (key word being "honestly"), no amount of physical evidence will
ever be enough.I'm glad I know.
Sometimes the problem isn't the historical record but the reaction from the
church. The editing of the chapter headings and explanatory notes can do more
harm than good.You cannot simply erase the common understanding of the
members.For example, the notion that blacks were banned from the
priesthood by custom or practice alone is implied in the current rewrite. If we
accept that explanation we must also discount everything the leaders say at
conference unless it is declared a revelation.Calling the family
proclamation less than a revelation is a political expediency, but if it is not
from God to his prophets, seers and revelators (my poster bears the signature of
all 15) it becomes easy to dismiss just about every message from the Brethren
with few exceptions.Our faith is indeed shifting these days.
Caravan,There is a difference between "demanding physical
proof" and "denying the physical proof that exists"
I never understood why people have such a need to "know" where religion
is concerned. What is wrong with saying "this is what I believe to be true,
however, I wont KNOW until I die"There are lots who claim to
know. I am fairly sure that those who flew planes into buildings on 911
KNEW.I am fairly sure that the Heavens Gate followers KNEW also.Same with the Jim Jones followers.Whatever I believe, I am quite
sure that I dont KNOW.And I'm OK with that.
The Caravan Moves OnSo you take god over facts? That is disturbing
to me. Isn't god the one that created all of the 'facts' in this
world? You can deny facts all you want, but if facts come out that go against
the church, why would you dismiss them? Why not take all of the information in,
evaluate it, and then make your decision. Just as sure as you know it is true, I
know it isn't true. God works in mysterious ways, doesn't he?
Uh, faith is not perfect knowledge. So faith and some level of doubt MUST exist
together. You can still act on a belief (exercise faith) while doubting if it
will produce the result you hope it will. Do that enough times and your faith
(or willingness to act on that belief) will increase, but doubt can still exist
in some degree.
@The Caravan Moves On"For those who know, no physical evidence is
needed.""For those who honestly don't want to know (key
word being "honestly"), no amount of physical evidence will ever be
enough."This goes both ways... some of those that "know that
don't need evidence" could be those that "know" but don't
want to know and no amount of physical evidence to the contrary will ever be
Do any of you who claim to "know" the truth see any inconsistency
between that stance and the statement by your Elder Holland, quoted in the
article, where he says "And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by
Two thoughts.1. There is a great deal of 'information'
available to read on the internet. However, as with all things on the internet,
you must assess the validity of what is being presented. What is the motivation
of the author? How has he slanted the material, what is being left out, and are
there blatant lies? Truth is tough to find and to discern.2. I
have been through a tough five years with my faith being tested and frankly at
times I thought broken. The struggle is the most important part of life and as
much as we, I, dislike the struggle (and enjoy the easy times), it is the
struggle and how we react to it and eventually overcome it, that defines who we
are in the end.
For me the result was realizing that LDS leaders can be wrong. Now its sorting
out what they got right and what was wrong. To this day I ask myself if what is
being said in Conference is right or wrong. Its between me and God I guess. The idea that we are all imperfect is both comforting and scary. The
result of an imperfect man being called of God and making a bunch of mistakes
along the way is scary to me. Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young said and did
some things that I'm trying to understand.
Faith is more than belief.Faith is a term of action. It means to be
firm and reliable. I think it means more about our nature than our belief.
Information is easy to obtain. We have the choice to believe or not; it's a
personal decision. Faith is an integral part of the process. Use when
A lot of the criticisms of the church I see online from disaffected members
displays what therapists call "victim syndrome"; people have problems
with whatever in their lives, they have to find someone or something to blame,
and the church becomes their #1 target.
@Mark from Montana, I agree 100% with your statement that the
struggle is what matters. That's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't
experienced the "long, dark night of the soul". What I believed when I
said "I know" has been rebuilt - the components of my faith remain the
same, but they have been completely rearranged in that process. The
Church has been playing it "safe" in its curriculum for decades, in part
because of an understandable concern that it will lose souls to challenging
issues. But that's not possible now and the blowback is that when members
encounter some of these issues for the first time, it combines the challenging
issue with a sense of betrayal and anger that the Church has been
'whitewashing' things. I feel that this is far more harmful in the
long run than it would be to address certain things head-on.Doubt is
natural. It can be good. It has made me stronger. I wish we could make more
room for the doubter instead of convicting him for lacking faith. Knowing that
there were others navigating the path of doubt/faith made an enormous difference
Faith is a challenge in all religions, not just Mormonism. The subject might be
golden plates, the Holy Grail, the Red Sea parting, or Jesus walking on the Sea
of Galilee. Do you need to believe in every teaching you ever heard taught? Is
it sinful to doubt? Is a rational basis for faith even possible?A
greater question is, what is your faith in? I don’t need to take
incredible claims at face value to believe in human decency and respect for
others. On Brigham Young’s teachings about blood atonement or the Adam/God
theory, I don’t even want to go there.Jesus said that the
greatest commandments were to love God and to love your neighbor. That’s a
place to start. It’s large enough to include a multitude of diverse
To me 'faith' is a dirty word. Why would you want to take anything on
faith? Most people do more research on buying a house or choosing a mechanic
than they do with figuring out why they believe as they do. The majority of
people just accept what they are inculcated with by their parents. Faith is
belief without evidence and not something to be admired. “One
of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long
enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer
interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply
too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so
credulous. (So the old bamboozles tendto persist as the new bamboozles
rise.)” ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos
I've heard it said, "The Catholic Church teaches infallibility and no
Catholic believes it. The Mormon Church doesn't teach infallibility, but no
Mormon believes it." Although I don't completely agree with this
statement, I certainly understand it. Many LDS, especially those who grew up in
the faith, are taught a white washed history of their religion where the bad
guys always lie and the good guys always tell the truth and where Church leaders
never teach or say anything suspect. The problem is, it's hard to square
that with the historical record. The study of Mormon history is getting better
and the LDS people will adjust to hearing a more balanced approach to their
history. My knowledge of LDS history hasn't destroyed my faith.
RE: drjThere is no inconsistency. There are many points of truth. We can
know the truth about one point while still working to know the truth about
another point. Few will ever understand ALL truth in this life. So, it is
possible to know some points of truth and to have faith regarding other points.
Faith is sort of where knowledge begins--a desire to know but accepting
something on faith until knowledge arrives.
"To me 'faith' is a dirty word. Why would you want to take
anything on faith?"Faith is belief plus action and everyone
shows faith every day regardless of religious belief. You get up in the morning
and put your clothes on to go to work or school which is faith that your work or
school will be there and you don't really KNOW, you are just acting on
faith that today will be like preceding days and it isn't always true.Faith is more powerful than knowledge because knowledge or facts are
constantly being revised and faith can be a stronger foundation. My grandfather,
a forest ranger, led a group of scientists to the top of a mesa in the Grand
Canyon in the 1930's where the scientists were sure that ancient life forms
would still exist having been cut off from the rest of the world. My grandfather
had already been there by following an old deer trail.Faith being
more powerful/stable doesn't mean we shouldn't use what abilities we
have to seek knowledge. We should never stop learning. If faith and knowledge
conflict I file it away until I know more.
On my mission I had a profound experience that taught me the importance of not
relying on the intellectual side of things too much. I don't have space to
share it here but the answer is that we must live by faith as not everything has
been revealed. If so, there would be no need for developing faith and we would
just develop our intellect. Most members do not understand the need
to develop faith and think it is something we are to live by in mortality. Yet
faith is the means by which God created the worlds, so it is vital that we
develop faith in order to become like him. All of these things that
are written against the Church in any form are Satan's attempt to destroy
that faith. Our faith is to be nurtured and encouraged and the intellectual side
of things can get in the way of things if we let it. We just need to remember
exercise our faith and move forward. That is what Joseph Smith did.
That is what the Pioneers did. That is what we are to do today.
Interesting comments. Here's mine:1) "The past is a foreign
country." They "Ugly American" judges foreign cultures because they
do not behave as we do. Likewise, modernists pass judgment on those in the past
based on modern perceptions. Let it go. Judge the past based on the context of
the past.2) "The LDS church is not a literalist belief
system." Although many LDS people are literalists, making an entire
sacrament talk over a single word or phrase, that is not the way it really is.
D&C 70 set up a "committee on style" to prepare revelations for
publication. Isaiah's writings differ greatly from Paul's who differ
greatly from Nephi's. Each prophet receives revelation and then announces
it to the world in his own voice.3) We are dual beings, physical and
spiritual. The things we learn in the physical environment are interpreted and
understood through the five senses. But there is also an ability to interpret
and understand through our spiritual nature. If we choose to ignore it, we only
get part of the truth. Most non-believers are only partially in existence
because they refuse to acknowledge or learn from their spiritual natures.
"we are seeing a growing problem" in the LDS Church — a problem
that has to do with the ready availability of vast resources of information of
both the faithful and doubtful varieties-----------That whole
"FACT' Vs. "FICTION" thing gets a little sticky, doesn't
Mark from Montana & Joe5I could not agree more. Thanks to you
My favorite quote from the article is, "we should not hold him [Joseph
Smith] to a higher standard than he held himself". I find that fascinating
because in History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 408-409 Joseph says, "I have
more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been
able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of
the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I
boast that no man ever did such a work as I."Joseph Smith Jr.
held a VERY high opinion of himself and directly calls himself better than
Jesus. I suggest that we hold him to his opinions. Watching the LDS modern
"prophets" manage a PR campaign about their church is comical. The fact
that anyone is still entranced by the LDS church baffles me. It is
transparently a lie with nice warm fuzzies on the surface. Peel back one layer
and the whole thing falls apart like a balloon.
I too lost my faith years ago, but I was not a member of the LDS Church. I was
raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. The descriptions in this article of
the turmoil one goes through when losing their faith are very similar to my
experience. I applaud the LDS Church for approaching the matter of shakey or
lost faith in the way they do... my religion was/is comletely intolerant of
those who lose their faith. Everything changes.I respect those who
have faith and understand how people can lose it overnight. Unless there is some
acceptance and the potential for dialogue, the schism between faith and doubt
will only grow wider.
“It is true that more information has been the cause of the current
controversies, but more information is also the answer,” Bushman said.______________________________I wholeheartedly concur with Richard
Bushman on that. Back in the days when the Church historian's office
restricted access to its archive material to a select inner circle whom it
thought could be trusted, it created the perception that the Church must have
something to hide from the world. But in this age of information, the more it
makes available to the curious reading public, the more they will see how fair
the world will be in its judgments of early Mormon documents.
Kudos to the DN for even broaching this topic. However I wonder if the
"moderators" will let us discuss any of the specific facts that are
causing heartburn for so many members?Also, if you are older than
primary age and still using the words "I know..." when discussing your
faith, you need to grow up and learn what faith is.
I agree with Red Corvette. Read the Hans Mattsson New York Times article and
decide for yourself which newspaper account is more reliable.
I can appreciate that Elder Holland has asked that we realize church leaders are
fallible, and we should not hold them to too high a standard. However, I think
the church would do well by leading the way on that point. For example, a
couple of general conferences ago, Elder Boyd K. Packer suggsted that
homosexuals are not born that way. In the printed version of his talk, that
teaching had been deleted. The church never addressed why it was delted. That
was it. The church could have led the way by stating that Elder Packer was
wrong by stating that and that the statement was his personal view only. That
would have been a great opportunity for the church to demonstrate that it does
not believe in the infallibility of its leaders. Same for the Church's
doctrine on blacks and the priesthood. Own it and move on. Instead, they are
now calling it Mormon "folklore" that was never taught in the church,
instead of recognizing the fallibility (i.e. racism) harbored by some leaders of
the church in another era. Instead, the church stretches credulity because it
does not want to admit the fallibility of its leaders.
