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How is the Church doing handling the latest crisis?

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2 minutes ago, Vort said:

No one can convincingly argue otherwise.

You are right, because anyone who thinks that Hootie and the Blowfish is a good band is beyond all redemption. So any kind of argument is worthless. 

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1 hour ago, BobMaster said:

This is long, so I hope that we can have a good conversation without malice or strife but with understanding.  I appreciate you reading.

I firmly believe that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 are authorized by God to make whatever changes they see fit to make in order for the Church to grow. (i.e. the temporal existence of the Church-I'll come back to this). The changes which they see fit to make, may or may not be Revelation from God.  There are absolutely 0 recorded instances in the last 100 years of an actual Revelation from God to His authorized agents put forth to the entire body of the Saints. I absolutely believe the have the capability to receive Revelation from God, but the evidence of such is not there.  They claim to receive revelation, but the actual Revelation they do not show.

I use Revelation and revelation because what they are really claiming is inspiration not Revelation.  We know what Revelation looks like-it looks like D&C. We know what Revelation looks like because a few of the early leaders have journals available where they write down their Revelations.  Those Revelations are very specific and very detailed.

Those Revelations are the Words of God to that individual.  Usually, the terminology goes something like "As I was thus pondering, I heard the voice of the Lord and it said, My Son", or it will say something like "The Lord said to me "Go . . . ".

You will sometimes hear echos of this from the leaders-but it is generally very rare and is normally termed as Elder Eyring might say, "I heard a voice and it was not mine own, saying ....."

Wilford Woodruff said as much in his journal entries.  I've read many of his journal pages; in 1889 he writes in his journal a "thus saith the Lord" Revelation.  It is really good and very powerful-it essentially directed him to stay the course.  When you read his journals from 1889-1891, you will find something very interesting.  There is no 1890 Revelation. It doesn't exist. In fact, after the manifesto is written, he write STE "I have thus acted for the temporal salvation/welfare of the Church".  When you read the Manifesto, you will plainly see that the Word of God to the President of the Church is not contained in the Manifesto.  WW speaks that he received a Revelation, but he doesn't show you the Revelation.  He claims a Revelation, but does not show to the people the Voice of the Lord. What's even more interesting is that in his journal he actually denies the ability to get a "thus saith the Lord" revelation. 

As part of getting the Saints to accept the Manifesto, he writes in his journal that he is teaching them that there is no more "thus saith the Lord" from God, it happened in Joseph Smith's time and in Brigham Young's time, but it doesn't happen anymore.  Which is bizarre considering when only a year prior he writes in his journal a "Thus saith the Lord" Revelation.

So in sum, yes I believe the Presidency and the 12 are acting without divine Revelation-but the Church has been operating that way for over 130 years so it's not much of a change.

I firmly believe that God still inspires them and sometimes to say things that they have no clue as to why they are saying them. I firmly believe God inspired Pres. Nelson to state last year "Time is running out" and STE "this conference will be like nothing you've seen before".  Both of those are true and came from God. Pres. Nelson was inspired to say those words, but I do not believe he had a clue as to why he said them.

Just like so many things that have happened in the Church, I don't think they have a clue as to why they are doing some of the things they are doing-just that they feel inspired that they should do it.

But this goes to another point, just because God inspires a leader to say something doesn't mean that what they are saying is truth(TM)-there are other types and shadows that are played. For example, Hosea was commanded to marry a prostitute.  That doesn't mean marrying a prostitute is a worthy thing or a good thing, but that the Lord was teaching a lesson to His people (Israel had gone awhoring after other gods).

So when Elder Stevenson issues a "correction" or when the Come Follow Me manual is changed, for me it's not that these leaders are uninspired, evil, or wicked-they are just additional signs and tokens that as a people we are going awhoring after other gods.

If my supposition is correct (and I'm pretty positive it is), you will eventually see leaders of the Church do things which in normal times would make them a fool (i.e. Hosea marrying a prostitute is making Hosea out to be a fool). The leaders will ultimately reflect the underlying rot of wickedness, idolatry and perversion in the Church and will end up being a fool-but the beautiful thing about what is known as the Holy Fool is that it takes a righteous fool in order to flip things right side up again.  It's why Christ descended below all things, it was only by doing so that he could ascend above all.

I think I may agree with your overall point—that the Lord approves of what the Church leadership is doing, but they could be doing a lot more if we, the membership, were living up to our privileges more effectively.

That said:  I am a little leery of this proposed dichotomy between revelation and inspiration.  Not that I disagree that the Lord manifesta Himself differently on different occasions via personal appearance/audible voice on some occasions, versus the “still small voice” on others; but the idea that the D&C represents all of the former and none of the latter.  

The textual history of many of the revelations in our current D&C betrays too many edits and re-workings to conclude that *all* of them represent the absolute verbatim voice of God that Joseph Smith transmitted right, the first time, every time.  Moreover, some things in early editions of the D&C contained errors and were later taken out (Lectures on Faith, Article on Marriage).

Joseph Smith’s own revelatory process seems to have evolved from using the Nephite interpreters, to using a seer stone, to not needing anything at all.  Sometimes those portions of his writings that are canonized turn out to be part of a longer writing that was *not* canonized (D&C 121, for example), or were excepted from sermons whose other portions shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value (D&C 137).

In practice, I suspect that most priesthood holders have given blessings where at time they were given very particular language, whereas at other times they were given vague impressions that they were left to articulate into language the best way they knew how (I know I have).

I think we set ourselves up for disappointment and disillusionment when we conclude either a) that there’s a practical difference between “revelation” and “inspiration”; b) that the former is more authoritative or efficacious than the latter; c) that the former comes to a better class of people than the latter; and/or d) that anything in the canon is the result of the former whereas anything not in the canon is the latter.

A tangential observation, as pertains to Woodruff:  We need to be really, really careful that we don’t fall into the Snufferist (or, before them, the FLDS) trap of misrepresenting Woodruff or suggesting that the post-Manifesto LDS leadership has been eligible only to receive a second-class form of divine communication.  What Woodruff actually wrote in his journal (on October 35, 1891) was:

I wish to make the following remarks upon the principle of revelation. Some had thought that revelation had ceased, but this is not the case the Lord is with us and gives us revelation. But I will say for myself that I wish to avoid saying, Thus Saith the Lord, as far as I can when I give the will of the Lord to the people. In the days of Joseph Smith it was "Thus saith the Lord" almost daily until the revelations now embodied in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants had been given. Since that day President Brigham Young, John Taylor and myself have seldom [said] the words "Thus saith the Lord" when giving the word of the 
Lord to the people. In the 68th Section of the Book of D & C we are informed that when men speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost it is [the] word of the Lord and revelation. I have received a revelation and a commandment from the Lord which I had not revealed to any man which I shall reveal to this 
assembly and the command of the Lord I shall give to this people which is 
this: The Lord has revealed to me that there are many in the Church who feel badly tried about the Manifesto and about the testimony of the Presidency and Apostles before the Master in Chancery. The Lord has commanded me to put the following question to the Saints and those who will give attention to it shall 
have the Holy Ghost to be with them to inspire them to answer that question for the meek, and the Lord has promised that the answer will be to all alike. 
The question is this: . . . 

And it continues in kind.  Woodruff is absolutely clear that he did get a post-Manifesto “revelation”; and elsewhere he affirms that the Manifesto itself was his response to what he termed a revelation.  OD-2 also was precipitated by visions.

Revelation still happens; we just use it differently.  Joseph and Brigham got the revelations, published them, and used them as a basis to guide the Church by fiat—a rather crude process that did what it needed to do for the faithful core of people to whom it was directed, but also resulted in Joseph being killed and Brigham, John and Wilford  spending substantial portions of their ministries on the run.  Later prophets get revelations that set their agenda and direction—but then, rather than saying “I got revelation x and you need to fall in line”, they start building consensus in a way that enables their broader community to get their own revelations affirming the one the prophet already got.  That just might be how you build the nation of prophets Moses yearned for.

As for whether “kids today” are more righteous than those of a generation or two before:  I dunno.  What does that even mean?  Are they “more righteous” if they’re more susceptible to porn but actually fornicating and aborting less?  If they’re more cruel online, but less violent in-person?  Less hard-working, but also more generous?  Less obedient, but also more loving?  More willing to bend, but less willing to break?  I really don’t know.

