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They have been printing the first few chapters, 1 per month, in the last several issues of the Ensign magazine. I have really enjoyed what I've read so far. I'm looking forward to reading the rest now that it's available.

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On 9/8/2018 at 7:13 AM, JohnsonJones said:

 My personal opinion.

The puzzling thing about MUCH of this and which I do not understand WHY many of the Leaders are doing this is as follows.

 Most of the stuff that people are using to "blow up" the church is NOT new.  It has been around, literally, for centuries, at this point...and over a century, even for the new stuff.

The problem is that it was NEVER considered reliable in the past.  Legally, most of it was not even acceptable.  The reason they were not successful was NOT because it was not there (it was) but because it was not recognized to be reliable. 

It could be that so much time has passed that people cannot tell the charlatan's from those who were not charlatans, or those who were working with outside motivations that were actually against the church at the time (Whitmer is a prime example of that later on in his life) and USING their narratives to try to influence people NOT via being truthful, but to do whatever they had to convince them.

 This is one reason why, for many years, the narrative of the church differed from that of many of those who were actively trying to destroy the church.  We had prophets (Brigham Young through at least Joseph F. Smith) who actually beheld the events.  The people they talked to beheld the events and if they were saying things that the rest of the Saints didn't experience, they would have been called on it (partly WHY most followed Brigham Young, because his words were the most accurate to what they felt and KNEW).

 However, for some reason many in the LDS church have given a monumental weight to those which had no weight before and given credences to those who were discredited previously.  I'm not sure why this trend has started or why it is continuing.

Thanks @JohnsonJones

This is very curious to me.  Just the idea that it is either all lies/unreliable or what is true is already known by everyone.

Honestly, i've found the exact opposite to be true.  That it's actually not all lies, and that most people simply did not know about it.  i mean, i did the full 9 yards.  i did the full 9 yards like 13 dozen times and never heard about any of it.  i mean, maybe the most generic outlines.  But i really don't think it would be a stretch to say i was discouraged, in the strongest language, to avoid looking in depth into it.  And maybe the depth is the difference.  i think everyone knows Joseph practiced polygamy - but i'm not sure many know exactly how.  i knew that some people left Joseph, but i'd always accepted the "they were prideful sinners" narrative.

And i don't think it's just me or those like me.  i've seen people in the upper echelons of CES that felt totally blindsided.  Bishops that felt totally blindsided.  People of every stripe.

And really, it isn't that this stuff happened (or may have happened).  i listened to the F2F w/ Elder Cook - and the historian there i think said something that's very reasonable - that the "past is a foreign land, where they do things differently."  And that we shouldn't be too quick to judge.  Heaven knows my own personal history wouldn't be the smoothest or most inspiring of reads.  But - at least in my opinion - the claims TCOJCOLDS makes rely upon a series of preconceptions about the nature of the people and the processes that brought it into existence.  And a dig into the history books - at least for me and tens of thousands of others i know, turns many of those conceptions from stone into dust.  And i don't know - i really get the feeling like the leadership sort of knows that things would get real rough if people knew all the details, and so goes out of their way to encourage people not to look into it.

Is that wrong?  That's not a straight-forward answer i guess.  i'm not a person that believes an organization has any compunction to constantly scrub the face of every person that enters the walls of their houses of worship with their rags of old and dirty history.  That's entirely unreasonable, IMO.  But should they justify their earth-shattering truth claims with a narrative that bears only a passing resemblance to the history of things, and classify any source of material that paints a different version of things as "anti" stuff to avoid?  

Anyways, i'm going to listen to this Saints book and see how it compares.  i think that's an incredibly important thing to do - to hear the history from more than one point of view.  If anything, i probably need to listen to more things that talk good about TCOJCOLDS's history - since i know i already have some biases in this regard.

If anyone has any recommendations, i'd be open to hearing about them.  

Edited by lostinwater

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On ‎9‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 8:47 PM, myrmidon said:

So by saying lets just move along are you agreeing this stuff has been hidden and/or lied about? 

That is the issue at hand- not where to learn more and go along our merry way. 

What happened with the info and why was it not taught? To build trust again one must come clean.

