prisonchaplain

Leaving faith communities over 'politics' - a Protestant example

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This topic can be sensitive, and I was tempted to place in the Christian beliefs forum. However, my sense is that the spiritual struggle that politics sometimes generates affects us all. Here's the story--made vague on purpose. A man seminary-educated (Protestant graduate theology school) in the 1970s becomes ordained in his mainline denomination and pastors a single church for nearly 30 years. As he sees his denomination embrace gay marriage, ordain practicing homosexuals, and now fully embrace transgenderism, he comes to the soul-wrenching decision to leave his denomination--including guiding his church out. He was able to join another denomination, under the same larger umbrella, and today says his former denomination cannot be merely labed liberal--it has become radical, in his view. I read his article and, taken at face value, I agree.

In the 1990s, when I was at my much-more-Bible-based denominational seminary I remember classmates saying with a bit of bravado that they were thankful that we would never affirm anti-biblical sexuality. Today we remain nowhere near violating those standards. However, there are some frightfully strong rumblings among our youngest clergy. A few pastors have left us, because they do want to embrace today's cultural norms.

In the greater Evangelical world there are several thinkers suggesting a huge divide is coming over support/opposition to POTUS. Apparently many younger believers find it hypocritical and even evil that their elders would turn a blind eye to the shortcomings in order to gain temporary protection and support. "Do we trust God or Caesar?" they ask.

If the church is led by prophets, and those prophets remain true, then a few may leave the church, whether to the left or the right. If boundary-protectors force the church to the right, outside of God's directing, then a good number will leave for the left. Those who do so will be younger. On the other hand, if the cultural-accommodaters get ahead of God's directions, many elders may leave in dismay. After some initial growth by excited young people, such a movement would go the way of many in-tune denominations--gradual implosion.

I'm an outsider. However, if my counsel is worth anything, I'd urge members to pray for their leaders--especially those they believe to be anointed by God to be prophets. In the mean time, I am praying for my leaders to keep our denomination faithful to God and his Word.

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My first reaction is that a lot of the things being discussed in your post (marriage) are values one, not politics.  Those are two different things, albeit related.  A faith should fight for values, not any particular candidate/party.  Especially because we have many values, but sadly politics is so often a package deal with persons/values we may agree with some and passionately disagree with others.  Keeping faith value-focused and not political-focused is healthy thing for everyone.  

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36 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

My first reaction is that a lot of the things being discussed in your post (marriage) are values one, not politics.  Those are two different things, albeit related.  A faith should fight for values, not any particular candidate/party.  Especially because we have many values, but sadly politics is so often a package deal with persons/values we may agree with some and passionately disagree with others.  Keeping faith value-focused and not political-focused is healthy thing for everyone.  

His use of Trump as an example is also a values one and not necessarily politics - the idea being, voting for Trump is akin to voting for his values which includes infidelity.

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It was only a very few years ago that the term "Anti" would be used here with some frequency. I read a fair amount of that material growing up. We worried about 'false teaching' and the groups that espoused them. Today I seldom see that term used. I'm sure there are still a few groups doing such work. However, the greater concern in traditional Christianity is something I call "the compromised church." It's those congregations, pastors, and members who embrace the culture and declare anything other than love "non-essentials." Perhaps our greatest enemies have always been those within.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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3 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

It was only a very few years ago that the term "Anti" would be used here with some frequency. I read a fair amount of that material growing up. We worried about 'false teachers' and the groups that espoused them. Today I seldom see that term used. I'm sure there are still a few groups doing such work. However, the greater concern in traditional Christianity is something I call "the compromised church." It's those congregations, pastors, and members who embrace the culture and declare anything other than love "non-essentials." Perhaps our greatest enemies have always been those within.

Tragic, but very true.  For all of earthly time.

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47 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

Perhaps our greatest enemies have always been those within.

Thus it has always been, and thus it will always be, until and unless we overcome our own fallen nature.

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Since my youth members of the Church have pointed to the parable of the  10 virgins as an indication that 50% of the membership of the Church would fall away.  Around that time, it was widely reported that we actually already had an activity rate around 50%.  So, everyone was warned to remain vigilant.

After many years, I noticed something else happening.  What we now see as "orthodox" vs "heterodox" thought was something that really didn't happen much.  Sure there were outliers.  And there would always be those who are out on the fringes.  But that is exactly what they were: fringes.

