Conservative Mormon Bloggers Under Scrutiny

RockWatermanOne of my greatest desires as a blogger is to help people of differing beliefs and political ideologies come together in a unified search for peace that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Thus I was delighted today to be able to express and expound upon those sentiments to Kristen Moulton of the Salt Lake Tribune, substituting for the vacationing Peggy Fletcher Stack.

Disciplined for Following a Prophet

The focus of the piece is that conservative Mormons, as well as progressives, are being called in and disciplined by their local leaders for their blogging activities. I don’t fall into that category, since I’m under no disciplinary restrictions, but because I’ve written much on the subject, I was honored to be asked my opinion. The piece was well done. My contribution was two small ideas.

Asking Questions is not the Same as Doubt

I’d like to elaborate on those ideas for a minute to illustrate an observation that is now becoming clearer to me each day as this drama unfolds, a drama which many people hope will blow over soon, and which the majority of the church outside Utah has very little idea even exists. First, the idea of asking questions seems to be misinterpreted by many conservatives as expressing doubt.

Some Think it Not Acceptable to Ask Questions

I can’t tell you how many of my conservative friends have written me privately, as well as on the blog, expressing grave concerns for the welfare of my soul. I know they love me. I know their concern is genuine. We’ve served together in past leadership positions or have worshiped in the same wards and stakes over the past fifty plus years I have been a member of the LDS Church.

Some Seem to be Afraid of Asking Questions

For some reason, it just strikes them wrong to ask a question that may or may not be answered in the official curriculum of the church. And if I dare to suggest the answers provided in the official material may not be exactly truthful, meaning they leave out parts of the story or the narrative is perhaps slightly embellished to make the church look better, why, I’m sowing seeds of doubt.

Church Encourages Us to Ask Hard Questions

Nothing could be further from the truth. I love to ask questions. It’s how I learn. It’s part of my nature. I ask questions, then I answer them. I’m confident I can find quotes from at least a half dozen General Authorities endorsing this manner of learning as being superior to simply reading the scriptures every day. We are to search the scriptures and be ready to defend church doctrines.

Elder Ballard Encouraged us to Be Active on Blogs

Second is the idea that blogging is somehow a rebellious activity in the church – something only progressive activists do. Neither idea is anywhere remotely close to the truth but I encounter both every day on this blog. Misunderstanding goes with the territory. I openly invite participation and encourage comments. I do not censor anything, no matter what kind of comment they leave - unless they are obvious trolls.

Trolls Should be Banned for Contention

I get trolls just like every other blogger. In case you don’t know, a troll is someone who will do everything they can to stir up contention. They will be personally abusive with ad hominem attacks and will purposefully misrepresent the facts. I suppose trolls have their place. They can sure get the conversation going, but they don’t contribute anything intellectually constructive.

Blogging Can and Does Make a Difference

I started my blog just before Elder Ballard invited all members of the church to be involved in the Internet conversations taking place with or without us. He said we could make a difference. He was right. I’ve seen that evidenced time after time as friendships are created, ideas are then discussed with passion, and conclusions are reached with agreement or a better sense of unity.

Open a Dialog, Have a Conversation, Let’s Talk

HannahWheelwrightDo all bloggers and their readers agree on the ideas expressed? Of course not, there are too many divergent views based on differing experiences in life. But just the fact we are having a dialog to discuss the doctrine, a policy or practice is constructive and allows us to exercise kindness in the way we respond to each other. It’s especially helpful if we pray before we write responses. I do.

Most LDS Leaders are Ideologically Conservative

Because many if not most of the local leaders in LDS congregations are conservative by nature, and usually very successful in business, law or medicine, they tend to be authoritative and, well, controlling to a degree. I hate to say it but it’s true. They seem to see it as their most important duty to make sure the meetings run smoothly, emotions are under control and all is peaceful.

Seems Not Okay to Ask Questions in Church Classes

While it is a commendable practice, I have to wonder how much ministering is done when the members feel it is NOT okay to bring up their questions in the classrooms. There seems to be an immense amount of pressure to project “all is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth” that nobody wants to get down to the raw nitty-gritty of problems they may be experiencing with doctrine.

Church History Narrative Not Always Accurate

It is especially manifest in discussions of church history. For the longest time, we have been spoon-fed the same standard narrative of “this is how it was” and there is no other interpretation. Unfortunately, there are some who know otherwise. They have done as the prophets have asked us to do and have discovered some things were not exactly as they have always been presented.

