What I've Learned from Modern Prophets


Justice
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Something that helped me is the recent discussion about those who are attracted to the same sex.

When I was 14 I went to the movies with a few friends in San Francisco. For the first time I saw two men walking arm-in-arm. Then, they stopped and kissed. Honestly, at the time I was disgusted. My friends started making jokes, and worse, talked about being violent toward them, which I guess is a common reaction. As I pondered the situation over the next couple of weeks I realized that even though I don't agree with what they did, they are people, children of God, even if they are doing something I view to be wrong.

For decades not much surfaced about how or why people are homosexual. I read pieces here and there but none of it felt right. It just seemed the authors were missing something. Many said it was a choice they made, and that all behavior is a choice. I partly agreed, but wondered how someone who felt like me could choose to have relations with other men. It was just impossible. I knew there had to be more.

Elder Oaks gave an interview about this topic not many years ago and the light bulb came on. He said that NO ONE chooses what gender they will be attacted to. I thought to myself, you know, I never made a deliberate choice to be attracted to girls, I just was. So, that made sense. He said that people who are attracted to the same sex can have full membership standing, and a temple recommed, as long as they are worthy just like everyone else. That made sense.

He explained it was the choice to be involved with inappropriate behavior that was a sin. That can be true for people of the opposite sex as well.

It all made sense. But, at the same time a lot of the world still continues to have the same discussions about "it has to be their choice because God would not make them that way." And, that makes no sense. God did not have to make them that way for them to indeed be that way. It could be a chemical imbalance or some other deficiency or abundance or acids, hormones, or anything else, caused by a natural event during their development. And, even if He did, they can have full membership in the Church if they keep the commandments, just like everyone else.

I think this contribution by a modern Apostle goes a long way toward bringing understanding toward those who are attracted to the same sex. Dividing the attraction from the relations was the key for me, and I had never heard it explained with such clarity.

(This isn't a thread about SSA or SSR, but about what knowledge you have gained from modern prophets that has helped you.)

Edited by Justice
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I'll be honest, it's hard to pick something out. The issue is what I've learned is kinda seamlessly entwined with my life. There are many times when they give voice to or bring into focus aspects I've learned but in a sense the teaching programs of the Church are effective enough (along with some personal study and at home teaching) that it's hard to categorize something in particular. Does that make any sense? I'm not claiming I've never learned anything, far from it, just it seems like a slow continuous trickle instead of flashes of insight occurring in singular moments that I can point to. It's like picking a particular raindrop in a rain shower.

Edited by Dravin
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I'm with Dravin. I will need to think on this one. Presently I can't come up with just one thing that completely stands out. It's little things here and there. I've heard talks that have stood out to me. Ones that REALLY made me think on the subject.

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Guest gopecon

I think that we use that phrase when talking about why we are different from traditional Christianity. We don't rely strictly on the Bible. In my opinion, the most important thing that we know about from modern prophets is the nature of God as revealed to Joseph Smith. He is our loving Father who wants us to return to Him and to become more like him. He is a tangible being in whose image we were created, not an amorphous essence that exists everywhere in the Universe.

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I think one specific thing I have learned concerns murder and suicide. Almost all my growing up years and even through a lot of my adulthood, I was taught you can't be forgiven for these.

But modern prophets have taught otherwise. I've learned that Christ will judge the intent and what was in their hearts. For those that end their life by suicide...their emotional being will be taken into account.

I think this is a big one for me.

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Guest mormonmusic
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I can't say that I learned much from them in terms of content or life skills. I think more than anything they kept me believing there was a power greater than I am, and their commitment boosted my testimony. The fact that many believe they have had special witnesses also makes them somewhat larger than average men. They also lifted my spirits and hope of a better world at certain times. Sometimes their advice, while good for society at large, was actually not very good for my family. With its unique peculiarities and it took me over 15 years to realize that one has to run their advice through their own judgment, circumstances, and revelation to decide what is truly best in one's situation.

The best advice I ever received was to "seek learning out fo the best books" from the D&C. I have learned much fropm self-help books more than any other source as they are practical, specific, and current.

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When I think of how modern prophets have helped me, I think of the clarity they give on things that are right and wrong, especially in comparison to the common world view. If we did not have the revelation of modern prophets, what consistency would we have in the ever changing turbulence of morality in the world?