Today I'm seeing that the membership of the Church is falling into heterodox ideology at an alarming rate (just my personal impression).  Part of that is that there are so few people who actually understand the doctrines of the Church anymore.  If we don't even know what we believe, then it is easy to change what we believe into something unrecognizable.

Now the 10 virgins take on a new meaning.  It does not refer to a 50% activity rate.  It refers to a pretty low activity rate and only 50% of the active Saints who still attend their meetings and even pay their tithing and go to the temple and fulfill all their Church callings will be able to endure to the end.  But their hearts are not about faithfulness to the Lord and His Church.  It is something else that motivates them.  And when the time comes, they will find that their lamps are out of oil.

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3 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

This topic can be sensitive, and I was tempted to place in the Christian beliefs forum. However, my sense is that the spiritual struggle that politics sometimes generates affects us all. Here's the story--made vague on purpose. A man seminary-educated (Protestant graduate theology school) in the 1970s becomes ordained in his mainline denomination and pastors a single church for nearly 30 years. As he sees his denomination embrace gay marriage, ordain practicing homosexuals, and now fully embrace transgenderism, he comes to the soul-wrenching decision to leave his denomination--including guiding his church out. He was able to join another denomination, under the same larger umbrella, and today says his former denomination cannot be merely labed liberal--it has become radical, in his view. I read his article and, taken at face value, I agree.

In the 1990s, when I was at my much-more-Bible-based denominational seminary I remember classmates saying with a bit of bravado that they were thankful that we would never affirm anti-biblical sexuality. Today we remain nowhere near violating those standards. However, there are some frightfully strong rumblings among our youngest clergy. A few pastors have left us, because they do want to embrace today's cultural norms.

In the greater Evangelical world there are several thinkers suggesting a huge divide is coming over support/opposition to POTUS. Apparently many younger believers find it hypocritical and even evil that their elders would turn a blind eye to the shortcomings in order to gain temporary protection and support. "Do we trust God or Caesar?" they ask.

If the church is led by prophets, and those prophets remain true, then a few may leave the church, whether to the left or the right. If boundary-protectors force the church to the right, outside of God's directing, then a good number will leave for the left. Those who do so will be younger. On the other hand, if the cultural-accommodaters get ahead of God's directions, many elders may leave in dismay. After some initial growth by excited young people, such a movement would go the way of many in-tune denominations--gradual implosion.

I'm an outsider. However, if my counsel is worth anything, I'd urge members to pray for their leaders--especially those they believe to be anointed by God to be prophets. In the mean time, I am praying for my leaders to keep our denomination faithful to God and his Word.

TLDR - This post mostly expresses my personal fears that I have and that have been told to me by others.  It's more of a long post on my own fears and the inability to do anything about it but pray.

This is a danger that affects the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well.  Over the past two years policies are edging people in what appears to be an attempt to eventually create policies which go counter to what are taught in the scriptures.  Thus far, with a LIBERAL amount of bending an interpretation one can say the Church still adheres to those policies, but the path it seems to be going appear that eventually they MAY give policies which are in direct violation (there are already those that are in violation of directives that prophets SAID were revelations, but these were never written down and accepted in the Scriptures the Church uses, thus can viably be stated to NOT be doctrine) of those found in the Doctrine and Covenants and possibly those of Paul (feasibly, one policy already does, but only if one uses the traditional interpretation of it, a liberal interpretation will still say we are in adherence to Paul's policy...technically speaking...maybe).

The same reactions are occurring in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that has happened in other Churches that went into a more liberal pursuit in the mistaken idea that it would bolster their numbers (wake up time, it does not.  Normally, the membership is reduced by liberalizing policies and ideas in the religions in the US).

We are seeing some of the results of this already as could have been easily predicted.

Normally, churches start down the more liberal path because they think people are falling away.  They think people are falling away and membership is not rising as quickly because the younger people are wanting more liberal policies.  Invariably, when the churches adopt these liberal policies, they DRIVE AWAY those that came for the actual religion and traditional values that the church espoused.  The membership stops rising as quickly...and as more and more liberal policies are adopted...starts going into the negative numbers of membership.

The Church of Jesus Christ has NOT seen it's membership start going into the negatives, but there has been a visible slowdown of members joining, retention, and appealing to those who traditionally joined in the past. 

