Friday, June 27, 2014

Seek Not to Counsel Your God

I am disturbed by several things I am hearing and seeing regarding the degradation of faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel compelled to speak up. And again, I am sorry this is long. My posts are always long… we lawyer types must like to talk.

If it sounds like I’m being judgmental, I am. And it’s OK. We SHOULD be judgmental of some things. The scriptures teach us to know people “by their fruits” (Matt 7:20), and how to judge righteously (Moroni 7:16-19). We must judge some things in order to protect ourselves from false doctrines, evil-designing people, and other spiritual hazards. In making these judgments, I am focusing on things, not necessarily people.

Several people, including some who are close to me, are losing their faith over non-spiritual, trivial matters. Others are losing their testimonies of the gospel because they have succumbed to the philosophies of modern liberalism in our society, rather than following God.

As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland so accurately stated, these people are “creating God in [their] own image.” (General Conference, April 2014)

Before discussing the specific issues, I would like to state that the solution to the problem is the same in all cases: People have abandoned the value of spiritual confirmation in deference to worldly evidence. Throughout the scriptures, the Lord has emphasized the importance of receiving a witness of truth by the power of the Holy Ghost, and not by other means alone.

People who were once active and (seemingly) converted members of the church are now seeking for signs to refute the visual evidence they embrace. The Lord taught that faith never follows signs, but that signs follow the exercise of faith.

Faith is wavering for many people. Something about the wisdom of the world has caused people to doubt their beliefs. If that faith had been built on spiritual experiences that cannot be denied, on the trial of our faith followed by the commensurate blessings, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

I read the comment recently that “Ignorance is the prerequisite of faith.” I disagree. That definition is technically impossible. It seems to be an attempt to marginalize and minimize spiritual answers. The scriptural definitions of faith include: ‘the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’ (Hebrews 11:1), and ‘not a perfect knowledge of things’, but a ‘hope for things which are not seen which are true (Alma 32:21). A person cannot have faith in anything if they are ignorant of it. They must know what it is they believe in.

The problem is that ‘faith’ is shifting away from spiritual witnesses to tangible, worldly evidence. People are putting their trust the world and its wisdom more than they are trusting God. And because they are losing their sensitivity to spiritual promptings in this way, they move further away from the truth they seek, without even realizing it.

Moroni taught that ‘by the power of the Holy Ghost, [we] may know the truth of all things’ (Moroni 10:5). The Savior taught that the Holy Ghost would testify of Him, and would bring all things to our remembrance that He has commanded us (John 14:26, 15:26).

I feel blessed that I have had a lot of trials in my life. They have given me the opportunity to humble myself before the Lord, do things His way instead of fight him or try to ‘outsmart’ Him with the world’s wisdom. They have given me the chance to try His promises… to exercise my faith in humility, and see the blessings come. And they have come. Plentifully. So many times and so consistently that I could not deny my faith now. I have said I am a lot like Jacob when he was confronted by Sherem. With the exception of seeing angels, I think that Jacob 7:5 describes me pretty well.

Depth of faith is required to withstand the distractions that Satan is bombarding us with. A shallow testimony that is not built on exercise, where we have been tried and tested and blessings have followed, cannot endure long.  

Now down to the nitty gritty:

Either you believe that God is your loving Heavenly Father or you don’t. You believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior, or you don’t. As a Latter-Day Saint, you either believe that the Book of Mormon is a book of scripture along with the Holy Bible, or you don’t. And if you believe that the Book of Mormon is true, then it follows that you believe that Joseph Smith Jr. was God’s instrument (prophet) in translating it and bringing it to the world. If you don’t believe these very basic tenets, then the rest doesn’t matter. We’ve identified the problem. Go no further.

All other issues are ancillary to these core beliefs. If you struggle with women having the priesthood or not, or whether Joseph Smith had multiple wives and was wrong for doing so, or anything else that might imply imperfections in the people of the church, it does not need to shake your entire faith if you have previously developed a solid testimony of the core doctrines. If these issues do shake your faith, then your foundation was weak to begin with. Asking questions and praying about some things is appropriate. We all have questions about things. Having questions about doctrinal issues that bother us is not discouraged in this church. What is important is how we try to obtain an understanding.

