tesuji

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About tesuji

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  1. tesuji

    Mosiah 4:7

    I agree with everything you have said. However, I don't know if we have the luxury of continuing with the simple narratives we learned in the past. It's true that digging deeper feels like opening a can of worms. But we have the counsel from the scriptures to seek out learning, not to be ignorant. And I think the can of worms has already been opened by the internet. Our youth and other members are hearing and learning things that need to be addressed. Elder Ballard has spoken about that. The Opportunities and Responsibilities of CES Teachers in the 21st Century, Elder M. Russell Ballard https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/broadcasts/article/evening-with-a-general-authority/2016/02/the-opportunities-and-responsibilities-of-ces-teachers-in-the-21st-century?lang=eng My problem has been that, as a lifetime member who went to seminary, had religion classes at BYU, has read the scriptures many times, etc. - I find that what I feel that I need more than anything now is questions. I know the basics, all the Sunday School answers. But there is so much more to learn, and I'm getting bored with hearing the same lessons at church all the time. As I have learned more about Biblical studies it has felt like leaving the lazy river and immediately heading down the category 5 rapids. I don't know why learning has to feel so perilous. Or, another metaphor - it's like taking the red pill, if you've seen The Matrix. If I was looking for reasons to get upset and leave the church because of being taught what feels like a naive and simplistic narrative in the past, I could easily do that. But like Abraham, I am a person who desires to have knowledge, and I'm very grateful for what I've been learning. I agree that what matters most is loving God and loving your neighbor. That's what this life is about. But we also have that doctrine that no one can be saved in ignorance - we're all going to need to learn a lot more, eventually.
  2. tesuji

    Mosiah 4:7

    "Adam" in the Hebrew is not necessarily a proper name of a person. The Hebrew word means "a human" or "mankind." I was reading about this recently, and I find it fascinating. A recent translation of the Hebrew Bible by the Jewish scholar Robert Alter renders Genesis 1:26 like this: "Let us make a human, in our image, by our likeness...." Alter's footnote about this says the Hebrew "adam" here means "a human," and it discusses the original Hebrew text thus: "The term 'adam, afterward consistently with the definite article [the, as in 'the adam'] which is used both here and in the second account [Genesis chapter 2] of the origins of mankind, is a generic term for human beings, not a proper noun. It also does not automatically suggest maleness, especially not without the prefix ben, "son of," and so the traditional rendering "man" is misleading, and an exclusively male 'adam would make nonsense of the last clause of verse 27." Alter translates Genesis 1:27 like this, formatting it as poetry: "And God created the human in his image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them." Modern prophets have indicated that Adam was a real person, and that the story of Adam and Eve has great spiritual value. But I think we have to be careful assuming Genesis is a literal historical account, the way we would understand modern history. It is the creation story of the ancient Hebrews, passed down from unknown authors and times, and codified around 300 BC when the Hebrew Bible as we have it was put together, if I remember correctly what I've read from Bible scholars.
  3. tesuji

    The timing of truth

    I think polygamy is an interesting topic in many respects. Brian and Laura Hales have recently published an excellent, in-depth study of the history and doctrine surrounding this topic: Joseph Smith's Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding https://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Smiths-Polygamy-Toward-Understanding/dp/1589587235 If you want a lot more detail, they have an additional 3-volume series as well. Addressing the OP, if I remember correctly, the Hales' books would indicate the following: The popular idea that polygamy is a higher law that we all would ideally be following is not necessarily doctrine. Joseph Smith did indeed resist the commandment to him and obey it with great reluctance. This was partly because of his concern about how Emma would react. (His worries were confirmed ) Joseph Smith submitted to polygamy out of obedience. Polygamy was very difficult to live. (It was not some sort of sex party, as some people with more lurid imaginations have assumed.) We don't know all the reasons for why polygamy was instituted in the church (although the Hales' books do examine these questions in depth). My personal take-away from reading these books is that polygamy was given by the Lord to early modern church leaders as a lesson and challenge in obedience. (Only a minority of LDS practiced polygamy in the 1800s.) We don't know all the why's about it. The Lord's mind and ways are not our own. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). Brigham Young did supposedly make a lot of statements saying polygamy was a higher law. However, I always chuckle at this quote supposedly from him: "The introduction of the doctrine of polygamy was the first time in my life that I desired the grave, and I could hardly get over it for a long time. And when I saw a funeral, I felt to envy the corpse its situation." -- Brigham Young Of course the go-to place to begin to understand this is the church's official Gospel Topics Essay: Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/plural-marriage-in-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints?lang=eng
  4. tesuji