However, we have NOT gone down the entire liberal path...yet...and so, luckily have not seen some of the other disastrous items that have occurred to other churches and religions that have gone fully to accept the values that go against what is taught in the Bible.

People wonder why there is such a rise in atheism and those who do not partake in Christianity today.  If we look at the changes of churches, we can see a direct parallel between the change to more liberal policies (defining liberal policies NOT as those that are liberal politically, but those that are ones that go against the traditional teachings of the Bible...such as the starting off lightly with Ordaining women to the priesthood to far more drastic ones such as performing and accepting Gay Marriage and ordaining Transgendered Gay Married individuals as pastors that teach that Homosexuality is not just accepted, but promoted in the Bible...and the decline of membership in Christian churches and increase of the percentage of the US that is not Christian anymore.

I cannot understand that when the parallels are so blatantly before us, and when the dangers so apparent, churches do not get a clue that changing their traditional values and policies can be a one way ticket to losing their membership (and the money that goes with it).

Still, in every one of the churches that have done this, there are still members.  Most are still alive and performing services.  In these churches, no matter how much they change, they still have a hardcore group that will remain with the church till they die.  They create all sorts of excuses of WHY these changes are ordained of the Lord and how the Bible should not be seen as authoritative or even adhered to.

I do not know whether our church will go down the same path trod by so many churches before it at this point.  The above post reflects some of the fears I have already.  I know I have some grandkids that are not active in the church presently.  I know, even worse, that I have at least two to three of my kids (not quite 50%, but still a sizeable chunk) who have expressed similar fears and put down exactly at what point they feel the church will be in apostasy and try to find something that adheres more closely to what they feel is right (it seems that line seems to be that if the church decides women can hold the priesthood and be deacons, teachers, priests, and elders...that is the deciding point for one...the others I'm not so sure of...yet).  From what I've had others personally talk to me about, it seems that there are quite a few that are already disturbed GREATLY by many of the changes that the Church has made.  Perhaps they are not taking enough vitamins...but some of the changes have stretched them to their fingertips already.

I think this is the exact thing that causes churches that turn to liberal policies to lose their membership.  The people that WERE members already were members BECAUSE they believed in what the Church was teaching originally.  When they change what they teach to something else, they isolate many of those that believed what was taught.  When they teach AGAINST their former doctrines and beliefs...what do they expect those who were members BECAUSE of the older and traditional beliefs to do?

I think those churches expect those people will simply remain members (and the most hardcore do), but we also see that many (sometimes they lose over 50% of their membership like what we saw with the Community of Christ [what used to be the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or RLDS] when they went to more liberal policies.  We now see that in Australia, they can even perform Gay Marriages (and ordinations?  not sure on that quite yet).

People say have faith, but in observing what steps other churches took in their liberalization, and what occurred, I can already see the Church I am a member of starting to take those same steps.  It has me VERY afraid.  I pray a LOT to the Lord over it. One problem I see is that people are AFRAID to express these fears to others unless they trust them (which should make me feel good I suppose as many seem to have trusted me in this, but honestly, it has actually only increase my OWN fears about it rather than help me knowing others are also afraid of the same thing).  I don't express these fears at church...ever...and I know those that have expressed them to me do not express them either for fear that the church will not react well (and perhaps in a hostile manner rather than doing anything to help us overcome these fears).

It's created a way for people to feel as if they cannot turn to the church or it's leadership for help spiritually in some cases.  In others I have seen a few turn to other teachings already (there are one or two are still in the church but also very definitely part of a group I would call Snufferites.  They still claim to be members and are on the roles, but are part of that Snufferite movement as well) as they despair about who to turn to in the church and the policies that are being adopted.

The worst part is I don't have any answers for them (or even for my kids).  I can't give them any guarantee that we are not going to go as far as the other churches that have adopted liberal policies.  If you had asked me a year ago if we'd have women being witnesses at baptisms and able to tell Priesthood leaders what and how to do an ordinance...I would have told you that would never happen as we were led by those that would never go counter to what were the TRADITIONAL (as opposed to the more liberal which have it as absolutely okay to have women do such) interpretations of the counsels of Paul.  Obviously, I would have been wrong.  I can't give anyone any solace that this is not the path we are ultimately headed down...not even my own children.

