Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

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Serragon
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby Serragon » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:57 am

Silver wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:55 am
Serragon wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:52 am
Silver wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:36 am
Line upon line. Precept upon precept.
Line upon line is a building up. You must build upon previous precepts. Kingdoms of Heaven, Sealing, Eternal marriage are all examples of this idea of building upon previous revelation.

What has been happening is a deletion and rewriting of lines. Precepts have been removed and replaced with others with no explanation.
It does seem confusing. As for me though, I have had wonderful revelatory experiences that assure me the Gospel is true and the closest thing on Earth to God's will for us. Thus, in spite of any issues, there is nowhere else to go.
THanks Silver. I too have a firm testimony in the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. But I am still confused about all of this. My personal belief system is in line with our current church teachings. But I often wonder if I'm not just a "product of my times".

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Silver
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby Silver » Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:05 pm

Serragon wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:57 am
Silver wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:55 am
Serragon wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:52 am
Silver wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:36 am
Line upon line. Precept upon precept.
Line upon line is a building up. You must build upon previous precepts. Kingdoms of Heaven, Sealing, Eternal marriage are all examples of this idea of building upon previous revelation.

What has been happening is a deletion and rewriting of lines. Precepts have been removed and replaced with others with no explanation.
It does seem confusing. As for me though, I have had wonderful revelatory experiences that assure me the Gospel is true and the closest thing on Earth to God's will for us. Thus, in spite of any issues, there is nowhere else to go.
THanks Silver. I too have a firm testimony in the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. But I am still confused about all of this. My personal belief system is in line with our current church teachings. But I often wonder if I'm not just a "product of my times".
Can you imagine what it must have been like to live in the time of Christ as one of His followers? Judas betrayed Him. Peter denied Him. And then He died. There must have been many disciples who were shaken to their core. Then came the glorious resurrection. We'll have an experience like that too some day, although it appears we're going to have to wait more than three days for that day to get here.
As a prophet reveals the truth it divides the people. (T)he worldly either want to close the mouth of the prophet, or else act as if the prophet didn’t exist, rather than repent of their sins. Popularity is never a test of truth. Ezra Taft Benson

RAB
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby RAB » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:52 am

The idea that seems to be at play here is that the doctrine as recorded in the scriptures and related by our Prophets and Apostles must be perfect. People seem to be linking not being led astray and truthfulness with perfection. So I pose a question. Is it possible to continue on the Lord's path and be saved, even if some things taught by the Prophets, Apostles, or in the scriptures are not perfectly accurate? To that I would answer a resounding yes. We can do all that is necessary in this life for salvation and continued progression even if some things we are taught not quite accurate. We can have faith, repent, receive all of the necessary ordinances, and continue progressing. The problem is not that our leaders do not want to relay things perfectly or intend to teach things that are not totally accurate. The problem is that they are human. The doctrine goes from its pure form in Heaven, through imperfect human beings, and any time human beings are injected in the process, we insert imperfections. We were never promised our leaders would be perfect, only that they would not lead us into apostasy. That means at times, they may share opinions that are not totally accurate. When it becomes important to correct those inaccuracies, the Lord will do so by revelation, even if it means correcting the imperfections of previous prophets as recorded in the scriptures.

This Church is the only one with a complete picture of the plan of salvation, with the keys, power, and authority to carry out the saving ordinances. Whatever doctrinal confusions we may have, or things we don't quite understand yet, this is the Lord's true Church, guided by inspired, though imperfect men. None of those imperfections undercut the truthfulness of eternal gospel principles, the plan of salvation, or the keys, power and authority to carry out the saving ordinances. If we are expecting perfection in how doctrine is taught and recorded in scriptures, then that doctrine must be taught and recorded by perfect beings. Is it blasphemy to say that the Book of Mormon is not perfect? No, even the prophets writing it admitted their imperfections. Surely they did not record everything with 100 percent precision as it happened, but from their point of view. Joseph Smith said it was the most correct book, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book. Notice he did not say it is perfect. How can it contain imperfections and still be true? I don't think the Holy Ghost testifies that what was said by Nehor, Ammoron in his epistle to Captain Moroni, Zeezrom (pre-repentance), Korihor, or Laman and Lemuel is true. I believe Moroni's promise is that we can know that the Book of Mormon is truly of ancient origin and is written by prophets inspired by God, and contains eternal gospel principles...not that everything contained therein is perfect. Likewise with the Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, etc. We can know the source from whence it was received is from God, though some of it may have been muddied up a little by imperfect human beings. Notice even Christ said the Church was the only true and living Church with which He was well pleased. He did not say it was perfect.

So, at times, our leaders have to strip away some of the previous imperfections of others when we are ready for more light and knowledge. This is the very process Brigham Young talked about and Joseph Smith approved...even if what was taught by current leaders contradicted that taught by previous leaders in the scriptures. But, I ask, what eternal doctrine of any significance has been changed from what we find in the scriptures? Faith? Repentance? The need for baptism by immersion or confirmation by the laying on of hands by those in authority? The only changes I have witnessed in the church are either clarifications of previous speculation or changes in policy, practices, or procedures, which the Lord may change depending on what is best for His people at the time. The eternal doctrine and principles found in the scriptures and taught by God's anointed have not changed and will not change. It is those things that we shall not wrest, lest we come under condemnation.

I should add that I believe the errors that may be recorded in scripture and taught as speculative doctrine are few and far between. There is way more that is taught and recorded that is right than errors that have slipped in through man's imperfection.
Last edited by RAB on Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:00 am, edited 3 times in total.

Silver
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby Silver » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:07 am

Bravo! Well written, RAB.

As you said, the Book of Mormon certainly contains errors, as its authors admit. None of the mistakes are regarding doctrinal issues though. It is the "most correct book," not the perfect book. Still, it's my favorite book and the only one I have read dozens of times.
As a prophet reveals the truth it divides the people. (T)he worldly either want to close the mouth of the prophet, or else act as if the prophet didn’t exist, rather than repent of their sins. Popularity is never a test of truth. Ezra Taft Benson

RAB
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby RAB » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:01 am

Silver wrote:
Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:07 am
Bravo! Well written, RAB.

As you said, the Book of Mormon certainly contains errors, as its authors admit. None of the mistakes are regarding doctrinal issues though. It is the "most correct book," not the perfect book. Still, it's my favorite book and the only one I have read dozens of times.
My favorite book as well. There is no other book that has transformed me or continues to transform me more than the Book of Mormon in trying to abide by the precepts taught therein.

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby djinwa » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:43 pm

I gave the quote on race as only one example of many that are causing problems when people have access to information.

Another example - you could also discuss how Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, including with teenage girls.

In each of these many cases, you can make all sorts of excuses, but the fact is, it smells bad to many who once had no access to that info.

But as for this whole notion that the gospel is perfect but our leaders are not:

So you're telling me that God tells our leaders what we need to know, and then they tell us wrong, and then we are supposed to figure out what is right? Why not cut out the middle man?

And what keeps every cult and scam artist in the world from claiming the same divine inspiration? So what if they are wrong, it came from God?

I thought we had The Truth, but if you can't tell it from any other group out there, how do missionaries convince people to buy it?

