Glorifying “The Good Old Days”

January 21, 2009
By

I think it’s fascinating to watch people justify their angst over prophets by pointing out all the “weird” stuff about which prophets used to speculate, then turn around and criticize the current church leaders for being “boring” because they won’t speculate any more.  I also think it’s fascinating that most of the people who long for “the good old days” rarely mention that those “good old days” included INTENSE persecution, death and incredible hardship – or the that “bad new days” include explosive growth and much more of a “rolling stone” appearance than the “good old days”. 

Seriously, think about it:

How many times have you heard someone complain about the Adam/God theory – or polygamy/polyandry – or Joseph’s statements regarding Adam-Ondi-Ahman – or the Manifesto – or the justifications for the Priesthood ban – or any other concept that was preached in the past that has been left by the wayside now?  How many of those people who complain also use their concern about these things to explain their crisis of faith – often linking it directly to the person who taught those views – including their struggles to accept that person as a real prophet of God explicitly because of the things they said and taught?  How many of those people then turn around and complain about how “boring” the Church is now and pine for the time when prophets were PROPHETS!!!! and boldly spoke their minds about the will and word of God – or the time when the Church was more liberal and free-wheeling and evolving day-to-day? Generally, these statements are followed by something like,

If only I had lived back then!  I would have embraced the Gospel and the Church back in the good old days.

My question is a simple one:

How can people complain about what a former Prophet taught then turn around and say they miss and long for “the good old days”?  I believe we are judged by how we handle our own day, just as the early Saints were judged by how they handled their own day.  The original members of the modern Church pined for the time of Christ and the ancient Church, forgetting that the earliest Christians were crucified and fed to lions.  We pine for the time of Joseph, forgetting that we might have been asked to engage in polygamy or polyandry – or been tarred and feathered – or lost multiple children and a spouse as we shivered and shuddered and struggled across the plains.

Personally, I’ll take my day over Joseph’s and Brigham’s any day and twice on Sunday – when they used to meet all day, and our entire three-hour block of meetings would have been the opening exercises.  Nostalgia is easy – especially for those who never lived in the times for which they are nostalgic.  It allows them to criticize (often harshly) those early leaders while pining for the time in which they lived.

No thanks.

37 Responses to Glorifying “The Good Old Days”

  1. January 21, 2009 at 12:16 am

    How many of those people then turn around and complain about how “boring” the Church is now and pine for the time when prophets were PROPHETS!!!! and boldly spoke their minds about the will and word of God – or the time when the Church was more liberal and free-wheeling and evolving day-to-day?

    Fortunately, even if I might make statements like this, I’ll never follow it with something like this:

    If only I had lived back then! I would have embraced the Gospel and the Church back in the good old days.

    but I think such a longing is more of an aesthetic approach to seeing the church. You wouldn’t actually want to live in a time of trial and tribulation and persecution, but when the church has this huge persecution love relationship (the more you are persecuted = the cooler, better, more admirable, more righteous, etc., are), it can’t be coincidental that we have people who pine for those things. Cooler, weirder, we’re-more-peculiar-than-you-are beliefs look aesthetically better, even if from a pragmatic church, they don’t lead to the explosion of members.

  2. January 21, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Wow, Andrew beat me to it!

    Since I was (kind of) in on the “boring” discussion, I’ll add my two cents: I’m not convinced that the people who complain about the weird prophetic speculations and the people who think it makes them interesting are the same people. Some might be — I don’t know all the bloggers among the faithful all that well — but among the “cultural Mormons” the former position is more like Hellmut and Equality whereas the latter is more like me and my brother.

    Also, the weird stuff wasn’t what caused me to stop believing, and I wouldn’t have embraced the gospel in the good old days any more than I embrace it now.

    Persecution is a bit of a separate issue…

  3. January 21, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Two radically different groups dude. They go apostate for different reasons. I think the ‘want the good old days’ crowd actually causes more trouble for the church than the ‘ditch the weird doctrine’ crowd. The latter are just louder, more articulate and know how to use the media.