I’m 40.  As a kid I thought my peers in church were pretty on-the-ball, obedience wise; but easily half of them are out of the church now.  Today’s teenagers may do worse than my cohort did—but they could also do a LOT better; and I’m not about to begrudge President Nelson or anyone else who dares to express confidence that they will.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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11 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I think I may agree with your overall point—that the Lord approves of what the Church leadership is doing, but they could be doing a lot more if we, the membership, were living up to our privileges more effectively.

That said:  I am a little leery of this proposed dichotomy between revelation and inspiration.  Not that I disagree that the Lord manifesta Himself differently on different occasions via personal appearance/audible voice on some occasions, versus the “still small voice” on others; but the idea that the D&C represents all of the former and none of the latter.  

The textual history of many of the revelations in our current D&C betrays too many edits and re-workings to conclude that *all* of them represent the absolute verbatim voice of God that Joseph Smith transmitted right, the first time, every time.  Moreover, some things in early editions of the D&C contained errors and were later taken out (Lectures on Faith, Article on Marriage).

Joseph Smith’s own revelatory process seems to have evolved from using the Nephite interpreters, to using a seer stone, to not needing anything at all.  Sometimes those portions of his writings that are canonized turn out to be part of a longer writing that was *not* canonized (D&C 121, for example), or were excepted from sermons whose other portions shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value (D&C 137).

In practice, I suspect that most priesthood holders have given blessings where at time they were given very particular language, whereas at other times they were given vague impressions that they were left to articulate into language the best way they knew how (I know I have).

I think we set ourselves up for disappointment and disillusionment when we conclude either a) that there’s a practical difference between “revelation” and “inspiration”; b) that the former is more authoritative or efficacious than the latter; c) that the former comes to a better class of people than the latter; and/or d) that anything in the canon is the result of the former whereas anything not in the canon is the latter.

A tangential observation, as pertains to Woodruff:  We need to be really, really careful that we don’t fall into the Snufferist (or, before them, the FLDS) trap of misrepresenting Woodruff or suggesting that the post-Manifesto LDS leadership has been eligible only to receive a second-class form of divine communication.  What Woodruff actually wrote in his journal (on October 35, 1891) was:

I wish to make the following remarks upon the principle of revelation. Some had thought that revelation had ceased, but this is not the case the Lord is with us and gives us revelation. But I will say for myself that I wish to avoid saying, Thus Saith the Lord, as far as I can when I give the will of the Lord to the people. In the days of Joseph Smith it was "Thus saith the Lord" almost daily until the revelations now embodied in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants had been given. Since that day President Brigham Young, John Taylor and myself have seldom [said] the words "Thus saith the Lord" when giving the word of the 
Lord to the people. In the 68th Section of the Book of D & C we are informed that when men speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost it is [the] word of the Lord and revelation. I have received a revelation and a commandment from the Lord which I had not revealed to any man which I shall reveal to this 
assembly and the command of the Lord I shall give to this people which is 
this: The Lord has revealed to me that there are many in the Church who feel badly tried about the Manifesto and about the testimony of the Presidency and Apostles before the Master in Chancery. The Lord has commanded me to put the following question to the Saints and those who will give attention to it shall 
have the Holy Ghost to be with them to inspire them to answer that question for the meek, and the Lord has promised that the answer will be to all alike. 
The question is this: . . . 

And it continues in kind.  Woodruff is absolutely clear that he did get a post-Manifesto “revelation”; and elsewhere he affirms that the Manifesto itself was his response to what he termed a revelation.  OD-2 also was precipitated by visions.

Revelation still happens; we just use it differently.  Joseph and Brigham got the revelations, published them, and used them as a basis to guide the Church by fiat—a rather crude process that did what it needed to do for the faithful core of people to whom it was directed, but also resulted in Joseph being killed and Brigham, John and Wilford  spending substantial portions of their ministries on the run.  Later prophets get revelations that set their agenda and direction—but then, rather than saying “I got revelation x and you need to fall in line”, they start building consensus in a way that enables their broader community to get their own revelations affirming the one the prophet already got.  That just might be how you build the nation of prophets Moses yearned for.

As for whether “kids today” are more righteous than those of a generation or two before:  I dunno.  What does that even mean?  Are they “more righteous” if they’re more susceptible to porn but actually fornicating and aborting less?  If they’re more cruel online, but less violent in-person?  Less hard-working, but also more generous?  Less obedient, but also more loving?  More willing to bend, but less willing to break?  I really don’t know.

I’m 40.  As a kid I thought my peers in church were pretty on-the-ball, obedience wise; but easily half of them are out of the church now.  Today’s teenagers may do worse than my cohort did—but they could also do a LOT better; and I’m not about to begrudge President Nelson or anyone else who dares to express confidence that they will.

@Just_A_Guy, your generation thought that the invention of the radio would corrupt the youth of the 1910's, right? 

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3 hours ago, Vort said:

This sentence highlights my concerns about this thread (or this thread tangent). What "leaders" are you talking about? If you mean various local leaders, such as Young Women leaders, Aaronic Priesthood quorum advisors, or even the occasional out-there (or outright rogue) bishop or stake president, then I agree. But if you mean that our General Authorities, and specifically the First Presidency and/or the Quorum of Twelve, are acting to change basic Church structures and doctrines without revelation to do so, then I disagree most strongly and consider such things fully out of bounds.

If there is a danger that our members, especially the younger and less experienced, risk being lured to their destruction through apostate teachings of the world and the worldly, there is also an equally real danger that our members, perhaps especially the more mature who consider themselves more deeply grounded in doctrine and practice, might apostatize by deciding that the leading apostles have left the true path. I don't know that both extremes are equally prevalent, but I am sure that both extremes are equally destructive to those who follow them.

Several thoughts, which are completely different so perhaps different posts by me.

On this, historically speaking, there could be different views.

From a secular viewpoint, which is NOT really faith promoting, a historian would probably consider that the church is about to make the same mistakes other Mormon (not LDS necessarily, but those who are in the Mormon umbrella of religions as the world would see it) sects have made in the past few decades which then had disastrous results.  They have not learned from what occurred with the other sects and those who do not learn from history, are bound to repeat it.  The RLDS already went down the path of trying to rewrite their history and teachings to fit more in line with modern thinking.  The had a push to focus more on Christ to the point that they even changed their name to the Community of Christ.  They wanted people to know they were "Christians" who focused on Christ more than Joseph Smith.  This led eventually to what I would consider a devaluation of the Book of Mormon to the point that now it is not really scripture to them, and it is seen as perhaps inspired, but not the foundation of their faith it once was.  They also gave women the priesthood and allowed various other modern ideologies to enter into their religion.  The result, they claim 250,000 members at least...but in general the idea is that they have less then 40K currently.

Rewriting and adopting anti-Mormon views into their religion was disastrous.  Was it inspired by the Lord, or was it not?

"Wait!"  The faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says, "Their prophet wasn't actually the REAL prophet...while ours is!"

Good point.  But as this is from a secular point...then why is the Church trodding in the same footsteps and looking to be trying to make the same mistakes as those that fell before it?  It's not a faithful viewpoint from a secular history, but one of simply noticing patterns.

Rebranding and rewriting your history can work...and HAS worked at times, but the percentage of failure is HIGH.  It's like people who start new businesses, it can work, but the failure of a new business starting is high (90%??).  Rebranding is similarly high.  Normally a business does not rewrite and rebrand UNLESS it is on the verge of annihilation already.  You only do that as a last effort as it is a GOOD way to destroy what you already have for nothing in return.  It CAN work, but there is a much higher revival rate of reinvesting on what you already have in new ways of spreading advertising than a rewrite or rebrand.

I currently would view the Church as trying to rebrand itself and rewrite it's history, at least from a secular viewpoint.  All the things they've done seems to provide evidence that this is underway.  Risky move.  It could be successful, but normally it is a more disastrous event.  They haven't done a full rebranding yet, nor a full rewrite...but it appears to be the direction they are taking if we look at the steps they have taken over the past few years.  In which case, the secular historian probably will predict that eventually the Church will have women who have the priesthood and do priesthood ordinances as the men, and eventually perhaps even allows Gay Marriage within it's walls as an ordinance some of their Churches perform.  How long off?  Probably closer than some would feel comfortable with.

When it comes to it, the church would probably lose over half it's active membership or more.  They may be successful, but the odds are that they will have just as much failure as the RLDS or other groups have had with it.

Afterall, in secular history, patterns normally repeat and the pattern on this is pretty clear.  It seems, right now, to be the path they are headed down.

