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Personal apostasy

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6 hours ago, Traveler said:

I am not sure that defining apostasy by doctrine is completely rational.  I think of apostasy as the act of treason and sudission against G-d, his laws, covenants, priesthood and appointed servants.  I don't think that being mental or crazy is a sin but can lead to sin.  I do wonder what a person has to do to convince the world that they gone mental and have lost connection to reality.

 

The Traveler 

I'm not sure it needs to go so far as treason. It is, literally, the abandonment of a belief. If the LDS church has a teaching, to think it a mistaken teaching is apostasy. That's different than someone who has abandoned ALL beliefs...which would be full apostasy. But apostasy isn't an all or nothing thing, and it isn't hard line, except with each individual concept which we accept or not.

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

It is, literally, the abandonment of a belief. If the LDS church has a teaching, to think it a mistaken teaching is apostasy. 

I'm not sure I agree with your definition of apostasy.

Apostasy means "A turning away from the truth by individuals, the Church, or entire nations," according to the lds.org Guide to the Scriptures
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/apostasy

I think the general meaning as used in our church is rebellion against God. The Greek root means to stand apart or to stand away. You are no longer a part of the church, at least in your belief and your commitment.

We are free to believe what we believe. I think we should all be pondering and exploring and trying to understand. We should internalize the gospel, and make it our own. We will come up with some untrue ideas, and hopefully later learn better. It's a process.

So believing something false is not automatically apostasy.

Quote

I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like methodism and not like Latter day Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be tramelled. It dont prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine.

-- Joseph Smith,
quote in "Criticizing the Brethren", by Hugh Nibley [great article, I recommend reading the whole thing]
http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1094&index=18          

However, while we are seeking individual understanding, we also need to press forward with faith in God and the leadership of his prophets.

When we take our own private understanding of something and preach it, and it's against what the prophet says, that's apostasy. When we publicly oppose the church, that's apostasy. 

If we have a problem with what the prophet says, we should take it to the Lord, and keep humbly and sincerely trying to understand the truth. I really think the Lord wants us to understand. But often understanding comes after the obedience and trial of our faith.

Edited by tesuji

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7 minutes ago, tesuji said:

I'm not sure I agree with your definition of apostasy.

It's not my definition, and you agreeing with it or not has no bearing.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=apostasy%20definition

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4 minutes ago, tesuji said:

Please read my explanation.

I did. I'm simply saying that I didn't make up a definition. It is not "my" definition.

Edit: Please note: my saying your view has no bearing I meant on the definition given and not as a reflection on your point.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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You said apostasy: "It is, literally, the abandonment of a belief. If the LDS church has a teaching, to think it a mistaken teaching is apostasy. "

Your Google link says: "the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief."

Your statement adds the idea that thinking a church teaching is mistaken is apostasy. I don't think that in by itself qualifies as apostasy.

Apostasy is actively opposing a teaching and rejecting it. That's not the same thing as merely thinking the church leaders are wrong.

If you think they are wrong, you should take it to the Lord, ponder it, and try to understand the truth. And exercise enough faith to stay in the church while you keep seeking.

Merely thinking something is not by itself apostasy.

The difference between a faithful member and an apostate is how you respond, what you do, when you don't understand a doctrine or church policy, etc. or think it is wrong. 

 

Edited by tesuji

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44 minutes ago, tesuji said:

You said apostasy: "It is, literally, the abandonment of a belief. If the LDS church has a teaching, to think it a mistaken teaching is apostasy. "

Your Google link says: "the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief."

Your statement adds the idea that thinking a church teaching is mistaken is apostasy. I don't think that in by itself qualifies as apostasy.

Apostasy is actively opposing a teaching and rejecting it. That's not the same thing as merely thinking the church leaders are wrong.

If you think they are wrong, you should take it to the Lord, ponder it, and try to understand the truth. And exercise enough faith to stay in the church while you keep seeking.

Merely thinking something is not by itself apostasy.

The difference between a faithful member and an apostate is how you respond, what you do, when you don't understand a doctrine or church policy, etc. or think it is wrong. 