Something happened on my mission that really bothered me. I got through it. I got a priesthood blessing, and not long after that I understood. The difference here is that I didn’t run to the world and its secular views, or anti-Mormon sources, to get my satisfaction. I didn’t join a support group full of other people who also refuse to turn directly to the Lord for help but are wanting to do things their own way. I went to the Lord. I prayed. I studied. I got a priesthood blessing to help me understand things through the Spirit. It worked.

I love the example that Nephi set when he struggled with the decision his father Lehi made to leave Jerusalem by commandment from the Lord:

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.” (1 Nephi 2:16, emphasis added)

Those who will do what Nephi did, with sincerity and humility, will get the same result. Those who look elsewhere because they don’t have the faith to trust the Lord will get their satisfaction elsewhere. That’s a natural result that comes as no surprise.

Someone I know said that ‘a testimony helps people look past the facts.’ I disagree. A testimony doesn’t ‘help us look past facts’, assuming those statements referred to are even facts at all.  A lot of false information is posed as ‘fact’. A real testimony built on diligently seeking the truth for oneself, through study, prayer and obedience to God’s commandments, and then seeing the blessings after the trial of our faith, does allow us to consider issues and information without it having to shake the very foundation of our beliefs. That is part of what I believe Christ referred to when he gave the parable of the sower:

“5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches andpleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:5-15)

Where we are personally on this spectrum is up to us to determine, but if we are questioning our entire faith and abandoning core values over things like women and the priesthood or gay marriage or anthropology, and unable to hold onto spiritual witnesses given to us by God, then we certainly are not ‘those that fell on good ground’ according to this parable. Those that fell on good ground reconciled their concerns the way Nephi did… directly and humbly with the Lord, and not with worldly statistics, secondary literature or outside support groups. Those who follow Nephi’s example are the ones I would say fell on ‘good ground’.

I am hearing of attempts to ‘prove’ the validity of the LDS faith through census statistics, books written by independent authors, scientific evidence of unproven theories, and the like. A spiritual reality such as the existence of God or the truthfulness of the LDS faith cannot be proven through worldly means. It’s a total waste of time, and those who attempt this get further away from it as they get wrapped up in the wisdom of the world. They get further away from believing they can trust God to provide their answers. So they continue to look elsewhere… census data, support groups, or whatever. Instead of going to their Heavenly Father, they look to other sources. And they have their reward… the wisdom of the world instead of Him who created all things. The more they search the world for answers about God and His kingdom without first putting their trust in a divine witness, the weaker they become spiritually.

Spiritual things cannot be understand by worldly pursuit without including God and the witness of the Holy Ghost.


"11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:11-14)

So when we don’t get the answers we want… what do we do? Do we keep looking for what we want? Or do we finally humble ourselves and turn back to the Lord? The latter is apparently very hard to do once a person has traveled the worldly path for a while.

We cannot obtain spiritual knowledge on our own terms. It is always on God’s terms. But that knowledge will come to all who will humble themselves and do things the Lord’s way. I am sure of that. I believe those blessings will come dependably and consistently as we do it His way. It is no different than a scientific experiment. If a nuclear physicist wants to split an atom, he cannot dictate the terms of the experiment and expect success. He cannot say he’ll only accelerate the atom to a certain speed, etc. Likewise, we cannot dictate the terms upon which the Lord reveals spiritual knowledge to us, or blesses us according to our obedience. We’ll be disappointed if we assume such foolishness.

“ 31 Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?
32 I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.
33 Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above.” (D&C 58:31-33)

The ‘Ordain Women’ movement is nothing short of apostasy by those who want God to recreate His divine, eternal governing structure to fit their fleeting liberal feelings. To hear some of these supporters proclaim that they are active, committed LDS members is preposterous.

One of two things must be true here: Either these supporters believe that the women/priesthood issue is a policy created by the church itself, and that it is not of God, and that He is not in charge. Or they believe that they can persuade God to change His eternal structure for the salvation of His children, something that has been working beautifully for eternity.

If they are trying to get God to change his eternal doctrine, may I refer all to the last verse in D&C 22:

Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.” (D&C 22:4)

AMEN!

