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priesthoodpower

Teaching my kids about LDS History

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I forget which apostle in recent times said that in regards to Joseph Smith using the seer stone in a hat ..."some of the truth is not neccesary" (not an exact quote but along those lines).

 

I find it very hard not to teach my 12,8,6 yr old kids about the truth. I want to teach them our history in my own home so that they will feel empowered when confronted with it later on in life maybe as missionarys or on the internet.

 

How should I approach this? I dont want my kids to know the truth and then in church have people look at them like they are crazy because our leaders dont even teach it (some leaders still probably dont even know about it).

 

 

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I don't recall hearing such a quote.  Quite the opposite, I think the Leaders are making an effort to be more transparent with the Joseph Smith papers as one example.  

 

My policy is to teach my kids the truth, as well as I know it.  I openly talk to them (when it is age appropriate) about polygamy, polyandry, and peep stones and hats.  Better that they hear it from my husband and I, with our testimonies, than from some anti with an ax to grind.  

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I have to agree with LP.  I think the church has really been working hard to bring those tough history subjects more to light.  I think subjects have been more open.  Especially with the essays that are on lds.org.  

 

I say teach them in the way you want as long as the facts are correct.  

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There is a world of difference between a parent teaching their children... And a teacher or leader teaching a large group, with larger groups the instructor is more likely to miss those that might be struggling with a concept.  Therefore things like Joseph Smith translating with a Seer Stone is not as necessary as teaching that he Translated by the Gift and Power of God.  The last one is just as much true as the first one and it also covers the first one as well.

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I have always been clear with my children about what I found to be the truth. My children, and now grandchildren, see me living the gospel despite the quirks we can't fully understand about church history. It is hard to understand any period of history, because we live in such different times than any generation before. 

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Okay, here it is again...

Church is for BUILDING UP FAITH. If it doesn't build up faith, it should not be taught in Church - hence, teachers are adviced not to stray from the lesson especially into areas that have been known to shake faith. It is just NOT the time nor place for it.

Things that lead to confusion and contention but deemed necessary for learning is to be discussed at home. That's what Family Home Evening is for. This is the EXACT time and place for it because, as the Patriarch of the family, you have the knowledge and inspiration to know exactly what your family needs in your journey towards Christ. Not only should you know what to teach, you should also know HOW to teach it (unique to every family member) such that it brings your family closer to Christ instead of drive them away.

1 Corinthians 14 is not about women's voices being suppressed such that they aren't allowed to speak in Church. It is, first and foremost, about Priesthood Authority over the organization of the Church. Additionally, it is also about contentious questions not having a place at Church - rather, they need to be asked at home under the Priesthood Authority of the Family Patriarch.

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Make sure you understand the whole story.  Anti-Mormons like to use the stone in the hat to make it sound odd, but when you understand the translation process (fully documented in church history) it makes perfect sense, and is only a fraction of the miracle that the translation of the Book of Mormon is.  So, tell the whole story, and don't overemphaize things that really aren't that important (but like to be used negatively).

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I forget which apostle in recent times said that in regards to Joseph Smith using the seer stone in a hat ..."some of the truth is not neccesary" (not an exact quote but along those lines).

 

I find it very hard not to teach my 12,8,6 yr old kids about the truth. I want to teach them our history in my own home so that they will feel empowered when confronted with it later on in life maybe as missionarys or on the internet.

 

How should I approach this? I dont want my kids to know the truth and then in church have people look at them like they are crazy because our leaders dont even teach it (some leaders still probably dont even know about it).

 

The quote you're probably thinking of is "Some things that are true are not very useful" by President Packer, given at a CES Symposium (citation below).  The larger context of the quote is that while there many things which are true, but have various degrees of usefulness (which I would agree with).  To give two extreme examples: the truth that Christ is our savior (critically important and useful) versus the number of Conoco gas stations in Lincoln Nebraska (not so useful....)

 

But just because something is not critically important doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't be taught (I'm all for church history), just make sure that the critically important things are taught too :).  

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Partly, we need to be careful what we're calling "truth"

 

The truth is that there are not, really, that many quotes stating the means that Joseph may have used to translate. A few quotes does not equate to a truth about how he actually translated.

 

It is entirely possible that Joseph, for example, tried it out the hat method once or twice, and that got mentioned, and now that has been latched onto as "the way" by the anti crowd. There are, of course, differing reports of how he translated.