It is easy for us to feel it is the truth, because most of us were taught that from our youth, and have great social pressure to believe. I've seen people shunned for stopping belief, and have seen relatives issued divorce papers from their wives for stopping church attendance. And we call that "Free Agency". So how do you know if you really believe, or are just under threat of rejection if you don't?
Speak up, speak often, and don’t worry about those that at this point cannot understand, as they can never un-hear what we tell them.
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passionflower
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby passionflower » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:12 pm

I am in process of reading the BH Roberts History of the Church. This is a very testimony affirming experience , and I suggest everyone read it at least once in their life. I have also been reading a lot of Orson Pratt ( again )

I wonder how many LDS realize that J S did not want to write the Wentworth letter? The reason being he did not want a set creed for the church. He said all creeds were an abomination to the Lord and were symptomatic of a dead church. The true church was guided by divine revelation where many things could change or be enlarged upon at any given time, and not by set in stone beliefs. He especially did not want a set recitation of them by 12 year olds (lol). He likened that to a catholic catechism.

He said we should not live by set beliefs and rules, but by principle. JS REALLY meant it when he said, "we teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves." Principles are internalized and they don't change over time. But rules, commandments and dogma are indeed up for change.

J S wrote the Wentworth letter as a defensive measure against anti-mormons newspaper articles expounding wild beliefs Mormons held, that incited persecution, prejudice and otherwise inhibited missionary work, he wrote it quickly, too, including a narrative of the first vision and what we now call the Articles of Faith, which was actually copied from a tract written by Orson Pratt for the same purpose. He considered what we now call the 9th Article of Faith the most important, as it states the assurance of continuous revelation. .

Early on in the church, doctrines were still in their infancy and they developed into what they are today over a period of many years. This doesn't however, necessarily mean that the church is always going doctrinally forward. The feelings many people have concerning church seeming to change from former truths to error is very dismaying for a lot LDS ( as we see on this thread)

In my own feeble effort to explain this, let me take you back to the turn of the 20th century when poiygamy had to go. Polygamy became disavowed NOT because the church was "doctrinally moving forward" but because the US government would have all but destroyed the church if it hadn't retracted polygamy. This turned what had formerly been sanctioned by God into an excommunicable sin virtually overnight. Soon after this, the church went full speed ahead to modernize, mainstream and distance itself from polygamy and any former church leader who promoted it. This, however, however, hardly means that any of those former church leaders were wrong.

I think this is happening today. To say the church is led by divine revelation means the Lord can provide protection and guidance for the church in order to navigate Satan's traps and SURVIVE them. The church is no different than any other living thing whose survival depends on adapting to the environment. But be aware, when you see changes, this doesn't necessarily mean former church leaders were just wrong. No. Sometimes the church just has to choose the lesser of two evils, But the survival of the church is, no matter what, the highest priority. Without that, the earth will be utterly wasted at the Lord's second coming and we all will be damned, along with our dead.

Here is a simpler example. Back in 1913, President Joseph Fielding Smith was quoted to say he thought women of the church were adopting fashions that were after the manner of the lowest class of women (prostitutes). If you took the General RS Presidency of 1917, let's say, and time travelled them to RS in 2017, what would the sisters all look like to them? Prostitutes and street walkers, of course, from their dyed hair and loose styles, make up, plunging necklines, high sleeves and lack of underwear, all the way down to the clear stockings and high heeled shoes. It's not as bad as what is worn in other churches, but I like to think of women in the church compared to women in the world as something like republicans vs democrats, with the republicans not so much different as just a little behind them.

Just because the church has more or less accepted worldly dress standards, doesn't make President Smith wrong. Not at all. But if throughout the 20th century all church members dressed like Mennonites the progress of the church would have been hindered.

I don't like it either and it is all very stressful, especially if you were conservative at all. But these are the times we live in. You just have to be very flexible and into principle above all else.

Rules and commandments can change. With all the hoopla about the Proclamation on the Family, the DOMA, etc. with the way things have gone in the past, it could really happen that suddenly polygamy comes back (LOL!) and all that stuff gets quickly swept under the rug.

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h_p
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby h_p » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:19 pm

I think the church will accept gay marriage before it accepts polygamy again.

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby Ezra » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:04 pm

h_p wrote:
Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:19 pm
I think the church will accept gay marriage before it accepts polygamy again.
They already have accepted polygamy. And already have multiple wife's sealed to people currently. They do it all the time.

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby aspietroll » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:46 pm

Serragon wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:52 am
Silver wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:36 am
Line upon line. Precept upon precept.
Line upon line is a building up. You must build upon previous precepts. Kingdoms of Heaven, Sealing, Eternal marriage are all examples of this idea of building upon previous revelation.

What has been happening is a deletion and rewriting of lines. Precepts have been removed and replaced with others with no explanation.

Apparently, opposition to church President Grant was omitted in Mormon conference reports. As someone on Reddit wrote
Elder Richards' continued: "I believe there are some good people in the church to whom the use of tobacco is so repugnant and who are so offended by those who use it that they may actually develop a feeling akin to hatred toward the smoker. This state of mind, to my thinking, is regrettable and dangerous."

The Word of Wisdom was President Grant's baby, given that in 1921 he claimed that the Lord inspired him to call on all Saints to live the Word of Wisdom to the letter by completely abstaining from all alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco.

Since Elder Richards' talk undermined President Grant's inspiration, Grant took a step to erase Elder Richards' talk from history.
Elder Richard's speech was reprinted in a magazine but totally omitted from the 1932 conference reports.

https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/015-43-46.pdf
This is Richard's speech reprinted in Sunstone.

https://ia600708.us.archive.org/10/item ... t1932a.pdf
Richard's speech is omitted here. In elder Clawson's speech he refers to Richard's speech. See page 86
In respect to this very important' matter, my mind rests upon a saying in the Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, which saying was mentioned by Elder Stephen L. Richards in his address yesterday, and also Rulon S. Wells; and it is this: "This is my work and my glory," said the Lord to Moses, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby Fiannan » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:47 pm

h_p wrote:
Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:19 pm
I think the church will accept gay marriage before it accepts polygamy again.
2050 Ensign: "Special Challenges for Same-Sex Parents." Bishop Harold Ferguson shares he and his husband's joys and challenges raising their genetically modified transgendered offspring." :ymdevil:
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby RAB » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:28 am

djinwa wrote:
Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:43 pm
I gave the quote on race as only one example of many that are causing problems when people have access to information.

Another example - you could also discuss how Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, including with teenage girls.

In each of these many cases, you can make all sorts of excuses, but the fact is, it smells bad to many who once had no access to that info.

But as for this whole notion that the gospel is perfect but our leaders are not:

So you're telling me that God tells our leaders what we need to know, and then they tell us wrong, and then we are supposed to figure out what is right? Why not cut out the middle man?

And what keeps every cult and scam artist in the world from claiming the same divine inspiration? So what if they are wrong, it came from God?

I thought we had The Truth, but if you can't tell it from any other group out there, how do missionaries convince people to buy it?

It is easy for us to feel it is the truth, because most of us were taught that from our youth, and have great social pressure to believe. I've seen people shunned for stopping belief, and have seen relatives issued divorce papers from their wives for stopping church attendance. And we call that "Free Agency". So how do you know if you really believe, or are just under threat of rejection if you don't?
You can call them excuses, and I admit I am an apologist. But that is because those coming with flaming arrows against the Church are not exactly coming from an objective perspective.

