MrShorty

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  1. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Jersey Boy in 'Despite All We Can Do' – 2 Nephi 25:23 in Literary and Rhetorical Context   
    You’re missing Nephi’s central point. He’s saying that unless a man comes unto Christ and is reconciled unto to God by embracing and internalizing the transformative redemptive power offered to him through the atoning sacrifice, that man can never be saved no matter how hard he tries to live a life that will prove he is righteous. Growing in the grace and knowledge of God by faithfully and conscientiously living the Gospel of Christ does indeed bring positive spiritual growth toward ultimate exaltation, but only after first coming unto Christ in faith and being reconciled to God through the Savior’s atonement. Even the inheritors of the Telestial Kingdom will be required to bow the knee to God the Father and confess to him that Jesus is the Christ before they will be permitted to enter into that kingdom of post-resurrection glory.
    109 But behold, and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore;
    110 And heard the voice of the Lord saying: These all shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sits upon the throne forever and ever;
    111 For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared; (D&C 76)
    10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
    11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2)
  2. Like
    MrShorty reacted to prisonchaplain in What's the difference?   
    It's interesting that you start with foreknowledge. Traditionally, the discussion was between pre-destination (Calvin) and free will (Armnius). Calvinists asked how God could be all-powerful if his creation were allowed to defy him. Free will advocates responded that God is all-powerful because he foreknows everything. It was God's will to let us be free. So, the foreknowledge position was a means for free will advocates to defend the doctrine of free will against the accusation that it somehow diminished God's power and authority. If he knows and wills that we be free to disobey then his power is not diminished.
    As for God not being a respecter of persons, I found a great illustration of this during my tour of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple in Langley, B.C. The guide showed us the men's locker/changing room, and pointed out that bankers and car mechanics change into the same white clothes. All are made equal in the temple. God is no respecter of persons. That truth does not restrict God from granting us free will. He may look to the banker and the mechanic with the same love and justice. He is not a distinguisher of persons--especially based on human social structures. However, He certainly will judge the just and the unjust, the repentant and the unrepentant. He will do so in pure justice, we believe, because each soul has been allowed the liberty to love or rebel.  
  3. Like
    MrShorty reacted to JohnsonJones in What's the difference?   
    There is a difference between how the Holy Ghost feels and talks to us and other feelings.  It is distinct and yet absolute. 
    I can feel excited, or nostalgic about things.  I could go to a highly charged Baptist meeting and see the feelings of enthusiasm and excitement that are found in that meeting.  These may be hard to find elsewhere, and for those who grew up in this type of arena, may even have feelings of nostalgia mixed in. They see this and feel a warm feeling of familiarity and love the feeling found.  They have an excitement coursing through them...but this is NOT the Holy Ghost.
    One may go to a more sedate meeting and find a quietness and a peaceful setting.  If they grew up in this, they may even feel it combined with nostalgia.  There IS a peaceful feeling and when mixed with nostalgia can bring powerful feelings to the fore.  This is NOT the Holy Ghost.
    The Holy Ghost can be hard to describe when it is faint.  When it is that peaceful feeling of comfort that comes upon you, it can be hard to relate what that feels to others.  The best I could describe it to someone who is not part of our Church but is Christian is to read the New Testament, especially the 4 gospels.  They should feel something when they read those 4 gospels that are not really replicated by a church setting.  It could be FELT in a church setting if one is teaching from those as the Holy Ghost confirms truth, but the church itself does not bring on that feeling that the words of our Lord does.  Reading the teachings of our Savior, to me, often brings about the Holy Ghost to us to testify of the truth of the gospel and our Savior's role and love.
    In it's more powerful form, you will then feel this same feeling, but with it come words...and actual VOICE.  It is not a loud voice, but a soft voice that you could easily miss if you are not listening to it.  With this you will feel in your heart (once again, a hard thing to describe, some could call it a burning or a stirring, but not like heartburn, but more of an uplifting) and soul what the voice is telling you or talking to you about.  You not only hear, you feel it.  It is a LITERAL voice that is talking to you, and you can literally hear and understand it.
    It is the ability to CONSTANTLY have this feeling and voice there to guide you and help you that the Saints obtain (if they are willing and righteous) that others do not.
  4. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Vort in What's the difference?   