  4. Holden Caulfield
    January 21, 2009 at 9:30 am

    The good, old days. You mean, like when prophets used to prophecy?

    In the Oct, 2001 General Conference, President Hinckley said (taken out of context) “I do not know what the future holds”. When he said that, I wondered how the membership would react to that being the title of his talk.

  5. Carlos
    January 21, 2009 at 10:12 am

    “You mean, like when prophets used to prophecy?”

    Its should probably be “when the prophets used to [publish] prophesy”

    And president Hinckley spoke forcefully and directly in a Priesthood session before 2001 [i think around '98] about ‘storms’ gathering in the near future, which he hoped would not be as bad as the great depression when unemployment in the valley was some 33%. He also spoke of how he saw his father worry about the unemployed back then and told each man that the time had come to get rid of ‘unnecessary debt’ and put our homes in order. ie the lord gave us 10 years to prepare! I used to think that he was talking about 9/11 and the war but since he referenced the great depression and debt..well the coincidence may be more than just a mere coincidence.

    By the way, why isn’t there anything on the inauguration here on MM?? Currently [9:10am] ministers from different religions are ‘praying’ or saying something for Obama but Uchtdorf or Ballard don’t seem to be taking part, although they are there.

  6. Carlos
    January 21, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Here’s the text from Pt Hinckley’s talk, and actually maybe the non-believer can still dismiss it as a general comment. I guess its still all about the Spirit and what He says to our souls.


    Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order.

    So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings.

    We have witnessed in recent weeks wide and fearsome swings in the markets of the world. The economy is a fragile thing. A stumble in the economy in Jakarta or Moscow can immediately affect the entire world. It can eventually reach down to each of us as individuals. There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.

    I hope with all my heart that we shall never slip into a depression. I am a child of the Great Depression of the thirties. I finished the university in 1932, when unemployment in this area exceeded 33 percent.

    My father was then president of the largest stake in the Church in this valley. It was before our present welfare program was established. He walked the floor worrying about his people. He and his associates established a great wood-chopping project designed to keep the home furnaces and stoves going and the people warm in the winter. They had no money with which to buy coal. Men who had been affluent were among those who chopped wood.

    I repeat, I hope we will never again see such a depression. But I am troubled by the huge consumer installment debt which hangs over the people of the nation, including our own people. In March 1997 that debt totaled $1.2 trillion, which represented a 7 percent increase over the previous year.

    In December of 1997, 55 to 60 million households in the United States carried credit card balances. These balances averaged more than $7,000 and cost $1,000 per year in interest and fees. Consumer debt as a percentage of disposable income rose from 16.3 percent in 1993 to 19.3 percent in 1996″

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=cac5605ff590c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

  7. Missionary Stu
    January 21, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    I long for a “good new day” when the leaders of the lds church can no longer ignore church history and announce that the church is going turn from the teachings of JS (and other men since) and become a truly Christ-centered church based on Biblical principles. (Oh, if only…)

  8. Russell
    January 21, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    #7: It’s clear to me that leaders have openly recognized the change in tone. Elder Oaks has acknowledged it publicly, at the very least. Then again, I follow Mormon news pretty closely, so it’s understandable if others might not pick up on these things.

    Overall, I have yet to hear anyone truly extol living in the early Church. Yes, they would like to sit down with Brother Joseph and others. But they know that generally life was difficult. They like the so-called “bad new days.” They have universities to attend, careers. They like “modernity.” I have some family members who are overly skittish about the media, but otherwise, they recognize that Brother Joseph would probably like the “good new days” of the Church more than the good old days of his lifetime. Members can declare their Mormonism openly w/o being tarred and feathered.

  9. Missionary Stu
    January 21, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Recognizing a “change in tone” is not the same as coming clean with the members about the good, the bad, and the ugly of lds church history.

  10. Rigel Hawthorne
    January 21, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I’m glad I didn’t live in the good ‘ol days when there were less than 50 temples and one new one being dedicated every 5 years–or when there was no PEF for those RMs who returned to a life of no opportunity when they finished their missionary service. Oh yeah, I did live in those good ol days.