For example, you list teenage wives as though it were some kind of deplorable act, but exclude the context that people were often married in the 1800s by the time they were just teenagers. Is that an excuse? No, it is a fact that is ignored when trying to besmirch the character of Joseph Smith. It was not so shunned as enemies of the Church try and paint it now. Kids grew up faster then, had more responsibilities, and were expected to act as adults much sooner, probably in part due to their short life expectancy, than kids of today. Also a fact ignored is that though some later tried to claim they were Joseph's offspring from polygamist wives, none of those children shared Joseph's DNA. To date, there has not been one child from one of Joseph's former polygamist wives that shared his DNA. That is probably because he only started practicing polygamy near his death, and even then, he was in hiding much of the time. Recall, he tried to practice polygamy as commanded early on, with disastrous results, and so put it off until right before his death.

You seem to have misunderstood what I was saying about imperfections seeping in. I did not say that God's leaders always get it wrong, like you imply by saying "God tells our leaders what they need to know, and then they tell us wrong." You set up a strawman argument. In fact, I said they get it right way more often then they let their imperfections seep in. What would you call it when Bruce R. McConkie and Brigham Young both opined that Blacks would never receive the priesthood...and then the Lord revealed to His prophet that all worthy males should receive the Priesthood? Were those things that God told our leaders that we needed to know? Obviously not. They shared their mistaken opinions and speculative doctrine, due to an imperfect understanding, which was later stripped away by revelation. Elder McConkie, humbled by the experience, as much as admitted so. Does that mean we should not, then, listen to the Prophets and Apostles? Of course not. We should listen to them and heed their counsel in how we live our lives. When clarification is needed, the Lord will provide it at the right time.

And all cults and scam artists do claim that they have received revelation from God. We know that the Holy Ghost can tell us whether they are divinely appointed, and there are several other clues to look to...whether what they are claiming matches God's method of revelation, organization, and order, etc.

I understand your last paragraph to say that some only believe because of pressure, and I guess you are saying that having more information hurts them. I agree that it hurts some people. However, I happen to believe that sunshine is the best antiseptic. We can't hide from the past, nor should we try. If anything, being forced to deal with some inconvenient aspects of Church history should force people to dig deeper for a testimony. I admit that I personally have known some who fell away because of Joseph using a seer stone for translation because they always understood that he used the Urim and Thummim for the whole translation and thought the Church was hiding that fact. As a basis for this, the person relied on an artists' rendering of Joseph using the Urim and Thummin.
The problem with that is, 1. Moroni calls them translators, not the Urim and Thummim. That is what the saints referred to them as, referencing back to the Old Testament. 2. They also called Joseph's seer stone a Urim and Thummim...in essence, any physical aide used for translation. 3. Joseph did use the Jaredite translators (commonly thought of as the Urim and Thummim by the saints) before the 116 pages were lost. The angel Moroni took them and the Gold Plates when Joseph's power to translate was removed. 4. There is no evidence that Joseph was ever given the Jaredite translators again--probably a personal tragedy for him because He seemed more impressed with them than the plates--he said when you looked into them you could see anything. Journal accounts of the translation process after it resumed only speak of the seer stone, though often called the Urim and Thummin. The description is of placing it in a hat and reading words that lighted up on the Stone...interesting, read about Gazelem in the Book of Mormon. 5. The introduction to the Book of Mormon never says it was translated by the Urim and Thummin...instead it says the gift and power of God (At some point Joseph no longer needed any physical aid to translate it). So most likely, this person's false understanding of how the Book of Mormon was translated came from Sunday school teachers who were ignorant, or loose with terms, not from any official Church position. In fact, Elder Nelson gave a talk in General Conference that talked about the seer stone in the 1990s. Of course, mentioning all of this was to no avail to the person who fell away. So, yes I agree that sometimes, more information can cause some to stumble. I don't see that as a problem though.

If people do not get a spiritual witness to start with the right assumptions, then they will very likely stumble. A testimony built on peer pressure or false understandings of Church History will never stand up to the trials of life. Many of these things I mentioned above were news to me when I investigated them as well. But it never bothered me because my testimony comes from the Holy Ghost. As such, I always start with the assumption that the Church is true, Joseph was a prophet, and we are led by a modern day prophet because the Holy Ghost has so witnessed it to me. So if there is anything inconvenient or at odds with how I believe things should have been, those things have a way of resolving themselves with time and patience. And I always remember the refrain in the Old Testament that God's ways are not my ways. I once struggled with a question that went to the heart of my testimony for nine years. But I would not give up until I had a witness at least equal to the ones I have had telling me it is true, that told me otherwise. Finally an answer came to me on how I could answer that question. What a relief it was!

We know there will be a sifting and great trials in the last days. Sometimes that sifting comes because people get caught up in the world. Sometimes that sifting can just be wrapping your arms around REAL Church History...not what we mistakenly believed about Church History. The point is, our detractors are going to try to use what seems odd by today's standards against us. To me, it is better to be completely open and face the issues head on rather than try to ignore them. Perhaps that more information requires members to get a testimony with deeper roots to withstand the storms coming ahead. But I take comfort in the fact that the Holy Ghost has witnessed the truth to me, and that most of the Saints who lived at the time these things happened remained faithful and bore powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. Obviously, what they saw and experienced seemed either divine, or were things they were comfortable with based on the context of their times, even if we don't understand it all right now.

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby passionflower » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:31 am

aspietroll wrote:
Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:46 pm
Serragon wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:52 am
Silver wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:36 am
Line upon line. Precept upon precept.
Line upon line is a building up. You must build upon previous precepts. Kingdoms of Heaven, Sealing, Eternal marriage are all examples of this idea of building upon previous revelation.

What has been happening is a deletion and rewriting of lines. Precepts have been removed and replaced with others with no explanation.

Apparently, opposition to church President Grant was omitted in Mormon conference reports. As someone on Reddit wrote
Elder Richards' continued: "I believe there are some good people in the church to whom the use of tobacco is so repugnant and who are so offended by those who use it that they may actually develop a feeling akin to hatred toward the smoker. This state of mind, to my thinking, is regrettable and dangerous."

The Word of Wisdom was President Grant's baby, given that in 1921 he claimed that the Lord inspired him to call on all Saints to live the Word of Wisdom to the letter by completely abstaining from all alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco.

Since Elder Richards' talk undermined President Grant's inspiration, Grant took a step to erase Elder Richards' talk from history.
Elder Richard's speech was reprinted in a magazine but totally omitted from the 1932 conference reports.

https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/015-43-46.pdf
This is Richard's speech reprinted in Sunstone.

https://ia600708.us.archive.org/10/item ... t1932a.pdf
Richard's speech is omitted here. In elder Clawson's speech he refers to Richard's speech. See page 86
In respect to this very important' matter, my mind rests upon a saying in the Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, which saying was mentioned by Elder Stephen L. Richards in his address yesterday, and also Rulon S. Wells; and it is this: "This is my work and my glory," said the Lord to Moses, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

Just for a little added information:
Abstinence from the four substances proscribed in the Word of Wisdom did not begin with President Grant, but was fully enforced by JS from the very beginning, with the exception of red wine for sacramental use ( and he considered weddings a sacrament ) and a few other things that make sense when you get the backround of it. When the LDS came to Utah along with thousands of converts coming in as well and many "gentiles", the WOW wasn't lived up to very well, but that didn't mean that the GA's weren't preaching hard at the saints to do so. I know because I have collected numerous church magazines and periodicals from the Victorian and Edwardian eras where there are printed many articles preaching hard at the saints back in line with it. The focus of these GA written articles are always directed to mothers, who apparently complained that abstaining from tea or spiked punch ruined their families' social life. And you know, that was probably true. :)) President Grant is just the first Prophet to succeed at unifying the church on this matter. His predecessors tried, believe me! I know there was an Apostle who had quite a bad addiction to something who died around 1920, I forget who it was, and that no doubt helped.

