What’s This Mormon Thing?

Hostile Anti-Mormon posts subject to editing or deletion

What is an Opinion Worth?

Posted by JLFuller on June 30, 2008

Some consider mine of little value because I do not accept the premise they are trying to sell. I read some, just not the Edsel versions. I have read some early Christian writers such as Orien, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. I intend to read more. A current writer, Helen Dekker, a minister of the Reformed Church of the Netherlands and formerly of the World Council of Churches is interesting. I don’t agree with her premise that Christ was a man filled with God but was not God though. Tolerance is key in her work. I have recently found a website called Early Church Fathers at http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html that is interesting. It is operated by Christian Classics Ethereal Library which is not a Mormon organization. Their series is titled Early Church Fathers and is in electronic format and downloadable. I have found that traditional Christianity, the kind not represented by Evangelicals, is usually the best place to go for another view point. I will read a well thought out and researched piece by just about any writer as long as he isn’t trying to float a propaganda balloon. Which brings me back to some of the loudest most obnoxious of the internet commentators. I would rather discuss religion with a Moslem than many of these people. In fact I am. We don’t have much in common when it comes to religion but they are willing to explain things. At least I now know the difference between Koran and Qur’an. The latter spelling is preferred in the English speaking Muslim community. It is a more accurate translation from Arabic.  
Back on task. I admit it – I am reaching a tipping point with folks who take a nickels worth of opinion and claim it is a dollars worth of facts. I find nothing useful in discussing religion with people who deliberately misinform, prefer ill-conceived notions when corrected versions are available to them and exercise distorted thinking especially when it is accompanied by destructive behavior towards others. I guess some just need to stew in their own juices a while longer before they are done.
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

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23 Responses to “What is an Opinion Worth?”

  1. jackg said

    JLF,

    Would you say that traditional Christianity is represented by the Catholic Church? I have a friend who, after 8 years of studying the writings of the early Church fathers and early historical writings, concluded that the Catholic Church is all she purports herself to be–the true Christian Church through the line of Peter the first pope. I have to admit that he presents compelling arguments for his position. I am just curious as to your thoughts on this.

  2. jack
    It is good to hear from you again. If you recall, most historic Christianity claims Trinitarianism as the foundation of their common theological belief, outside the bible. I wonder if it really matters what version of historic Christianity one adheres to. Of course we LDS have a different slant on those things, but for others does it really matter? Making some assumptions now, if all other denominations accept each others baptism, profession that Jesus is the Christ and a belief that the bible is the word of God, what else is there? What other saving ordinance am I leaving out? I would think all the other stuff is just personal preference.

    I like Catholicism because of its intellectual history and belief in a holy priesthood, a version of theosis and brilliant religious scholars, some of who had some very Mormon ideas by the way. But that is personal preference. If I was not LDS I still could never be a Catholic though because of the dark side of Catholic history. But I can respect and honor much of what they have done in spite of the obstacles their leadership put in the road. But a lot of former Mormons say the same thing about my Church.

  3. There are numerous pre-creedal writers that support a different version of Christianity than Catholicism. Most counselors in my previous occupation would never make a recommendation such I would make, but I think an intellectual man should read a wide variety of material before making any leap. Read Helen Dekker for example or any of the anti-Trinitarians. It makes sense to me to understand doctrine from multiple sides in order to be firm in one’s mind or at least as firm as one ever gets.

  4. jackg said

    Thanks for your thoughts, JLF. Could you give me an example of some Mormon ideas that you find in the writings of the religious Catholic scholars. I’m curious.

    You’re right about the personal preference part. There are some things about Calvinism that I find acceptable. However, my emphases are more in line with Wesleyanism. Theology is broken up into dogma, doctrine, and opinion, and there is the saying that states that there is liberty in the non-essentials.

  5. Jack
    You are putting me on the spot now. Several years ago, I read a piece about a Catholic writer in the Middle Ages who wrote about the necessity of a restoration of the Gospel as it existed in Christ’s time. He suggested he would know it because it would have prophets and apostles just as at the time of the Savior. I have heard John Calvin (not absolute it was Calvin) mused similarly although I never read it myself. Apparently the necessity to restore the Gospel isn’t attributed to Joseph Smith only. I will see what I can come up with. This would make an interesting post. Good question.