So...that's a secular view...how about a view more from a faithful viewpoint?

That's a good question. 

The answer is I don't know what is going on or where it is going.  Is it revelation that is guiding this?

Well, that's the real trick...isn't it.  They aren't explicit on what is or is not revelation currently.  They are VERY Cautious about saying whether it is or is not.  Instead, they have policies which are changing and items that are coming out, but they are not really stating that they are revelations or not in most cases.

Perhaps they are also being cognizant of other items which were claimed to be revelations, but which they now claim might not have been.  A prime example are Blacks and the Priesthood. 

In today's world, people would see those who feel Joseph Smith's statements and writings on this (and he had them) as well as Brigham Young's declarations and an actual official statement on it declaring it as doctrine in the past as pure racism on the church's part.  Instead of validating the prophetic callings of the men that made these statements and trying to work it into how this could have been and how their statements and prophecies have been fulfilled, the Church today has changed direction.  Instead, it says they do not know (anyone who read history actually knows, it was declared doctrine as from revelation...that's why) why they made these statements and policies came about.  The revelation has become unpopular.  If prior items that were stated as being revealed from God (and it was blatantly declared so) can be tossed aside and inferred (if not directly stated, legally speaking) as NON-Revelation and possibly the prophets only speaking as men...what does that say about our current state of declaring such items?

It makes it a VERY TRICKY preposition.

So, instead of making declarations as such, I see them stating and changing things but avoiding directly stating where some of these items are coming from.  Instead, they let us ASSUME in many instances that they are getting revelations on such, but avoid stating it directly.  It is all done with inferences and allusions to let us think what we will, but avoiding actual wording that can be taken as authoritative statements.

In otherwords, I (emphasis on I) think and believe we are being led by revelation.  In many instances, they are not telling us what is or is not from revelation, and which ideas are from their own thoughts.  This is why it is important for each of us to have the spirit with us to give us testimony of what is going on and what we are doing in the church today.

How do I take this, how do any of us take this?

I know that there are those that see this and have turned to the web in search of information.  Some find things that lead them astray.  They started by reading the gospel essays and it weakened their testimonies (if what they said was revelation in the past is now discounted, how can they know if anything is revelation today?  It seems that what was revelation yesterday is only them speaking as men, what is to say that isn't the same today, or what is thought to be revelation today won't be overturned tomorrow as people speaking as men?).  They fall away from the church.  Some to simply be anti-Mormon, others who retain their faith, but cannot understand how the church can turn against it's former prophets and teachings turn to others like Denver Snuffer or those who seem to be appealing to a more conservative belief.

I know that there are those that decide to ignore the past and toss out anything that seems contradictory to what is being taught today.  If it isn't from the modern church, and it doesn't agree with what WE THINK (and that is important, what we THINK it may be teaching is not necessarily what IS being taught), they toss it out.  The past is not important, only the present.

These two groups seem to be in opposite of each other.  One for the more conservative slant, the other a more liberal slant.

There are many other groups and people fall into many different spectrums on this.

Where do I fall though?  It can be a difficult thing.  I am a historian at heart and in work.  I do NOT believe in tossing out the past.  I believe we build upon the past, not toss it out or rewrite it.  On the otherhand, I believe in the modern prophet and the leaders of the Church.  I believe the Church is led by the Lord and it is his vehicle for giving the saving ordinances and teachings to the world.  How can I correlate some of the things that have come out recently that are in direct contradiction to the teachings of the past?  That...right there, is the nail that is the crux of the difficulties I see those few in my position having.

The answer...I don't currently.  I avoid it.  I avoid it by attributing it to a bureaucracy of the church.  The Church has the Prophet leading it, but a VAST MAJORITY of those things written do not come from his hand, it comes from the employees of the Church administration departments.  Some of them may be led by the spirit.  Some of them are malicious and in it just for a job. And some of them are trying to do what is right...but...they are not the prophet.  Mistakes are bound to be made or come in.  With the influences of today's society, it is easy to me to see how such mistakes can be made in many of the materials that are coming out.  Thus, my favoritism in this is to blame the bureaucracy for the mistakes being made, and continue to believe that most of the General Authorities and the leaders of the Church (Both General and local) are being led by the Lord.

I may be mistaken, but that's currently the path that I, as trying to be a faithful member, have chosen to follow.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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3 minutes ago, JohnsonJones said:

Several thoughts, which are completely different so perhaps different posts by me.

On this, historically speaking, there could be different views.

From a secular viewpoint, which is NOT really faith promoting, a historian would probably consider that the church is about to make the same mistakes other Mormon (not LDS necessarily, but those who are in the Mormon umbrella of religions as the world would see it) sects have made in the past few decades which then had disastrous results.  They have not learned from what occurred with the other sects and those who do not learn from history, are bound to repeat it.  The RLDS already went down the path of trying to rewrite their history and teachings to fit more in line with modern thinking.  The had a push to focus more on Christ to the point that they even changed their name to the Community of Christ.  They wanted people to know they were "Christians" who focused on Christ more than Joseph Smith.  This led eventually to what I would consider a devaluation of the Book of Mormon to the point that now it is not really scripture to them, and it is seen as perhaps inspired, but not the foundation of their faith it once was.  They also gave women the priesthood and allowed various other modern ideologies to enter into their religion.  The result, they claim 250,000 members at least...but in general the idea is that they have less then 40K currently.

Rewriting and adopting anti-Mormon views into their religion was disastrous.  Was it inspired by the Lord, or was it not?

"Wait!"  The faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says, "Their prophet wasn't actually the REAL prophet...while ours is!"

Good point.  But as this is from a secular point...then why is the Church trodding in the same footsteps and looking to be trying to make the same mistakes as those that fell before it?  It's not a faithful viewpoint from a secular history, but one of simply noticing patterns.

Rebranding and rewriting your history can work...and HAS worked at times, but the percentage of failure is HIGH.  It's like people who start new businesses, it can work, but the failure of a new business starting is high (90%??).  Rebranding is similarly high.  Normally a business does not rewrite and rebrand UNLESS it is on the verge of annihilation already.  You only do that as a last effort as it is a GOOD way to destroy what you already have for nothing in return.  It CAN work, but there is a much higher revival rate of reinvesting on what you already have in new ways of spreading advertising than a rewrite or rebrand.

I currently would view the Church as trying to rebrand itself and rewrite it's history, at least from a secular viewpoint.  All the things they've done seems to provide evidence that this is underway.  Risky move.  It could be successful, but normally it is a more disastrous event.  They haven't done a full rebranding yet, nor a full rewrite...but it appears to be the direction they are taking if we look at the steps they have taken over the past few years.  In which case, the secular historian probably will predict that eventually the Church will have women who have the priesthood and do priesthood ordinances as the men, and eventually perhaps even allows Gay Marriage within it's walls as an ordinance some of their Churches perform.  How long off?  Probably closer than some would feel comfortable with.

When it comes to it, the church would probably lose over half it's active membership or more.  They may be successful, but the odds are that they will have just as much failure as the RLDS or other groups have had with it.

Afterall, in secular history, patterns normally repeat and the pattern on this is pretty clear.  It seems, right now, to be the path they are headed down.

So...that's a secular view...how about a view more from a faithful viewpoint?

That's a good question. 

The answer is I don't know what is going on or where it is going.  Is it revelation that is guiding this?

Well, that's the real trick...isn't it.  They aren't explicit on what is or is not revelation currently.  They are VERY Cautious about that (and perhaps for good reason, if you claim a revelation and it turns out to that what you predicted or prophesied is false...not a good thing), probably because they want to avoid everyone from trying to make prophecies which have no bearing or backing (ala...Julie Rowe and others of that type of prediction making ideology).   Instead, they have policies which are changing and items that are coming out, but they are not really stating that they are revelations or not.

Perhaps they are also being cognizant of other items which were claimed to be revelations, but which they now claim might not have been.  A prime example are Blacks and the Priesthood. 

In today's world, people would see those who feel Joseph Smith's statements and writings on this (and he had them) as well as Brigham Young's declarations and an actual official statement on it declaring it as doctrine in the past as pure racism on the church's part.  Instead of validating the prophetic callings of the men that they backed up these statements with and trying to work it into how this could have been and how their statements and prophecies have been fulfilled, the Church today has changed direction.  Instead, it says they do not know (anyone who read history actually knows, it was declared doctrine as from revelation...that's why) why they made these statements and policies came about.  The revelation has become unpopular.  If prior items that were stated as being revealed from God (and it was blatantly declared so) can be tossed aside and inferred (if not directly stated, legally speaking) as NON-Revelation and possibly the prophets only speaking as men...what does that say about our current state of declaring such items?