 

All we know is that these various methods were reported by someone. But that does not define "truth".

 

It's also just as possible that Joseph did not translate this way (with the hat), but that he merely experimented to see how and if it affected things. We really don't know. We also don't really know how reliable such witnesses as Elizabeth Ann Whitmer Cowdery were. For all we know she was a nutter and/or made stuff up for the pleasure of sounding like she knew stuff. Who knows.

 

All we really have is reports, and those reports were interpreted by those reporting, and then are interpreted by us, and bias and misunderstanding is potentially introduced every step of the way.

 

It makes sense to me to teach children the truth, for the most part, but we need to teach the "truth", and not interpretations that may or may not be truth.

 

The truth is that we don't really know how the translation process occurred, for the most part, except that it was by the power of God. Mentioning the reports of different potential methods isn't harmful, imo. But to teach children that historical reports define absolute truth is harmful.

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Mentioning the reports of different potential methods isn't harmful, imo. But to teach children that historical reports define absolute truth is harmful.

This needs emphasizing.

In my house, I may not teach my children WHAT to think, but I will always teach them HOW to think so they may find out for themselves WHAT to think.

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If we are not only reading the scriptures with our children, but are taking the time to stop and talk about what we read, finding out about seer stones and the like shouldn't shake the foundation. Do we breeze over why it was okay for Nephi to kill Laban hoping not to discuss it or do we stop and talk about it, taking in each question and patiently try to answer each one that comes to a child's mind?

 

I think that if my children can accept that the Son of God suffered for our sins thousands of years ago, died and then three days later was resurrected, I think that they can believe the other wonders of the Lords work just as much. 

 

This type of teaching is a parents duty, to dive deep and help your children understand what is being taught, and then feel and recognize the confirmation of the Holy Ghost. 

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I dont want my kids to know the truth and then in church have people look at them like they are crazy because our leaders dont even teach it (some leaders still probably dont even know about it).

 

 

I'd suggest you teach your kids to not be bothered by people looking at them like they're crazy because they know truth.  

 

Sounds like something you might need to fix about yourself first.  Why don't you want to teach your kids truth and have people look at them like they're crazy?  What's wrong with that?

 

We (my wife mostly) are teaching our kids that getting looked at strangely by people who don't know what's up, is a badge of honor.  It means they're doing something right.

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I'd suggest you teach your kids to not be bothered by people looking at them like they're crazy because they know truth.  

 

Sounds like something you might need to fix about yourself first.  Why don't you want to teach your kids truth and have people look at them like they're crazy?  What's wrong with that?

 

We (my wife mostly) are teaching our kids that getting looked at strangely by people who don't know what's up, is a badge of honor.  It means they're doing something right.

 

the whole purpose of starting this thread was because of my personal experience with this topic and I want to know how to approach this with my kids, let me explain...

 

Myself and another friend in elders quorum were driving in the car one day going to the gym to work out and I brought up the topic about Joseph Smiths behavior that the critics are using in their anti-literature, the reason I brought this up is because my wife was going through a faith crisis and as much as I tried to explain to her how to absorb this information without losing the faith I was not convincing enough for her. This EQ friend of mine knew exactly what I was talking about and was able to explain to me a better way to look at those facts about our church history. Our testimonys both got stronger after our discussion and I felt the spirit.

 

in contrast...

 

Our new bishop as of two years ago is a younger guy in his early 30's, in tithing settlement interview I brought up my wifes faith crisis based on the church's history of events. I asked the bishop what his perspective was about those same topics that the critics are attacking and he kind of looked at me perplexed and had no opinion as if he didnt even know about it. The spirit quickly left the room and things started to feel awkward, the only thing my bishop said was "I know the church is true!" and he repeated this several times. I walked away from his office feeling as if he thought i was on the verge of apostasy. To this day there is kind of a feeling of awkwardness when I am around my bishop because of the facts I tried to discuss with him about our church history.

 

I am worried of my kids having these same encounters with other members that are unaware of our churchs history.

Edited by priesthoodpower

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Just keep studying.   As you feel like you understand things, share that feeling with your wife and kid.  

 

I did have a hard time with the seer stones for a while (It didn't make sense that Joseph Smith would need them if he had the U & T  which was giving for that purpose).    

 

That is something for you to study and learn about.  Like others have said I don't know if a 6 year old needs (or cares) yet about it. 

 

I just read a interesting article about Blacks and the priesthood.    Its all about the revelation that came.   I never had studied it much but knowing the full story put things in correct perspective.   

