New Harmony: Don't mock what you don't know

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  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    April 22, 2012 2:50 p.m.

    alt134: How does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints coerce one to give. Have you ever had a Bishop, Stake President or other members come up to and say give me your tithing? The answer is an emphatic, never. When the Bishop/Branch President mentions that Fast Offerings are low and we need more is not coercing anyone to give more. What happens most of the time one who is already giving much will give more. Those who can't increase won't but sure will try on occassion.

    One of the worthy questions to enter the temple is if the individual is a full tithe payer. The thing is the only person who knows they are is the person paying the tithe. The Bishop/Branch President, Stake President/District President have very little knowledge of how much a person is paid and what they should be paying. Tithing is an individual thing and is up to the individual.

    No one has to pay tithing but to get all the blessings of the Church, they should pay the tithing. One can choose what to do, but they can't choose the consequences.

  • Ron11 Venice, California
    April 21, 2012 4:10 p.m.

    I am grateful for this article. I was visiting other churches and becoming impatient with what I saw as "satan-inspired" false doctrine that appeared would hurt more than help those who honestly try to follow Jesus but are at the mercy of their false traditions by their priests who interpret the Bible different than that of modern-day prophets wrought upon by the Holy Ghost-- hence the need for the Restoration for the true gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood,continuing revelation, etc.
    The Restoration is for the honest in heart, but there are still truths found among the religions, and it was a good reminder for my heart to not go down that road of comparing, and I felt the Spirit in more abundance when I focused more on changing myself. "Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies" has been one of my alltime favorite scriptures, but it seems I forgot that for a bit.
    Still, no need to hide the truth, the light of truth, the Spirit of truth, the light of Christ, and many cannot find this because of the dishonest and the numerous false churches that claim to speak in Jesus' name.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 20, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    @Fern RL

    "I doubt you will ever find less coercion involved in the process than in the Mormon church."

    I respectfully disagree.

  • Jeanie b. Orem, UT
    April 19, 2012 9:58 p.m.

    LValfre - Even Jesus said that there are those who call his name, but do not do his will and therefore will not be allowed to live eternally with Him. Jesus accepts all, but not all will decide to use their free agency to live as He taught. They self-disqualify. That is not coercion, that is call a consequence.

    The DN may indeed be touchy about what they allow. But, for those asking sincere questions like you brought up, and who are not merely trying to stir up contention - the DN and the posters on the comment boards are not your best source of information. The DN is not an "official publication" of the LDS church. Also, the comments are largely people's opinions based on their own experiences and rarely based on anything authoritative.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    April 19, 2012 4:22 p.m.

    @Fern RL,

    "I doubt you will find less coercion involved in the process than in the Mormon church."

    There should be no coercion at all. That's indirectly using force. Jesus accepts all yet a non tither is not supposed to get a temple recommend.

  • Fern RL LAYTON, UT
    April 19, 2012 3:45 p.m.


    "Marxism and Mormonism both want you to give your money to somebody else who will decide how to redistribute it."

    There is a bit of a difference when anyone "wants you to give your money" and when they "want to take your money." Thieves take. Government takes taxes, loosely tied to us voting for the ones that legislate these things. We give money to companies who are selling us things. Churches generally have their way of collecting funds, and I doubt you will ever find less coercion involved in the process than in the Mormon church.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    April 19, 2012 12:27 p.m.

    Half the time I ask a question about LDS on here, and not in a mocking way, it gets denied. If one should be able to ask serous questions in order to obtain information that helps you understand, why can't I question the Church?

    When I bring up money, humanitarian aid since 85 vs city creek project in last couple years, priesthood ban, several doctrinal changes, several BOM changes, among a host of questions I have .... they get denied. When they don't get denied and there's dialogue going on about it ... a lot of things start getting denied.

    So how can one ask serious questions if they're moderated by an over-sensitive and information-censoring group of employees?

  • Swedish reader Stockholm, Sweden
    April 19, 2012 11:24 a.m.

    Mocking is never done out of a desire to help anyone - it's more about making someone else smaller so you can feel bigger. Tolerance is the ability to understand that someone can see the world in a manner vastly different from your own without being stupid, ignorant or crazy. Mocking and tolerance are mutually exclusive. Serious questions are asked in order to understand (not agree with, but just understand) and don't take the form of mocking. Of course there is a place for serious questions, but it's perfectly understandable that people feel threatened when the questions are motivated by a desire to pin them to the wall or embarrass them, rather than to obtain information. Don't mock what you dont understand - ask seriooud questions in order to obtain information that helps you understand.

  • Jeanie b. Orem, UT
    April 19, 2012 7:29 a.m.

    The kid who called out the naked emperor was not mocking. He was innocently stating what he saw. Mocking is different. It isn't concerned with discovering truth, it is only concerned with tearing things down.

    Questioning things and thinking things through is good, but a kernel of truth can be found in anything. That doesn't make it valuable or useful.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    April 18, 2012 6:25 p.m.