Bloggers are an Inquisitive, Questioning Bunch

This is common to both progressive activists and conservative bloggers. President Boyd K. Packer one time proclaimed that three of the greatest threats to the church are intellectuals, gays and feminists. I used to wonder why he would call such members threats. Why should we limit the participation and acceptance of members of our faith because they fall into these categories?

Should be Room for Everybody in This Church

What about John Dehlin’s argument that he is happy as a cultural Mormon and just wants to be left alone? What’s wrong with that? Isn’t there a place for him in this church? So what if he doesn’t believe a lot of the truth claims of the church. Must you believe everything the church teaches in order to be a member? Isn’t any other behavior a controlling and thus forbidden act?

Cultural Mormons Want a Place in the Church

In other words, why are we excommunicating members for what they believe, especially if they are NOT encouraging others to doubt or to leave the church? I have read or listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts from Mormon Stories and have not lost my belief or faith in Jesus Christ or the role this Church has to play in these Latter-days. Why are so many conservatives so fearful?

Excommunicated for Endorsing a New Book

But what really gets me upset is the way some conservative LDS leaders have forced their members to “shut up” and not share their appreciation for the words or writings of individuals who have helped them come closer to Christ. In particular, I am extremely disappointed that stake presidents have excommunicated members for simply telling their friends about a book.

Amen to the Priesthood of that Leader

Seriously. We’ll never hear the other side of the story, but when the excommunicant explains they were cast off for simply recommended a book and wanting to discuss it with friends, I say the leaders have abused their priesthood or worse, have lost it because they exercised control, compulsion, and unrighteous dominion. That is not the purpose of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

The Internet Changed Everything for Research

Now back to the story for some concluding thoughts. From Jan Shipps: "The fact they are going in both directions [against conservatives and progressives]," Shipps said, "makes me think the church is finally coming to grips with the fact the Internet is changing the situation." Oh, how I hope that is true. I’ve made a living with the power of the Internet for the last twenty-five years.

Every Member Should be an Amateur Historian

I have watched it bring people together like nothing else ever has. One of the best uses of the Internet, in my opinion, is the sharing of gospel doctrine and newly discovered LDS historical evidence. The fact should be obvious to all by now our history has been whitewashed, covered-up or embellished, especially in the earliest 1820-1840 developments in some very key areas.

We Lost an Opportunity With the Death of Joseph

Here’s my concluding point. I love to research church history. It makes a difference in my faith. It helps me to understand what Joseph Smith was trying to do. He wanted to establish Zion much more than to simply start a new church. The Lord intended to perform a marvelous work and a wonder through him that simply did not get completed. He died before it could be brought about.

It’s Time to Prepare Ourselves Individually for Zion

Enough time has passed – four generations according to the scriptures – that we now have an opportunity to establish Zion again. But we must individually become a Zion people. We must come unto Christ, receive Him in this life. That’s the entire purpose of the temple, to receive the Savior and have Him confer the power of the priesthood upon us – both upon men and women.

Just Expressing my Thoughts – Don’t Crucify me

False doctrine, you say? Not from what I’ve read and not from what the scriptures teach. Yet every time I try to provide the evidence from our scriptures and our historical records I am lambasted for heresy. I know I don’t have all the answers yet. I wonder if anyone in this church understands what the Lord was trying to do through the Prophet Joseph Smith. What say ye?

Comments are Still Welcome – Trolls are Warned

New policy: Trolls and Haters are subject to banning. The policy against no ad-hominem attacks will be enforced. Your comments are welcome, but only if you can provide a sound and logical argument, devoid of contention. Passionate expression of opinion is allowed and concern for the welfare of others is always appreciated. But please, no knee-jerk “you’re a fool” crap anymore.

God bless and thanks for reading and sharing.

Update: I felt the church's response was important enough to include a link in the post:

Yet, members who leave comments or questions on blogs are still being called in and questioned by their bishops:



Log said…
You ask: "What about John Dehlin’s argument that he is happy as a cultural Mormon and just wants to be left alone? What’s wrong with that? Isn’t there a place for him in this church? So what if he doesn’t believe a lot of the truth claims of the church?"

Moroni 7:39
39 But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you, for I judge that ye have faith in Christ because of your meekness; for if ye have not faith in him then ye are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church.

