Mormonism LIVE! 040: Symphony Of LGBT Mis-Direction & Mr. Holland Dopus

Since its inception in 1830 LDS Leaders have been consistent at one thing. While lip service is given to being a Church that has Prophets, Seers, and Revelators who claim to speak for God and give direction from on high, these men seem to always be behind the times, stating outdated false misconceptions and teaching false and at times harmful rhetoric. No where can this be more easily recognized than on the LGBT issue. But….. sadly It doesn’t stop there.

RESOURCES:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg36L1989Ss&ab_channel=BYUSpeeches

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ay5dk9mky0p0sm7/OnTheRecord7-27.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/y9z40tx8wd9rt9m/homosexuality.pdf?dl=0

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/interview-oaks-wickman-same-gender-attraction

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/same-sex-attraction?lang=eng

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/explaining-religious-freedom-and-lgbt-rights

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Mormon Discussion: 335: Hans Mattsson – A Crisis of Truth

Today we Sit down with former LDS Area Authority Hans Mattsson. As Hans begin reading into the deeper history of Mormonism and as other approached him with their historical questions, Hans sensed that the Church’s narrative didn’t hold up and that the tough questions did not have satisfactory answers. Hans took his concerns to the upper leadership of the Church and on November 28, 2010 LDS Church Historian Marlin Jensen and assistant historian Richard Turley gave a presentation where they attempted to provide answers to questions asked by Hans Mattsson and other members in Sweden. Today We talk with Hans about all of that and where he is today and what he makes of Mormonism having stepped away.

Mormon Stories Interview with Mattsson
NY Times Article
Swedish Rescue

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How To Not Answer Questions On Church History With Steven Harper Part 2

Today we dissect the Mormon Channel’s video titled “How to Answer Questions about Church History” hosted by  Amy Iverson where she interviews Steven Harper on how he as a Church Historian deals with tough issues within Church history.

You might expect a Church historian who is on such a program due to his immersion and professional understanding of LDS Church History to use Church history to show that the tough questions have solid answers.  You might expect him to encourage members who come across a tough issue to dive deeper, to find original sources, or refer them to the Gospel Topic Essays, or at least the Joseph Smith Papers Project as he had a major hand in it.  You might expect him pick out a few tough issues and then show how a more informed understanding of Church history helps to sort these issues out.  BUT……  As you will see he does anything but this.

– Notice his hesitancy to discuss the specifics of Church history.  He seems to, as a Church historian, not want to talk about Church history, and it feels his reason is he senses there is little there to build faith on.

– Notice when asked if Church history has built faith and has resolved his questions he constantly deflects from answering such questions directly and imposes that his testimony is not based in Church history.

– Notice his progression from A.) Questions always resolve themselves  B.) We have some questions that are yet unresolved but We have a lot of answers and I have faith the unresolved will yet be resolved.  C.) There are both several questions resolved as well as several questions unresolved.  D.) I have way more questions than answers and the more I learn Church history, the unresolved questions grow exponentially. and finally where he ends up E.) I hate to burst your bubble but dealing with the data causes us to reconstruct the Church in ways that have our faith in “what the Church is” being similar to how we reconcile Christmas after deconstructing the literalness of Santa Claus.

While Amy imposes that Church history has been, to Steven Harper, “an illumination to his soul”.  Radio Free Mormon and Bill Reel’s analysis shows it to have been anything but.

In the end it becomes obvious that not only does a Church historian avoid using Church history to resolve concerns, but also that he realizes avoiding Church history is the only way to tackle the difficult questions as to dive into the history is anything but faith promoting.

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How To Not Answer Questions On Church History With Steven Harper Part 1

Today we dissect the Mormon Channel’s video titled “How to Answer Questions about Church History” hosted by  Amy Iverson where she interviews Steven Harper on how he as a Church Historian deals with tough issues within Church history.

You might expect a Church historian who is on such a program due to his immersion and professional understanding of LDS Church History to use Church history to show that the tough questions have solid answers.  You might expect him to encourage members who come across a tough issue to dive deeper, to find original sources, or refer them to the Gospel Topic Essays, or at least the Joseph Smith Papers Project as he had a major hand in it.  You might expect him pick out a few tough issues and then show how a more informed understanding of Church history helps to sort these issues out.  BUT……  As you will see he does anything but this.