    I agree with most of what you wrote. I would point out that there are Saints who have striven to live the gospel, who study their scriptures faithfully, who have even served missions and served in positions of leadership in the Restored Church; yet despite sincere and earnest prayer, they have not yet received that testimony to their spirit from the Holy Spirit that the Church is exactly what it claims to be, the very kingdom of God on earth. I think it is a disservice to such people to minimize their very real efforts and fidelity as a mere social conversion.
  5. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Just_A_Guy in The Fall - Blessings or Punishments?   
    I don’t know that I’d go so far as to suggest that God *never* imposes a deliberate punishment.  I do agree with what I think is Traveler’s broader point:  that often, what we would call “punishment” is less a deliberate action by God, and more of a situation where He just sits back and lets us deal with the natural consequences of our own actions.
    But I think that if/when God goes out of His way to “punish” someone, there’s a purpose for it.  I don’t ground my kid because the little maggot broke my stuff and so he deserves to be grounded; I ground my kid because I want him to be more careful in the future and this is how I teach him to reconsider the actions that led him to this state.
    This is one reason I’m particularly fond of LDS soteriology in comparison with (what I understand to be) that of mainline Christianity:  If God goes out of His way to make Hell more unpleasant than any collection of rotten people who know God’s full power and refused to accept it must necessarily be (i.e. He adds fire and brimstone to the mix, subjects them to the power of a torturous being created by Himself and who He refuses to rein in, etc), then it strikes me that it must be either because a) Hell has (or at least, can have) an end if its inhabitants will only learn their lessons; or b) God is a sadist who gets His kicks and giggles by watching people suffer even more than whatever might be absolutely necessary.
  6. Haha
    MrShorty reacted to NeedleinA in Pres. Oaks: Racism and Other Challenges. . . Um. . .   
    I'm guessing your customer service representative and "higher up" were both one in the same: Nintentdo's R.O.B.

  7. Like
    MrShorty reacted to scottyg in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    The best advice or counsel I can give is to wait upon the Lord. Although He didn't answer Pres. Oaks' inquiries at the time, the answer did eventually come in the form of the ban being lifted. As he also said in that talk "As part of my prayerful study, I learned that, in general, the Lord rarely gives reasons for the commandments and directions He gives to His servants." Although a reason may not be given, He never leads those who truly desire to come unto Him astray...whatever that path might be. I cannot see how intentionally leading someone away from His church would be beneficial...but I cannot speak for Him. Also, make sure that your concerns are properly placed - are they with the Gospel and the Lord's doctrine, or with church policy? There are a couple of church policies that I do not personally agree with. However, I realize that my current position and view is limited, and I may not be seeing the big picture. Over time some of them have resolved, and I now know why things are the way they are. Some are not yet resolved, but I don't worry about them and put faith in the Lord's timing. 
    There have been several times in my life (most when I was a missionary) when people have told me that they honestly prayed about the gospel, and felt that it wasn't for them. At that point I no longer tried to push our message, but simply accepted what they told me, and wished them the best. You cannot argue with a true answer from the Lord. Did they really receive a true answer, were they misinterpreting what they felt or pushing their own desires, or was it just an excuse to get us to leave them alone...only they and the Lord truly know. 
    If the Lord has given you answers in the past, accept them, and do not continually press Him for constant reassurance with regards to every detail. Whatever your concerns may be, I would encourage you to do all of the basic "primary" things before making any decisions: pray with real intent, feast upon the scriptures, fast regularly, and provide service to others. I am not insinuating that you do not already do these things, but as we continually place ourselves in a position that is compatible with the spirit, guidance and direction tend to become clearer. The following is from one of my favorite conference talks given during my early months as a new missionary.
    "Like you, I have felt what King Benjamin meant when he said that we could become like a little child before God. I have prayed, as you have, to know what to do when choices that I faced would have eternal consequences. Over many years I have seen a recurring pattern in the times when the answers to such a prayer have come most clearly.
    Once, for instance, I prayed through the night to know what I was to choose to do in the morning. I knew that no other choice could have had a greater effect on the lives of others and on my own. I knew what choice looked most comfortable to me. I knew what outcome I wanted. But I could not see the future. I could not see which choice would lead to which outcome. So the risk of being wrong seemed too great to me.
    I prayed, but for hours there seemed to be no answer. Just before dawn, a feeling came over me. More than at any time since I had been a child, I felt like one. My heart and my mind seemed to grow very quiet. There was a peace in that inner stillness.
    Somewhat to my surprise, I found myself praying, “Heavenly Father, it doesn’t matter what I want. I don’t care anymore what I want. I only want that Thy will be done. That is all that I want. Please tell me what to do.”
