Third Hour

Study Shows That Latter-day Saints Know Very Little About Other Religions

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1 hour ago, MormonGator said:

@Vort-this might sound insulting, but it isn't. So please don't take it this way. How can you expect others to show interest in your faith if you show no interest in theirs?  Again, not an insult. 

No insult taken, MG. The answer is that I don't expect anyone to show interest in my faith. I simply expect them to respect my faith. Whether or not they're interested is entirely up to them.

Christ taught that his sheep hear his voice. As a full-time missionary, I was not a salesman. I simply attempted to offer gospel instruction and insight to anyone who cared to hear it. Few cared to hear it. That's okay. My purpose was only to present, not to convert. The Spirit, and only the Spirit, converts.

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1 hour ago, amykeim said:

Plus, I think the good/better/best would be to try to see other people's point of views rather than simply saying, "My own view is enough. It's not important that I learn about or consider someone else's."

This resonates with me about as much as it does when leftists tell me I'm a racist bigot for being a conservative.

Do you really believe that I think no one else's view point is worth consideration, or that this is at the core of my reasoning? It's all arrogance and hubris to you?

Really?

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I find that usually, when it comes to sharing the Gospel, showing interest in a person is more effective than showing interest in the dogmas to which they claim to subscribe.  I think most rank-and-file Christians are far less doctrinaire than we Saints tend to be—plenty of Catholics aren’t sure the host is actually Jesus’ literal body, plenty of Protestants whose religions tell them that marriage must end at death still believe they will be “married” to their spouse through eternity, etc. As for the really doctrinaire ones: if a Hasidic Jew is interested in Mormonism, I’m not going to convert his interest from an academic to a spiritual one just because I casually know who Maimonides was; and study as I might, I’m never going to know more about Maimonides than he does.  

I’m not panning general religious education at all (I myself scored 15/15 on the quiz, so yay me, or something).  But I do agree that it’s a good/better/best sort of thing; and I would hope that Saints who prioritized other facets of their spiritual or intellectual development don’t read the article from the OP and feel judged or inferior for not happening to share my academic interest in other religions.  From a sharing-the-Gospel perspective our priority is to teach, not to be taught (D&C 43:15).  We should be sensitive to fact that people are generally deeply attached to their own belief systems;  but we cannot lose sight of the fact that religions are not all equally valid and/or equally valid uses of our time and resources.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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16 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

This resonates with me about as much as it does when leftists tell me I'm a racist bigot for being a conservative.

Do you really believe that I think no one else's view point is worth consideration, or that this is at the core of my reasoning? It's all arrogance and hubris to you?

Really?

You said earlier, "Goal post moved. The article implied we don't know enough. I maintain we do, and that further study is not requisite or even that useful."

Based on that statement, especially the point I italicized, I think my assessment that it is essentially saying, "My own viewpoint is enough, and it's not important for me to learn about anyone else's" seems fair. However, I'm genuinely sorry if you felt it wasn't justified or that it misrepresented your intent.

Edited by amykeim

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2 minutes ago, amykeim said:

You said earlier, "Goal post moved. The article implied we don't know enough. I maintain we do, and that further study is not requisite or even that useful."

Based on that statement, especially the point I italicized, I think my assessment that it is essentially saying, "My own viewpoint is enough, and it's not important for me to learn about anyone else's" seems fair. However, I'm genuinely sorry if you felt it wasn't justified or that it misrepresented your intent.

You translated my view that I believe a course in...say...LDS gospel doctrine has more value than a course in Catholic doctrine would to mean that I have nothing to learn from anyone else. And that seems fair to you? Because I'm not interested in "studying" the teachings of...let's say....Mohommad that I must not be interested in ANY other view points? Really? Fair?

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1 hour ago, Scott said:

Good point.   

Thanks bud. 

 

1 hour ago, Scott said:

 Have you ever been to small town Utah?

No, and I totally see your point too. The only encounters I've had with small town Utah people have been two missionaries that served in my part of the country. Both were really priggish incredibly sheltered and sort of irritating. So you are probably right. 

Edited by MormonGator

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56 minutes ago, amykeim said:

I don't mind if people disagree with me. The entire basis of my article is that I enjoy learning from people who don't agree with me.

I'm gratified that you enjoyed my comments. :

59 minutes ago, amykeim said:

I was joking about your "Whoop dee doo" comment, although I suppose I do think the phrase isn't the most respectful when it's used in connection with a point someone is trying to make.

Would you have been happier if I had used the less broadly sarcastic sentence, "You think this is a big deal, but you are mistaken; it's not actually important"?

1 hour ago, amykeim said:

In any case, you all are stating and defending your points of view and that is okay and encouraged, so why it uncalled for when I try to defend myself and the way I think?

