Jwrenf02

How do we ask questions at church?

Recommended Posts

A few days ago. I posted a question on ask Gramps. I'm very grateful for the site because at church you're really not allowed to ask questions. I feel shared belief should be a dialogue between people, but at church beliefs are somewhat forced on you without discussion. This is because of our teach from the manual system. It doesn't anticipate deviation, and our knee jerk reaction is to view deviation as apostasy or disruptive. I feel we are too scripted. Early mormons surprisingly allowed for unscripted flow. It was quenching the Holy Ghost to speak from a script. How can we create an open forum at church to build our faith?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Allowed"?  "forced on you without discussion"?  "view deviation as apostasy"?   You make Sabbath worship and prepared lesson plans on specific topics sound like a forced labor camp or something.   

Just something to think about: Here you are here at the mormonhub forums, wanting to know how we can create an open forum.  You're literally standing in one right now.  So start a topic and let's have a discussion...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

A few days ago. I posted a question on ask Gramps. I'm very grateful for the site because at church you're really not allowed to ask questions. I feel shared belief should be a dialogue between people, but at church beliefs are somewhat forced on you without discussion. This is because of our teach from the manual system. It doesn't anticipate deviation, and our knee jerk reaction is to view deviation as apostasy or disruptive. I feel we are too scripted. Early mormons surprisingly allowed for unscripted flow. It was quenching the Holy Ghost to speak from a script. How can we create an open forum at church to build our faith?

I'm not sure what you're experiencing, but I get the impression that either you are really misreading other people, or you are in a highly irregular ward.

One thing to consider is that your statement

Quote

Early mormons surprisingly allowed for unscripted flow.

partially comes from the fact that the doctrine was still developing.  New revelations were being had at a tremendous frequency.  Then the interpretation of such revelations were still in flux.  Even Joseph's words themselves were commonly misunderstood.

Today, with the benefit of over 175 years of history, context, doctrinal analysis, prophetic commentary, and practical experience, we have a pretty good understanding of what things are and are not.  This is not to say we understand everything perfectly.  That would be pure hubris.  But we have a healthy volume of well-established doctrines and beliefs.

When you want to go out on a limb, make sure it is not just a question of wording or interpretation, or perspective.  If you have tremendous reason including a healthy dose of scriptures, prophetic quotes, obedience to known truths, and personal revelation to support it.  Then you can feel confident in any discussion.

Remember that our church meetings are not really the place for pointed debate.  Minor differences in perspective or experience is welcome.  But if you're going to go into a strange path, church really isn't the place for it.  Slow moves.

On a forum such as this, we welcome the debate.  But be prepared to defend your position if you're going to go out on a limb.  Many will disagree with you.  That should be expected.  That's what a forum is really about.  At some point, when all the reasons have been presented and all the evidence shown, and we start simply repeating ourselves. then it would be wise to simply admit, we just aren't going to see eye-to-eye.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

I feel shared belief should be a dialogue between people

Why?

I mean, if your "shared belief" is about how to build a moon rocket or whether to levy a tax, then I'm all for dialogue. But if your "shared belief" is supposed to be revealed truth from God, what is the purpose of dialogue, other than to better understand the revealed teaching?

Can you provide a few examples of the desired dialogue of a shared belief so I can better understand what you're driving at?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

A few days ago. I posted a question on ask Gramps. I'm very grateful for the site 

"Gramps", of course, has the same authority as...Bill, Tom or.....me. That is to say, none. Fortunately, the answers there are typically well supported by scripture and apostolic quotes, etc...you know...the same stuff they teach at church.

3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

at church you're really not allowed to ask questions. 

Yes you are...

3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

I feel shared belief should be a dialogue between people, but at church beliefs are somewhat forced on you without discussion.

...maybe you just don't like the answers.

3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

but at church beliefs are somewhat forced on you without discussion. 

...so are the scriptures...and general conference talks...and devotionals...

The thing is, church doctrine is not established by consensus.

3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

This is because of our teach from the manual system. 

Actually the manuals encourage discussion. They practically mandate it. But...we are a lay church, and that means that sometimes untrained doofusses who have no idea how to teach often do. C'est la vie.

3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

It doesn't anticipate deviation

Because we aren't really supposed to deviate from Gospel basics.

3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

and our knee jerk reaction is to view deviation as apostasy or disruptive.

Only if it's apostate or disruptive.

3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

I feel we are too scripted. 

And yet...once again...gospel truths are not defined by consensus.

3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

Early mormons surprisingly allowed for unscripted flow. 

A. Not when it was apostate or disruptive. B. I reject your philosophy that church lessons are meant to be scripted and have no flow. The manuals reject that as well. But...imperfect people make up the church including the teachers.

3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

It was quenching the Holy Ghost to speak from a script.

Really? Ever been to the temple?