    In that moment I felt as quiet inside as I had ever felt. And the message came, and I was sure who it was from. It was clear what I was to do. I received no promise of the outcome. There was only the assurance that I was a child who had been told what path led to whatever He wanted for me.
    Henry B Eyring, Apr 2006 General Conference
  8. Okay
    MrShorty got a reaction from scottyg in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    I have re-read your post @scottyg, and this question keeps leaping out at me. It goes back to the question of whether or not God would give me answers that would lead away. If I trust what I think God is telling me, there are some conflicts there between what I feel God is telling me and what the Church says God is saying. It's not necessarily about the entire "is this the true Church", but smaller issues and questions.Trusting what God has said in the past about this being His Church, but also trusting what He seems to be telling me now about specific issues is difficult. Trusting God is key, but it is difficult when you get seemingly mixed messages from God.
    I am reminded of something Pres. Oaks said at the Be One celebration that seems similar. He said that he prayed about the reasons being given for the priesthood and temple ban, but did not receive confirmation of the truth of any of them. He determined to be loyal (and I keep wondering exactly what he meant by that) to the brethren and the Church in spite of the conflict. In many ways, this is where I feel I am at. I don't receive confirmation of some things, and I find myself trying to understand what it might mean to be loyal through the contradictions or if I should distance myself from the Church or just what God wants me to do in the short and long term.
  9. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Vort in Pres. Oaks: Racism and Other Challenges. . . Um. . .   
    President Oaks is a lawyer, and many of his pronouncements are best understood through that lens. In saying what he did, President Oaks was not promoting those positions as worthy. He was merely stating that such subjects were (as he said) appropriate for addressing in a manner of advocacy. Other examples of advocacy-appropriate topics might include universal basic income, nationalized health care, and shale oil production. You don't have to be for or against any of those topics to recognize that they are "appropriate subjects for advocacy."
    Please note that no Apostle has made a public statement affirming that George Floyd was killed for reasons of race. (Unless one slipped by me, which I'm quite sure didn't happen, or we all would have heard about it incessantly.) They kept things rather generic—"recent events of racism"—without naming anything specific. This may seem to play into the Social Justice Warrior theme of "black people are all persecuted", but viewed as pure statements of observation and sage advice, I think they hold up fine. Things usually need to be understood in context, but sometimes that context can provide unwarranted and perhaps even unintended subtexts. I think that's what's going on here.
    Same analysis as above. I would add that so-called systemic racism is almost certainly a real thing. The two important questions are: To what degree? Ang against whom? I would suggest that the answer to the first question is, "Not to as great a degree as the SJWs scream," and to the second question, "Historically against minorities, especially blacks, but in the last decade or so consciously targeted specifically toward white people—and not merely culturally, but openly taught in universities and even attempted to be encoded into law."
    I guess I must be officially becoming An Old Guy, because I find that pretty funny,.
  10. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Jane_Doe in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    I have been through several times where life was extremely turbulent. That includes the spiritual side of things and having complicated/hurt feelings when it comes to things of God and the earthly church.
    I am debating how far to go into things...many things I could say. 
    One big thing that is important is learning to love one another. That includes living those that are going through trublant times. Love, even when you don’t understand what they are going through. Forgive when they do something in pain or that causes pain. 
    And when you’re the person in the turbalnce: live those around you.  Even those that need forgiveness because they made stupid bone-headed comments. Love them, even when they don’t understand what you’re going through and you don’t understand them either. 
  11. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Just_A_Guy in Are members in your area: Awake or Asleep?   
    I agree with you about the need to “go into the wilderness” as much as possible—though of course, in a physical sense, I’m not sure there’s really anywhere left to go.  If we can rely on the prophecies that have come down from Brigham Young, Heber Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, and the like—our lot (or those of our children or grandchildren) will be to buckle down and stay away from the violence as best we can, avoiding alliances with any of the Babylonish factions that will be turning on each other and ultimately destroying themselves. 
    But as for the “lesser of two evils”, I would reply as follows: 
    1)  Our current commission is that “honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.  And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God.”  (D&C 98:10-11)
    That instruction has not been revoked.  To throw our lot in with Trump, knowing what he is, to me risks forfeiting the commission and blessings promised on American citizens in these latter days, and amounts to us choosing to have God leave us to our own strength.  I understand why, in light of everything that’s happening on the left, many Saints feel they have no choice but to ally with Trump.  But I also believe that there is divine precedent for God promising deliverance to His people if they would just trust Him and avoid running to the nearest strongman (this theme consumes the book of Isaiah).  If God wants us to disregard D&C 98:10 and quietly submit ourselves to (and even support) leaders who are dishonest, foolish, and bad; then I’m reasonably confident that we’ll be hearing about it through proper channels.  But so far, that hasn’t happened. 