It is clear that followers of the Ordain Women movement do not accept the Lord’s revealed doctrine as it now exists. They apparently don’t accept the president of the Church as a prophet, seer and revelator, because he’s not revealing to them what they want to hear. They side with an organization that is diametrically opposed to the divine nature and calling of women, not just in the church but in the eternities. Therefore, they have distanced themselves from the influence of the Holy Ghost and from worthiness to enter the temple and receive those additional blessings. Perhaps in their state of being influenced by worldly views, they no longer value the Gift of the Holy Ghost or temple attendance.

Kate Kelly (the organizer behind the Ordain Women movement) is not a martyr because she got excommunicated. She is an apostate. And she’s trying to take others down with her. And sadly, many people who should know better are following her.  She has since expressed her determination to keep up her effort to change the Lord’s eternal system of family and government. Ms. Kelly might be a fine person in all other aspects. But in this context, she is an adversary to the truth of God. Satan is using her to dismantle the faith of some, and to destroy families. The destructive power she is exercising needs to be recognized for what it is.

This is not an issue of the Church being unrighteously oppressive toward women or anyone else. This is an issue of God’s eternal family and government structure, one that has been proven to work since the beginning of His kingdom, and people wanting Him to change it to fit their own philosophies.

Isaiah was right on:

“9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord:
10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” (Isaiah 30:9-11)

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was also right on:

“Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.

Talk about man creating God in his own image! Sometimes—and this seems the greatest irony of all—these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of “comfortable” God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like “comfortable” doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in?” (General Conference, April 2014)

When we embrace the liberal philosophies of the world, whether it be about women and the priesthood, or gay marriage, or women wearing pants to church to be equal to men (remember that one?), or all worthy male members of the church receiving the priesthood, we are showing that we care more about those philosophies than pleasing God. We show that we trust the world more than we trust God. In effect, we are choosing another god in place of the One who created us and who is our Father.

Satan can make worldly philosophies appear to be sensible. That is where the Gift of the Holy Ghost is so important. The power of discernment that is part of that gift is critical to our being able to avoid pitfalls like this.

The ‘support’ websites for people who struggle with their faith are not helpful in genuinely returning to the church. Rather, they manufacture even more justifications for dissident views, and a latent further distancing from the influence of the Holy Ghost. They are populated by others who lack the faith to approach God, and the desire and humility to do things His way.  

In the book of First Nephi in the Book of Mormon, when Lehi was taking his family out of Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and going… they didn’t yet know where… Laman and Lemuel rebelled… they whined and sniveled. They questioned their authority figure, their father, who happened to be a prophet of God. They beat up their younger brother (Nephi) who didn’t agree with their rebellion. They even threatened their own parents on the ship if they even verbalized support for Nephi.

But what did Nephi do during this time? He went to the Lord for his answers. He didn’t rebel. He didn’t go find a support group of fellow strugglers who were trying to find a sugar-coated, roundabout way to reconcile instead of doing what they should have and turn directly to their God. He didn’t publicly whine and murmur and criticize. He did it right. He went right to the source. Again I quote:

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.” (1 Ne. 2:16)

I remember reading an article right after the 2012 general election entitled “Nine Mormon Women who Voted for Obama.” Before I share my summary of this article, I want to reiterate the Church’s position at election time. They do not support a particular party or candidate. But the Church must, and does, take positions with moral issues, including political issues that are at odds with God’s will for His children. There are good people in all political parties, and some good ideas in all. But modern moral conservatism and modern liberalism blur their boundaries between the parties. It is a usual practice for the Church to send a letter to each ward and branch in the United States to be read at election time, basically reminding the members to do their civic duty and vote for those candidates and propositions/laws that will aid in righteousness and in furthering the Lord’s kingdom on earth. So why were these nine LDS women so proud that they voted against a former church missionary, former stake president, a deeply spiritual man in the Lord’s kingdom, and a proven financial success both in business and in government, who clearly puts family first and has Church principles at his core… and instead voted for someone who clearly opposes financial responsibility, personal accountability, liberty, morality, the sanctity of human life at birth, and the pure rights granted under our God-ordained Constitution? My simple answer is because they followed the ‘wisdom’ of the world rather than God. They believed what they heard in the mainstream media rather than understanding that through the power of the Holy Ghost they could know  the truth of what each candidate stood for and who would be best according to the Lord’s desires for the people of this nation, and particularly members of the LDS church. In short, they demonstrated their spiritual weakness, and they seem to be proud of it. Another example of abandoning a spiritual witness, and instead trusting the world and its wisdom.