If I am experiencing this type of fear in my church which traditionally has been more conservative in it's approach and more scriptural...I can only imagine the pain, fear, and praying that is going on in other churches.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

Part of that is that there are so few people who actually understand the doctrines of the Church anymore. 

I almost indicated that this would be a side question. However, let me frame it so it is not: If I were a member, worried that I was weak in my doctrinal understanding, what would you recommend I read/study to raise up to a modestly solid level? Gospel Principles?

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4 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

I almost indicated that this would be a side question. However, let me frame it so it is not: If I were a member, worried that I was weak in my doctrinal understanding, what would you recommend I read/study to raise up to a modestly solid level? Gospel Principles?

There's the answer I could give YOU, if I were advising you.  But I believe you're asking about "the average Latter-day Saint."  So, that is the answer I would offer for the average person.

I know that the "proper" thing to say would be to read the scriptures.  And that has to be a part of the process.  But one weakness is that education is so bad that people simply can't read archaic language anymore.

So, yes.  Gospel Principles would be the best common language publication to read and study to get the basics of our beliefs.  But I would always advise that one would look up every scriptural reference in the book in order to get some idea of what the older language sounds and feels like.  So, part of the study of Gospel Principles would be to ease one into the older language in a setting that uses common language to get there.  The summaries found in Gospel Principles never really relay the ideas like the scriptures themselves.

Eventually, one MUST study the scriptures.  As Nephi says: Feast upon the words of Christ.

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20 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

I almost indicated that this would be a side question. However, let me frame it so it is not: If I were a member, worried that I was weak in my doctrinal understanding, what would you recommend I read/study to raise up to a modestly solid level? Gospel Principles?

In all soberness, I would most strongly suggest that you read the standard works (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price). Then read them again. Then again. Continue for the rest of your life. This is by far the best way to gain a solid foundation of understanding in the gospel. I do not deny that primers like Gospel Principles and various student manuals can be a great adjunct to learning the doctrines. But to learn the doctrines, you will ultimately need to go to the scriptures. To understand how the principles taught in scripture apply to our situations today, I would advise you to listen and relisten to the most recent General Conference.

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26 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

I almost indicated that this would be a side question. However, let me frame it so it is not: If I were a member, worried that I was weak in my doctrinal understanding, what would you recommend I read/study to raise up to a modestly solid level? Gospel Principles?

Ironically, some of the readings I would suggest are the same that you probably already read.  I'd suggest the Bible.  ALL of the Bible (which you probably already read and study).  I think that the people who actually read and study it in the population overall is a minority.

The ones that study it moreso are those that probably are remaining more in the Bible teaching churches or fretting about the changes that go counter to the Bible today. 

For Saints, I'd also suggest reading the Book of Mormon.  Another, though it can be VERY difficult to get through, would be the Doctrine & Covenants (which is abbreviated D&C, and I'll refer to it as such from here on out, as the scripture, not the medical abbreviation).  It lays out many of the outlying doctrines we adhere to but are not specifically or explicitly listed in the Bible or Book of Mormon (though many we can use verses from those as other witnesses of that same doctrine).  Also the Pearl of Great Price.

If one can actually make it through those two, I'd suggest a second reading but using the old LDS Institute Manuals to get a further inflection on what many current LDS doctrinal professors thinking are on many of the passages in the frame of the Church's ideology. 

They can be found here Manuals under scripture courses.

If you still are looking for more after that, I'd refer you to other materials that were not necessarily doctrine per se, but have had a great impact on church teachings and beliefs (for example the King Follett Sermon has probably had a greater impact on our understanding of the Afterlife and the things after that in the 20th century than many other teachings that are in the scriptures).  Thus I'd first suggest Lectures on Faith and the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  After that, perhaps the Teachings of Brigham Young, the Teachings of Joseph F. Smith, and then Doctrines of Salvation and Answers to Gospel questions by Joseph Fielding Smith.  Then perhaps the teachings of David O' Mckay and from there (kind of predictable) the teachings and biographies of other prophets of ours (Ezra Taft Benson, Thomas S. Monson, Spencer W. Kimball, etc).

 

Edited by JohnsonJones

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14 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

There's the answer I could give YOU, if I were advising you.  But I believe you're asking about "the average Latter-day Saint."  So, that is the answer I would offer for the average person.