This just goes how socially entrenched this proscribed substances get. After all, those secret combinations want their guaranteed repeat customers.

As far as what Stephen L Richards said, yeah maybe his timing(lol)was a little off here in telling the LDS they were judgmental for despising cigarette and cigar smoke ( I hate it myself and don't think too much of people who pick up such a habit ). But I think he just meant we should not go to extremes, here. JS didn't like that either. I don't drink Coke products myself, but I am glad that the church is now making it clear that just because a drink contains caffeine does not make it "against" the WOW. I remember a RS class on the WOW where the teacher claimed herbal teas were inviting the presence of evil in our homes (?!) President McKay, who seems to have routinely balled out Leah Widtsoe, ate a rum soaked in front of everybody one day, telling them that it was only drinking alcohol that was against the WOW, not eating it in food. And President McKay was a man of very high standards.

I think the spirit of what Elder Richards is saying is obey the WOW, but don't go to extremes. On my mission I went tracting with a new comp, and when we got in a door she told this man there that his smoking would bring in the spirit of Satan, so he had to put it out before she could give him our
"message". He went ahead and did it and she told him the JS story and placed a BOM, but when we were outside, I told her off REAL GOOD about her saying that!!!!!!

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby Serragon » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:35 am

RAB wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:28 am


You can call them excuses, and I admit I am an apologist. But that is because those coming with flaming arrows against the Church are not exactly coming from an objective perspective.

For example, you list teenage wives as though it were some kind of deplorable act, but exclude the context that people were often married in the 1800s by the time they were just teenagers. Is that an excuse? No, it is a fact that is ignored when trying to besmirch the character of Joseph Smith. It was not so shunned as enemies of the Church try and paint it now. Kids grew up faster then, had more responsibilities, and were expected to act as adults much sooner, probably in part due to their short life expectancy, than kids of today. Also a fact ignored is that though some later tried to claim they were Joseph's offspring from polygamist wives, none of those children shared Joseph's DNA. To date, there has not been one child from one of Joseph's former polygamist wives that shared his DNA. That is probably because he only started practicing polygamy near his death, and even then, he was in hiding much of the time. Recall, he tried to practice polygamy as commanded early on, with disastrous results, and so put it off until right before his death.

You seem to have misunderstood what I was saying about imperfections seeping in. I did not say that God's leaders always get it wrong, like you imply by saying "God tells our leaders what they need to know, and then they tell us wrong." You set up a strawman argument. In fact, I said they get it right way more often then they let their imperfections seep in. What would you call it when Bruce R. McConkie and Brigham Young both opined that Blacks would never receive the priesthood...and then the Lord revealed to His prophet that all worthy males should receive the Priesthood? Were those things that God told our leaders that we needed to know? Obviously not. They shared their mistaken opinions and speculative doctrine, due to an imperfect understanding, which was later stripped away by revelation. Elder McConkie, humbled by the experience, as much as admitted so. Does that mean we should not, then, listen to the Prophets and Apostles? Of course not. We should listen to them and heed their counsel in how we live our lives. When clarification is needed, the Lord will provide it at the right time.

And all cults and scam artists do claim that they have received revelation from God. We know that the Holy Ghost can tell us whether they are divinely appointed, and there are several other clues to look to...whether what they are claiming matches God's method of revelation, organization, and order, etc.

I understand your last paragraph to say that some only believe because of pressure, and I guess you are saying that having more information hurts them. I agree that it hurts some people. However, I happen to believe that sunshine is the best antiseptic. We can't hide from the past, nor should we try. If anything, being forced to deal with some inconvenient aspects of Church history should force people to dig deeper for a testimony. I admit that I personally have known some who fell away because of Joseph using a seer stone for translation because they always understood that he used the Urim and Thummim for the whole translation and thought the Church was hiding that fact. As a basis for this, the person relied on an artists' rendering of Joseph using the Urim and Thummin.
The problem with that is, 1. Moroni calls them translators, not the Urim and Thummim. That is what the saints referred to them as, referencing back to the Old Testament. 2. They also called Joseph's seer stone a Urim and Thummim...in essence, any physical aide used for translation. 3. Joseph did use the Jaredite translators (commonly thought of as the Urim and Thummim by the saints) before the 116 pages were lost. The angel Moroni took them and the Gold Plates when Joseph's power to translate was removed. 4. There is no evidence that Joseph was ever given the Jaredite translators again--probably a personal tragedy for him because He seemed more impressed with them than the plates--he said when you looked into them you could see anything. Journal accounts of the translation process after it resumed only speak of the seer stone, though often called the Urim and Thummin. The description is of placing it in a hat and reading words that lighted up on the Stone...interesting, read about Gazelem in the Book of Mormon. 5. The introduction to the Book of Mormon never says it was translated by the Urim and Thummin...instead it says the gift and power of God (At some point Joseph no longer needed any physical aid to translate it). So most likely, this person's false understanding of how the Book of Mormon was translated came from Sunday school teachers who were ignorant, or loose with terms, not from any official Church position. In fact, Elder Nelson gave a talk in General Conference that talked about the seer stone in the 1990s. Of course, mentioning all of this was to no avail to the person who fell away. So, yes I agree that sometimes, more information can cause some to stumble. I don't see that as a problem though.

If people do not get a spiritual witness to start with the right assumptions, then they will very likely stumble. A testimony built on peer pressure or false understandings of Church History will never stand up to the trials of life. Many of these things I mentioned above were news to me when I investigated them as well. But it never bothered me because my testimony comes from the Holy Ghost. As such, I always start with the assumption that the Church is true, Joseph was a prophet, and we are led by a modern day prophet because the Holy Ghost has so witnessed it to me. So if there is anything inconvenient or at odds with how I believe things should have been, those things have a way of resolving themselves with time and patience. And I always remember the refrain in the Old Testament that God's ways are not my ways. I once struggled with a question that went to the heart of my testimony for nine years. But I would not give up until I had a witness at least equal to the ones I have had telling me it is true, that told me otherwise. Finally an answer came to me on how I could answer that question. What a relief it was!

We know there will be a sifting and great trials in the last days. Sometimes that sifting comes because people get caught up in the world. Sometimes that sifting can just be wrapping your arms around REAL Church History...not what we mistakenly believed about Church History. The point is, our detractors are going to try to use what seems odd by today's standards against us. To me, it is better to be completely open and face the issues head on rather than try to ignore them. Perhaps that more information requires members to get a testimony with deeper roots to withstand the storms coming ahead. But I take comfort in the fact that the Holy Ghost has witnessed the truth to me, and that most of the Saints who lived at the time these things happened remained faithful and bore powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. Obviously, what they saw and experienced seemed either divine, or were things they were comfortable with based on the context of their times, even if we don't understand it all right now.
I agree with most everything you are saying here, RAB.

But to me it really doesn't address what is currently happening. There is a serious issue here between 'Modern prophets won't lead you astray' and the real fact that they appear to have done so. Let's take homosexuality as an example:

All prophets taught that this was an abomination. It was taught up until about 10 years ago that you are not born homosexual. These ideas were taught by GA's as the doctrine of God, both over the pulpit and in written form.

Our current stance is that homosexuality is normal and that you are born that way. Homosexuality is no longer an abomination. Just the act of engaging in gay sex, and this only because it is outside of a marriage. The church published a video on LDS.org within the last month or two highlighting the idea that homosexuality is both normal an out of the control of the homosexual.