  6. jackg said

    Didn’t mean to put you on the spot. 🙂 I know you’ll do a great job of researching, and I’m looking forward to what you have to say.

  7. Jack
    Anti in its simplest form means against. MRM, in my opinion, has tried to take their methodology and twist it to obscure what they really intend. They want to be known as critics which imply their methods are intellectual. They aren’t. No matter what flower they put behind that pig’s ear it will always be a porker. However my opinion is based on their behavior not their theology.

    I am not easily offended by what people say to me. I have been insulted and assaulted by professionals – the best in the world, as you have. What MRM et al says does rise anywhere close to the top. But their behavior towards people I care about and their methods of inciting contention drives the Holy Spirit from the conversation. There is little Godly about what transpires at MormonCoffee. But it is a meeting place where I can plant a seed. It, and others, is a place where I can hear the occasional meritorious comment. Not often but often enough that I still find some usefulness in going there. I think a few adults are in the mix of conversations. I don’t object to kids participating it is just that they don’t know much yet and waste bandwidth with their childishness. But they have to learn too I guess.

    About 3% of all readers of this blog comment and it hasn’t made it to the internet search engines yet. So I suppose a smaller number of readers than that would respond if I had thousands. It is those people I want to reach, the reader no the commenter. Not Aaron or any of the others. It is the person who has not made his mind up about Mormons who is still teachable that I am after. You know from your mission experience that 1 in 2000 contacts ever join the Church. But who knows how many people’s view of the Church was changed by the experience? That is what my goal is: To change the view people have of us. To correct in the inaccuracies planted in their minds by others. To challenge those who claim to know what we teach but never correct what they say. We don’t lie about these things. But the anti-Mormons are not interested in accuracy or reducing the divide between us. Changing what they say about us would rob them of the ammunition the need to continue their assault. They are anti-Mormon. The term fits and it is accurate.

    Now that does not mean that every group or person who thinks differently from us is anti-Mormon – far from it. I learn every time I read or listen to a legitimate critic or researcher. But just as I don’t go to a Luddite for computer advice, I will give no heed to the words of a hate monger or someone who has an obvious agenda to defame or destroy. I disagree with what you and others say not because you say it but because I know better. But I am teachable. There just might be something you bring to the table that is right or points me in a new direction. But I do my home work. So when someone makes some off-the-wall comments about Joseph Smith I have a pretty good idea who knows what they are talking about and who is just flapping his gums and MRM is flapping their gums. They regularly take five cents of opinion and claim it is a dollars worth of fact.

  8. Jack wrote: “Thanks for your thoughts, JLF. Could you give me an example of some Mormon ideas that you find in the writings of the religious Catholic scholars. I’m curious.”

    Sure. Athanasius of Alexandria wrote, “God became human so humans would become gods” On the Incarnation 54:3, PG 25:192B. I will continue to do some research but that is one.

  9. Athanasius says, on page 30 of Penelope Lawson’s book, On the Incarantion: The treatise de IncarantionVerbi Dei – “By nature of course, man is mortal, since he was made from nothing; but he bears also the Likeness of Him Who is, and if he preserves that likeness through constant contemplation , then his nature is deprived of its power and he remains incorrupt. So is it affirmed in Wisdom: ” The keeping of His laws is the assurance of incorruption.” And being incorrupt, he would be henceforth as God, as Holy Scripture says, “I have said Ye are gods and sons of the Highest of all of you: but ye die as men and fall as one of the princes”. The first quote is from Wisdon 6. 18 and the second from Psalms 82 v 6. By combining the two the implication is that Athanatious believed they were part of the same thought – Remain incorruptaible and become god-like.

  10. jackg said

    JLF,

    Thanks for the research; I’m glad you do your homework. What you have presented is very interesting and suggestive. Psalm 82 does raise questions. I think the debate will forever be “god-like” vs. “becoming a god.”

