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beefche

I don't know and it's ok

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In another thread or two, it's been stated that we don't know exactly what went on with former prophets and revelation.  We don't know and that it's ok that we don't--sometimes we are asked to go on faith.

 

I'm involved in the Indianapolis Temple open house/tours that is currently going on.  As part of the tour, we are letting people know that no photographs are allowed inside the temple, but photos are available on our website.  One woman asked why no photographs if there are already pictures available? The sister missionaries turned to me with panic in their eyes and I simply responded, "I don't know.  I don't know the answer to that. All I can say is that we are asking that you not take photographs while inside."

 

I think that we are in an information age that can be overwhelming with knowledge.  We have so many facts and other information available to us at the touch of a finger.  With the advent of the internet, information can be gained instantaneously.  But, sometimes we need to be courageous and say, "I don't know."  Sometimes that needs to be followed up with, "but I'll find out." And sometimes we need to be satisfied that we don't know something and that it doesn't mean we are wrong, dumb, or secretive. 

 

This reminds me that there are some things about the Gospel that I don't understand at all or fully.  But, isn't that what faith is for?  I have a testimony of Jesus as my Savior, that the church is His church, the Book of Mormon is scripture and Joseph Smith was who he said he was. Everything else just falls under that.  

 

So what if my understanding is less than a 2 year old? I plan on taking some awesome classes in the next life and there are gonna be some great teachers.... "Sealings: what do they really do and why are they so necessary? -- taught by Elijah and Malachi."  

 

I don't know everything and I'm ok....I need to make that my mantra. 

 

 

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Beefche, well said.

 

I can relate with the sister missionaries.  I sometimes panic when I'm asked a question I don't know the answer to.  I need to learn it's okay not to know the answer, and answer according to my knowledge and perhaps do some research to find the answer.

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People often come up with bogus and often nonsensical explanations to things they don't know and these pass into urban myth - even though they are so easily refuted.

 

For example: Why is the word "I" (as in "I am happy") always capitalized?

 

Bogus explanation: "I" stands in the place of a proper name. Proper names are capitalized. Therefore "I" is a capital.

 

Refutation: The words "me", "you", "he" and "she" all stand in the place of proper names, but none of these are capitalized. "I" is the exception, not the rule.

 

Another example: Joe Smith had an accident in his car the other day. His insurers are refusing to pay for the repairs because his road tax isn't up to date. Surely that is unfair because he did pay his insurance premium!

 

Bogus explanation: It's illegal to drive on a public road if you haven't paid your road tax. Insurers cannot insure illegal activity.

 

Refutation: It is also illegal to exceed the speed limit, so by your rule anyone who drives faster than the limit is driving without insurance. You would also be uninsured for any accident which was your own fault, because that would mean you had been "driving without due care and attention" which is an offence. This would make a complete nonsense out of third party insurance.

 

As well as being honest about what we don't know, its often a good idea to question other people's explanations. I'm sure many of these plausible-sounding Chinese whispers were originally made up on the spot by people who didn't know.

 

P.S. This has just made me think of something: there used to be a show on Red Rose Radio (in Lancashire) called "Argue with Alan" - hosted by Alan Beswick. People could phone in to the show to argue about anything they wanted, and Alan would argue back in (usually) a very truculent manner. This was often quite funny, because Alan Beswick was a master of making up plausible answers to questions he really hadn't a clue about.

 

One example was when someone asked: "Electricity flows out of the wall socket through one pin of a plug into the appliance. It flows back through the other pin and into the wall. Surely the energy that goes back into the wall isn't used. Why isn't it saved and used later on?"

 

Now Alan Beswick obviously didn't know the answer to this, because he replied: "The electricity that comes out of the socket is AC, whereas only DC electricity can be saved and stored". This is sort-of true, but AC can easily be converted into DC using a rectifier. However this is beside the point anyway, because the question itself is faulty: the electrical current flowing "back" into the socket doesn't actually carry any energy, so nothing is lost!

Edited by Jamie123

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Beefche, well said.

 

I can relate with the sister missionaries.  I sometimes panic when I'm asked a question I don't know the answer to.  I need to learn it's okay not to know the answer, and answer according to my knowledge and perhaps do some research to find the answer.

 

As a university instructor I know that panic well! You don't want to look dumb in front of the students by not knowing the answer, and you know you'll look dumber if you try to figure out the answer on the spot and get it wrong (like Alan Beswick in my earlier post). The best thing to do is (like you say) admit you don't know and put the question to the rest of the class for suggestions. If handled well it can turn into quite a good class discussion. If no one else can answer it, you can make you can make "finding out" this week's homework. (But be sure to come to class next week armed with the correct answer!)

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People often come up with bogus and often nonsensical explanations to things they don't know and these pass into urban myth - even though they are so easily refuted.

 

For example: Why is the word "I" (as in "I am happy") always capitalized?

 

Bogus explanation: "I" stands in the place of a proper name. Proper names are capitalized. Therefore "I" is a capital.

 

Refutation: The words "me", "you", "he" and "she" all stand in the place of proper names, but none of these are capitalized. "I" is the exception, not the rule.