This is a complete 180 degree turn in a very short time. All absent any revelations. All absent any explanation for what was considered and taught as doctrine for thousands of years. Throw in the fact that this change just happens to coincide with the changing standards of the world and it leaves one in great confusion.

I believe in revelation and gaining new understandings of established doctrine. But I really can't understand how so many prophets can preach one set of doctrine only to have it replaced with the opposite by another. I understand changing policy. But changing doctrine? It shouldn't happen.

If all previous prophets were incorrect about homosexuality, how can I trust Pres. Monsons version to be correct? It would be one thing if previous prophets had said "my opinion is that homosexuality is an abomination. But no doctrine has been reveled on the subject." But they didn't. They claimed it was doctrine, which is supposed to be unchanging. And it has now changed to the opposite.

My testimony of the restoration and Book of Mormon are firm. I sustain our current GA's as prophets, seers, and revelators in the hopes that they are or become such. But I must say that I am often troubled and left in confusion regarding what appear to be the changing of doctrine by our current church leadership. The fact that many of these changes tend to gravitate towards my own personal beliefs doesn't change my confusion at all.

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby RAB » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:57 am

Good point. I think what happened in that particular case is that Boyd K. Packer made some very strong statements about not being "born that way" since God was not that way. In his mind, God could not possibly allow His children to be born with homosexual feelings if they were created in His image. Of course, Elder Packer's overly simplistic statement did not consider that those born with mental and physical disabilities are no less created in God's image even though He is not that way. So, I would not call his statement doctrine, but rather, again gospel speculation. That is where the large majority of problems come in. When our imperfect leaders engage in gospel speculation, we are left trying to decide what is speculation and what is doctrine. There is no doubt that our leaders engage in it...some more so than others. And I am sure they feel they are telling us the truth. But I only consider those things doctrinal that relate to revealed eternal truths as taught in the scriptures and repeatedly taught as foundational doctrines of the Church by the bretheren. The source of sexual orientation was never one of those things. You have statements here and there, but it was not routinely taught, nor can you find anything that speaks to the source of it in the scriptures. The doctrine of no sexual relations outside of marriage is doctrinal, found throughout the scriptures, and has not changed, nor will it. The speculation concerning whether or not homosexuals are born that way, whether it is by hormonal or experiential circumstances after birth, etc. are still really unknown. Science, as much as it would like to say the matter is settled, has not settled the matter. In the end, it doesn't really matter. The only condemnation is in the act. The reason why one feels enticed to commit the act is irrelevant for any sin. There is no sin in being tempted, or else Christ could not have been perfect since Satan tempted him.

Perhaps the hardest trial about homosexuality for members is to love those who are different from themselves, without having a definitive explanation of why they are different. I wish people in leadership positions did not get into doctrinal speculation, but I know I have done it at times in my limited leadership. It is important to remember that Prophets and Apostles don't have all things revealed to them...just those things the Lord wants them to know. That leaves a lot of grey area and does allow well-meaning leaders to speculate a little as they try to resolve concerns. I don't know if it is comforting or not, but gospel speculation never really affects how we live our lives. For instance, if you take the issue of homosexuality, there was no change in how a Latter-Day Saint should conduct himself/herself no matter where you attribute the source of homosexuality. The conduct required of God is the same. Our salvation does not depend on knowing all truth perfectly. That will come in time. It does depend on our faith, repentance, and conduct.

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby passionflower » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:33 pm

Serragon wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:35 am
RAB wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:28 am


You can call them excuses, and I admit I am an apologist. But that is because those coming with flaming arrows against the Church are not exactly coming from an objective perspective.

For example, you list teenage wives as though it were some kind of deplorable act, but exclude the context that people were often married in the 1800s by the time they were just teenagers. Is that an excuse? No, it is a fact that is ignored when trying to besmirch the character of Joseph Smith. It was not so shunned as enemies of the Church try and paint it now. Kids grew up faster then, had more responsibilities, and were expected to act as adults much sooner, probably in part due to their short life expectancy, than kids of today. Also a fact ignored is that though some later tried to claim they were Joseph's offspring from polygamist wives, none of those children shared Joseph's DNA. To date, there has not been one child from one of Joseph's former polygamist wives that shared his DNA. That is probably because he only started practicing polygamy near his death, and even then, he was in hiding much of the time. Recall, he tried to practice polygamy as commanded early on, with disastrous results, and so put it off until right before his death.

You seem to have misunderstood what I was saying about imperfections seeping in. I did not say that God's leaders always get it wrong, like you imply by saying "God tells our leaders what they need to know, and then they tell us wrong." You set up a strawman argument. In fact, I said they get it right way more often then they let their imperfections seep in. What would you call it when Bruce R. McConkie and Brigham Young both opined that Blacks would never receive the priesthood...and then the Lord revealed to His prophet that all worthy males should receive the Priesthood? Were those things that God told our leaders that we needed to know? Obviously not. They shared their mistaken opinions and speculative doctrine, due to an imperfect understanding, which was later stripped away by revelation. Elder McConkie, humbled by the experience, as much as admitted so. Does that mean we should not, then, listen to the Prophets and Apostles? Of course not. We should listen to them and heed their counsel in how we live our lives. When clarification is needed, the Lord will provide it at the right time.

And all cults and scam artists do claim that they have received revelation from God. We know that the Holy Ghost can tell us whether they are divinely appointed, and there are several other clues to look to...whether what they are claiming matches God's method of revelation, organization, and order, etc.

I understand your last paragraph to say that some only believe because of pressure, and I guess you are saying that having more information hurts them. I agree that it hurts some people. However, I happen to believe that sunshine is the best antiseptic. We can't hide from the past, nor should we try. If anything, being forced to deal with some inconvenient aspects of Church history should force people to dig deeper for a testimony. I admit that I personally have known some who fell away because of Joseph using a seer stone for translation because they always understood that he used the Urim and Thummim for the whole translation and thought the Church was hiding that fact. As a basis for this, the person relied on an artists' rendering of Joseph using the Urim and Thummin.
The problem with that is, 1. Moroni calls them translators, not the Urim and Thummim. That is what the saints referred to them as, referencing back to the Old Testament. 2. They also called Joseph's seer stone a Urim and Thummim...in essence, any physical aide used for translation. 3. Joseph did use the Jaredite translators (commonly thought of as the Urim and Thummim by the saints) before the 116 pages were lost. The angel Moroni took them and the Gold Plates when Joseph's power to translate was removed. 4. There is no evidence that Joseph was ever given the Jaredite translators again--probably a personal tragedy for him because He seemed more impressed with them than the plates--he said when you looked into them you could see anything. Journal accounts of the translation process after it resumed only speak of the seer stone, though often called the Urim and Thummin. The description is of placing it in a hat and reading words that lighted up on the Stone...interesting, read about Gazelem in the Book of Mormon. 5. The introduction to the Book of Mormon never says it was translated by the Urim and Thummin...instead it says the gift and power of God (At some point Joseph no longer needed any physical aid to translate it). So most likely, this person's false understanding of how the Book of Mormon was translated came from Sunday school teachers who were ignorant, or loose with terms, not from any official Church position. In fact, Elder Nelson gave a talk in General Conference that talked about the seer stone in the 1990s. Of course, mentioning all of this was to no avail to the person who fell away. So, yes I agree that sometimes, more information can cause some to stumble. I don't see that as a problem though.