    2)  The Bible is, as you suggest, a record of a wholly different society than our own; one where private citizens could not and did not expect to significantly influence public policy.  Jeremiah’s pro-Babylon agenda was not geared towards Judah’s populace, or even its rulers, helping Babylon to advance its interests or geopolitical standing; it was simply a pragmatic “look, if you fight this, you will die; so don’t fight it”.  (See Jeremiah 27.)  Nonresistance to a tyrant we didn’t choose, is very different than active support of a degenerate politician we did choose.   
    3)  One issue with likening Trump to Nebuchadnezzar in this particular discussion (which, as I understand it, is the preservation of a western-style, individual-rights-oriented democratic republic as advocated by President Benson) is that Nebuchadnezzar was a *king* who oversaw high taxation, imprisonment without due process, and state-sanctioned murder and rape and prohibition of religious expression.   Daniel and his friends lived out their lives as slaves (very comfortable slaves, but slaves nonetheless) to Nebuchadnezzar and his successors.  Indeed, Nebuchadnezzar is the embodiment of everything Benson abhorred. 
    If we’re at the point where we feel like, for the sake of self-preservation, God wants us to submit to someone like Nebuchadnezzar in order to prevent a worse thing from happening; then it’s probably time for us to admit that the American experiment has failed, resign ourselves to serfdom, and leave it to future generations to reclaim the traditional American liberties that we grew up with.
  12. Like
    MrShorty got a reaction from dprh in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    As one who judges himself in the middle of a faith crisis, here are some things I see through my glass darkly:
    1) As with so many things today, it seems so polarized. The shrillest anti voices have nothing good to say about the Church, and the loudest pro voices have nothing bad to say. Here in a middle place, where it seems obvious that the Church has made errors but also contains much that is good, it feels awful lonely. It seems difficult to find people and communities to interact with that are comfortable discussing the good and the bad.
    2) Related, there is a predominant "all or nothing" attitude. Many in the Church have long said something like it is all true or it is all fraud. Then the antis grab onto that, demonstrate one undeniable flaw or error in the all or nothing house of cards and claim that the whole thing comes crashing down. I find myself leaning into a "cafeteria Mormon" space, but that space tends to be maligned from both sides, and, again, you feel lonely. It's nice when you find spaces where people are talking about the things they choose to accept and the things they choose to reject from the Church -- that affirm that one can accept and reject pieces without needing to accept or reject the whole kit and kaboodle.
    3) Also related is the frequent fear from the orthodox of "wolves in sheep's clothing". Of course, the antis are fond of calling the faithful mindless sheep. I know that the watchmen on the tower need to be (as Alistair Moody would say) constantly vigilant, but it is sometimes difficult to carve out a space in the Church for yourself when you feel like everyone is suspiciously watching you ready to cast you out as a wolf. It seems like it would help if there were spaces in the Church that were more comfortable with my questions and heresies rather than constantly suspicious of them.
    My epistemology, soteriology, Christology, and such are strongly LDS, so I am most comfortable in LDS spaces. But the things that feel wrong to me can make those LDS spaces uncomfortable as well. How the Church deals with the comfortable and the uncomfortable will impact how I move forward.
  13. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Fether in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    I think for people like you, these types of faith crisis are so important. Some people can get away with never questioning or doubting, but you can’t and I don’t think you should pretend otherwise.
    In your case, I would put every possibility on the table and test it. Throw yourself up against the wall of faith and see what happens. You can’t pray for financial blessings while not be paying tithing, and then deduce there is no god when no blessings come. You can’t test God through priesthood blessings while you are also indulging in porn, and then get upset when the blessing you gave was inaccurate to what ended up happening.
    Test God with full purpose of heart and do it correctly. 
    I am all for people testing the spirit and god to the best of their ability. For better or for worst (most likely better).
  14. Like
    MrShorty reacted to estradling75 in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    Of course we do.  We simply think that any 'answer' that draws you farther away from God (at least how we see it) is not really of God.  Having answers that are not of God is also something we have all experienced and need to overcome.  Sometimes we need to travel down the wrong path to understand that it is wrong.  As an individual we need to follow the path we think God has for us as best we can wherever it leads. (with personal revelation as scriptures as our foundation).  Those of us watching an individual doing this can only respond with the more general gospel answers because chances are we do not have the stewardship to get personal revelation for the individual in question.
