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Theological liberalism in the LDS church

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  • Theological liberalism in the LDS church

    Since TWeb went down, I've been lurking some at mormondialog.org and have been surprised at the amount of theological liberalism I've seen there. By "liberalism" I mean taking the BoM and Bible as figurative texts that aren't wholly true and relaxing what seems to be the official LDS stance on things. There are some people there who openly doubt the LDS church, but there are others who seem to have an attitude of "all religions are valid ways to God, I just picked LDS because the people are nice and I like the BoM" and/or "no religion is really 100% true, so I just pick the things from Mormonism that work for me."

    ETA: as another example, on one thread a poster recommended this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Future-Rel.../dp/0231134959

    I was just wondering what the LDS members here think about their ward/temple and the LDS church in general. How common are the views above? Does mormondialog.org just have more liberals than other LDS forums? Do you see the LDS church going the same way as mainstream Christianity in America, where there are seemingly more and more people who see the Bible as myth, etc.?
    Last edited by Kind Debater; 02-26-2014, 12:09 PM.

  • #2
    While waiting for Mormons to respond, I'll share what I know about the half dozen I know in real life who have left Mormonism.

    Because Mormonism encapsulates their entire world -- work, friends, church, family... it is so hard to leave that, so when they find the teachings no longer believable, it's much easier to adopt this "liberal" view --- they can stay (to a point) because of the things you mention.

    Meanwhile, "there is a way that seemeth right to a man...."
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

    Comment


    • #3
      It seems to me that Mormonism encouraged strong devotion in its early days, when orthodox Christians were considered doomed, along with all non-Mormons. But the more recent party line is that pretty much everybody ends up in at least the Telestial Kingdom, because almost nobody is bad enough to join Satan in "outer darkness." I asked a couple of young "elders" last year why they were devoting two years of their lives to telling people that they were not going to hell regardless, and they didn't have a coherent answer. The enormous expenditure of missionary effort made more sense in less universalist LDS regimes of the past.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by RBerman View Post
        It seems to me that Mormonism encouraged strong devotion in its early days, when orthodox Christians were considered doomed, along with all non-Mormons. But the more recent party line is that pretty much everybody ends up in at least the Telestial Kingdom, because almost nobody is bad enough to join Satan in "outer darkness." I asked a couple of young "elders" last year why they were devoting two years of their lives to telling people that they were not going to hell regardless, and they didn't have a coherent answer. The enormous expenditure of missionary effort made more sense in less universalist LDS regimes of the past.
        Excellent point. Hadn't thought of that!
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          Because Mormonism encapsulates their entire world -- work, friends, church, family... it is so hard to leave that, so when they find the teachings no longer believable, it's much easier to adopt this "liberal" view --- they can stay (to a point) because of the things you mention.
          Makes sense.

          Originally posted by RBerman View Post
          It seems to me that Mormonism encouraged strong devotion in its early days, when orthodox Christians were considered doomed, along with all non-Mormons. But the more recent party line is that pretty much everybody ends up in at least the Telestial Kingdom, because almost nobody is bad enough to join Satan in "outer darkness." I asked a couple of young "elders" last year why they were devoting two years of their lives to telling people that they were not going to hell regardless, and they didn't have a coherent answer. The enormous expenditure of missionary effort made more sense in less universalist LDS regimes of the past.
          I thought Joseph Smith introduced the three kingdoms thing as a way of softening the eternal damnation bit when he realized some of his relatives weren't going to join his church? At least I got that impression from what I read.

          I assume part of the rationale for LDS missions is to give people a chance of getting into the Celestial kingdom. OTOH, it's kind of a gamble -- if you don't join the church, you can be pretty assured of entrance into one of the lower kingdoms, but if you join and then leave, you're in danger of Outer Darkness.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Kind Debater View Post
            I thought Joseph Smith introduced the three kingdoms thing as a way of softening the eternal damnation bit when he realized some of his relatives weren't going to join his church? At least I got that impression from what I read.
            It was when his own brother died, not having been baptized, that Joseph Smith came up with some "revelations" that would allow his brother to be included. At one time, we had a link to "the life of the Prophet" or something like that, where you have a hard time arguing, even from the Mormon's own film, that this was not the case.