Purely as an aside: an interesting link - it's true in cooking reality shows, and it's true in the gospel as well:
tomirvine999 said…
Question authority, but raise your hand first.
Mike said…
Haha thank you for this link Log. I actually read about this effect a couple years back but forgot the name of it, and for the life of me I couldn't even guess at it to track it down. I've thought of the concept several times since, but the missing name has nagged me relentlessly. Now it returns. Just a funny bit of serendipity.
Good Will said…
How on earth did you come across this study? Or link it to cooking reality shows? (I must be out of touch, not watching tv.)
Good Will said…
And, I might add, Log, you, once again, provide the pertinent scripture that blows away the false arguments of others. You are truly gifted...and competent! ;o)
Good Will said…
Tim, excellent post, once again. You have a gift! Thank you for sharing!

As an aside, there's an almost artistic symmetry to this post. It's an essay, punctuated by "headlines", followed by 60-70 words each. It's "beautiful". Did you do that intentionally? It would be uncanny (if you didn't).
Log said…
The study I ran across in a comment on another blog on another topic altogether; illustrations too numerous to mention came to mind, but foremost was Amy's Baking Company (a restaurant featured on Kitchen Nightmares; words cannot do it justice), as well as innumerate other individuals in both Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen. In fact, most of Ramsay's shows can be considered an extended demonstration of the principle the study establishes: the incompetent are blind to their incompetence.

However, it is recognizing it in matters spiritual that becomes sobering. The reason the Savior so frequently referred to blindness when speaking of the unconverted Pharisees is because it is an almost exact analogy; they literally cannot see that they are perfectly incompetent. They have never perceived the light.

And this is why the Gentile Church is the way it is. I could go through and show that the Nephite church was different, but I think I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Hell's Kitchen is an interesting analogy for the work and glory of God.

Kitchen Nightmares is an interesting analogy for the Church.

It has to be this way.
tomirvine999 said…
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

- Psalm 137:1
marginalizedmormon said…

You think that scripture condemns John Dehlin? Is that the point?

Who are you to take a scripture out of the Book of Mormon and apply it to a person you don't even know? Or do you know him? And since when have you determined exactly what that scripture means?

I assume then, Log, that you believe that non-LDS who aren't seeking to join, shouldn't attend church with their families? That's the next step--
Take all those who don't profess faith in Christ and tell them they can't come in the building?

Something about your little post just chilled me.

You and I often don't see 'eye to eye' either.

And I guess I resent you using the Book of Mormon to 'slam' someone like that--

There are plenty of scriptures in the Book of Mormon that 'slam' an entire culture (*ours, LDS; yes, I believe, too, that *we* are the gentile church)--

but to take it and use it against one person seems 'little'.

I do not know John Dehlin, but I heard a few people he interviewed (not very many and nobody I felt was radical)--

and he was patient and kind.
marginalizedmormon said…
Thank you, Tim. God bless you, and He will--
For some reason, it just 'feels' as though *we* as LDS who want to follow Jesus Christ are in the middle of a terrible storm right now--
I don't know what will be left after the storm, but I do know that Jesus Christ is *our* Anchor. His Love is true and His Ways are unsearchable.
I have no other words, but I'm sorry about your temple recommend. It's interesting how each person responds to these things. I haven't met him or read anything by Denver Snuffer, but I was dismayed by how he was 'ousted'.

But when I was asked that question, I realized that only I could determine whether I had a right to be in the temple, and Father in Heaven had told me I had a right.
Now, as it appears, my health won't let me go anyway, but He told me He wanted me to have that recommend.

And I am feeling great sympathy towards all those who are being excommunicated.

I will continue to pray for you and for Rock and for everyone else--
Log said…
Nobody is cast out of our synagogues, even if their name is blotted out. To my understanding, even Snuffer attends sacrament meeting.
Log said…
MM - when we judge, we reveal our hearts.
Tim Malone said…
Wow. What a coincidence in timing. Here's the church's response:
Anon for this one said…
In the Book “The Varieties of Religious Experience” by William James, I found the following passage very apropos to the current discussion.

