Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It's a revelation thing

Discussions of The Mormons are all over the place. Is it weird that the first time I ever heard of the documentary was the end of last week? Let me opine briefly on what I thought, before I read too many other commentaries by people who can better articulate what I am thinking.

I mostly liked it and think it was long overdue.

I am kind of fascinated by the reaction people have had to our Church throughout its short history, and I don't just mean the negative reaction, although that part fascinates me the most. Join this newfound religion and leave England to follow a prophet who has seen God? Leave my wife and young kids to fend for themselves on the farm while I go on a mission for three years at a time? Pour tar over people and roll them in feathers? Issue an order to exterminate an entire civilization? Not elect somebody because of his religious affiliation? Teach anti-Mormon classes to the 7th graders at my church so they can approach their Mormon friends fully equipped with knowledge about horns on their heads and cultish behavior? Okay! Lots of people have said, Sign me up! I find it all very intriguing. I'm also kind of surprised when I hear that Mormonism is out of the mainstream. I suppose that's true in many places, but in my little world, I eatbreathesleep Mormonism and it's not obscure in the least. So I thought this program was overdue because it's time that a dialogue began about this young religion that reaches all corners of the earth and that stirs up such stong reaction.

I like knowing and learning about the history of Joseph Smith and the early Church. Sometimes I wish the Church was more forthright about mistakes made in the past because I feel like the truth has nothing to hide, but I understand the motivation of putting the best foot forward. I certainly don't feel the personal need to be defensive regarding polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, DNA evidence (note: I am not insinuating these are mistakes that the Church has made), or any other hang-ups some people have, and this is why: it's a revelation thing. I have strong, firm convictions that the Church of Jesus Christ is led by--who else?-- Jesus Christ, working through a living prophet and through relevation that each one of us can receive. Faith persists beyond societal pressures or scientific data or human error. I can't remember who said it last night, but I liked that part about how legitimate belief and participation in a religion cannot nor does not depend on empirical evidence. By definition, faith is "things that are hoped for, but not seen."

Abby and Nancy, you both mentioned that you thought the documentary was skewed and inaccurate. Please correct me if I'm putting words in your mouth, but I wonder if you felt that way because the Gospel was not presented as you are accustomed to perceiving it. Steve used the word "hollow." To those of us in the faith, the gospel of Jesus Christ is presented through the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is peace, it brings happiness, it offers hope. When everything is as it should be personally, the gospel is more than a history of events or a way of life or a group of people cleaning up after the wreckage of Katrina. It feels like truth, and it does not depend on empirical evidence. Attacks or criticism on these beliefs we value so highly therefore sometimes end up feeling like a punch in the gut.

Back to the documentary. Regarding the production value, I think it mostly cast a favorable light on Mormonism. Of course, everyone gets out of it what they want to get out of it. Haters probably got justification for hating, critics probably got justification for criticizing, believers won't stop believing. I wish the director had been more clear on who was speaking and how they came by their expertise on the subject. I would have liked to have seen fewer lengthy narrations by a couple of talking heads, and more contribution by more contributors. Maybe that's just because I get bored easily, and don't trust one-sided stories. I thought the absence of Jan Shipps was notable, although the credits listed her as a consultant. I thought Elder Jensen was thoughtful and well-spoken. I appreciated Elder Oaks' concession that the Mountain Meadows massacre was wrong on all fronts. I thought it was wonderful that the subject of eternal families was covered so thoroughly. If there is one message that I think we as a church ought to be broadcasting to the world, this is it. I saw my friends Mary and Craig Romney on tv! I'm sad for the child whose mother died in childbirth and whose father said some days he wouldn't do it again, but I was touched by the testimony that was shared in the telling of this story. If I think of more to say, I'll be back.

Your turn.

38 comments:

Abby said...

I actually overall really liked it. My feelings echo yours very closely. I guess I just meant that some of the scholars, who were obviously not LDS, articulated things kind of funny. You can study the religion your whole life, but if you're not a member and you don't have a testimony of its truthfulness, you just really can't quite "get it." That's my opinion.

Courtney said...

There were things I liked and things I didn't like. There were overly dramatic parts and funny parts (who knew we were so into dancing?). Overall, I thought it was fine. I think part of what is hard for members of the Church is that we are watching a summary of the Church that includes a lot of facts but doesn't include the Spirit. Those of us who believe, believe because we have felt the Spirit testify to us that it is true. Without the Spirit it is just history. And, yes, that history includes some mistakes and tragedies.