  11. Bill
    January 21, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Ray–I’d guess that you are mixing together two distinctly different groups of people. There is one group that doesn’t have any faith in the prophets–past or present. They claim that:

    1) Past prophets didn’t seem to be guided by God because of all the weird stuff that they did (Adam/God, polygamy, racism) apparently with God’s endorsement/approval.
    2) Current prophets show no evidence of being guided by God–no visions, no miracles, no printed revelations, etc.

    These people don’t want to go back to the Adam/God, polygamy, racism days. They may be willing to accept real, legitimate prophets but don’t think that current or past prophets meet that standard.

    The other group actually thinks that the early days of the church were the good old days. They believe that JS, BY were prophets but are bored of the church leadership today. In principle, they wouldn’t mind persecution if they could be there when miraculous stuff was going on. These are the ones that say something like, “If only I had lived back then…”. These people don’t complain so much about Adam/God, polygamy, racism.

    Both of these groups have somewhat logically consistent views. Its only when you mix the two groups that the position seems inconsistent.

  12. SteveS
    January 21, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Ray: I don’t know if this post was sparked somewhat by my comment in yesterday’s post about authority by Hawkgrrrl (mine was #10). When I pointed out the differences between the fluid, revolutionary nature of JS’s church and the staunchly conservative one we inhabit today, I didn’t wish to have lived during that time period of the Church’s history so much as wonder why the Church seems to have ceased its doctrinal innovation and openness to radical social/economic/political change in our day and time.

    Pointing out that GBH talked of possible economic recession or depression 10 years ago isn’t really applicable to what I’m talking about here. His words (may) be considered prophecy, and the counsel given to keep your financial house in order is undoubtedly sound, but when was the last time you heard a prophet or apostle of this church reveal doctrinal change (not just a restatement of established doctrine, or the introduction of an inspired program to help people, or the announcement of increased temple building)? The most recent one I can think of was SWK’s revelation that the priesthood could be given to all worthy males. And that wasn’t even original, considering JS gave the priesthood to some black men. Now the Church spins the prohibition of blacks receiving the priesthood as the unfortunate result of a misapplication of incorrect “folk doctrine” (whatever that means). And before that? Joseph F. Smith’s vision of the spirit world. In 1918. Before that? The Manifesto? That document merely rescinded previous doctrinal revelation given to JS (although it didn’t stop some church leaders to continue to live the Principle, indeed add extra wives!).

    Fact is, whereas the early Church was filled with rapid-fire expansion and expostulation about doctrinal/theological topics, after the era of JS (and somewhat into the early Utah period under BY and JT), these revelations seem to have ceased in our time, indeed in our century. When people pine to have lived in JS’s time, I don’t think they are wishing they could endure all the persecutions, injustices, and ignominies of the past. Rather, they simply wish that the Church could be dynamic and inspiring with the introduction of further light and knowledge from the Lord, the way they envision JS’s Church having been.

    Personally, I don’t know if living under such dynamic conditions would be any better than living under the current state of affairs. I remember that many people left the Church every time JS preached additional doctrine (Consecration, Plural Marriage, etc.), and still more left after struggling and failing to live those principles. Still others left when the ventures embarked upon by a prophet of god (Kirtland Temple, Zion in Independence, etc.) failed, or caused widespread suffering and even the loss of human life. At what point would a dynamic and shifting church leadership ask you to do something that you weren’t comfortable doing, or which might endanger your life or freedom, or cause you almost certain financial ruin?

    So what makes a prophet, then? Its hard to know, because the Bible and Book of Mormon contain only scattered stories of great men doing the great, defining things at pivotal moments in their civilizations’ histories. Its hard to judge our current prophets on the relatively few stories recorded in the scriptures. And the sheer quantity and quality of JS’s actions and revelations leave a legacy that is hard to match. But by either measure, the contrast in the amount of bona fide “prophecy” or “revelation” given by the leaders of our Church in the past 100 years is striking in its paucity.

    Still, I want to believe that a prophet is more than simply a calling or position. I want to believe that the head of our Church could be a visionary man. But then again, perhaps the need has not yet arisen. It is sometimes for this reason that I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and follow their counsel as the Spirit directs.