It makes it a VERY TRICKY preposition.

So, instead of making declarations as such, I see them stating and changing things but avoiding directly stating where some of these items are coming from.  Instead, they let us ASSUME in many instances that they are getting revelations on such, but avoid stating it directly.  It is all done with inferences and allusions to let us think what we will, but avoiding actual wording that can be taken as authoritative statements.

In otherwords, I (emphasis on I) think and believe we are being led by revelation.  In many instances, they are not telling us what is or is not from revelation, and which ideas are from their own thoughts.  This is why it is important for each of us to have the spirit with us to give us testimony of what is going on and what we are doing in the church today.

How do I take this, how do any of us take this?

I know that there are those that see this and have turned to the web in search of information.  Some find things that lead them astray.  They started by reading the gospel essays and it weakened their testimonies (if what they said was revelation in the past is now discounted, how can they know if anything is revelation today?  It seems that what was revelation yesterday is only them speaking as men, what is to say that isn't the same today, or what is thought to be revelation today won't be overturned tomorrow as people speaking as men?).  They fall away from the church.  Some to simply be anti-Mormon, others who retain their faith, but cannot understand how the church can turn against it's former prophets and teachings turn to others like Denver Snuffer or those who seem to be appealing to a more conservative belief.

I know that there are those that decide to ignore the past and toss out anything that seems contradictory to what is being taught today.  If it isn't from the modern church, and it doesn't agree with what WE THINK (and that is important, what we THINK it may be teaching is not necessarily what IS being taught), they toss it out.  The past is not important, only the present.

These two groups seem to be in opposite of each other.  One for the more conservative slant, the other a more liberal slant.

There are many other groups and people fall into many different spectrums on this.

Where do I fall though?  It can be a difficult thing.  I am a historian at heart and in work.  I do NOT believe in tossing out the past.  I believe we build upon the past, not toss it out or rewrite it.  On the otherhand, I believe in the modern prophet and the leaders of the Church.  I believe the Church is led by the Lord and it is his vehicle for giving the saving ordinances and teachings to the world.  How can I correlate some of the things that have come out recently that are in direct contradiction to the teachings of the past?  That...right there, is the nail that is the crux of the difficulties I see those few in my position having.

The answer...I don't currently.  I avoid it.  I avoid it by attributing it to a bureaucracy of the church.  The Church has the Prophet leading it, but a VAST MAJORITY of those things written do not come from his hand, it comes from the employees of the Church administration departments.  Some of them may be led by the spirit.  Some of them are malicious and in it just for a job. And some of them are trying to do what is right...but...they are not the prophet.  Mistakes are bound to be made or come in.  With the influences of today's society, it is easy to me to see how such mistakes can be made in many of the materials that are coming out.  Thus, my favoritism in this is to blame the bureaucracy for the mistakes being made, and continue to believe that most of the General Authorities and the leaders of the Church (Both General and local) are being led by the Lord.

I may be mistaken, but that's currently the path that I, as trying to be a faithful member, have chosen to follow.

You know how I have great respect for you @JohnsonJones, but you really need to give us a Cliff Notes version sometimes. 

😉
 

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A second post, but entirely different from the top one.

On how valiant our society is today and the coming generation, I had a grandchild (we have one of my children staying with us, and so have grandchildren with us) asked me directly about this.  What I told them was off the cuff, and off the top of my head, but when pressed on the issue, especially towards one that I love, I suppose one can see my hesitation to say they are not the chosen generation vs. other generations, but at the same time to that they are.

They asked if it was true that they were the best and greatest of those in heaven and had been saved for the last to be sent in this time.  I said that it is like a War, and that the War in heaven is continuing to this day and this time.  It is a war for the very souls of men.  Just like in any war, when the battles are most heated and the tactical and strategic points are at the most perilous, you send in your most valuable troops to hold the line or turn the tide.  It is the same today...but this is not the ONLY time in history that we have been at a very important period.

During the time of the Lord's mortal ministry I am certain the Lord had some of his most valiant and noble friends with him.  Some of his most trusted and able servants were there to help him.  Peter, James, and John are probably some of the Greatest of the Noble leaders in heaven in the pre-existence and they were there with him during his mortal ministry.

Joseph Smith was said to be one of the greatest that was in heaven previously, and he came.  It is probable that in such an important period other great and noble individuals from heaven were sent to aid in the restoration of the Gospel.

So, at important periods of time I think many valiant individuals are sent to forge the battle and push forward our lines in the fight for truth and holiness and this continues today.  However, there have been periods in the past that I would wager also had some of the greatest individuals of our heavenly family sent to battle the forces of darkness to win this war, and in the battles of today, it is probable this also continues.  So, I'd say that there are many chosen of great and noble spiritual heritage in our youth today, but it is not the only period of time that we had them. 

Is it the greatest and strongest of those...I don't know.  Joseph Smith, Peter, James, John were all pretty strong and great from the Lord...but I think there are many among the youth today that are pretty awesome in how they face up to the perilous temptations and situations of todays' world.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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13 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

You know how I have great respect for you @JohnsonJones, but you really need to give us a Cliff Notes version sometimes. 

😉
 

Just read the underlined and bolded parts.  That's really the point and the most important part of it anyways.  Those are kind of long to though.  I also edited it to bold one more paragraph in that regard as I feel it encapsulates the important parts.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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14 minutes ago, JohnsonJones said:

Just read the underlined and bolded parts.  That's really the point and the most important part of it anyways.  Those are kind of long to though.  I also edited it to bold one more paragraph in that regard as I feel it encapsulates the important parts.

Understand bud, just playing around. 

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4 hours ago, askandanswer said:

And how many more young missionaries are there now compared to 20 years ago? And how many more children and youth are there now who are being raised by returned missionaries?

Both my husband and I are return missionaries. Both our sons served missions. Both are BYU graduates. Now both our sons are agnostic less than a decade after their missions. We did everything right in raising them. 🤷‍♀️

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2 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I think I may agree with your overall point—that the Lord approves of what the Church leadership is doing, but they could be doing a lot more if we, the membership, were living up to our privileges more effectively.

That said:  I am a little leery of this proposed dichotomy between revelation and inspiration.  Not that I disagree that the Lord manifesta Himself differently on different occasions via personal appearance/audible voice on some occasions, versus the “still small voice” on others; but the idea that the D&C represents all of the former and none of the latter.  

The textual history of many of the revelations in our current D&C betrays too many edits and re-workings to conclude that *all* of them represent the absolute verbatim voice of God that Joseph Smith transmitted right, the first time, every time.  Moreover, some things in early editions of the D&C contained errors and were later taken out (Lectures on Faith, Article on Marriage).

Joseph Smith’s own revelatory process seems to have evolved from using the Nephite interpreters, to using a seer stone, to not needing anything at all.  Sometimes those portions of his writings that are canonized turn out to be part of a longer writing that was *not* canonized (D&C 121, for example), or were excepted from sermons whose other portions shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value (D&C 137).

In practice, I suspect that most priesthood holders have given blessings where at time they were given very particular language, whereas at other times they were given vague impressions that they were left to articulate into language the best way they knew how (I know I have).

I think we set ourselves up for disappointment and disillusionment when we conclude either a) that there’s a practical difference between “revelation” and “inspiration”; b) that the former is more authoritative or efficacious than the latter; c) that the former comes to a better class of people than the latter; and/or d) that anything in the canon is the result of the former whereas anything not in the canon is the latter.

A tangential observation, as pertains to Woodruff:  We need to be really, really careful that we don’t fall into the Snufferist (or, before them, the FLDS) trap of misrepresenting Woodruff or suggesting that the post-Manifesto LDS leadership has been eligible only to receive a second-class form of divine communication.  What Woodruff actually wrote in his journal (on October 35, 1891) was:

I wish to make the following remarks upon the principle of revelation. Some had thought that revelation had ceased, but this is not the case the Lord is with us and gives us revelation. But I will say for myself that I wish to avoid saying, Thus Saith the Lord, as far as I can when I give the will of the Lord to the people. In the days of Joseph Smith it was "Thus saith the Lord" almost daily until the revelations now embodied in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants had been given. Since that day President Brigham Young, John Taylor and myself have seldom [said] the words "Thus saith the Lord" when giving the word of the 
Lord to the people. In the 68th Section of the Book of D & C we are informed that when men speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost it is [the] word of the Lord and revelation. I have received a revelation and a commandment from the Lord which I had not revealed to any man which I shall reveal to this 
assembly and the command of the Lord I shall give to this people which is 
this: The Lord has revealed to me that there are many in the Church who feel badly tried about the Manifesto and about the testimony of the Presidency and Apostles before the Master in Chancery. The Lord has commanded me to put the following question to the Saints and those who will give attention to it shall 
have the Holy Ghost to be with them to inspire them to answer that question for the meek, and the Lord has promised that the answer will be to all alike. 
The question is this: . . . 