President Boyd K. Packer said:
“Enos, who was “struggling in the spirit,” said, “Behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind.” (Enos 1:10; italics added.) While this spiritual communication comes into the mind, it comes more as a feeling, an impression, than simply as a thought. Unless you have experienced it, it is very difficult to describe that delicate process.
The witness is not communicated through the intellect alone, however bright the intellect may be.
“The natural man,” Paul told us, “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:13–14.)
Recently the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles issued a statement alerting members of the Church to the dangers of participating in circles which concentrate on doctrine and ordinances and measure them by the intellect alone.
If doctrines and behavior are measured by the intellect alone, the essential spiritual ingredient is missing, and we will be misled.
Personal testimony is confirmed to us initially and is reaffirmed and enlarged thereafter through a harmonious combining of both the intellect and the spirit.” (General Conference, October 1991)

In summary, there is no other way to gain and keep a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with all that goes along with it, without the witness of the Holy Ghost. I believe it is impossible to maintain that testimony without continued exercise of it, by putting the Lord to the test. We need to exercise that faith and see the blessings come. All the wisdom in the world will not convince anyone of the truthfulness of God’s work. But when a person has been through the “refiner’s fire” and has seen the blessings time and again, perhaps hundreds of times, there is a spiritual witness with depth that all the wisdom in the world cannot refute. And there are millions of people in the world who have such depth because of the exercise of their faith, who will not succumb to the absurdity that is at the core of the Ordain Women movement and other satanic attempts to incite apostasy. I wonder what will come next… Satan is clever.

15 comments:

Ember said...

This was great! Keep writing! You lay it out boldly and beautifully. This was shared by a friend on FB. Your last line was perfect and has been on my mind a lot. We have to be hyper vigilant to protect our faith!!!

Rick Carpenter said...

Thank you. I'm doubtful that the people who really need to read it will actually do so. But it made me feel better to get it out. :)

jetpotato said...

"Satanic"? Wow. Now that is a hateful insinuation hiding behind the safe "righteous judgment" expression.

You sound like a thoughtful, spiritual, smart guy. So it is even more disconcerting to see you make such generalizations and assumptions about more liberal Mormons. I'd just like to point out a few ideas that could help you understand your fellow Mormons a bit better.

-We're all on the same team. Yup, we are. We love the faith and want to grow spiritually just as you do. You and I know that anyone can find quotes/scriptures on any side of any argument that will support his/her cause. That said, there are many quotes from our leaders that say revelation is continuing, prophets and leaders are fallible, and we need to have our own ideas and knowledge.

-I can suggest that your blog post is your own doctrine, and putting it out there for all to see is in fact, your own take on doctrine. Should I follow it? Bruce McConkie wrote Mormon Doctrine (not approved by President McKay) that endorsed such doctrines as Adam-God, Blood Atonement, among others that are now known as false doctrines. He preached them as a Gen Authority, thus leading the LDS church "astray" in a way. He was not excommunicated. Also, you see such doctrines as polygamy (once taught by BY as the only way to attain celestial glory), and of course, the famous Blacks not holding the priesthood doctrine. (Check out lds.org topics section for all the releases of essays on sensitive topics). I think these reasons are sound reasons for the ground that things could change, as they have over time with yes, social pressure, and yes, continuing revelation when the social climate permits for such things. OW did the right thing in understanding that the prophet is the only one to receive revelation, so they wanted to see if he could ask. If you would read some of the profiles on OW you'd see these are some of the most faithful, lds-loving women out there. It's so easy to make rash generalizations of a group when you think it's obvious from your perspective they are in the wrong, but the thing is we all have different perspectives. It's okay to learn about them, and about people. You will grow in love and appreciation for all kinds of people and opinions.

jetpotato said...