  13. Hawkgrrrl
    January 21, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    People like to think of a “prophet” as a fortune teller, but the way it’s actually described by those holding that title in the church, the role is to be “a voice of warning.” Even when a prophet does “predict the future” (e.g. in scripture), it’s often 1) really vague or can be interpreted multiple ways, 2) about stuff that happens after death and can’t be verified, 3) only given as a voice of warning, 4) easily explained as a good guess based on a logical assessment of the current situation. IOW, predictions of the future are not a good measure of prophecy.

  14. Bill
    January 21, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    “I remember that many people left the Church every time JS preached additional doctrine (Consecration, Plural Marriage, etc.), and still more left after struggling and failing to live those principles. Still others left when the ventures embarked upon by a prophet of god (Kirtland Temple, Zion in Independence, etc.) failed, or caused widespread suffering and even the loss of human life.”

    In the old days some people left because of the things that the prophet did. Today, people leave because the prophets aren’t doing anything.

  15. Ray
    January 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    I’ve been away and unable to comment, so here goes:

    1) I understand that there are many who make one of the statements and not the other. I really wasn’t talking about them. I participate in numerous blogs around the Bloggernacle, and I have been struck recently by how many people actually do make both statements – in one form or another. It doesn’t happen much here, but it does occasionally.

    2) I think the biggest prophecy difference is the terminology. We rarely hear, “Thus saith the Lord” – but there is MUCH that I would classify as prophetic on a regular basis. I simply define “prophecy” in this type of a context as “reading the signs of the times and giving warning or council as a result”. I think that happens quite regularly, but it isn’t spectacular enough for many people to value.

    3) I see that some things never change with regard to this blog. *grin*

    4) SteveS, this post was written and scheduled last week to publish today. Your comment didn’t spark it, and I appreciate your very thoughtful comment on this thread.

    Thanks everyone. I appreciate the input.

  16. Russell
    January 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Missionary Stu:

    I don’t know whom you (and others like you) talk to, but I consider myself to be extremely well-read in Church history (if so inclined, I could out-anti certain–though not all–antis). And the vast majority of my learning came from? *drum roll* BYU studies. Dialogue (which I consider to be only a liberal-ish magazine…I worked as a research assistant for its founder, and I’ll attest to his orthodoxy). I even gleaned a few bits from lds.org.

    In other words, aside from unleashing a wave of fault-finding (which is un-Christlike in spite of the target–be they living or dead), what do you expect the Church to do? All I’m saying is that in our efforts to be honest and truthful (something I have found the overwhelming majority of LDS to be), let’s be careful not to take pleasure in waving around someone else’s dirty laundry. At the very least, let’s give Brother Joseph (or whoever) the luxury of contextualization, the very least we would hope for ourselves. I, for one, know that most of us could never withstand the railings of historians who seem more intent on naval-gazing than fairness.

  17. NOYDMB
    January 21, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Most should ignore people like Missionary Stu:
    Self appointed arbiters of historical accuracy and equipped to judge all past church leaders as conniving and dishonest. You’d think Stu runs BCC for all of his anti-LDS church sayings!

  18. January 22, 2009 at 12:33 am

    somewhere, an alarm bell rang at BCC headquarters notifying them that war was declared.

  19. CarlosJC
    January 22, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Steve #12,

    “but when was the last time you heard a prophet or apostle of this church reveal doctrinal change (not just a restatement of established doctrine, or the introduction of an inspired program to help people, or the announcement of increased temple building)?”

    From memory: Benson change sealing doctrine to allow a women to be sealed to all the men she was married to in life. He also changed the Temple ceremony significantly, which when we consider what they were they were definitely a change of ‘doctrine’. Hunter drafted that proclamation on the family which Hinckley adopted (well in time for Prop8 and all the related conflict on homosexuality) then Hinckley changed the Temples allowing small temple operations, changed our view of polygamy doctrine and forced divorced men to seek a clearance before remarriage (which contradicts past doctrine on male marriage) plus every time they called a new GA they supposedly were handing out revelations.