I know that the "proper" thing to say would be to read the scriptures.  And that has to be a part of the process.  But one weakness is that education is so bad that people simply can't read archaic language anymore.

So, yes.  Gospel Principles would be the best common language publication to read and study to get the basics of our beliefs.  But I would always advise that one would look up every scriptural reference in the book in order to get some idea of what the older language sounds and feels like.  So, part of the study of Gospel Principles would be to ease one into the older language in a setting that uses common language to get there.  The summaries found in Gospel Principles never really relay the ideas like the scriptures themselves.

Eventually, one MUST study the scriptures.  As Nephi says: Feast upon the words of Christ.

I saw this answer after I posted my own, and sort of assumed it would cover the same points as mine. And I guess it sort of did. One thing I would add to Carb's answer is that learning to understand archaic language as found in the Bible and, to some extent, in the Book of Mormon and in a few books of the Pearl of Great Price is by exposure. Simply rereading the scriptures a dozen times will literally do wonders in aiding your comprehension. I also have no objection to using other reliable Bible translations. Lots of people seem to like the NIV; I found myself partial to the Catholic so-called Jerusalem Bible. But to fully interface with other latter-day scripture, especially the Book of Mormon and the PoGP books of Abraham, Moses, and JS-Matthew, you really need to be familiar with the KJV.

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Gospel Principles or standard works? The answer I am hearing is YES...but in reverse order. Great answer. Obvious...but true. And, yes, for too many Christians of all stripes, there has not been even one reading through the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. Sadly, some of our compromised mega-pastors are actively advising against much of the Bible as unnecessary. :::sigh:::  Keep them ignorant, keep them controlled.

I especially like the added counsel to use Gospel Principles, but with actually references to all scriptures listed. Who does that? Very few...but yeah, everyone should. I recall reading a study book from a religion I do not agree with. They made a statement I thought wrong, and in parenthesis it had six biblical references. Most would look at that and be amazed and overwhelmed. They must be right with all that scripture backing them. Alas, I actually read the first two references and realized they had nothing to do with the point made. It's almost as if they simply used a concordance to see if any of the words in their points were also in the Bible, and the listed each verse that contained one of the words.

BOTTOM LINE:  Want to avoid being a heretic within? Read your faith's scriptures...daily passages and yearly books. Excellent stuff. I believe our elders called this type of thing a spiritual discipline.

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5 minutes ago, Vort said:

... you really need to be familiar with the KJV.

I told my 17-year old, who was quoting an Edgar Allen Poe poem, that if she wanted to memorize Bible passages like that King James is the easiest. She looked surprised and asked me why. It's the rhythm and cadence. It's not my studying Bible, but there is nothing like the King James for memorizing and quoting. The other reality is that the KJV rates at about an 11th grade reading level. NIV is 7th, as are most news magazines. So, it's more than we are used to, but not out of reach.

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45 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

BOTTOM LINE:  Want to avoid being a heretic within? Read your faith's scriptures...daily passages and yearly books. Excellent stuff. I believe our elders called this type of thing a spiritual discipline.

And don't forget to do so in prayer, humbly listening to the Holy Spirit :)

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19 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

BOTTOM LINE:  Want to avoid being a heretic within? Read your faith's scriptures...daily passages and yearly books. Excellent stuff. I believe our elders called this type of thing a spiritual discipline.

My oft-mentioned Muslim friend in graduate school told me that he tried to read one juz' (section) of the Qur'an every day. There are thirty ajza' (plural of juz') in the Qur'an, so that works out to reading the entire Qur'an about once a month. (The Qur'an is somewhat shorter than the New Testament, so this isn't as overwhelming a task as it might sound at first, though certainly it is no mean feat.)

While the Qur'an passages he was so familiar with didn't strike any resonance with me, and while I doubt the divine authenticity of his scriptures, I do believe that his diligence and dedication to worshiping God stood him in good stead. To some degree, I think that his purity of intent and his willingness to follow through was the important refining element. I don't want to go too far down this path; I am not cynical enough to accept the universalist idea that it doesn't matter what you believe or whom you worship, and that it's the worship itself that helps you. I believe it matters a great deal. But I also believe that the laws of God bless the sincere in intent and the pure in heart, despite their false ideas. If it were not so, surely we all would be lost forever.

