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Doctrine vs Culture?


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#21 Dravin

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 02:17 PM

No. Just wondering that if those who arent' really studying anything are perhaps better off that way--at least they are going to Church.


Are we talking about people who aren't studying? Or people who don't believe? I'm seeing some conflation between the two in how social members are being discussed. The main difference is being neglectful in studying the gospel versus falsely bearing witness of beliefs and entering covenants falsely.

In the case of those who are neglectful of studying the doctrines (which BTW, isn't the same thing as not being studied in Church history or not having some blow your mind understanding of doctrines) are better off going to Church than not, their problem is ignorance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, church is a wonderful place to remedy that ignorance. Ultimately they should be remedying that ignorance but we can only do so much, you can't force feed people knowledge and understanding, and if remedying that ignorance means there are doctrines and precepts they will find hard and have to learn to overcome, they should do so.

In the case of those who don't believe, while they are welcome at Church I believe someone who does not have a testimony who lies about such in worthiness interviews or participates in ordinances aware of there meaning but without sincerity mock God. And that is never a good thing. However, we don't prevent people from attending Church because they don't have a testimony, and is Church not a good place to provide an opportunity for such to develop? So they are best off attending Church under true pretenses.
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#22 Backroads

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 02:31 PM

Are we talking about people who aren't studying? Or people who don't believe? I'm seeing some conflation between the two in how social members are being discussed. The main difference is being neglectful in studying the gospel versus falsely bearing witness of beliefs and entering covenants falsely.


I'm referring to those who go to church because it makes them feel good, don't really bother to study (which could be with "neglectful"), and, beyond that, haven't the foggiest idea of what they believe. They aren't intentionally mocking God, but have little testimony-driven desire to study or even find out what they believe. They're okay with the basics taught in Sunday school but fail to really attach themselves to it. They are truly in the Church for social reasons.

I do think I gleaned a good answer from your post. :) I'm taking it that we can offer the best Church experience we can but in the end just can't be fully responsible for others' testimonies.

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#23 sister_in_faith

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 03:08 PM

I don't think that the atonement is a difficult part of mormon doctrine to grasp. I think that there are other things that ARE more difficult, and I think that Heavenly Father will have to decide when they are ready for those things, if they don't already have a testimony of them. As members they have the resources available to them to study when prompted to. I think it is unwise to try to and 'force' it. But then again, missionaries do it every day, so I may be wrong.

"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day."

--Alma 37:37


#24 annewandering

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 03:18 PM

A person may have a testimony and know very little. There is no way for us to judge that. Certainly we cannot say what their testimony is based on anymore than they can tell what anyone elses is based on. If I believe in what I have been taught and feel a strong testimony but find that living the gospel, raising my kids and living a good live is what I need in my life then anyone else is wrong to say I need more and should study more. And they can not know my motives. I am not saying I am that person, completely anyway, but I have no right to make any judgement on them.

#25 Windseeker

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 03:22 PM

Good point Anne. Don't we see people from all over the Doctrine IQ board who lose their testimonies?

Edited by Windseeker, 16 November 2011 - 03:25 PM.


#26 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 03:35 PM

A person may have a testimony and know very little. There is no way for us to judge that. Certainly we cannot say what their testimony is based on anymore than they can tell what anyone elses is based on.
If I believe in what I have been taught and feel a strong testimony but find that living the gospel, raising my kids and living a good live is what I need in my life then anyone else is wrong to say I need more and should study more. And they can not know my motives.
I am not saying I am that person, completely anyway, but I have no right to make any judgement on them.


I completely agree. The desires of the heart, in the end, outweigh any secular understanding of doctrine and the desires of the heart outweigh any going-through-the-motions because everyone else in the family is doing it.

Only God can plug in all the variables of what we have been given in this life to know based on our choices how well we have done.

This idea also is important in realizing one shouldn't leave the church because some are not living it's principles perfectly. I have seen even members of my family say they won't go because someone falls short of what they say they are trying to do. I am glad God doesn't judge that way.