    But most of it is all hidden to the unbeliever, hidden from the person who isn’t looking for revelations. But if we ask them to write it all out, well they’ll probably ignore that request. That’s why revelations are all mostly “1) really vague or can be interpreted multiple ways,”

    pd, BCC people are actually very nice, deep deep down!

  20. SteveS
    January 22, 2009 at 10:48 am

    CarlosJC: I admit that I’m at a loss to speak for temple ceremony changes in the 1980s, having received my endowment in 1998. I know some changes were made, but were they truly doctrinal, or merely practical? The recent change in the initiatory, for example, was definitely a practical change. Whereas I’m willing to believe that Church leaders could have been inspired in their decision to change the initiatory slightly, I don’t think this qualifies as doctrinal revelation in the sense that Joseph Smith was used to revealing, or upon which Brigham Young and other early Church leaders were used to expounding. Concerning the endowment changes of the 1980s: did the purpose of the endowment change? did the covenants change? do we learn different lessons about our purpose here on earth now? I’m guessing not.

    Concerning the Proclamation on the Family: what new doctrine or theological claims are being made in that document that weren’t already articulated by the Church? I don’t wish to downplay the document’s importance, regardless on which side of the Prop. 8 fence you sit, but I don’t consider the Proclamation (or the document “The Living Christ” for that matter) on the same level as Section 76, 89, 121, etc. Despite its merits, the Proclamation simply doesn’t reveal any further light and knowledge that we didn’t already have.

    My point is that we claim an open canon, and we also claim that in general conference every six months, the Lord’s prophets and apostles declare His will to us. But if we examine the amount of new light and truth communicated over the past 90 years since the vision given to President Joseph F. Smith in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 3, 1918 (Section 138), none of it really could be considered comparable to the revelations produced by Joseph Smith in the short span of 15 years. I guess I’m drawing a distinction between doctrinal revelation and inspired messages here: while the Church seems to continue to deliver inspired messages (from general conference addresses all the way on down to sacrament talks and sunday school lessons) and make inspired decisions (shorten endowment, change initiatory, put church meetings in one 3-hour block, make smaller temples in great quantity, establish PEF, establish church welfare program, etc.), there has nevertheless been a significant drop-off of further doctrinal revelation (“thus saith the Lord”s, visions, etc.).

    This begs the question: why? I don’t really buy the whole “we’re not ready for more” bit we’ve all heard time and again. It smacks of speculation, and assumes the worst in us, despite messages from the pulpit that we’re some of the most righteous people to have ever walked the earth (not “generals in the war in heaven”, but simply _good_ people living righteous lives). I don’t think there’s really an answer to the question “Why?” I guess we could say that the Lord is in charge and reveals what He wills at the time He feels appropriate, and leave it at that. Still it must be hard to be a prophet, seer and revelator without any prophecy, visions, or revelations to declare. I suppose in those instances, they fall back on their other office, apostle, whose repsonsibility it is to testify of Jesus Christ and his atonement to the world, ministering and directing the body of Christ according to the ministration of the Holy Spirit.

  21. CarlosJC
    January 23, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Steve,

    “did the purpose of the endowment change?”

    Yes; doctrinally, without going into too much, we now don’t need to cut throats anyone, kind of. Promised covenants changed. But the full recording is available online if you chase it up and then you can see for yourself. I don’t think we can discuss it too much here. And the PTF could be a new section in d&c; maybe the question should be why they haven’t added it to D&C?, and why they took so long to add in sec 138?

    New doctrine? c’mon man!! its declaring forthrightly our eternal nature as sexes & “family is central to the Creator’s plan”. Although implied in scripture and spoken of in talks it still isn’t as directly spelled out as it is in the PTF. Another is “Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents” is nowhere in scriptures; here they are doctrinally declaring that we do have heavenly parents ie a Dad and a Mom! And we could go one for almost every sentence! “the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed” ie sex is good; plus what tells us that gay marriage isn’t right? well the PTF; if PTF was in D&C then all those people outside the Temples recently would’ve printed this ‘mormon scripture’ on their protest signs, and we would be quoting D&C 139 verse 1 as why we oppose gay marriage.