Here are some examples:

The world says pornography and masturbation are normal and okay. Modern prophets have revealed that pornography is a perversion of something sacred and that masturbation breaks the law of chastity.

The world believes the proper way to date is to "go steady" with one individual, have premarital relations to make sure you are "compatible", and live together before you get married to make sure you can get along. Modern prophets have revealed that we should date several individuals while maintaining our standards and virtue, avoid going steady, and save ourselves for marriage.

The world view on modesty is constantly changing. Modern prophets have given us specific guidelines to follow in how to dress.

The world is only now starting to recognize that a strong family unit is important as societal values fall apart, because parental duties are either being ignored or passed off to others- teachers, law enforcers, day care providers, etc. Modern prophets have given us revelation on the importance of family and general guidelines in striving to maintain family unity.

And the list goes on and on. Everywhere there is a strong difference between the ways of the world and what we are taught in church, I give credit to modern prophets for providing the clear word and direction of God to define right and wrong.

Edited by JudoMinja
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I honestly can't think of anything that is uniquely mormon that I've learned from prophets since 1978, when they changed the policy of blacks and priesthood

I think this post here, is, well, kind of insulting. I mean, the mormons don't have a monopoly on morality, ethics and family. I think the world is more moral than you want to give them credit for.

I have found this kind of attitude quite prevalent in the morcor, more so than the LDS people I know outside of Utah and S. Idaho --- and I think it gives fuel to the folks who claim that Mormons are "arrogant."

When I think of how modern prophets have helped me, I think of the clarity they give on things that are right and wrong, especially in comparison to the common world view. If we did not have the revelation of modern prophets, what consistency would we have in the ever changing turbulence of morality in the world?

Here are some examples:

The world says pornography and masturbation are normal and okay. Modern prophets have revealed that pornography is a perversion of something sacred and that masturbation breaks the law of chastity.

The world believes the proper way to date is to "go steady" with one individual, have premarital relations to make sure you are "compatible", and live together before you get married to make sure you can get along. Modern prophets have revealed that we should date several individuals while maintaining our standards and virtue, avoid going steady, and save ourselves for marriage.

The world view on modesty is constantly changing. Modern prophets have given us specific guidelines to follow in how to dress.

The world is only now starting to recognize that a strong family unit is important as societal values fall apart, because parental duties are either being ignored or passed off to others- teachers, law enforcers, day care providers, etc. Modern prophets have given us revelation on the importance of family and general guidelines in striving to maintain family unity.

And the list goes on and on. Everywhere there is a strong difference between the ways of the world and what we are taught in church, I give credit to modern prophets for providing the clear word and direction of God to define right and wrong.

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I think this post here, is, well, kind of insulting. I mean, the mormons don't have a monopoly on morality, ethics and family. I think the world is more moral than you want to give them credit for.

I have found this kind of attitude quite prevalent in the morcor, more so than the LDS people I know outside of Utah and S. Idaho --- and I think it gives fuel to the folks who claim that Mormons are "arrogant."

"Morcor"..never heard that before..sounds like a term used in Utah or S. Idaho.

It's not a zero sum game here, gratitude to the Prophet does not equal an attitude of superiority over non-members. Where did she state Mormons have a monopoly on morality, ethics and family?

..did I just feed the Troll?

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Has no one here listened to General Conference? You can find all kinds of pearls of wisdom there. No, it doesn't have to be the huge might bulb revelation moment, but they are talking all the time about how we can make our lives better or insights to the eternities. Elder Oaks gave an excellent talk on Desire in the April 2011 Conference. Every month in Priesthood we review one of those talks and how they relate to us personally.

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Guest gopecon

I think his point was that "be moral" admonitions from the prophets is not a unique teaching that other Christian (or other faiths for that matter) leaders have not also said. For example, we are not alone in the fight against pornography. We were not alone in the fight to protect the sanctity of marriage. It IS IMPORTANT that prophets speak on issues that are happening today. Part of their vital role is to ensure that we are not being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, to ensure that the unchanging standards of God are constantly held up as our ideal. That said, is a speech about the evils of pornography providing new teachings for us to "learn", or is it a reminder and a warning as to the snares that could befall us? If we could hear the same message at our local protestant or catholic church, it's not the best evidence of the need for specially called modern prophets.