I liked the person who said that he worried we were becoming too mainstream. I agree - there is something wrong if we stop being a "peculiar" (sp?) people.

I also loved the evangelical guy who even though he didn't agree with a lot of our beliefs he seemed to always give us the benefit of the doubt that we were sincerely trying to do what we considered to be right.

Emily said...

I didn't watch it, but I love the way you described your reaction to it, Em. Very well said. Even though I didn't see the documentary, your thoughts just sit well with me. I love the way you've taken the time to be refelctive--so often I just inhale things and don't really take time to process and interpret them. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Brent said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to articulate your thoughts. Playing off of Adam's thoughts about the lack of theological depth to the film, and your comments saying: "To those of us in the faith, the gospel of Jesus Christ is presented through the gift of the Holy Ghost," I was wondering if you might define the contents of that Gospel for an outsider to easily understand?

Emily said...

Brent --
Where to start? There's so much, but I'm happy to share. Central to the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Fall, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the Resurrection, just as I'm sure it is in your system of beliefs. Christ's church as he established it in his lieftime and the authority to act in God's name were lost for a time, but have been restored to the earth. Are you wanting it in my own words? If not, I would refer you to a number of resources.

Thirteen Articles of Faith as outlined by Joseph Smith and published in 1842.

Basic beliefs.

A fantastic explanation of Mormonism with the intent to inform rather than convert.

A powerful, intelligent and life-changingmust-read.

And, of course, the Book of Mormon.

Emily said...

Abby and Courtney, I really liked what you had to say. Thanks!

Emily, when n buster so rudely commented yesterday, I was confused because your name came up on statcounter. Since you are absolutely the nicest person in all of cyberspace, I quickly figured out that statcounter is whacked. Thanks for your comment!

sarah said...

Emily, thoughtful and poignant response. Well done. I say amen to all that you said.

Steve said...

I had complex feelings about the program. I thought the accounts were fair; and they obviously tried to take editorial views from different (mostly polar) sides. I applaud the effort, and think it was a well-done socio-historical analysis. That being said, I must admit that “disinterested” attempts to analyze the church from a historical or cultural perspective, leave me feeling hollow. Such views may capture the contour but completely miss the soul. As I was saying to Emily after the program, socio-historical analysis misses, as others have here pointed out, the very life essence of it all, the Holy Ghost. (To be fair, there were plenty of moments of people sharing their own convictions – “tesimonies”, in our vernacular, and I thought they did well.)

I imagine other Christians might feel that way about socio-historical documentaries about early Christianity. I suppose I can’t blame the sociologists and the historians for doing what they do; but it seems superfluous, tragic even, to do historical analysis of Jesus – in an attempt to understand his assumedly human motivations, and miss the point that he was the Son of God.

Further, I suppose historians might look at the early Christians and figure that Paul went preaching to the Gentiles because of political pressure. Indeed, outside pressures may have been present for Paul; but it seems like a side-show distraction compared to the fact that he saw a light and heard a voice, and that Peter received revelations to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. So the historian looks at that and says, “Why did he do that? What were his motivations?” And they might look at Paul’s background and say that he was a Jew, but also a Roman, that he had been trained in certain schools, and spoke certain languages and found a people willing to submit to his influence. And Paul might jump up and down (maybe even in front of King Agrippa), and say, “Yes, yes yes. But it was really because I talked to God.” And the socio-historians in Agrippa’s court might hear him say that and hear only sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal – because it’s not in the acceptable Universe for them.

All of that being said, I suppose I’m one of those Mormons they talked about, who has this dichotomy with History, as a subject. I want it read; but it seems tragic when it’s read and people don’t see the hand of God. I wish more members of the Church knew their history. I wish we read it and understood it and even asked questions about it. It’s one of my favorite subjects. But my paradigm is completely different from last night’s producer. I really thought the editing was asking the question: “Why do human behavior and motivations lead to this kind of a result?” Whereas I read Mormon history, and I wonder why God had Joseph do it this way or that? Was that part God’s direction, or was it man’s direction? If God lead people in the scriptures or early church history in such a manner, would he interact with me similarly?

Sorry for the length of this comment.

Chanel said...

very well said!
It really was just entertainment to me, although I recorded it and hope to discuss it with my daughters one day. Being a convert I think it is important to lay it all on the table, my "bubble" burst about 6 years after being baptized when I learned some deeper doctrines, I worked through it and with prayer and trials and faith I have a very strong testimony that this is God's work.
I just want to disect your whole post adn say YES YES YES! You make so many greta points- thanks!