“A genuine first-hand religious experience (such as that of Joseph Smith) is bound to be a heterodoxy to its witnesses, the prophet appearing as a mere lonely madman. If his doctrine prove contagious enough to spread to any others, it becomes a definite and labeled heresy. But if it then still prove contagious enough to triumph over persecution, it becomes itself an orthodoxy; and when a religion has become an orthodoxy, its day of inwardness (i.e., inward spiritual experience) is over; the spring is dry; the faithful live at second hand exclusively and stone the prophets in their turn. The new church, in spite of whatever human goodness it may foster, can be henceforth counted on as a staunch ally in every attempt to stifle the spontaneous religious spirit, and to stop all later bubblings of the fountain from which in purer days it drew its own supply of inspiration. –p. 295”
Donald said…
Thanks Tim. I keep asking questions....maybe most of them are dumb questions....but I figure it's easier to ask a dumb question than it is to correct a dumb least that is what I used to tell my math students.
A friend of mine posted this on facebook today. Perhaps it is pertinent.
"Have you see how many people are getting exed for their opinions they express in these online activities?
Now lets read Alma 35: 5 "Now their rulers and their priests and their teachers did not let the people know concerning their desires; therefore they found out privily the minds of all the people.
6 And it came to pass that after they had found out the minds of all the people, those who were in favor of the words which had been spoken by Alma and his brethren were cast out of the land;..."
Things that make you go Hummm...."
Log said…
This is one of the points where the Nephite church differed from ours, even though the stated law is the same.

Moroni 6
1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.

2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.

3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.

4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.

5 And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.

6 And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.

7 And they were strict to observe that there should be no iniquity among them; and whoso was found to commit iniquity, and three witnesses of the church did condemn them before the elders, and if they repented not, and confessed not, their names were blotted out, and they were not numbered among the people of Christ.

8 But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.

9 And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.
marginalizedmormon said…
Ah. Yes. Thank you. So poignant.
marginalizedmormon said…
marginalizedmormon said…
brilliant; thank you--
marginalizedmormon said…

I don't know how we got off on the 'wrong foot', but we did.

You were offended by my screen-name at one point. I was put off by your in-depth concern about aspects of the priesthood. I admit my fault in this. I tend to be less concerned, perhaps, with rituals/ordinances and, yes, power, and more concerned with hunger. More concerned with those who have absolutely no power of any kind. Here, listen, I'm ranting again, and my passion is hard to hold down. (hold it there, girl!)
But these are one person's personal gifts, and they don't have to hit others' personal gifts. From anyone. To anyone. If my personal interests with regards to the kingdom of God or if the things that speak to me from the Book of Mormon are different from yours, that difference probably should be celebrated.
It is something I try to do, but I was completely unsuccessful with you, so a quiet ideological or personality 'war' has ensued.
I apologize for my continuing it. I was disturbed by what appeared to me to be an obvious 'hammer and nail' situation (and I might be using that metaphor incorrectly, for all I know)--
if you had no intention of that, again, mea culpa. But it did appear to be in answer to a question regarding that man. I will stop my part of this 'war'. If you think there has been no warring on your side, then, fine--
I will stop my part, and probably it would be better if I did not respond to anything you write again, but it won't be out of rudeness. It will be out of . . .
cautionary civility.
marginalizedmormon said…
and I apologize to Tim for my part in any contention that entered his blog.
marginalizedmormon said…
I appreciated what you wrote. Thanks.
Geoff said…
Then again, D&C 68 also clearly teaches:

25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

26 For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized.

27 And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.

28 And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.

It says in any of her stakes.
Log said…
I bring this up here because The Snuff doesn't allow comments on his blog.

Presuming that God told Nephi to kill Laban (which, sigh, shouldn't be controversial but somehow is), answer this question with a yes or a no: did God kill Laban?

If no, then God would not be a liar if he said he did not kill Laban, and that it was Nephi's decision.

I trust the parallel is obvious.
Log said…
In fact, God could truthfully say that the decision to kill Laban was made at the local level, couldn't he?
Log said…
Some examples of what was understood to be confession and repentance among the Nephites:

1 Nephi 7:20-21

1 Nephi 16:5

Alma 17:4

And so on...
Julie said…
Log, interesting point, and the parallel is obvious.

But here's what came to mind for me when the church first started denying involvement: Deuteronomy 17:7. I came across this chapter months ago when I was studying that part of the OT, looking for ways I could demonstrate to my SS class that there are worthwhile things to learn in the law of Moses that still apply to us today, and this was one of them. The penalty for apostasy used to be execution, not just excommunication, but the process to ensure justice is served should still apply. However, one of the important principles to follow to ensure that the judgment was just and fair was that the witness (in our case, whoever noticed it and brought it up first) had to be the one who cast the first stone in front of the entire congregation.

