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Lucky4341

Husband concerned over factual errors in church?

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Hello!

   I was raised in the LDS faith and later was given the freedom to explore other religious sections in my teens and early adulthood. I'm 31 now and would like to return to the LDS community because I love its emphasis on family values, rejection of drugs and unhealthy lifestyles, continual effort toward self-improvement, and helping others.

   I would be most happy if my husband would at least tolerate this venture with me, but he did not grow up in the faith and has serious reservations about becoming involved in the local LDS community because of some of the churches more far-reaching groundwork. Examples of this are the church's history of having leaders that practiced polygamy (and it still teaches believe polygamy will be practiced in the spirit world) and the fact that the archaeological record in North America does not collaborate with the Book of Mormon.

   These issues (especially when it comes to the historical record) trouble me as well, but I am able to look past them because of the present teachings of the church. The LDS people I know and have known have generally been nice, helpful and sincere people, and I rationalize these inconsistencies by pointing out that the faith obviously serves some people and drives them to be better versions of themselves. My husband, however, has become increasingly against my having any involvement with the church, and is presently at a place where he realizes he couldn't stop me from going alone, but he wouldn't go and wouldn't let me take our toddler, either.

   I live in a geographical area without a lot of religious diversity (most people here are catholic), and some of my motivation for wanting to reactivate in the church is social in nature. Am I interested in the church for the wrong reason? If not, what are some talking points I can use to help my husband understand where I'm coming from?

  Thanks in advance for your help!

 

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Well I'm in the same boat as you in some aspects.

 

If attending church (which your husband seems to forbid) literally going to tear your family apart - don't do it. Despite his reservation and sceptiscism, I'm assuming your husband is a wonderful spouse and father? If this is the case, try baby steps that aren't so abrasive to him, like maybe a ward activity that doesn't revolve around a sit down doctrine lesson but is primarily a social opportunity for the community to get together. Or maybe you can volunteer at a charity event and invite him to join us, emphasising that this isn't a "Mormon thing" but a "giving back to the community thing". If you're just wanting social interaction, while the Church is known well for this dynamic, there are other venues you can find this. Maybe look online for meet up groups with other mothers who have toddlers. Good luck.

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Lets start with you first.

 

Ideally you should come back because you know this is where God wants you to be.  All the things that you mentioned as reason are very nice, but they can also all fall apart on you.  They all depend on other people and other people screw up all the time.

 

I would recommend that you seek out God's path for you above all else.  This requires study, prayer and a willingness to believe.

 

Now you have mentioned that you and your husband have certain issues.  Polygamy is a big issue, it can be a hard issue even for active lifelong members.  But until you have reason to think that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and the LDS Church is lead by revelation it is simply a historical fact that should not really have any impact on you.

 

So lets focus on something more basic like the Book of Mormon.  Its called the keystone of our religion for a reason.  Its where everything about the LDS faith begins and becomes different from the other Christian faiths.  It is the foundation of our Missionary and conversion efforts.

 

It a simple process of reading the Book of Mormon and then praying and asking God if it is true.  Once you get that answer then your path can become very clear.

 

That is the path I would recommend for you. 

 

Now you say you and your husband have issues with the Historical record that the Book of Mormon is a part of.  If I might be do bold as to say... Most people don't have a clue what the most current scientific/archaeological record says about America.  Most of us have absorbed as "truth" information that is woefully out of date and inaccurate.  To back up this claim I refer you to the work of John L Sorenson http://www.amazon.com/Mormons-Codex-Ancient-American-Book-ebook/dp/B00F64T8SA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417449904&sr=8-1&keywords=mormons+codex  He is an archaeologist that has spent his life researching/studying the Americas.  He shows what the Book of Mormon describes can very easily fit into what they currently know. 

 

His work is not proof.  But if you need to reset your (and or your Husband's) thinking on what was really possible here in past of the America's his work does that very well.  Which then might open you (and your Husband) to the possibility that the Book of Mormon might be true.  And that could make all the difference in the world in your study and prayers.

 

 

 

 

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Ditto to what Bini said.

 

If your husband is willing to discuss some of his concerns, then doing so will probably be a good idea.  A lot of the arguments against the church can be unraveled with rational discussion and/or faith.  For example, the "no archeology" argument is easily counter (at least for me).

 

If your husband is unwilling to discuss things, trying to force the issue is a bad idea.  Again, ditto to Bini's advice.  