@craigwgIn the quote you offered from the Prophet, he neither called
himself infallible or said he was better than Jesus, as you claim. This quote
was written not by JS, but by someone else after he died. However if we assume
it is accurate, word for word, it has to be taken within at least this brief
context:1) Joseph was applying a scripture from Paul at the time.
"Boasting" was Paul's idea.2) In the same work, one
volume earlier, the Prophet says "I do not think there have been many good
men on the earth since the days of Adam; but there was one good man and his name
was Jesus. Many persons think a prophet must be a great deal better than anybody
else....I do not want you to think that I am very righteous, for I am not."
(History of the Church 5:401It therefore seems appropriate to say
"we should not hold him to a higher standard than he held himself."
But if people are allowed to choose what the prophet says is true and not true
or pick and choose then what about tithing? Then you start having a problem.
Well let us see what we have here starting with the Old Testament. Abraham lied
to the Egyptians and told them his wife was his sister. Jacob stole his
brother’s birthright and his mother assisted him. Jacob’s father-in
law swindled Jacob by switching his daughters. Instead of Rachael he gave him
Leah and then he cons Jacob into working for him seven more years for Rachael.
Joseph’s brothers sold him to the Egyptians and covered up their crime
telling their father he was killed by wild beasts using his coat stained with
blood to convince him. Moses killed an Egyptian and buried his body in the sand.
David conspired to have Uriah killed so he could take his wife. But despite
David’s horrific sins Christ descended from David’s blood line.From the New Testament: Judas betrayed Christ. Peter denied him three
times. The apostles argued among themselves who would be the greatest in the
kingdom of heaven. Paul and Peter were at odds with each other.God
moved his work of salvation forward using fallible men. If the LDS have a
questionable history they are in familiar company.
@cragwg- in History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 408-409 Joseph says, "I have
more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been
able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of
the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I
boast that no man ever did such a work as I."The Joseph Smith I
know would never have said anything like this. It's ridiculous. I
don't know where you get your information, but this is just another example
of people looking on the internet for negative things about the church and
finding it from anti-mormons. I have to wonder why anyone decides to start
looking for information about the church outside of approved church materials.
That alone shows a lack of faith in our leaders. The brethren have counseled us
to only read church approved materials, and this is why. The adversary and his
minions are actively monitoring and posting online. It is not a safe place for
1aggie,No, the moderators will not allow you to point out specific
points in LDS doctrine that can then be refuted by facts. Many of us have
tried. They pretend to be open for discussion, but remember this article in
and of itself is "on the edge" for them. Truly allowing an open
discussion of their faith would only lead to more memebers questioning, and they
don't want that.
1aggie: I disagree completely.First: There are facts you can know.
You know 2+2=4. You know gravity makes things fall. If you can know things with
your physical senses, why can't you know things with your spiritual
senses?Second: Most LDS misunderstand knowledge. Instead of viewing
it as the capstone to faith, let's consider it as a precursor to faith. If
you plant crops expecting a harvest, you might lack faith. But if you attend USU
and take agricultural classes on soils, irrigation, seeds, fertilizers, and
whatever else (I'm not a farmer), would your faith increase because of your
new knowledge. When investigators lacked faith, we taught them. The D&C says
if you lack faith to study. It seems the key to faith is to gain knowledge.Finally: If you don't know in the sense you were talking about, you
have either never had a spiritual experience or you have convinced yourself that
the source of that experience is suspect in some way (self-generated; emotional
response; delusion; misinterpretation; imperfect god;etc). A purely divine
experience, if acknowledged, accepted, and acted upon, creates knowledge.
"Truth" is truth. There is no "my truth" or "your
truth." Faith is simply the belief in that which cannot be proven. MOST of
what we believe to be truth cannot be proven in the real sense of the idea of
truth. To say "I know this to be true" when speaking of spiritual
matters is usually a gross misunderstanding of the idea of truth.5 +
4 = 9 is such a truth. No reasonable man would doubt that... it's not a
matter of faith, but a mathematical fact.To even say "I know
there is a God" cannot be considered truth either. It is a statement of
faith... the two ideas of truth and faith are completely different; if we can
prove that something is the truth, there is no need to have faith. I think
religious ideas are closer to matters of "taste" or
"preference."HOWEVER, we cannot derive something to be true
unless we test it somehow... and that is an endeavor I wholeheartedly support...
even in spiritual matters.
dlswingleThe LDS church may try to look like they are not hostile
towards those with doubts, but I would say a bigger percentage are hostile then
are not. This is especially true within families. I have friends, and have
experienced it myself, where family members or the whole family won't talk
to the person who has expressed doubt. And it gets worse with time. It is that
way with many faiths, and it is disappointing. Acting like they have done
something wrong and alienating them from you as a family member just because
they don't share the same beliefs as you is borderline insanity. That to me
is just like shunning them for voting for another person, or being a member of a
different political party. Kind of meaningless when you look at it for what it
is: difference of opinion or belief.
@ the caravan moves on,You said, "For those who know, no
physical evidence is needed."That works out well since there is
no physical evidence. Physical evidence to the contrary, well, there are reams
Actually doubt is a sin.Many, many doubters have been ostracized due to
their doubt. And it will continue. Doubters may not be excommunicated but
they'll never be fully accepted. The truth is out there. Unless they
own up to the mistakes many more people will keep doubting.
A few points:1-"Knowing" is not the same as "believing".
They need to stop co-opting the meaning of those two words. Nobody
"knows" a philosophy is true. It is a belief and nothing more.2-"truth" and "wisdom" are two different things. There are
teachings that are wise, but that doesn't mean they are "true". A philosophy can't be true. Truth is found in physical and scientific
laws, things that can be tested and the results are the same each time.
@craigwg The LDS Church does not "fall apart like a balloon after peeling
back one layer". If that happened it would not be where it is today. It
would not continue to grow and eventually fill the whole earth. Joseph Smith was
not perfect as he clearly states about himself, but the Lord also needed someone
who had high self-esteem to handle all that he did. Otherwise he could never
have dealt with the amazing things he did, and the opposition that he faced and
continues to face even today, long after his death. Joseph Smith is
one of the most misunderstood people in all of history and it won't be
until after Jesus comes again that we will know all the details about him. There
will be a lot of shocked looks on peoples faces when they realize who they
opposed. After Christ, he is one of the first people that I want to meet who
have ever lived on this earth.
Glad to see this article in DN. It is way past due. There
shouldn't be courses called "Church History" unless an accurate,
factual history is taught. I would say most members of the Church know next to
nothing about the full history of the Church. Is the Church going
to start incorporating a more accurate history in the curriculum? I
think the Church and its members have a lot of "maturing" to do. It is
wrong to portray those who leave the church due to faith issues as
There's been a lot of good comments on here and I appreciate the fact most
of them have been civil. As an active Latter-day Saint I have looked at many
websites which both defend the LDS Church and oppose the LDS Church. As the article pointed out there have been critics of the LDS Church since the
beginning of its existence. For anyone to suggest the LDS Church has never faced
criticism of its history or doctrine until the Internet appeared is totally
Jesus died once and for all to cover the sin of every person on this earth. All
you have to do is trust him, believe he died and rose again, and that's it.
That simple. There are no need for temples or "religion". It's all
about your relationship with Christ. The veil was torn in the temple for a
reason when Christ died. There is no more separation between man and God. You
can't work your way into heaven. If you could, there would be no reason for
Jesus to have died in the first place. Good works are a result of our faith, not
a key to build it. It's really that simple. Don't complicate it with
religion. Find a relationship with Jesus, and you will see him in heaven. God
Bless you all.
@ BrammaBull, Yes, I understand that is the way it is... individuals sometimes
take things much further than official Church policy. Still, I admire the LDS
"official" policy. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (AKA
Jehovah's Witnesses) have gone so far to say that their members should
treat such a one as "an idolater, a fornicator, a drunkard or a
murderer" telling their members in the "Watchtower Magazine" that
such people have "diseased minds" and are to be avoided, "not even
saying a greeting" to them should they run into them on the street.It's Old Testament mentality at its finest. The Israelites were commanded
to put to death such people.I sympathize with your status in the LDS
Church. Shunning is psychological brutality.
I just listened to the Mattsson's (general authority) interview from the
new york times about his doubts. As some have said you can't trust
everything on the internet, but when you have church historians admitting many
of these problems (such as polyandry) it is hard to argue that the events
Chris B & Others:No, the Internet makes
“information” readily available, but a large percentage of it is
false. Anyone in a set of pj’s with a modem can spew venom against the
church. Only those gullible enough to be taken in lose their faith over this
“source.” Your suggestion that the church is not true is
patently false. There isn’t one subject that couldn’t be researched
in depth – and the so-called confirmation of your “doubts”
would go tumbling down the stairs. Your “answers” are not
“facts.” Nevertheless the day of dominance of the
disaffected on the Internet is over. With FARMS, FAIR, FairWiki, Mormon Voices,
Mormon Wiki, the vast expansion of LDS.org, and scores of other YouTube videos,
blogs, websites, social networks, etc. our faith is valiantly defended and this
will continue. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is
true. We are not afraid of our history and welcome inquiry. Remember we were
warned in the Book of Mormon that a common approach for those who leave the
faith is “bearing down against the church.” (Alma 1: 3)
@KellyWSmith"Most members do not understand the need to develop
faith and think it is something we are to live by in mortality. Yet faith is the
means by which God created the worlds, so it is vital that we develop faith in
order to become like him."Respectfully, your assertion cannot
possibly be true. If God is all-knowing, like Mormons and others believe, then
he has all knowledge. He creates all knowledge. Therefore, he does not act by
faith but by power. God did not create worlds through faith; he created them
through will (power). God is the antithesis of faith because He knows
everything.Faith is a HUMAN trait, not a divine one, because humans
are imperfect. Perfect knowledge is better than faith, but we can access only
faith here. In short, living by faith is a limitation of mortality. If we are to
become like God someday, then presumably we will outgrow faith and gain total
I'm someone who reads and has traveled and lived abroad. The internet is
great for the amount of information it has but let's face it, we live in
the "Misinformation Age" as anyone who has read the propaganda about
immunizations and Autism, how 9/11 was concocted by our own government, or any
other conspiracy theories. I think it's great to have more
information on our History and have read widely including non LDS authors, but I
also put some stock in my ancestors who WERE THERE when Joseph Smith and Brigham
Young were alive, heard and saw them preach. Some of them lived in close
proximity. So when I doubt, two things hold my faith: 1) the volume and power of
the scriptures which Joseph Smith published which I believe fit with and support
the teachings of the Bible and 2) the fact that the majority of those who knew
Joseph Smith best stuck with him to the end and went to their graves believing
in him as a Prophet. I also at my core believe in the teachings of
Jesus and his disciples/Apostles in the New Testament. And if they were true
then, they are true now.
I know the good, the bad and the ugly about the Mormon Church. I am a member
based on my own spiritual experiences.