– Notice his hesitancy to discuss the specifics of Church history.  He seems to, as a Church historian, not want to talk about Church history, and it feels his reason is he senses there is little there to build faith on.

– Notice when asked if Church history has built faith and has resolved his questions he constantly deflects from answering such questions directly and imposes that his testimony is not based in Church history.

– Notice his progression from A.) Questions always resolve themselves  B.) We have some questions that are yet unresolved but We have a lot of answers and I have faith the unresolved will yet be resolved.  C.) There are both several questions resolved as well as several questions unresolved.  D.) I have way more questions than answers and the more I learn Church history, the unresolved questions grow exponentially. and finally where he ends up E.) I hate to burst your bubble but dealing with the data causes us to reconstruct the Church in ways that have our faith in “what the Church is” being similar to how we reconcile Christmas after deconstructing the literalness of Santa Claus.

While Amy imposes that Church history has been, to Steven Harper, “an illumination to his soul”.  Radio Free Mormon and Bill Reel’s analysis shows it to have been anything but.

In the end it becomes obvious that not only does a Church historian avoid using Church history to resolve concerns, but also that he realizes avoiding Church history is the only way to tackle the difficult questions as to dive into the history is anything but faith promoting.

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279: Rabbit Holes and Upcoming Events

The episode starts with sharing upcoming events we are planning then dives into the episode “Rabbit Holes”

Alice was encouraged into the rabbit hole but once she entered there was no turning back.  In Mormonism too there are rabbit holes and they too never end where we expected.  As we look at the question of “What in our narrative has to change?”, it may be easier to ask “What doesn’t have to change?” as we are beginning to sense that so so much of our story is problematic.

 

To see Events being held check out these links

Event is Southern Utah: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mormon-discussion-podcast-presents-a-dialogue-on-lds-gospel-topic-essays-tickets-37284135854

Event in the Las Vegas area: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mormon-discussion-podcast-presents-joseph-smiths-folk-magic-seer-stones-and-treasure-digging-tickets-37315533766

To hold an event in your area email me at reelmormon AT gmail DOT com

These are so much fun and we will spend a day or two in great conversation and provide such a validating experience for those who are grappling with the messiness!

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Stages of Faith & Building Bridges

This audio program is hosted by Bill Reel, an active faithful Latter-day Saint who has himself gone through a difficult and painful faith transition and has remained active in the Church.  This program is for the loved ones of those struggling in hopes for understanding and a safe space to have conversations.

You likely received this audio program from someone you love who is going through a hard time.  They need you as a trusted friend and they treasure your relationship and are hopeful you will listen to this episode in hopes that you can better understand their struggle of faith.   In the end the real solutions to a crisis of faith is love, empathy, compassion, and support and most importantly validation.  May this be one step to such things.

WEB RESOURCES:

paulien stages of faith

Keeley Stages of Faith

Perry’s Scheme of Development

Fowler’s Stages of faith

 

BOOKS:

The Critical Journey

Faith Shift

Navigating Mormon Faith Crisis

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276: Fix your faith crisis with this one weird trick! – WOOD vs STEEL Tools

Today we read  an incredible blog post written by “Thinker of Thoughts“.

Faith crises are all the rage. Everybody’s talking about them. Okay, well not everybody. Mainly the people who have gone through them. Most other people are probably wishing that the people who keep bringing them up would just go away. They are like the Debbie Downer of religious circles, or your local family reunion.

Be that as it may, chances are that at some point in your life you (or someone you love) will be faced with a crisis of faith. Depending on what faith your crisis originates from, the experience can be quite devastating. This post is going to give you a single simple trick to fix a crisis of faith – but, before I reveal this trick to you, there is some groundwork that must be laid involving what it means to “fix” a faith crisis.

As I read this blog post it struck me that Apologetics in Mormonism at its core is no different than the apologetics of the false High Demand religions out there and that STEEL tools are rarely encouraged and seen as valid to one in crisis.  As the author here points out, if the apologetic strategy would work in true religions as much as false ones than the strategy is too imperfect to be utilized by a true truth seeker.  The end goal of WOOD tools is to keep the doubter in the Church and also minimize his doubts to others.  Since the methods have been shown to be just as useful in false religions as in Mormonism, these WOOD tools are useless for real truthseeking!