  11. JLFuller said

    Jack
    I am not sure I was as clear in expressing my thinking on revelation as I could have been. I have slept on it overnight and I think I can do better. When I read of the process of receiving revelation experienced by the general authorities, I have to think they base their judgments on their learning, understanding and personal experience supported by the spiritual confirmation afterward. Being emotional beings, we can consider the emotion of the moment as a spiritual or religious experience. Both can be there simultaneously to be sure, but it makes sense to me that we become better able to understand what the Spirit is telling us when we distance ourselves from the moment – that is, remove emotion from the equation. Emotion and feeling are similar but not always the same thing. Emotion is experiential and born of the moment. Feeling is maybe more a gut reaction or confirmation derived from knowledge or understanding. The more we know the better able we are to understand what the Spirit is saying to us. In other words, have we thoroughly understood the things we need to know to judge? Are we prepared well enough? Do we understand the material? The more comfortable we are with the material the clearer the prompting is. The clearer the information the less fog there is.

    Have you ever observed a game where a dozen or more people get in a circle and one person whispers a message in the ear of the person next to him and it gets passed around back to the first person? The message at the end may have no resemblance to what it started out as. I suggest that indicates just how subjective our understanding is and how we must have some trustworthy method of discerning what Christ is whispering to us through the Holy Ghost. The HG plants the thought but it is up to us to express it – even to ourselves. I experience that when I sit quietly away from distractions and mediate on some scripture or point of doctrine or anything I am interested in for that matter. If I ask for guidance in my thinking over time and I get the same confirmation multiple times then I have more confidence in it. Bit by bit we come to know what is reliable and what isn’t. Just like reading certain writers, we come to know who knows the subject matter and who doesn’t. Over time we get to know what information is reliable and what isn’t and why.

    I just ordered Bart Ehrman’s book Misquoting Jesus: the Story behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. I considered ordering Timothy Paul Jones’s book Misquoting Truth which is his answer to Ehrman’s book, just to contrast the two writers thinking. But when I read that Paul was a fundamentalist I decided not to. Anyone who considers the bible to be the absolute inerrant word of God exactly as He said it is not worth reading. I am not prejudiced, just practiced. People who think like Jones are like the tour promoter in California who sells tickets for a trip across the country but stops in Kansas and says that is all there is. There is no reason to go on because, even though he has not been there, he has enough information to know, with certainty that the rest of the country to Maine is just like what they saw in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Nebraska.

    All of the oldest manuscripts available to scholars over the centuries are just are copied copies of the copied copies of previous copies. We do not have the originals to read and compare to today’s bible in its numerous iterations and translations. So how can any thinking man say it is without error when we don’t have anything to compare it to? One writer says there are more errors in transcription between the manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament. This is typical to fundamentalist teaching. They just aren’t reliable. They use a method called textual criticism to correct mistakes but it is based on unsound principles and is barely better than fiction. Anyway, I am anxious to read Ehrman’s book. It is part of understanding the Gospel from more than one perspective.

  12. JLFuller said

    Jack
    Godlike is what LDS beleive. God, is God the Father – the Elohim. People may achieve godhood and be co-inheritors of Christ’s inheritence which is Godhood. But there is an Elohim, a supreme God that we will never be. But that is another study altogether.

  13. Above, Jackg says “Thanks for your thoughts, JLF. Could you give me an example of some Mormon ideas that you find in the writings of the religious Catholic scholars. I’m curious.”

    Jackg –
    From Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with a Jew – “Then I replied, “I shall attempt to persuade you, since you have understood the Scriptures, [of the truth] of what I say, that there is, and that there is said to be, another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things-above whom there is no other God-wishes to announce to them.” Roberts and Donaldson, “Dialogue of Justin with Trypho,” The Anti-Nicene Church Fathers, Chapter LVI.