See I dont have very much trust left in this. Lets go back to Paul H. Dunn (Liar extraordinaire). Since you are the all knowing, can you tell me where in the LDS.org website some of his false material is still published? If you can, perhaps you can also tell my why in the world it is still there after 30? years?

It WASN'T lied about.

For example, one of the things that people like to trot out are remarks made by David Whitmer and his allies at a time when Whitmer was estranged from the church.  At that time he was trying to make himself seem FAR more official than he actually was.  He was trying to make it appear that he was actually the original translator and the one who primarily helped Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon.  As such, he was trying to have people follow him into a separate sect of Mormonism than what Brigham Young had.

It is during this time where we get the remarks of him about the Seer Stone.  These remarks were NOT unknown and have actually been known...well...ever since he made them.  He was joined in this with Martin Harris to a degree.

They seem to be in direct contradiction to what Oliver Cowdery stated and which also seemed backed up with what others observed and knew.

So...Whitmer's accounts on the matter overall at times were tossed out in reference to the more official writings made by multiple witnesses and statements conglomerated over time.

We see other situations similar to this.  Another one of these is Joseph Smith's first Vision.  Many like to point out a changing narrative in regards to the earliest accounts verses the official account without taking into consideration WHY the official account became such.

Because of this they erroneously assign things about the earlier accounts and give them far more weight than the latter...which was given at a time when Joseph did NOT have as much to worry about others judgments on what he would say or do in that regards and could be more forthcoming on what happened and what was stated as well as it's impact.

These stories were known to some at the time and much of the church history that people think they are discovering is NOT new...and was in fact presented to the Saints soon after Joseph's Death.  These people who presented different ideas varied from those who wanted to see the new fledgling religion destroyed, to those who wanted to lead the church themselves.  The Saints themselves could judge which person they felt was telling the truth and which was not. 

That they CHOSE Brigham Young and his directives is telling and of itself.

WHAT IS starting to be concealed now is the actual narrative and statements made by prophets and General Authorities dating from the 1840s to the 1990s.  Instead, favoritism is being held to history which traditionally was NOT recognized officially, and even historians outside of Mormonism saw much of it as charlatan actors that lied just as much as told the truth to try to get gainstay to destroy the Mormons while building up their own reputation or power.

The biggest difference I see today is up until Joseph F. Smith's time you had those who actually LIVED THROUGH these events.  They KNEW FROM EXPERIENCE what the lies and truths were.  The church could NOT HIDE anything from these people, they LIVED IT. 

The next generation of those who KNEW these people probably lived all the way up until Gordon B. Hinckley.  So, you can start to see a dilution there.

However now, this entire knowledge and group of people that could call a foul...a foul...are dead.  So, rather than having eyewitnesses be able to say...hey...that's not what happened...people just label ALL the entirety of Mormonism liars.

Instead, they gullibly believe those who testified against the Mormons, and sometimes were even caught in perjury...and believe that this is the truth. 

Instead of what was history, we are starting to get some weird twisted history that I have no idea WHY it is being promoted or even believed in this day and time.  The only answer I have is that those who used to be able to say...

"hey, that's false and I can say that because I WAS THERE" are no longer around to say that...UNLESS you actually READ what they wrote and the words that they put on paper.  Unfortunately, for some reason their own testimony and witness of events are being tossed out and ignored these days in favor of those who hated the church.

This will probably Godwin the thread, but this is a like example.  It is like asking a Nazi from 1943 to tell one about the History of the Jewish People in Germany, and tossing out the history written by the Jewish people who lived it in favor of the Nazi's history instead.

It's ludicrous...and WHY it is happening...I'm not sure.  It really doesn't make sense to me.

But then again, those from my generation that can still remember are quickly dying out and soon we'll all be gone as well.  I don't know what will happen after that except that perhaps people will forget even more what their history was and where they came from and instead be led by the nose by any Joe, Jane, or Jack that claims to have some hidden trivia of the church that actually was never really hidden by anyone, just tossed aside...not just by the LDS church, but by most reputable society at the time because it wasn't honest...ONLY NOW with the passing of those who could verifiably discount the accounts in some ways are these things suddenly become "acceptable" and people are considering these sources as legitimate in many instances.