  15. Like
    MrShorty reacted to estradling75 in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    I understand that feeling... but it is not in anyway what I mean.   Everyone that tries to be a follower of Christ is expected to trying to be Christ-like in all things like compassion, mercy, patience, tolerance etc.   We also know that we all sin and fall short.  We fail and sometimes we fail hard.  If our faith is dependent on the actions others, of them not falling, it is a form of idolatry.  It is also a position of powerlessness, because we surrender our agency to another.  The only position of power, of agency, and of worship of the true and living God, is to act as best you can on the truths you know no matter what others do.
    This is not to say that those who sin and fall short some how get away with it.  This is not the case.  But rather principal of forgiveness is to surrender our claims for justice, redress of wrongs, and legitimate grievances to the Lord (and depending on the nature of the sin to proper mortal authorities), and say to the Lord "Thy will be done and not mine".  This is hard to do.  In fact it is often a lesson we need to learn and relearn many times.  But this is how we can sit an a pew across from the loud mouth, opinionated person we disagree with, who (at least in our eyes) is failing hard.
  16. Like
    MrShorty got a reaction from Jane_Doe in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    Maybe patience is another key virtue in this discussion. We live in an era of instant everything, and sometimes it seems that patience is in short supply. Some processes, and I wonder if things like testimony and conversion are long term maybe even life-long processes (notable exceptions like Alma the Younger and St. Paul aside). The scriptural phrase "waiting on God" seems to capture some of what I feel is happening here. Maybe we all need more patience, more willingness to wait upon the Lord to resolve our differences in His time and in His way.
  17. Thanks
    MrShorty got a reaction from Traveler in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    @Grunt I suppose it is natural for a comment that includes both the words evolution and heresy would naturally trigger a reference to Elder McConkie's "Seven Deadly Heresies" talk. I don't know how far down this rabbit hole we really want to go here, because we've been down it before and we will probably go down it again at some point. Yes, Elder McConkie tends to figure prominently on the pro-creationism/anti-evolutionism side of the debate because of statements like this. I observe that, in spite of the "certainty" of Elder McConkie's opinion, the Church on the whole has been unwilling to adopt Elder McConkie's opinion that evolutionism is a deadly heresy. Again, we can go down this rabbit hole if the group really wants to, but I don't see it helping the current discussion (but what do I know?).
    The real question that I think would further the current discussion, how do the creationists in the Church feel about worshiping with (being in communion with?) those who reject Elder McConkie's opinion(s) on evolution? How should we deal with such strongly held differences of opinion? Are there (to borrow from my old Missionary Guide training materials) "more effective" (that preserve our ability to share pews together) and "less effective" (that discourage saints with differing opinions from worshiping under the same roof) ways to deal with these strongly held differences of opinion? I can only speak for myself, but these are the questions that often take center stage when I wonder if I want to stay in communion with the Latter-day Saints. Exactly how you choose to answer questions related to creationism/evolutionism for yourself are less important to me than these other questions.
  18. Like
    MrShorty got a reaction from dprh in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    As one who judges himself in the middle of a faith crisis, here are some things I see through my glass darkly:
    1) As with so many things today, it seems so polarized. The shrillest anti voices have nothing good to say about the Church, and the loudest pro voices have nothing bad to say. Here in a middle place, where it seems obvious that the Church has made errors but also contains much that is good, it feels awful lonely. It seems difficult to find people and communities to interact with that are comfortable discussing the good and the bad.
    2) Related, there is a predominant "all or nothing" attitude. Many in the Church have long said something like it is all true or it is all fraud. Then the antis grab onto that, demonstrate one undeniable flaw or error in the all or nothing house of cards and claim that the whole thing comes crashing down. I find myself leaning into a "cafeteria Mormon" space, but that space tends to be maligned from both sides, and, again, you feel lonely. It's nice when you find spaces where people are talking about the things they choose to accept and the things they choose to reject from the Church -- that affirm that one can accept and reject pieces without needing to accept or reject the whole kit and kaboodle.
    3) Also related is the frequent fear from the orthodox of "wolves in sheep's clothing". Of course, the antis are fond of calling the faithful mindless sheep. I know that the watchmen on the tower need to be (as Alistair Moody would say) constantly vigilant, but it is sometimes difficult to carve out a space in the Church for yourself when you feel like everyone is suspiciously watching you ready to cast you out as a wolf. It seems like it would help if there were spaces in the Church that were more comfortable with my questions and heresies rather than constantly suspicious of them.