    Movies you like that no one else does

    A couple sci fi come to mind: Jupiter Ascending This is the perfect movie for me - space opera, escapist, interesting new angles on the genre. I thought it was a lot of fun. Doesn't get much love on IMDB - only 5.3 out of 10 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1617661/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_4 Passengers (2016) Another space movie. The ship seems so wonderful - I want to travel on it! I think the low ratings from critics were partly due to it coming out right after the 2016 election results, and grouchy critics weren't in the mood for this kind of movie. Also, I think some people (many women?) are angered at the choice the man makes for the woman (OK, but empathize with his situation a little; and also - what would have ended up happening to the woman at the end of the movie if he hadn't made that choice?) Rotten Tomatoes - 31% critics's rating, https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/passengers_2016 IMDB is kinder at 7/10, but I think this score used to be lower - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1355644/
  5. tesuji

    Third Hour forum get together

    My sister lived in San Antonio for many years. They loved it there.
  6. "Separating from entertainment -- has the time fully come" I think about this question a lot. I am a huge movie and TV geek. I live in a rural place, and there's not much to do for entertainment. Movies and TV are a way to escape into another world. Also, I think human stories are inherently entertaining. There's something very meaningful and engaging in hearing (or seeing) a story. At the end of the day I'm pretty stressed out and just want an escape. I think, I should read a book, etc. but I always feel too tired. Netflix et al are my default way to recuperate each night. I like to joke that one of the perils of the last days is excellent TV. TV shows have gotten very good in recent decades. By "good," I mean engaging and well done. Many top actors are moving from movies to TV, since movies are now largely brainless action flicks intended for a global audience. I have a long list of great shows I love - if we were talking in the 1980s I wouldn't even' be talking about TV. As you have pointed out, though, the worldly media is getting worse. I honestly feel that in too many cases the entertainment industry is basically the church of Satan, preaching worldly doctrines. Particularly disturbing to me is how "dark" shows have gotten more popular. Dark in this sense means "gloomy; cheerless; dismal; evil; iniquitous; wicked," according to the dictionary. Seriously, this is not what I want going into my mind. So, what to do? Well, obviously, I am selective. There are still a lot of good things to watch out there. Also, VidAngel is great. If you don't know about it, you can set filters to filter out whatever you want. Some things are still R-rated to the core and can't be fixed (*ahem* Game of Thrones *ahem*) but most TV and movies are 98% decent, after you remove the poo from the cookie batter (see below, if you don't know the story). My wife says BYU TV channel keeps getting better. I need to check it out. Obviously, the ideal solution is for good moral people to produce enough stuff for us to watch. Keep an open mind. Personally, I am absolutely against LGBT marriage, because of the what I believe marriage is and should be. But the world has a different view - basically, we've got two types of marriage, two meanings for that word now, it seems to me. However, LGBT people are children of God too. Do I enjoy watching their relationships? - no, it's not entertaining to me. But I feel I can also learn to accept and love them and how they live, even if I don't think it follows the gospel teachings as I understand them. Keep thinking about Plan B. Eventually, I think even Vidangel will be overwhelmed by the tide of just plain evil stuff, and I'll have to give it all up. (Also, Vidangel might go out of business - every other such company has. Evil Hollywood.) Any suggestions for my Plan B? P.S. I just asked my wife about the two moms in Toy Story 4. She loved the movie and didn't even realize it was in there until she asked someone who saw it with her. So it's not "in your face," but you know that sort of thing will get worse in the future. The story of poop in the cookies, if you don't know it (this version is annoying but makes the point) .
  7. tesuji