The use of the blog post was done with the permission of “Thinker of Thoughts”

RESOURCES:

thoughtsonthingsandstuff.com/fix-your-faith-crisis-with-this-one-weird-trick/

https://carm.org/logical-fallacies-or-fallacies-argumentation

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/how-to-make-sound-arguments-for-the-faith

http://www.cmfnow.com/articles/pa208.htm

 

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One Family’s Letter to a Leader

For a Formatable Copy – https://mormondiscussions.org/mdpodcast/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2017/08/Letter-To-Leader-Format.rtf

Otherwise the letter can be read in it’s entirety below


Dear Church Leader,

 

Spouse XYZ and I have discussed at length the conversation you had with us at our house Tuesday night as well as the follow up texts the next day and the three hour conversation you and I had on Father’s Day.  You said many contradictory things. You said things that many would find offensive. However, understand that we take no offense and honor your authenticity. We saw a guy in anguish, sincerely struggling to do the right thing and lead his ward in the best way possible.

 

You asked us to again review what the church has said about how and what we should be teaching at church and you asked us to help you. We appreciate your honesty and vulnerability and want to do what you have asked of us. 

 

When you and I spoke, you told me my “reputation preceded me” and you had heard “gossip and rumors stretching back ten years.” At our home, you told us that you have received “consistent and multiple complaints from several people” about our lessons. I haven’t taught a lesson in a year and a half and Spouse XYZ has taught 4 in he same time period as a sub in Relief Society.   You didn’t want to give us any examples or relay any actual complaints, although you emphasized how consistent the complaints were. Eventually you told us of two specific complaints. They were both about Spouse XYZ, that she had played a song that wasn’t a hymn during a lesson and more recently she did not teach the numbered lesson assigned to the week.  You told us we need to follow the curriculum, which you said meant only teaching from the scriptures and words of the prophets and to eliminate songs, stories, personal thoughts etc. You admitted that your concern was all based on hearsay and gossip, that you’d never personally heard us teach but continued to insist that we both need to stick to the curriculum.

 

The rumors and gossip are not true.  We teach from the current curriculum and are up to date with the most recent instruction from the brethren. We would never show up and simply read a manual. Regarding the song- Spouse XYZ had been talking to a sister who shared her current struggle with self esteem and coincidentally her love of Whitney Houston songs. When she was asked to sub she was inspired to use the song “Greatest Love of All” by Houston to set the mood to link personal self worth with the knowledge of the love our Father in Heaven has for each of us. It seems to me that “consistent and multiple complaints from several people” is petty, high school-ish and mean spirited coming from our friends and neighbors and shouldn’t be worth your time. 

 

Regarding how and what to teach in church, you brought and left us chapter 11 of Teaching, No Greater Call, to review.

The most recent quote in that chapter was from the 1990’s before the creation of LDS.org. In that chapter, you pointed to and read the quote “To help us teach from the scriptures and the words of the latter-day prophets, the Church has produced lesson manuals and other materials. There is little need for commentaries or other reference material.”

However, if you look on LDS.org, in instructions for 2017 Curriculum, in Teaching The Savior’s Way; you will find chapters titled:

Focus on People, Not Lessons

Teach by the Spirit

Take Advantage of Spontaneous Teaching Moments 

Use Music, Stories and Art to Teach Doctrine

 

And in those chapters, the church tells us to not only “teach pure doctrine” but:

Often the best teaching moments are unexpected—for example, when someone shares an experience or asks a question that leads to a meaningful discussion. Allow time for such moments. Listen for promptings—both as you plan and as you teach—and be willing to change your plans if necessary to follow the promptings you receive…. Remember that it is more important to follow the impressions of the Spirit than to cover a certain amount of material.”

And:

 “When you prepare, let your understanding of the people you teach guide your plans. To reach different learners, you may be led to use music, make an assignment in advance, or share an analogy about something a class member is interested in, such as sports. Christlike teachers are not committed to a particular style or method; they are committed to helping people build faith in Jesus Christ and become more like Him.”

Teaching, No Greater Call, was put together in 1999 and the quotes in the chapter you gave us ranged from 20 to 79 years old, with the majority of the quotes from the 1930s-1970s. These quotes are instructions on how to teach. The 1999 manual gives specific instruction to teach one way and the new 2017 guidelines are different, even contradictory. The church is constantly evolving and adapting, even when it comes to doctrine. This makes many uncomfortable. 

Less than a year ago, in an Ensign article that was addressed “all who teach in the Church,” Elder Ballard said:

All good teachers must be good listeners. In addition to listening to your students, encourage them in class or in private to ask you questions about any topic.”

