Comments about ‘Mormons opening up in an Internet world’

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Published: Wednesday, Feb. 1 2012 12:05 a.m. MST

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tll
Ogden, UT

Expecting any person or people to be perfect is a recipe for disappointment. None of are perfect today and nobody was perfect 'back in the day' either. Fortunately we do have far more information available to us now so we can learn and make appropriate decisions for ourselves. If we base our testimonies on people rather than gospel principles we will be forever disillusioned.

Claudio
Springville, Ut

Re: LovingMormons

That is exactly what is wrong with far too many supporters of Mr. Romney. A presidential election is not the appropriate venue to sell a religion. If you agree with Mr. Romney and his politics, then by all means vote for him. If you vote for him solely because your religions match...well, you shouldn't wonder why people are in shock that candidates don't talk about substance.

And to those who will come forward to criticize my views as anti-Mormon or anti-Romney, etc., I myself am LDS and have been for over 20 years. I have no preference in this presidential election and have not said a single word in this comment as to my support for or against Mr. Romney.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

@JoeBlow
"Certainly that is true of some of the negative LDS sites, but you would have to be in denial to believe that FAIR and FARMS does not present a side that is favorable to their beliefs."
--------------

Of course FAIR and FARMS present arguments that are favorable to their beliefs. And there is nothing wrong with that, given that anti-Mormon websites outnumber those that are favorable to LDS beliefs probably 100 to one. FAIR and FARMS usually presents the critics' arguments and discusses why they disagree with them.

The balance of things written about LDS beliefs is still almost 100% negative out on the internet, so a good, scholarly point of view favorable to LDS beliefs is only "fair" (no pun intended.)

I am overjoyed at this news. I have been studying all angles of LDS beliefs intensely for about the past 6 years, and I have loved every minute of it. Most friends and family members have been supportive of it, but I still would get the occassional criticism from a well-intentioned, but somewhat misguided active church member who claims I should only read "Sunday-only" material, so to speak. While each individual member is free to choose what they wish to study, I find it enlightening, fascinating, and, ultimately, faith promoting to learn the full depth of information that is available. The resources at FAIR and Maxwell Institute have been invaluable. I thank them for their efforts, which much has been on their own time.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

Ultimately, being more open will be a net positive for the Church. For example, members of the Church rarely became upset over Utah's early polygamy days. But sometimes members would lose their testimony when they learn of earlier polygamy in Nauvoo. The difference? Utah polygamy has always been common knowledge, but Nauvoo polygamy was known only to those members of the Church who studied on their own - and when they learned about it, it was often from a source unfriendly to the Church. If all of the issues are more commonly known, I think far less people will lose their testimonies.

Pagan
Salt Lake City, UT

'Mormons opening up in an Internet world' - title

This claim is ironic.

Considering, not x3 months ago:

**'Facebook, Twitter linked to teen drug use, study says' - By Elizabeth Stuart, Deseret News - 10/08/11

And then, one year before that:

**'Mormon youths support President Packer through Facebook' - By Scott Taylor, Deseret News - 10/11/10

So, we're for it.

Then, against it.

Then, for it again.

This ever changing stance shows that there is still a long way to go.

And that the LDS faith still has some distance, before deciding if the internet is a tool they should support for their members, as a whole.

Me, personally?

I think the internet is a GREAT tool.

It allows us to get information. And dispel many false hoods.

**'Fox News host: Romney not Christian' - By Hal Boyd, Deseret News - 07/17/11

**'Trump on Obama's Birth Certificate: 'Maybe It Says He's a Muslim' - Fox Nation - 03/30/11

Reality:

**'Obamas to attend church for Easter Sunday' - By Philip Elliott - AP - Published by DSNews - 04/11/09

**Obama, family attend Christmas church services By Julie Pace AP Pulibshed by DSNews 12/25/11

ClarkHippo
Tooele, UT

@JoeBlow

Thanks for the clarification. I actually agree with you that websites which are both pro-LDS and anti-LDS presents sites which are favorable to their side. But does that that automatically make their claims illegitimate?

For example, someone I know once stated there was no place in the old world which matched the descriptions of valleys and rivers of water described in the old world. When I sent this person a link to a website, describing old world locations similar to those in the Book of Mormon, their reply as simply, "That's a FARMS website and everyone knows FARMS is (curse word)." Nothing was said about the substance I presented. It was a simply a matter of, ignore the message, attack the messenger.

@Pagan

I said nothing at all about sexual orientation. Would you show me where I mentioned it, because I don't recall doing so.

CT98
Saint George, UT

The Church has needed to be very candid about its history for a long time. When the Church tries to hide from its past it just creates more problems. We should come forward and say, our doctrine is pure but the administration of that doctrine can be a bit bumpy from time to time because we are fallable human beings. Joseph and Brigham were not perfect and they made mistakes along the way. But that doesn't negate the fact that they were Prophets of God.