Emily said...

ha! funny. i'm usually not into religion/political trash talking. yeah, stat counter is off its cyber rocker.

Zookeenee said...

I haven't commented on a blog in a long time, but I wanted to let everyone know that you can watch it online at www.pbs.org. I only saw the second night and I am working through the 1st night. I agree with Steve's comments. I don't know of anyone who has been converted by the 'facts'. I am not saying that the facts are not important to study, but we need the look at them through the looking glass of the Spirit. We need to ask how does this piece of data fit into what I know to be true? If a fact completely contradicts something you have had the Spirit testify to you of, you need to consider that your fact may not be the entire picture. There is a long list of facts that have been later shown to not be.

Katrina said...

Emily, I really appreciated your comments on the documentary. I think they are some of the most fair and like my own I've heard. Overall, I was very impressed with how balanced and fair the documentary was journalistically. I think that sometimes we members of the Church are too up-tight about always showing only the good side of things and ignoring those parts of our history that are less than stellar or down right awful (Mountain Meadows). I certainly learned some things about Church history that I did not know. But it seems to me that anyone watching the program would come away with overall a favorable impression of what the Church is today.

Lyndzee & Dustin Durham said...

I agree with you Emily, I really liked the program...Dustin, on the other hand, struggled with that "hollow" feeling Steve described. What I liked most about it was the discussion it brought into our home. I have always considered myself somewhat of a feminist and after what was brought up about feminists in the church Dustin and I were able to disect these ideas further. I loved the truthfullness of the piece as well. And I found that for every point made against the church, or a point that could perhaps mar the church, something else was said that equally defended or brought new ideas to light. Thanks for commenting so well, I wanted to write on it as well but I often find myself lacking for clear thoughts when something stirs me up.

AmyJune said...

I'm in the process of googling all of those "talking heads". Who were all those people? I have mixed emotions about the whole thing but on the whole thought it was pretty well done.

lys said...

Well, I don't have much to add. It seems like what I'd want to say has been said. I definitely have mixed emotions about the whole thing, but I thought that part #2 was much better than part #1.

Ryan said...

Ken Clark (one of the talking heads, credited as a former church educator), was my seminary teacher in Kennewick. He was instrumental in getting me interested in exploring the church's origins thoroughly, and he unwittingly planted the first few seeds of doubt when he cautioned me to avoid certain non-LDS accounts and historians. Interesting to see that he has since left the church himself.

Anonymous said...

LDS have totally lost the meaning of the Gospel

Emily said...

Anonymous, I'd be happy to respond if you'd but stand by your assertions with an identity.

jill yates said...

sure, i don't have a blog but that's my name.

Emily said...

Thank you, Jill, I appreciate your de-anonimification. Are you the Jill Yates of jillyates.com?

Do you mean that LDS people have lost the meaning of the Gospel, as in the Gospel as it was when Christ established it on the earth? Or the Gospel as it is laid forth in the 4 gospels of the New Testament? Or the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it is on the earth now? I don't really know what you meant.

Did you come here via Nienie?

Emily said...

OR, do you mean that I, as an LDS person, have lost the meaning of my own religion?

jill said...

I mean that the LDS Church has lost the meaning of the Gospel as it was established by Christ on Earth, as well as the Gospel proclaimed in the 4 Gospels. I do not mean that you have lost the Gospel of your own religion. I have a convicted opinion about your faith, but I'd never presume to know more about its teaching than you do. (I'm not the jill from jillyates.com - not that famous!) :)

Emily said...

Can I ask, why do you have a convicted opinion about the LDS faith? Is it exceedingly bothersome to you in some way? I don't know you or anything about your belief system, other than an assumption that you believe in Christ and the Church he established on the earth, but I can guarantee that I am not going to bash you for any differences we have in our respective beliefs. Rather, if I knew you, I would try to draw on similarities that we share and establish some sort of common ground with you.

I'm not saying you bashed on my religion, but why do other Christian believers react against us as if we were the devil incarnate? I assure you, we are not.

jill said...