And:

“… let me warn you not to pass along faith-promoting or unsubstantiated rumors or outdated understandings and explanations of our doctrine and practices from the past. It is always wise to make it a practice to study the words of the living prophets and apostles; keep updated on current Church issues, policies, and statements through mormonnewsroom.org and LDS.org; and consult the works of recognized, thoughtful, and faithful LDS scholars to ensure you do not teach things that are untrue, out of date, or odd and quirky.”

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2016/12/by-study-and-by-faith?lang=eng

 In our True and Living Church, guidelines, instructions, official history and even Doctrine change and evolve. 

That fact can be exhilarating or frightening, but to know it to be a fact can help you resolve some of your internal struggles in how to handle things and help you understand better why so many people are struggling with the Church at this time.

Let me illustrate with a beautiful example:

In the Lesson 11, that you left for us, there is a quote by President Spencer W. Kimball. 

In 1948 Elder Spencer W. Kimball said: 

There are those today who seem to take pride in disagreeing with the orthodox teachings of the Church and who present their own opinions which are at variance with the revealed truth… Men may think as they please, but they have no right to impose upon others their unorthodox views. Such persons should realize that their own souls are in jeopardy” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1948, 109). 

How amazing is it that 30 years later, this beloved prophet would listen to the many members that were questioning the orthodox teachings of the church and begin to question the orthodox teachings of the church himself. In his biography, President Kimball shares the long years of personal struggle that eventually resulted in a revelation that changed the orthodox teachings of the church, changing the doctrine of priesthood worthiness to include blacks. Imagine if he had stuck to his own advise, where would our brothers and sisters of color be?

The Brethren know that these things aren’t easy, but they are asking us to learn these things now. Elder Ballard, in the December 2016 Ensign article addressed to “all who teach in the Church” said:

As you teachers pay the price to better understand our history, doctrine, and practices—better than you do now—you will be prepared to provide thoughtful, careful, and inspired answers to your students’ questions.”

There is a reason our current Prophets and apostles are telling us to know the current issues, to study the essays and to include them in our Sunday instruction.

 

Marlin K Jensen (previous Church historian and 1st Q of the seventy):
“Often in the church, when someone comes with a bit of a prickly question, he’ll be met with a ( a certain Church leader ) who number one, doesn’t know the answer. Number two, he snaps and says, ‘Get in line and don’t question the prophet, and get back and do your home teaching.’ And that isn’t helpful in most cases. So, we need to educate our leaders better, I think, to be sympathetic and empathetic and to draw out of these people where they are coming from and what’s brought them to the point they are at. What they have read, what they are thinking is, and try to understand them. Sometimes that alone is enough to help someone through a hard time. But beyond that, I think we really need to figure out a way to live a little bit with people who may never get completely settled.”

https://mormon-chronicles.blogspot.com/2012/01/rescue-plan-to-address-difficulties-of.html

 

Elder M Russell Ballard :

We have heard stories where someone asking honest questions about our history, doctrine, or practice were treated as though they were faithless. This is not the Lord’s way… We need to do better in responding to honest questions. Although we may not be able to answer every question about the cosmos or about our history, practices, or doctrine, we can provide many answers to those who are sincere.”

https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/to-the-saints-in-the-utah-south-area?lang=eng

 

Elder Steven Snow:

 “My view is that being open about our history solves a whole lot more problems than it creates. We might not have all the answers, but if we are open (and we now have pretty remarkable transparency), then I think in the long run that will serve us well. I think in the past there was a tendency to keep a lot of the records closed or at least not give access to information. But the world has changed in the last generation—with the access to information on the Internet, we can’t continue that pattern; I think we need to continue to be more open.”

https://mi.byu.edu/truth-in-church-history-excerpts-from-the-religious-educators-qa-with-elder-steven-snow/


Elder M Russell Ballard:

 “Gone are the days when a student asked an honest question and a teacher responded, “Don’t worry about it!” Gone are the days when a student raised a sincere concern and a teacher bore his or her testimony as a response intended to avoid the issue.” 

 https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/evening-with-a-general-authority/2016/02/the-opportunities-and-responsibilities-of-ces-teachers-in-the-21st-century?lang=eng

 

Elder M Russell Ballard:

 “It was only a generation ago that our young people’s access to information about our history, doctrine, and practices was basically limited to materials printed by the Church. Few students came in contact with alternative interpretations. Mostly, our young people lived a sheltered life. Our curriculum at that time, though well-meaning, did not prepare students for today— a day when students have instant access to virtually everything about the Church from every possible point of view.”