Work2late
Morgan, UT

Like I said in a previous post above, authors who want to "shock", tend to make up things or put things in based on conjecture so they can get the "shock". Anti-mormon authors do that. And I personally even think Bushman did that in Rough Stone Rolling who is not anti-mormon. I want people to put in only what can be documented. And then don't add in all the other conjecture. We only know so much about Joseph Smith's life. Don't add between the lines and make it look like fact. I know he wasn't perfect. But I know he was called of God. I don't need Bushman or others hypothesizing on what "might" have happened just to tell a new story. As someone said above, at some point, it does come down to faith.

Pagan
Salt Lake City, UT

'@Pagan
I said nothing at all about sexual orientation. Would you show me where I mentioned it, because I don't recall doing so.' - ClarkHippo | 9:37 a.m. Feb. 1, 2012

Previously...

'So often I have read LDS critics attack a website simply because it comes from FARMS or FAIR. The substance of the site is rarely if ever explored.' - ClarkHippo | 7:50 a.m. Feb. 1, 2012

Story:

**'FAIR podcast series explores homosexuality among Latter-day Saints' - By Joseph Walker, Deseret News - 01/31/12

I can understand your confusion.

Since you were refferencing FAIR, and FAIR was refferincing being gay in the LDS church, or overcoming orientation, I made the comment on it's viability.

Which, is not very much. Even Marcus Bachmann won't address it, anymore.

This article was published....yesterday.

It is still even on the Deseret News page.

But, as I said, I can understand your confusion.

I did not say that YOU, personally mentioned homosexuality. :)

CTR Stan
PROVO, UT

@Freeyourmind

If you have never had a spiritual experience, then it is easy to criticize the process and experience. When Joseph Smith said he saw the Father and Son he was persecuted for the rest of his life. When we pray if Joseph was a prophet and receive an answer, then you claim it was an emotional response and âSuch emotional responses are not indicators of the truth.â How do you know it was an emotional response if you have never experienced a spiritual one? If you have not experienced a spiritual witness of truth, then you are not qualified to criticize others who have received heavenly manifestations of truth.

Most of the time spiritual experiences come as a thought or impression. However, there are times when they are MUCH more than that. I have received a heavenly message with audible word in my mind, that I needed to hear. These messages were not for others or the Church, but for me or my family. Everyone of these messages have been fulfilled in every detail. Inspired thoughts or impressions have also been fulfilled. These messages came from God and nobody can tell me they were emotional responses. Your criticisms will not change the truth that God speaks to His children who call upon Him in faith.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: FAIR Question 8. If a spirit is a being without a body (See Luke 24:39), why do Mormons teach that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones? Scripture reference: John 4:24 .

Two Greek words,theos pneuma. Actually three Greek words,â pneuma *ho Theos =God[is] spirit,(John 4:24 NIV)

FAIR,The King James Version of Revelation 13:15 renders âpneumaâ as *life. Thus "God is life(spirit)" or "God is the breath of life" are potential alternative translations of this verse.

Very poor alternative by KJV translation of pneuma. He was granted power to give breath(pneuma) to the imageâ¦.(Rev 13:15 NKJV)

It is a metaphor of his mode of operation, as life-giving power, and it is no more to be taken literally than 1 John 1:5, "God is light. St Paul, âwho alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.(1Tim 6:16 NIV)

*ho=Nominative singular article, a definite article that modifies the subject.
*life= zoe G. 2222,like zoology).

deep in thought
Salt Lake, UT

If Gingrich is still a viable candidate after 3 marriages and ethics violations, it just goes to prove that anything you can get out in the open is less damaging that something you try not to talk about. I honestly believe Herman Cain would still be around if he had taken the "open and frank" approach to his past.

I am pleased that the church history is getting out there, warts and all. If you research any other religion back to the founding you find plenty of eyebrow raising stuff. To me it makes no difference. I love raising my family in a morally pure, Christ centered way. I am happy and they are happy. Why would anyone try to tear that down? Unless ... misery loves company.

Allen
Salt Lake valley, UT

@Whos Life RU Living?

"Are mormons still advised only to go to approved church websites when writing talks? Just curious."

I don't know how others prepare talks, but I only use one source, the scriptures. Of course, I give my interpretation, that is to be expected. The purpose of SM talks is to strengthen the faith of those attending. Those meetings are not forums for academic discussions of the church. The church is a private organization and has the right to sponsor talks and lessons that favor its position on issues. All organizations do that. If I want to know about Republicans, I go to Republican sites. Ditto for Democrats, Libertarians, etc. If I want to know if God exists or not, I go to religious sites, atheistic sites, Unitarian sites, and so on. If I go to lds.org or mormon.org or apologetic sites, I expect to find information that favors the church, and I realize those sites only present information that favors the church. To expect to find information in those sites that is against the church means I am naive about the real world.

