Comments about ‘Middle-aged Mormon Man: I am a Mormon, and I have questions’

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Published: Monday, Sept. 30 2013 2:30 p.m. MDT

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Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

I have long said if the LDS church truly was open to dialogue and helping people find the truth, they would create a website where anyone could go with questions and these questions would be displayed for the all the public to see, without eliminating questions that are tough to answer to disprove things LDS prophets have said in the past(and yes, there are many). And no, such a thing does not exist.

The lds church could then provide an official answer to each question, either refuting the "evidence" provided or giving their official explanation.

The church is all too willing to publicly show their answers to the easy questions, but do not allow public comments/answers to the tough questions and the points in history that don't correspond to what they claim to believe in.

I see it as somewhere between a Mormon side and an anti-Mormon website. The doubters/anti-Mormons can ask questions and provide evidence of their findings, and then the church can respond.

Sadly the LDS church does not encourage finding the truth in all situations.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

Numbers 2 and 4 refer to believing that what Mormon prophets/apostles say comes from God. And yet, Mormons often get uncomfortable when nonbelievers point to numerous times LDS prophets/apostles have said things that are wrong. Flat out wrong. If you aren't aware of this, I'm sad for you that you are so in the dark.

If you are aware, I ask, how does one know when a prophet/apostle is speaking for God and when he is speaking for himself?

Even Brigham Young said: ..."I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture."

And yet Brigham Young said many things either flat out wrong, or not supported by current LDS leadership.

The words of an LDS prophet/apostle do not hold much weight if the excuse of "he was speaking as a man" is simply used whenever something has been said by one of them that is proven incorrect or does not reflect well on the church.

I ask again, when is a prophet speaking for God or for himself?

Spellman789
Syracuse, UT

Great article!

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

I find it deeply disturbing that the Mormon church has a history of excommunicating people who bring to light inconsistences/inaccuracies in what is told today vs. what history shows.

If the LDS church was truly dedicated to helping people find the truth, they would welcome any fact brought to light by researchers and scholars.

And at the very least, I would hope the church would attempt to disprove whatever "truth" is presented by those who don't believe, instead of simply kicking them out of the church, which seems to be the standard procedure for those who talk about any findings that are contrary to what the church says.

All truth comes from God, even if doesn't go along with what Mormon leaders say. Especially then.

GiuseppeG
Murray, Utah

I appreciate this article. I also questions that do not really affect my testimony that I don't particularly dwell on or send out as potential stumbling blocks to others to try to get them off the list. I also, however have a dilemma, which I believe is similar in tone to this article, but not quite addressed. I also have questions or experiences that, while not affecting my testimony, DO affect my faith...or ability to act. These questions usually surround the implementation of programs and events within the Church community that does not quite wash with my understanding of what we profess. While I understand that we are all imperfect and doing our best....the question remains for me...how do you work on bettering the implementation? You see because just letting them sit doesn't work when the error seems to self-perpetuate and replicate. Those questions are more difficult to deal with.

ironmania
San Diego, CA

Not sure why the Deseret News does not publish the identity of the author of this "article". Who is "middle age mormon man"? Or is that one of those questions we are not allowed to ask?

ThinksIThink
SEATTLE, WA

Questions are not the problem. Answers are the problem. Having a question of whether the Book of Abraham was correctly translated from the papyri is not a problem. Finding the answer to that question is a tremendous problem.

eastcoastcoug
Danbury, CT

I don't have a problem with questions OR answers. What I really don't understand is people like Chris B. and ThinksIThink, et al who post their questions on a blog and demand responses like that is really the way to effectively get to the bottom of anything.

If you have questions, people, please find a Mormon friend you trust and ask him or her. I seriously doubt you are going to take my word for any response, nor should you. You don't know me from a hole in the ground. Which leads me to wonder if you really want an answer or just want to air your doubts?

How did you learn Science, History or English in school? I doubt you just sat around posting your questions online. We all learn from books and teachers and dialog in a classroom (which is also taking someone's word for it). You need someone to TALK to and be able to challenge them 1:1 if you don't understand. I get it...you have doubts, you feel lied to. Fine. Now go find someone to talk to about this. Don't seek help of this nature from invisible strangers.

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

eastcoastcoug

They want OFFICIAL responses to legitimate concerns. They don't want to ask a friend, because the answer would only be the friends opinion. It would in no way constitute a real, official church answer. That is why.

dustman
Gallup, NM

Chris B and I don't always agree in the sports column, but I have to agree with a lot of what he says here. Its taken me a long time to realize that the LDS church leadership has been wrong. So I must conclude that "if the LDS leadership can be wrong in the past, they can be wrong now." This isn't a crazy thing to say. It makes sense. As LDS members we are encouraged to find out the truth through prayer and study. I don't have a problem letting my wife know when I don't agree with the church leadership. She's cool. We're still sealed.

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

There have been questions as to the authenticity and divine origin of the LDS church since Joseph Smiths time. It is answers to those questions that have been minimal.