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2016/12/by-study-and-by-faith?lang=eng

 

Elder M Russell Ballard: 

“”It is important that you know the content in (Gospel Topic Essays) like you know the back of your hand. If you have questions about them, then please ask someone who has studied them and understands them. In other words, “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” as you master the content of these essays.””

 https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/evening-with-a-general-authority/2016/02/the-opportunities-and-responsibilities-of-ces-teachers-in-the-21st-century?lang=eng

 

President Uchtdorf:

 “And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.”

 https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/come-join-with-us?lang=eng

 

And the instructions from the current manuals say:

We can use music that has a sacred message outside church approved music
“4. Use hymns, Primary songs, and other sacred music to prepare class members’ hearts to feel the Spirit.”
https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-and-church-history-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/helps-for-the-teacher?lang=eng 

We as teachers can share unofficial ideas in the form of insights, personal experiences, feelings.
“6. As appropriate, share insights, feelings, and experiences that relate to the lesson. Invite class members to do the same. Class members could also tell about how they have applied principles discussed in previous lessons.”
https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-and-church-history-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/helps-for-the-teacher?lang=eng

And the Church suggests that we draw from the following resources:
“In addition, you may also find the following resources helpful.”
“Revelations in Context.”
“Gospel Topics Essays.”
“The Joseph Smith Papers. Original documents, transcribed and annotated, providing in-depth sources on Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Church, including detailed historical introductions to most sections of the Doctrine and Covenants.”
“The First Fifty Years of Relief Society.”
“Daughters in My Kingdom.”
https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-and-church-history-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/helps-for-the-teacher?lang=eng

The ( a certain Church leader ), the leaders of our ward and the teachers of our members have been asked by the brethren to know what is in these sources, particularly the Gospel Topics Essays. And our Church guidelines for teaching recommend that we draw from these sources to teach our Sunday classes.
With that said, I want to share with you details that are approved because they are in the sources we have listed.

 


– In the past Prophets have declared that certain teachings on race were God’s will and they named these teachings doctrine at the time only to have current leaders say those prophets taught false doctrine which we now will call “disavowed theories”
https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/od/2


– While Joseph claimed to be translating the Egyptian Papyri and claimed it was the writing of Abraham written by his own hand, the Church acknowledges that is problematic and we have 5 possible solutions though each has logical problems.
https://www.lds.org/topics/translation-and-historicity-of-the-book-of-abraham?lang=eng


– Women used to give blessings of healing by anointing others with consecrated oil and Relief Society was given a priesthood key and Joseph told the men to leave the women be in giving blessings only to have later leaders remove said privilege
https://www.lds.org/topics/joseph-smiths-teachings-about-priesthood-temple-and-women?lang=eng


– While we taught people for decades that the Book of Mormon was translated by the Nephite spectacles , the actual method predominantly used was a seer stone in a hat by which the stone Joseph used for treasure digging long before his first meeting with Moroni.   Most scholars think the Seer stone was solely used for the translation and at most the Nephite Interpreters were only used for the 116 pages which is not part of our Book of Mormon
https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-translation?lang=eng
http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/appendix-1-agreement-of-josiah-stowell-and-others-1-november-1825/1


– there is really no reason we can not talk about Heavenly Mother as long as we do so with reverence
https://www.lds.org/topics/mother-in-heaven?lang=eng


– The leaders of the church on some level organized and approved the Danite group who acted in violence against the Church’s non Mormon neighbors
https://www.lds.org/topics/peace-and-violence-among-19th-century-latter-day-saints?lang=eng


– Joseph kept many if not most of his marriages secret from Emma
https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-kirtland-and-nauvoo?lang=eng

 

– Joseph had plural wives (at least 33) including his 2nd plural wife a 16 year old Fanny Alger in 1833. Joseph likely had sex with many of them including Fanny.
https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-kirtland-and-nauvoo?lang=eng 

(be sure to click the read more on this and the other essays)


– While the Church had taught for decades it had ended polygamy with the manifesto in 1890, the Church secretly kept practicing polygamy as late as 1911 to 1914 though denying it publicly.
https://www.lds.org/topics/the-manifesto-and-the-end-of-plural-marriage?lang=eng