    Look, I know you have doubts. All I say is that you try to look at things via the big picture, following what the spirit opens up to you, and not say “reveals what wills at the time He feels appropriate, and leave it at that”..there’s more to it than that. Every conference has an abundance of new revelations and doctrine, but you need to find them!

  22. Ray
    January 23, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Steve, something to consider:

    Which situation produces more large-scale, massive, intense, passionate, perspective-altering, fiery-oratory-laced communications – the first few years of establishing a start-up company that challenges directly the status quo or the maintenance of an established corporation?

    I am not surprised at all that “the good old days” produced an over-abundance of striking revelation. It also produced an over-abundance of wild speculation. That doesn’t bother me at all. To me, it’s like complaining that renovations to an existing, (generally) structurally sound house don’t produce the same amount of paperwork as the original building of the house created. That, to me, is a given.

  23. SteveS
    January 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    CarlosJC: I think we have different definitions of doctrine. The examples of changes you mention from the endowment don’t change the doctrines, but merely the practices of how the doctrines are presented and administered. And the doctrines enunciated in the POTF aren’t new concepts at all. Church leaders all the way back to JS have spoken time after time on these topics; they simply cannot be considered “new”. The fact that they are written down all in one place is nice, but that doesn’t make it new doctrine, or even new revelation (light and knowledge), just as the Articles of Faith aren’t a section of the D&C. I’m wrong about tons of stuff, but I’m guessing that for this reason and others, the POTF will never find its way into the canon of scripture. It may eventually exist as a declaration or get printed at the end of the PoGP, but as a section of scripture? I have my doubts.

    Ray: Thanks for your comment. I’m aware that religious movements go through stages, and that the initial stages of establishment and expansion have the greatest amount of innovation, whereas the maintenance phase becomes one of holding the line according to the dictates of the founding document and leader’s wishes. To a great extent, that’s how our own Church’s history has played out. But there’s that other claim, the one about continuing revelation, that should change the scenario for us, potentially. We claim that “God will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to [His] Kingdom”, but based on my observations, we are hard-pressed to find evidence of what could pass for new doctrine since the 19th century. I’m not saying inspired choices for management of the Church haven’t been made; I’m not saying that the Lord isn’t directing the leaders of the Church to do what He would have this Church and its members do. I’m simply saying that its a bit strange that the rate of the reception of further light and knowledge has waned considerably, dramatically even.

  24. Ray
    January 23, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Steve, it’s easy to brush off the OD2 as not changing doctrine, since it’s easy to say that the ban itself wasn’t correct “doctrine” – but that almost invalidates all revelation as not changing “true doctrine”, since it is easy to assert that “true doctrine” is limited pretty much to have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the GotHG, endure to the end, rinse, repeat cycle. Also, based on a “not changing previous teaching” criterion, I’m not sure anything Joseph Smith taught was “new doctrine” – since it can be argued that he simply was clarifying or re-introducing what had been taught earlier by others.

    I define doctrine a little more loosely as deeply held beliefs that are central to one’s identification as a (fill in the blank) – in this case, Mormon. With that definition, “doctrine” can be True, true, False, false or a mixture of true and false. Revelation, therefore, is anything that makes significant changes to the overall institutional understanding of doctrine.

    OD2 fits this definition, as do the most recent pronouncements about homosexual tendency, activity and orientation. The Church’s obvious change in “doctrine” concerning sexual orientation constitutes revelation, imo, since I believe it is the product of both sincere thought and prayer. I believe the Proclamation fundamentally changed the meaning of the word “preside” in terms of the home and marriage, and it also officially gave united voice to a very distinct loosening of President Benson’s “women stay home” council (the Church’s previous marriage doctrine, if you will).

    Frankly, I think many members miss out on the importance of this type of revelation when they limit the meaning of the term itself to “burning bush”, “thus saith the Lord”, press conference statements. I believe revelations used to be recorded explicitly as “canonized scripture” – and we miss the boat a bit when we dismiss anything that isn’t classified as such as not “really” revelation.