 

(and others instances, where people may have problems seems to be with older doctrine and MODERN views on attitudes and actions done by those in a different era of time).  My confusion is primarily over why we are accepting the anti-Mormon literature that started in Joseph Smith's time (and even if they say it was hidden, those using it have to acknowledge that the actual sources ARE from back then and were available on public record in most cases...even from back then meaning it's been around and available to whoever wanted it for a LOOOONG time) and now days, accepting it as truth.

As I will also point out below, this is something that I struggle with at times and much of it is because I cannot understand why the church is proceeding as it does.  I will elaborate a little more on my struggle to understand in my post below in answer to another's post.

 

Makes no sense to me.  But I'll be dead soon I suppose and the world can fight it out amongst themselves.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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On ‎9‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 12:12 AM, lostinwater said:

Thanks @JohnsonJones

This is very curious to me.  Just the idea that it is either all lies/unreliable or what is true is already known by everyone.

Honestly, i've found the exact opposite to be true.  That it's actually not all lies, and that most people simply did not know about it.  i mean, i did the full 9 yards.  i did the full 9 yards like 13 dozen times and never heard about any of it.  i mean, maybe the most generic outlines.  But i really don't think it would be a stretch to say i was discouraged, in the strongest language, to avoid looking in depth into it.  And maybe the depth is the difference.  i think everyone knows Joseph practiced polygamy - but i'm not sure many know exactly how.  i knew that some people left Joseph, but i'd always accepted the "they were prideful sinners" narrative.

And i don't think it's just me or those like me.  i've seen people in the upper echelons of CES that felt totally blindsided.  Bishops that felt totally blindsided.  People of every stripe.

And really, it isn't that this stuff happened (or may have happened).  i listened to the F2F w/ Elder Cook - and the historian there i think said something that's very reasonable - that the "past is a foreign land, where they do things differently."  And that we shouldn't be too quick to judge.  Heaven knows my own personal history wouldn't be the smoothest or most inspiring of reads.  But - at least in my opinion - the claims TCOJCOLDS makes rely upon a series of preconceptions about the nature of the people and the processes that brought it into existence.  And a dig into the history books - at least for me and tens of thousands of others i know, turns many of those conceptions from stone into dust.  And i don't know - i really get the feeling like the leadership sort of knows that things would get real rough if people knew all the details, and so goes out of their way to encourage people not to look into it.

Is that wrong?  That's not a straight-forward answer i guess.  i'm not a person that believes an organization has any compunction to constantly scrub the face of every person that enters the walls of their houses of worship with their rags of old and dirty history.  That's entirely unreasonable, IMO.  But should they justify their earth-shattering truth claims with a narrative that bears only a passing resemblance to the history of things, and classify any source of material that paints a different version of things as "anti" stuff to avoid?  

Anyways, i'm going to listen to this Saints book and see how it compares.  i think that's an incredibly important thing to do - to hear the history from more than one point of view.  If anything, i probably need to listen to more things that talk good about TCOJCOLDS's history - since i know i already have some biases in this regard.

If anyone has any recommendations, i'd be open to hearing about them.  

I wanted to say a precursor that this is a subject that I STRUGGLE WITH.  I struggle to understand WHY the church is dealing with it's history in the way it has.  We all have struggles in what we deal with and this is one of mine occasionally.

 

Polygamy makes an interesting talking point in relation to Joseph Smith and what I'm discussing.

The LDS church is currently accepting that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy.  This is a little odd considering the history prior to that.

It was ALWAYS (and we are talking all the way back to at least David O' Mckay's time) known that Joseph Smith was sealed to many women for eternity.  That has never been a secret.

What was questioned was the legitimacy of claims that it was also for time and he actually had relations. 

This really didn't have any legal precedence until DECADES after his death.  Some consider it was an attempt to try to legitimize polygamy and Brigham Young's involvement with it where they dug up old women to testify that they had physical relations with Joseph Smith.

They had never claimed it prior, and in fact, these were first time accounts in many of these instances.  This was bolstered up by stories that there were even children from these unions!!!

Problem:  With current DNA testing, it has shown that NONE of these claims were actually true.  To this date, there have been no children of Joseph Smith's lineage from any of these marriages.  This indicates perjury on at least one to two accounts given as testimony. 