    Who is Justyne Martyr? According to Catholic Encyclopedia, “Christian apologist, born at Flavia Neapolis, about A.D. 100, converted to Christianity about A.D. 130, taught and defended the Christian religion in Asia Minor and at Rome, where he suffered martyrdom about the year 165. Two “Apologies” bearing his name and his “Dialogue with the Jew Tryphon” have come down to us. Leo XIII had a Mass and an Office composed in his honour and set his feast for 14 April.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08580c.htm.

  14. jackg said

    JLF,

    I will need more time to respond with any semblance of intelligence. I do have one question, however: when you point out the fact that we have only copies of copies of copies where the biblical text is concerned, would it be fair to say that the LDS Church doesn’t even have a copy of anything with regard to the Book of Mormon, especially in light of the fact that there have been numerous changes in the text of the BOM? I do agree with you that the Bible is not without error. However, I don’t believe the Bible is lacking with the gospel message of salvation. Also, I don’t believe the Bible can be interpreted literally in all cases; it is important to understand the genres of the biblical text. For instance, Jesus spoke a lot of hyperbole to get his point across, such as plucking out your eye and cutting off your hand, etc. I don’t know if you agree with me that such statements are hyperbole, or if they are to be interpreted literally.

    Anyway, thanks again for your input and response to my questions. I need to get some of these writings that you mention.

  15. Jackg
    I think you are correct – we don’t have the original plates Joseph had. What makes B of M interpretation different, at least from scholarly research using textual criticism, is that it has only been translated once. There are not multiple iterations from who knows how many scribes each with is own twist however minor it might be. I understand the editing done to the B of M was primarily to clarify and format.

    Clarification of “white and delightsome”, for example, which is from OT terminology, to “pure and delightsome” refers to a man’s heart. No substantial changes have been made in the text. One legitimate change critics have commented on was changing the context of the story. Rather than history of the people of the America’s it is the story of a people in the America’s. The Church recognizes publicly in the latest printing that the original introduction comment was traditional and confusing. Also, a small handful of people 600 BC do not grow into millions in as short of time as the B of M seems to indicate. There must have been others for them to inter-marry with no matter how prodigious their baby-making program was. I am sure someone must have produced some kind of a spread sheet with longevity and reproduction statistic averages. Even the Catholics couldn’t have expanded at that rate.

    I agree that the bible is not lacking in describing much of the gospel message. But as you know, we think much was lost due to the phenomenon I described in the posts above. Christ uses analogy and symbolism as a type of universal language. Regardless of who hears the message such things as cutting off one’s hand are impossible to mistake as something good.

    There is one passage in the NT, Matthew 15:22-26, that I would like your understanding of. ”And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying; Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”
    Is He really saying some people are unworthy of His help because of their heritage? Or is there some mistranslation? What are you taught and is the principle here different from the LDS Church’s practice early on of not allowing the priesthood for black males? By not preaching to the gentiles in the area was Christ sanctioning the eternal damnation of whole groups of people by not allowing them to hear His words? Or does He have something else in mind to provide salvation to those who do not hear His Gospel? Surely many gentiles would have joined the Church early in His ministry if would have allowed missionary work among them. Are all those who passed on while Christ was only preaching to the Jews lost for ever and did Jesus know and sanction it?

  16. jackg said

    Hi JLF (I think it might be confusing if I called you Jack),

    The Matthew passage, in my understanding (which could be faulty), shows clearly that Jesus’ first priority was to get the Jewish nation to do what they were supposed to do all along, which is proclaim to the pagan nations around them that their God was the only true God. The Old Testament clearly outlines their purpose with regard to the whole of humanity. We know the Abrahamic covenant was not just designed to bless the Israelites, but to bless all of humanity. So, at this point in Jesus’ ministry, He was still calling Israel to that responsibility. However, as the passage continues, Jesus finally grants her her request based on her faith and, in this moment, reveals that it is not heritage but faith in Him that is required. He did show mercy on her after she expressed her faith. The Israelites did not believe in Jesus and, therefore, had no faith in Him as the Son of God. I think this passage beautifully juxtaposes belief verses unbelief. Eventually, the apostles are sent to preach the gospel to the entire world. So, I believe that from the very beginning God’s plan was to save all of humanity. The Israelite nation was to be the priestly nation through which God would accomplish the redemption of humanity. They failed in this, but God does not fail and, therefore, the calling of a servant nation has been transferred from the Israelites to the gentiles or, to be more clear, the Body of Christ, which is the Church. I will admit that there was a time I believed that the LDS Church replaced the Israelite nation, but I now see the Church to be people and not an institution, and I also believe the priesthood to be the priesthood of believers, which (believe it or not, but I now believe this) also includes women (I guess it’s that Wesleyan thing). 🙂 I probably gave more than an answer than you were soliciting. In fact, I hope I did answer your question.