#27 Elphaba

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 05:11 PM

Numerous LDS people, once they've discovered I am an ex-Mormon, have opened up to me that they do not really believe the Church is true, but choose to remain as full-fledged members because of cultural pressure, particularly familial. This has happened in classrooms, places of employment, neighborhoods I've lived in, holiday get-togethers, and a seminar. Once it was someone who used to post fairly regularly on this board, but hasn't participated for quite some time now. Prior to my leaving the Church, no one had ever approached me about the issue. ETA: I should not have written "full-fledged." I always had the impression from our conversations that they were fully active, however, I only had first-hand knowledge that this was true for four of them. I honestly don't know if the others were fully active or not. Elphaba

Edited by Elphaba, 16 November 2011 - 05:18 PM.

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#28 Backroads

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 05:13 PM

A person may have a testimony and know very little. There is no way for us to judge that. Certainly we cannot say what their testimony is based on anymore than they can tell what anyone elses is based on.
If I believe in what I have been taught and feel a strong testimony but find that living the gospel, raising my kids and living a good live is what I need in my life then anyone else is wrong to say I need more and should study more. And they can not know my motives.
I am not saying I am that person, completely anyway, but I have no right to make any judgement on them.


I agree with your statement, but I did have to bold something. Would this someone have a testimony of what they believe, or just a happy feeling?

(as you said, it's not up to me to judge, but I would like to ask that).

Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket?


#29 annewandering

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 05:16 PM

I was thinking a testimony. It really is all about the basics. Sure we are curious people and tend to want to know more but do we really need to? I dont think so.

#30 Justice

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 05:59 PM

In our attempt to not judge others, we need to be careful not to turn the Church into something we can be "politically correct" about. For example, we have been counseled to read our scriptures daily. Does that mean if during one particularly trying day, where we are left with not a moment to spare, that we will go to hell if we don't read our scriptures one day? No, what it means is that THAT is the day where it becomes most important for us to read our scriptures, so that we can receive ALL the blessings the Lord can give. It means that reading the scriptures everyday is the minimum standard, and that if we do so long enough, one day we will run to our scriptures when our day's work is done, excited to seek more for the answer we have excitedly been pondering all day. But, don't let us become so politically correct that we say, "Oh, it's OK if you don't read your scriptures just one day." We are striving for the place where we love to read them so much that we literally feel a loss when we don't get the chance.

#31 volgadon

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 06:39 PM

Really? You mean only some in Utah believe this? No one in Iowa, or England, or Argentina or any other place? It's just those crazy Utah Mormons that this affects?


In places where the church is newer (IE almost entirely consisting of converts and occasional 2nd generation members) or has a smaller presence, if someone stops believing the doctrines they generally stop attending attending as well. Nobody would stick with the church because of heritage, community, culture, etc. when your heritage (as well as the majority of your family) is Russian Orthodox and most likely has been so since the 11th c., or when the LDS community might be 20 people in a city of 1/2 a million. Indeed, about 1/2 of those 20 members are probably little old ladies 2x or 3x your age. Without a belief in the doctrines of the church why would you stay in something that is detested feared by your friends, family, neighbours and coworkers, something which has no special holidays to speak of, no social framework that you couldn't find anywhere else, something which could cause you to discriminated against in school and at work?
If key elements of social interaction with 99% of the people you meet are alcohol, coffee and tea, why would you want to remain in a religious framework which forbids such, unless, that is, you believed in said framework.
In terms of society, you lose hardly a thing and gain much, much more by leaving the church than remaining in it.
I'm not saying that soical Mormons occur only in Utah/Idaho/Arizona, but they are rare and unusual most everywhere else.
Growing up in a branch which for most of the time consisted of my family and two or three others, I found the phenomenon of social Mormons inexplicable until I had lunch with John Dehlin. He did a good job of explaining why the social framework in Utah is conducive to such.




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