 

– While we only taught and framed the First Vision using the 1838 account, there are other accounts and there are discrepancies.  Sadly the 1832 account didn’t become publicly known until the 1960’s (1832 account is the earliest and in Joseph’s handwriting in his personal journal) (FYI: reason the 1832 didn’t surface until late was that Joseph Fielding Smith cut out the 1832 account from Joseph Smith’s journal and withheld it from the public when he was church historian)
https://www.lds.org/topics/first-vision-accounts?lang=eng
http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/site/accounts-of-the-first-vision
http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-circa-summer-1832/1


– While leaders taught since our inception that Native Americans are the Lamanites and have over time added all Hispanics, Polynesians and pother tan skinned people, we acknowledge their is no evidence of Jewish DNA that dates to the right time period in these people and that based on our scripture heading changes we no longer can with certainty specify any tanned skinned person Native American or otherwise as surely a Lamanite. Lamanites are no longer taught to be the primary ancestors of the Native Americans but rather “among the ancestors” of the Native Americans. This takes away certainty on any given person of tan skin.
https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-and-dna-studies?lang=eng
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/introduction?lang=eng


– While we taught for decades we in the next life would receive our own planet we now consider such a teaching a caricature and cartoonish and we would not identify with such a concept
https://www.lds.org/topics/becoming-like-god?lang=eng


–  Joseph denied publicly and to church members the practice of polygamy. He took wives beginning in 1833 in Kirtland (Sealing keys were not restored by Elijah till 1836 in Kirtland), had intimacy with many of them and kept most secret from Emma.  Emma sadly was the 23rd wife sealed to him and his plural wives were as young as 14 years old.  Some were sisters and some were mother daughter but few of the women knew about each other.

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/doc/introduction-to-journals-volume-2
https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-kirtland-and-nauvoo?lang=eng

 

( a certain Church leader ), these are now the approved historical facts we are dealing with. The online Sunday School manual says we should begin implementing these sources and the data they discuss. Our leaders quoted above have pointed us to begin the difficult task of learning and understanding these issues and the facts that surround them. It is even added as the curriculum for our youth classes and seminary.  In 2017 no one should learn this info from critical sources and be caught off guard and feel betrayed or lied to.  This is our new church history. Listen to the encouragement our leaders, and those under their direction writing this new curriculum.


We are making extraordinary efforts to provide accurate context and understanding of the teachings of the Restoration,”

said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a February appearance that sparked the additions to the Sunday School curriculum.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865669945/Essays-on-Mormon-history-doctrine-find-new-visibility-in-official-app-Sunday-School.html


“Church leaders intend the essays and the course materials to provide scholarship, historical perspectives and outside resources that increase member understanding of complicated events in church history and complex doctrines.”
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865669945/Essays-on-Mormon-history-doctrine-find-new-visibility-in-official-app-Sunday-School.html
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865669945/Essays-on-Mormon-history-doctrine-find-new-visibility-in-official-app-Sunday-School.html

“the church has published Gospel Topics essays to help answer questions about church history and controversial issues. Become familiar with official church resources, and encourage those who have questions to study them as well.” At the same time, the church grouped the essays together in one place for the first time in its popular Gospel Library app, used actively by more than 3 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The essays also are easier to find on lds.org, which asks teachers to “encourage members to study the Gospel Topics essays.”
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865669945/Essays-on-Mormon-history-doctrine-find-new-visibility-in-official-app-Sunday-School.html

  These issues are not something we have to be afraid of.

I realize that some members are unaware of these facts, and when they learn them, some are disturbed. They feel misled, lied to and even betrayed. The issue is most disturbing when they learn these facts from the critics and wonder why they were never told these things from the Church they love. While there is risk talking about these things, the brethren seem to realize the risk is greater if we say nothing. We need to understand there are many members who are leaving and disconnecting because they see no safe place in the church to move into the material that the brethren are now encouraging us to begin learning and discussing. These leaders believing if we tell our members the details in a faithful setting and with faithful context, we as a people can begin processing our complicated history. 

You know that Spouse XYZ and I have an extensive library. Thousands of the books in our library where either written by or about the prophets and apostles. We know the things that have been said and we know how things have changed over the years. We understand the context of these issues the complexity and the many, many discrepancies. We have been studying these issues in depth since we attended BYU nearly 3 decades ago. And still, we’re here worshiping with our friends and neighbors. We openly discuss the gospel with our children. Our family doesn’t aspire to high callings or upward movement in the church. We are content with simple gospel living.  Maybe that’s one reason we enjoy the gospel so much!