I'm not entirely sure which of our scriptural examples applies better to this situation. There is a difference between how God operates (giving us an order and then letting us exercise our agency to decide whether to follow, which makes us responsible for the outcome), and how a human chain of command operates (someone with less-than-absolute moral authority giving orders to an underling who is expected to obey pretty much unconditionally, in which case I would say both parties are partially responsible for the decision that is made).

I do find it more than a bit cowardly that the church is not admitting its role in these excommunications, and that statements are being issued by spokesmen/women, who have no actual authority at all in the chain of command publicly recognized within the church.
Log said…
If I recall correctly, there is no "conspiracy to commit murder" in the law of Moses - so long as one did not raise their hand against another to shed their blood, one was innocent of the blood shed, even if one induced or paid another to kill someone.

This principle is alluded to in Helaman 9:20.

So, the statement "Decisions are made by local leaders and not directed or coordinated by Church headquarters" can be true, even granting the truth of everything here.

In the Law, it is written: "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour."

Righteousness in judgement means without partiality or prejudice.
awaketozion said…
If priesthood is a fellowship (i.e., first between man to man, second between man and angels, third between man and Christ, and lastly between man and the Father), then the statement "Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man" begins to take on a new meaning.

The person who exercises control, dominion, or compulsion, and/or aspires to the honors of men, DISQUALIFIES themselves from an increase of future fellowship. Thus, in most cases he/she will be left to a fellowship among mortals.

Maybe it really is an act of mercy that men (and not women) administer the affairs if the Church.
Tim Malone said…
In 1969 First Counselor in the First Presidency, Hugh B. Brown spoke this at BYU: "You young people live in an age when freedom of the mind is suppressed over much of the world. We must preserve it in the Church and in America and resist all efforts of earnest men to suppress it, for when it is suppressed, we might lose the liberties vouchsafed in the Constitution of the United States.

"Preserve, then, the freedom of your mind in education and in religion, and be unafraid to express your thoughts and to insist upon your right to examine every proposition. We are not so much concerned with whether your thoughts are orthodox or heterodox as we are that you shall have thoughts. One may memorize much without learning anything. In this age of speed there seems to be little time for meditation.

"Dissatisfaction with what is around us is not a bad thing if it prompts us to seek betterment. …"
Julie said…
I concede what they said can be considered truthful in the sense you explained. That doesn't make it just, though.
Good Will said…
Once again, Geoff, great insight. I'm believe I will copy what you wrote in my journal, for my children's benefit. (It's that good!)
Good Will said…
Oops. "I believe...."
Log said…
Here's what I've found by harsh experience. For us mortals, the only comfort possible for the hungry is to feed them; for the naked, clothing them; for slaves, paying their debts and liberating them thereby. Grief, sorrow, pain - none of these things can really be helped by mortals. No number of "I'm sorry"s or "I know how you feel"s diminishes the suffering.

Consensus has no relationship with truth, and interesting speculation remains, in the end, speculation.

When we awaken unto God - and there is no other way save it be by repenting of all sin and crying unto the Lord until one has unfeigned faith in Christ - then are we comforted in that our sufferings are swallowed up in joy. And neither do we need that any man should teach us, for we are taught from on high.

Yet after being awakened, and covenanting to obey the commandments of God, we are ofttimes cast out, cut off from the light, that we might learn by our own experience to distinguish between good and evil.

When we earnestly seek for enlightenment, we find only those willing to preach to us the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture. The correct course is to reject them all - disbelieving them - and call upon the Lord in our mights and await true messengers - messengers whom God vouches for to us.

Yet charity believeth all things - and liars and deceivers abound - thus we are tested and tried even to our very cores by the conflict between the words of men and that which we have received of God. They appeal to our pride, our self-righteousness.

And we are chastised for our sins until, finally, as Elihu said to Job, we say " I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more."

And we are commanded, eventually, to do something we can't do, or the one thing in our entire lives we don't want to do. And we have to keep our hand in the box of our own free will and choice.

What comes next?

Ether 12:28
28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.
EKB said…
Wise words.
Jared said…
Tim, will you shine noon day light upon this talk. I/we would very much value and benefit from your commentary gift exploring this gem of a talk. I joke with my wife that if I had no form God's inspired written or recorded word with me besides this talk, it would more than suffice. A zion existence/ results is and are having locked and ensured that mighty change of heart. Would love for you to unearth for us the wonderful mysteries of godliness through this most amazing talk. Gratitude:)
Tim Malone said…
From one of the meekest and yet most intelligent of men. Thanks for the link. Meekness was exemplified by the Savior. Nobody could say it like Neal Maxwell. I miss this great man and apostle of the Lord.