I have a convicted opinion about the Mormon set of beliefs because the Bible is awfully clear about Jesus being the final prophet. Unfortunately, I need to admit that it is "exceedingly bothersome" to me because I have all faith (based on the Scriptures) that the faith of the Church of LSD is based on principles that go against Christian doctrine. I'm not bashing the LSD Church. I'm just passionately concerned about a group who calls themselves Christians. Those who believe in the Jesus of the New Testament do not adhere to the words of any prophet who came after him. The Bible is explicit in its teaching of Jesus as the ONE and ONLY Way to eternal life. I assure you that although all loving intention is lost via the cold and harsh Internet, I do not think of Mormons as the devil incarnate or anything even close to that idea. I simply pray that ALL men, those who call themselves Christians and those who do not, will return and look to the teachings of the Bible. I react because it is my responsibility as one of Jesus' children (as spelled out in Matthew 28:16-20), to teach about His commandments and requirements.

jill said...

Also, while drawing upon similarities is helpful in politics and personal relationships, etc., Paul made a practice of pointing out theological flaws in those he was preaching to. There are no instances in Acts in which Paul talked about what everyone had in common. Instead, he clearly gave instructions on what was to be believed and what should be shunned. Although our culture attempts to find plenty of gray areas, the Bible is black-and-white when it comes to belief in Jesus as the only authority.

Emily said...

This seems to be a hot issue for a lot of people. Here is a quote from the Church's website, lds.org, proclaiming what is at the very center of our religion:
"Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God the Father in the flesh. He was the Creator, He is our Savior, and He will be our Judge. Under the direction of our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ created the earth. Through His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and by giving His life on the cross—that is, by performing the Atonement—Jesus Christ saves us from our sins as we follow Him. Through His Resurrection, Jesus Christ saves us from physical death. Because He overcame death, we will all be given the gift of resurrection."

My husband wants me to point out that Paul, whom you referred to, was called to be an apostle and a prophet after the ascension of Jesus Christ. Paul did not pretend to replace Jesus, but rather as an apostle, he testified of Jesus. Jesus appeared to Paul and spoke to him, and we believe that Jesus continues to work through his chosen servants on the earth. This does not diminish or contradict the teachings of the Bible, but rather strengthens them. Did Paul or other apostles ever indicate in the Bible that there would be no more apostles to follow them?

jill said...

I totally agree with you here. The apostles never claimed they would be the last on earth. As I said, the reason the faith is "exceedingly bothersome" to me is that Joseph Smith has added Scripture and doctrine to Christianity, yet it is still called Christianity in your church. I read the Hebrew Bible as well as the New Testament, and while I believe fully in the Old Testament, I do not call myself a Jew. I know my beliefs about Jesus go against Jewish doctrine.

JS's claim about apostasy is also anti-Scripture. Again, doesn't this claim completely undermine the power of the Holy Spirit? Of course, the church has forever been and will remain until Christ's return, made up of imperfect people, so mistakes are made. But (according to lds.org) to claim that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was lost and that it needed a NEW writing to reveal truth?! Why don't you just say, "Jesus, the Gospel and Church you established nearly 2000 years ago were not sufficient for our salvation, so we've got to add a bunch of stuff, and unfortunately, a lot of it goes against Your Word in the New Testament." I'm a Baptist minister, so I'm very familiar with the idea of having to return to a simpler, more stripped down faith. Baptists originally broke away from the Catholic Church in Rome to return to the BIBLE as their ultimate authority instead of a papacy and heirarchical structure. Baptists did NOT, however, look to a new writing as additional Scripture.

Emily said...

Again, from lds.org:

"The Book of Mormon is a record of God's dealings with the people who lived in the ancient Americas. Prophets of the Lord engraved the original records on gold plates. On September 22, 1827, an angel named Moroni—the last Book of Mormon prophet—delivered these records to the Prophet Joseph Smith. By the gift and power of God, the Prophet Joseph translated the record into English.

The primary purpose of the Book of Mormon is to convince all people "that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations" (title page of the Book of Mormon). It teaches that all people "must come unto him, or they cannot be saved" (1 Nephi 13:40). Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon is "the keystone of our religion, and a man [will] get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book" (introduction to the Book of Mormon).

The Book of Mormon is another witness for the truths taught in the Bible. It also restores "plain and precious" truths that have been lost from the Bible through errors in translation or "taken away" in attempts to "pervert the right ways of the Lord" (see 1 Nephi 13:24–27, 1 Nephi 13:38–41). The Bible and the Book of Mormon "shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace" (2 Nephi 3:12).

Near the end of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni teaches us how we can know the book is true: "When ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost" (Moroni 10:4; see also Moroni 10:3 and Moroni 10:5)."

