From Greek Orthodox to Mormon: One professor's LDS conversion and other lessons at BYU Education Week

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  • kvnsmnsn Springville, UT
    Aug. 31, 2017 10:00 a.m.

    Skeptic posted:

    =Though out the more than thirty thousand religions in the world one will find
    =many believers switching from one religion to another, or to optional faith
    =healers, in hope of finding a better deal or solution to their troubles and
    =problems. There is no real evidence that any one of the different choices works
    =better than any of the others; or if any of them work at all. Nevertheless, a
    =good placebo can at times be very effective.

    Wasn't part of the message of Jesus of Nazareth that with enough faith we could overcome all that ails us? What's the difference between that and the assertion that "a good placebo can at times be very effective"?

  • KevinSim Springville, UT
    Aug. 31, 2017 9:51 a.m.

    Strom Thurmond posted:

    =The author suggests people leave because they fail to do "simple" things.
    =
    =There are significant reasons why people leave.
    =
    =I can attest to this from personal experience.

    Okay, Strom, I'll bite. What are the significant reasons why you left?

  • KevinSim Springville, UT
    Aug. 31, 2017 9:45 a.m.

    Strom Thurmond posted:

    =The results of a biopsy can produce dark feelings. These feelings are not proof
    =the biopsy result was an error.

    So, Strom, "results of a biopsy" can produce dark feelings but God cannot?

  • KevinSim Springville, UT
    Aug. 31, 2017 9:41 a.m.

    Benevolus posted:

    =The key words in Gaskill's quote are "I think". It's just an opinion and one
    =that isn't fully informed.
    =
    =There are plenty of good, sincere people who struggle with aspects of the
    =church despite doing the daily things they "ought to do".

    And, Benevolus, your opinion that there "are plenty of good, sincere people who struggle ... despite doing the daily things they 'ought to do'" IS fully informed? Has someone perhaps conducted a careful study to see how many of the people who struggle do the daily things they "ought to do"?

  • redhat Fairfax Station, VA
    Aug. 30, 2017 3:37 p.m.

    More important to me was the 20 year estrangement professor Gaskill experienced with family. It is yet not uncommon in many instances of conversion from one religion to another or in "mixed" marriages, but it must be excruciating to suffer loss of family closeness that long.He did not comment on perhaps the devastating effects on generations of relatives, or what it means in the eternities.
    Such was my feelings of sadness I experienced when the DN reported several weeks ago on James Hamula's excommunication. His family was in our Nothern Virginia ward in 1994-1997.

  • KevinSim Springville, UT
    Aug. 30, 2017 1:02 p.m.

    Strom Thurmond posted:

    =May I submit its because some believe they have discovered that it is not what
    =it claims to be?
    =
    =They came to this conclusion, not because of a subjective emotion, but because
    =of real evidence.

    Strom, how far does an organization have to be from what it claims to be before we can be certain God doesn't want us to be a part of it?

    But even having asked that question I've got to point out that it's terribly, terribly indirect. Why beat around the bush trying to figure out how close an organization is to what it claims to be, in an attempt to find out if God wants one to be a part of it, when one can instead simply directly ask God if God wants that one to be a part of it?

    I also find it enormously ironic that Strom makes this submission regarding the LDS Church, with its connection to traditional Christianity, with its connection to Judaism. If traditional Christianity is to be believed, there is no faith in the history of the world that is as far from what it claims to be as Judaism was, and yet God has a long history of supporting the Jewish faith.

  • GeePost slc, UT
    Aug. 29, 2017 10:00 a.m.

    Whoa! Some of his conversion experiences are so similar to my own...it's uncanny. I would love to meet this gentleman and talk about this some more.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 7:09 p.m.

    Some don't appear to understand the difference between evidence and proof. There is a lot of evidence of ancient and sophisticated civilizations in the Americas. There is no proof - yet - that any of them were Book of Mormon people, but evidence that some of them could have been.

    There is lots of evidence that Joseph Smith's account of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is true, and plenty of evidence that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is endorsed by God himself.

    So instead of claiming there is "no evidence", please use the correct phrase, "no proof". There won't be proof until it's too late for those who refuse to be influenced by the evidence. Why? Because God is trying us to see who is willing to seek truth by the method he prescribes, find it, and abide by it (and abiding by it is the hard part that dissuades many). He has left quite a few breadcrumbs to help us find truth. But people who think they are smarter than God scoff at the plentiful evidence because they're sure they already know the truth. Please reconsider.