If people do not get a spiritual witness to start with the right assumptions, then they will very likely stumble. A testimony built on peer pressure or false understandings of Church History will never stand up to the trials of life. Many of these things I mentioned above were news to me when I investigated them as well. But it never bothered me because my testimony comes from the Holy Ghost. As such, I always start with the assumption that the Church is true, Joseph was a prophet, and we are led by a modern day prophet because the Holy Ghost has so witnessed it to me. So if there is anything inconvenient or at odds with how I believe things should have been, those things have a way of resolving themselves with time and patience. And I always remember the refrain in the Old Testament that God's ways are not my ways. I once struggled with a question that went to the heart of my testimony for nine years. But I would not give up until I had a witness at least equal to the ones I have had telling me it is true, that told me otherwise. Finally an answer came to me on how I could answer that question. What a relief it was!

We know there will be a sifting and great trials in the last days. Sometimes that sifting comes because people get caught up in the world. Sometimes that sifting can just be wrapping your arms around REAL Church History...not what we mistakenly believed about Church History. The point is, our detractors are going to try to use what seems odd by today's standards against us. To me, it is better to be completely open and face the issues head on rather than try to ignore them. Perhaps that more information requires members to get a testimony with deeper roots to withstand the storms coming ahead. But I take comfort in the fact that the Holy Ghost has witnessed the truth to me, and that most of the Saints who lived at the time these things happened remained faithful and bore powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. Obviously, what they saw and experienced seemed either divine, or were things they were comfortable with based on the context of their times, even if we don't understand it all right now.
I agree with most everything you are saying here, RAB.

But to me it really doesn't address what is currently happening. There is a serious issue here between 'Modern prophets won't lead you astray' and the real fact that they appear to have done so. Let's take homosexuality as an example:

All prophets taught that this was an abomination. It was taught up until about 10 years ago that you are not born homosexual. These ideas were taught by GA's as the doctrine of God, both over the pulpit and in written form.

Our current stance is that homosexuality is normal and that you are born that way. Homosexuality is no longer an abomination. Just the act of engaging in gay sex, and this only because it is outside of a marriage. The church published a video on LDS.org within the last month or two highlighting the idea that homosexuality is both normal an out of the control of the homosexual.

This is a complete 180 degree turn in a very short time. All absent any revelations. All absent any explanation for what was considered and taught as doctrine for thousands of years. Throw in the fact that this change just happens to coincide with the changing standards of the world and it leaves one in great confusion.

I believe in revelation and gaining new understandings of established doctrine. But I really can't understand how so many prophets can preach one set of doctrine only to have it replaced with the opposite by another. I understand changing policy. But changing doctrine? It shouldn't happen.

If all previous prophets were incorrect about homosexuality, how can I trust Pres. Monsons version to be correct? It would be one thing if previous prophets had said "my opinion is that homosexuality is an abomination. But no doctrine has been reveled on the subject." But they didn't. They claimed it was doctrine, which is supposed to be unchanging. And it has now changed to the opposite.

My testimony of the restoration and Book of Mormon are firm. I sustain our current GA's as prophets, seers, and revelators in the hopes that they are or become such. But I must say that I am often troubled and left in confusion regarding what appear to be the changing of doctrine by our current church leadership. The fact that many of these changes tend to gravitate towards my own personal beliefs doesn't change my confusion at all.

Serragon,
What you see as a "change" in the church's stance concerning whether or not someone is born homosexual, is not because a revelation has occurred, but because the views of modern science have changed. The "experts" in this field now a days lean towards saying homosexuality is genetic. I still remember when SWK had a psychologist tell him homosexuality is caused by an overbearing mother and a passive father. Since then, the views of the schoolhouse has changed.

The church does not consider anything under the domain of medicine or psychiatry as part of the ecclesiastical calling of the 12 Apostles. Therefore, if they have a question in these areas, they don't pray and get a revelation, they simply ask the professionals, or in other words, the ever changing wisdom of the world. This is the same reason vaccinations are promoted by the church, antipsychotic drugs, cancer treatment centers, etc, and more natural healing methods are not. The church actually has a board of MD's that advises them on such subjects.

It is the domain of the 12 Apostles to call homosexual activity as a sin, and to keep calling it a sin, though. President Monson hasn't changed any doctrinal stance on that.

Anybody in the church who thinks someone is "not following the brethren" if they don't believe homosexuality is inborn is just misinformed and naive. This isn't some real "thus saith the Lord" to the church statement, and is liable to change any time new research comes out. If I don't want to believe this homosexuality is inborn, I don't have to. In this case, it basically boils down to my opinion against somebody elses' opinion who happens to have a PhD.

Whether you hate it or love it, this is the way the church operates.

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby Lizzy60 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:59 pm

So, passionflower, why are the heavens closed to the prophets, seers, and revelators regarding homosexuality, psychiatry, modern medicine, vaccines, etc? Why are these prophets, seers, and revelators whose calling it is to commune with God, not able to get answers from Him on certain (very important) matters?

Also, there is no better expert on anything pertaining to our human bodies, physically, mentally, and spiritually, than He who created everything in heaven and earth. To go to medical experts, rather than God, doesn't make any sense to me.

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby passionflower » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:31 pm

Lizzy60 wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:59 pm
So, passionflower, why are the heavens closed to the prophets, seers, and revelators regarding homosexuality, psychiatry, modern medicine, vaccines, etc? Why are these prophets, seers, and revelators whose calling it is to commune with God, not able to get answers from Him on certain (very important) matters?

Also, there is no better expert on anything pertaining to our human bodies, physically, mentally, and spiritually, than He who created everything in heaven and earth. To go to medical experts, rather than God, doesn't make any sense to me.
I can sympathize with why you are asking that, I really can. Hey none of this is my idea, I'm just explaining to Serragon why he thinks things change so much. I don't know if I helped or not ( probably not, he isn't reponding at all :( )

I can only say, If I had a health problem, and I do, going to God as you said would be uppermost in my mind for the very reason you suggest. But on the other hand, and just to play devils advocate, I can see at least one reason why the church wants to go state of the art and mainstream and how it really isn't part of the Apostolic calling or any Priesthood calling for that matter, to diagnose and and prescribe for illness.

Just imagine what could happen here, Lizzie. Say someone got direction from an Apostle or any Priesthood holder during a blessing about what to do for a health problem, and then did it, but for some reason or other, still died or got worse, there would be a lawsuit like you wouldn't believe and accusations of practicing medicine without a license. The church really HAS to draw a line. Now if things go wrong, the law can't get after the church if they were only following the Dr's orders.

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby captainfearnot » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:27 pm

Maybe there is just very little actual revealed doctrine, and the GA's are filling in the gaps with their own personal opinions, and that's what changes over time.

For example, the church does not have any official position on human evolution. None. And yet it is easy to find prophets and apostles speaking with seeming authority on the matter.

Why do they do this? I think like most of us, they believe their opinions to be true, and feel compelled to impart that truth to others. Maybe, like many of us, they can't tell the difference between their opinions and revealed doctrine. It all "feels" right, after all. Or maybe they are driven by some agenda.

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby djinwa » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:03 pm

RAB, I was not saying that having teenage wives was deplorable. I know it was common practice, though I doubt not alot with husbands in their 30s.

My point was that some people are turned off by such information. I assume that is why it was never shared in church lesson manuals, and why I didn't find out until I was 38 years old that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. The church was deliberately omitting that information.