 

Do keep searching for the truth,  but stick to whats important to you and your families salvation. 

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I love our Church History. I am far from an expert but I can't get enough. I have read some books that I would not recommend to everyone. Whenever I give a talk I try to tell a story about something I have read. Let the spirit be your guide. What works in one home may not work in your home. Keep it simple.

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Okay, here it is again...

Church is for BUILDING UP FAITH. If it doesn't build up faith, it should not be taught in Church - hence, teachers are adviced not to stray from the lesson especially into areas that have been known to shake faith. It is just NOT the time nor place for it.

Things that lead to confusion and contention but deemed necessary for learning is to be discussed at home. That's what Family Home Evening is for. This is the EXACT time and place for it because, as the Patriarch of the family, you have the knowledge and inspiration to know exactly what your family needs in your journey towards Christ. Not only should you know what to teach, you should also know HOW to teach it (unique to every family member) such that it brings your family closer to Christ instead of drive them away.

1 Corinthians 14 is not about women's voices being suppressed such that they aren't allowed to speak in Church. It is, first and foremost, about Priesthood Authority over the organization of the Church. Additionally, it is also about contentious questions not having a place at Church - rather, they need to be asked at home under the Priesthood Authority of the Family Patriarch.

 

 

 

What about the thousands of underage members whose parents are not LDS? Where are they going to learn from?

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I forget which apostle in recent times said that in regards to Joseph Smith using the seer stone in a hat ..."some of the truth is not neccesary" (not an exact quote but along those lines).

 

Your quote sounds like a reference to an address given by Boyd K. Packer entitled The Mantle is Far, Far, Greater Than the Intellect. Relevant quote below:
 

There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful.
Edited by Dravin

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What about the thousands of underage members whose parents are not LDS? Where are they going to learn from?

What about the thousands of underage members whose parents are not LDS? Where are they going to learn from?

That's why we have things like Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching programs and LDS.org, Mormon.org, and even LDS.net. They are designed to be there to support Family teaching - with or without a Patriarch.

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That's why we have things like Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching programs and LDS.org, Mormon.org, and even LDS.net. They are designed to be there to support Family teaching - with or without a Patriarch.

 

Don't forget the obvious... missionaries.

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Don't forget the obvious... missionaries.

No. They're not really the source to talk to you about controversial Church History and such.

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What about the thousands of underage members whose parents are not LDS? Where are they going to learn from?

 

I am not sure there is a crisis of children that should be taught about these things. Think about what is being taught - standards, principles... etc.  Does one need a testimony that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ? Yes. Does one need to have a testimony about how he translated the Book of Mormon? It wouldn't hurt, but if you have a testimony of Gods work and that the Book of Mormon if true, why wouldn't you be able to handle ANYTHING else that comes your way? This is why the missionaries teach that, instead of the latter. 

 

In my opinion, it is a weak foundation that allows our faith to crumble. Focus on the foundation. All those under age children are getting that, and if they have built their house upon the rock, then the house will not come crumbling down. 

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No. They're not really the source to talk to you about controversial Church History and such.

 

I disagree, because the honest answer to these sorts of concerns is just, exactly, the message the missionaries carry. The means to gaining a testimony and maintaining it is the same, regardless of the struggle, be it developing a testimony, overcoming sin, struggling with complex issues, etc. Turning to the scriptures, the Spirit in prayer, and exercising humility, faith, and repentance are the answers. And these are the answers that missionaries bring to those who are not LDS. And the value of such is a million fold greater than any of the essays on lds.org.

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I disagree, because the honest answer to these sorts of concerns is just, exactly, the message the missionaries carry. The means to gaining a testimony and maintaining it is the same, regardless of the struggle, be it developing a testimony, overcoming sin, struggling with complex issues, etc. Turning to the scriptures, the Spirit in prayer, and exercising humility, faith, and repentance are the answers. And these are the answers that missionaries bring to those who are not LDS. And the value of such is a million fold greater than any of the essays on lds.org.

I understand all that. That is what is taught in Sunday School/Seminary. Priesthoodpower's OP specifically addresses those that are not taught in Sunday School/Seminary (i.e., reconciling Dinosaurs with Genesis, local or total flood, authenticity of the Book of Abraham, Joseph Smith's wives, etc.) and those are things missionaries don't really like talking about - they'll bring you back to the Sunday School stuff.

Edited by anatess

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