Honesty or Deception??

How honest does Elder L Tom Perry want us to be?

“In speaking about the church, we do not try to make it sound better than it is. We do not need to spin our message, we need to communicate the message honestly and directly.”

“If church members do that, suspicions will evaporate, negative stereotypes will disappear, and [outsiders] will understand the [LDS] Church as it really is.” ~ Elder L Tom Perry, October General Conference 2011

But I’ve been told by the Stake President not to talk about any Church History! “Even if they are true, don’t talk about them!” he said.

Apostle Russel M. Nelson:
“Indeed, in some instances, the merciful companion to truth is silence. Some truths are best left unsaid.

“To anyone who, because of truth, may be tempted to become a dissenter against the Lord and his anointed, weigh carefully your action.”

Apostle Elder Boyd K Packer:
“Some things that are true are not very useful.”
Apostle Packer seems to disagree with D&C 84:45, which says: “…whatsoever is truth is light…”

Elder Cecil O. Samuelson Jr., a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy seems to disagree with Elder Packer:
“We don t believe that there is anything in our current history or in our past history that is worrisome, so we are grateful for people to get to know it.”

He must be joking! Why are members who speak about the origins of Mormonism disciplined if they don’t follow the orthodox line? And why are hundreds of thousands of members leaving the Church after discovering uncomfortable facts about its history? Including me.

Or he’s trying to reassure the majority of active members who are ignorant of all the facts that there is nothing to worry about. Whereas Elder Packer is talking to those who know stuff!

For more information on Mormon honesty see: http://home.teleport.com/~packham/lying.htm

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8 Responses to Honesty or Deception??

  1. Jessica says:

    I agree. Also interesting to note is the level of deception that is carried out in Mormon families in a similar fashion. Do other religious families do this? I’m not sure. I can only speak for my own non-Mormon family (I was the only convert) and my husbands family (all active Mormon). In their family everything is very secretive and the great grandparents are protected from much of what goes on in the family. Even when people switch jobs, are having a rough time financially or have marital problems everything is very, very private. As a more extreme example a recent family member had an extra-marital affair and as a result lost his temple recommend (he is in the process of repenting so has not been ex-communicated. At a recent wedding this brother along with another brother came and neither were able to participate but none of the extended family knows why and in fact I only know why for one of the brothers. Even his own parents don’t know why. Now in my own marital discord much of what has gone on no one in his family knows about. Recently, when I expressed I wanted a separation he went and got a loaded gun out of our closet and threatened to kill himself. It was a very scary experience. Only his brother and father know about it because he called his brother during the incident. They came and got the guns (including an assault rifle) out of the home but they are now content that he is in the repentance process so “all is well.” Contrasted with my own family who is admittedly very dysfunctional but no one hides their dirty laundry. Now which one is more appropriate? I’m still trying to figure that all out..maybe somewhere in the middle but I can definitely see one of his family members touting one of these lines to hide anything “unbecoming”. Personally, I prefer to have it laid all out there.

  2. Jessica says:

    Err, speaking of which. Would you mind erasing my last name from a couple of the comments I have sent? Didn’t realize I threw it in there. It doesn’t bother me but I know a few people that would be very upset by that. Thanks!

  3. Jeff says:

    It’s not deceptive to withhold irrelevant information.

    What really matters to testimony? It is simply the continued spiritual confirmation that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that the Book of Mormon is a true historical account. Knowing these things to be true, what value is extracted by sitting down with a person and saying, “Look here, person, Joseph Smith was a prophet. But you should know that he once did this, that, and this other thing”? Those things are not relevant to the acquisition of divine knowledge.

    A testimony of the Church and the Book of Mormon comes from reading the content, pondering the content, and judging the book on its own merits. All we accomplish is alienation from the right way if we take persons that are new or weak in the gospel and tell them a bunch of “shocking” things about the behavior of Church presidents. A testimony of the gospel is not based on the social acceptability of behaviors of certain people; it is based on the spiritual worth of the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets. It is based on saving ordinances and personal progression. Behavioral anachronims or other points of primarily anthropological, historical, or other scholary concern are not relevant to the general membership as elements of spiritual vitality.

    The Church does encourage people to read into its history. There truly is nothing to hide. I am very well informed in the content that persons usually consider controversial and it doesn’t bother me. I worked through any qualms I had through patience, faith, obedience, and private exploration. I now often find the first-hand material posted on anti-Mormon sites instructive and useful, though it is supposed to be scandolous and offensive. It is merely a question of whose priorities we accept and value most. We must choose: do we prefer the standard and doctrine of Babylon or do we prefer the standard and doctrine of the Lord and His Gospel? Many in the Church struggle with this and place the priorities of Babylon ahead of the priorities of Zion, often without even realizing it.

    Controversial elements are better presented and explored in private, intimate contexts; certainly not appropriate to load up and use as buckshot across rooms loaded with ward members of varying strength, and definitely certainly not appropriate to do so in general conference with a literally worldwide audience comprising every type of person that has any involvement with the Church. Very simply, they are irrelevant historicla details that are not useful in a context where you are supposed to be refreshing and edifying the membership.

    There are many things about my life that true, but when my wife is trying to help me feel happy, encouraged, or refreshed, she does not bring up the true facts that are not conducive to the goal. When we teach in Sunday School or Sacrament Meeting, there is frankly no value in exploring historical events in depth. We are there to be spiritually refreshed, not academically informed, so we take the angle that will emphasize spiritual growth and reinforcement. Individuals are welcome and invited by the Church to take an academic interest, but Sunday meetings are not the place to do that.