  • loweye salt lake, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 10:09 a.m.

    skeptic,

    I didn't say any of these groups were the Book of Mormon peoples, but some have timelines that fit those in the Book of Mormon and also seem to have similar understandings of this world and the next. It has never been claimed by reliable sources that these are those people.

    But you claim there is no evidence at all. First, where do you get your info? Second, you cannot prove a negative. There is always a possibility there are other ruins to be discovered. The ones we kmow of now were unknown until ruins were discovered.

    There is a lot of ground yet to be seen, let alone studied. I think there is room for much discovery in the future. Also, we may not have proof that any of these peoples are those of the Book of Mormon until the Second Coming when all things wil be revealed.

  • CMTM , 00
    Aug. 28, 2017 9:31 a.m.

    RE: Citing scriptures, The Pearl of Great Price,in comparison to the Bible: The first 6 chapters of Genesis(JST)or The Book of Moses contains 311 verses, While the Septuagint and Masoretic texts contain 184 verses. JST adds “ 127” verses which are not supported by the Septuagint and Masoretic texts or Dead Sea Scrolls.
    But over 123 N.T. quotes support the existing O.T.

    @ Abraham 3:26 “kept not their *first estate= (Jude 1: 6 KJV,JST). ).JS misunderstood the KJV translation. Context, E.g…, “….the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority,..(Jude 1: 6 NIV)or,… the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority…( Jude 1:6 NLT)
    Context,”… angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell…”)) 2 Peter 2:4) actually Fallen angels(demons) Not pre mortality.

  • Benevolus Fruit Heights, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 8:22 a.m.

    "I think this rash of lack of conversion you see today, where so many people seem to be struggling with their testimonies and falling away from the church or going into this deep inactivity where they don’t want to have anything to do with the gospel, is to a great extent based on the fact that a lot of people are not doing the daily things they ought to do,"

    The key words in Gaskill's quote are "I think". It's just an opinion and one that isn't fully informed.

    There are plenty of good, sincere people who struggle with aspects of the church despite doing the daily things they "ought to do".

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 27, 2017 6:45 p.m.

    @loweye,
    You state the obvious. There are detailed authentic histories of great civilization in the Americas and their descents remain today. But, none of them have anything to do with the Book of Mormon. Therefore, I am curious: what is your point.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 27, 2017 6:05 p.m.

    Regarding the peoples of the Book of Mormon, I keep reading and hearing statements such as, "... but can not show one iota of physical ... evidence for such a civilization". In fact, there were numerous ancient civilizations in the Americas, and no end of evidence. As one example, the Olmec were a people whose timeline is a close fit for the Jaredites. Archeologists and anthropologists are still pondering their sudden disappearance, attributing it to such factors as climate change or volcanos. Perhaps some day they'll get around to "war".

    There is also fascinating evidence of peoples in the the heartland of the United States and into Canada. Unfortunately, a lot of the evidence concerning them was destroyed due to John Wesley Powell's unofficial doctrine, as Director of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian, that any evidence showing any degree of sophistication within ancient inhabitants of North America, or showing any influence from other nations, was "inadmissible", since only savages had ever lived here prior to Columbus.

  • loweye salt lake, UT
    Aug. 27, 2017 5:24 p.m.

    skeptic,
    Have you ever heard of the Aztecs? I just watched a show from Smithsonian about them where they were discribed as one of the great civilzations of the world. How about the Maya, the Olmecs, the Incas? Even if they don't prove the civilizations of the Book of Mormon existed, they do prove that there been great civilizations on this side of the world.

  • Diego007 Sioux City, IA
    Aug. 27, 2017 12:23 p.m.

    Skeptic, I, at least, am not a Young Earth Creationist, though I do believe in God. As to the Book of Mormon, if any such civilisation did exist somewhere in the Americas, it was likely not gigantic. Nothing in the text obligates it to have been. Even numbers like "millions slain" may only be used emphatically, as such numbers have been used in the Bible.

    I do not pretend to know that the Book of Mormon is true or not. Even if it is, that does not obligate one to assume that the LDS Church is true or not.

    The phiosophical question of whether God exists or no is exactly that: a philosophical question. It stands outside of religion as such. Only once we determine philosophically what God is can we turn to the question of what organised religion, if any, is true. And Philosophy, and philosophical questions, are indeed the realm of logic. It cannot be otherwise.

  • Jeffrey Swanson Sandy, UT
    Aug. 27, 2017 10:13 a.m.