Jill, I believe in Christ, I follow Christ, I speak of Christ, I study the teachings of Christ, I learn of Christ, I try to be more like Christ, I pray to God through Christ the Mediator, I weekly partake of the Sacrament to renew covenants with Christ, I participate in the tremendous blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I worship Christ, I anticipate a full resurrection of body and spirit because of what Christ made possible for all mankind.

If Baptists choose to teach their congregations that they and they alone are the authority on who is and is not a Christian, I guess that's your right and prerogative. Meanwhile, I will continue to worship Jesus Christ and I will continue to not understand why the Baptists especially resent me for doing so.

I also believe that God and Jesus Christ have not left us alone, that They love those of us on the earth now every bit as much as they loved the people in Moses' time, or Abraham's time, or Paul's time. If you don't believe that Jesus could cause there to be additional scripture, perhaps it is because it has traditionally been taught that the Bible is all there is. As you said, people can make mistakes. Precious parts of the Bible have been lost, and perhaps mistranslated. We love and read the Bible and read the Book of Mormon as companion scripture. They go together, each one illuminating the truths found in the other. Why couldn't Jesus Christ, in all His power and love, give us additional tools by which men can come unto Him?

jill said...

I'm sad that so many of my Baptist brothers and sisters have "resented" Mormons for their beliefs. I, however, do not "resent" you at all. I'm deeply concerned about your use of the Scripture.

"If Baptists choose to teach their congregations that they and they alone are the authority on who is and is not a Christian, I guess that's your right and prerogative."

Emily, I do not teach my congregation, nor does my senior pastor, that we alone have the authority on who is and is not a Christian. Quite to the contrary, my convictions are based totally on the Bible and not on personal opinion or a feeling of judgment. I'm thankful that God keeps the judging job to Himself! However, as I've said, the Bible does point out that it is the responsibility of Christians to teach Jesus' commandments and to preach against error in faith.

My convictions are summed up much more eloquently in Acts 20:27-31. "For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!"

I truly do not mean to offend you, but a man who claims to have received revelation and new scripture 1800 years after Jesus' time is "a savage wolf," according to Paul. JS claimed to come from "among the flock" by basing his new beliefs on Christian doctrine. Yes, we may have many beliefs in common, but when one of us begins to stray from the truth found in Scripture, the similarities don't matter anymore.

The idea that the Bible "is all there is" is not simply "tradition," Emily. The Bible claims again and again that for Christians, it is to be the ONLY Scripture and written authority. I never said that Jesus CAN'T give us additional tools. But the Bible is explicitly cleat that when it comes to Scripture, it is the last and only writing. CAN Jesus add new Scripture? Of course it's within His perfect span of abilities. If we are are to look only to Scripture as our authority, then WILL He or HAS He added more Scripture? The answer must be no.

jill said...

I'm aware that you use the Bible as part of your holy Scriptures, but when the Book of Mormon and the Bible disagree, how do you explain it? Which do you look to as the truer?

Emily said...

How do you explain when the Bible contradicts itself?

Please reference some of these scriptures you keep talking about that say the Bible is the last and only writing.

Consider, just for a moment, what if the Mormons are right? What then?

Emily said...

Also, I'd prefer to remove this back-and-forth to email. My address is emilygcraig@hotmail.com.

Thanks.

Emily said...

Jill, one more thing.

Twice a year the entire membership of our church attends, in person or via satellite, radio, internet, or written word, a General Conference in which we are instructed by leaders of the church. At the last one, in April, one of the twelve apostles, Elder M. Russell Ballard, spoke on this subject that we've been discussing. He is more eloquent than am I. Would you please read it?

http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-690-29,00.html

jill said...

Sorry, Emily, but I'm done. No need to move this to email. Every single time, without fail, that I've been visited by a Mormon, that exact question has been asked. "Consider for a moment if Mormons are right, what then?" I told myself that if you asked that question, I'd bow out. If that is the best and most compelling argument that the LDS Church can come up with, then my arguments on Biblical authority and historicity and logic are lost here. Thanks for debating with me thus far, though. I will read the article you linked, because this truly is an issue I'm interested in. I'll let you know if he convinces me or sheds light on more compelling points than any Mormon I've spoken with before has.

Emily said...