    My epistemology, soteriology, Christology, and such are strongly LDS, so I am most comfortable in LDS spaces. But the things that feel wrong to me can make those LDS spaces uncomfortable as well. How the Church deals with the comfortable and the uncomfortable will impact how I move forward.
  19. Like
    MrShorty got a reaction from Jane_Doe in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    Maybe patience is another key virtue in this discussion. We live in an era of instant everything, and sometimes it seems that patience is in short supply. Some processes, and I wonder if things like testimony and conversion are long term maybe even life-long processes (notable exceptions like Alma the Younger and St. Paul aside). The scriptural phrase "waiting on God" seems to capture some of what I feel is happening here. Maybe we all need more patience, more willingness to wait upon the Lord to resolve our differences in His time and in His way.
  20. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Traveler in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    I am a fan of McConkie - I love studying all his works and have learned a great deal from him.  All considered, McConkie's views (written and otherwise) of Catholicism, Blacks and the Priesthood and evolution were never approved by the first presidency and in some instances he was specifically requested to "reword" his public opinions.
    McConkie uses the term "Organic Evolution" to distinguish Darwinism from demonstrable changes in organic generation of life.  This is most apparent in the conflicts between doctrinal notions of "different" human races as the result of organic evolution or divine curses and blessings.
     
    The Traveler
  21. Love
    MrShorty reacted to Vort in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    I hope this is not the case. I have tried hard to teach my children that they cannot hold me responsible for their own failings. Maybe I wasn't a good enough parent, and maybe I still am not, but in the end, they have to live their lives. Not me. And they have to decide what they will and will not do, what they will and will not believe, how they will and will not choose to feel. Yet after all that, I am still very much invested in their happiness and success. It matters to me a whole lot, perhaps as much as anything else in this life matters to me. My telling them that their fate is in their own hands is not to wash my hands of them; it's to empower them, to make them realize that only they can forge their paths.
    Similarly, I take the "it's not our job to make you comfortable" (which applies to me in my ward just as much as it does to you in yours) not as a challenge or rebuke or declaration of not really caring very much, but as a statement of the nature of reality. I hope and believe that my fellow ward members value me and care about me and my family. But their caring and good wishes won't actually do anything for me if I turn away.  God reaching for me with outstretched hand to grasp me won't be of any benefit if I don't take his hand. The choice is mine. That's what I think it means, and I hope that's eventually what comes across to you.
    I, too, have seen both of these things. I suppose I fall on what some would consider the heretical side of the organic evolution topic, and I remain pretty unconvinced by the heartland argument. But if there is deep division from such issues, perhaps it's a reflection of a deeper cultural malaise that we see in stark relief in our American political circles. Middle ground has been soundly rejected; one side has done so, vociferously, for decades, and the other side appears to have resigned itself to that division and no longer makes much attempt to bridge the gap. I wish I knew the solution. I suppose it must be Godly love, for what else could it be? What else can heal such wounds and divisions?
    These seem like hard questions. I want to say that of course we can put aside differences and worship together. When I say or think such things, it makes me feel warm, so I think it's probably true. But where the rubber meets the road, I'm no so sure. I have numerous cousins, nieces, and  nephews who have distanced themselves to various degrees from the teachings and practices of the Church. Some still consider themselves faithful members, while some don't consider themselves even so much as Christians any more. Others fall at various stages between those. If I'm brutally honest, I will admit that at times it's hard even to hold a philosophical conversation with them. When the harsh words start flying from their side, I have to fight back the urge to respond with a Sterling Rebuke of Diamond Truth, gutting their laughable arguments and showing with devastating accuracy just how wrong their apostasy is and how it cannot possibly hold up to careful, reasoned inspection.
    Because that kind of thing does no good. I can't think of any examples of Jesus busting heads with scriptural citations and logical beatdowns to prove his brilliant point.
    Somehow, love must prevail over such foolish hostility and bad feelings. I have met people who can perform this magic. But I am not one of them, not yet, not to the degree I have witnessed from them. I'm still plugging along, far behind the curve, preparing to meet my God and knowing that, when I do, I will be woefully underprepared and utterly without excuse. Nothing to do at that point but kneel quietly before my Lord and accept whatever judgment he has to render.