    I am concerned with 3 Nephi 16:16-24. Here, Jesus supposedly says that the Gentiles should not at any time hear His voice, but it’s clear from the Matthew passage you presented that they did hear His voice. In fact, there are several more instances where Jesus converses with Gentiles, especially Gentile women. Just a thought I wanted to share with you so you can understand me better with regard to why I no longer believe in the LDS Church.

    I have a question: I remember that the BOM used to have some reference in the introductory pages that the BOM came forth for the convincing of the Jews. Does that statement still exist? I can’t seem to find it anymore, and I think it was easy to find. The reason I’m asking is because I’m curious as to how many Jewish people are converting to Christianity through the BOM. Do you have any facts on that? I think it’s important, and I’m curious.

    I guess that does it for now, JLF. Thanks for taking the time to dialog with me. Looking forward to your response.

  17. JLFuller said

    Jackg
    More early Church fathers who had beliefs and taught doctrines similar to current LDS teachings: “Now it is possible that some may dislike what we have said representing the Father as the one true God, but admitting other beings besides the true God, who have become gods by having a share of God. They may fear that the glory of Him who surpasses all creation may be lowered to the level of those other beings called gods. We drew this distinction between Him and them that we showed God the Word to be to all the other gods the minister of their divinity…. As, then, there are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords, but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ….” [Origen, Commentary on John 2:3, in ANF 10:323.]

  18. JLFuller said

    Jackg
    In my four-in-one, the introductory passage says the B of M was written for the Lamaites and Jew and gentile. I don’t have access to statistical records of how many of what people have joined the Church. SLC may keep such things but I can’t tell you.

    I think we agree on the meaning of the Matthew passage – that is, Christ’s message goes to certain people first and others later. We see that same principle at work in denying the priesthood to black men. We really don’t know why. We can speculate about it but that is about all we can do. The Matthew passage essentially sets the principle out that Christ was told to follow. He held firm to it though His Crucifixion and only was allowed by Father to add gentiles to His flock after His resurrection. I think that established the basis for bypassing some people in favor of others albeit for a short time. Granting the woman’s petition does not mean He disobeyed His Father’s instructions. In fact I think it established that individual faith and mercy can exist within hard doctrine.

    Also, regarding ancient teaching that parallel current LDS teaching, you can see that what we teach is not necessarily new doctrine. In fact it is ancient. Deification for some people was a principle taught in the early church. But it was dropped after Nicaea. Augustine apparently was instrumental in making those changes. It appears to me that the politics of the day was the main reasoning for doing so. One writer says the Council of Bishops was heavily influenced by the Greek oriented neo-Platonists who favored the all-in-one view of God’s nature which today’s Trinitarianism teaches. The Arians apparently held anti-Trinitarian views but politics held sway. The Arians seemed to be the traditionalists. I am just getting into the study of what happened so my understanding is limited. I sent for three books which may address these things better.

  19. jackg said

    JLF,

    Thanks for your quick response. I found the “convincing of the Jew” part in my 1981 BOM. It’s in the second paragraph of the Introduction Page just after the title page.