Also, you were not raving the support groups available for those in a faith crisis. Perhaps you have not had one? I had to restructure my whole foundation of faith (and no it wasn't because I didn't have a sure foundation in the first place) after I read Rough Stone Rolling by Bushman, and other various LDS apologetic sites like FAIR and FARMS, which tend to take a bit of spin on things. Church history is, well, a bit of a mess. LDS.org has put out those essays I mentioned, as it became necessary to do so. They are hidden, yes, in the topics section. They range from varying accounts of the JS vision to Mountain Meadows Massacre. I felt like I had my trust shaken a lot in the church, the teachings (whitewashed, yes), and the leaders. Support groups are where people who love the religion, but don't know how to reconcile such bits of new information with the old can join together to SUPPORT and help each other reconstruct new faith. Some leave the church, some stay, some are in limbo. Do we look down on these people? Do we shame them and call out for not having strong enough testimonies in the Savior? I don't think so. I think we listen, and try to understand.
-We're all just trying to navigate this world. Why assume someone or a group of people is trying to manipulate God? Those are some pretty harsh judgments, to place your perceptions of what others are doing on them. How do you know what their relationship with their Heavenly Father is? How do YOU know?
-I hope we can give each other the benefit of the doubt with all differing issues. It is simply not black and white. We could go back and forth not getting anywhere but what is the point of that? We are on our own individual journeys. We all have our own way to feel the spirit, to interpret revelation and inspirations. I'll give yours to you if you will give me the respect to have my own path as well. Pause, listen, learn, rejoice, and be free in your own knowledge without forcing yours upon others.
Best to you.

Rick Carpenter said...

Part 1: You apparently don’t understand the point of this blog post. And you are using the ‘hate’ barb like a true liberal would. The point of the post is how so many are departing from spiritual guidance and trusting worldly ‘evidence’.

I am not forcing ‘my doctrine’ on others. People have a choice to believe it or not. They can also try to refute it. But I don't think anyone can while using the scriptures or the words of our modern-day prophets. They can only ‘try’ to refute it using more of the world’s ‘wisdom’. I quoted both ancient and modern scripture in my blog post. Do you think I used any of it out of context? Being trained as a lawyer, I am very direct… obviously… to a fault sometimes. That’s my style.

There is nothing wrong with questioning beliefs. I made that clear. But when people get a response from the Lord’s ordained leaders and they cannot accept it, and they continue to make their argument public, and as in the case of Kate Kelly, openly defy their inspired priesthood leaders, apostasy is the result.

Who is the author of apostasy… why, it’s… Satan! Ooh, that hateful word again!

Ordain Women is not an innocent bunch of sweet little sisters. It is an apostate group bent on creating dissention, and they do so by creating emotional support for their cause. They try to make their position 'make sense' to people... hence the wisdom of the world. Kate Kelly got her answers from church leadership. She didn’t like them. She was counseled by multiple priesthood leaders. This is evident from the letter she received (and which she chose to make public) after her excommunication. She was warned not to do the things she did. She purposely defied these warnings. She chose to reject the priesthood counsel given to her. She chose not to attend meetings, including her own disciplinary hearing. Her leaders were willing to work with her schedule. She evaded them. This is also quite clear. Kate Kelly was bent on making a statement. And she certainly did, which includes her apparent disrespect for priesthood authority if she doesn’t get what she wants. She cannot accept the Lord’s structure as it now stands. She has to fight it. That is apostasy. Satan is very clever, and a lot of people cannot see this for what it is. And they are falling into the trap without knowing it. I hope you’re not one of them.

What is the motive behind establishing a website to bring attention to a church doctrine you don’t agree with? It certainly isn’t to ‘get answers to your concerns’. You can do that through meetings with priesthood leaders. Even better, a person can do that through study, fasting and praying. But no, Kate Kelly needed to create a website to share her frustration with the church. She needed followers. The result of her efforts includes divorces, marital contention, and loss of faith in others. Who is the author of this kind of dissent? And you think I was hateful for calling the impetus of an organization that creates public dissatisfaction with the Lord’s church and causes contention within otherwise gospel-centered homes ‘satanic’? Really?

Rick Carpenter said...

Part 2: The point of my post is that people need to turn to God for their answers and their comfort. Certainly not to support groups. That is a worldly counterfeit for ‘spiritual support’. If these people cannot trust their bishops, if they cannot trust their inspiration and the promises given to us in the scriptures about spiritual guidance, then their problems with the church are deeper than any ‘support group’ can hope to fix. My experience with these groups is that people generally don’t return. A few exceptions exist (and maybe you are one of them), but for the most part, an attempt to circumvent the methods the Lord and His inspired servants have made available to us yields ‘other’ results. Why not just go straight to the Lord, the One who actually can give us the right answers?