    To Gain a Fuller Understanding

    JosephCyrus, I'm a little late to this party, but I am amazed at how much you have read. I exactly agree with mikbone: You are obviously beyond the basic "Sunday School" level in your learning. I'm going to offer some of my ideas. I'm not a scholar, but I've been in the church all my life and I like to learn. What follows are of course my opinions from my own limited perspective. "What we believe" is an interesting concept for us LDS. We believe in continuing revelation, so we don't yet know all that we believe. Also, it seems to me that some things we have believed in the past we now no longer believe in the same way. I think as we grow in understanding, we are ready to move from "milk" to "meat" (D&C 19:22). I have always loved this quote by Brigham Young: "'Mormonism,' so-called, embraces every principle pertaining to life and salvation, for time and eternity. No matter who has it. If the infidel has got truth it belongs to 'Mormonism.' The truth and sound doctrine possessed by the sectarian world, and they have a great deal, all belong to this church. ... All that is good, lovely, and praiseworthy belongs to this church and kingdom. ... 'Mormonism' includes all truth. There is no truth but what belongs to the gospel." Joseph Smith made similar statements. All truth belongs to us in this church, wherever it may be found. As far as my recommendations, I would say use the 1) four standard works of scripture and the 2) current prophet as the surest guide to what we believe. The farther you get from those, the more you will be into the realm of opinion or the gospel from someone's limited perspective (all humans have limited perspective). My own core short list, which I see you and others have already mentioned: Scriptures Current prophet's teachings Current 12 apostles' teachings Gospel Principles Preach My Gospel These alone are enough to keep someone busy their entire lives. The simplest doctrines such as faith and love are so deep you could study them forever. However, I'm not saying stop with this short list. Some other books I like: "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith," by Joseph F. Smith. This is being superseded by more accurate documents coming out now, as I see you have already discovered with the Joseph Smith Papers. Jesus the Christ & The Articles of Faith by Talmage These have already been mentioned. If you didn't know, a BYU scholar has come out with a revised edition of Jesus the Christ, to update the scholarship: "Jesus the Christ: With Revised and Updated Notes" by Thomas Wayment, Gaye Strathearn, et al. , 2015 "Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity," by Terryl L. Givens, 2014 This is like a graduate class in the gospel. I'm still working my way through it. Lots to think about (and lots of academic terms to look up). There are additional volumes of this coming out now too. All of Nibley's works I love, for his maverick but highly learned viewpoint, and most of all his entertaining writing style. Be aware, though, that current Mormon scholars will tell you that much of his specific research is a bit out of date. I have learned so much from Nibley. Be sure to check out his video "Faith of an Observer." He says nothing really matters down here in this life except forgiving and repenting. A few talks that have been most influential of my understanding of the gospel: "Beware of Pride," Ezra Benson https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1989/05/beware-of-pride?lang=eng After this talk, I feel like I understand how the world works and what I need to do every day. "In the Strength of the Lord," David Bednar speaking at a BYU devotional before he was called as apostle. https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/david-a-bednar_strength-lord/ Thomas Monson talk a few years ago, where I finally got it, that the gospel is about loving God and your neighbor - the rest is details (and don't forget your saving ordinances along the way). Sorry, I don't know which talk. Talk - I think it was by Dallin Oaks called "To Have and To Be" but I cannot find this anywhere, so I must be mistaken about the title. But the point was: Getting into heaven is not about racking up brownie points, or adding enough good deeds into a heavenly bank account. It's about becoming a Celestial person who will be happy being around other Celestial people and living a Celestial lifestyle. The church and the gospel exist to help us grow to become this kind of person. In short, learn to love God and your neighbor. As far as the spirit world, I would love to know more about this too. The best two sources I know are: D&C 138 "Three Degrees of Glory" by Melvin J Ballard I don't know how official this doctrine is, but it's definitely something you should check out. Elder Melvin J Ballard, an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gave this discourse in the Ogden Tabernacle on September 22 1922. It was published under the direction of the Mount Ogden Stake Genealogical Committee. I believe is has been published since by Deseret Book. Be aware that some books are more "doctrine" than others. For example Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie is no longer sold by Deseret Book, as far as I can find out. My personal opinion is that this book was very valuable and helpful at the time it was published, but its time has passed. Also, I don't believe many LDS scholars would recommend the works of Cleon Skousen. However - I heard a mind-blowing talk by him on the Atonement that has forever changed the way I think. I would say take it with a huge grain of salt - some scholars have written rebuttals. I think this may be the one: https://josephsmithfoundation.org/audio/the-meaning-of-the-atonement/ I recommended the scriptures above all. However, there are many books that will help you understand the scriptures better. For example, the following by BYU scholars are excellent introductions to the Bible: Jesus Christ and the World of the New Testament: A Latter-Day Saint Perspective, by Richard Holzapfel, 2006 Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament Hardcover, Richard Neitzel Holzapfel et al., 2009. The King James Version is highly problematic. Read about it, if you don't know why; I won't go into it now. So check out reputable modern translations. The standard version used by Bible scholars is the New Revised Standard Edition. There are also recently great translations by BYU professors. The NRSV is free on the web, including here: https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/New-Revised-Standard-Version-NRSV-Bible/. Do an experiment - compare some of Paul's epistles in the KJV and the NRSV. The NRSV has made it possible for me to actually get through Paul... As you learn, you will have questions or run up against anti-Mormon or just "WHAT THE--??" information. The LDS Gospel Topics Essays are the place to start. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/manual/gospel-topics-essays?lang=eng Then, check out https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Main_Page In general, when I come across something like this, if I don't freak out but instead research it more, I find there are answers and reasonable explanations out there. And the church and gospel are still true, but they may not be exactly the church and gospel I thought they were. It appears we have many simplistic and naive understandings of things. Sometimes, you will just have to hang on in faith until you discover the answers you want. I'm still looking for many answers or explanations.... If you start to get more into history, scriptures, scholarship, other questions the publisher Greg Kofford has many reputable books: https://gregkofford.com/ Most importantly - In addition to studying, even more important is to live the things you have learned. Also, gaining spiritual knowledge is based on your obedience, as the D&C says. In other words, try to love God and your neighbor foremost in your life.
  8. What a beautiful witness by a sweet, good man. I like his quote: "Once you leave this church, it ruins you for any other church, because you just know too much." http://www.ldsliving.com/Watch-Tad-Callister-Gives-Evidences-of-the-Book-of-Mormon-How-It-Brought-His-Friend-Back-to-the-Church/s/91166
  9. This appears to be a very poorly researched book, and to be full of misleading teachings about the Book of Mormon. "A Review of the Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon" By Stephen Smoot https://www.plonialmonimormon.com/2019/06/a-review-of-the-annotated-edition-of-the-book-of-mormon-part-1.html
  10. Interesting article A journey into the Holy of Holies — in a Latter-day Saints temple https://www.jweekly.com/2019/05/14/a-journey-into-the-holy-of-holies-in-a-latter-day-saints-temple/
  11. I really like this quote: It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings. — Wendell Berry
  12. Hi, I see lots of great comments here so far already, so I'll just throw out my two cents. The main doctrine here as I see it is about growing to become a better person. Also, a core doctrine or our church seems to be that we are spirit children of God. So what we are growing to become is specifically to be like our divine parents - full of love, knowledge, wisdom, joy, self-mastery, etc. This concept isn't so hard to understand - in the natural world, things that are born of parents naturally grow up to be like their parents. God wants us to have the unimaginably (to us currently) wonderful kind of life he has. If we are willing to qualify for it through hard work and obedience. We will all eventually become resurrected beings and "adults" to some degree. But we won't all reach our highest potential (to be like our divine parents) if we aren't willing to live according to the laws required to reach that state. As far as specifics about how all this works, how God began, etc. - I don't think we have a lot of information yet. The veil - right? So while I think it's important to keep pondering and learning, it can also be unproductive to speculate too much or to assume that we have answers about things that we really don't know yet. To the OP - in my view some of the things you state as known or obvious facts are not really known to us that degree. Peace
  13. tesuji