3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

How can we create an open forum at church to build our faith?

Speak your mind as the Holy Spirit directs, don't say apostate or disruptive things, and stop relying on open forums to build your faith.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:
3 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

at church you're really not allowed to ask questions.

You are...

Actually the manuals encourage discussion. They practically mandate it, actually.

When I read the thread title my first thought was, "Raise your hand and wait to be called on." That's how it generally works in my Sunday School.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

A few days ago. I posted a question on ask Gramps. I'm very grateful for the site because at church you're really not allowed to ask questions. I feel shared belief should be a dialogue between people, but at church beliefs are somewhat forced on you without discussion. This is because of our teach from the manual system. It doesn't anticipate deviation, and our knee jerk reaction is to view deviation as apostasy or disruptive. I feel we are too scripted. Early mormons surprisingly allowed for unscripted flow. It was quenching the Holy Ghost to speak from a script. How can we create an open forum at church to build our faith?

I understand your position. Church isnt really the ideal place to get into deep doctrine matters. Its pretty much just your typical seminary question and answer style of teaching where you teach and explain the basics of the doctrine. Of interest though, the smaller "Gospel Essentials" class is actually the best class to learn the deep doctrines. You cant be afraid to speak up, ask questions, question doctrine, and at times debate openly doctrines that you disagree with or dont understand.

The issues we get into on these forums you just arent going to get at church. There just isnt enough time to do such. Forums online allow people to respond after a certain amount of time to think out, research and even pray about things. I stopped asking deep questions at church because they can and will derail an entire lesson and usually create hard feelings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Rob Osborn said:

Church isnt really the ideal place to get into deep doctrine matters...
Of interest though, the smaller "Gospel Essentials" class is actually the best class to learn the deep doctrines...
I stopped asking deep questions at church because they can and will derail an entire lesson and usually create hard feelings.

Examples of deep questions with lasting value:

  • What is faith?
  • How do I exercise the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ in my life?
  • How can I use repentance to become spotless before God?
  • What qualifies me to receive revelation through the Holy Ghost?

Examples of shallow questions with no value:

  • Will polygamy return?
  • How did God create the world?
  • How come we don't pray to Heavenly Mother?
  • Will the Holy Ghost get a body before the Millennium?

In my experience, all the deep questions are discussed in Church, and all the silly, foolish questions are discussed primarily on internet discussion lists or (occasionally and unfortunately) in a poorly led Sunday School class or Priesthood quorum meeting.

Edited by Vort

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

 

How do we ask questions at church?

If in Sunday School: by a person raising their hand and opening their mouth.  

Most other venues: skip the hand raising and just ask.

Some venues are best for some questions and others for other questions.

 

5 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

A few days ago. I posted a question on ask Gramps. I'm very grateful for the site because at church you're really not allowed to ask questions. I feel shared belief should be a dialogue between people, but at church beliefs are somewhat forced on you without discussion. This is because of our teach from the manual system.

Ummm... the manual literally says "discuss" over and over again.  If you read/attend any teaching training, it's very focused on fostering discussion.  We want people to raise their hands and talk!

5 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

It doesn't anticipate deviation, and our knee jerk reaction is to view deviation as apostasy or disruptive. I feel we are too scripted. Early mormons surprisingly allowed for unscripted flow. It was quenching the Holy Ghost to speak from a script. How can we create an open forum at church to build our faith?

I think you attend a very unusual ward and/or have really horrible teachers.  Manuals are not meant to be a script- they literally say that in the manual.  It says it in the how-to-teach manual, and any teaching training you'll attend.  

Asking questions is something to be celebrated in.  Participation and discussion is something to be cultivated.  Lessons seldom go according to an outline, let alone play-by-play script.   These are not "apostasy", but the opportunity to learn-- something to be celebrated!  

Edited by Jane_Doe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my basic point is that gospel discussion at church sometimes isn't organic. sure there are parts of the manual that ask questions, but what are the answers- preformed standard Mormon answers, which I'm not a fan of because we say them without conviction and with little thought. I think revealed truth is gentle persuasion not compulsion. I think it's foolish to believe that God is not still revealing truth, and that all discussion is now somehow over. I don't believe in doctrinal development. I believe In the development of people. People develop better when their intelligence is respected. To say doctrine develops is to say truth is changing. The doctrine has always been the same. For example, how foolish is it for us to say that the restored gospel stands or falls on the first vision. The gospel was always the same. The first vision changed nothing in this respect. The first vision stands as a confirmation and witness of revealed truth. We see prophets as the source of truth rather than revealers of truths that already exists. When we see truth as separate from people and organizations, after all all truth exists independently in the sphere in which God created it, then I think we can be more sincere in our convictions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, Rob Osborn said:

I Of interest though, the smaller "Gospel Essentials" class is actually the best class to learn the deep doctrines.