 

I fully and wholeheartedly disagree and stand by my thought. Even thinking a church's teaching is wrong counts as apostasy. It is minor. It may not be super meaningful in some cases. But it factually fits just fine.

But I'm not going to debate semantics any longer. The meaning of the word is utterly unimportant.

What is important is whether or not doing something is potentially harmful or not. If you want to discuss that we can, but I'm not going to "uh huh", "nuh-uh" with you or anyone any longer about what the word means. That is a waste of time.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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On 6/9/2016 at 9:49 AM, Carborendum said:

So, if they're so bad that I don't want to know, then isn't it a good thing to have them scared out of you?:clown: (Only Stephen King can show us how scary clowns really are.)

I have an uncle who bears an eerie resemblance to Pennywise.

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On 6/10/2016 at 4:24 PM, zomarah said:

In the case of the Church Leadership there may be many cases where opposition to Church leadership may be the right thing to do. A leadership title does not grant infallibility, or omniscience. People make mistakes. 

I am talking about the First Presidency and the 12 apostles. Before they make an official statement of any significance, they discuss it and wait until there is unanimous agreement. I have to assume they also pray about it.

Opposing such official pronouncements publicly is apostasy.

If you privately have a problem with it, then you take it to the Lord in prayer. Meanwhile, you obey it. Often a testimony comes after obedience.

I think it may be fairly common for some church members to have a problem with an official doctrine or policy. It's happened many times in the past - when polygamy was announced, when the church opposed the ERA, when the church opposed gay marriage. The important thing is what you do, when/if you ever have that feeling.

The church is not a democracy, and there is no such thing as a "loyal opposition." No, the prophet and apostles are not infallible. However, part of being a member is having the faith that the leaders are guided by revelation and inspiration from the Lord - and in the very least, the Lord will not let the leaders lead us astray.

I am not advocating blind obedience. The Lord want us to use our brains.

But sometimes obedience is needed in the meantime, while you figure things out:

Quote

After many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.

Moses 5:30

I think this is very important to understand, which is why I keep harping on it. in these last days, there will surely be even more things in the future that many members have a problem with, as the world gets more wicked and the prophet denounces that wickedness and/or asks us to make sacrifices. The worldly hate prophets.

We need to understand this and be prepared to follow the prophet instead of the world.

Edited by tesuji

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1 hour ago, zomarah said:

Thank you for sharing your views. I disagree with some of what you wrote and here is why, I don't believe that pronouncements, unanimous or otherwise, are equivalent to revelation and the voice of the Lord. And while publicly opposing such pronouncements may be classified as apostasy according to the handbook, I cannot find such a definition in the scriptures or any revelations, therefore I cannot accept it without revelation to back it up.

I agree that often a testimony comes after obedience. However, I believe that we should be obeying the words of God not men. Until there is a revelation from the leaders, their statements and views are not binding as revelation. Leaders of the Church teach many good things. But I believe that until the Lord gives additional revelation, His most recent word on a topic stands; and the statements of a man, no matter what his title, cannot supersede that.

I agree that the Church is not a democracy. But the Lord respects our free agency and will allow us to choose wrong things as a people and we will have to live with the consequences. Just look at the Children of Israel. I disagree that part of being a member is having faith the leaders are guided by revelation and inspiration and will not lead us astray. I did not covenant to that when I was baptized. I did not covenant obedience to any man. I covenanted to have faith in Christ and keep HIS commandments.

The term "loyal opposition" is really kind of vague. Loyalty to what? Opposition to what? What it comes down to is I believe it is best to stand with God and all he has revealed through His servants. Pronouncements, policies, opinions, culture, traditions, etc. are not binding if they stand in opposition to God and His Word. If there are circumstances when such a view may cause a person to "Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders." then, while guilty of apostasy according to the handbook, they are not guilty of apostasy according to God.

Please don't misconstrue my statements as harping or criticizing anyone. I respect the leaders of the Church, I listen to what they say, I think they have given us many great insights.  To paraphrase Joseph Smith, "a prophet is a prophet only when he is acting as such." All other times, his opinion, no matter how divinely influenced, is still just that; his personal opinion.