            ETA: Here's the link.... https://www.lds.org/church/events/te...ation?lang=eng
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kind Debater View Post
              Since TWeb went down, I've been lurking some at mormondialog.org and have been surprised at the amount of theological liberalism I've seen there. By "liberalism" I mean taking the BoM and Bible as figurative texts that aren't wholly true and relaxing what seems to be the official LDS stance on things. There are some people there who openly doubt the LDS church, but there are others who seem to have an attitude of "all religions are valid ways to God, I just picked LDS because the people are nice and I like the BoM" and/or "no religion is really 100% true, so I just pick the things from Mormonism that work for me."
              Speaking just from my personal experience, I don't know any LDS that at least say openly that take the Bible and BOM as figurative texts. There might be issues within the texts that that can be taken that way. I think within any large population of people you will see an people on all parts the spectrum but the bulk are not doubting anything or say all religions are valid ways to God. Outliers are to always to be expected in any group and sometimes the outliers are the most outspoken.

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              • #8
                While browsing the Internet this afternoon, I came across a site that argues that Mormonism can still be held to even if one believes that Joseph Smith completely made it all up. I can't say I get the point of this.

                http://www.liberalmormon.net/507his.shtml
                "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                  While browsing the Internet this afternoon, I came across a site that argues that Mormonism can still be held to even if one believes that Joseph Smith completely made it all up. I can't say I get the point of this.

                  http://www.liberalmormon.net/507his.shtml
                  One of the videos we had posted some while back pretty much reasoned that same thing --- it's much easier to close your eyes and stay in "pretend land" than to admit you were totally horn-swaggled.

                  There is a way that seemeth right to a man....
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                    While browsing the Internet this afternoon, I came across a site that argues that Mormonism can still be held to even if one believes that Joseph Smith completely made it all up. I can't say I get the point of this.

                    http://www.liberalmormon.net/507his.shtml
                    Interesting, thanks. I'm trying to wrap my mind around liberalism like this in general since it seems to be so prevalent in society.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We had one chap registered "BTC" (Before the Crash, not Bill the Cat ), who was adament that the JEDP theory was accurate.
                      That's what
                      - She

                      Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                      - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                      I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                      Stephen R. Donaldson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kind Debater View Post
                        I thought Joseph Smith introduced the three kingdoms thing as a way of softening the eternal damnation bit when he realized some of his relatives weren't going to join his church? At least I got that impression from what I read. I assume part of the rationale for LDS missions is to give people a chance of getting into the Celestial kingdom. OTOH, it's kind of a gamble -- if you don't join the church, you can be pretty assured of entrance into one of the lower kingdoms, but if you join and then leave, you're in danger of Outer Darkness.
                        The "elders" to whom I spoke could not generate much enthusiasm for anyone being in Outer Darkness, even ex-Mormons.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                          We had one chap registered "BTC" (Before the Crash, not Bill the Cat ), who was adament that the JEDP theory was accurate.
                          This guy, I believe.
                          Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                          Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
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                          I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                            This guy, I believe.
                            Yup.
                            That's what
                            - She

                            Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                            - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                            I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                            Stephen R. Donaldson

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                              One of the videos we had posted some while back pretty much reasoned that same thing --- it's much easier to close your eyes and stay in "pretend land" than to admit you were totally horn-swaggled.

                              There is a way that seemeth right to a man....
                              Yeah reading that site it is obvious that the guy doesn't actually believe anymore, but is not willing to just let go and admit the LDS church is a fraud. It is a way to still "belong" while not actually believing any of it is true.

                              For those type of people (including liberal Christians who do the same thing) I would ask, "So if nothing has to be true, what about God? Is he real? If so, how do you know anything about him if everything about him is not true?"

                              Comment

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