    I get frustrated when members make claims that are not LDS doctrine. The Church official position on the age of the earth is we don't know how old it is, how long each creative period was, or how long it was between those 'days' of creation. What we do know is that all that happened was under God's direction.
    Strom, if you discount all evidence you choose not to accept unless it can be proved tangibly you are discarding some of sciences greatest discoveries. Just because a theorem has not been proven does not mean it is false. The evidence supporting the Scriptures is there, you simply have selective acceptance.

  • Bill Fitz LAKE BLUFF, IL
    Aug. 27, 2017 8:45 a.m.

    Grand Canyon six thousand years of age? Amazing how we know that the formation cannot be older than that because the earth is now six thousand years of age, but the material The Savior used in forming the earth is far older than Six thousand years. Simple.

  • hbeckett Colfax, CA
    Aug. 26, 2017 4:40 p.m.

    thank you for your testimony and care for others feelings

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 26, 2017 2:56 p.m.

    @Diego007,
    Thank you for your response: Skeptic, matters of Faith, or the lack thereof, cannot be held up to the kind of logic you are attempting to use.
    Please understand, it is not a matter of logic. Religions like superstitions are not based on logic. They are based on emotions. I am referring to god given common sense. If religion tells you that the Grand Canyon is only about six thousand years old because it need be to justify a religions believe that is not logic. It is poor science. If some one tells you there was great Hebrew nation here on the American continent less than two thousand years ago, but can not show one iota of physical natural god given evidence for such a civilization then that is not logic or faith, just ignorance of the facts. Afraid to say that the Emperor has no clothes is not sharing in Jesus light and truth teachings.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Aug. 26, 2017 12:46 p.m.

    @ Diego007 - Sioux City, IA - Aug. 26, 2017 10:15 a.m. - "....... Dan, although I do honestly respect your point of view, I too, have an issue of logic in accepting the Book of Mormon as true based on an answer to prayer only, which must of necessity be a subjective answer. However, it is my view that prayer, together with scientific and historical study, will eventually produce answers."

    Diego007, I apologize for not being more clear. I did not mean to imply that one can, or should try, to gain "knowledge" (testimony, etc) by prayer only. That is not true at all. We must study, ask, ponder and do all we can to understand and grasp a situation on our own. Then, we must take it to God in humble prayer asking Him to help us complete our limited attempts at gaining knowledge. Studying from all the books in the world is a start, but man's knowledge in books can be, and often is, flawed and therefore limited. But God......ahhhh.....but God, imparting knowledge through prayer, can not be hindered, nor when HE speaks, can he ever be misunderstood.

    You're on the right path, my friend!

  • windsor City, Ut
    Aug. 26, 2017 12:17 p.m.

    Is it fascinating to anyone else how those who don't want to believe in the LDS Church--or who have stopped believing--always insist on making disparaging comments??

    I don't go to comment sections heavily read by Catholics, Baptists, Atheists, Liberals, Muslims, lawyers, etc etc and make snarky or rude remarks about what they believe, think or do.

    Why is it fair game (or even of interest and the effort) for anyone to make snide comments about all things LDS?

    Think you're just telling on yourself folks......

  • Diego007 Sioux City, IA
    Aug. 26, 2017 10:15 a.m.

    Strom, you are welcome, of course, to leave a Church that you no longer find congenial to your beliefs. But suggesting that you must of necessity be right in your decision, and anyone who disagrees with you is of necessity wrong (which you did imply), is not logical. It is also disrespectful.

    Dan, although I do honestly respect your point of view, I too, have an issue of logic in accepting the Book of Mormon as true based on an answer to prayer only, which must of necessity be a subjective answer. However, it is my view that prayer, together with scientific and historical study, will eventually produce answers. They may not be the answers we want or in timeframe we would like, but they will occur. Until then, it is only through prayer and dedication that we can continue our investigations.

  • Diego007 Sioux City, IA
    Aug. 26, 2017 10:07 a.m.

    Skeptic, matters of Faith, or the lack thereof, cannot be held up to the kind of logic you are attempting to use. Although I do agree that evidence as to whether Lutheranism, for example, is more accurate, or less so, than the LDS Church, is hard to quantify, arguing that religion is therefore a placebo effect also cannot be proved logically.

    I can certainly give philosophical arguments that would support God's existence. The Argument from Design, the Argument from Probability, and the Ontological Argument are examples. But ultimately, it is a leap of Faith. Until we die, we will not know.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 26, 2017 9:58 a.m.

    Diego...,

    "But, in the meantime, there is no call to be rude. If you do not accept the Book of Mormon, all well and good. But there is no need to attack those who do."

    Please point out what I said was "rude".

    I was simply asking questions to provoke thought.

    The author suggests people leave because they fail to do "simple" things.