 

Another example: Joe Smith had an accident in his car the other day. His insurers are refusing to pay for the repairs because his road tax isn't up to date. Surely that is unfair because he did pay his insurance premium!

 

Bogus explanation: It's illegal to drive on a public road if you haven't paid your road tax. Insurers cannot insure illegal activity.

 

Refutation: It is also illegal to exceed the speed limit, so by your rule anyone who drives faster than the limit is driving without insurance. You would also be uninsured for any accident which was your own fault, because that would mean you had been "driving without due care and attention" which is an offence. This would make a complete nonsense out of third party insurance.

 

As well as being honest about what we don't know, its often a good idea to question other people's explanations. I'm sure many of these plausible-sounding Chinese whispers were originally made up on the spot by people who didn't know.

 

P.S. This has just made me think of something: there used to be a show on Red Rose Radio (in Lancashire) called "Argue with Alan" - hosted by Alan Beswick. People could phone in to the show to argue about anything they wanted, and Alan would argue back in (usually) a very truculent manner. This was often quite funny, because Alan Beswick was a master of making up plausible answers to questions he really hadn't a clue about.

 

One example was when someone asked: "Electricity flows out of the wall socket through one pin of a plug into the appliance. It flows back through the other pin and into the wall. Surely the energy that goes back into the wall isn't used. Why isn't it saved and used later on?"

 

Now Alan Beswick obviously didn't know the answer to this, because he replied: "The electricity that comes out of the socket is AC, whereas only DC electricity can be saved and stored". This is sort-of true, but AC can easily be converted into DC using a rectifier. However this is beside the point anyway, because the question itself is faulty: the electrical current flowing "back" into the socket doesn't actually carry any energy, so nothing is lost!

 

I love hearing real answers to non-trivial questions. Just hearing and understanding the answer makes me feel smarter. No, that's not quite right. Not smarter; it just makes me feel better, like the world makes sense and that's totally cool.

 

But such explanations require a deep level of honesty. That might mean saying "I don't know" when you don't know; that is sort of a baseline expectation. But at a certain depth, your knowledge and metaknowledge (which is equally important, sometimes moreso) can illuminate wonderful things, such as that you don't have a structure in place to understand the topic of discussion. In fact, it's sort of a building-on-itself-from-nothing exercise to have any such understanding in the first place. Staggering to realize that that is the basis of almost everything we think we know. Here's Feynman explaining, or maybe not explaining, magnetism.

 

 

EDIT: There is not a word of bad language in the video. I don't know why the person that put it up felt the need to add an asterisked-up version of a filthy word.

Edited by Vort

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Good answers here.  A phrase I heard a lot, growing up in church, was, "You might just have to put that on the back burner for awhile."  In other words, I don't know, and no one here does.  There may not even be a good answer that is readily available.  However, you don't have to discard the question.  Keep it tucked away.  Sometimes you find out the answer when you aren't even actively considering it.

 

With the example in the OP I'm guessing there is an answer.  It wouldn't have been available on the spot, but somebody probably had an answer, so that the next guest who asked it would know the why.  Personally, I hate cameras.  They are a necessary evil.  So, I never created panic in the sister missionaries when I made my visit.  :-)

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Good answers here.  A phrase I heard a lot, growing up in church, was, "You might just have to put that on the back burner for awhile."  In other words, I don't know, and no one here does.  There may not even be a good answer that is readily available.  However, you don't have to discard the question.  Keep it tucked away.  Sometimes you find out the answer when you aren't even actively considering it.

 

With the example in the OP I'm guessing there is an answer.  It wouldn't have been available on the spot, but somebody probably had an answer, so that the next guest who asked it would know the why.  Personally, I hate cameras.  They are a necessary evil.  So, I never created panic in the sister missionaries when I made my visit.  :-)

 

I suspect part of the reason is that the open house organizers want to control information likely to reach the public. By taking their own pictures and posting them they can have that control. If visitors are allowed to take pictures willy-nilly, there's a possibility they might photograph something embarrassing - like a loose stair carpet or a junction box with live wires dangling out - which could then get posted online. Not that such things are likely of course, but the fear of them might have prompted the organizers to ban photography. 

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I suspect part of the reason is that the open house organizers want to control information likely to reach the public. By taking their own pictures and posting them they can have that control. If visitors are allowed to take pictures willy-nilly, there's a possibility they might photograph something embarrassing - like a loose stair carpet or a junction box with live wires dangling out - which could then get posted online. Not that such things are likely of course, but the fear of them might have prompted the organizers to ban photography. 

 

I think this is true, but I suspect a more important reason is that taking pictures of things changes the whole ambiance. it becomes a touristy thing instead of a circumspect walk through a sacred place.

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Considering that I was once young and stupid, (maybe still am the latter), when I was 6 years old on a hot summer day me and about 8 young LDS boys from my street ran across the temple grounds infront of the visitors center and jumped in the water font to cool off, we were living young and dangerous! lol.

 

I can somehow picture an irreverant guest doing something really silly and posting it on reddit for laughs, or, imagine someone taking a selfie while making a "dorky" face in the celestial room? not really images that the church wants floating around under the guise that it was "ok" to take pics.

Edited by priesthoodpower

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