    I think the main difference between us with regard to the issue of Christ’s message going to others first before another group gets it has to do with the belief or lack of belief in a pre-mortal existence. Unless I’m wrong, it is my belief that the LDS Church held to the position that black people in some way were not valiant in their first estate or pre-mortal existence. Because of that, they were unable to receive the priesthood until 1979? (can’t remember exactly). With this being the explanation as I have understood during my years as LDS, I struggle with the explanation that we don’t understand why God did what He did in withholding the priesthood from the black man. It seems to me that the LDS Church knows why God did it, but that perhaps it isn’t so politically correct to state it so boldly, today. Now, understand, these are my views based on what I have personally heard as explanations from local Church leaders and from writings of past presidents of the Church; however, it is from these sources that I must judge for myself if such teachings would indeed be from God. I don’t believe so. I also think we differ on whether or not we can construe what Jesus did (granting the woman her request) as a principle to be duplicated later and used to justify something that can be construed as racism. For me, the idea of such principles opens the door for other principles that are no longer practiced but will be practiced later, like polygamy. These are things I really struggle with, JLF. Just this past fall, when my son came home from his mission, I wanted the Church to be true and even started attending and talking to the bishop. But, these issues just nagged at me. I even stood in my shower and cried to the LORD to restore my testimony of Joseph Smith if it was indeed true that he was a prophet. That didn’t happen. And, what I have just presented to you are some of the reasons why it didn’t happen.

    I hope I am expressing myself in a way that is not seen as an attack on you. I am just expressing my heart in response to your expression of your beliefs and why you believe the way you do. I do appreciate the fact that you don’t merely state your testimony but give historical context to your beliefs, as well. As for the issues you raise in the third paragraph, I, too, need to study more on the early church councils. The one thing I know for certain is that they were designed to fight heretical teachings and to establish dogma. So, I don’t know if stating that deification was an early church teaching is accurate or not. It might be, but I don’t know for sure. I’m inclined to believe that it was rejected as heresy.

    I definitely agree with you that faith and mercy trump hard doctrine. For me, life is about being in relationship with Jesus Christ. I might not fully understand how the Trinity works, or how exactly I’m justified by faith, but if I am in relationship with Jesus Christ, allow Him to work in my life to make my holy as He is holy, then I believe I will spend eternity in His presence. John Wesley taught that we cannot have relationship with Christ if we don’t have relationship with Him here on earth. My pastor once said: “Christ doesn’t call us to a church or to a denomination; He calls us to Himself.”

    Anyway, I will probably not have any computer access until Monday. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  20. “Unless I’m wrong, it is my belief that the LDS Church held to the position that black people in some way were not valiant in their first estate or pre-mortal existence.”

    Yeah Jackg, you are wrong. That is the opinion of Brigham Young and some others but is not doctrine. It is not taught now and is disavowed by our leadership. Many such things quoted from the Journal of Discourse claimed by some as official doctrine is opinion. Such things as a previous generation of general authorities said are included. The only things considered doctrine are what is found in the four standard works, currently taught in the official Church organs or currently discussed and reported as official. The JoD is none of these things.

    Jack, gaining a testimony is not an event. It is a process. It comes a little bit at a time. But key is becoming teachable. Are you in fact teachable if by not understanding a few doctrinal or historical questions you reject the whole package? You ar enot alone. All of us have doubts about one thing or another. When I went to the Temple for the first time I was flabbergasted during the endowment. I almost laughed. In fact I didn’t come to understand any of it in spiritual terms until I attended the sealing of my wife and family to me. The Spirit was so strong there was no doubt I was doing the correct thing. No doubt. I don’t think I could have been more sure even if a heavenly visitor had appeared in the room. I know you have heard of people who had such spiritual occurances and even greater ones in the Temple. But we don’t talk about them because of their sacredness. But, it is a process that requires effort and belief before we get the miracle of the confirmation. If in your heart of hearts you don’t think God will answer such petitions then you may never get one until the trial of your faith. Your bishop is the right guy to talk to, but he isn’t the only guy. Call Bob Millet at BYU. Or maybe Joseph McConkie. I think McConkie may have had the most profound impact on me in the recent past, but Millet is the most intellectual. You are not the only guy who has been in your spot. I have been there too. You ain’t the Lone Stranger. Jack, sometimes the Spirit is so strong that I nearly crumble to my knees. I should spend more time there I know, but there is nothing in this world that compares. There is no emotional event in any human contact or endeaver that sends a shiver down my back and brings tears to my eyes as a powerful confirmation. Mostly though, it is a quiet knowing. I hardly notice it until after the fact. In fact it might be days or weeks later that I recognize it happened. I just know. I don’t know when I knew, I just know I know. BUt I don’t doubt the bretheren and and I am absolutley loyal to the Church and my Christ.