I've been a member of the LDS church for nearly 30 years (convert). I put
put many questions and concerns on the back burner. When I started to ask the
hard doctrinal and historical questions and really looked deeply into it, what I
learned floored me. What I realize is that for those who have not done the
homework they have no idea how incriminating the information is. Its not just
laugh it off stuff. Its really serious. But the issue to my mind is that
speaking as a convert, when you join the church you are taking TWO concepts on
faith 1. The restoration of the Church and 2. The existence of God and Jesus.
The Restoration can fall apart and you still have #2 to have faith in. Confusion
occurs when members throw out the word "Faith" without specifying what
they have faith in...the "Restored Church" or God and Jesus. If you
equate them as the same as many do then this creates a huge problem when faced
with this new information. But its not an a la carte system. You're either
all in or all out. FTP or FTS. Your Choice.
@Candide,I don't quite understand what you mean that Faith is a
dirty word. Most of what we learn we take on faith, including Scientific
knowledge, history, etc. Someone tells you or you read it and you believe most
of it without questioning. How much time have you spent verifying the distance
from the Earth to the Sun or researching the Jurassic Period? That
said, we ought to all take what we hear with a grain of salt and try to research
all sides of a story before accepting it as fact. Don't accept anything
just because it is popular in one age or culture to do so. It was very popular
in 1950's Utah to accept all facets of Mormonism. Today it is extremely
popular to doubt all religion, indeed to blame religion for most of the
world's problems, wars, colonialism, etc., when we know most of the bad
behavior (reprehensible though it may be) is simply human nature.
With all due respect, Candide, faith is a pretty integral part of the scientific
method. or of any type of inductive logic. Einstein himself had a difficult time
convincing most experts of his day regarding the "truth" of what
actually causes gravity. I don't think you should paint "faith" as
a dirty word, because I'll bet you yourself are guilty of exercising it.
Korihor lives on, and this brings out the weakness of many.Things
are not spelled out precisely, and we strengthen ourselves by obtaining truth.
It's that way, or life's tests are not invalid.Our one
constant is,-- "God does not lie, or make mistakes".
@ClarkHippo "For anyone to suggest the LDS Church has never
faced criticism of its history or doctrine until the Internet appeared is
totally ridiculous."I reread the article and all prior comments
and can't find any such suggestion. Nice strawman ClarkHippo. An issue which seems to be getting a bit glossed over here is that when you
know you are not being told the whole truth (i.e., when credibility is lost) how
can you know that what you are currently being told is accurate? What current
events/practices are being glossed over? Why are personal journals encouraged
for us, but discouraged for GA's?
The digital age was made for Mormons. Mormons are made for the digital age.
They fit together like a hand in a glove.I have been digitizing
census, marriage, birth, death, christening and immigration records for
FamilySearth for over 8 years.Mormons have a glorious purpose and
destiny in their family research endeavors.
I listened to Mattson's interview again and what he is asking is not that
unreasonable. He and his wife still want to practice Mormonism and have
community with the members in the church. He's just asking that the Church
leadership and us members not fear openness and discussion about topics that are
not clearly understood and somewhat difficult - and cited a few examples. I
agree with what he is saying and think it would be healthy to have the open
discussion. Many of us speculate about "why Polygamy" (for example) and
having a dialog about it and how it ended up as Polyandry in some cases, would
be helpful. For many of us who see a great volume of doctrine,
practices and results that make sense, addressing some of these gray areas is a
good thing. And more importantly, let's treat those who differ
among us with more respect and love. I actually see a lot of that (certain
members in my family are not active and are treated normally). I feel sorry for
those who feel threatened by questions and see their families break up as a
result. It doesn't have to be that way...
eastcoastcoug: I don't understand what you're asking for. This forum,
Sunstone Symposium, the FAIR conference, all these any many others provide an
open forum for discussing exactly the things you are talking about.Are you suggesting these topics become part of the sunday school
curriculum?Have you no sense at all about what is appropriate?Would you go to a funeral and use that as a forum to debate a
person's personal ethics?What exactly are you asking for
because I just don't get it? How can a person involved in an open forum
discussion be complaining that there are no open forums in which to discuss
I think the big challenge for historically faithful LDS like Brother Mattson is
reconciling what they learn about early church history with the common paradigm
of how the restoration occurred, and how church members are expected to behave
today.The early parts of how polygamy was implemented, and
particularly polyandry, are very tough issues for many LDS to accept. It's
understandable how these parts of history were actively de-emphasized during
much of the church's history, because they present serious challenges to
commonly held beliefs by most members.My sense is the vast majority
of LDS are not aware of much of the history, and frankly, would prefer to not be
exposed to it and the resulting challenges to comfortable personal paradigms.
For example, a neighbor could not complete Bushman's biography of Joseph
Smith, because the history is at such odds with her paradigm, her understanding
of things. (And Bushman is faithful LDS.)Faith challenges are not
I really do not see any problem in using our intellect to help us enlarge our
faith and eventually know truth. But as a convert myself, I can definitely say
that faith is ultimately what will lead one to action. When I decided to accept
this gospel and baptism, I did relying only on faith - and hoping that one day
I would receive a more consistent witness that my decision was the right one.
Seven years later, still with a lot to improve, I can with all my heart say that
my decision was right FOR ME.
It should come as no surprise that there will be an "opposition in all
things", as in the case of the internet. The father of all lies has rallied
to use his forces against the new efforts of the church's, in
cyberspace.Be very skeptical of the myriad of cunning presentations. They
abound. And maintain serious daily scripture study and prayer. Doubts will
dissipated with knowledge that supersedes mere intellect.
They're talking out both sides. The July 24th article in Meridian Magazine
is painting doubters in a bad light.They need to admit the problems, be up
front and move forward. The duplicity will ruin many, many so-called
I am concerned with the LDS Church members who claim they know, as if they have
been given some kind of special enlightenment or select opportunity. The fact is that I do not appreciate being made to feel like I have nothing to
offer, or that I cannot associate with you because I am not of your faith or had
your experiences. Please do not make me feel like doubting
something makes me inferior to you. I have had different personal experiences,
special ones that mean a great deal to me. I have much to give too.
Ever since I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
I have never had any doubts about my faith. The Holy Ghost has confirmed
everything to me.
Nullus in Verba: "We take no man's word for anything." As an
educator, I find it almost amusing to read the exploits of those who find
themselves relying solely on the crust of possibilities that exist within the
intellect. Those who rely only upon the intellect as the only measurement of
knowledge is equivalent to relying upon a grain of sand with the world's
vast sandy coastline stretched out before you. Faith is far superior to
intellect to obtaining truth, and yet I have tested the greatest minds in the
world for helping me understand doubt and found it worthwhile.
It seems to me that it is time to stop teaching "church history" at
church on Sundays. Teaching church history does not elevate the soul. Some
historical points may be interesting but they are not teachings of Christ.
Let's leave the church history for Institute or weekday study if you want.
They are teachings of men. We shouldn't be worshipping men. We should be
worshiping God and trying to improve ourselves. In fact, for many, studying
church history in Sunday School causes much anxiety because the full truth
isn't being told. Going to church should be an exercise in worshipping God
and not used as a platform for worshipping Joseph Smith or any other leader.
As a convert I had read much of what is being talked about before I became a
member. I just don't take everything as literal truth in any faith. Bottom
line, I love going to Church and its positive affect on me and my family is
something I am forever grateful for.
Re:HappyMama"We shouldn't be worshipping men.""Going to church should be an exercise in worshipping God and not used as
a platform for worshipping Joseph Smith or any other leader."Well said. Thank you!
History can never be totally believed since there are too many people who have
their fingers in the pie... revising to meet some ulterior motives.
@joe5:"You know 2+2=4."Not necessarily. Take for
example, Euclid telling us that two lines that are parallel to each other will
never cross... even if extended to infinity. But Einstein, in one of his
theories, says 'not so fast. Those parallel lines could well cross since
the universe tends to warp. 2+2 could actually equal 5, or some other number...
even the imaginary number 'i.'
@Sunset Here are 2 quotes from Bruce R. McConkie about God, Priesthood,
Faith and Creation: "Priesthood is power like none other on earth or in
heaven. It is the very power of God himself, the power by which the worlds were
made, the power by which all things are regulated, upheld, and preserved. It is
the power of faith, the faith by which the Father creates and governs. God is
God because he is the embodiment of all faith and all power and all priesthood.
The life he lives is named eternal life.""To be saved is to
be like Christ, inheriting, receiving, and possessing as he does. To gain
salvation is to grow in faith until we have the faith of Christ and thus are
like him. Our nearness to him and to salvation is measured by the degree of our
faith. To gain faith is to attain the power of Christ, which is God’s
power."Faith is something we will use through eternity. God is
not the antithesis of Faith because faith is power and he has all power. Faith
is "mental exertion", it is Power and it is Priesthood. (Lectures on
Using reason and logic, there are undeniable truths and undeniable falsehoods.
Faith exists between the two and must transcend reason and logic. We can get
into trouble when we think we can explain faith (whatever your religion) through
reason and logic.
The simple fact that Deseret News published this article shows how much the
Church itself is starting to realize how thoughtful critics and independent
conferences can help other church members. But there is still a long way to go,
in particular in foreign countries and other languages.
Neanderthal: I hate wasting my last post on something as trivial as your comment
but this conversation seems to be dying down anyway.First: I've
had six terms of advanced mathematics and I haven't got a clue what
relationship you think there is between parallel lines and 2+2.Second: If the lines are warped, then they are no longer parallel, are they?
In fact, they are no longer even straight. If you change the conditions, then
you can certainly come up with a different conclusion.Third: My
comments were about truths obtained through our natural senses (as well as
reason), not abstract theory (reason without observation). In fact, I suggest
that reason without observable fact is one of the biggest problems we have in
our society today. Using that technique, you can accuse another person of racism
and murder (Zimmermann), hatred and homophobia (popular GLBT technique), or an
unwarranted belief in a god (this discussion). All are rooted in abstract
theory, reason without observable FACTS to support them.
there is nothing new here. The only thing that has changed is intellectualism
(higher education) has arrogantly persuaded millions of people that they know
all (not God). And they have consequently convinced a lot of people that no one
can know anything they don't know. I'm over age 60 and my generation
understood very well there are not answers to every question, nor that every
question needs to be answered right now. We walk by faith, so what if their are
some holes in our knowledge, it was intended to be that way, if it were not so,
there would be no need for faith. Every year I live, I have less and less faith
in the learned, in science, in the intellectuals of the world. They have
succeeded in deceiving us they know everything, that is nothing they don't
know. Truth is, they don't know much more than the rest of us, they are
just good at deceiving us that they do.
A young man who was listening to discussions from missionaries of the LDS Church
came to me upset because the missionaries told him the Book of Mormon is true
and he watched a video questioning the "historical accuracy" of the Book
of Mormon based on history of America. He said he was hurt because the
missionaries had told him it was true. I explained that we don't know what
the history actually was any more than we know if Adam and Eve ever existed.