Moontan
Roanoke, VA

Chris B has several times asked the question "I ask again, when is a prophet speaking for God or for himself?" and I have yet to see an answer.

I have seen lot of hedging, a bit of criticism for asking, convoluted responses that attempted to dismiss the question, or claim that is the wrong question to ask, but I've not seen an answer.

A simple, declarative sentence would be sufficient for an appropriate answer. No need to talk to friends, missionaries, Ward leadership.

gee-en
Salt Lake City, UT

Beautifully written post Brother! Thank you!
It's interesting how everything written here just strikes me as "of course that's the way it is" for this convert of approx. 25 years.
But I guess so many people are on different levels of understanding that sometimes it is important to bring it down to a basic explanation, so that those who are truly seeking can find some added measure of understanding.

MollyCheckedOut
Draper, UT

Do you really think they are asking you for these answers? More likely they are asking you to do some critical thinking. I am sure they already have searched out the answers on their own. If you can get over your fear of asking your questions out loud, instead of "boxing" them, you will find the information is out there, from reliable sources, including church approved sites such as lds.org, FAIR, Neal A. Maxwell foundation, there is also mormonthink.com where you can get the facts and the churches side as well as the doubters and decide for yourself. In the end if you can get past the fear, knowledge is power.

eastcoastcoug
Danbury, CT

Brahma,

So go make an appointment and ASK. I have friends who've spoken with Apostles and other leaders about their questions. It's possible. The answers they received were very open and evocative in nature.

I'm not suggesting people ask just ANY friend but rather someone they TRUST e.g. someone who has done their research and is balanced and open in their logic and opinions. My guess is that many GA's would welcome the dialog, if it is couched in terms of really wanting to know vs. making accusations. But some may not have background in the specific area of your question. There are institute teachers at the U. and religion teachers at BYU for example who have read lots of original writings and diaries of church leaders and members who are accessible.

If you really want an answer, think about the best source where you can have a real dialog. In the end, you will have to make up your mind what to believe since nothing can be settled by debate. My point is that just airing these questions (actually, more like accusations) is not the way to find knowledge about any topic.

MollyCheckedOut
Draper, UT

Boxing our concerns up, and being overly concerned that your "stumbling blocks" will become someone elses doesn't do anyone any good.
"D&C 101:32 when "the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things." Well, the Lord has revealed a lot and many it too scared to study deeper than what their Sunday School Teacher lays out each week.
For example learn about the varying versions of the First Vision on lds.org if you read the Ensign from January, 1985, Joseph Smith’s Recitals of the First Vision, By Milton V. Backman, Jr..

I don't know about you, but I never got 3 of 4 of these in my Sunday meetings.

Arizona1
Tucson, AZ

Very often those who "demand" answers aren't really looking for answers but rather trying to find flaws (or what they view as flaws) that they can expose. Most anyone who has served a mission knows what I am talking about. Simply put, there are people out there who just want to argue and use "their logic" to tear down. ChrisB's suggestion for a website with an official answer to all questions is pointless because of the type of "fact seekers" that it would bring.

Sincere questions are always welcome, but questions aired in the spirit of contention are counterproductive. Some time back Neal A. Maxwell eloquently expressed that Laman and Lemuel were seeking answers to questions like they were playing a connect-the-dots game. The gospel doesn't consist of a set of questions and a corresponding set of answers to appease our curiosity, but rather reflective, thought-provoking questions and concerns that allow individuals to grow as they figuratively wrestle with the Lord to better understand Him and His designs. People that want to be spoon fed and skip any type of personal growth are just as well off if they rely on a fortune cookie.

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

eastcoastcoug

But this is the whole point. It doesn't matter if I ask somebody who I trust, the answer still isn't the OFFICIAL church answer. That is what I am looking for. An official declaration or answer to my question. If I ask 10 different members I might get 10 different answers. If not I know for sure I won't get 10 of the same answers. And that is where the problem with church doctrine lies.

eastcoastcoug
Danbury, CT

Moontan,

Who do you want to respond to you? The Church leadership? Why not write Pres. Monson or another member of the First Presidency?

The problem I have is that you and Chris (now there are 2 of you) seem to think you are speaking for the whole wide world in wanting certain answers. I have lots of questions about the Church too but they're not likely the same as yours. So I have to think about where I could research the answers or who I could talk to who is likely to be an expert in the field and will give me a balanced answer.

For example, I have a relative who's done a lot of research on Abrahamic texts (PhD level at a non LDS university) who I could talk to about my questions on the origins of the Book of Abraham. Probably a lot more satisfying answer than I'll get from a GA.

Moontan
Roanoke, VA

@Arizona1 re "The gospel doesn't consist of a set of questions and a corresponding set of answers to appease our curiosity, but rather reflective, thought-provoking questions and concerns that allow individuals to grow..."

I wouldn't think the answer to a question, or its veracity, depends upon WHY the question is being asked. The answer is ... an answer, and that's about all you can say about it.

Chris B has a very valid question. The answer is entirely independent of the reason he asked.

Look at the responses since my first post a few minutes ago. Darts all over the board, not one bulls-eye.

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