 

As to your motivations: I don't think a desire to be social is a bad thing.  After all, God made us and wants us to help each other.  However, social-ness shouldn't be your only motivation because the church is much more than a club.  Examine yourself: if you want to be back in church to have a relationship with Christ then you're good.  

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Lucky4341,

 

You're not interested in the church for the wrong reasons. But, ultimately, the foundation of your activity in the church MUST be built on the solid ground of testimony and a witness from the Spirit of the truth and divinity of the church and it's message. This will be true of your husband as well. He may someday investigate the truth claims of the church more seriously from a spiritual point of view because of the example and joy he sees in you for having done the same. So your best bet is to approach the church and your involvement therein from a spiritual point of view and a relationship-with-Christ point of view. That means prayer, pondering, scripture study, and an exercising of faith and humility to turn your heart to God.

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Lady Luck:

 

Are you familiar with the NEAL A. MAXWELL INSTITUTE FOR RELIGIOUS SCHOLARSHIP, the FOUNDATION FOR INDIGENOUS RESEARCH AND MORMONISM (i.e., the F.I.R.M. Foundation), and/or the FAIR MORMON (i.e., originally known as the FOUNDATION FOR APOLOGETIC INFORMATION AND RESEARCH) resources?

 

They may be able to assist you with valuable scholarly research regarding many of your questions.

 

Concentrate on the BOOK OF MORMON.

 

The entire existence of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints hinges on whether or not the BOOK OF MORMON is truly the word of God.

 

If the BOOK OF MORMON is true, then everything else is true, also.

 

But, if the BOOK OF MORMON is fake, then the entire Church is fraudulent.

 

So, which is it, and how do you find out for yourself?

 

You, your husband, and anyone else who wants to know must read the BOOK OF MORMON and the HOLY BIBLE.

You, your husband, and anyone else who wants to know must then carefully study the BOOK OF MORMON and the HOLY BIBLE.

You, your husband, and anyone else who wants to know must then pray to the Author of those two books (who is God) about the validity of the BOOK OF MORMON and the HOLY BIBLE.

You, your husband, and anyone else who wants to know must then experiment with what principles have been ascertained from within the BOOK OF MORMON and the HOLY BIBLE.

These are the steps that every convert, including myself, have had to take prior to gaining their testimony of the restored gospel.

When doubts arise, and they will, and/or your faith is shaken, as it will be, I recommend relying on the example set by Peter, as recorded i JOHN 6: 66 - 69.

 

Edited by writesong

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I make a point to read things that are anti-church. I go out of my way to do so (I'm weird like that). 

 

In a paradoxical way, it's helped my faith. Most of the attacks are not based in logic or history. Are there some gaps in church history or archeology? Yup. Do we know for sure they won't be resolved in the future? Nope. 

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Is he Catholic or is affiliated with any other Christian faith?  Because... the Bible itself, not to mention the religious practices of any Christian denomination is full of factual inconsistencies and all that...

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Is he Catholic or is affiliated with any other Christian faith?  Because... the Bible itself, not to mention the religious practices of any Christian denomination is full of factual inconsistencies and all that...

100% correct! In my opinion that's why we need living prophets/apostles to reveal God's word to us. 

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At the risk of opening a can of worms (almost but not quite as dangerous as a Diet of Worms), let me suggest that the basis of concern is itself false. I know of no major historical inconsistencies, certainly no more than any other historical occurrence or movement of that era. There are always contradictory sources, but that proves nothing beyond the self-evident fact that people don't keep perfect records.

 

If the "contradictions" you speak of are supposed defects of early (or modern) Church leaders, my response is twofold: First, many such charges were leveled by those with axes to grind. Don't look for impartiality among such people. Second, even if the charges are true, what of it? None of the early leaders, least of all Joseph Smith himself, claimed to be perfect and sinless men. The question is not whether he was perfect; the question is whether he was a prophet.

 

I also realize that many people dislike doctrines such as polygamy. At the risk of giving offense, my response is that whether you like a doctrine or not is irrelevant. If a doctrine is true, personal taste has nothing to do with the matter. Albert Einstein, the greatest physicist of the last hundred years and arguably of all time, greatly disliked of the implications of quantum theory. This had nothing at all to do with whether or not it was a good model. (It was, despite Einstein's objections.) If someone is really that hung up about plural marriage, I would suggest that they simply be glad we are not required to live it today.