There were no official historians around at the time to record it. What the
missionaries meant was that the spiritual truths revealed in the Book of Mormon
are true. Much of the Bible has been changed in history and even contradicts
itself, a fact which is commonly taught in Christian Seminaries, but which
Pastors seem to conveniently forget when they claim that the Bible is the
infallable word of God to their flock. I guess people just want to hold onto
something that they beleive is infallable when it may not be. Fortunately, as
Mormons, we have the Gift of the Holy Ghost to comfort us and help us be
Good and needed article. As one who on several occassions has strayed into the
darkness of doubt from the anti mormon freenzy on the internet, this article to
me offers hope. Personally I found anti mormon exposure to provide a final
unexpected result which I call darkness and light. I realized once after
conference that both venues produce a consisten result. Conference the spirit,
that warm spiritual testimony, anti mornon articles, darkness. Both as real and
tangible in there own way. That is when I realized the difference and came to
the point of understanding that although I don't always have all the
answers, although anti mormon pandering can appear convincing, it comes from a
one sided coin, painted with poison. The spiritual knowledge for me, is now my
rod of iron. I'm grateful for FARMS, now the maxwell institue, for
Bushmans Rough Stone Rolling, The Joseph Smith Papers (and the access to in on
the internet) and all those who have taken a tremendous amoutn of time to aid
the afflicted of anti mormon thought. The gospel is truly in the end, my joy
and my song.
I love when people use terms like "facts" and "proof". Much that
people describe as facts are interpretations, not facts. Imagine that the LDS
church claimed for years that there was no brontosaurus. But wait, there it is.
Bones and all. The LDS church is wrong! So you leave. Well, joke is on you, it
actually didn't exist cause they put the head of one Dino on the body of
another. So that physical proof came tumbling down. Often people claim facts but
then ignore or hide other facts that don't match their world view. For
example, people claim we have most of the papyri used to create the Book of
Abraham. There has been evidence that the scrolls were so long it would roll out
across the floors. But since that complicates things for people who
"know" the church is wrong, they make excuses that the evidence is
tainted and unreliable. This is why the Church was set up as it was. Using
prayer to confirm its validity. Cause life is faith, proof is interpretable, and
facts aren't always facts.
KellyWSmith - It doesn't matter what Elder McConkie said, it
was just his opinion.dlswingleIt is always hard to lose
friends, family, and associates because of a difference of opinion on religion.
I assume mormonism similar with Jehovah's witnesses - that when you express
doubt you are cast out. This is one of the main reasons I left mormonism. If
this is how a person is made to feel when they express doubt or even leave the
church then I wouldn't want to be a part of that organization anyways. I
hope you find whatever belief system you are looking for, even if it isn't
organized religion it doesn't matter. I firmly believe that god will judge
us based on what we do in this life - not on what we do or don't believe.
@dumprake:Funny how two outdated concepts, religion and regressive
politics, can't handle higher education. Higher education does nothing more
than question and use objective facts to get their outcomes. Those two concepts
I mentioned cannot compete with objective fact. Which is why people who follow
those two concepts don't like higher ed.
If its on the Internet it must be true, right?
Doubt is not sin, but I know because I have been inactive that doubt is
Satan's favorite way to find a chink in your armor against him. If you
want to lead a strong LDS life, you do not have friends that smoke and drink. I
also know that well over half of the "information" on the Internet is
not true, is "spun" to get people to believe something different. We
have forgotten that if we have a question, to pray about it. "Jesus saith
unto him, Thomas, because thou hast aseen me, thou hast believed: bblessed are
they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
Is the article equating questioning with doubt? It seems to me it is.
I've always questioned or doubted which is what we are expected to do.
Being a convert, questioning doctrine and trying to make sense of my
relationship with Heavenly Father, is what led me to the Church as a young
adult. Faith is not blind. It is based on trust in the witness of the Holy
Ghost as I continue to learn and progress. When I find something I don't
understand in the context of what I already know, I study more and ask for the
guidance of the Spirit to help me gain in knowledge and faith. Sometimes I
don't have a complete understanding, but I do have the witness of the
Spirit that I will eventually have a more sure knowledge. Until then I trust in
the witness of the Holy Ghost which is what keeps me active in the Church. At
the Finally Judgement when I stand alone before my God, I won't be able to
"blame" the General Authorities or the Church for my sins. I alone am
responsible. The Lord knows my heart.
@grjI do KNOW beyond ANY doubt that the church is true. I was given pure
knowledge for a couple of minutes. I had to have FAITH about blacks not having
the priesthood at that time. I have had to have faith on that and other issues
until that faith had produced a more sure understanding. If I turned against
that sure knowledge I would be denying pure truth given to me from above. It is
I, a fallible human being, who must come to terms about my own doubts.@dustmanEVERYONE who has or will live on earth(except the Savior)is
fallible. To my knowledge(and since I'm fallible I may be wrong)anytime the
leadership speaks representing the church(that includes in conference)we can
count on it totally. When they speak for themselves(as Brigham often did)they
are speaking for themselves NOT as representatives of God or His Gospel. The
best to you in your seeking for truth.
Very good job by Joe Walker in presenting a variety of thoughts on a timely
topic.However, the accompanying "LDS faith and doubt"
graphic is disturbing. Isn't anyone appalled that 77 percent of LDS say
they "believe whole-heartedly in all" of the teachings of the Church?
How can informed adults say such a thing? If we put them in a time machine and
took them back to 1950, they would find many LDS teachings they do not believe.
The same will be true at some future time for people looking back on 2013.I could list a few questionable teachings in today's Church, but,
in the interest of brevity, I will resist the urge.
In my opinion, the reason why some LDS question the faith is because they grew
up without any trial of their faith, and therefore had no need to research it or
defend it. Many converts to the Church have such a deep testimony
because while they were taught, they had skeptisism and doubt in the
beginning,they were investigators (we take that word for granted sometimes) but
as they prayed and read the Book of Mormon, they gained faith in what they were
taught. Everytime I've learned something about the LDS faith I
grew up in that worried me, or made me feel uncomfortable, I've taken the
time to investigate it, pray about it, etc. Because of this I feel I've
come back renewed and strengthened.
Let me help all those skeptics who are sincerely asking why LDS faith and
history should be examined:Because God's Word says to
"examine yourself to see if you are in the faith". Non-Christians need
not join this debate; we get your position. But for Bible-believers this is
crucial. Joseph Smith based all his restoration claims on Biblical verse, all
of which can soundly be debunked using Biblical texts.Just because
men come along and make claims of revelations and heavenly visits does not mean
you must accept every one, right? Use the original Word as your plumb-line and
the false prophecies, gospels and claims are exposed. Just be honest and
diligent in your search and journey- just in case the God of the Bible is true
and Satan is here to deceive. An "Angel of Light" is an amazing claim
for a Jewish convert in 60AD to make, and then a boy in 1820 to experience.
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been
bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle.
We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has
captured us." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos"But the Comforter, which
is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all
things..." -- Jesus Christ, John 14:26Whom do you choose to
The issue is not faith challenges within Mormonism. It is the consistent
history of change, revision, reversal- and then their subsequent method of
ignoring once-True Principles as if they never existed. To our credit or
downfall, we are great record-keepers. (I was a member for 35 years, love my
pioneer heritage, but now worship the Biblical Christ.)Polygamy,
black priesthood restrictions, Masonic oaths, MMM, etc. If the SLC brethren had
dealt openly with the controversies in the past, there may have been a lesser
fall-out. But born-again believers are grateful for the
hiding/ignoring/denying. It let us see beneath mere warts (vis-a-vis Biblical
character's flaws), to the consistent denials and historical whitewash.Case in point: When will there be a Visitor's Center short
bio-docu on the full Joseph Smith story? One Emma and marital fidelity is not
what caused mass church exodus in 1843-44. Evil bigotry was not the cause for
his encarceration; encouraging burning of "that" printing press was.
And so much more.How can you trust the insiders/FAIR to be open when
the actual prophets won't submit to Q&A?
Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all. The
conscientious historian will correct these defects.Herodotus
The more I read articles such as these, and the comments from believers, the
more I am convinced you all completely lack any "unity of the faith".
If you are an empiricist you are not going to last in any religious faith. While
I think things are changing, there is still an element within the Mormon Church
who feel they can somehow "prove" the Book of Mormon or other elements
of LDS theology empirically. They sometimes attack the scholarship of people
whose work is not aimed at anybody's faith simply because it does not
support their religious belief. I believe the cause of faith would be better
served by dropping the often disingenuous attempts to reconcile science and
religion. I don't think you are going to strengthen someone's faith
with empirical arguments.
@Red Corvette"There are none so blind as those who will not see."
I agree totally!! How long have you been blind?
We're taught young that we can discern absolute truth with certainty via
emotional experiences and then all those experiences validate an "us vs the
world" view where we are a minority of God's chosen among billions of
spiritually lost. The certainty skews our reasoning. The lost manuscript becomes
a faith promoting event rather than a head-scratcher. Joseph Smith's death
becomes a dying testimony of truth rather than the consequences of hiding
polygamy and destroying a press. Blacks getting priesthood/temple access in 1978
is a great revelation, rather than an overdue correction to racist policies.
Staying abroad after a death in the family to continue missionary service is a
badge of honor, rather than neglect of family-first principles. Millions in
unison sustaining leaders selected by an inner-circle becomes common consensus
rather than automated allegiance. Our reasoning becomes so skewed that anyone
who learns about Mormonism and doesn't convert or leaves Mormonism is
thought to deliberately be choosing an unfortunate and less fulfilling life of
sin (of commission and omission) that results in eternal separation from God and
family. Openly teaching the suspect aspects of church history is bound to skew
our reasoning even further.
Many of the claims about Church materials not covering issues are overblown. I
once saw a claim that no Church publication had ever mentioned that Emily H.
Wells was the wife of Heber J. Grant. The reality is that the Ensign has
published an article that fully talked about all three of Heber J. Grant's
wives, including the fact they were all his wives at once. The Heber J. Grant
teachings manual mentioned both Emily and Lucy, but not Augusta who was
President Grant's wife when he was president of the Church. The manual also
discussed various facts, such as the time of the birth and death of Daniel Wells
Grant, in a way that even very minimal paying attention would clue one in that
Heber J. Grant had multiple wives simultaneously.Maybe there is a
better way to present these facts, but the issue is not the church not
presenting them, it is more people expecting everything all at once and when not
getting it getting mad.
@John Pack Lambert of MichiganNobody wants it all at once. They just
want it straight and without bias.People certainly don't want
to be told that they should've known better because an article or two has
been published in the Ensign once every 15 years, or mentioned in a CES fireside
20 years ago, etc.What actually makes people mad is realizing a
story they'd known since childhood and testified and cried about as
"the spirit" poured over them in front of congregations, or personally
to investigating friends, either never happened or happened in a completely
different way than they thought it did...
I applaud Joseph Walker for writing this thoughtful article. And I appreciate
this lively debate in the comments. While we can all speculate, my hope is that
the Brethren, who are anointed to lead us, would provide responses to the most
troubling issues and provide their point-of-view and inspired direction. They
could do this via written responses or recorded Q&A. My heart years to know
how they reconcile and view the following issues:HISTORICAL
ISSUESMultiple First Vision accountsJoseph's use of folk magic/
treasure diggingMasonry and the endowmentJoseph's polygamy /
polyandryDenial of priesthood to blacksPriesthood restoration
credibility issuesSCIENTIFIC ISSUESBook of Mormon anachronisms
(e.g., horses, steel, chariots, Book of Isaiah, King James errors, etc.)Native Americans having Asiatic DNABook of Abraham text not matching
papyrus or facsimilesAge of earth (6,000 years old? No death before the
fall?)Implausible scriptural accounts (e.g., Noah's Ark? Jonah in the
Wale? Tower of Babel?)Dark skin as a curse?OTHER ISSUESWhy closed finances?Past and present stance on homosexualityWomen's future in the ChurchAnything else you would like the
Brethren to respond to?