And it continues in kind.  Woodruff is absolutely clear that he did get a post-Manifesto “revelation”; and elsewhere he affirms that the Manifesto itself was his response to what he termed a revelation.  OD-2 also was precipitated by visions.

Revelation still happens; we just use it differently.  Joseph and Brigham got the revelations, published them, and used them as a basis to guide the Church by fiat—a rather crude process that did what it needed to do for the faithful core of people to whom it was directed, but also resulted in Joseph being killed and Brigham, John and Wilford  spending substantial portions of their ministries on the run.  Later prophets get revelations that set their agenda and direction—but then, rather than saying “I got revelation x and you need to fall in line”, they start building consensus in a way that enables their broader community to get their own revelations affirming the one the prophet already got.  That just might be how you build the nation of prophets Moses yearned for.

As for whether “kids today” are more righteous than those of a generation or two before:  I dunno.  What does that even mean?  Are they “more righteous” if they’re more susceptible to porn but actually fornicating and aborting less?  If they’re more cruel online, but less violent in-person?  Less hard-working, but also more generous?  Less obedient, but also more loving?  More willing to bend, but less willing to break?  I really don’t know.

I’m 40.  As a kid I thought my peers in church were pretty on-the-ball, obedience wise; but easily half of them are out of the church now.  Today’s teenagers may do worse than my cohort did—but they could also do a LOT better; and I’m not about to begrudge President Nelson or anyone else who dares to express confidence that they will.

Yes Woodruff makes the claim that he got a revelation, he claims there were visions.  Yet the actual record of those revelations is not there. 

Again in 1889 in his journal he records.

Revelation given to Wilford Woodruff, Sunday Nov 24, 1889. Thus Saith the Lord, to my 
Servant Wilford, I the Lord have heard thy prayers and thy request, and will answer thee by the 
voice of my spirit. Thus Saith the Lord, unto my Servants the Presidency of my church, who hold 
the Keys of the Kingdom of God on this earth. I the Lord hold the destiny of the courts in your 
midst, and the destiny of this nation, and all other nations of the earth in mine own hands, and all 
that I have revealed, and promised and decreed concerning the generation in which you live, shall 
come to pass, and no power shall stay my hand. 

Let not my servants who are called to the Presidency of my church, deny my word or my law, 
which concerns the salvation of the children of men. Let them pray for the Holy Spirit, which 
shall be given them to guide them in their acts. Place not yourselves in jeopardy to your enemies 
by promise. Your enemies seek your destruction and the distraction of my people. If the Saints 
will hearken unto my voice, and the counsel of my Servants, the wicked shall not prevail. 

Let my servants, who officiate as your counselors before the courts, make their pleadings as they 
are moved upon by the Holy spirit, without any further pledges from the Priesthood. I the Lord 
will hold the courts, with the officers of government, and the nation responsible for their acts 
towards the inhabitants of Zion. 

I, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, am in your midst. I am your advocate with the Father. 
Fear not little flock, it is your father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Fear not the 
wicked and ungodly. Search the Scriptures, for they are they which testify of me, also those 
revelations which I have given to my servant Joseph, and to all my servants since the world 
began, which are recorded in the records of divine truths. Those revelations contain the 
judgments of God which are to be poured out upon all nations under the heavens which include 
great Babylon. 

These judgments are at the door. They will be fulfilled as God lives. Leave judgment with me, it 
is mine saith the Lord. Watch the signs of the times, and they will show the fulfillment of the 
words of the Lord. 

Let my servants call upon the Lord in mighty prayer, retain the Holy Ghost as your constant 
companion, and act as you are moved upon by that spirit, and all will be well with you. The 
wicked are fast ripening in iniquity, and they will be cut off by the judgments of God. Great 
events await you and this generation, and are nigh at your doors. Awake, O, Israel, and have faith 
in God, and His promises, and he will not forsake you. I the Lord will deliver my Saints from the 
dominion of the wicked, in mine own due time and way. I cannot deny my word, neither in 
blessing nor judgments. Therefore let mine Anointed gird up their loins, watch and be sober, and 
keep my commandments. Pray always and faint not, exercise faith in the Lord and in the 
promises of God; be valient in the testimony of Jesus Christ. The eyes of the Lord and the 
Heavenly Hosts are watching over you and your acts. Therefore be faithful until I come. I come 
quickly to reward every man according to the deeds done in the body. Even so, amen. 

Now that my friends is a Revelation from God!

So let's continue, wikipedia says that he had a revelation from God on the 23rd Sept. 1890 about the manifesto.  Well . . .this is what we find Sept. 25

I have arrived at a point in the History of my life as the President of the Church of Jesus 
Christ of Latter Day Saints were I am under the necessity of acting for the Temporal Salvation 
of the Church. The United State Government has taken a Stand & passed Laws to destroy the 
Latter day Saints upon the Subject of polygamy or Patriarchal order of Marriage. And after Praying 
to the Lord & feeling inspired by his spirit I have issued the following Proclamation which is 
sustained by My Councillors and the 12 Apostles:

When you search WW's journals, there is absolutely NO Revelation nor Vision upon which he can make his claim in the Manifesto. WW kept a meticulous journal, and I do mean meticulous.  He recorded every event in his life in his journal, he recorded the event of every letter he wrote, of every discourse he gave, of every ordination, of every recommend, of every blessing he gave and of every "Thus Saith the Lord" he had (which to the best of what I have been able to find in his journals is 2, the one in 1889 and one in 1880-I believe.

To make the claim that WW really had a Revelation from God on the Manifesto when he tells us directly from his journal what he was doing makes no sense.  God did not direct him to lift polygamy.  WW was entrusted with the leadership of the Church, God trusted him to act properly. WW believed he was acting for the "temporal salvation" of the Church. He then prayed and felt inspired that doing away with polygamy was okay.  The words he used in the Manifesto are bluster; i.e. there was no Voice of the Lord telling him to do this or do that-if there had been, he would have absolutely recorded it in his journal.  WW's bluster at the beginning on the Manifesto about God removing him is just that bluster.  There is no justification for it in scripture.

The whole point of this discussion is simply say this, leaders of the Church can make mistakes, they can be wrong, they can lead the Church wrong.  Just because they make mistakes and can err. doesn't mean the Church is false or evil or wicked . . .it just makes it fallible.  Why is that important? Because sometimes we get inspiration wrong, sometimes we just mess it up.  That's okay, it's what Christ's Atonement is for- not just for each person individually, but for groups of people-like the Church. To say the leaders never get it wrong is to in effect deny the need for His Atonement.

There is a reason why we do not hear "thus saith the Lord's" anymore and it has to do with a lack of faith.  To make the claim that well it happened in JS's time but we don't need that anymore is wrong-what happened to God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  The underlying claim of WW is the same underlying claim of the Baptists or the Evangelicals.  Which is yes, God spoke to man like Moses in the past, but that doesn't happen in our day because we don't need it.

Additionally to receive a Revelation like WW did in 1889 puts a stake in the ground.  There is no room for misinterpretation, wiggle room, etc.  It is direct and it is either this writing icomes direct from God or he is a false prophet.  In today's time period, they seem to want to put the stake in the ground without the stake.  I've never heard Pres. Nelson say something were I must make a choice, i.e. either he is legit receiving God's Voice or he is false.  He is the President of the Church and so by virtue of his office he has the right to make any and all changes necessary as WW states for the temporal salvation of the Church.

I don't feel the least bit compelled to agree with the changes he has made, why? Because there is no stake in the ground.