Your comments about Brigham Young and Bruce R. McConkie and others that you mentioned are irrelevant to this post. Your suggestion was that doctrines or positions can change. The issue about blacks and the priesthood was a fulfillment of prophecy that was expected to happen at some point. And it wasn’t about blacks. It was about ‘all worthy male members’. There were other groups who were not offered the priesthood at that time as well. That was not a change in actual doctrine. It was about the Lord’s timing. The other references you made did not result in changes to church doctrine. But regarding the men and their beliefs or statements, there are many examples where general authorities spoke as men and not as prophets. Joseph Fielding Smith said he didn’t believe men would land on the moon, and then it happened during his lifetime.

To call me hateful because I referred to overt attempts to incite rebellion within the church as satanic makes you sound pretty na├»ve to what is really going on around us. You seem to side with Ordain Women, and I seem to have struck a nerve with you. Maybe I’m wrong there but that’s the vibe I got from your comment. One of the questions required to obtain a temple recommend asks if we support or sympathize with organizations whose teachings are opposed to those of the church. This question is asked after we affirm that we support the president of the church as a prophet, seer and revelator. If a person supports Ordain Women or sympathizes or agrees with them, doesn’t that make them ineligible for entering the temple? Where is there any room for latitude there? You say that there are ‘the most faithful, loving women’ with profiles on the Ordain Women site. If they really are that faithful, why don’t they just follow the Lord’s revealed doctrine as it is? I think you are confused about what ‘faithful’ means in the context of being spiritually in tune and following the Lord’s prophet. Their talking points, used in the same way the liberal media uses them, includes phrases such as "worshiping with pain" and "suffering in silence." What pain? The self-induce 'pain' of not getting what one wants? Suffering in silence over what? Not having the perceived 'power' that the priesthood appears to have? These women are choosing to get their sense of self-worth from the world... power as defined by the world (and the priesthood is apparently that kind of power) is what they want, not power as defined by God. Go back and read Sister Julie B. Beck's talk from General Conference, October 2007. That is all about the true power that women have, not this worldly counterfeit that Ordain Women is creating dissention over.

Rick Carpenter said...

Part 3: You say I’m making assumptions and generalizations. Perhaps in some ways. But my comments are far more accurate than you might be willing to admit. This issue is affecting my own close family. I see specific effects of this and other efforts to fight the church. These are not generalizations. And as far as other so-called generalizations, I have yet to see a single example of a truly faithful LDS person, man or woman, who is genuinely following the Spirit in the decisions they make, and who would align with a group such as this. I ‘hear’ of such people, but no one can actually show me one. I’m not sure anyone can produce one.

My doctrine, eh? I’m flattered.

cold cocoa said...

I found your blog whilst looking up "open Mormon". Luckily I have some good things to add here.

For many that fall away, their faith is built upon a false premise: "it's either all true or all false". In the internet age, where information is available at our fingertips, once someone stumbles upon "anti-lds" info then the foundation crumbles. Even more so when they realize the church is finally acknowledging these "anti" things as truth. If one can still have a testimony of the Savior, which is what our testimonies are supposed to be about in the first place, then this would be less likely to happen. As it is, JS is HUGE in our church, so there are a multitude of reasons that one would start to question the institution as a whole. This is where we need to separate "church" from the "gospel".

The gospel is simple. It's in the BoM over and over- come unto Christ, be baptized, repent, receive his spirit. That's it. Love God and thy neighbor, and everything falls into place. Once you see this, there is room for so much more to be understood. Gay marriage? The Lord hasn't spoken on the matter- the arguments we try to justify condemning it are weak. Women in the Priesthood? Again, it's not that crazy of an idea. I've read a lot about it and am not afraid of endorsing or hoping for it one day.

We have so much "hero worship" in this church (I recommend you read "Crucible of Doubt" by the Givens- it's at Deseret Book and amazon) that we tend to trust in the arm of flesh more than our own spiritual feelings. God wouldn't take agency away from His leaders. They are speaking as men, with their own biases and prejudices (just as you and I do). Though consciously trying to do what the Lord would have them do, they aren't perfect. The church needs the atonement just as much as we do. Continuing revelation allows us to make adjustments necessary to become one in heart and mind.