This creates the problem, there IS NO ACTUAL EVIDENCE.  There are people's interpretation of certain statements (the most famous being Oliver Cowdery's statement of a dirty little affair), but in truth, there is no evidence that is incontrovertible or would hold up in court. 

So, when someone says, we know Joseph Smith practiced polygamy including physical relations as a married couple for time...legally that's actually gossip, rumor or  here say.  We DON"T KNOW because we don't actually have the evidence to prove or disprove it. 

The anti-Mormons want people to think that he did in the most vile fashion and worst possible way...but they don't have the DNA to prove it yet.  It's one of life's big ironies, they will use DNA evidence to try to point out the lack of Judaic DNA (and that is specifically Judaic as we have NO Hebrew DNA to compare it to) markers in Native Americans...but when the DNA works against them...they conveniently IGNORE it.

Joseph WAS commanded to practice polygamy, the question though is to what degree he practiced it.  The evidence we have indicates that he definitely had marriages and sealings for eternity...what we lack is whether he acted upon this physically as men and wife for time AND eternity in this life.  Those who CLAIM that he did and make official sounding statements to that normally are STRETCHING the truth and actual evidence.

And this is where a LOT of the claims get VERY sticky and questionable in most of the Anti-Mormon claims.  They give just enough truth so people can verify that what they are saying happened, but use this to make it sound that the half-lie they toss into it is ALSO true.  If you find out half of it is true, one is more likely to believe that the lie is ALSO true.  Most of the things people are saying they are discovering are not actually completely true, but half truths twisted by those who have an agenda against the LDS church to say what they want it to say.

What I have observed is that this knowledge of Joseph being sealed to multiple woman was common enough knowledge in the 1940s and 50s for those who were actually interested in this type of stuff.  In fact, a LOT of things discussed today were common knowledge, but without the half lies attached.  A LOT of it stopped being discussed around the 70s and 80s timeframes, particularly after the death of Joseph Fielding.  This is also near the end of the second generation I referred to above, and where most of them were dying out (though some survived up to the 90s).  It may be that this created a massive black hole in the LDS consciousness about it's prior history. 

I suppose much of it were things that LDS didn't WANT mainstream as they were trying harder to mesh with Christianity in general.  When you are trying to do that, claiming such things as polygamy actually continued into the 20th century with many prominent members would NOT be a popular thing to talk about, nor would things such as where our ideas about a Heavenly Mother came about from, or other ideas that used to be talked about in the CHURCH quite often, but now days may be a total mystery to lifelong members of the church.

I'm not sure why this happened, and all I have is the conjecture that as the LDS church has tried to show itself more as a mainstream Christian religion, it's gone away from letting many know about some of the odder things that differentiated Latter-day Saints in the past from the rest of the world.

It's why I was also puzzled as to WHY the LDS church put out the essays on it's site.  Historically speaking they are well done from a secular point of view, but from the LDS point of view, they are probably the most self-destructive thing the LDS church has ever put out about itself and only served to be self confirmation that many anti-Mormons have used against the LDS church.  In fact, many things the church has done over the past decade has puzzled me in regards to it's actions that seem more self-destructive than helpful to testimonies and have contributed to many falling away.

I don't have the answers to this to be honest.  I tell people that these essays are written by historians from a secular and worldly viewpoint to the best of their ability, but if pressed, I HAVE NO IDEA why the LDS church put them on their site and sometimes promotes them.  None at all.  At best, I just have conjecture.

That said, I KNOW the gospel and ordinances from the church are true, that this IS the LORD's church and he directs it, and that the Prophet today is Russell M. Nelson.  Even when we do not understand ALL of the LORD's ways and methods, then we must rely on the testimony we have received from the Holy Ghost that this gospel is true and push forwards and onwards having faith that the Lord knows more than we do.

As I stated above, how the church is approaching church history recently is something that I DO STRUGGLE WITH.  However, it is trivial when I consider what I know to be true.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that the gospel is true.  I know that he has a prophet today that leads the church.  I know that if we endure to the end all the covenants we have made with the Lord will be honored.  I may struggle to understand this, but I do not let it affect my testimony of the gospel or the church, and have faith that if I do my part and repent of all my sins that I will one day see my Lord and Master in heaven.