I am talking about official revelations. I think when the leaders make significant announcements of policy or doctrine, that is official revelation. Certainly, the things were the prophet and 12 apostles sit in council and reach unanimous agreement. The important things.

For example: The proclamation on the family. Conference talks by apostles. Significant media announcements that came from the prophet and apostles in counsel. That kind of thing.

When you follow these, you are following God. That's the faith that is core to our religion - that the prophet leads the church by revelation, from God.

Quote

"my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." - D&C 1

Obedience is a core virtue of discipleship. Sustaining church leaders is a core virtue. I think you did agree to that when you were baptized, even if wasn't spelled out. Many things aren't - tithing, etc.

I think you are on very shaky ground when you start saying, "I will follow God, and ignore the prophet. Because I know what God wants and the prophet doesn't." Or as I've heard some people say recently, "Joseph Smith was a prophet, but our recent prophets have strayed away from that." Very shaky.

A person is totally free to say and think these things. But they are no longer following the LDS religion that was established by God.

 

 

Edited by tesuji

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1 hour ago, zomarah said:

I believe that we should be obeying the words of God not men. Until there is a revelation from the leaders, their statements and views are not binding as revelation. Leaders of the Church teach many good things. But I believe that until the Lord gives additional revelation, His most recent word on a topic stands; and the statements of a man, no matter what his title, cannot supersede that.

Please explain how OD1 & OD2 fit into this discussion, since neither was presented as the revelation it is based on. For that matter, where is the revelation on baptism for the dead?

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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I think it all boils down to the Gift of the Holy Spirit and our desire to have it lead and guide us every moment of every day. Without it, it's easy to be deceived and sometimes things which should have the appearance of evil begin to appear good and desirable. 

Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

  For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

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Speaking of personal apostasy. The missionary that baptized my youngest son, that brought the Gospel to my home and helped reactivate my family is one who now champions this issue and all things leftist politic. He doesnt resemble the excellent missionary that was so spiritual at all and now has long hair, flowing beard and is involved with such worthy organizations as Occupy and now ......is shacking up with Kate Kelly of Ordain Woman fame. After a quick view of her Facebook page, I wonder how anyone could ever have really been a disciple....

Talk about heart breaking....seeing this young man change so much that has meant so much in my life and my families. Total confusion..

Edited by bytor2112

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1 hour ago, zomarah said:

That must be where we disagree. I think we as a people are quick to slap the label "revelation" on anything the comes from Church Headquarters, even when it is not presented as such. For example:

- The missionary age change is often cited as a revelation. However Jeffrey R. Holland said it was a change in policy. When President Monson announced it, he said the change was made as they  "prayerfully pondered" and gave "consideration". He never said it was a revelation. Nor was a revelation presented for us to read that contained the Lord's Words making the change.

- The proclamation "The Family" is believed by many, including yourself, to be a revelation. However, there is no indication of this in the text or in it presentation. When President Hinckely announced this he said it was "a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history."
 

I use these two statements as an example that the term "Revelation" doesn't need to be used for it to be considered revelation. On my mission, Elder Holland in one of our zone conferences stated that he would not be surprised if the proclamation "The Family" became canon. 

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15 hours ago, zomarah said:

Revelations concerning baptism for the dead are found in Sections 124 and 127 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Sorry, I meant the other Temple ordinances for the dead (or for the living, either).

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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14 hours ago, zomarah said:

That must be where we disagree. I think we as a people are quick to slap the label "revelation" on anything the comes from Church Headquarters, even when it is not presented as such. For example:

- The missionary age change is often cited as a revelation. However Jeffrey R. Holland said it was a change in policy. When President Monson announced it, he said the change was made as they  "prayerfully pondered" and gave "consideration". He never said it was a revelation. Nor was a revelation presented for us to read that contained the Lord's Words making the change.

- The proclamation "The Family" is believed by many, including yourself, to be a revelation. However, there is no indication of this in the text or in it presentation. When President Hinckely announced this he said it was "a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history."