I totally disagree with this.  The Gospel Essentials class is designed for investigators and those recently baptized.  It's to help with the basics.  Not for deep doctrinal discussions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jwrenf02 said:

my basic point is that gospel discussion at church sometimes isn't organic. sure there are parts of the manual that ask questions, but what are the answers- preformed standard Mormon answers, which I'm not a fan of because we say them without conviction and with little thought.

No one's advocating to say things without convection or thought.  We actually want the reverse actually: great convection and great thought.  The difference is oftentimes not the words being said, but the heart behind them.  For example "Jesus loves me" is a simple truth that we teach nursery kids and (let's be honest) each of us sometimes say it without much conviction or thought.  But that's not how it should be!  "Jesus loves me" is simultaneously the simplest and the deepest doctrine a person can ever learn.  

The difference lies in how each person speaks/thinks of Christ, not something to blame a teacher about.

1 minute ago, Jwrenf02 said:

 I think it's foolish to believe that God is not still revealing truth, and that all discussion is now somehow over.

LDS basic truth: God IS still revealing things.  See AofF #9.

1 minute ago, Jwrenf02 said:

 I believe In the development of people. People develop better when their intelligence is respected. 

This is LDS belief/teaching 101: focused on developing people into disciple of Christ.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, pam said:

I totally disagree with this.  The Gospel Essentials class is designed for investigators and those recently baptized.  It's to help with the basics.  Not for deep doctrinal discussions.

My $0.02

The real deep doctrines are almost always the same basic doctrines- even something like "Jesus loves me".  We start on learning these doctrines, and end learning them once more, our conviction deepening along the way.  

Edited by Jane_Doe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

My $0.02

The real deep doctrines are almost always the same basic doctrines- even something like "Jesus loves me".  We start on learning these doctrines, and end learning them once more, our conviction deepening along the way.  

I used to teach this class and it really is basic doctrine.  Unfortunately you get those in there that want to discuss the deeper kinds of things or ask the deeper doctrinal questions.  So I used to ask questions right back.  Most didn't even understand or know the basics of what we believe.  That's what this class is designed for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, pam said:

I used to teach this class and it really is basic doctrine.  Unfortunately you get those in there that want to discuss the deeper kinds of things or ask the deeper doctrinal questions.  So I used to ask questions right back.  Most didn't even understand or know the basics of what we believe.  That's what this class is designed for.

I suppose it comes down to how you define "deep doctrine".  Some people point to like King Follet, but I don't think that's it.  Here's really fantastic article from June's Ensign:

"When you hear the word deep in connection with gospel doctrine, it’s sometimes meant to suggest something mysterious, obscure, or difficult to understand. But perhaps a better way of thinking about it is to consider which teachings affect us most deeply. Our relationship with Heavenly Father, His plan, Jesus Christ’s Resurrection and Atonement, His teachings—these and many others are the “deep” doctrine. God has revealed them to prophets. They’re easy to find. They’re in the scriptures. They’re taught by modern prophets and apostles. The Holy Ghost carries them unto our hearts (see 2 Nephi 33:1). They enlarge our souls, enlighten our understandings, and are delicious to us (see Alma 32:28). They help us build “faith unto repentance” (see Alma 34:15–17). They cause a deep change in us. That’s why they’re deep, not because they’re “out there” or hidden.

This doesn’t mean our study should be superficial. There’s plenty to learn through more study. But as Nephi said, “My soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding” (2 Nephi 31:3). "

https://www.lds.org/new-era/2017/06/to-the-point/where-should-i-go-to-learn-the-really-deep-doctrine-of-the-church?lang=eng

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, pam said:

I totally disagree with this.  The Gospel Essentials class is designed for investigators and those recently baptized.  It's to help with the basics.  Not for deep doctrinal discussions.

You would be surprised about the questions that arise in there. New converts and those still learning ask very deep questions and want answers. Besides that, the mysteries of the gospel come out in simple doctrinal discussions. Of all the classes I have taught in church, the Gospel Essentials was always the most challenging and requires one to constantly be studying the gospel. It is also the class that gives rise to the most challenging of questions and challenging answers that take a lot of guidance from the Spirit. By the time folks get from there into the Gospel Principles they are almost bored and are good, perhaps too good, at reciting the typical seminary answer.

Edited by Rob Osborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Jwrenf02

Something I noticed a few months back was the utter lack of questions being asked in my Sunday classrooms. What did I do?? Instead if moaping over it all, I started asking questions that really erched   me.

A few weeks ago we were talking about prayer and I had flashbacks to my mission when we were always told to pray with real intent  and a talk by sis Nelson from a YSA devotional about God blessing is when we become desperate for answers. It stressed me out at that time and brought me guilt because I felt I never felt enough emotion to qualify. I brought this up and asked "Do I always need to be desperate or feel emotional strain when I'm praying??" We had an incredible discussion!!