Even the temple questions, sustain the leaders . . .sustain them in what exactly? They are the leaders of the Church and can do what they please in their position; in no instance in my lifetime have they actually revealed God's Word. And I use specifically that term.  They have not uncovered the Word of God-they haven't told me what His Word is; they make a lot of nice speeches and sermons-but that's what they are speeches and sermons.  A sermon is not revealing or uncovering or bringing forth to light God's actual Words. And giving a speech or sermon about how God's Word has been revealed to you isn't the same as actually revealing God's Word.  One is telling me that it happened, the other is it actually happening.

So I sustain them in their capacity to do so . . .they just haven't done it.

Edited by BobMaster

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2 minutes ago, carlimac said:

Both my husband and I are return missionaries. Both our sons served missions. Both are BYU graduates. Now both our sons are agnostic less than a decade after their missions. We did everything right in raising them. 🤷‍♀️

Yes, sometimes we can do all we can and things don't turn out right.  Parenting is an influence-the largest one out there when they are young, but a parent can't force their kids to be good or believe, it has to come from within.

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1 hour ago, JohnsonJones said:

Several thoughts, which are completely different so perhaps different posts by me.

On this, historically speaking, there could be different views.

From a secular viewpoint, which is NOT really faith promoting, a historian would probably consider that the church is about to make the same mistakes other Mormon (not LDS necessarily, but those who are in the Mormon umbrella of religions as the world would see it) sects have made in the past few decades which then had disastrous results.  They have not learned from what occurred with the other sects and those who do not learn from history, are bound to repeat it.  The RLDS already went down the path of trying to rewrite their history and teachings to fit more in line with modern thinking.  The had a push to focus more on Christ to the point that they even changed their name to the Community of Christ.  They wanted people to know they were "Christians" who focused on Christ more than Joseph Smith.  This led eventually to what I would consider a devaluation of the Book of Mormon to the point that now it is not really scripture to them, and it is seen as perhaps inspired, but not the foundation of their faith it once was.  They also gave women the priesthood and allowed various other modern ideologies to enter into their religion.  The result, they claim 250,000 members at least...but in general the idea is that they have less then 40K currently.

Rewriting and adopting anti-Mormon views into their religion was disastrous.  Was it inspired by the Lord, or was it not?

"Wait!"  The faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says, "Their prophet wasn't actually the REAL prophet...while ours is!"

Good point.  But as this is from a secular point...then why is the Church trodding in the same footsteps and looking to be trying to make the same mistakes as those that fell before it?  It's not a faithful viewpoint from a secular history, but one of simply noticing patterns.

Rebranding and rewriting your history can work...and HAS worked at times, but the percentage of failure is HIGH.  It's like people who start new businesses, it can work, but the failure of a new business starting is high (90%??).  Rebranding is similarly high.  Normally a business does not rewrite and rebrand UNLESS it is on the verge of annihilation already.  You only do that as a last effort as it is a GOOD way to destroy what you already have for nothing in return.  It CAN work, but there is a much higher revival rate of reinvesting on what you already have in new ways of spreading advertising than a rewrite or rebrand.

I currently would view the Church as trying to rebrand itself and rewrite it's history, at least from a secular viewpoint.  All the things they've done seems to provide evidence that this is underway.  Risky move.  It could be successful, but normally it is a more disastrous event.  They haven't done a full rebranding yet, nor a full rewrite...but it appears to be the direction they are taking if we look at the steps they have taken over the past few years.  In which case, the secular historian probably will predict that eventually the Church will have women who have the priesthood and do priesthood ordinances as the men, and eventually perhaps even allows Gay Marriage within it's walls as an ordinance some of their Churches perform.  How long off?  Probably closer than some would feel comfortable with.

When it comes to it, the church would probably lose over half it's active membership or more.  They may be successful, but the odds are that they will have just as much failure as the RLDS or other groups have had with it.

Afterall, in secular history, patterns normally repeat and the pattern on this is pretty clear.  It seems, right now, to be the path they are headed down.

So...that's a secular view...how about a view more from a faithful viewpoint?

That's a good question. 

The answer is I don't know what is going on or where it is going.  Is it revelation that is guiding this?

Well, that's the real trick...isn't it.  They aren't explicit on what is or is not revelation currently.  They are VERY Cautious about saying whether it is or is not.  Instead, they have policies which are changing and items that are coming out, but they are not really stating that they are revelations or not in most cases.

Perhaps they are also being cognizant of other items which were claimed to be revelations, but which they now claim might not have been.  A prime example are Blacks and the Priesthood. 

In today's world, people would see those who feel Joseph Smith's statements and writings on this (and he had them) as well as Brigham Young's declarations and an actual official statement on it declaring it as doctrine in the past as pure racism on the church's part.  Instead of validating the prophetic callings of the men that made these statements and trying to work it into how this could have been and how their statements and prophecies have been fulfilled, the Church today has changed direction.  Instead, it says they do not know (anyone who read history actually knows, it was declared doctrine as from revelation...that's why) why they made these statements and policies came about.  The revelation has become unpopular.  If prior items that were stated as being revealed from God (and it was blatantly declared so) can be tossed aside and inferred (if not directly stated, legally speaking) as NON-Revelation and possibly the prophets only speaking as men...what does that say about our current state of declaring such items?

It makes it a VERY TRICKY preposition.

So, instead of making declarations as such, I see them stating and changing things but avoiding directly stating where some of these items are coming from.  Instead, they let us ASSUME in many instances that they are getting revelations on such, but avoid stating it directly.  It is all done with inferences and allusions to let us think what we will, but avoiding actual wording that can be taken as authoritative statements.

In otherwords, I (emphasis on I) think and believe we are being led by revelation.  In many instances, they are not telling us what is or is not from revelation, and which ideas are from their own thoughts.  This is why it is important for each of us to have the spirit with us to give us testimony of what is going on and what we are doing in the church today.

How do I take this, how do any of us take this?

I know that there are those that see this and have turned to the web in search of information.  Some find things that lead them astray.  They started by reading the gospel essays and it weakened their testimonies (if what they said was revelation in the past is now discounted, how can they know if anything is revelation today?  It seems that what was revelation yesterday is only them speaking as men, what is to say that isn't the same today, or what is thought to be revelation today won't be overturned tomorrow as people speaking as men?).  They fall away from the church.  Some to simply be anti-Mormon, others who retain their faith, but cannot understand how the church can turn against it's former prophets and teachings turn to others like Denver Snuffer or those who seem to be appealing to a more conservative belief.

I know that there are those that decide to ignore the past and toss out anything that seems contradictory to what is being taught today.  If it isn't from the modern church, and it doesn't agree with what WE THINK (and that is important, what we THINK it may be teaching is not necessarily what IS being taught), they toss it out.  The past is not important, only the present.

These two groups seem to be in opposite of each other.  One for the more conservative slant, the other a more liberal slant.

There are many other groups and people fall into many different spectrums on this.

Where do I fall though?  It can be a difficult thing.  I am a historian at heart and in work.  I do NOT believe in tossing out the past.  I believe we build upon the past, not toss it out or rewrite it.  On the otherhand, I believe in the modern prophet and the leaders of the Church.  I believe the Church is led by the Lord and it is his vehicle for giving the saving ordinances and teachings to the world.  How can I correlate some of the things that have come out recently that are in direct contradiction to the teachings of the past?  That...right there, is the nail that is the crux of the difficulties I see those few in my position having.

The answer...I don't currently.  I avoid it.  I avoid it by attributing it to a bureaucracy of the church.  The Church has the Prophet leading it, but a VAST MAJORITY of those things written do not come from his hand, it comes from the employees of the Church administration departments.  Some of them may be led by the spirit.  Some of them are malicious and in it just for a job. And some of them are trying to do what is right...but...they are not the prophet.  Mistakes are bound to be made or come in.  With the influences of today's society, it is easy to me to see how such mistakes can be made in many of the materials that are coming out.  Thus, my favoritism in this is to blame the bureaucracy for the mistakes being made, and continue to believe that most of the General Authorities and the leaders of the Church (Both General and local) are being led by the Lord.

I may be mistaken, but that's currently the path that I, as trying to be a faithful member, have chosen to follow.

You make a lot of great points.  I don't chalk it up to bureaucracy. I chalk it up to lack of faith.

Lack of faith overall that God can speak direct to man, lack of faith that a man can write done what God's Word is, lack of faith in miracles.  We read about Joseph Smith casting out devils, we read of Joseph Smith healing with a handkerchief, we read of visions, these things were openly shared because it bolstered others faith.  Now, we have none of that, or what little we do have we say things like "it should be secret", don't talk about it, etc. We have recorded instances were Brigham Young spoke in the Adamic tongue, we had speaking of tongues, and now we claim missionaries learning a new language in the MTC is the speaking of tongues.