How would it work if in the first lesson to investigators, missionaries informed them of JS polygamy? I doubt it would go very well. But people can now google and read about it in a few minutes, where years ago they would be ignorant.

So regardless of endless justifications for unsavory parts of church history, many things don't smell right, and make it harder for missionaries, which gets back to the point of this thread as to church growth.
You seem to have misunderstood what I was saying about imperfections seeping in. I did not say that God's leaders always get it wrong, like you imply by saying "God tells our leaders what they need to know, and then they tell us wrong." You set up a strawman argument. In fact, I said they get it right way more often then they let their imperfections seep in.
You said whenever humans are involved, there are imperfections.
The problem is not that our leaders do not want to relay things perfectly or intend to teach things that are not totally accurate. The problem is that they are human. The doctrine goes from its pure form in Heaven, through imperfect human beings, and any time human beings are injected in the process, we insert imperfections.
Which explains why church leaders no longer issue revelation. Ages ago they could get it wrong and few would notice, as they could limit discussion. Now with the internet, they would be widely exposed.

Which makes it harder for missionaries to insist that we are led by a prophet,when prophets don't prophecy or say anything more than any other preacher or self-help author would say.

To say they get it right most of the time is hardly a witness of their special access to divine revelation. Most people get it right most of the time.
Speak up, speak often, and don’t worry about those that at this point cannot understand, as they can never un-hear what we tell them.
-Ron Paul

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
-Mahatma Ghandi

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby djinwa » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:13 pm

Lizzy60 wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:59 pm
So, passionflower, why are the heavens closed to the prophets, seers, and revelators regarding homosexuality, psychiatry, modern medicine, vaccines, etc? Why are these prophets, seers, and revelators whose calling it is to commune with God, not able to get answers from Him on certain (very important) matters?

Also, there is no better expert on anything pertaining to our human bodies, physically, mentally, and spiritually, than He who created everything in heaven and earth. To go to medical experts, rather than God, doesn't make any sense to me.
What gets me is they don't even get revelation on the requirements for exaltation.

Years ago I was confused by various answers on whether practicing polygamy was still required for exaltation. My wife wanted to know.

I figured I'd go straight to the top, so called church headquarters and asked. I was passed around and finally someone told me the church had no position on the matter and I was to pray and find out for myself.

Huh? How does that work? We each get to determine our own rules for getting to the CK and the highest reward? Kind of like every player deciding the rules of the game as they go along?

Anyway, at that point I realized I was pretty much on my own.
Speak up, speak often, and don’t worry about those that at this point cannot understand, as they can never un-hear what we tell them.
-Ron Paul

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
-Mahatma Ghandi

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby Silver Pie » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:01 am

passionflower wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:31 am
Just for a little added information:
Abstinence from the four substances proscribed in the Word of Wisdom did not begin with President Grant, but was fully enforced by JS from the very beginning,
It was not a commandment until President Grant made it so. The revelation itself forbids it being a commandment. It was not "fully enforced" because it was not a commandment, nor were people supposed to be constrained (compelled, forced) to obey it. Fully enforcing it would be to go against what God said in the revelation.

Drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol was common among the members of the church from the president to the most common member in Joseph's day, in Brigham's day, and on down until Heber made it a commandment without a written revelation from God stating God had changed his mind about it being "not by commandment or constraint". In fact, Heber didn't even bother to remove that pesky part God had put in about it not being by commandment or constraint. Oops.
Toni

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby Fiannan » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:19 am

Serragon,
What you see as a "change" in the church's stance concerning whether or not someone is born homosexual, is not because a revelation has occurred, but because the views of modern science have changed. The "experts" in this field now a days lean towards saying homosexuality is genetic. I still remember when SWK had a psychologist tell him homosexuality is caused by an overbearing mother and a passive father. Since then, the views of the schoolhouse has changed.
Show me where "modern science" has changed its views. The media may imply it, but it is not the case. Show me the genes that predispose one to be gay or lesbian. I am not so much concerned with the morality here, but the science. And as one can see on university campuses today a professor cannot study or make statements so much anymore that contradict political correctness. Some campuses have written codes that would make it a punishable offense for a professor to even imply there is a difference between male and female brains, yet every study in the neurosciences says there are. When will our leaders become so enlightened that they begin to say there is really no difference between men and women except in regards to reproduction?
"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
Plato

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby h_p » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:46 am

Fiannan wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:19 am
Some campuses have written codes that would make it a punishable offense for a professor to even imply there is a difference between male and female brains, yet every study in the neurosciences says there are.
Even worse, saying things like that are considered hate speech, which the left considers justification for violence.

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby shadow » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:10 am

Silver Pie wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:01 am
passionflower wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:31 am
Just for a little added information:
Abstinence from the four substances proscribed in the Word of Wisdom did not begin with President Grant, but was fully enforced by JS from the very beginning,
It was not a commandment until President Grant made it so. The revelation itself forbids it being a commandment. It was not "fully enforced" because it was not a commandment, nor were people supposed to be constrained (compelled, forced) to obey it. Fully enforcing it would be to go against what God said in the revelation.

Drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol was common among the members of the church from the president to the most common member in Joseph's day, in Brigham's day, and on down until Heber made it a commandment without a written revelation from God stating God had changed his mind about it being "not by commandment or constraint". In fact, Heber didn't even bother to remove that pesky part God had put in about it not being by commandment or constraint. Oops.
The revelation does not "forbid" it from being a commandment. The revelation was an invitation and a proposed health code. We're not always commanded to do or not do things, but sometimes we are. The WOW wasn't accepted as it should've been so it became a commandment. If nobody ever murdered anyone then we wouldn't have need to be commanded not to murder.
This imminent stuff is taking for-freaking-ever :-w

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passionflower
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby passionflower » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:30 am

Silver Pie wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:01 am
passionflower wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:31 am
Just for a little added information:
Abstinence from the four substances proscribed in the Word of Wisdom did not begin with President Grant, but was fully enforced by JS from the very beginning,
It was not a commandment until President Grant made it so. The revelation itself forbids it being a commandment. It was not "fully enforced" because it was not a commandment, nor were people supposed to be constrained (compelled, forced) to obey it. Fully enforcing it would be to go against what God said in the revelation.

Drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol was common among the members of the church from the president to the most common member in Joseph's day, in Brigham's day, and on down until Heber made it a commandment without a written revelation from God stating God had changed his mind about it being "not by commandment or constraint". In fact, Heber didn't even bother to remove that pesky part God had put in about it not being by commandment or constraint. Oops.
I know this is a common idea, but it is simply mistaken. The WOW was meant to be enforced as far as those four proscribed substances are concerned from the very start. Church members were just very slow to do it.

The WOW is called a "principle with a promise". Calling it a "principle" actually makes it more binding than calling it a commandment. Like I said elsewhere, commandments can altered or even change. We can be told all our lives "Thou shalt not kill", and then have the HG constrain someone to chop of the head a a drunk guy we run across in an alley.
Principles are unchanging and have an eternal depth. Even knowledge, without which no man can be saved, will eventually be "swallowed up" in Principles. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism and the Laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost are the first PRINCIPLES and ordinances of the gospel. Calling these four requirements "principles" hardly makes them optional. It makes them of supreme importance.