I'm guessing this would sound "liberal" to you, but it makes a lot of sense to me. The point of this journey is to walk hand in hand with all our brothers and sisters. Not to divide "us" from "them". We need to get back to the roots of the gospel- loving one another. It can be that simple.

This is a helpful article as well:
http://rationalfaiths.com/progressive-mormons-wrong-oh-ya-conservative-ones/

I know it's comforting for many to have a set of rules and laws to adhere to. It takes the work out of things. However, I believe that it's not supposed to be that easy. Part of the struggle is venturing out of the safe Pharisaical realm of religion and learning to trust yourself as you lean on the Savior and God and less on man.

Rick Carpenter said...

Very thoughtful post. I don't fault anyone for having questions about doctrinal issues, or hoping for things to come. To hope that women someday hold the priesthood is not wrong. To rebel against the church today because they don't is very wrong, especially if a person tries to take other people with them in their apostasy. The issue of gay marriage should not be in question at all. Marriage in God's kingdom has at its core the purpose of procreation. It is primarily about creating posterity, not about intimate relationships. The concerns about Joseph Smith that surface on the internet today are questionable in their validity and integrity. Those who knew Joseph Smith personally could have written more about his imperfections, and they would have been more widely known then. Why now? Because it is Satan's latest tactic. Nothing can replace a spiritual conversion. Nothing can satisfy counterfeit assertions and unanswered questions like a testimony built on the trial of one's faith and seeing blessings come. With such a testimony comes depth and the ability to withstand propaganda and modern liberal rebellion. Having questions is a part of the gospel fabric. How we get our answers is what makes a follower of Christ (1 Nephi 2:16). Thanks again for your post. It was well presented.

cold cocoa said...

Thanks for your comments. I never thought I'd get into the OW movement, but here I am. I do tend to think they weren't "rebelling". If priesthood leaders weren't willing to acknowledge and have a real discussion (you've got to admit lay leaders aren't equipped to handle this kind of thing) with Kate Kelly, how was she supposed to have her question answered? I know she prayed about it and I'm assuming she stayed in line with what she was interpreting from the Lord. I read accounts of OW going to Priesthood session, and there was no anger. There was an attitude of respect, of quiet reverence. Their desire to have the spirit at this event was apparent. Read my old bishop's account here:
http://buddhainthebeehive.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/pride-of-lionesses-my-experience-standing-in-line-with-ordain-women/

Frankly, I don't view this as an apostate movement. Are our levels of inclusion so narrow as to exclude people who have different views on various aspects of our religion? I say let's have the 12 break bread and have a conversation with KK and some of her group. After that, more can be known about the intent and heart of the OW movement. I really don't think excommunication is appropriate in very many circumstances.

cold cocoa said...

"Marriage in God's kingdom has at its core the purpose of procreation. It is primarily about creating posterity, not about intimate relationships". I'd say that's what we've been taught, yes, but this is not completely true. Do couples marry solely for the relationship? Yes. Should infertile couples not marry? Should senior couples not marry for companionship? Until each of us are willing to try living a celibate, lonely life empty of a companion, I'd hold out judgment. Look at how much our knowledge on same-sex attraction has evolved in just 20 years. From "a choice" to "not a choice". Look at the rates of suicide and depression for these folks within the conservative religious groups and hold back and rethink our position. It makes the most sense (to me) to err on the side of love and compassion. But I know my position is not common, among my friends or family.

With Satan, why does he get so much credit? I see men's hand in a lot of these issues. I could say Satan was behind the whitewashing of church history as well, as it has caused a great rift in the story being told and the story that is true. I have also seen a lot of words being taken out of context from our leaders and put in manuals and in the church essays. I like to call these "half-truths". I also wonder if they are also referred to as "the philosophies of man mingled with scripture". Everyone wants to make their position look good. Our church does too, as did many prophets of the past. While that's not totally evil, it is deceiving, and when we put all of our trust into this religion it sends a lot of mixed messages! I try to go to original sources. I don't think Satan is re-writing history. I think we have access to more history than we have been exposed to in correlation and the sifting of the new into the old is a complex and troubling matter for many. I've read words from JS, BY and past leaders that have been very troubling. The essays on Race and the Priesthood, MMM, First Vision Accounts, and the most recent Polygamy essays have brought a lot of these questions into the light. So do we get our answers to these historical problems? Our church has not been up front about them.