Seriously? You personally were never under attack. And to "defend" your thesis, you essentially said, "Quit being so mean!" That's a personal defense, not a defense of an idea.

1 hour ago, amykeim said:

It seems like something of a double standard: when I make a comment in defense of my thoughts and ideas, I'm told to refer back to the definition of a discussion list, but when you defend your comments and way of thinking, it's okay.

Let's review the sequence of occurrences:

  • Amy wrote an article which included the statements, "[D]oes it even matter if we don’t know things about religions other than our own? Yes, it matters... Latter-day Saints [..] were the second to least knowledgable about world religion… Which is obviously not great. And that needs to change." Her only buttress for this judgment that I could find was the following sentence*: "When we know more about others and the faiths that they love and cherish so deeply, we will find that we love them more deeply."
    *By the way, Amy's last sentence quoted above suggests that if we love these people sufficiently well, we don't need to bother with understanding their faiths—in other words, that understanding the faith of others is not important per se, but only because one of the side effects of such understanding is the greater love we need for them. Ironically, this actually works against Amy's claim that understanding the religion of others is vitally important. But I'm confident Amy doesn't believe this, and I don't either, so I didn't include it in my response.
  • Vort responded: "Latter-day Saints tend to know less than others about other religions? Whoop dee doo. How well we live our own religion concerns me a lot more than how well we understand other religions."
  • Amy's complete, unfiltered response to this was, "I always love when people read the articles that I worked on and say "Whoop dee doo." 😍"
  • Vort responds at length, beginning with the comments, "Why are you offended? I didn't mean to be offensive. Do you think that I'm morally or socially obligated either to agree with you or to keep quiet? (If so, you might want to review the definition of a "discussion list".)"
  • Amy's response, quoted above, is, "It seems like something of a double standard: when I make a comment in defense of my thoughts and ideas, I'm told to refer back to the definition of a discussion list, but when you defend your comments and way of thinking, it's okay."

I assume you see the problem above, Amy. If not, let me make it explicit:

You did not "make a comment in defense of [your] thoughts and ideas". There was no defense offered. You said nothing of value at all, but only made a snarky comment.

Which is fine. There is no rule that you have to make a principled defense of what you wrote. But in that case, you shouldn't complain by pretending that your response was some sort of a "defense of [your] thoughts and ideas" when it was very clearly no such thing.

I did not merely offer off-hand negative opinions about what you wrote. I took care to try to explain which parts I disagreed with. Your responses have been emotionally based rejections of criticism in place of thoughtful rebuttals or even admitting that this or that thing you wrote might not have been what you meant (or maybe was what you meant, but on further reflection aren't sure it stands up to scrutiny).

Amy, you wrote a column for public consumption, then got your feelings hurt when I and others disagreed with it. Yes, my "whoop-de-doo" was a mild sarcasm, but it was only a part of a much more thoughtful critique.

You have things to offer to the reading public, Amy. But if I may speak candidly, you need to develop a thicker skin toward public comments. Even including the mildly sarcastic comment I offered, I wrote nothing that could reasonably be considered personally offensive toward you. You are free to take offense, of course, but doing so won't lead you to contentment or convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you that you're right.

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36 minutes ago, amykeim said:

I think my assessment that it is essentially saying, "My own viewpoint is enough, and it's not important for me to learn about anyone else's" seems fair. However, I'm genuinely sorry if you felt it wasn't justified or that it misrepresented your intent.

Whaaaaa...?

Are you "genuinely sorry" about what you wrote, or aren't you? Were you wrong to write it, or were you justified? You start by maintaining that you think what you wrote was fair, but then immediately you turn around and apologize.

Perhaps what you meant is that you sympathize with someone who feels attacked, even if you think the feeling is unjustified. That's fine. That's even nice. But if that's what you meant, that's what you should write. Because what you actually wrote is something like, "I didn't do anything wrong, but I sure am sorry about it." This lessens your credibility because it comes across as phony double-speak. I don't believe you're a phony, so I urge you to think carefully about your responses and write in specific terms, not in broad platitudes.

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10 hours ago, Mores said:

So, I've gone ahead and changed the questions to cover our faith.  How do you suppose Jews, Atheists, and Agnostics would fare?

@prisonchaplain, I would invite you (and any other non-LDS folks) to try these questions and see what you get.  And let me know if you think it is a fair comparison to the original questions.

I'd bet most would get about half or less on this.  Someone like PC who spends a lot of time with us -- probably about 60% yo 70% (just in round numbers).

I believe I do know many of the correct answers, but your point is well taken. I'm not just here a fair amount, but, as a chaplain, I am expected to know some basics about most faith groups.  I suspect that most non-members would get less than half right. The OP threw me, because I seem to remember a recent post suggesting that LDS tend to be better than many other faith groups on this matter. That is, LDS members tend to know more about other people's religions vs. other faith groups. This made sense to me given the high number of members who have served missions in areas that are predominantly of another religion.