See what I mean, Silver Pie? :)

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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby Robin Hood » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:58 am

passionflower wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:30 am
Silver Pie wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:01 am
passionflower wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:31 am
Just for a little added information:
Abstinence from the four substances proscribed in the Word of Wisdom did not begin with President Grant, but was fully enforced by JS from the very beginning,
It was not a commandment until President Grant made it so. The revelation itself forbids it being a commandment. It was not "fully enforced" because it was not a commandment, nor were people supposed to be constrained (compelled, forced) to obey it. Fully enforcing it would be to go against what God said in the revelation.

Drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol was common among the members of the church from the president to the most common member in Joseph's day, in Brigham's day, and on down until Heber made it a commandment without a written revelation from God stating God had changed his mind about it being "not by commandment or constraint". In fact, Heber didn't even bother to remove that pesky part God had put in about it not being by commandment or constraint. Oops.
I know this is a common idea, but it is simply mistaken. The WOW was meant to be enforced as far as those four proscribed substances are concerned from the very start. Church members were just very slow to do it.

The WOW is called a "principle with a promise". Calling it a "principle" actually makes it more binding than calling it a commandment. Like I said elsewhere, commandments can altered or even change. We can be told all our lives "Thou shalt not kill", and then have the HG constrain someone to chop of the head a a drunk guy we run across in an alley.
Principles are unchanging and have an eternal depth. Even knowledge, without which no man can be saved, will eventually be "swallowed up" in Principles. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism and the Laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost are the first PRINCIPLES and ordinances of the gospel. Calling these four requirements "principles" hardly makes them optional. It makes them of supreme importance.

See what I mean, Silver Pie? :)
I understand your point, but what principle is being referred to here?
The principle of not drinking coffee? Can't be, coffee isn't specifically mentioned.
The principle of not drinking beer? Doubtful. It's very likely the recommended substance described as a mild barley drink was a reference to beer.
The principle of eating wheat? We could go on like this.

Surely the principle is that we should exercise wise judgement in the area of temporal welfare. We should be aware of what is useful to man, such as wheat, the herbs of the field, fruits in season etc; and what is less useful or even harmful, such as strong drinks, hot drinks, tobacco, and meat.

But it clearly says it is not a commandment........so it isn't.

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passionflower
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby passionflower » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:11 am

Fiannan wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:19 am
Serragon,
What you see as a "change" in the church's stance concerning whether or not someone is born homosexual, is not because a revelation has occurred, but because the views of modern science have changed. The "experts" in this field now a days lean towards saying homosexuality is genetic. I still remember when SWK had a psychologist tell him homosexuality is caused by an overbearing mother and a passive father. Since then, the views of the schoolhouse has changed.
Show me where "modern science" has changed its views. The media may imply it, but it is not the case. Show me the genes that predispose one to be gay or lesbian. I am not so much concerned with the morality here, but the science. And as one can see on university campuses today a professor cannot study or make statements so much anymore that contradict political correctness. Some campuses have written codes that would make it a punishable offense for a professor to even imply there is a difference between male and female brains, yet every study in the neurosciences says there are. When will our leaders become so enlightened that they begin to say there is really no difference between men and women except in regards to reproduction?
The authorities in the field of psychology and psychiatry have most certainly changed their views on homosexuality over the years. But you are right about the idea that homosexuality is genetic cannot be proven and is really only a popular theory. But just being a theory does not stop it from holding sway. The church simply does not argue with it. Their calling is to be a witness of JC, not an authority on science. That is my whole point.

What you talk about in your post is more along the lines of the curtailment of religious freedom, with science aligning with politics(or is it the other way around?) in order to encroach on religious belief and curtail religious freedom. The church has been fighting this on every level it can. But then it is most definately a religious issue. But even in this case, In carrying on a campaign against the plotted systematic taking away of religious freedoms around the world, the church does not directly make a quarrel with the science or the politics of the day. It stays out of that kind of fight. There are very good reasons for this.

It isn't like I don't see the same scenario as you do. I personally don't believe there to be any such thing as objective scientific research. especially that done on the University level. It is all bought and paid for by somebody and, like everything else in this world, completely corrupted, IMHO.

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passionflower
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby passionflower » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:15 am

Robin Hood wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:58 am
passionflower wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:30 am
Silver Pie wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:01 am
passionflower wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:31 am
Just for a little added information:
Abstinence from the four substances proscribed in the Word of Wisdom did not begin with President Grant, but was fully enforced by JS from the very beginning,
It was not a commandment until President Grant made it so. The revelation itself forbids it being a commandment. It was not "fully enforced" because it was not a commandment, nor were people supposed to be constrained (compelled, forced) to obey it. Fully enforcing it would be to go against what God said in the revelation.

Drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol was common among the members of the church from the president to the most common member in Joseph's day, in Brigham's day, and on down until Heber made it a commandment without a written revelation from God stating God had changed his mind about it being "not by commandment or constraint". In fact, Heber didn't even bother to remove that pesky part God had put in about it not being by commandment or constraint. Oops.
I know this is a common idea, but it is simply mistaken. The WOW was meant to be enforced as far as those four proscribed substances are concerned from the very start. Church members were just very slow to do it.

The WOW is called a "principle with a promise". Calling it a "principle" actually makes it more binding than calling it a commandment. Like I said elsewhere, commandments can altered or even change. We can be told all our lives "Thou shalt not kill", and then have the HG constrain someone to chop of the head a a drunk guy we run across in an alley.
Principles are unchanging and have an eternal depth. Even knowledge, without which no man can be saved, will eventually be "swallowed up" in Principles. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism and the Laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost are the first PRINCIPLES and ordinances of the gospel. Calling these four requirements "principles" hardly makes them optional. It makes them of supreme importance.

See what I mean, Silver Pie? :)
I understand your point, but what principle is being referred to here?
The principle of not drinking coffee? Can't be, coffee isn't specifically mentioned.
The principle of not drinking beer? Doubtful. It's very likely the recommended substance described as a mild barley drink was a reference to beer.
The principle of eating wheat? We could go on like this.

Surely the principle is that we should exercise wise judgement in the area of temporal welfare. We should be aware of what is useful to man, such as wheat, the herbs of the field, fruits in season etc; and what is less useful or even harmful, such as strong drinks, hot drinks, tobacco, and meat.

But it clearly says it is not a commandment........so it isn't.
Principle are deep subjects, yet very simple. Basically, difference between a principle and a "rule" or "commandment" is that a principle is known and practiced within the person, and a rule or commandment is imposed from without. Get it? All commandments are based on principle, but are not the principle itself, necessarily. Commandments are not eternal or set in stone, but principles ARE. " we teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves". (JS)

Not understanding this is the reason people get a little messed up in believing God to be governed by laws or the like. However, the "principle" of intelligence dwells within him, helping to make him "the self-existent" one.

I hope the door just a little bit and some light came through. Anyway, I'm done with this thread.
Maybe one day I will go back to my "storyhour" and expound on this difference in depth.
Last edited by passionflower on Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:22 am, edited 5 times in total.

Lizzy60
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Re: Church Growth Rate, Latest Statistics

Postby Lizzy60 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:16 am

When Joseph Smith wrote the Articles of Faith, he did NOT call faith, repentence, baptism and laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost "principles". He called them "ordinances", and the word "principles" was added by other men at a later date. So to compare the word "principle" in Section 89 (dictated to Joseph by the Lord) with the non-existing word "principle" in the original Articles of Faith as Joseph wrote them, is meaningless. Unless, you just want to compare the articles of faith as altered by others at a later date, with the Word of Wisdom being turned into a commandment by others, also at a later date.


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