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6 minutes ago, Vort said:

My oft-mentioned Muslim friend in graduate school told me that he tried to read one juz' (section) of the Qur'an every day. There are thirty ajza' (plural of juz') in the Qur'an, so that works out to reading the entire Qur'an about once a month. (The Qur'an is somewhat shorter than the New Testament, so this isn't as overwhelming a task as it might sound at first, though certainly it is no mean feat.)

While the Qur'an passages he was so familiar with didn't strike any resonance with me, and while I doubt the divine authenticity of his scriptures, I do believe that his diligence and dedication to worshiping God stood him in good stead. To some degree, I think that his purity of intent and his willingness to follow through was the important refining element. I don't want to go too far down this path; I am not cynical enough to accept the universalist idea that it doesn't matter what you believe or whom you worship, and that it's the worship itself that helps you. I believe it matters a great deal. But I also believe that the laws of God bless the sincere in intent and the pure in heart, despite their false ideas. If it were not so, surely we all would be lost forever.

This is akin to Jordan Peterson's view that religious practice (attending Church for 1 hour per week) brings one to ponder or renew one's commitment to doing good.  Ahh... I should just let Jordan speak for himself:

 

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19 minutes ago, Vort said:

But I also believe that the laws of God bless the sincere in intent and the pure in heart, despite their false ideas. If it were not so, surely we all would be lost forever.

Those who seek God will find Him. Ultimately, it's between each soul and Heavenly Father. However, as you say, one who reads scripture will sincerity and intentionality presents as (I like this psychology phrase) one who will find the Almighty.

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On 5/14/2020 at 5:51 AM, prisonchaplain said:

I almost indicated that this would be a side question. However, let me frame it so it is not: If I were a member, worried that I was weak in my doctrinal understanding, what would you recommend I read/study to raise up to a modestly solid level? Gospel Principles?

A very gradual first step might be to read all of the Ensign each month. It's a good mix of doctrine, practicality and uplifting accounts of and by ordinary people.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/ensign?lang=eng

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On 5/13/2020 at 8:01 PM, JohnsonJones said:

This is a danger that affects the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well.  Over the past two years policies are edging people in what appears to be an attempt to eventually create policies which go counter to what are taught in the scriptures.  .......

The same reactions are occurring in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that has happened in other Churches that went into a more liberal pursuit in the mistaken idea that it would bolster their numbers ......

I do not know whether our church will go down the same path trod by so many churches before it at this point.  The above post reflects some of the fears I have already.  I know I have some grandkids that are not active in the church presently.  I know, even worse, that I have at least two to three of my kids (not quite 50%, but still a sizeable chunk) who have expressed similar fears and put down exactly at what point they feel the church will be in apostasy and try to find something that adheres more closely to what they feel is right ...........

From what I've had others personally talk to me about, it seems that there are quite a few that are already disturbed GREATLY by many of the changes that the Church has made.  Perhaps they are not taking enough vitamins...but some of the changes have stretched them to their fingertips already.

People say have faith, but in observing what steps other churches took in their liberalization, and what occurred, I can already see the Church I am a member of starting to take those same steps.  It has me VERY afraid.  

 

 

I am really interested in the policies that you are referring to here.  I do not have this experience personally but do recognise that there has been an increase in members in the US following groups e.g. suffer as you mentioned and am wondering if these are linked.  Its interesting if there is a cultural or geographical difference or if I am just "out of the loop".

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On 5/15/2020 at 3:25 PM, KScience said:

I am really interested in the policies that you are referring to here.  I do not have this experience personally but do recognise that there has been an increase in members in the US following groups e.g. suffer as you mentioned and am wondering if these are linked.  Its interesting if there is a cultural or geographical difference or if I am just "out of the loop".

Not related to your discussion with JJ, but I was just reminded of the "Mormon Exodus" in our ward over the Romney vs Ron Paul stuff that happened right around the time of the publication of the history of the church especially on polygamy.  We lost a member of the bishopric, the young women president, the young men president, etc.  Then we lost a former bishop to LGBTQ+ after his daughter became a son.  I think JJ is talking about policies over the latter.  I thought we were going to go through Mormon Exodus 2 in our ward over the Trump thing - especially after the Church newsroom kept publishing reactionary statements to political rhetoric.  They might have learned to quit doing that because it only went on during 2016 and the early parts of 2017 and our ward stopped talking about it too.

 

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