  21. jackg said

    JLF,

    I appreciate your loyalty to your Church and to Christ. And, thank you for sharing some of the spiritual moments in your life that have anchored your testimony. You have a strong testimony that the Church is true, and I have a strong testimony that it isn’t true. Even when I was a member, there were always things about the Church that nagged at me, that didn’t seem right. One of those things has to do with the murder of Joseph Smith. I always found the account to read as if he were a coward, especially when juxtaposed against the murder of Stephen. Also, I struggled with the hymn, “Praise to the Man,” especially, I think, the third verse. Naturally, the issues about the blacks and the priesthood nagged at me, as well. I know we discussed it already, and I don’t see a need to rehash it; I’m just trying to explain that my testimony of the Church was based on what I consider to be half-truths and denials. I know we differ here, and I do respect your views and your testimony. I know the experiences you shared were to help me understand why you say that you know you know. And, I would never in a million years want to attack your experiences because they are sacred to you. But, I also have my spiritual experiences that brought me out of the Church and into what I consider to be the Light. I believe we are engaged in a healthy dialog, and I hope to express myself in a clear and cogent manner.

    I can appreciate your stand with regard to JoD. I know that the Church stresses what it teaches TODAY as opposed to the early days of the Church. I also know that the Church rejects what Brigham Young said with regard to such teachings as Adam/God doctrine and blood atonement. I understand that members today reject those teachings with vehemence. But, here’s my problem with all of that: if we need to reject certain teachings of a man we believe to have been a prophet of God, then shouldn’t we reject that man as a prophet? Perhaps my thinking is too simple in this matter. It’s just that I can’t see how a church who purports to have living prophets and make claims that God reveals truths line upon line and precept upon precept would not have those teachings as the foundation of their theology. To me, it looks as if it is more a concept of line upon line, then subtract a line. I mean, first we have polygamy, then we don’t. Can you see how I would perceive this in such a way? Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Brigham Young say that God would not allow him to lead the members astray, and that he, BY, would not speak anything pertaining to doctrine that did not come from the LORD Himself? Again, we come back to the premise that the JoD is not doctrine, and this stuff I’m referring to comes from JoD. I hope you can judge my questions as just honest and reasonable questions. It’s okay if we agree to disagree. Fair enough? One last thing: would someone like Millet even respond to me? How would I even go about getting a hold of him? Have a great weekend, JLF. Oh, almost forgot: I’m curious as to your calling in the Church. And, in what state do you live?

  22. Dr. Millet has always responded to me. I don’t see why he would object to talking with you. I have to say your reasoning sounds a lot like that of another friend of mine. He too thought he had to have perfect knowledge of things and everything had to make sense. It doesn’t. I just accepted that I would find out eventually and I have – a little at a time. When I was ready and had proven that I could accept what had already been given me I would be told. I am OK with not knowing everything. When somebody tells me that B.Y. et al were expressing thier opinions on things I though were settled doctrine it made no difference. It was OK with me. I just accepted that I had been given a little more insight into the workings of revelation. It doesn’t trouble me. When I look around and see what other people have to say I see some really goofy notions. They know less than I do. Like the people at MRM! I am in Boise. Mostly my Church assignments have been teaching or advisor, Gospel doctrine and Gospel essentials. I was Venture advisor once and financial clerk once. I have taught kids mostly. I knew I didn’t know enough when I discovered my 16 year olds knew more than I did. They wee in seminsary. I never took it. Boy did they show me up! I am just a run-of-the-mill ordinary guy. Now I am doing extraction work at home on my PC which reminds me – I have to get a batch done.

  23. jackg said

    Get that batch done. How do I get a hold of Dr. Millet?

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