We could begin a united effort within our ward, to be both loving and inclusive, and accurate and forthcoming as we worship together, and lift one another’s burdens. 

Warmest regards,

XYZ and Spouse XYZ

266: The “Mormon Primer” Document and “The Struggle is Real” Audio

Recently we have released two published items.  One was an audio program titled “To Our Loved Ones, The struggle is Real” which audibly walks people into the issues so they can have compassion and empathy for those who struggling.   The second is a document titled “Mormon Primer” and it does the same thing.  It walks folks into the messiness of Mormonism hoping to create compassion, empathy, and understanding.  Would you please consider sharing these two items.  My hope is that these will be helpful to you on your journey.  My hope is these will be resources you see as helpful and useful.  LASTLY….  Would you please consider clicking the first URL below and HELPING me by making suggested edits to the Mormon Primer to improve sentence structure and wording and to make it more objective, more fair, and more comprehensive.  Feel free to submit entire new sections and feel free to make only a small edit or two.  Please consider helping today.  Thank you!

RESOURCES:

Mormon Primer Document where suggested edits can be made
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1F3DfEx1xR3BGIDcfg8UBvwCeDu-mRaljvYp7gMfoqQg/edit?usp=sharing

Mormon Primer shareable copy
https://mormonprimer.com/

To Our Loved Ones, The Struggle is Real audio
https://mormondiscussions.org/mdpodcast/2017/02/loved-ones-struggle-real/

 

Play

264: Gone Are The Days….. (Version 2)

I was broken.  I was mad.  I was frustrated.  I was sad.   I was at an impasse and I prayed for the Church to create real space for truth seeking.  Please….. Please……  Make a safe space…….  I need you and hope for you to truly honor my questions by having a vulnerable conversation about them.  Please hear my heart.  Please hear my soul.  I am begging for you to be real with me and all the others who are hurting.

First Presidency Statement:

We understand from time to time church members will have questions about church doctrine, history or practice. Members are always free to ask such questions and earnestly seek greater understanding. We feel special concern, however, for members who distance themselves from church doctrine or practice and, by advocacy, encourage others to follow them.

Simply asking questions has never constituted apostasy. Apostasy is repeatedly acting in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the church or its faithful leaders, or persisting, after receiving counsel, in teaching false doctrine. (June 28, 2014, First Presidency Statement)

RESOURCES

Questions Are Honored Blog Post

Questions and Apostasy

 

(This Episode in a different version released to the public on May 1st 2017.  It had been recorded in January 2017.  Due to my discomfort as I re-listened to it in part due to its tone, the episode was pulled and edited and re-released.  Over the next 24 hours, I edited a few small portions and re-recorded some sections.  I believe this version is more in line with the tone I want the podcast to convey while speaking vulnerably to the hurt and pain of those in a faith transition)

The message I read

“My real dilemma comes when the church holds tightly to its need to be correct, its need to be consistent and its need to claim ‘unchangeable doctrine’ despite mistakes, inconsistencies, and doctrines that change.

Let’s look at what the church is doing now. The church has rolled out essays containing statements that will be surprising to members. They did so without any acknowledgment that this information is new and/or contradicts past curriculum. They put forth essays containing information that in the past would only have been available in the anti-Mormon literature they told members NOT to read and the church expects members to accept it as if it had been available all along and as if it is consistent with previous teachings.

The subtle message to members is this: Information we previously told you was anti-Mormon, we are now telling you is true. We are not going to explain why we misled you in the past. We are not going to apologize for our error.  Even, though you now realize that you lied to others because you trusted us, we take no responsibility. Still, we expect you to trust us now and in the future. And we expect you to be honest in your dealings.

The method in which the church released these essays – without any acknowledgement that they contain information different than what they taught (and what they previously asked members to teach) – feels like a type of mental and spiritual abuse.  The fact that these essays have been released without giving extra training and help to Bishops and Gospel Doctrine teachers seems unwise at best, and unethical at worst.

The church has presented these essays in a way that implies members should be okay with this new information. If a person is confused, the implication is that something is wrong with the member, not the information or the way it was presented. The reality is that this is traumatic information for many people. Many feel lied to by the church.