The scriptures plainly tell us what happens when those things cease-it's because of a lack of faith.  

Ultimately, the patterns of what are occurring are found in Scripture.  Which is in ancient Israel, in the Book of Mormon, etc. that God's chosen people get lazy, idolatrous, lack faith, become wicked and eventually apostatize from the faith-they keep their religion, but the apostatize from the faith.

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10 minutes ago, carlimac said:

I might try asking my question again in different words on a different thread because this one got so off track from the get-go that it’s irretrievable at this point. 

I wouldn't say that.  We are talking about your question, but at a different level. What you wish for isn't going to happen. There is only one place you are going to find your answers and that is in the Word of God.  Search the scriptures and you will absolutely find the answers to the questions you seek.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/101?lang=eng

Edited by BobMaster

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18 minutes ago, BobMaster said:

I wouldn't say that.  We are talking about your question, but at a different level. What you wish for isn't going to happen. There is only one place you are going to find your answers and that is in the Word of God.  Search the scriptures and you will absolutely find the answers to the questions you seek.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/101?lang=eng

No, you clearly comandeered the ship and sailed off in a different direction. My question was not about whether the  youth of the church are stalwart or about crying at the pulpit.

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22 minutes ago, carlimac said:

No, you clearly comandeered the ship and sailed off in a different direction. My question was not about whether the  youth of the church are stalwart or about crying at the pulpit.

You asked a question about why the leaders aren't pounding the pulpit.  The answer is because they can't.  The leaders went down a narrative path that they can not easily reverse out of.  That's the whole point of this deep conversation about WW, emotional responses etc.

The leadership of the Church made the decision decades ago (and has continued down that path) to tell everyone in the Church that the youth are great, the members of the Church are great, everyone is just great, sunshine and rainbows, stay in the boat, just please stay in the Church, you are awesome, life is wonderful just stay in the boat.

In other words, you can't pound the pulpit and tell people they need to seriously repent while at the same time telling everyone they are awesome, we need you, please stay with us.

That's the point, you won't see the leadership be explicitly direct, you won't see the leadership directly call out sin-yes they will do it in a roundabout way, but not like they used to in the early 70s. A significant part of that is this teaching about the youth being awesome, noble, great, wonderful, stupendous.  When as a people you get a big head and have big egos (which in a broad sense is what happens when you puff people up just to make them feel special), leaders can't come down on them when they screw up.

You are asking for something that the leaders can't deliver on, first get rid of the messaging that we are so awesome, special, wonderful as a people . . . .and then you can start to have some serious non-fluff messages.  And ultimately, because the leaders aren't, won't, or can't deliver the message of repentance in any meaningful fashion . . .God will Himself-through plagues, through pestilence, through civil disturbances, through war, etc.

If one is paying attention, the message of repent!!! and turn to Christ!!!! is flashing like a massive neon sign on a lone interstate.  You don't need a prophet to tell you what's coming next if you read God's Word.

Edited by BobMaster

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1 hour ago, BobMaster said:

[1]To make the claim that WW really had a Revelation from God on the Manifesto when he tells us directly from his journal what he was doing makes no sense. 

[2]God did not direct him to lift polygamy.  WW was entrusted with the leadership of the Church, God trusted him to act properly. WW believed he was acting for the "temporal salvation" of the Church. He then prayed and felt inspired that doing away with polygamy was okay. 

[3]  The words he used in the Manifesto are bluster; i.e. there was no Voice of the Lord telling him to do this or do that-if there had been, he would have absolutely recorded it in his journal.  

[4]The whole point of this discussion is simply say this, leaders of the Church can make mistakes, they can be wrong, they can lead the Church wrong.  . . . .

[5] Additionally to receive a Revelation like WW did in 1889 puts a stake in the ground. 

1.  Except that Woodruff flat-out said he *did* have a “revelation”.  I think I’ll let Woodruff be the best interpreter, both of his own journals, and of what he considered to be a “revelation”. ;) 

2.  [Paraphrasing] “God did not direct it . . . the prophet just asked if it should be done and God said ‘yes’” is a distinction without a difference.

3.  It’s only necessary to conclude that Woodruff was “blustering” (read: lying) if our intent ab initio is to preserve this distinction between “revelation” and “inspiration”.  Since Woodruff himself didn’t see a fundamental need to distinguish between the two for purposes of Church governance, I’m not inclined to question Woodruff’s fundamental honesty, his ability to understand his own journals, and his interpretation of his own communications with God.

4.  Sure, within limits; as Woodruff himself clarified:  God will remove any “man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty”.  The prophet, acting as such, can be wrong—but not in ways that either impede the Church membership’s own ability to receive true revelation or that lead them to sin.

5.  Except that . . . it didn’t.  Woodruff, with divine backing, reversed himself less than a year later.  ;) 

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On 6/12/2020 at 3:43 PM, carlimac said:

I may have missed them but have there been specific directions or counsel coming from the first presidency in how we should be dealing with all the commotion lately (other than President Nelson’s statement that looting and destruction are no-no’s and loving all colors of skin is a yay) ?

The reason I ask is because the millennial generation continues to post bleeding heart devotion to BLM, we’re all shameful racists with our White privilege,  and “cops are corrupt“ kinds of things on social media.  “Good” LDS kids posting avalanches of this stuff. Conservative news outlets and You Tubers are coming down hard with fiery arguments on the gaping holes in these theories.  Vigano from the Catholic Church has sent a warning to Trump about those that are trying to destroy our country and world. In comparison, the words of our leaders seem a little tepid to me. 
 
I don’t expect them to get involved in all the prickly political controversies but as the dark side gets continually louder as we progress into the last days, I wonder if the Church might need to turn up the volume a little lest it’s voice gets completely drowned out. Some direct pulpit pounding needs to happen IMO to catch the attention of the younger woke generations being swept up in these divisive movements.

 

Ben Park, an LDS historian in Texas, recently authored a Salt Lake Tribune article expressing some discomfiture that Nelson had had the temerity to condemn rioting at all.  The Church isn’t exactly kowtowing to the proggies here.

At the same time:  The Church’s raison  d’etre is not to preserve the legal, societal, or territorial integrity of the United States of America.  For much of the last century the USA has had the moral, military, and financial capital to maintain a Pax Americana through which the Church could establish proto-Zions worldwide.  Globally, that Pax Americana is now eroding.  Domestically, the political alliances that preserved free speech, free religious exercise, and traditional family life—and, let’s face it, the shared ideological norms that made us a single nation in spite of our ethnic and religious diversity—are unraveling before our eyes.  The Church can use its resources to either try to shore up a sinking ship or to plan for what’s coming afterwards.

They seem to be choosing the latter. 

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I have to admit that I am confused by some of the logic presented here.

Today's youth have fewer of the characteristics that I value in the previous generation's youth, therefore they must not be among the more valiant souls....(paraphrased, I didn't take the effort to make a full and concise statement)

What isn't considered, however, is the possibility that the trait's of today's youth are the very manifestation of their valiance. It's sloppy of me to do this, but I'm going to make claims without evidence, so consider it anecdotal.  By and large, the youth today seem to be more empathetic, comfortable with nuance and complexity, and more prone to value social improvement over personal wealth.  What if their willingness and determination to tear down long standing social norms is their valiance in action? What if their unwillingness to accept racial animus (for example) in scripture as divinely-directed is a sign of their valiance?

In other words, we're often quick to judge others (including other generations) for their unrighteousness for no other reason than they have different values or priorities than we do. I would submit that doing so is a dangerous business if you don't fully understand what makes those people tick, and are unwilling to question whether your own perspectives might need some adjustment.

 

Another perspective you can put on this all is to consider that the people that were the target of that "most valiant souls" comment are the very people that raised today's youth. So if today's youth really are so much worse, then it seems that it would be the fault of those most valiant souls for raising a bunch of screw ups. So before we go railing on how not-valiant today's youth are, maybe we should question whether those valiant ones were really as valiant as we thought, seeing as they obviously screwed up their most noble calling so badly......

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10 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

1.  Except that Woodruff flat-out said he *did* have a “revelation”.  I think I’ll let Woodruff be the best interpreter, both of his own journals, and of what he considered to be a “revelation”. ;) 

2.  [Paraphrasing] “God did not direct it . . . the prophet just asked if it should be done and God said ‘yes’” is a distinction without a difference.