 

I realize the above does nothing to directly address your questions. I just thought it was worth mentioning in the context of the discussion.

Edited by Vort

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I also realize that many people dislike doctrines such as polygamy. At the risk of giving offense, my response is that whether you like a doctrine or not is irrelevant. If a doctrine is true, personal taste has nothing to do with the matter. Albert Einstein, the greatest physicist of the last hundred years and arguably of all time, greatly disliked of the implications of quantum theory. This had to do with whether or not it was a good model. (It was, despite Einstein's objections.) If someone is really that hung up about plural marriage, I would suggest that they simply be glad we are not required to live it today.

 

Very well said. 

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I make a point to read things that are anti-church. I go out of my way to do so (I'm weird like that). 

I avoid it like the plague. Most are written by ex-members and are extremely virulent. It saps the Spirit right out of you and very unproductive. There is a lot of evidence in the forum of people whose testimony is lost from just reading that junk. Satan is powerful.  I don't play with him.

 

To Lucky4341, it would concern me if he did not want your child at church. Does he have an alternative?  I wouldn't mind my children going to another church, for the sake of religious education, but I wouldn't want them to have zero religion. Your personal salvation should always come first, then your children. Time will allow you to teach the Gospel by action. Don't be concerned that the way things are today are the way they will always be. All things are temporary. 

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I avoid it like the plague. Most are written by ex-members and are extremely virulent. It saps the Spirit right out of you and very unproductive. There is a lot of evidence in the forum of people whose testimony is lost from just reading that junk. Satan is powerful.  I don't play with him.

 

 

I hear that and don't disagree, but how can we counter it if we don't know what they are saying? 

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A few points you can talk about...

 

1. Polygamy was not invented by Joe Smith. God's people in the Bible did it - some of the most blessed patriarchs did it. It is the Western culture that called it bad. It's merely a culture thing. People don't want to think he was a prophet, so the ignorantly point out that he practice polygamy as if it was a bad thing, because it our culture it is deemed that way. Whereas, someone from the Judaic culture might hear that he practiced polygamy and see that as a sign of a true prophet, something Abraham would do, you see?  

 

2. Book of Mormon proof is not to be found in the new world. Those people and their way of life was completely destroyed and altered. Your historical proof comes from the old world. The Book of Mormon is a very Hebrew writing. All the culture in the BoM fits right in with the Judaic culture. Hugh Nibley's "Teachings of the Book of Mormon" will help you with that.

 

3. Remember that you are trying to discuss this with someone that lacks the spirit of God. Until the spirit is there, they will not learn. So you must act in love and in faith. It is God's responsibility to prepare people and it is your responsibility to be an example.

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1. Polygamy was not invented by Joe Smith. 

 

I would be careful when talking to those within the church and referring to the Prophet Joseph Smith as Joe Smith.  Joe Smith is usually how he is referred to by antis.

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LOL, I didn't say Ol' Joe Smith! :)  Actually, Joe is just easier to type, as I always seem to type Joseph incorrectly the first time.... see, I had to correct it there too! Something about the E and the H gets messed up every time. Must be the layout on the keyboard! Hhahaa... anyway, I'll make the effort to type it out. We want to avoid even the appearance of evil

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First of all, So what if you want to associate with the church for social reasons?  Since when has that been "wrong"?  I have a Native American friend.  I love being around her and exposing myself to her mind and her culture.  And she is seriously funny.  Are my motives for hanging out with her "wrong"?  Oh goodness.

 

The bigger issue is your marriage and learning to balance his needs and your needs and negotiating things in a way that honors both of you.

 

My advice is to preach less and listen more.  And maybe it's listening to each other for a long time....giving time to let the ideas settle into each other and allowing each other time to process things.  When people are afraid, they tend to dig in heals and say stuff that sounds absolute!  I think fears calm when they are considered and validated and understood.

 

What scares your husband about you going back to the church?  Are you sure it's about all that doctrinal stuff?  If it is, find what all the stuff means to your husband and how he is perceiving it.  If you can boil it all down, you might discover the problem is much less complex than you originally thought.  Or maybe not, maybe he just hates mormon doctrine and hates even more the idea of you attending.  But in the end, you'll support your marriage more if you don't go to war with each other over this.  Give it time and patience and understanding instead.

Edited by Misshalfway

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