    I need some help and cheering

    I was sorry to hear about your trials. My feeling is that you shouldn't give up. There are no perfect people in the church. If you imagine spiritual progress as being like a staircase, it doesn't matter where you are on the stairs. It matters which direction you are moving. If you are moving up, you are OK. Christ's atonement paid for all our sins. Keep trying. If you are interested in a long talk, I love this one by Elder Bednar, about how Christ will help us do what is right: https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/david-a-bednar_strength-lord/ Best wishes to you
  14. I've really been enjoying this TV show about devout Jewish singles in Jerusalem. Maybe some of you would enjoy it too. Srugim https://www.amazon.com/Episode-01-English-Subtitled/dp/B00DTP198A/ It's fascinating to me to see religious Jews portrayed as they see themselves, and I've enjoyed learning more about their culture. As a Mormon, I see many parallels with what it's like for me, being religious in secular America. These people keep the Sabbath, dress modestly, and have very chaste dating relationships. And they are all trying to get married - BYU deja vu Of course, Mormons do not have nearly the same number of daily rituals, but I admire these folks for their devotion. The acting is also first rate, and the characters interesting. I feel like these people are almost my neighbors now. Here are a couple reviews, which might help explain why this show is interesting: Why Secular Americans Can’t Get Enough of 'Srugim' http://forward.com/sisterhood/201313/why-secular-americans-can-t-get-enough-of-srugim/ The Best TV Show of 2014 Is From 2008.. And it’s about Modern Orthodox Jews dating in Jerusalem http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/television/2014/06/israeli_tv_series_srugim_reviewed.html As far as I can find out, this is only available on Amazon and also DVD. However, in the past it's also been on Hulu, so maybe it will show up there again. If you search on Youtube you can see samples of the show, too.
  15. tesuji

    Hi Pam,

    I ran across this article you might be interested in, if you haven't seen it.

    I really believe this will be a major area of attack from anti-Mormons in the future. 

    The Next Generation’s Faith Crisis | Times & Seasons
    http://www.timesandseasons.org/harchive/2014/10/the-next-generations-faith-crisis/

    If you are interested in learning more about this subject, I recommend: 
    How to Read the Bible by James Kugel, and
    Mormons and the Bible by Philip Barlow

    Best wishes,
    Mark

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. tesuji

      tesuji

      I don't come to this site much these days (the politics really turns me off). Feel free to reach me at my email address: [email protected] If you have occasional, isolated things you could use my help with, I could probably make the time.

    3. pam

      pam

      I'm hoping now that the election is over the political threads will somewhat die down.  

    4. tesuji

      tesuji

      I don't think I can be in this forum, unless the site decides in the future to isolate political threads into one area, and to allow users to hide all those political.

      An example of what I'm talking about is at the following board game hobby site. If someone posts something about politics, religion, or sex, they flag it and move the thread to this forum. You can see it near the bottom of this page: https://boardgamegeek.com/forums/region/1/boardgamegeek

      The link says:

      Religion, Sex, and Politics
      Discuss these topics here (only here!)

      I personally think politics in your Mormon forum is directly against what the forum should be about. That's just my opinion - I know you've said the site owners don't see it.