Re:JohnPackLambertHave there been any Ensign articles about Joseph
Smith's wives?Eliza R. Snow is never introduced as a plural
wife of Joseph Smith--only as a wife of Brigham Young.
I think it wonderful that LDS intellectuals are standing up to defend their
faith. However, I have a few concerns. To have a complete and full testimony one
needs to have both components of a testimony: 1. a testimony from the Holy
Ghost, and 2. diligent study of God's word-the scriptures.Of
the two components the testimony of the Holy Ghost is the more important, and I
believe for many members this part is the most anemic-the least understood and
sought after component. I hope church leaders will seek out those
who have had scared experiences, men and women like Nephi, Enos, Alma the older
and younger, members who can talk about the mighty change that comes from
receiving a remission of sins. This article refers to Brother
Mattson, a former Bishop, Stake president and Area-Authority-Seventy from
Sweden. Apparently with all of his high profile callings Brother Mattson
can't look back in his life experience to the moorings of an adequate
Spiritual experience to see him through the intellectual challenges posed by an
unvarnished view of church history. We need to hear from men and
women who are fully converted.
Many people mistake changes in Church policy and discrepancies in the historical
record with the core fundamentals of the gospel which have never changed: God
lives, Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, and all mankind can be saved. While
the Church does have a lot of history that is difficult to understand or
reconcile, these issues are minor compared to the bigger picture. It is easy
when one lacks perspective and proportion to make the minor things bigger than
they really are.
Once again it is almost impossible to have any kind of open discussion on this
board with the DN censors heavily at work. But I will say that the
digital age and the internet are not at issue here. Falsehoods on the internet
are not causing a problem for the Church. Historians (many whom are Mormons
themselves) discovering and documenting (in books, writings, talks and on the
internet) what really happened are causing faith issues for
"non-authoritarian follower" members who simple don't bury their
heads in the sand.
RE: “The central claim of Mormonism is not that God spoke to a fallible
human being in 1820.” i.e. 3Ne. 21:9, A Marvelous Work and
Wonder; a Modern Translation. Therefore I will take awesome vengeance on these
hypocrites, and make their wisest counselors as fools. (IS 29:14 LB).Isaiah was not a prophecy about the(Bom),But God will punish the Jews for
spiritual wickedness; He will remove their discernment from their hearts.
Fulfilled in that they rejected Christ.RE: zoar63, The Bible
honestly portrays its characters. The great heroes of the faith(Heb 11) were
also sinful people. Scripture records the sin of Noah, Abraham, David, and Peter
and Paul. There is no attempt to portray them as anything but human.There
was no doubt in the mind of anyone that Jesus was unique from any man who has
existed before or since. See, Theanthropic Nature.Heb. 11:3 By Faith
we understand that the worlds* were set in order at God’s command so that
the visible has its origin in the invisible.Grk “*ages.” God
created time. A clear statement of creation Ex Nihlio not pre-existence
@DUPDaze"But for Bible-believers this is crucial. Joseph Smith
based all his restoration claims on Biblical verse, all of which can soundly be
debunked using Biblical texts."Christian Churches base their
beliefs on the Bible yet there are countless Christian Churches i.e. Baptist,
Lutheran, Pentecostal, Methodist, Unitarian, etc. Why aren’t all
Christians Catholics? After all they were the first. It boils down to only two
possible views which are the church( Catholic) has maintained a succession of
divine authority since Peter so any other Churches that claim to be Christians
are apostate offshoots of the Holy Roman Church. It all began with Henry the
VIII who was refused a divorce from Ann and so Henry decided to start his own
church complete with new ecclesiastical officers with the Bishop of Canterbury
to head it.On the other hand if a universal apostasy did occur then
it was necessary for a restoration to take place which is the LDS claim. If you
reject the LDS claim then you must accept the Catholic claim that they are the
True church of Christ or is it the Eastern Church? That is another story.
It is long past the time for the Mormon church to open their archive and hidden
files for inspection and research by authorized and legitimate scholars other
than just Mormons. The whole and complete truth needs to be told.
Re: LDS_Pioneer An excellent list!To which I would add:Political IssuesBirchismEzra Taft Benson conservatismde
Facto endorsement of one political point of view via Deseret Newsabsolute
dislike of unionismunstinting support of so-called Right-to-WorkAmong religions I remain convinced that the Church is the best their is, but
maybe this amounts to being the best in a very slow league.
@Jared91"This article refers to Brother Mattson, a former
Bishop, Stake president and Area-Authority-Seventy from Sweden. Apparently with
all of his high profile callings Brother Mattson can't look back in his
life experience to the moorings of an adequate Spiritual experience to see him
through the intellectual challenges posed by an unvarnished view of church
history. We need to hear from men and women who are fully
converted."So you think Mattson wasn't fully converted?
What does it take to be fully converted if not dedicating ones life to service
in the church and constantly testifying and defending it and interpreting all
your emotional/spiritual experiences as proof of its truth? Listen to his Mormon
Stories interview and you'll hear that he was as fully converted as any. A
spiritual giant. When his knowledge increases and things didn't add up he
did what he knew was right and let the consequences follow. The consequences
lead to being hung out to dry by church leadership. Mattson still professes
profound belief in Christ and the sacredness of spiritual experiences. Given
what he knows now he simply can no longer believe whole-heartedly in correlated
Beliefs are the angels of Ego, they call spirit to a halt - trapping it in form,
forgetfulness and time. Let go of your limiting beliefs and you will be SO MUCH
happier with yourself as well as others.
After years of struggling in the LDS faith, trying to deal with all the
contradictions between living prophets and dead prophets, I knew I would never
find the answers, come to any sure conclusions or maintain my faith in the Lord
as a Mormon. Why should I continue to defend a history that isn't mine or
doctrines that I don't believe are true? I've come home to my
Catholic faith, and re-discovered a relationship with the Lord that I could
never have known as a Mormon. Joy and peace are sweeter rewards than darkness
Isiah wrote (55:8-9)For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither my ways
your ways saith the Lord.For as much as heaven is higher than the earth,
so are my thoughts than your thoughts, and my ways than your ways.It
is impossible for mortals to understand God's thoughts, ways, and logic.
Our leaders interpret Gods revelation to them as best as they can. Sometimes
there are inconsistencies and contradictions, and that is ok with me. I was
taught many gospel truths by my parents, but nothing about the restored gospel,
ie Joseph Smith, etc, which is now such a powerful and sweet part of my life.My approach to the gospel and my professional life is guide by Francis
Bacon who wroteRead not to contradict and confute, nor to believe
and take for granted,but to weigh and consider.
Belief is only something that you can count on or depend on. That said, I
believe in the supernatural. Not all supernatural beings are evil there are good
beings to. I know that someone is watching out for me, a guardian angel, the
little erg that promps,the feeling to go or need to do something. The heart felt
The apostle Paul told Timothy to 'fight the good fight of faith'. He
said he himself had 'fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I
have kept the faith.'There is nothing effortless about a fight
or a race. There is nothing easy about faith. Why should there be? What can we
learn with no exertion? What is worth having that requires no effort in
attaining? I can imagine a battered and bruised man or woman being
told 'well done, thy good and faithful servant' in the hereafter, but
I fear for the reception a lifetime couch potato will get.
LDS church history is full of apostasy and faith - both are there when you look
deep enough. Many of those most closely associated with Joseph Smith turned
against him later with some eventually returning. Go back in time 2000 years and
follow the New Testament and the same thing happened with the Savior Jesus
Christ. Some of his apostles never wavered - others did waver and even denied
and betrayed him. People tend to forget sometimes that the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints is run by ...people...doing their best to follow the
inspiration from above but failing as often as succeeding. No one is asked to
follow the LDS Church doctrine by blind faith. You are expected to search ,
study, compare, question, and above all keep an open mind and an honest
heart.True doctrine always attracts the honest truth seeker - light attracts
light. The Book Of Mormon is it's own best witness and I always simply ask
those who are honestly seeking to find the truth to just read it - Testimony is
a spiritual thing and must be earned in the spiritual laboratory by the honest
@Moontan,The issue is: is it the truth. It makes no sense or glory of God
to battle on like Don Quiote for the sake of fables like Santa Claus, the Tooth
Faiiry or false religion.
3GrandKeys asked: "So you think Mattson wasn't fully converted? What
does it take to be fully converted if not dedicating ones life to service in the
church and constantly testifying and defending it and interpreting all your
emotional/spiritual experiences as proof of its truth?"A careful
reading of the scriptures teaches that we need to experience fire and the Holy
Ghost to be fully converted. Receiving high profile callings isn't a
guarantee that an individuals is or will be converted as Nephi, Enos, Alma the
older and younger, and the people of king Benjamin were.A man or
women can be a dedicated member of the church, testifying and defending it, and
so forth and never receive sufficient manifestations of the Spirit to be
converted. If Bro Mattson had been blessed with significant Spiritual
experiences he wouldn't be confounded.There are many men and
women in church who have drawn near enough to the Lord that the current crisis
in church history is not confounding them. They have been blessed with Spiritual
experiences (dreams, visions, ministering of angels, mighty change of heart and
etc) that trumps any challenge church history presents. I'm one of them.
@Skeptic ... I was referring to faith in God. I'll leave battling windmills
to those who reason their way into the blades.
@jared91, patriot and othersMillions of members of other faiths say
the exact things you say (that they have had spiritual experiences and they know
their religions are true). And many of those religions do not have the
incredible baggage cited by LDS_Pioneer in his excellent post.
For those members that are entertaining doubts about their faith. The Book of
Mormon has some wise counsel."And it came to pass that after I
had received strength I spake unto my brethren, desiring to know of them the
cause of their disputations.And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the
Lord?.. Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?--If ye will not
harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with
diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known
unto you."The entire discussion can be read in 1 Ne 15:5-11It is not unlike what is transpiring in the Church today. And Nephi counseled
his brothers who had problems understanding certain subjects and gave them the
key to receiving answers to their questions.
RE: zoar63,Christian Churches base their beliefs on the Bible yet there are
countless Christian Churches i.e. Baptist, Lutheran. “Unitarian”*?
A common misunderstanding among Mormons is because they are many
denominations which leads to a spiritual free for all.This of
course is not true. Baisically, all truly Christians hold to these basic truth:
1. The Bible is the **infallible Word of God. 2. One God composed of three
presonages: Father,Son and Holy Spirit. 3.Jesus was truly God and truly man.4.
The virgin birth was a miracle. 5. He rose from the dead. 6. Salvation by grace.
Mormons try to give the impression that they are the only true church
because they all believe the same. There are over 88 different factions of the
Mormon Latter-day Saints who accept JS as a prophet and believe the BOM is from
God. *anti-trinitarian, Christian’s classify them as
non-Christian. ** The original articles of faith. #8 We believe in
the Word of God recorded in the Bible; we also believe the Word of God recorded
in the Book of Mormon, and in all other good books. See current #8.
Don Bradley's experience in this article is very telling to me. He left the
LDS Church because he could find no intellectual consistency in it. He returned
after his search for other religions didn't give him what he wanted and
after the death of his brother created a dire emotional need to believe in an
afterlife. He had an irrational (but understandable) emotional need, and LDS
doctrine fills it. Unfortunately, that says nothing about the
credibility & intellectual inconsistency of LDS doctrine. You believe LDS
doctrine because of your emotional needs, not because it makes any sense. You
choose to ignore evidence against LDS doctrine and history to protect those
emotional needs, not because it makes sense to do so.