"Will we be meek and listen to Him and learn from Him? Or will we be like the Gadarene swine, that pathetic example of totus porcus—going whole hog—after the trends of the moment?"
If I recall correctly, there is no “conspiracy to commit murder” in the law of Moses – so long as one did not raise their hand against another to shed their blood, one was innocent of the blood shed, even if one induced or paid another to kill someone.

So in the case of King David's efforts to cover up his affair with Bathsheba, his ordering Joab to make sure Uriah was slain in battle (2 Samuel 11) wouldn't have been a crime under the law of Moses?
Log said…
Which would probably be why he wasn't prosecuted.
Yet for David to have fallen from his exaltation he must have shed innocent blood (D&C 132:19, 38-39).

I suppose the obvious rejoinder is that the law of Moses was a lesser law and while not in violation of the lesser law, David was guilty of transgressing a higher law.
Log said…
Obvious rejoinder is obvious.

But, seriously, the law of Moses was just - it looked solely at what a man did, rather than, as our unjust modern Gentile laws do, try to read his mind and punish him for the content of his heart.
Log said…
And yes, I am aware of Deuteronomy 19:11. I would expect the determination of hatred to be witnesses testifying of prior threats the killer made against the victim.

The Book of Mormon suggests as much (3 Nephi 5:5).
Eric said…
What is the difference between "speculation" and "pondering" (if any)?

The former tends to be discouraged, and the latter encouraged, but I was wondering how people draw the line (if any) between the two.
Dani said…
To "speculate" is to believe we can derive answers from ourselves, from our own mind and thinking.

To "ponder" is to consider the things given by God--to seek to confirm or weigh them out.

One is an outward show of presumed knowledge and ideas, whereas the other is an inward act of humility that requires us to set our own thoughts aside and be open to receive truth.

We speculate before men and ponder before God.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Ken said…
I am new to this discussion but I tend to question lots of things, both about the Gospel, and the world in general. What I have found helps me is to look at the church as two separate entities. There is the doctrinal church, The Church of Jesus Christ, and there is the procedural church, the church of the office building. I agree with the doctrinal church, that is the part where we receive the ordinances required for our salvation. The church where Jesus commands and is in control. I have lots of issues, however, with the procedural part of the church. But I just keep in mind that is the part that really doesn't matter. Whether the deacons wear a tie or not has no bearing on their priesthood authority, but if it makes people feel better to see them on a white shirt and tie then so be it. It's the only way I keep from going crazy and I am ostracized by many in my ward as a result. LOL
Jared said…
Love you Bro Malone:) pres Hinckley said something to the effect of: the first time I hear /read Neal A's talks I'm in wonder hwith what he said. I read it a second time to comprehend it, and read it a third time to realize the pure gold that it is... ( quote remembered somewhere around latter end of his bio. E. Maxwell's bio) have a great Sabbath wonderful brother,
Jared said…
Good brother please don't allow yourself to be ostracized. Moroni 7:45
Jared said…
Rather I should say please do not give people a reason to ostracize you. All parties involved moroni 7:45
Log said…
There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or
faith promoting or not.

Some things that are true are not very useful.

The Church has followed not Elder Brown's liberal view of freedom of speech.