Jill, "what if we're right" is certainly not a very good argument, I absolutely agree with you. What it is is an expression of the frustration I feel that you want to take something that is the most precious to me--my testimony of Jesus Christ and the restored Gospel--and tear it to pieces without any attempt on your part to see where I'm coming from. You derive your beliefs from the Bible; well, so do I! Why is it that you insist that you are right, without any concession that maybe, just maybe, I could be right on some things too? You do not have an honest desire to understand our faith; rather, you seem to have a vested interest in seeing that it is destroyed. I will continue to not understand how you justify your attacks. You claim loving concern, but that is hardly what this discussion has indicated.

Why don't you try this next time and see if it gets you further in understanding: "Emily, I don't know you, but I presume that you are an intelligent, free thinking, bright individual. Surely you have studied the Bible and read all the same passages I have. Surely you have studied the history of your church. Surely you have heard all the claims against the historicity, biblical authenticity, and logic of the Book of Mormon and latter-day prophets a thousand times already. Tell me, why do you continue to believe? What is your faith based on? Why is it that you persist in believing in the bizarre idea that Christ restored his true church on the earth through a 14-year-old boy? Share with me why you believe." If you asked that, we would not need to argue.

As it happens, I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the fulness of truth and that it is the Baptists who are off track. I believe that I am absolutely on the right path toward salvation, and it would be wonderful if you and others would save your energy and not worry about the welfare of my soul. I believe that the Book of Mormon shows that it is you that does not fully understand the Bible. It is not my modus operandi to be on the offensive, but I am so frustrated and annoyed with your attacks, and others like yours.
I could go on. I would love to quote you blocks of scripture--yes, scripture--from the Book of Mormon that warn against people who say, "A Bible! A Bible! We have a Bible and that is all we need." BUT, I hate that I am so mad right now and I recognize that you have won this little discussion because you succeeded in making me mad. So now I am going to bow out.

Next time someone comes to my blog to criticize my beliefs I will know just to delete their comments.

jill said...

I find it absolutely ironic that you point fingers at me for attacking you. You're right, I don't know you. I DID assume that you were an intelligent person and that you'd read the same Biblical passages that I did. This is why I was so utterly confused that you wouldn't recognize my concern as Biblical. I'm not attacking you. I'm so, so sorry that I've angered you. This was NOT my intent, and as I said, all loving intention is totally lost over the Internet. If I could talk to you, you'd sense that I'm not attacking you at all. Of course you will feel strongly about your faith. That alone is a testament to how passionate you are about yours, and it should be applauded. But since through prayer and discernment I feel that the LDS Church has lost the meaning of the Gospel, Jesus' teachings in the Bible REQUIRE that I say something. The apostles and missionaries in the early church had a habit of angering people, and I'm sorry this is what has happened here. If you've read the same passages of the Bible that I have, don't you know why I "worry about the welfare" of your soul?? If I feel that you're not grasping the fullness of the Gospel, it's my job as a Christian to try to explain to you why that is.

Emily, you don't know me either. It's awfully presumptuous of you to tell me that I "do not have an honest desire" to understand your faith. For someone who isn't Mormon, I've read a whole lot about the subject, from MORMON sources, not Baptists' take on it. If you believe that it's you who's on track and Baptists who are off, why don't you try to convince Baptists of that? Wouldn't that be what your God wants you to do?

And just like you, I'd love to quote you Scripture that warns against those that would come MUCH later to add to the PERFECT Truth already established in the Bible.

Emily said...

Email me.

Anonymous said...

From Elinor: Sorry to be Anonymous but my system won't let me in. Good on you, Emily. I wrote a nice comment and lost it so if it shows up, just know I know many of the dissodents who presumed to speak for the church. Scholars who think they are they only ones who have been in the archives. Sorry, been there, didn't lose my perspective or testimony. Missed the Relief Society, oldest and largest women's organization. Missed the Mormon Battalion story, the 500 men whose 2000 mile infantry march secured the western states, even discovered gold, for a government who wouldn't protect them against mobbers, murderers, and etc. I've read the journals. We could have used a lot more of them.

The woman who was portrayed as wronged, the feminist who actually wanted the church to change doctrine to suit herself so she could pray to the mother in heaven in reality irked me because it surely was the church that was wrong not her, since she FELT IT SO DEEPLY. Sorry, that doesn't wash. Believe what you want. Don't try to change an organization to meet your standards. The Dead Sea Scrolls speak of a mother in heaven. Yes we believe in that doctrine, but we do not pray to her. On and On, JUST KNOW I BELIEVE. iF OTHERS DO NOT, don't tell me I'm not Christian. Don't show us as a dark and wearisome group who have child bride slavery. There will always be divisions. That doesn't change truth. Elinor