Sharrona,Your point that Christianity (outside of the LDS) is
basically united is not evident in what I hear on the radio and read online.
The differences among denominations is significant enough that those who hold to
once subset of beliefs are not considered saved by another subset.Saying we are non-Trinitarian and therefore not Christian indicts many
Christians – especially in the world before the Nicene Council. As you
read through the New Testament, read what Christ said about himself and the
Father (and Holy Ghost). He always drew a distinction. If ANYONE could explain
the difficulties of Nicene Trinitarianism, it would have been Christ. He
demurred.Skeptic,Agreed. The issue is truth. That is
why I don’t chase fables.Elliottpj,My experience
has been the opposite.
In my weekly encounters with LDS members over the past quarter of a century, I
have frequently witnessed expressions of doubt met with personal attacks
against the doubter (much like many of the comments here), one-upmanship,
ostracizing the "doubters", and many other forms of trying to shame
doubters into abandoning their doubts and pretending to beliefs that they do not
have.This phenomenon seems particularly poignant in the way parents
treat their children, or groups of "friends" treat a doubting peer. I
have witnessed young high school students being called into seminary
principals' offices and put through an Inquisition because the seminary
students did not believe in the personal opinions of the seminary teachers. I
have seen parents remove privileges from their children who doubted certain
"teachings," historical claims, and positions of the Church on social
issues.Although I have no data to back it up, I suspect a great many
members in the Church are "active" for no other reason than out of fear
of being judged, condemned, marginalized and ostracized if they were to reveal
their doubts.That is not a climate conducive to the pursuit of
truth, not matter how you define it.
I think one problem many members face when they encounter surprising information
about the church is that the questions and criticisms are usually written at
something like a fourth-grade or eight-grade reading level, while the answers
are usually written at a college level or college graduate level. Anyone can
understand the questions, but you need a college degree to understand the
answers, simply because of the differences in how they are worded and expressed.
Perhaps that is why acceptance of church doctrine increases along with
education. Those of us who have found answers could do a better job of
addressing common questions and doubts with simple language.
re: md 1st pageFaith, as the saying goes, is the ability to believe
in the intangible.to Candide 1st pageExactly.
Wasn't it R. Reagan who trust but verify?
re:sharrona"There are over 88 different factions of the Mormon
Latter-day Saints who accept JS as a prophet and believe the BOM is from
God"Don't confuse apostate branches as legitimate versions
of Latter Day Saints. The 88 different factions you refer to ...there is only
ONLY one...legitimate version and that is The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints. If you check Doctrine and Covenants you will find the name of the
church - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - as given by The
Savior. All of these "other" branches who pick and choose parts and
pieces they like and throw the rest away are nothing more than apostate
branches. In the early Christian church the Apostle Paul was constantly trying
to unite the ONE true church - that one true faith with the twelve apostles at
its head. Same is true today...only ONE has the Priesthood power and twelve
apostles and a prophet.
re elliottpj July 27Because their has been no history of shady
dealings, obfuscation, & suppression with the Catholic church has there?
But, then no one expects the Spanish inquisition.
Sharrona, Take as an example Catholics, Baptists and Jehovah’s
Witnesses. Can you say their doctrines are compatible with one another? I am
sure they all believe in the Bible but it is the interpretation of scriptures
found in the bible where they disagree, otherwise there would be one and not
three churches. And if the Christian churches all agree on basic truths there
should only be one church and not many.
Among the many histories, claims and doctrines taught in the LDS faith there are
some things I do know. I know there is a God. I know he knows my name and loves
me. I believe that the 14 year old boy Joseph Smith had a sincere question and I
believe the answer he claims to have gotten. I know that the teachings of
current church leaders have greatly blessed my life, unequivocally. In the 40+ years I have been a member I have seen historical claims and
doctrinal difficulties flare up - clashing with current social trends -
resolved, proven false or still left unresolved. My core beliefs remain
unchanged in spite of the "informational and social winds" that blow
even more ferociously thanks to the internet. There are some things
I do not "get" about my religion or its history, but in the balance what
I do understand really does trump what I don't.
Digital age or people opinions don't matter to me. The spirit teaches and
it's the only thing I listen to and it has never led me astray but instead
Sharonna ... God is omniscient. Christ didn't know when the end times would
come. "Only the Father knows." Christ wasn't the Father. He was the
Son. A Scientist ... re "Although I have no data to back it up,
I suspect a great many members in the Church are "active" for no other
reason than out of fear of being judged, condemned, marginalized and ostracized
if they were to reveal their doubts." You are probably correct in that
suspicion, but the indictment is on whose who act like they believe what they
don't believe, out of the fears you mentioned. If one truly doesn't
believe, say so, stand tall, go on one's merry way and let believers
believe and doubters doubt. An open atheist is preferred to a hypocrite, IMO.
@ 3GrandKeys -- Modern historians and researchers have pretty much given up on
the idea of eliminating bias or remaining completely objective. All they ask is
that one acknowledge one's bias up front and openly so that the reader can
better understand the data/ideas presented. The church's bias (thankfully)
is to build faith in Christ, not to find reasons to tear it down. That's
their bias. There are other places to go if we want to hone in on the
nitty-gritty of historical characters, a never-ending and constantly changing
process leading to who-knows-where.
My faith is founded in experience. I know the teachings of the church work. I
do not care if you believe in God or not. However who will deny that universal
compliance with 9 of the Ten Commandments would not vastly improve life for
everyone. To my mind being 90% right 100% of the time is strong
evidence that the first commandment is extremely good advice as well.
The other day I said: "Kudos to the DN for even broaching this topic.
However I wonder if the "moderators" will let us discuss any of the
specific facts that are causing heartburn for so many members?"Well now it's overwhelmingly clear that the answer is NO. People can
bear their testimonies, but no facts please.The other paper in SLC
ran this same story several days ago and has almost 2,000 comments. I wonder
how many comments this piece would have here without the censorship?
Anti-LDS, doubters, skeptics, non-Mormon Christians, come to the Mormon Times
(which in itself is a huge red flag indicating underlying issues) to insult and
demean and parade their defiance, and then complain that they are being
ostracized, not well-received, and censored??
@1aggie,Of those 2000 comments, what would you estimate is the
breakdown between pro, anti, and truly un-biased? I would have
preferred more academic debate here in these comments relative to "testimony
bearing", however, the other paper's comment section usually
degenerates into a circus of mocking, self-pity, disrespect, and anti-Mormon
slurs. I used to view it as the more open and unbiased publication and comment
section. Now? Not so much.
I have struggled with these problems for years now, and it gets to the point
that the shelf is just too small to hold all the issues. Some will say just have
faith, but if I were one of Jehovah's Witnesses would they be encouraging
me to have faith in that belief in spite of the evidence? Why then does this
beleif hold any more weight? I think it is time to leave irrational faith for
truth and let the consequences fall where they may. WHEW! IT FELT GOOD TO TYPE
1aggie- I doubt intellectual conversations and debates will settle anything.There is a Star Trek Voyager episode where one of the main characters
has access to a historical data base and with her superior power of reasoning
come to the conclusion, based on historical evidence, that the captain is a
traitor. As the episode unfolds she continues to search the historical record
and sees many facts which, lined up, point to nearly everyone as undercover
traitors. In reality none of the characters she accuses are guilty of any wrong
doing even though the facts seen from different perspectives would indicate
otherwise. There are so many issues to consider when weighing
factual information. What is the source? Is it trustworthy? What was the
historical context? And people have different opinions on who can really be
trusted to be objective and truthful. The captain finally persuades
this character that all the analyzing is driving her crazy and reminds her of
all the good things that the captain has done for her. The captain's
"fruits" speak louder than the "facts". For me the fruits of the
Mormon church speak louder than all the "facts" than can be discovered
The LDS Church was supposed to "fill the earth." It has not. Three
million young people turned out to see the Pope today in South America. Why is
the Pope's message resonating with the youth? I would hope the LDS
leaders would go back to the drawing board and come back with a meaningful
message for young people. Instead, we have a new mall. Does that make for a
better world? Does it inspire young people to do something meaningful with
their lives or to go shopping?Somewhere along the way, we got lost.
@jeanieIf we are going to be like Steven Colbert and use our
"guts" rather than information and reason, then I must say that huge red
lights and sirens go off in my "gut" when somebody tries to suppress
information or whitewash the truth. In how many episodes of Star Trek (or any
other drama) has the good guy tried to suppress information or misdirect those
seeking it?@hamaca I too would prefer more academic debate
here rather than "testimony bearing". Other sites may have a lot of
"chatter" to cut through, but at least some honest debate and airing of
facts can occur. Unfortunately the DN moderators seem to be allergic to facts
and would prefer this board to be about feelings (especially ones that comport
with theirs).@1anguage fanThe essence of intelligence is the
ability to distill and convey your thoughts simply. Almost without exception,
when someone cannot express an answer clearly it is because that person is
confused or does not understand the information they are trying to convey.
Re:Jeanie"There are so many issues to consider when weighing factual
information. What is the source? Is it trustworthy? What was the historical
context? "Sources?Well-respected LDS historians who
provided context.For some of these issues there is just not enough
lipstick to dress up the pig. But we ought to stop now presenting and teaching
information that is factually untrue. If we can't do that, then what does
it say about us and our truth claims?I am equally troubled--maybe
even more troubled--to see the LDS Church align itself with other groups and
denominations to sign proclamations which are untruthful and become involved in
campaigns under the banner of "religion under attack" which demonize
others because these are actions/decisions being taken by current leaders. Lastly, how can our leaders proclaim political neutrality yet own and
publish a decidedly right-wing newspaper?
One of the most daring things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints is that it asks EVERYONE to ask the questions, What do you believe is
true? What do you WANT to be true? Why not prepare yourself to ask God whether
it is true? Mormonism has always started out proposing that many of
the things that are "conventional wisdom" among many of our peers are
not completely true. One of the most significant "articles of faith"
that traditional Christianity insists upon as dogma is that the age of direct,
intelligible revelation from God to man, the era of prophets and apostles, has
ended. Mormonism invites us to DOUBT that idea, rather than build our faith on
it. Mormonism advocates us to serk revelation for purselves, to trust God to
speak to us.
patriotSo there is only one faction of the 88 branches off the
mormon church that is true, and it happens to be yours? The other 87 would claim
that they hold that title as well. Also, regarding the name of the church, it
too has changed over time. First it was the Church of Christ, then in 1834 it
was the church of the latter-day saints. Then in 1838 it changed to its current
name. So when you claim it is called this name from god's own mouth, you
shoot yourself in the foot because it had 2 names prior to that. Let me guess,
god changed his mind twice and then finally settled on the current name?
@coltakashiFor the sake of argument let's say you are right and that
God talks to us; the problem seems He is saying very different things to many
different minds. What He seems to be telling you may be just the opposite of
what others hear Him saying. Therefore, the more probable is that He speaks to
no one; and we just imagine what we want to hear.
To say that we will find the truth on the Internet is absurd. Since when was
something written by who knows who, the truth?If one gains a
testimony from the only source possible, that being God himself, who knows all
truth and cannot deceive, then why would one seek to strengthen or fortify that
testimony by turning to the philosophies of the world? Instead, I suggest that
he or she return over and over again to the ONLY source of truth.Daily prayer and scripture study bring the witness of the Spirit. It is the
only way to gain a testimony and the only way to keep a testimony.