I have known for years that the church in its manuals and meetings presents only one side of issues, and I'm glad to read that the church is finally trying to bring out a broader view of the issues. In my blogs about Mormonism I delve into issues, such as evolution and the flood, and discuss the pro and cons. I try to take an approach in my talks and discussions that is appropriate for the group that I'm addressing.

TheProudDuck
Newport Beach, CA

My impression of FAIR and other apologists is this:

Doctrinally, they kick the Church's critics up and down the street. It's just no contest. The anti-Mormons who try to argue that LDS doctrine is fundamentally incompatible with the essential doctrines of Christianity just get creamed.

With regard to history, on the other hand, the apologists' arguments generally get to a tie at best. That is, when confronted with problematic history, they'll often come up with an alternative interpretation of the facts that's less inconsistent with what the Church claims. If you are already dead-set on staying with the Church, that's all you need -- just something to keep you from having to actually deny reality in order to preserve your faith. If you're still actually weighing whether or not the Church is true, on the other hand, this doesn't help.

And sometimes, the apologists' alternative explanations come across as so far-fetched, that a questioning person will be dismayed that those explanations are the best defense that can be given.

Cora Smith
BOUNTIFUL, UT

Times change. I have several teen aged youth in my neighborhood that have been very frank about their relationship with their religion. Most of them talk about not wanting to live by the dogma of past generations that do not fit in with these modern times, a different social perspective, the information age, etc. They want to live a life using updated methods and morality by their own conscious and education. Most say using age old books to shape their lives in these modern times is simply wrong. These kids mean no disrespect to their parents, church or society which have tried to teach these youth the same methods that were taught to them. The youth of today, with such huge amounts of information available makes a situation a where they want to think and discover their own way of spirituality and thoughts of the unknown. Some youth are content with living the same culture as their parents, but many are dissatisfied. We should except them for who they are and what kind of person they are, not who we demand they should be. The same goes for many adults these days. They tend to think about things much different than the days of their youth. People and ideas change over time, they always have. It's natural.

Woodyff
Mapleton, UT

@Claudio - like it or not, many people will vote based on religious affiliation - eg JFK. But you are correct that they should decide on substance and while I haven't selected a candidate I will not vote for Obama.

E
Sandy, UT

Learning about church history, warts and all, is a problem only if you believe that Joseph Smith and our other church leaders were (or still are) infallible. Smith was a great man and inspired by God, I have no doubt, but he also made his share of mistakes -- just as did many of the Biblical prophets (Noah, David, Moses, Elisha and Jonah among them, to name just the ones that come to mind immediately). Instead of practically deifying Smith, Young and others, let's recognize that God uses only flawed human beings (Jesus, of course, being the exception) to fulfill his purposes and try to learn from the past instead of whitewashing it.

Freeyourmind
Orange, CA

@CTR Stan

Who said I've never had an experience that I interpreted as a spiritual one? That is incorrect.

However, upon discovering that devout persons of ALL religious faiths express having such experiences, I was forced to conclude that they, alone, are insufficient to establish any objective truth. And since it is such experiences, alone, that members must ultimately fall back on in defending their beliefs, we see that the foundation is not so firm after all.

If there is a God that speaks to us through emotions (big if), it is impossible to extrapolate such experiences beyond the person. At best, you can infer from such experiences that a certain belief, concept, or practice is good....for you and you alone. It has no direct bearing on anyone or anything else. Thus, you cannot extrapolate objective, historical fact, from subjective personal experience.

Cora Smith
BOUNTIFUL, UT

@ LovingMormons: I also pray. But instead of praying for a presidential candidate, I pray for an end to starvation, childhood death by sickness, a cure for cancer,needless suffering,clean water, ending war, and peace on earth. These problems need help the most in my mind. When these important items have been delt with, then, and only then would I consider praying for a football game or a president of my choice.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Work2late

Your characterization of Bushman's book isn't accurate. Actually, the history is shocking in some areas and treated fairly in Bushman's book.

The Church has an ethical and moral responsibility to represent its history in an accurate and truthful way. It can no longer hide and exert total control over what people learn. Ultimately it is a personal journey and choice whether learning the "good, the bad and the ugly" about the Church and its leaders leads one out of the church or if one remains in the church.

IMO many people, particularly the older generation will remain faithful. Some people who are attracted to religion are black/white thinkers who are drawn in by hierarchy, rigidity, and structure--authoritarian followers. These people will be less likely to leave.

It is convenient to blame the secular world for the demise of religion, when, in fact, religion has harmed itself. Religion has been harmed by allowing itself to become a political tool. Secondly, it has harmed itself with the numerous scandals and crimes committed by church leaders. When those that pass judgement on others are revealed to be guilty of immoral and even heinous crimes against children, people lose faith.

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