 

PS: AS far as literature...hehe...it's there but not sure I should suggest it.  Many people seem to have trouble with some of the early LDS literature these days...and if one is not guided by the spirit it CAN be troubling.  It takes the spirit to actually understand some of it and where it is coming from.  A decent medium between the old ways and the new ways would probably be stuff by either Spencer W. Kimball or Joseph Fielding Smith.  You could try Doctrines of Salvation or Answers to Gospel Questions for a start, though as I said, without the Spirit you may think you've walked into a hornets nest of heresy and weird ideologies.  It's a decent step into what we used to be taught or could learn commonly, but not as far out there as some of the other stuff written or talked about by earlier prophets and apostles.

 

Edited by JohnsonJones

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Here's a response I had meant to send and never got around to doing. Let this post be my first step toward repentance.

On 9/7/2018 at 11:42 PM, lostinwater said:

'm treading a fine line here in terms of not posting material that would be considered "anti".

Speaking as one who quickly tires of reading antiMormon garbage, especially on this forum, I appreciate that effort.

On 9/7/2018 at 11:42 PM, lostinwater said:

But, i think big ones are the character of Joseph Smith and other early leaders, evolving first vision accounts, the historicity of the BOM/BOA, etc., - i'd post sources that go through this in great detail - and in great detail, but i'd be breaking forum rules doing so.

My guess is these won't qualify as good examples for you - and i respect that.

Let's look at what you've mentioned so far.

The character of Joseph Smith and others: The main character attacks center on Joseph being a cad. The history is there, and always has been. Take a look, pray, and make your own judgment. If an antiMormon's condemnation of a prophet is sufficient for you to believe the prophet to be false, so be it. There is not a logical argument for or against believing some unprovable assertion.

Evolving accounts of the First Vision: No offense to you, because I know this is a common problem among some, but this is simply ridiculous. I honestly do not understand how any reasonable and thoughtful person, LDS or not, can give this more than a moment's notice and a disgusted look at the antiMormons who cry foul about various First Vision accounts not being identical. Of course the various (few) accounts do not all include the same details! Duh. If you recount a significant moment in your life at four different times in four different situations, are you going to read the same script each time? Or are you going to include details that you think relevant to the particular situation in which you're telling your history?

Historicity of the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham: Yes, they are true histories. This is a fundamental tenet of any reasonable interpretation of LDS doctrine. So why is this so hard? Because we don't find evidence of horses in the Americas 2300 years ago? Does lack of evidence now constitute evidence of lack? Until we find a sign that says "Welcome to Zarahemla", we are to doubt the very existence of such a civilization? I understand cautiousness and even doubt, but in what universe does it make any sense whatsoever to say, "You can't prove X existed, so therefore X did not exist"? I posit that there is a pile of rocks on the far side of the moon. But we have never found any such pile! We have no photographic evidence! So therefore this supposed pile does not exist! Nonsense. How many civilizations in the ancient Americas have taken root, fluorished for a time, and then vanished, leaving behind today no trace of their existence, in all probability lost to history forever? Like the sands on the seashore in number -- yet the account of the small Nephite population cannot have been true, because, you know, we haven't found records confirming their existence. Talk about unequal scholarship demands!

The things you have mentioned are common antiMormon tropes. All of them rely on unequal demands of evidence, obfuscation, and lots and lots of namecalling and innuendo. I understand that many are deceived by such tactics. But the mere fact that many are deceived doesn't lend any credence to the charges.

LDS doctrine cannot be absolutely proven by strictly rational methods, any more than you can "absolutely prove" that you love your wife. Mormonism (if I dare use the term) is offered to all, but frankly not everyone wants it. The lack of ultimate physical (let us say carnal) "proof" is not an incidental inconvenience of Mormonism; it is central to Mormonism. Suppose we found our "Welcome to Zarahemla" sign. Doubtless millions of Latter-day Saints around the world would feel vindicated, and we would probably see an increase in activity rates and likely even a spike in baptisms. For a while. Then things would quickly settle back to normal, the antiMormons would crawl out of hiding and resume their efforts, and people would start having faith crises again. Honestly, if God Himself came to the world and proclaimed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be His True Church, how long do you suppose that would have a positive effect? A generation -- maybe? Probably less. Meanwhile, that generation would largely lost its opportunity to exercise faith under pressure and grow into the beings God wants them to be. Learning to follow God while we knew him was a test we already passed. That's not why we're here.