Anyway, I know this is a lot to say and now I know we are even acquainted in part from being in the same SF ward for a while. (Small LDS internet world (:) I just really want to be able to converse with people in my own faith about questions I think we all should have. I guess at the end of the day everything boils down to spiritual confirmation, and I'm all for saying JS was inspired and the BoM is definitely a book that brings people to Christ, but is it exactly what we claim it to be in this church? Is it historical. Is it some of JS worldview and culture and own questions mixed in with some inspiration? Same with the BoA. With all its problems, if we find light in it, does anything else matter? I think not, but the story we as a church are telling will need to change.

Rick Carpenter said...

We know each other? Since I don't know who YOU are, you can let me know by private email to rcarpinaz@gmail.com.

BossyMommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick Carpenter said...

OK I know who you are now… 

I did not say that marriage was ONLY about procreation. I said that was its PRIMARY purpose. Of course, married couples past the child-bearing years still have sex. Nothing wrong with that. But our prophets have also taught that those who avoid having children for selfish reasons (not including those who cannot for whatever reasons) are not fulfilling the measure of their creation and are not on track to gain exaltation.

God invented/created marriage. With the laws of God, which are eternal, there is no such thing as gay marriage. With the laws of man, which usurped the institution of marriage and perverted it, gay marriage exists. As Latter-Day Saints, we covenanted to embrace the laws of God. Do we still do that, or are we succumbing to the philosophies of the world? This is a non-negotiable subject for those who cling to the word of the Lord.

I disagree with you about Kate Kelly’s attitude of ‘quiet respect’. A person who honestly and humbly seeks the Lord’s counsel doesn’t establish a website and a blog to promote their cause. They don’t have news conferences and TV appearances, or organize priesthood meeting sit-ins, etc. No, this was clearly a rebellion against the church after not getting the answers she wanted. Again, simply following Nephi’s example in 1 Ne. 2:16 and letting the Lord teach us, is the right way. Organizing a movement to compete with the church is not. Kate Kelly rebelled and committed apostasy, quite clearly. And worse, she tried to recruit and take other people with her. Sadly, she has been somewhat successful, and too many women are deceived by the appearance of innocence in this apostate movement. No one is ‘suffering in silence’ here. That is a lame deflection away from the open rebellion that Kate Kelly has led. There is no suffering if we follow the Lord through His prophet. Any suffering being experienced in this context is because some people are not getting what they want and are basically pouting about it… and apostatizing.

Why does Satan get so much credit, because the scriptures are clear that anything that entices us to distance ourselves from inspired teachings – and I do mean inspired in the right ways – is from Satan. That which invites us to get closer to God is from God. That requires humility and meekness, and putting off the ‘natural man’ – pitting our will against the Lord’s. There is nothing humble or meek about Ordain Women. It is open rebellion, trying to bring the church under public liberal scrutiny. Nothing short of apostasy. Kate Kelly has her reward. She and her followers get their reward, just as the Lamanites of old got theirs:
“Wherefore, the word of the Lord was fulfilled which he spake unto me, saying that: Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were cut off from his presence.” (2 Nephi 5:20)

It may be hard for some to admit where this movement has gotten them. But it should be clear that those who embrace Ordain Women, knowing it is contrary to the revealed word of God (as is revealed at this time) have distanced themselves from the Lord, and have made themselves unworthy to enter the temple. The Temple Recommend question that asks, “Do you support, sympathize or affiliate with any person or organization whose teachings are contrary to the church?” separates those who hearken to the word of God through His prophets from those who hearken to the words and wisdom of the world. Which side are we on? It should be clear by whom we align with. This is not a vague issue at all… only vague or subjective to those who are not in tune with the Lord’s Spirit.

Harsh of me to say? Maybe to some. But as Nephi himself said, “the guilty taketh the truth to be hard….” (1 Ne. 16:2) Either we humble ourselves and follow the Lord, acknowledging that He knows more about His eternal designs than we do, or we rebel. It’s simple, and not the least bit vague.

BossyMommy said...

Yeah. What he said.