    Some wag once observed that every religion is objectively goofy, meaning that if you looked at the beliefs in a rational, detached manner you would find some pretty far out beliefs. That is where faith comes in. Faith is what, in a performance context, such as theater, film, or Johnston's opera, has been called the "willing suspension of disbelief." You voluntarily decide to put yourself in a mental place where the irrational makes sense (or at least isn't questioned). However, it seems there is a legitimate place for mockery, like the kid who called out the naked emperor. It may be mockery or perhaps borderline offensive to describe the Eucharist as ritual cannibalism or the revived Lazarus as a zombie, but these descriptions are rationally accurate and contain a kernel of truth. They force one to step back and reassess one's beliefs. That is a good thing. Unquestioned belief is not faith, only belief. Faith only comes after examined doubt. And if, after doubt, you decide to ditch faith, that may not be so bad either. Not all of those emperors out there are wearing clothes.

  • Jeanie b. Orem, UT
    April 18, 2012 4:28 p.m.

    A Scientist - I don't think this article was about the truth or lack of truth of the LDS church (or anything else that seems "out there"), it was about not mocking what we don't understand and why.

    Making the judgment if something is doing good or not, while avoiding mocking, is appropriate.

  • Aspiring Theist Sandy, UT
    April 18, 2012 2:09 p.m.

    Actually, mocking my proof reading skills may be acceptable.

    In the last sentence on my post at 1:36 p.m. I left out "not." It should read, "That's not mocking, but I've found some people feel threatened if you ask an honest question."

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    April 18, 2012 2:07 p.m.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Johnston fails to examine the implications of his point.

    Sure, if you look at the LDS Church from a cool, detached perspective, parts of the church appear a bit eccentric.

    And if you "let yourself sink into it — let yourself get inside and 'go with it' [might] deliver you from the world and give you wings."

    But that is also true of any religion, including FLDS, or Fundemantalist Islam, or the Branch Davidians.

    And that is the problem. The fact that it is possible for a person to "get into it" and "feel the élan" does not mean that the religion is "true", much less that it is doing good things in the world.

  • Aspiring Theist Sandy, UT
    April 18, 2012 1:36 p.m.

    It seems to me the world could use more civility. Mocking things probably isn't good for anyone.

    There are a lot of religious beliefs, doctrines, traditions, dogma, and such that I don't believe in, and I should never belittle or mock those beliefs.

    But I do belief it is fair game to ask critical questions (hopefully in a respectful way) about one's beliefs. That's mocking, but I've found some people feel threatened if you ask an honest question.

  • JLFuller Boise, ID
    April 18, 2012 1:25 p.m.

    There is always something right around the corner that we do not expect which brings some new information and clarity to same age old mystery. Recently it was the theory of 11 spheres of existence or dimensions of time/space. e knew of the three dimensions we live in but not the others.

    According to NASA scientists there may be billions of habitable planets within our own Milky Way galaxy. Compound that with the numberless billions of galaxies we know little of and it is easy to see that there is no end to God's handiwork.

    All this teaches me we know next to nothing about God, our history or our future except in the most banal terms. So when I read the sea of glass in scripture it is easy to imagine that the Lord was making reference to one more thing we know nothing about.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    April 18, 2012 12:06 p.m.

    @Utes Fan;

    Its going to take an awful lot of heat and pressure to turn this world into a diamond.

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    April 18, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    Part of the problem is a lack of clear explanation for many of the issues that have come up in the media. Most people are not going to investigate the LDS Church to the point of understanding all of the doctrine in detail. This would simply take too long. They are interested in the overview rather than the detailed report. It would be of benefit to the LDS Church if they simply put these topics in context so that others may better understand the doctrine and beliefs. The Church leadership is quite accomplished and should be more than capable of doing this.

  • guitarboy South Jordan, UT
    April 18, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    I have to admit, Jerry Johnston's columns almost always make a lot of sense to me. This column is no exception. And this is coming from an agnostic recovering Mormon. I neither embrace nor denounce, the LDS church. I am just not sure what to do with it.

    This article reminds me of something Levi Peterson (not exactly a supporter of the LDS church) once said in a backhanded defense of LDS oddities: "Let anyone point out to me their religion, and I will point out to them the lunacies of it." [paraphrased from memory]

    Good article.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    April 18, 2012 9:30 a.m.

    About the earth becoming a sea of glass. This has been a long-time subject of mockery towards Joseph Smith. Now, we see that it is not such a ridiculous belief after all. Just a bit of understanding helps.

    D&C 130:9

    9 This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal ...

    Washington Post - 08/26/2011
    "Diamond planet discovered by astronomers"

    "A diamond-crystal planet five times the size of Earth and with more mass than Jupiter has been discovered in our own Milky Way galaxy."

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    April 18, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    ["Don't mock what you don't know." I absolutely agree. But appreciate that this applies not only to religion. It also applies to other areas of life like philosophy, politics, economics, etc. Actually, most of us don't know very much, and we understand less.]

    Or mock everything and keep it consistent: Marxism and Mormonism both want you to give your money to somebody else who will decide how to redistribute it.

    Marxism is still more ridiculous though; popular among people who like to talk more rather than think more, like highschoolers and protesters.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 18, 2012 7:28 a.m.

    "Don't mock what you don't know." I absolutely agree. But appreciate that this applies not only to religion. It also applies to other areas of life like philosophy, politics, economics, etc. Actually, most of us don't know very much, and we understand less.