On 9/7/2018 at 11:42 PM, lostinwater said:

As far as the claims they struggle to reconcile - maybe it would be more accurate to say the claims whose explanation/reconciliation, as provided by TCOJCOLDS has been insufficient for many.  Mainly just the idea that something as unacceptably and fundamentally flawed as many people see their leaders, canon, policies, etc., as being - can be God's one true church on the earth.

And here is the fundamental problem: People don't want to believe that a perfect God might create imperfection (which, contrary to popular assertion, God does all the time). More on that below.

On 9/7/2018 at 11:42 PM, lostinwater said:

Anyways, obviously, i'm not speaking for non-doubting members.  i'm talking about people like @myrmidon and many others.  And i could and should have done a better job of saying that in my earlier post - rather than posting as if the narrative has been destroyed for everyone, for that would definitely not be true.

I do not dismiss your concerns. I take them seriously. But let me observe that this is the kind of thing we say about movies or concerts -- "Yeah, some people liked it, but it just didn't work for me." I'm struggling to work out how this jibes with the workings of the kingdom of God.

I suppose it makes sense, at least insofar as someone might say, "This whole eating thing just isn't working for me, so I don't believe in eating." Eating is a true principle of life. No eaty, no lifey. So if you have problems with eating, the problems don't lie with the underlying principle. That's true. The problems lie with your body, or your brain, or your emotional state, or maybe with the "food" you're trying to digest. The mere fact that your food is rough or not as refined as you like or tastes like artichokes, which you hate, doesn't make eating a bad thing.

Is membership and participation in the kingdom of God like this? Maybe. Consider Christianity as a concept. As Christians, we believe Jesus Christ walked the earth as a mortal man. Jesus, who is God, walked and talked and breathed and ate and drank among us. He got dirty and stinky. He bathed and cleaned his teeth. He pooped and peed. His breath smelled strong in the mornings. He spoke in an ancient tongue, learned to walk, probably fell down a lot. He got cut and bled. He laughed and cried and got angry. Perhaps he married, and then had sex with his wife. Worked with animals, got their excrement on his hands and fingers, and had to wash them. Microorganisms galor all over and throughout his physical being.

Unthinkable! Scandalous! How DARE anyone attribute such filthy mortality to God himself!

Welcome to Christianity, where we worship a God who lived as a man.

In Mormonism, we simply take this to another logical step. Not only did God live as a man, but we men are expected to live as God and to do God's works. Yet we're imperfect and foolish! How is this possible? Simple. God chooses the weak and foolish to do his works. So prophets are mighty men who speak and act for God -- yet men they remain.

Do you really believe the profane or antiMormon histories are somehow more reliable than what the Church teaches? Do you really believe their allegations and conclusions are somehow truer than what the kingdom of God maintains? I don't. Once a prophet admits fallibility, how easy it is to stack whatever evils you want to attribute to him at his door! Just look at what antiMormons and weak Mormons did with then-President Uchtdorf's rather obvious proclamation that past Church members and even leaders had made mistakes. This dead-obvious observation was greeted as some sort of anguished admission that everything the antis had said about Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or Mormons in general was vindicated. This is insanity. As Joseph Smith said, "Although I do wrong, I do not the wrongs that I am charged with doing; the wrong that I do is through the frailty of human nature, like other men. No man lives without fault."

Edited by Vort
Added some clarification to try to make it obvious I was discussing and attacking ideas, not lostinwater

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@Vort and @JohnsonJones

Thank-you for such detailed responses.  

i don't quite know how to respond.  If things were as simple as what you describe, i don't think i'd have many issues.  But what you describe does not even closely resemble what i know.  And i mean, i guess one can debate as to the details.  But since most of apologists of TCOJCOLDS are making up justifications (rather than challenging their existence) for the details that i sense very few people know about, i tend to think that's a plug as to their historical accuracy - even beyond all the documentation.