  25. Holden Caulfield
    January 23, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    “Every conference has an abundance of new revelations and doctrine, but you need to find them!”

    There are those who would say that I am spiritually blind, deaf and dumb. If the above statement is true, then I am. I’ve been listening to conference for 37 years. I rarely hear anything beyond gospel basics. Given the wide audience, that’s all I would expect.

    CarlosJC–I admire your attitude. In my mind, you see so much in so little. I see so little in so much.

    re: PTF I have read, studied it, including the oversized BYU family relations (?) department book that dissects it more than it should be dissected. I agree with Steve as to its content. I marvel at the reverence the proclamation gets. I understand the forthrightness of its declaration, but I just don’t see anything new. I don’t imagine that was the intent, however. I would think the SSM debate that was beginning back then was in large measure the reason for the existence of the PTF.

  26. Holden Caulfield
    January 23, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    A further thought on the PTF—

    I attended a conference of Evergreen, where a fellow parent of a gay child was telling me that the proclamation is “proof” that homosexuality is not inborn. This person, a college educated engineer, was saying that the “gender is eternal” proves that no one is born gay.

    So far as this earthlife is concerned, to me “gender is eternal” only means a male and a female will be born with the proper genitalia. There is even a problem there when hermaphrodites are considered.

  27. Ray
    January 23, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    There is a WONDERFUL post about the “gender is eternal” concept that I would like to have posted here, if possible. I will talk with the author and see if that can be done. If not, I will edit this comment and include the link.

  28. January 23, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I see it like a marriage really. The stereotype is that two people meet each other, there is a flood of new information as they really get to know each other. There is passion, whirlwind, they get married, they have kids, life seems great. Then they settle into a routine. The husband doesn’t get flowers every Friday like he did when they were courting. The couple knows each other much better. Now and then they have to make new rules concerning how everyone gets along but the “passion” and “fire” of the early getting-to-know-you phase is long gone.

    I think the Church had a good, maybe 30-year, getting-to-know-you phase. It was awesome, and there was so much new and exciting information to be learned at first. And then… the daily grind. The routine.

    It’s a flawed analogy, I know, but I’m not sure it needs to be all passion and fire, because the later stability is nice. Thought I’m not married yet, so well see. :)

  29. Hawkgrrrl
    January 23, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Arthur – I like your analogy.

  30. Holden Caulfield
    January 23, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    If we go along with the marriage analogy, I’m not sure which divorce rate is higher.

  31. Carlos
    January 24, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Steve,

    Well, I still think you aren’t see the ‘big picture’ here. There’s an oceans difference between talking about new doctrine, aka heavenly mother, and actually writing it down in a public declaration like the PTF, which is just as much scripture to me as the D&C -although I do question why they didn’t simply put it in there since no other scripture talks much about ‘eternal gender’ or ‘heavenly parents’ and the rest as PTF does. Also we knew about the spirit world long before sec 138 and several apostles spoke about what happens there long before 1918. But that ‘written’ text is wonderful although not too new only details explained (which is plenty new doctrine to me). Note that there was no ‘thus sayeth the Lord’ in that sec. Today, I say, they won’t start: ‘I saw a vision’, but just sign a ‘declaration’.

    26 Holden: I’m also an engineer, maybe that’s the problem here since no one else seems to see this. Maybe all here should study some ‘hard science’ to see the ‘light’ :) -j/k

    27 Ray, please do. I’m interested to know what its about.

    28 Arthur; maybe the church is at the great-great-grandparents stage -with many children falling away.

  32. January 24, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Maybe they have. We’ve got a long way to go before we catch up to the Catholics. They’re like on their 2000th Anniversary. Though they’re not the most “faithful” couple if you know what I’m saying.

  33. Ray
    January 24, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    An update:

    The post about gender will be published in the near future.

  34. Roddy A
    January 31, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    My Elders quorum president helped me realize something the other day, the Mormon church does still currently practice polygamy. Just not in an earthly form.

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