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I honestly can't think of anything that is uniquely mormon that I've learned from prophets since 1978, when they changed the policy of blacks and priesthood

I think this post here, is, well, kind of insulting. I mean, the mormons don't have a monopoly on morality, ethics and family. I think the world is more moral than you want to give them credit for.

I have found this kind of attitude quite prevalent in the morcor, more so than the LDS people I know outside of Utah and S. Idaho --- and I think it gives fuel to the folks who claim that Mormons are "arrogant."

I never said the LDS have a monopoly on morality, ethics, or the family. I said that LDS teachings in comparison to the common teachings we find in the world (through media, advertisement, general public opinion, etc) shows a very stark contrast like what I illustrated with my examples. This does not mean that LDS people are the only moral people or that we can only find moral teachings in the LDS church. But in general, there is a very stark and obvious difference between what modern prophets are saying and what the "world" is saying. That, in large part, is why we are considered a "peculiar" people.

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think this post here, is, well, kind of insulting.

Well anything is insulting if you want to spin it as insulting.

I mean, the mormons don't have a monopoly on morality, ethics and family.

Good thing she didn't claim it was. Values are shifting, things that once society at large declared as good or as evil is changing. There are large parts of society, such as various other religions, which hold to a firm morality, ethics, and godly concepts of family, but more and more society at large is becoming more accepting of things contrary to God's standard.

The world is not some group labeled "Everyone not Mormon", the world is a growing segment of people across various demographics which is experiencing what she's decrying. It's a group that cuts across demographics, you find atheists, mainstream Christians, and yes LDS among it's ranks. Are these people completely morally bankrupt? No, but they are a part of a growing societal acceptance of behaviors and beliefs contrary to God's teachings.

I also suspect (please correct me if I'm mistaken though) that you're taking offense at the idea that she's grateful for modern Prophets for taking a stand and teachings God's standards on the subjects. Considering she's LDS it's not surprising that the people she learned those stands from were members of the Church, from Modern Prophets. If she was Catholic she'd be grateful for the RCC's ecclesiastical authorities for teaching her those truths. The question of the thread is not what unique things have you learn from Modern Prophets that are not taught in any capacity anywhere else, it is what you've learned from Modern Prophets. Plenty of churches decry pornography, but a lot of us raised in the Church learned it from modern prophets and the organs of the LDS Church (along with home), the Assemblies of God may very well teach about it's evils but that's not where most of us who are going to come into this thread have learned it.

I have found this kind of attitude quite prevalent in the morcor, more so than the LDS people I know outside of Utah and S. Idaho --- and I think it gives fuel to the folks who claim that Mormons are "arrogant."

Interestingly I've found a certain attitude to exist to take anything a Jello Belt Mormon (or anyone suspected of being such) says in the worst possible light to confirm people's conceptions of just what Jello Belt Mormons are like. You get situations where someone asks a way to do things and someone pipes up with, "Well back in Utah we did it this way." and a fair number of people seem to hear, "In Zion, the true and righteous location of the Church, that is to say Utah, we did things the way directly ordained by God and not the way you people do it out here in the *ick* 'mission field'. I will now take the opportunity teach you degenerates in the true order of Church affairs by telling you how we did it in Most Holy Utah."

Maybe you can take a break from busily imputing motives to ask her what she means and if she's trying to imply what you are attributing to her.

Edited by Dravin
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Has no one here listened to General Conference? You can find all kinds of pearls of wisdom there. No, it doesn't have to be the huge might bulb revelation moment, but they are talking all the time about how we can make our lives better or insights to the eternities. Elder Oaks gave an excellent talk on Desire in the April 2011 Conference. Every month in Priesthood we review one of those talks and how they relate to us personally.

The 'problem' for me is the sheer number of gems and pearls and teachings. The very foundation of my moral and religious core (and a lot of the finishing work, such that exists) was learned from the teachings of modern prophets (and ancient ones). It's almost like trying to pick out a favorite brick from a brick wall.

What am I grateful for? The Word of Wisdom. Teachings about the Atonement. The Law of Chastity. Service. Sacrifice. Charity. All these things I've had taught to me and reinforced through the teachings of modern prophets, and all of these have benefited me and made not only my life better, but me better.