SSmith"If one gains a testimony from the only source possible,
that being God himself, who knows all truth and cannot deceive"If god cannot deceive then why do so many people get so many different
answers? If it were a realiable method there wouldn't be so many different
churches, everybody would know it was the mormon church.
From the Biblical perspective, Mormonism is "another gospel" with
another/different Jesus than the One Paul proclaimed, with another/different
salvation.Always has been, despite the reversals and whitewash. A
man-evolved God, a Mormon Jesus, and a works-salvation. (Galations,
Colossians.)Try asking Christ if His blood covers all sin, confess
yours, and trust in His spiritual birth to change you into the "new
man", the new spiritual creature. There's no comparison!
To "Truthseeker" you realize that the LDS church is a right wing
organization, and as such has a newspaper that reflects the church's
beliefs. If you are an LDS member and are so opposed to the conservative
leanings of the DN, maybe the problem isn't the church or the newspaper but
is with you.What document did the LDS church sign that is giving you
so much heartache? What is wrong with the LDS church saying that it is wrong to
allow the US to adopt Secular Humanism as a state religion?
I have said before that the Holy Ghost trumps everything.I came from
an anti-Mormon/apostate background, and I was bred on criticisms of the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I became an atheist as an adolescent.However, I had an experience with the Holy Ghost that was overwhelming,
and that experience became foundational for my current faith.I have
a PhD, and I have read a great deal, both in favor of and against the Church. I
haven't been surprised in decades, though I continue to learn details that
I didn't know previously.I say that to say this:It
should be no surprise to anyone who knows Mormons that a large number of
Latter-day Saints have had spiritual experiences analogous to mine, even though
we are very diverse in our personalities and backgrounds. This
spiritual experience includes a very personal connection with God which provides
insight into God's personality and character. That is why I believe that
God loves all of His children, and all may have the same spiritual experience if
they want it.Certainly, once having felt the Spirit, the rest is
easy to understand.
To "Shazandra" but the Bible states that men can become Gods. See John
10:33-35. Jesus said that it was declared that we are Gods. If men can become
Gods, doesn't that also mean that God could have been a mortal man?The Bible states that we must confess our sins AND it also states that
we must work for our salvation.The Prophet Amos said that God will
do nothing without first telling his Prophets what is about to occur. Prior to
the LDS church being founded, none of the religions at the time considered
themselves to have prophets.To "Silverprospector" the
purpose of this life is to see if we will seek out God's will and follow
it. That is why there are so many religions. People are not seeking out Gods
will or else put their own desire's above God's desires for us.
@ J.D. I was raised a Witness and lost my faith when I was about 35. Yes, they
would encourage you to have faith in spite of any evidence against them. There
are several ways they get around this... if you bring up historical information,
they will tell you "that was then, the light of knowledge wasn't as
bright." They maintain that the Bible explains itself, but they insist you
need "God's chosen Organization here on Earth" to explain it to
you. They don't claim to be "inspired" but claim to be
"directed" by God's Holy Spirit (the difference is that it leaves a
huge back door to escape should their teachiings change, or their dates for
Armageddon not work out, as in 1914, 1918, 1925, and 1975).If you
have doubts, you are considered spiritually weak, and in need of help. But if
you say "I no longer believe this is the 'truth'" then you are
worse than an unbeliver. People will never speak to you again, or even say
"hello" when they pass you on the street.The Bible does NOT
explain itself. So who gets to decide what the Bible says?
The frequent claim that various issues with the Church's history and claims
have been "addressed" or "resolved" is often made with the
suggestion that they have been conclusively resolved, such that there is really
no room for honest doubt.That's not true.An issue
is not "resolved" simply because someone has come up with one plausible
explanation for it. For instance, the question of whether the IRS bureaucracy
was used for partisan purposes is not "resolved" simply because the spin
doctors have come up with their latest official version of what happened.
("That's our story, and we're sticking with it.") Coming up with an elaborate alternative explanation for inconvenient evidence
doesn't "resolve" the issue. It just raises one possibility. If
that's all it takes to hang your faith on, fine -- but don't pretend,
as so many do, that that's not what you're doing; that the spin has
"addressed" the issue, and left no other conclusion than yours possible.
RE: Patriot,….the name of the church - The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints. The Church has changed its’ name several times:
the Church of Christ, the Church of Latter Day Saints.Church(ekklesia=)called ones i.e. the Church of God in Corinth; the Church of
Thessolonians….God recognizes His people by their faith in him
not by the name on the door.RE: Twin Lights If ANYONE could explain
the difficulties of Nicene Trinitarianism: JS’s inspired version does
with(1John 5:7,8 KJV & JST ). …. The Father, the Word, and the Holy
Spirit; and these three are one (*heis)…. these three agree as one(**en).
3 persons one God. "1 in(substance,5287). Hebrews 1:3(*heis,1520=the#1); (**one=en 1722 preposition)) i.e. John 10:30, One in
unity . different Greek words.@Moontan, Catholic Answers: "By
its(hypostatic) union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate,
Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the
eternal plans he came to reveal. What he admitted to not knowing in this area,
he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal".
Faith is an appropriate tool with which to consider those things that are
outside the reach of reason. Where reason is capable of giving us knowledge, it
is the appropriate tool. God himself endorsed it. Yes, reason is
fallible -- but so is faith. Or at least, our reason is fallible in recognizing
true faith, and no more, as faith. If faith is hope for things that
are not seen, that are true, then many of us have accepted untrue things on
"faith" -- but our fallible reason was mistakenly identifying something
other than faith as faith. Either way, you can't get away from
reason. Reason is what we are doing here. Reasoning was what the article we
are responding to was doing. Faith and reason are two wings by which man
considers the things of God. They should not contradict each other. If they
seem to, one or the other is being done wrong.
Honestly I think "doubt" has been presented as a bad thing in Church for
such a long time now that it will be hard to change the perception and a long
time before that view is altered. It's not only that LDS have been taught
that 'knowing' is better than believing but also that spiritual
impressions and feelings are superior to empirical evidence. By contrast
I've seen doubt in other belief traditions appreciated as the necessary
fire in which belief is tried and evolves in to something better rather than a
thing to avoid in order to preserve fragile faith. "I admire men
and women who have developed the questing spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas
as stepping stones to progress. We should, of course, respect the opinions of
others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent -- if we are informed.
Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that
competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of
expression."-Elder Hugh B. Brown"If we have the truth,
it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be
harmed." - J. Reuben Clark
What of all the other churches, universities and organizations out there that
lacked diversity for so long? What of them? I'll stick with my church
until something better comes along. Thank-you.
There is a good bit of discussion here on how to know what is
"doctrine." A thought on that subject: In the October 2012
General Conference, Elder Neil Anderson of the Twelve reaffirmed the definition
of doctrine. He stated, “There is an important principle that governs the
doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First
Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of
one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not
difficult to find.” This is not a new concept, but it is core
to understanding some of the concerns brought up by those seeking to discredit
the LDS Church. A statement casually spoken or written by a member
of the LDS Church, even if that person happens to be a presiding authority in
the Church, does not necessarily make it a pronouncement, or even correct
explanation, of doctrine. However, principles taught repeatedly by
all the leading quorums of the church are doctrine.
One more thought,Questions, when asked with a sincere desire to
increase one's understanding and faith, are to be encouraged. Indeed, a
very substantial proportion of both ancient and modern revelations, many of
which are recorded in scriptures, have come because someone raised a sincere
Just wait until the internet hears about Moses parting the Sea, or Peter raising
someone from the dead, or Paul seeing a vision. There are no surprises:
the first step in Mormonism is to hear about gold plates and new scripture.
That is day one, lesson one. And to say, you were mislead along the way, is
laughable. We are all free to choose.
@christophYou say "There are no surprises: the first step in Mormonism
is to hear about gold plates and new scripture. That is day one, lesson one. And
to say, you were mislead along the way, is laughable."So
let's examine lesson one day one, the golden plates. I was taught that
Joseph Smith translated the book of Mormon from the golden plates only to find
out from historians that he did not. I would say that indeed I was misled along
the way.@OutsideUTYou say that questions are to be encouraged.
I don't believe Elder Mattson and other Swedish members experienced an
encouraging atmosphere or any resolution to their questions. Did you read or
listen to his interviews or are you just stating a platitude?
Silverprospector."....First it was the Church of Christ, then in
1834 it was the church of the latter-day saints. Then in 1838 it changed to its
current name. So when you claim it is called this name from god's own
mouth, you shoot yourself in the foot because it had 2 names prior to that. Let
me guess, god changed his mind twice and then finally settled on the current
name?"______________________________The original name
Church of Christ caused confusion at the outset because the Campbellite faction
of the Restoration Movement also called itself Churches of Christ. Their beliefs
were similar to Mormon beliefs before the D&C revelations began to flesh out
Mormon belief more fully in the 1830s. It may have been Sidney Rigdon who
suggested to Joseph Smith the name Church of the Latter-day Saints, Rigdon
himself being a former Campellite minister.
"[Hans Mattsson], who has been speaking openly, to the Times and
elsewhere."Deseret News, why do you link to ALL of the
articles/site/studies that promote the church but fail to link to anything that
offers a critical view (like the NYT article). You fail to mention
Mattsson's high profile interview with John Dehlin's Mormon Stories,
instead saying "elsewhere".I know that you are church owned,
but can you at least TRY to appear unbiased?
“If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the
Cross, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' then surely we are
also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of
life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” ― Yann Martel, Life of PiWe walk by faith, as has been noted. And
doubt is a part of that walk. But to dwell in it as if it's a permanent
home is short-sighted and faithless. We will not know the answer to all the
questions in this life, and the best way I have found to continue in the face of
doubt is to put that question I can't answer on the shelf and wait.
Eventually, one of two things happens. I either find an acceptable answer, or it
remains unanswered. I then have another choice: I can either fuss about it, or
put it back on the shelf. Some questions have been on the shelf for a very long
time, but I know that, either in this life or the next, the answers will come.
That is the promise.
My concern is that Bro. Ash and other apologists say that many of these
questions have been answered long ago, yet we don't hear these answers at
church or when privately talking to bishops or stake presidents. I'm still
waiting for these answers and I've read much of what the apologists have to
say on these issues. B.H. Roberts said that these issues would come back to
haunt the church and that they should be dealt with with openness. I agree. My
"shelf" is almost ready to collapse.
There needs to be the possibility of doubt otherwise there would be no need for
There are a lot of comments on this article about "faith", followed by
assertions that the Church is "true", or implications that the
"evidence" suggests that it is not true. Faith is a term that I think is
thrown around a bit carelessly. Some have said that science operates on faith,
for example. This may be true based on some reasoning, but I think it is more
than safe to say that whatever element of faith that science follows is distinct
from the religious faith used to justify religious worldviews. I think its a bit
more helpful to think of scientific faith more in terms of degrees of certainty,
rather than "faith". I see no real means of applying any kind of
measurement to religious faith, making it a far more ambiguous notion.Nobody leaves the Church over Church history. They leave because they realize
that they don't believe. If there were good reason to believe in the
restoration, then polygamy for example, wouldn't diminish from that.