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On 8/6/2019 at 10:48 AM, MormonGator said:

The few times I've gone the congregation and staff have been incredibly warm and friendly. 

This confirms my concerns about Southern Baptists ;) 

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Guest Mores
22 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

I believe I do know many of the correct answers, but your point is well taken. I'm not just here a fair amount, but, as a chaplain, I am expected to know some basics about most faith groups.  I suspect that most non-members would get less than half right. The OP threw me, because I seem to remember a recent post suggesting that LDS tend to be better than many other faith groups on this matter. That is, LDS members tend to know more about other people's religions vs. other faith groups. This made sense to me given the high number of members who have served missions in areas that are predominantly of another religion.

Thanks.  I really am curious what your score on my list of questions would be.  For the purposes of fair comparison, looking at questions like "What religion is Hugh Nibley?"  the more applicable question would be: Do you know what Hugh Nibley is known for?

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On 8/6/2019 at 10:41 AM, Jane_Doe said:

For a simple example: he knows that if there are free cookies at work, I will eat 2.  And then feel a little guilty as I eat the third.

 

10 hours ago, person0 said:

image.png.3776ec6dece8e476a7a4bd8a050017ee.png

Do I get a cookie?  😀
 

Sorry, there were 3 cookies for you but @Jane_Doe ate them all. 

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8 hours ago, MormonGator said:

@Vort-this might sound insulting, but it isn't. So please don't take it this way. How can you expect others to show interest in your faith if you show no interest in theirs?  Again, not an insult. 

7  And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts;

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 29:7)

40  For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; 
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 88:40)

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7 hours ago, amykeim said:

I think you should try to see the message they were getting at — that knowing basics about other religions enables us to be a better missionary, something Preach My Gospel talks about — rather than doing everything you can to tear them apart. If it wasn't important to know about other religions,  it wouldn't talk about it in Preach My Gospel. There wouldn't be entire courses devoted to it at BYU. There wouldn't be an institute class on it. There wouldn't be article after article in the Ensign about other faiths and the basic tenants they teach. The Church wouldn't focus so much on interfaith involvement. If we want other people to learn about our religion, the least we can do it be respectful and learn about theirs and why it's important to them. It's basic courtesy.

ALSO, I never said we COULDN'T love people properly if we don't learn about their faith, as you said in an earlier comment. I said that it increases our love and respect for them, which I know from personal experience. Haven't you ever met someone of another religion and found the more you learned about their beliefs, the more you admired their devotion to their faith? Plus, I think the good/better/best would be to try to see other people's point of views rather than simply saying, "My own view is enough. It's not important that I learn about or consider someone else's." If there are enough hours in the day to write on this forum, there are enough hours in the day to spend a little time learning about other people who are different than you and what they believe.

I think the following scriptures are relevant for this question

1  VERILY, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha—There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly;

2  There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men.

3  Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated.

4  Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth;

5  And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom;

6  And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited.  Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated.  Amen.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 91:1 - 6)

 

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

7  But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

(New Testament | 1 Timothy 4:6 - 7)

 

118  And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 88:118)

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It is a personal belief of mine that doctrine plays too big a role in religion and that all devout religious types have more in common than they have differences - with the exception of doctrine.  In my travels I have met many that think doctrine is what makes religion.  I have told several atheists that they are better Christians than many Christians.  I am of the mind that religion is about being kind and respectful (which is why politics does not go so well with many that intend to worship a loving and kind G-d).  I also have little respect for someone that is not willing to be the best possible example of their beliefs - regardless if they claim religion or not.

What others say is their religion or belief means nothing to me if it contradicts what they do and how they treat others.  And it seems that the more one is willing to argue doctrine the less they are willing to be an example of it.

 

The Traveler

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9 hours ago, askandanswer said:

7  And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts;

 (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 29:7)

40  For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; 
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 88:40)

Yeah, I still don't get it. If you don't want to share your faith with someone, that's fine. At least that doesn't make you a hypocrite. But if you ask someone to read the BOM or go to church with you and you refuse to do the same for their them, well, no wonder they won't listen to you. 

Edited by MormonGator

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18 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Yeah, I still don't get it. If you don't want to share your faith with someone, that's fine. At least that doesn't make you a hypocrite. But if you ask someone to read the BOM or go to church with you and you refuse to do the same for their them, well, no wonder they won't listen to you. 

Agreed. I have a strong testimony that we are the correct church (why else would I go to a building full of extroverted, morning people every week if I didn't😃?) But I knocked on other people's doors for two years preaching the gospel to them. It's only fair (and interesting for me) to listen to other's sharing their faith.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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1 hour ago, Midwest LDS said:

Agreed. I have a strong testimony that we are the correct church (why else would I go to a building full of extroverted, morning people every week if I didn't😃?) But I knocked on other people's doors for two years preaching the gospel to them. It's only fair (and interesting for me) to listen to other's sharing their faith.