Edited by Dravin
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This is what I was getting at. Thanks

I think his point was that "be moral" admonitions from the prophets is not a unique teaching that other Christian (or other faiths for that matter) leaders have not also said. For example, we are not alone in the fight against pornography. We were not alone in the fight to protect the sanctity of marriage. It IS IMPORTANT that prophets speak on issues that are happening today. Part of their vital role is to ensure that we are not being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, to ensure that the unchanging standards of God are constantly held up as our ideal. That said, is a speech about the evils of pornography providing new teachings for us to "learn", or is it a reminder and a warning as to the snares that could befall us? If we could hear the same message at our local protestant or catholic church, it's not the best evidence of the need for specially called modern prophets.

I have no problem that our LDS prophets are preaching the same message as other prophets from different faiths. That is a good thing. I just can't think of anything that is uniquely mormon that I've heard come from SLC since the 70's, that I don't hear other prophets talking about as well.

I mean, take the proclamation to the family. Great advice! But that is certainly not uniquely mormon. There are billions of folks who believe that and I would say that the majority of the population support strong families.

So Windseeker, does that make me a troll?

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Well, what uniquely mormon revelations have we gotten from the prophets since 1978? It seems to me, most of the revelations and GC talks are pretty well just revitalizing the current doctrine?

There is rarely 'new' doctrine simply because the doctrine is laid out in the scriptures. We have a rough enough time keeping the current commandments and understanding the doctrine we have, why would the Lord overload us with new stuff?

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Not to get all Clintonesque, but how are we defining "revelation" here? Is the Church's building policy a product of revelation? How about the numerous changes to its auxiliary programs? How about the modifications to our temple liturgy?

It is obviously true that we haven't added to our canon since 1978/81. We haven't had any earthshaking glimpses into the eternities--at least, that could be spoon-fed to the entire Church as a whole--except, maybe, for the PotF's idea that gender is an essential and eternal part of one's spiritual identity; and there's a critical mass of Mormons who won't even accept that.

But can we still credit prophets with revelation if either a) they create conditions within the Church that make it possible for members to go out and get their own revelations; or b) they re-teach old concepts in such a way that it ignites the revelatory process within each of us?

Is the prophet's role to get me to repent and come unto Christ? Or is his role to be a doctrinal showman?

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But can we still credit prophets with revelation if either a) they create conditions within the Church that make it possible for members to go out and get their own revelations;

I like that. My first thought to this thread, which I guess I should have just said so I didn't get labeled a troll, was to say that what I think the most valuable thing LDS prophets have shown me, is that we are all prophets and have access to the gods. And that we can all go to the gods for answers and knowledge. And that we should seek truth and wisdom where ever we can find it. I think Joseph Smith was a great prophet and example of this kind of a belief system.

I guess I misunderstood the purpose the thread. I thought we were talking about "modern day" prophets, as in prophets in our lifetime.

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I don't need huge "bolt of lightning" revelations to state that I learned something new from modern prophets. I could listen to a general conference talk on something I've heard all my life and say "Wow I never quite thought of it like that before, I just learned something."

While some would say that the brethren don't teach anything new that may be true. But it's those small moments when some clarification of something that I may not have understood or perhaps just strikes a chord with me..those are the shining moments of those talks for me.

President Uchtdorf's talk at the general relief society meeting struck that chord not only with me but with so many women. All of a sudden it was okay not to be the super mom, the super member, the woman that has to do everything and do it perfectly. It was like a burden being lifted off my shoulders per se.

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Guest gopecon

JAG - a prophet's role is to speak for God. Most of the time that comes in the form of reiterating prior teachings that we have failed to master, rather than enlightening us with newly revealed eternal truths. Given the spectacular things done/seen by the prophets of old, there is an inherent desire for our prophets to be more exciting. Even Pres. Hinckley's warning about stormy (financial) weather was carefully phrased as a general warning about getting our houses in order, rather than a "thus saith the Lord, in 7 years I will ..." prophecy.

There have been quite a few changes to the way things are done in the last 35 years. We've gone to the 3 hour meeting block, standards for missionary service have changed, temples are going up at a far more rapid pace that ever before, the Church is more actively trying to bolster its image in the world, budgeting has changed to help poorer units, and the unit level council process (ward council, PEC, etc.) has been improved. We are led by men of God, we just need to be careful about setting expectations for them that are not inline with what they have been called to do.

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