- In Official Declaration 2 it state, " the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball". That's awesome! It actually tells us a revelation was received. The problem is that revelation is not included in Official Declaration 2. But through this we know that Official Declaration 2 itself is not a revelation. Where is the revelation? I want to read it and pray about it.

- Official Declaration ends with the statement: "And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land." This Declaration clearly is not revelation as it says in the text itself that it is advice and is given "To Whom It May Concern". Now, there are accounts of the time when Wilford Woodruff received the revelation behind OD1. So where is that revelation? I also want to read and pray about that revelation.

I'm sure you have valid reasons for believing the way you do. I respect that. For me, if there are claims to revelation, there needs to be revelations. Inuendo, second hand accounts, hint-hint wink-wink, are not enough for me to believe something is a revelation. Sure policies, media announcements etc may be based on revelations, but I do not believe they are revelations themselves. I must read the text of the revelation so that I can carefully study it, ponder it, and ask God of it's truth.

OK, if you will allow me to revise my statements a little, I will say this:

It doesn't matter if something is explicitly claimed to be a revelation. And maybe revelations can be on a continuum, of how strong they are - and by your criteria, where do you draw the line before you choose not to obey a leader?

What matters is that the Lord has called a prophet and apostles. An important part of being a member of Christ's church is sustaining and following His leaders. And having faith that they will lead us right.

I'm not saying that if the prophet had a psychotic break and ran to the internet and typed, "All members, take your kids out in the yard and shoot them! They will go to a better place!" that I should run out and do something so crazy. But when has an LDS prophet ever told members to do anything even remotely crazy like this?

Here are some great quotes. (The whole lesson here is excellent, if anyone wants to read it.)

Quote

The Lord Will Never Permit the Living Prophet to Lead the Church Astray

President Wilford Woodruff declared that we can have full confidence in the direction the prophet is leading the Church: “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty” (Official Declaration 1, “Excerpts from Three Addresses by President Wilford Woodruff Regarding the Manifesto”; emphasis added).

President Gordon B. Hinckley gave similar assurance to Church members: “The Church is true. Those who lead it have only one desire, and that is to do the will of the Lord. They seek his direction in all things. There is not a decision of significance affecting the Church and its people that is made without prayerful consideration, going to the fount of all wisdom for direction. Follow the leadership of the Church. God will not let his work be led astray” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1983, 68–69; or Ensign, Nov. 1983, 46; emphasis added).

https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-the-living-prophets-student-manual/chapter-2-the-living-prophet-the-president-of-the-church?lang=eng

 

Edited by tesuji

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4 hours ago, zomarah said:

That must be where we disagree. I think we as a people are quick to slap the label "revelation" on anything the comes from Church Headquarters, even when it is not presented as such.

Because it is. This church is led by revelation.

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5 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Because it is. This church is led by revelation.

Yes.

Although I agree with FP that not necessarily every decision in the church is the revealed will of God - yes, the church is God's church because in general, to the extent that it needs to be, it's "powered" by revelation. Including the inspired calling of specific people, who the Lord knows will think and act in specific ways while in their leadership role. They will take the church in the direction He wants at this given time.

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The recent debate with @zomarah, boils down to this:  What constitutes revelation?  Perhaps we should look at what is "scripture".

D&C 1: 38

D&C 68:4

Zomarah,

You seem to have a very narrow definition of what constitutes revelation (or scripture for that matter).  I hear the correct portion of your argument that Church leaders are fallible and we can't with knee-jerk reaction place the label of "revelation" on anything and everything they say.  But when you are splitting hairs by saying that

Quote

"a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history."

is somehow not the revealed word of God, I question your motives.

This is the exact same mistake the Missouri saints made when the Church leaders told them to leave Missouri before the mobs got them.  They just thought, "Oh, that's not a revelation, it's just men making a judgment call.  I guess it's fine if we stay here.  The Lord will protect us."

What exactly do you not accept as revelation that is commonly accepted as revelation by "orthodox" Mormons?  I know you don't accept "Sunday" as whatever you define as the "Sabbath".  Do you believe that gay marriage should be allowed in temples?  Do you believe that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's authorized representative on Earth today?  What exactly do you have a problem with that you're bringing up this argument?