3.  It’s only necessary to conclude that Woodruff was “blustering” (read: lying) if our intent ab initio is to preserve this distinction between “revelation” and “inspiration”.  Since Woodruff himself didn’t see a fundamental need to distinguish between the two for purposes of Church thagovernance, I’m not inclined to question Woodruff’s fundamental honesty, his ability to understand his own journals, and his interpretation of his own communications with God.

4.  Sure, within limits; as Woodruff himself clarified:  God will remove any “man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty”.  The prophet, acting as such, can be wrong—but not in ways that either impede the Church membership’s own ability to receive true revelation or that lead them to sin.

5.  Except that . . . it didn’t.  Woodruff, with divine backing, reversed himself less than a year later.  ;) 

1) Yes WW claims he had a Revelation, but that Revelation is not written down.  It doesn't exist.  Additionally, WW tells us exactly why he is doing what he is doing in his journal, for what he believes is the "temporal salvation". No where in his journal does he record God telling him to stop polygamy.  It simply doesn't exist. 

2) No it is not a distinction without a difference.  Having God speak to you directly in His Words is much different than praying and feeling yeah this is okay to do.  Bluntly, the reason people do not understand this difference is because they haven't had God speak to them in His Words directly, so they don't have a clue as to the difference.  They believe  that feeling a general impression of yes this is okay to do is the same thing as having God's Voice direct you.  I bear my personal witness-it's not the same thing; because I've had both. One is absolutely undeniable and the other is well . . . sometimes we get it wrong.

3) "Blustering" is my term for the fact WW had a goal which he wanted to enact as President of the Church, and so he used whatever means necessary to make it happen. Which would have produced an easier time? WW using the bully pulpit (and I mean that in the old sense of bully, as in advocating) of the President to get the members in line (which overall took about 30 years to do so-even while the Church itself was STILL authorizing polygamous marriages in secret) or have a direct Revelation from God.

3a) When you read WW's journals, it is very apparent that he honestly thought in the year 1890 that Christ was going to come; it becomes apparent he thought he was simply acting until Christ destroyed the wicked. 

4) God's designs cannot be frustrated by man, but to claim that God will simply strike down any leader who leds men astray isn't supported by scripture. Sometimes, God does strike them down, sometimes  the people are so wicked that God just let's it roll.  If God struck down each and every leader who led man astray then man would never be lead astray.

5) Sure, he claimed he felt inspired to do so. Inspired to do so is not the same thing as Revelation.  

5a) One of the major things that separate LDS/Saints/Mormons/etc. from other religions is that we claim divine Revelation.  Yet, for all practical purposes, there is no difference between the President of the Church praying to God and saying he felt inspired to modify this or that program and the the leader of a local Evangelical praying and feeling God inspired him to modify this or that program.

There is no practical difference. The major differentiation is that we claim God speaks directly to our leaders; yet the evidence of God speaking directly, where they are the actual Voice of the Lord, where they speak in His Voice has been lost to the Saints.

As a Church, we have no more publicized (i.e. open) visions, we have no more publicized miraculous healings, etc. etc. etc.  That's a fact.  We are so starved as a people for meat, Visions, Revelations, the Voice of God, etc. that when we get a leader who even remotely shakes things up a bit (regardless of the almost direct contradiction between the previous leader(s)) everyone jumps up and down.

The problem with this is the the youth see this . . .you can only live on the borrowed light of the past for so long.  You can only live on the embers of faith of previous generations for a tiny bit of time.  To claim that what we have right now is Revelation and is as the days of yore is just fallacy.  And more people are recognizing it as such.

I long to hear God's Voice spoken plainly and directly to His People-that's what a Revealer or Revelator does, he uncovers or Reveals or speaks God's Words. His Voice is still there, but boy it takes a lot of work to hear it, it isn't plain and it isn't obvious.  The reason why it's not there is plain and obvious.

People lack the Faith for it to happen.  This whole conversation is about the lack of Faith for it to happen.  I claim I want to hear God's Voice spoken directly to His servants.  You are essentially telling me-nah, you don't need that, you've already got it, God already speaks to them.  

Why is it that you lack the Faith necessary for God to speak directly, plainly, clearly to His leaders today? 

Why is it that you lack the desire and faith to want to hear "Thus saith the Lord"?

 

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55 minutes ago, MarginOfError said:

In other words, we're often quick to judge others (including other generations) for their unrighteousness for no other reason than they have different values or priorities than we do. ......

Yes, therein lies the rub. Somebody is wrong. Either my values are wrong or the rising generations values are wrong.

You can't claim that different values are all equal because different values lead to different outcomes, different ways of living, entirely different societies, so yes from the left perspective they believe they are more valiant and fighting for what's right.

The question is are they?  Where is their focus?  By their fruits ye shall no them.  Is their focus on repenting, and turning to Christ? Is the focus on the ability of all mankind to forgo their base natural man instincts and turn to God to become new creatures?  Is the focus on forgiveness?

Or is the focus on continually harping on the past, the sins of the past and retribution? Is the focus on trying to blot out thought crime, all the while forcing others to bow down to a new ideology?

Edited by BobMaster

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10 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

At the same time:  The Church’s raison  d’etre is not to preserve the legal, societal, or territorial integrity of the United States of America.  For much of the last century the USA has had the moral, military, and financial capital to maintain a Pax Americana through which the Church could establish proto-Zions worldwide.  Globally, that Pax Americana is now eroding.  Domestically, the political alliances that preserved free speech, free religious exercise, and traditional family life—and, let’s face it, the shared ideological norms that made us a single nation in spite of our ethnic and religious diversity—are unraveling before our eyes.  The Church can use its resources to either try to shore up a sinking ship or to plan for what’s coming afterwards.

They seem to be choosing the latter. 

Kinda reminds me.

Quote

When the people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of the earth and proclaiming liberty and equal rights to all men, and extending the hand of fellowship to the oppressed of all nations. This is part of the programme, and as long as we do what is right and fear God, he will help us and stand by us under all circumstances.

 -- John Taylor, JD; 21:8

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On 6/13/2020 at 6:05 PM, BobMaster said:

This is the very thing I'm speaking to; in modernity we have so confused emotion with Spirit, we cannot separate the two and so we think that when we hear soaring music combined with a few nice words we get an emotional twinge that we are feeling the Spirit.  It is so ingrained in modernity, that people don't even know they are doing it . . .but it is very dangerous. 

Thank you for pointing out something very important regarding emotional state and the Spirit. I do not remember where I read it but it was from a church leader who said something to this nature, "Tears are not evidence of the spirit; although, tears can represent a strong emotional bond to an experience that was given by the Spirit. It is not the Spirit." The message continued with learning to control our emotions so that our message can be clear and understood.

I had a friend in college who believed "emotion" and the "Spirit" were tied together, emotion and Spirit were one. That is dangerous. We were discussing four states: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. He said there are only three states, "mental, physical, and spiritual." I would say this is what you are referencing when people combine emotion and Spirit as interchangeable truths (one in the same).

Our scriptures though create a conundrum as we find in Doctrine and Covenants 9: 8-9. As to my experience, this is where my friend and others combine spirit and emotion = burning in the bosom (an emotion). This is why I prefer Doctrine and Covenants 8: 2-3 because I have never felt the burning in the bosom but I have definitely experienced communication -- pure intelligence -- speaking directly to my mind and heart.

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6 minutes ago, Anddenex said:

Thank you for pointing out something very important regarding emotional state and the Spirit. I do not remember where I read it but it was from a church leader who said something to this nature, "Tears are not evidence of the spirit; although, tears can represent a strong emotional bond to an experience that was given by the Spirit. It is not the Spirit." The message continued with learning to control our emotions so that our message can be clear and understood.

I had a friend in college who believed "emotion" and the "Spirit" were tied together, emotion and Spirit were one. That is dangerous. We were discussing four states: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. He said there are only three states, "mental, physical, and spiritual." I would say this is what you are referencing when people combine emotion and Spirit as interchangeable truths (one in the same).

Our scriptures though create a conundrum as we find in Doctrine and Covenants 9: 8-9. As to my experience, this is where my friend and others combine spirit and emotion = burning in the bosom (an emotion). This is why I prefer Doctrine and Covenants 8: 2-3 because I have never felt the burning in the bosom but I have definitely experienced communication -- pure intelligence -- speaking directly to my mind and heart.

Thank you, yes you did a great job of explaining it-probably better than I did! Thank you!

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