The church has completely placed the burden of reconciling this information on the shoulders of its people while it maintains a stance that there is nothing to reconcile.

And this burden will continue with our current curriculum – with these essays silently inserted – week after week…[Most] people are not leaving the church because of problems with Church history. [Most] are leaving because of issues of trust. They are leaving because they were taught one thing in their youth and are being told something completely different now with the expectation they can continue believing that nothing has changed. Most people cannot do that in a way that maintains integrity – let alone sanity!!!”

Now, I would also add these thoughts:

Anyone who has read the essays knows that something significant has changed, something at least as significant as the change in 1978. Yet as leaders are largely silent, some wards teach the old narrative while some wards are trying to bring in bits and pieces of the new. Nobody knows exactly what to do.

The issue here is more than one of trust. The new narrative has changed reality for many of us. And it’s getting in the way of our relationships because some members believe one reality while other members believe another.

Play

Mormon Primer On Belief: The Examination Of The Controversial Issues Of Mormonism From An Objective Position

CLICK HERE FOR MORMON PRIMER

Introduction:

The major aim of writing this article is to display various perspectives on Mormonism’s most controversial issues.  Herein, we share the Orthodox, Apologetic, Critical, and Progressive viewpoints together with resources helpful to the reader at the end of each chapter, that the reader may explore each issue further.  This is a living document where edits and addendums are welcome.  Any revision suggestions can be emailed to [email protected]  For the most current copy of this document please go to mdpodcast.org and search for Mormon Primer

260: Justin Brierley – Unbelieveable

Today with sit down with Justin Brierley, host of the popuar Christian podcast “Unbelievable” which is hosted in the UK.  Justin joins us today to discuss his podcast and his faith journey.  We talk about orthodoxy vs unorthodoxy, his personal interpretation of scripture, what he sees as Christianity’s ability to stand up to criticism, and he feelings on doubt and skepticism.  If you have not checked out his podcast “Unbelievable”, Let me simply say it is one of those on my Itunes App and one that I enjoy.  So check out Justin Brierley and the podcast Unbelievable and I hope you enjoy today’s conversation.

 

Premier Christian Radio

Podcast Unbelieveable

Justin Brierley Bio

Another interview with him elsewhere

Play

255: Who Is The Doubter?

trust1

Today we sit down and discuss the a study done to delve into who is the doubting Mormon.  A study was done and presented to top LDS Leaders on the topic.  Today we delve into the data and find out what is known about these folks and what we know about the growth of this segment.  If nothing else the data suggests we have a real problem that can not be solved by blaming or marginalizing those who have had a decrease in institutional trust in Mormonism.

PDF STUDY RESULTS OF LDS DOUBTING & UNBELIEVING MORMONS

Play

Ward or Stake Resource: Help Thou Mine Unbelief


STAKE HANDOUT HELP THOU MINE UNBELIEF BY STUDY AND BY FAITH:

Suggestions and Resources to Work Through Questions Related to LDS Church History, Doctrine, and Social Issues

In the Church, we value truth and we value those who seek after it. Joseph Smith once said, “Mormonism is Truth.” He encouraged the Saints to let truth in no matter what source it came from. Truth is truth. In our faith we are having to do just that. In the Information Age we are becoming aware as a culture that adjustments need to be made in how we tell our story and how we respond to a better grasp of information on our history and doctrine. Many in our faith are having for the first time to deal with this awareness, and it can be unsettling. We are as a church taking steps to respond and likely have a lot of work to do, but in the meantime we must find ways to help each other adapt. Rather than judgment and self-righteousness, we ought to be humble and willing to lift the hands that hang down and to strengthen the feeble knees. The following handout has been designed to give people the tools they need to press forward through this transitional phase of their faith. This handout is not designed to answer the issues directly. To do so would take hundreds of pages with multiple factions agreeing and disagreeing over what is the best of answers. Instead, here is a surface view of what is helpful and what is not, giving the reader the framework of what may lay ahead, what to be careful of, and what to be aware of as one takes this journey.

For My Wife And Children: Why People Doubt

This letter (I did not author this) was done with Charity and not drawing the conclusion for others but sharing the messiness of Mormonism that compels us to re-evaluate our narrative. I am hoping this will be seen as informative and helping others to bridge conversations and to see why folks lose faith without being seen as advocating for apostasy.

Why People Doubt