    But I do hope that, traveling further down this path, I eventually manage to grow up enough to become useful to God's kingdom. Maybe even in this lifetime. Then I'll know how to deal with people  like you and me, people who strive for the truth and who want it, but who haven't yet figured out exactly what they're supposed to be doing and how they are to come to the knowledge they seek but don't yet have. Because right now, I feel like the blind leading the blind. And were I to stand before God tonight and give an accounting of myself, I would have no excuse for my current blindness but my own stubborn refusal to act in the way I've been told for my whole life that I should act.
    Have patience with us, MrShorty. We're not there yet, either. I'll try to reciprocate. I'm at best a pale, distorted reflection of the Savior. But I'm a brother, and I try to remember to act like one. I often forget, and I'm ashamed of that. But I like to think my failures and deficiencies don't define me, and that yours don't define you.
  22. Thanks
    MrShorty got a reaction from Traveler in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    @Grunt I suppose it is natural for a comment that includes both the words evolution and heresy would naturally trigger a reference to Elder McConkie's "Seven Deadly Heresies" talk. I don't know how far down this rabbit hole we really want to go here, because we've been down it before and we will probably go down it again at some point. Yes, Elder McConkie tends to figure prominently on the pro-creationism/anti-evolutionism side of the debate because of statements like this. I observe that, in spite of the "certainty" of Elder McConkie's opinion, the Church on the whole has been unwilling to adopt Elder McConkie's opinion that evolutionism is a deadly heresy. Again, we can go down this rabbit hole if the group really wants to, but I don't see it helping the current discussion (but what do I know?).
    The real question that I think would further the current discussion, how do the creationists in the Church feel about worshiping with (being in communion with?) those who reject Elder McConkie's opinion(s) on evolution? How should we deal with such strongly held differences of opinion? Are there (to borrow from my old Missionary Guide training materials) "more effective" (that preserve our ability to share pews together) and "less effective" (that discourage saints with differing opinions from worshiping under the same roof) ways to deal with these strongly held differences of opinion? I can only speak for myself, but these are the questions that often take center stage when I wonder if I want to stay in communion with the Latter-day Saints. Exactly how you choose to answer questions related to creationism/evolutionism for yourself are less important to me than these other questions.
  23. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Carborendum in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    In all my years of apologetics, I've never heard anything that is "bad" about the Church (that was actually true).  I've heard an awful lot that is taken out of context, or incomplete information, or mischaracterizations, or a symptom of presentism, and often -- just outright lies.
    I've heard bad things about people (and a lot of it was untrue, but some was true).  But the conflating of the two is what I find most difficult to accept from "a middle space".  Of all the things i've heard, they are either perfectly fine once we see the whole story, or we understand that there is more to the story that we simply don't know yet.  We can't throw the baby out with the bathwater.  The baby is fine.  That is what is "all true".  Just get rid of the bathwater that's all used and dirty.
    Again, this is the conflation of people in the church with the Church itself.
    The "Cafeteria Mormon" is merely another way of saying, you're depending on your own wisdom.  You're words epistemology, soteirioligy, Christology are all about using man's methods of finding truth.  What about Divine methods?
    The pattern I notice from all you've written here is that you're still trusting in the arm of flesh for your testimony.  As a place of beginning, that's fine.  That's all most of us have in the beginning.  But just as Adam, we're not meant to remain in a state of ignorance.
    If it never progresses to the point where you're depending on the witness of the Holy Ghost, then you can only go so far.  You will only be so strong.  And you will eventually fall.  And without the witness of the Holy Ghost, man's logic, reason, evidence, knowledge are ignorance -- nothing but sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.
    You cannot stay where you are.  The Lord does not want us to remain luke warm.  We are not supposed to be fence sitters.  Life will eventually force you to choose.  I pray that you will be open to the Lord's guidance on that.
  24. Like
    MrShorty reacted to estradling75 in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    That is were the failure occurs.  It is not up to the Church or any Church member to "deal" with your comfort or uncomfortableness... It is on you.  Both the most Faithful and the most Faithless have questions and things they do not understand or know.  Thus questions and lack of knowledge is not the problem.  Its the lack of faith
    Both of these types of people can ask fundamentally the same question but it is the faith or lack thereof that makes the difference.  (For without faith it is impossible to please God)
    Take for example the Angel Gabriel announcements of pending births to Zechariah and Mary.  Both had serious questions on how they might have a child given their situations. Yet the angels response to what was basically the same question "How" was very very different.  Mary had faith and Zechariah basically did not and the Angel responded accordingly.