I don't think anyone is saying that the prophet's cereal preference is a divine declaration of any sort.  Nor do I believe that those who wear the "Monson Power tie" is doing so as a form of worship (religious or otherwise).  But you decided to make the statement as if none of us understood that.  So, what is it you're trying to get at?

Edited by Guest

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5 hours ago, tesuji said:

not necessarily every decision in the church is the revealed will of God

I'm not sure I agree. Moreover, I don't see the value of the distinguishment.

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6 minutes ago, zomarah said:

The only revelation I can think of right now is one to Brigham Young about him revising the endowment ceremony after Joseph had died. I can't recall it exactly but i believe it was in a volume of Unpublished Revelations.

The lack of information and revelation on this subject brings doubt to the validity and/or purity of these ordinances. How do we know they have been preserved properly through the years?

We know because there are 15 men who are prophets, seers, and revelators, called of God.

Whether by mine own voice, or the voice of my servants, it is the same. Those who speak under the influence of the Holy Ghost are speaking scripture.

Lehi

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1 hour ago, LeSellers said:

We know because there are 15 men who are prophets, seers, and revelators, called of God.

Whether by mine own voice, or the voice of my servants, it is the same. Those who speak under the influence of the Holy Ghost are speaking scripture.

Lehi

I agree with the first part, but not the second.  I guess it depends on your definition of scripture.  If you define scripture as good advice that we should follow ok yeah I'll go with that. If you are stating that the words of our leaders are doctrinally binding I disagree.

There is a big gray area here that most like to ignore.  Many of the things that we do are a matter of policy not doctrine. Two examples, the word of wisdom, and the law of tithing.  While they are a fundamental doctrine of the church our practice of these things is a matter of policy as exhibited by the changes to that policy over the years.

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zomorah,

I'm not sure we are going to understand each other. I'm not sure I understand where you are coming from, or why you are making the distinctions you are making.

The main point I've been trying to make is that faith is very important. We have faith that this is the Lord's church, and that doing what the prophet asks is an act of faith. Modern people are very leery of the idea of obeying authority, because that has been massively abused by political leaders. We think of Nazis or Jonestown.

However, the fact remains that submitting to God is a fundamental part of our doctrine. I'm saying that submitting to the prophet and apostles is what we believe.

I do like your term "hearken to the prophet." If by hearken you mean really listen to and really hear.

However, I still think LDS doctrine is that we do more than hearken. 

I guess I'm just repeating myself. I do think this is an all important doctrine, and that you're understanding of it is too far on the "individual freedom" side of the continuum.

I encourage you to read the following lesson, from the teachings of Ezra T. Benson. I think he is exactly right on in what he teaches here. (I will admit I was always leery of Pres. Benson because of his personal politics before he became president - to me he was way too far right. However, he toned that down a lot after he became prophet. And his teachings here ring exactly true to me. I also recommend his talk "Beware of Pride.")

Follow the Living Prophet
https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-ezra-taft-benson/chapter-11-follow-the-living-prophet

Even if for some reason you don't buy everything Pres. Benson says, at least look at the scriptures he uses in this.

Edited by tesuji

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13 minutes ago, zomarah said:

For example:

Excerpt from June 2016 First Presidency message:

"Our Father in Heaven knows His children’s needs better than anyone else. It is His work and glory to help us at every turn, giving us marvelous temporal and spiritual resources to help us on our path to return to Him."

No voice of the Lord.

Excerpt from Doctrine and Covenants Section 96:
"Behold, I say unto you, here is wisdom, whereby ye may know how to act concerning this matter, for it is expedient in me that this stake that I have set for the strength of Zion should be made strong."
Lord identified himself as the one speaking. Thus if this revelation is true( and I believe it is) we know this is the Word of the Lord, because it is first person from Him.

Again, I encourage you to read that link I just posted from Pres. Benson. Including this quote:

Quote

… The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture.

Sometimes there are those who argue about words. They might say the prophet gave us counsel but that we are not obliged to follow it unless he says it is a commandment. But the Lord says of the Prophet, “Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you.” (D&C 21:4.)

 

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