Friday, October 30, 2015

Used with permission

The LDS Church has released more essays on troubling historical issues or contemporary concerns. Link here.

I think the LDS church is having a truth crisis. There are facts and figures being exposed which show, in many instances, the church has lied about it's history and told a story that makes them look good, rather than just telling what happened. And sometimes the historical documents themselves have been altered in the Church's history. This is causing what they call "a faith crisis".  Seemingly turning the object of the crisis onto the members. But what's also occurring is a truth crisis on their part . If you have paid attention much to the news and recent events what we can all probably agree on is the institution is having to come to terms with the truth which, until the internet, was much less accessible.

At the end of the recently released articles the church put out they say this:

The Church acknowledges the contribution of scholars to the historical content presented in this article; their work is used with permission

I don't know who "The Church" is.  Is this the President?  The Official Newsroom?  The PR Department?  The History Department?  Is it me?  Anyway "The Church" is citing and acknowledging the scholars for their contributions to the Church's essays.  The news article made it very clear the first presidency had approved these essays.  They "approved" them, but it was clear they did not author or write them.

Seems a little ironic that those sustained as prophets seers and revelators are "using" and asking for "permission" to use the work of scholars.  Not just citing historical documents, but acknowledge the work of paid scholars to provide entire essays for members to answer troubling questions.  It just struck me as interesting and somewhat ironic.  You'd think it would be the other way around.  Scholars looking to prophets and revelators and asking them for permission to use their stuff, but no....  it's the Prophets Seers and Revelators who are dependent on the Scholars to answer the questions. 

The scholarly voice is outweighing the prophetic voice in modern LDS Mormonism.  I think people no longer even know what the prophetic voice sounds like.  It would sound so foreign that it would probably be rejected. When historians and scholars are hired to present arguments, "important context" and essays yet those we sustain as living oracles defer to the historians then that is a curious situation.

Joseph Smith did not depend on scholars for his understanding of truth and the Gospel, and history.  Scholars are great.  Don't get me wrong.  I mean no disrespect towards the scholars.  They have made great contributions.  However Joseph stated you would learn more by gazing into heaven for 5 minutes than reading everything that had ever been written on the subject.  To me that is why God sends messengers who have been in his presence.  They rely on Him, vs relying on the tools developed by man to study Him.  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

One heart parable

A short parable. It's not perfect and doesn't cover everything to do with the topic but it's a small attempt at some things.

Two people came to the town square asking for help with their needs. One was lazy and entitled but still asked for help. The other hard working, down on their luck, and willing to accept any available help.  Various passerby's saw the two petitioners. Some as they passed thought that instead of sitting asking for help they ought to go get jobs. Others didn't notice them at all having previously concluded not to pay beggars any attention. Still others thought that it was the governments responsibility or may be even a church's responsibility to help the less fortunate.  And they passed by.

One day a giver passing by heard the two petitions for aid and looked upon them. To the first the giver rebuked, having known a mutual friend who had often related to him how lazy the person was. The second was helped with ease and and joy and the giver felt no advantage had been taken of him.  He felt good that he wasn't supporting laziness.  The first giver went on his way.

 A second giver passing by saw the first petitioner still asking for help. The second giver gave without thought of reward or the petitioners merit; but while giving felt impressed that an additional level of aid ought to also be given. The second giver cast his eyes upon the petitioner and glimpsed a hidden, and unfulfilled and broken soul who yearned for a better and more fulfilling future.  The second giver shared the impression received while giving.  In a spirit of charity, and compassion, the giver relayed a few other impressions he had and then paused for a response. The two exchanged heartfelt perspectives about life's struggles, difficulties, failures, hopes and desires for the future. By the end they both felt uplifted and as they parted ways they both noted that for a moment their hearts had become one.

Moses 7:18
18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Difficulty distinguishing

Stumbled upon this gem below from a BYU speech in June 1981. "Reason and Revelation".  -Noel B. Reynolds then Academic vice Pres.  

"We are observing a widespread difficulty in distinguishing between sentimentalism and true spiritual experience. Too much of the literature used, seen, and quoted in the Church today is just sentimental trash which is designed to pull our heartstrings or moisten our eyes, but it is not born of true spiritual experience. The tendency of our youth to use sentimental stories in Church talks creates a culture of spiritual misunderstanding in which thinking and learning are discouraged. When I was bishop years ago in an Orem ward, I strongly counseled the youth not to use the compilations of sentimental stories which are available. I feel that our failure to immerse these young people in the scriptures and other high quality literature makes them vulnerable to the cheap tactics of every moralistic movement which they encounter. Because our youth often respond positively to sentimentalism, there is a danger that we might cater to that in Church instruction generally"