    Now members and the leaders of Church are flawed and imperfect... But it is easy to see how a statement of "I do not believe that" versus "I am not there yet" would be taken differently.  Even though at the fundamental level they say express the same lack of knowledge/testimony.
     
  25. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Vort in Question on "Faith Crisis"   
    I am sincerely sorry to hear that, brother. I hope that you can count on us to be in your corner, and I hope you feel you can so count on us.
    The Lord himself leveled criticisms at his Church, to the point of condemning the Church and naming the curse that will follow:
    Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
    President Benson echoed this condemnation in about 1987. Though our leaders rarely voice explicit condemnation, they haven't been shy about pointing out the shortcomings of the Saints. In my experience, it is much the same within the rank and file of Church membership and leadership. Everyone understands that we are still striving, not yet completely successfully, for Zion. Your mileage may vary, of course, but in my experience, it is only a few who voice the attitude that the kingdom of God is perfectly realized. The "anti voices" you mention seem many orders of magnitude louder, at least to my ears.
    I certainly believe the Church has made, now makes, and will continue to make errors. But I'm guessing the errors you see may not be those I see. I have found that what many in the Church consider "errors" are (in my view, anyway) no such thing.
    For example, the Church's stance on (picking a few random issues) sexual morality, homosexual activity, and elective abortion are all considered by the world and the worldly to be Neanderthal and unenlightened, even oppressive. They are the opposite. If you have concerns about such matters, then you may find loving souls who will discuss them with you. But you are vastly unlikely to convince anyone that they're wrong. Such things are fundamental to the Restored Church and the gospel it preaches. Similarly, claiming that the Book of Mormon is not literally historically true; that Joseph Smith didn't really see the Father and the Son; that Joseph's institution of polygamy was the result of his own sexual urges rather than of divine command; that the president of the Church is not literally led by God; and all other such claims are simply non-starters. These are fundamental issues. Such issues are always open for discussion to better enlighten you, me, and everyone else in this sphere of ignorance and dim lighting, but they are not put up for majority vote.
    Of course, the "all or nothing" you mention has nothing to do with whether this or that historical point is accurate. It is about the above-mentioned foundational issues. Is the priesthood real, and actually the authority of an all-powerful Father to the children of his kingdom? If the answer is yes, the the Church is true, just as it says it is. If the answer is no, then the Church is not true. Another word for "not true" is "false", at least in this case. That's what the "all-or-nothing" is talking about.
    Assume for a moment that the Church really, truly is what it claims to be: The literal kingdom of God upon the earth. You, as God's son, have been invited to participate in the activities and growth of that kingdom. Which parts of Church teachings can you safely ignore? Clearly, the answer is "none of them".
    Now, assume the Church isn't actually what it claims to be. Which parts of Church teachings must you then accept on the authority of the Church itself? Again, clearly, the answer is "none of them".
    This is the problem encountered by the "cafeteria Mormon": If he claims the Church actually possesses the divine authority it claims, then he cannot pick and choose what he wants to believe. And if he claims instead that the Church isn't really what it says it is, then literally nothing the Church teaches about anything is worth the time it takes to hear, much less 10% of your annual increase and the dedication of your entire life. The "cafeteria Mormon" spot is inherently unstable. Those who dwell there eventually find themselves faced with a stark choice that they must make. As Rush (the Canadian rock group) said: If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. Those who do not consciously choose a life of faith and discipleship will inevitably find themselves on the outside.
    If you're in that unstable spot now, then now is your chance to positively make that decision. I know it's an uncomfortable place. That's inherent in the position.
    I'm not sure how to approach this. I recognize what you say as a valid observation. But as one who has encountered a number of sheep-clothed wolves and has had a bellyful of them, enough to last a lifetime, I am also vigorously in favor of protecting the flock from their depredations. I certainly do not believe that everyone who has questions or doubts is a ravening wolf. God forbid; if it were so, none could be saved. I guess it comes down to having the spirit of discernment. Perhaps in such a case, it is incumbent upon the struggling Saint to exercise some tolerance and patience of his own toward the too-zealous flock protectors, who foolishly don't always realize that the "wolf" they think they're attacking is in fact a struggling sheep.
    I'm sure this is all true, brother. But in the end, your salvation is before you. It is your privilege and responsibility to reach out and take it. If the proffered lifebuoy has some sharp edges or smells bad, then I sympathize with your discomfort. But hold to it anyway.