Polygamy instead forces us to do a gut check and honestly ask, "do I really
believe this?". When people leave it is because they realize that they never
I am glad to hear from those who have had doubts about their religion or many
other things, examined them, and came out with stronger faith or convictions in
the end. Our entire society has become so steeped in "AGENDA", that
many have stopped thinking critically, and are too arrogant (insecure) to
consider other points of view. In the past, this type of thinking has
always led to bad outcomes. To the contrary, people who had doubts, but still
yearned to know the truth regardless of the costs, rather than cling to the
safety and acceptance of "AGENDA" , political correctness, popular
opinion, and self-justification, are those who have done the greatest good for
mankind. For example, when virtually all of society was sure that the earth was
flat, mariners like Columbus proved them all wrong. Joseph Smith was given the
opportunity to bring back amazing truths into the world that had been lost and /
or distorted - because he first doubted and questioned the establishment.
Sincere questioning and wanting to know is the first step in gaining any
valuable knowledge. Continued later.... running out of room.
@Mormoncowboy" When people leave it is because they realize that they
never actually believed."I couldn't disagree more. People
form beliefs based upon what they are told, their trust in the people who
instructed them, and other evidence at hand. You can truly believe something,
but your belief can change if the above factors change. For example, once most
people believed that the earth was flat. Their trusted teachers had told him it
was flat and it seemed flat based upon the evidence at hand. Saying that those
people never actually believed the earth was flat just because they dropped that
belief when more information became available is false and ludicrous. This is
not just about polygamy. This is about new information and loss of trust which
can validly affect beliefs.
Some may say that "no one leaves the church over church history" but
that they never really believed in the first place. Pretty bold statement,
especially when I personally know several people that totally believed, but
left. (I'm talking about 60 years of believing, here.) I do agree that
church history isn't the issue, though. You see, we're not just
talking about "church history". The issues that are causing many to
leave are doctrinal issues. Basic issues. Various first vision account issues.
Translation issues. DNA issues, Book of Abraham issues, Blacks and the
priesthood issues, and so many more. These issues are basic to our doctrine. The
Book of Abraham is one of our core standard works, for heaven sakes. One could
surely overlook many church history issues, but my friends and family members
that have left the church didn't do so on a whim. They struggled and
agonized over the decision. To say they never believed in the first place is
just, well, misinformed.
I have studied "Church History" from both sides of the fence. Motivation
for publication of certain information (especially historic) is important to
examine, yet, as cited above "faith" is not "knowledge."
Knowledge replaces faith. I believe that faith needs to be directed towards
truth. I agree with C.S. Lewis:"[To have Faith in Christ] means, of
course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you
trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really
handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But
trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be
saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven
as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way
because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” C.S. Lewis,
Mere Christianity We are all agents with ability to discern as children of
a loving God.
re:MormonCowbody"When people leave it is because they realize
that they never actually believed."I truly believed in Santa
Claus. Are you saying he doesn't exist because I didn't believe hard
enough? And what do you know of the people who leave? Their hearts?
Their experiences? Or are you just making a broad judgment with little or no
real understanding/knowledge? Bro. Mattsson spent many, many hours and
years--more than you or I ever will--living the Gospel and carrying out his
significant Church callings. He truly believed, heart and soul, what he was
taught, and had spiritual experiences as well. "Nobody leaves
the Church over Church history."Some discover and learn the true
historical record, which bring up many, many questions, some unanswerable. Some
people have no interest in historical facts or aren't bound by historical
facts. But others find the historical facts leads them in different directions.
Since there is no actual "proof" of anything who are we to say they are
wrong? or that they never believed? The easiest path is to not
learn and stay uninformed, perhaps like Adam and Eve in the Garden.
Int'l Businessman & Elbow:I actually agree with both of
you. I should not have said that these people never "believed", but
rather "these people never "knew"". It was a typo while trying
to keep my around what I was trying to say, and I mis-communicated. Sorry for
the confusion.My point was to stress the fact that while we like to
insist in Mormonism that we "know the Church is true", often times we
really don't. We "believe" it is true. If we actually
"knew" the Church was true, then Church history wouldn't be an
issue. If I had unimpeachable knowledge that the Mormon Church was
"true", as we like to say, AND that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and
polyandry, what would that mean? Would the polygamy/polyandry suddenly
invalidate true facts?? Of course not! Therefore, it is not logical to say that
because Joseph Smith practiced Polygamy/Polyandry, that the Church can't be
true. So why do we leave? It's because these issues force many of us to
confront the reality that we have way more uncertainty regarding the truth
claims of the Church than what we were usually willing to admit.
This is a continuation of my previous post below. As I stated, although I
believe that sincere questioning is a necessity for gaining knowledge, FAITH is
also vital to gaining knowledge. But, many talk of faith like it is a principle
unto itself, when it is not. The tenets of the Mormon church teach the the
first principle of the church is "faith in the Lord Jesus Christ," not
in Joseph Smith, or any other church leaders. That is faith that Jesus Christ
is in charge and will make sure that things work out to fulfill covenants and
promises made by Him regardless of any mistakes made by inspired and often
exemplary, but still FALLIBLE men. While I do have faith that the words spoken
and delivered by the leaders of the Mormon church are almost always spot-on
correct and inspired, I believe they (the prophet and apostles) would be the
first to acknowledge that Faith in Christ is the first principle on the
algorithm. They can and have made mistakes in judgement and rhetoric, but I
would certainly be way more inclined to trust their direction than I would
almost any other men on the planet.
I wonder where those who leave go? Maybe the LDS church is a challenging one to
believe in and belong to, but is there a better choice? Is there a better,
healthier lifestyle? Is there a better safety net somewhere? Is there a cleaner,
happier people to associate with? And by cleaner I mean one without the binding
chains of addictive substance abuse, offensive language and entertainment? Is
there a better group of people to support and encourage families in all their
challenges? If so, then maybe it's worth it to some. But I doubt anything
better could be found. "By their fruits ye shall know them."
Through my own trials I have often come back to the following exchange between
Peter and Christ (from John 6):From that time many of his disciples
went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye
also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou
hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that
Christ, the Son of the living God
O'really: Yes there is. It's found at the foot of Christ's
Cross. The Christ of history and truth, not the rewrite. And there
thousands of churches in my state alone where believers are free from unbiblical
mandates and pressure. You might want to get out a little more. There is
freedom and joy in The Son.
Chris B SAID:"The Internet is a great tool that is bringing a
lot of knowledge to many people, including LDS church members." - Agree. But
it's always been there from the beginning."20 years ago it
was harder to find answers for those with questions." - Only in that it took
more time and effort, but not impossible. I found it all 30 years ago."Answers and facts are literally at our fingertips now." - They were
literally at our fingertips back then too, in libraries and collections."People's doubts are now being confirmed daily about what
they'd long been told by their parents and church leaders." - Wrong.
People today don't bother to do real research, all they want is to prove
themselves right. Those who are honest and open to whatever God tells them, come
back around to the Church, unless they are simply not ready for that yet. But
one day they will be."Knowledge is a great thing." -
Personal revelation is better though, engraving upon your soul a testimony of
the truthfulness of something like the Gospel as found in the LDS church. At
that point, one KNOWS. I KNOW & cannot deny it. Yes. One can KNOW.
@O'really I agree with @OnlyTheCross on this one. By the Fruit...? I think
there is actually a better happier way. I think back to my teenage years and
the guilt the church piled onto us. Many times the guilt and depression would
even lead to self destructive thoughts. Since I technically am still involved
with the church I actively watch for this with my teen-age boys and run
interference, deprogramming statements of worth or "WORTHiness" based
upon The Church's ideas of perfection laid upon them in their meetings.
*Bad Fruit* - Fruit of guilt in the teenage years for minor victim-less
infractions is not prudent and teen suicide is and has been a serious problem.
It would be much better in my opinion to focus on Christ and trying to emulate
his goodness, doing what he did and put an end to constant focus on small
imperfections. We know nobody is perfect and by God's grace we will be
saved let's stop with manipulation already.
Critics routinely accuse the Church of suppressing and hiding uncomfortable
facts from its own history. Yet, these very same critics quote Church sources in
order to provide proof of their claims. This concern often rests on a
misunderstanding. It is true that the Church's teachings are primarily
doctrinal and devotional—Church lessons are neither apologetic nor
historical in scope or intent. The Church’s’ primary
mission is to testify that Jesus Christ is the divine Savior of the world and
the Son of God and that His Church is restored to the earth. During regular
Sunday church meetings there is not time to delve into all the nuances and
details of Church history. That’s why, in addition to Sunday Services,
the Church has publications which discuss church history in further detail and
that’s why the Church makes the information available to researchers and
allows them to publish the information. Most, if not all, of the
criticisms of the Church have been debunked by better and more up-to-date
Craigwg says Joseph Smith “calls himself better than Jesus.” No. He didn’t say anything of the kind. Joseph Smith said: "I do not think there have been many good men on the earth since
the days of Adam; but there was one good man and his name was Jesus. Many
persons think a prophet must be a great deal better than anybody else...I do not
want you to think that I am very righteous, for I am not." (Joseph Smith
Jr., Teachings, p 303) "I never told you that I was perfect;
but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught." (Joseph Smith
Jr., Teachings, p 368) "Although I do wrong, I do not the
wrongs that I am charged with doing; the wrong that I do is through the frailty
of human nature, like other men. No man lives without fault." (Joseph Smith
Jr., Teachings, p 258) "...a prophet is a prophet only when he
is acting as such." (Joseph Smith Jr., DHC 5:265; Teachings p 368)
Craigwg quotes Joseph Smith’s statement about holding the church together
when Jesus didn’t. Jesus Himself said: “Verily, verily, I say unto
you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater
works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John
14:12)So, Joseph Smith agrees with Jesus.
@ Chris B - Salt Lake City, UT - Caravan, "There is a difference between
"demanding physical proof" and "denying the physical proof that
exists"Chris, did you ever consider that your "physical
proof" is simply not "proof", ie, not "true"? Those that
will not believe until they see physical "proof" do not please the Lord:
Matthew 16: 1, 2, 4: "The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and
tempting desired him (Jesus) that he would shew them a sign....He answered and
said unto them....a wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a
sign..."@ Brahmabull - sandy, ut - The Caravan Moves On - So you
take god over facts? That is disturbing to me."Brahmabull, yes,
I will gladly take "God" over "facts" for the same reason I told
Chris B: your "facts" are in reality not "fact." Whether you
like to admit it or not, God does in fact exist and He does in fact possess the
ability and the desire to speak to us and He does in fact communicate knowledge
to His children. Just because you don't "know" does not mean that
I don't, or can't, "know" and someday you will see for
yourself that I did know.
@ grj - Bountiful, ut - "Do any of you who claim to "know" the truth
see any inconsistency between that stance and the statement by your Elder
Holland, quoted in the article, where he says "And remember, in this world,
everyone is to walk by faith.”grj, no, there is no
inconsistency whatsoever in some of us claiming that we "know" and yet
simultaneously say we walk by "faith". Let me explain: a
person, as a physical being AND a spiritual being, has the ability to
see/experience spiritual things in such a way that they learn firsthand that
that 'thing' is in fact "true". We learn 2 + 2 = 4 through
rational thought, observation and counting the objects. We can likewise learn
spiritual truths through spiritual means. The prophet Alma taught we can in
fact "know" the seed (the truth/principle) is in fact "good"
(i.e., "true") by experiencing it firsthand. HOWEVER...we do NOT yet
know ALL things with this level of perfect knowledge. For those things we walk
by "faith". See Alma 32: 27-34 (especially vs. 34)Therefore, I "know" the Church is "true" but must walk the
path it leads me down by "faith".