    There are significant reasons why people leave.

    I can attest to this from personal experience.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Aug. 26, 2017 9:42 a.m.

    I had a friend named Keith when I was younger. He told me he once studied a little bit about the LDS faith and prayed about the Book of Mormon but said he did not receive an answer as to its truthfulness. However, what Keith lacked was spiritual honesty, or "sincerity" as it says in Moroni 10:3-5. The Lord will not give a revelation about the Book of Mormon to those who are only INTELLECTUALLY curious. Why? Because the Lord never forces or uses coercion to convert.

    If one doesn't "really" want to know if the Book of Mormon is true, if they're not "really" willing to change their life/habits/priorities as needed to follow the Lord more completely, then He's not going to tell them because they don't "really" want to know.

    Yes, it really is that simple.

    @ Strom Thurmond -

    The Bible (I Kings 19: 11-12) also says that the Lord is not to be found (heard) in spectacular events like earthquakes, fires, etc, but in "the still small voice" of the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit, unlike a biopsy, will never leave one in darkness.

    Cheers!

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 26, 2017 9:41 a.m.

    Though out the more than thirty thousand religions in the world one will find many believers switching from one religion to another, or to optional faith healers, in hope of finding a better deal or solution to their troubles and problems. There is no real evidence that any one of the different choices works better than any of the others; or if any of them work at all. Nevertheless, a good placebo can at times be very effective.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Aug. 26, 2017 9:30 a.m.

    Article quote: "I think this rash of lack of conversion you see today, where so many people seem to be struggling with their testimonies and falling away from the church or going into this deep inactivity where they don’t want to have anything to do with the gospel, is to a great extent based on the fact that a lot of people are not doing the daily things they ought to do," Gaskill said."

    Nailed it.

    I'll say it again: "NAILED it."

    It's called personal responsibility. If you want to have (or keep) a testimony, you're going to have to WORK for it. Why some of us have to work harder at it than others, I have no idea, but either way, the common denominator is w-o-r-k. To not put in the effort required and then try to blame the Church, or your bishop, or God, or the Book of Mormon, is just spiritual laziness.

  • Diego007 Sioux City, IA
    Aug. 26, 2017 7:32 a.m.

    Strom Thurmond, these things are matters of Faith at present. The Book of Mormon may be true. It may not be. I am not LDS myself. But, from a purely objective perspective, one cannot just ignore the book. Things that only two decades ago appeared to make Joseph Smith look ridiculous are now appearing to be be possible strengths toward proving the book to be true.

    I for one will hold out hope that the text is ultimately proved true. But, in the meantime, there is no call to be rude. If you do not accept the Book of Mormon, all well and good. But there is no need to attack those who do.

  • Allen C Christensen American Fork, UT
    Aug. 26, 2017 3:10 a.m.

    I appreciated this account. It was a reminder that I need to be sensitive to the delicate feelings of others, and that faith needs to be carefully nourished. It is a gentle call for all to open their circle of friendship and genuinely invite others to be friends. It was also a reminder that it is not our responsibility to try the faith of others.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Aug. 25, 2017 8:50 p.m.

    The skirt story I think most illustrates we do not all have a duty to correct. It is much better to build up and praise the good people do than to point out flaws and shortcomings. We want people to feel welcome at Church and people dont feel welcome when criticized.

  • amagnetick AV, CA
    Aug. 25, 2017 3:38 p.m.

    @strom... you can submit it if you want, but it doesn't mean it is so. In other matters, I believe many members of the Church have no governor when their mouths are flapping. I believe that whatever comes to their mind they just say. Perhaps that is why people say rude and sometimes hurtful things to other people. Shortly after my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, a nosy member of our ward came up to her and said something like "you must have got the cancer because you aren't living the word of wisdom". My wife is a faithful, recommend holding member of the Church and a Temple Ordinance Worker. Many people would have been offended by this, but my wife just shrugged it off. I guess it's all in how you look at things, you can choose to be offended or not.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 25, 2017 3:20 p.m.

    The Bible says not to trust the heart. Believe its in Psalms.

    The results of a biopsy can produce dark feelings. These feelings are not proof the biopsy result was an error.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 25, 2017 3:18 p.m.

    "I think this rash of lack of conversion you see today, where so many people seem to be struggling with their testimonies and falling away from the church or going into this deep inactivity where they don’t want to have anything to do with the gospel, is to a great extent based on the fact that a lot of people are not doing the daily things they ought to do..."

    May I submit its because some believe they have discovered that it is not what it claims to be?

    They came to this conclusion, not because of a subjective emotion, but because of real evidence.