And @Vort - i appreciate the similitude to Jesus - and just allowing for imperfections in the process.  That's a very good point.  But i am not sure how far it feels right to take that one (speaking just for me).

i mean, let's say, hypothetically, i were to find out that the real history was that Jesus slapped the woman taken in adultery a dozen times, called her a filthy prostitute, and then told her to go and sin no more.  Or that when Jesus said He did not come to bring peace on earth, but a sword, to learn that along with that, He told all of His disciples to go out and cut off the head of one of the scribes, and they refused.  Of course, this didn't happen.

But my point being is that at some point, the history DOES affect the legitimacy of claims being made.

But really, i guess it comes down to what one believes.  If you believe that Mr. Nelson is a prophet, that this really is God's church, then you absolutely should ignore all the imperfections.  

Maybe it's all the books i've listened to.  But just hearing people in other religions justify things any reasoning would say are wrong with the same logic a member uses to tell me why i should ignore my own conscience.  It just doesn't feel right to me.  

i think it's true that TCOJCOLDS is not a half-way house.  You're either in, out, or getting torn in two.  Got to choose.  And even if i chose to pretend, God would know it.  And i don't know how much that would mean to Him.  But i do think i'm obligated to keep an open mind and continue looking at things and be willing to change if that ever feels right.  That, i suppose, is something God can always work with.

But in the meantime, there's a passage from A Man for All Seasons that i think describes how i feel.  And i believe that everyone here is truly following their own consciences also - so please don't take it the wrong way.

 

DUKE: Oh, confound all this! I'm not a scholar. I don't know if the marriage was lawful or not... but ---- it, Thomas, look at these names. Why can't you do as I did and come with us for fellowship?

MORE: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience... and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

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6 minutes ago, lostinwater said:

But really, i guess it comes down to what one believes.  If you believe that Mr. Nelson is a prophet, that this really is God's church, then you absolutely should ignore all the imperfections.  

I find this to be a very unnecessary and harmful over simplification.  

A person can indeed have faith without pretending all leaders in the Church share Christ's level of perfection.  It's stated quite clearly in scripture and modern examples that leaders are human and make mistakes.  

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21 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

I find this to be a very unnecessary and harmful over simplification.  

 A person can indeed have faith without pretending all leaders in the Church share Christ's level of perfection.  It's stated quite clearly in scripture and modern examples that leaders are human and make mistakes.  

i am well rebuked.  You are right - that is sort of what my words conveyed.  Not what i meant.  i guess that what i was attempting to convey is that if you believe TCOJCOLDS is the one and only true church, it is absurd to let the details of it's history pull you away from it.  But that if you don't have that underlying belief, then it seems almost as absurd to ignore the details of the history.  So just that the lens through which one interprets history is very much affected by how one views the larger picture.  i didn't mean to convey that anyone who believed was a person who hadn't looked into things, was ignoring things, or didn't understand how things really might have been, etc.,

i owe everyone here an apology for not being as clear as i should have been on that.  And i appreciate the correction.

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2 minutes ago, lostinwater said:

i am well rebuked.  You are right - that is sort of what my words conveyed.  Not what i meant.  i guess that what i was attempting to convey is that if you believe TCOJCOLDS is the one and only true church, it is absurd to let the details of it's history pull you away from it.  But that if you don't have that underlying belief, then it seems almost as absurd to ignore the details of the history.  So just that the lens through which one interprets history is very much affected by how one views the larger picture.  i didn't mean to convey that anyone who believed was a person who hadn't looked into things, was ignoring things, or didn't understand how things really might have been, etc.,

i owe everyone here an apology for not being as clear as i should have been on that.  And i appreciate the correction.

I appreciate the humility here. 

Just to be clear, you're saying that you do realize that a person can believe and in no way ignore history?  (Sorry, I want to make sure I'm reading you correctly).

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2 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

I appreciate the humility here. 

Just to be clear, you're saying that you do realize that a person can believe and in no way ignore history?  (Sorry, I want to make sure I'm reading you correctly).