(And we have lost the liberties vouchsafed in the Constitution of the United States.)
Jared said…
Follow this through to the end----it builds! :)
Log said…
This principle means nobody but the actor bears responsibility for suicide. Recent "prosecutions" of "bullies" for their victims' suicides ("civil rights violations resulting in bodily injury") are patently unjust. And committing suicide, and willingness to use suicides, as a club against others, may be seen for what it is.
Mark said…
I am constantly fascinated by the various feelings or the spirit portrayed by the words someone writes. For the most part one can come to a pretty accurate conclusion of the feelings someone has based upon a comment or paragraph written by the individual. How can two people write on a similar subject, with similar words, similar opinions and similar conclusions, yet the readers interpretation of the similar words can be polar opposites? I'm convinced that someone's writings contain a portion of the sentiment and spirit of the individual author. Asking questions is not a pass. Korihor asked questions. The argument isn't why can't members ask questions, the point is simply what is the spirit behind the asking of the questions? The Church can and must protect itself. Whether right or wrong, it will protect itself. Herein lies the ultimate question: Is the Church right or wrong and will I remain aligned with it or not? Certainly, a humble individual will ask himself, why would I criticize the vehicle that helped me take flight. The Church certainly teaches and brings people to a better knowledge of Christ. What the individual does thereafter determines the relationship they will have with Christ.
Why would someone who has had significant spiritual experiences and who has been taught on high by the Lord, assume that those leading the Church don't know or understand as much, simply because they don't speak of it. That is such an arrogant assumption, taking the gifts of the Lord has shared and using the new found knowledge to judge unrighteously. Even if your assumption was accurate and you knew more than others, then you'd certainly understand that the Lord loves His children and accepts and cherishes even the least offering made by them. Who are we to critically say it's not enough?
tomirvine999 said…
I am trying to make sense of this complex situation. Here is my working theory based on anectdotal accounts. I am not saying whether this is accurate or inacccurate, just or unjust. Please correct me if I am wrong in any way.

A GA or SCMC official identifies a member who needs to be disciplined for “apostasy.” The local SP is alerted.

If the SP is lenient, he might receive “training” until he reaches the predetermined decision.

But if the SP continues to be lenient, a strict SP is called in his place to make sure the “apostate” is disciplined.

In this way, the LDS Church PR department can still claim the disciplinary decision was made by the “local leader” and not by LDS Church HQ.
Ken said…
Other than just expressing things that people seem to find uncomfortable I really don't give people reason.
Jared said…
Thanks for sharing. I agree. It was Joseph Smith who said to the detractor something to the effect: take what you have and I'll take what I have let's walk hand in hand to heaven.
I love the Prophets approach Of inspiring With love....
Jared said…
there is some sleepiness in church keep articulating and loving-- you can't go wrong:) at least you'll never stand alone....
Jared said…
So then-- the dilemma. We are to become one in heart and mind. I testify that the expedited route Is being a King Benjamin Saint. The power that comes from hearkening and not trifling with God's Word Through His holy servants. Chapter 4&5 results mosiah very much real today. Will we go through the trial of our faith and dispute not because we see not? I hope and pray so. Nothing grants greater peace and ties iuploose ends betterthen following this appro ch. I testify and bear personal witness of this...
Log said…
Are you a King Benjamin saint, having been ministered to by angels?
Jared said…
This Orthodox following Latter day Saint has had many wonders of the gospel revealed to him.... I have seen! :) M. Chp 4-5 is a reality. no circumventing required...
Eric said…
"Don't teach what you don't know" is a good principle that some of us here (including myself) should do well to remember from here on out . . .
Velska said…
Thanks for your thoughts. I've often wondered about the more knee-jerk conservative Mormons on the Blogosphere, and how they fit into the whole narrative of what's going on. Interesting.

Personally, I'd like to allow all flowers to bloom, but anybody making a differing argument with me must be ready to go further than, "because I said so!" I'm very bad at accepting such instruction or argumentation.

Furthermore, I'd like to think that a faithful member would still be able to study "liberal arts" or humanities. Anthropology, psychology, sociology all have a bad name as far as sciences go, but nevertheless, I cannot imagine a world without sociology or anthropology. It would be utterly boring, as fascinating as I do find physics, especially particle physics.

Anyway, as I've said before, asking questions can be fraught with peril. Easy answers aren't always forthcoming, but we should accept that we don't know everything for certain. Just like we don't know exactly what kind of stuff Dark Matter is, doesn't mean that the rest of the physics isn't still true. After all, Curiosity Mars landing was engineered to perfection on autopilot three billion miles away. That means that we can prove empirically, by testing, a lot of Einstein's theories. All of them by now, except the "cosmological constant". :D

Sorry, didn't mean to run off there. So, thanks again, and I can't say when I would've seen you teach false doctrine. You have been critical of some recent actions, just like I've been critical of BY's treatment of African-originated dark-skinned males in regards to priesthood. He never even claimed revelation, but rather appealed to "the false traditions of [his] fathers" that these people were somehow inferior. Thank God that this was finally sorted out, and not a day too soon. But many members still gripe about it. I hear it, I see it, and I see some leaders treat them in a rather shabby way.

And I guess that is exactly the kind of questioning you've been talking about? ;)

But I've made my peace with the fact that as human actors in the Church, we're always subject to our weaknesses, and how often have heard the prophets stressed that point.

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