Thanks bud. 

You also lose the right to get angry about people making ignorant claims about the LDS church. After all, if you stay ignorant about their faith-how can you expect them not to remain ignorant about yours? 

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Just now, Midwest LDS said:

Agreed. I have a strong testimony that we are the correct church (why else would I go to a building full of extroverted, morning people every week if I didn't😃?) But I knocked on other people's doors for two years preaching the gospel to them. It's only fair (and interesting for me) to listen to other's sharing their faith.

 

Just now, MormonGator said:

Thanks bud. 

You also lose the right to get angry about people making ignorant claims about the LDS church. After all, if you stay ignorant about their faith-how can you expect them not to remain ignorant about yours? 

Both these are cases where "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you applies"  And people can have different answers

For example when someone comes knocking on my door to share religion... I am polite but firm and clear in my lack of interest.  On a hot day I'll offer a drink.  Why?  because that is how I would want to be treated.  As a missionary I did not want to talk to people that had no interest.  Of course I did want people to be interested, but I did not want it to be faked... because that just wasted everyone's time.

As for ignorant claims sure knowledge counters ignorance.  But in this case simple respect counters making claims you really know nothing about.  All knowledge you need is that you lack knowledge to be talking about it.  I know I would like to have my religion treated respectfully... so that is my approach (or what I try to make my approach) to other people's religions.  And I find a clearly respectful treatment of others people faiths even when I do not know much about it goes much father then any attempt to show how much I might know about it.

While the article tries to make the case that we need to "know" and "learn" in order to effectively reach people.  But it ignores the power of respect and treating each other like Children of God.  Things we can do, things we are counciled to do, without taking a singular religion class.

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1 hour ago, estradling75 said:

 

Both these are cases where "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you applies"  And people can have different answers

For example when someone comes knocking on my door to share religion... I am polite but firm and clear in my lack of interest.  On a hot day I'll offer a drink.  Why?  because that is how I would want to be treated.  As a missionary I did not want to talk to people that had no interest.  Of course I did want people to be interested, but I did not want it to be faked... because that just wasted everyone's time.

As for ignorant claims sure knowledge counters ignorance.  But in this case simple respect counters making claims you really know nothing about.  All knowledge you need is that you lack knowledge to be talking about it.  I know I would like to have my religion treated respectfully... so that is my approach (or what I try to make my approach) to other people's religions.  And I find a clearly respectful treatment of others people faiths even when I do not know much about it goes much father then any attempt to show how much I might know about it.

While the article tries to make the case that we need to "know" and "learn" in order to effectively reach people.  But it ignores the power of respect and treating each other like Children of God.  Things we can do, things we are counciled to do, without taking a singular religion class.

How you treat other religions isn't my concern, you live your life and I live mine. My issue is hypocrisy (Which no, you aren't engaging in @estradling75).  When someone makes jokes about other religions/beliefs then plays the victim when someone makes fun of theirs. Or, when someone whines about ignorance, yet doesn't know the difference between a Catholic and a Protestant. 

Again, for the second time, no, I'm not accusing you of that @estradling75

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Just now, MormonGator said:

How you treat other religions isn't my concern, you live your life and I live mine. My issue is hypocrisy (Which no, you aren't engaging in @estradling75).  When someone makes jokes about other religions/beliefs then plays the victim when someone makes fun of theirs. Or, when someone whines about ignorance, yet doesn't know the difference between a Catholic and a Protestant. 

Again, for the second time, no, I'm not accusing you of that @estradling75

Which is why the answer is not "Gain Knowledge".  Gaining knowledge does not stop people from being hypocrites... or making jokes... or having fun at others expenses....

"Do unto Others as you would have them do unto you." does that.  If the effort we are being asked to devote to "learning others religious beliefs" is instead devoted to following Christ's command and we think "Is this how I would want others to treat me?"   When we do this hypocrisy goes away (or is greatly reduced) and humor becomes much less mean spirited.  Thus it is a much better answer then the one the Article goes with.  It is also a command with means it is what Christ wants us to be doing.

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29 minutes ago, estradling75 said:

Which is why the answer is not "Gain Knowledge".  Gaining knowledge does not stop people from being hypocrites... or making jokes... or having fun at others expenses....

 

That's where we disagree. I think gaining knowledge doesn't always stop people from being hypocritical/being cruel but it helps. The more we know about a religion, race, political opponent the harder it is to demonize them. I've seen this happen in my own life. 

And again, just to be clear, if you want to stay ignorant, fine. It's your life. And just being ignorant doesn't make you a bad person. 

Edited by MormonGator

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