Thanks.

i guess one could debate until the end of time about how much of what i call history isn't history, or how much of the history people who say they know the history actually know, or how you define terms like "believe", "know", or "ignore".   But wading through all that subjectivity, i'd say that yes, i do think it's possible.

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3 minutes ago, lostinwater said:

i guess one could debate until the end of time about how much of what i call history isn't history, or how much of the history people who say they know the history actually know, or how you define terms like "believe", "know", or "ignore".   But wading through all that subjectivity, i'd say that yes, i do think it's possible.

Oh history is the incomplete and imperfect recollection of events as recorded by flawed and biased people, and later incompletely retold and reinterpreted by a whole another set of imperfect and biased people.  So no denying the imperfection and subjectivity from me!

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Ultimately what we call history is in reality someone interpretation of available facts.. And when the facts are lacking it becomes guess work.  For example what things factually prove someone thoughts and intents?  Ponder that and realize there are very few things that do and they do not do it well.  Maybe they kept a journal were they documented such thoughts and desires... But that requires the person to have a level of self awareness in the moment that not everyone has.  But chances are they recorded it later, this is still good but it can then been colored by the other events they experienced.

But when ever you find a record were someone is making a judgment on another character (aka not themselves)... while the record is factual... the judgment they make is an opinion, and the data they give can be clearly biased by their own interpretation.  So while the document exists is clearly a fact, the contents of such a record is hardly guaranteed to be true.  This is a problem with all historical records not just the church ones.

The Church has been collecting historical 'fact' (aka documents) for its entire existence.  These the church has made and continues to make available to all.  When it puts out a history (like it just has) it will of course be an interpretation of historical 'facts' because there is no other form of historical record.  So naturally there will be those that disagree with what it focused on and the interpretation, because they would interpret it differently.

So it comes down to who's interpretation you are going to trust?   For me every logical and rational thought I have on the subject tells me that the Church's take on History will be attacked on all levels.... and the Church knows this.  Therefore they have every reason to make sure there interpretation is supported by the 'facts,' because anything that is not will be attacked without mercy.

I also know that antis have there own interpretation of the historical record... and those interpretations have been attacked by the various LDS apologetics so it works both ways.

So ultimately it comes down to Faith and a Choice.  I believe the Church to be true... warts and all.  Because of this I have no problem with a history that also shows warts and all.  (even if they naturally try to minimize some of the warts)

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I would like to add my two cents.

I believe it is imperative to accept the fact that some aspects of LDS history or things that past Church leaders have said or taught  can be seen as puzzling, disturbing, dark, false or even completely nuts. The list isn't that extensive but there is enough to cause faithful members to question a lot of things. I think it is important for all of us to be understanding and reach out to anyone who might be struggling with these topics.

Personally, I do not believe it is the responsibility of the Church to teach the members ALL the aspects of LDS history. I think the Church is right now in a position of "damned if they do, damned if they don't". We could argue all day whether the Church is the one to blame for this perception BUT now the essays are out. Is it good enough? Probably not, but I applaud the effort (yes, even if some people think it was due to the internet).

I am not sure if it was mentioned, but the Church has been trying to COME TO TERMS with its own history just like the rest of members. Some aspects are hard to digest, and to be completely honest, I think there are some aspects that probably the Church does not feel very proud of.

Having said that, if I was a new investigator having my first or second missionary discussion I am not sure if I would like to know Smith was married to multiple wives or that Blacks did not hold the Priesthood until 1978. I would shut down the discussion/visits immediately.

The Church could share right now (very openly) all these topics to our new (green) members or even investigators. But what will exactly be accomplished? We need to accept that in order to understand history, we need to understand context and cultural differences. Presenting facts for the sake of just sharing information without fully understanding the consequences that might have in the lives of impressionable minds is a little irresponsible and uncaring IMO. I believe a member should be well-seasoned in their testimony and faith in order to start understanding some aspects of LDS history. 

I fully understand and support the need for more of these topics to be discussed openly among the membership, not sure how can it be done.  I am just concerned that a lot of our members are not seasoned enough in history to present these facts in the way they are ought to be presented. Maybe a course could be provided? ;) 

Having said that, for the poster who needed answers. Please post your questions here and I will try to answer them. I don't know a whole lot  but I will try my best.

Edited by Suzie

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