Some come up with questions like that. Things that will help you understand doctrine more that will lead to greater  application. 

Edited by Fether

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

A few days ago. I posted a question on ask Gramps. I'm very grateful for the site because at church you're really not allowed to ask questions. I feel shared belief should be a dialogue between people, but at church beliefs are somewhat forced on you without discussion. This is because of our teach from the manual system. It doesn't anticipate deviation, and our knee jerk reaction is to view deviation as apostasy or disruptive. I feel we are too scripted. Early mormons surprisingly allowed for unscripted flow. It was quenching the Holy Ghost to speak from a script. How can we create an open forum at church to build our faith?

Bring the Holy Ghost with you, then speak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

my basic point is that gospel discussion at church sometimes isn't organic. sure there are parts of the manual that ask questions, but what are the answers- preformed standard Mormon answers, which I'm not a fan of because we say them without conviction and with little thought. I think revealed truth is gentle persuasion not compulsion. I think it's foolish to believe that God is not still revealing truth, and that all discussion is now somehow over. I don't believe in doctrinal development. I believe In the development of people. People develop better when their intelligence is respected. To say doctrine develops is to say truth is changing. The doctrine has always been the same. For example, how foolish is it for us to say that the restored gospel stands or falls on the first vision. The gospel was always the same. The first vision changed nothing in this respect. The first vision stands as a confirmation and witness of revealed truth. We see prophets as the source of truth rather than revealers of truths that already exists. When we see truth as separate from people and organizations, after all all truth exists independently in the sphere in which God created it, then I think we can be more sincere in our convictions.

"Teaching in the Savior's Way" draws on what the class participants hce to say and ask as much as the teacher's skill: https://www.lds.org/manual/teaching-in-the-saviors-way?lang=eng . This is a "school-of-the-prophets" approach that allows the Spirit to bring students' ideas together so all may be edified: D&C 88:121-126 but especially 122).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Vort said:

Examples of deep questions with lasting value:

  • What is faith?
  • How do I exercise the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ in my life?
  • How can I use repentance to become spotless before God?
  • What qualifies me to receive revelation through the Holy Ghost?

Examples of shallow questions with no value:

  • Will polygamy return?
  • How did God create the world?
  • How come we don't pray to Heavenly Mother?
  • Will the Holy Ghost get a body before the Millennium?

In my experience, all the deep questions are discussed in Church, and all the silly, foolish questions are discussed primarily on internet discussion lists or (occasionally and unfortunately) in a poorly led Sunday School class or Priesthood quorum meeting.

Would like Vort's post three times if I could. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Rob Osborn said:

Church isnt really the ideal place to get into deep doctrine matters. Its pretty much just your typical seminary question and answer style of teaching where you teach and explain the basics of the doctrine. Of interest though, the smaller "Gospel Essentials" class is actually the best class to learn the deep doctrines. You cant be afraid to speak up, ask questions, question doctrine, and at times debate openly doctrines that you disagree with or dont understand.

Everything you've written here is wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

which I'm not a fan of because we say them without conviction and with little thought. 

You mean you say them without conviction and with little thought. Or are you implying that you are a mind reader who knows the convictions and thoughts of other people? Maybe it's your lack of conviction and little thought on the "basics" that are the problem?

9 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

I think revealed truth is gentle persuasion not compulsion. 

Revealed truth is neither. It is merely truth that has been revealed. Someone speaking it after the fact by reading it from a lesson manual or expressing it with great "conviction" doesn't change the nature of it. It is still revealed truth.

That being said, what "compulsion" is there in reading something from a lesson manual in a boring tone?

9 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

I think it's foolish to believe that God is not still revealing truth, and that all discussion is now somehow over. 

Every time the Holy Spirit speaks to our souls as a witness that something is true it is revelation. Every person on the earth must go through this process of having truth revealed in order to know God. What does that have to do with "discussion" in Sunday School?

9 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

People develop better when their intelligence is respected. 

What about unintelligent people?

Oh...and also...

O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. 2 Nephi 9:28

9 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

 For example, how foolish is it for us to say that the restored gospel stands or falls on the first vision. 

Yeah...how foolish those fool prophets and apostles are. Fools!

9 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

We see prophets as the source of truth rather than revealers of truths that already exists. 

Once again, are you a mind reader? How is it that you claim to know so profoundly what the collective "we" see?

9 hours ago, Jwrenf02 said:

When we see truth as separate from people and organizations, after all all truth exists independently in the sphere in which God created it, then I think we can be more sincere in our convictions.

Of course God is the one who organized His organization and called the people therein to be the people therein, and so a claim that truth is separate from God's organization and methods is just flatly wrong. Sincerity doesn't define truth either. Someone can be as sincere as they want in a conviction of something wrong and it doesn't make it right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now