    Molesting the faith of the weak by presenting irrelevant events that contradict standardized values only causes apostasy and death, it doesn’t help anyone. Such individuals have a foundational testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, but they don’t have the benefit of the years of reinforcement and training that many of us have, and their value system has not yet been reoriented and internalized to match Zionistic standards. They have nothing to do but absorb the standards of their neighbors until their hearts are sufficiently soft that the supposed “shock value” of some of these events doesn’t shock them into apostasy, but rather deeper, fuller understanding.

    It is not that we are ashamed of the truth. It is not that we don’t people to learn about us or our history. It is merely that we want people to focus on development where it is beneficial and relevant, instead of distracting themselves, looking beyond the mark, and allowing their confusion and strife to lead them on the way to hell and rejection.

    I discuss deep matters of church history with a group of individuals whom I know have explored this area before and can tolerate such exploration without major problems. I would not start talking about it to a random person in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, and I wouldn’t publish or place this information in the way of an investigator. All it will do is shock him away before he understands what’s happening. Investigators and weak members MUST focus entirely on establishing spiritual fundamentals, and there are pieces of history that do not help with this. These are the pieces of history that should “not be talked about” generally. You have to be selective and careful.

    • David Bloor says:

      Perfect example of ‘Circular Reasoning’…Thanks!

      Take note All You Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jewish denominations!

      If it feels good, it must be true – cause every good book would!

    • stevebloor says:

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for your comments.

      My blog is not designed to convince you of anything. I’m not into arguing. Just putting across my own thoughts & experiences.

      I’m glad for you that you can reconcile the difficult issues & still believe the Church is true despite all the historical, anthropological, scientific, linguistic, archaeological & psychological evidence to the contrary.

      I think I must think differently to you.

      I understand the whole concept of milk before meat. I served a full-time mission for the Church, served in Stake Mission & Young Mens Presidencies, Ward Mission Leader, amongst many other callings & finally as a Bishop for nearly seven years. I agree that in order to nurture a fledgling testimony of ‘the Gospel’ one has to gently introduce deeper & deeper doctrine, or it could overwhelm the young Latter-day Saint or new convert. It’s all about reinforcing a mind-set, or thought processes in stages.

      The Church General Authorities continually counsel the membership to strengthen their testimonies.

      But the same is true of every irrational superstitious belief system. You have to agree that lots of Church doctrines, beliefs and practices are completely ‘irrational’ compared to other areas of life. We may not like the use of the term ‘irrational’, but it is not rational in the normal every day sense. Another word to describe religious beliefs would be ‘supernatural’, as opposed to what we experience in the ‘natural’ world.

      I use the word superstitious because that is what they are. There are religious & secular superstitious beliefs, all of which have no grounding in the natural world environment, but are based on feelings and beliefs without rational scientific basis.

      If Church beliefs, doctrines & practices are seen from the context of being irrational & superstitious, and based on the supernatural, then I completely agree that it takes a while to accommodate one’s mind to this, & so agree that milk before meat, with frequent, regular reinforcement is absolutely vital.

      Frequent prayer, scripture study, Church attendance, Temple worship etc is to be encouraged to keep the beliefs alive.

      The scripture of Paul to the Hebrews is absolutely true when he says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen!”

      I too was under the delusion that my faith was stronger because I didn’t ‘see’ the evidence.

      But what we’re talking about is believing in something despite all the rational, scientific evidence to the contrary!

      Basing our belief in something because it ‘feels right’!

      It means taking the principle of ‘conformational bias’ to its extreme & burying our heads in the sand.

      If there is a God, then He gave me a brain to use. He gave me a brain to think rationally & look for all the evidence rather than ignoring it when presented to me.

      I believe most people, if not everyone, feels ‘inspiration’ from time to time, if not constantly.

      I certainly did as a Church member & especially whilst serving as a Bishop.

      I interpreted that ‘inspiration’ as revelation from God.

      What I have surprisingly discovered since becoming a secular humanist & scientific naturalist (agnostic athiest), is that the ‘inspiration’ I used to receive has continued. In fact increasingly so!

      In that sense I feel like the feelings of the ‘Spirit’ have actually continued. But I now realise their source is not God, but me! My wonderful sub-conscious mind which continually inspires & reveals things to my conscious mind on an ever increasing regularity.

      But realising the source of these ‘feelings’ I can better interpret their veracity & truth. I realise they are just one fallible means of learning about something, which should be teamed up with rational reason & logic as well as scientific evidence, before coming to decisions.

      If you’ve ever discussed your own irrational superstitious beliefs with a believer in another faith system who has their own irrational superstitious beliefs then you’ll realise, like I did that no-one wins.

      Reasoning with irrationality is futile!

      My current campaign is to encourage rational thought.

      Wishing you a wonderful 2012.

      Best regards,
      Steve

  4. Brian says:

    By Paul’s logic it’s okay to lie as long as it’s faith promoting. Totally inconsistent. Mormons are taught lying is a sin but the church has a long track record of lying. Yes leaving out facts is lying through omission. Sins of omission are just as bad according to the church.

  5. Brian says:

    Who determines what is relevant or not? The general authorities do! Whitewashing the facts is not useful to building ones faith. As a lifelong member i would have very much like to have known Joseph Smith was an adulterer! Being married to 11 women who were already married is adultery and a relevant fact!

  6. Debrauk says:

    i was told not to tell the “weaker members ” of my findings……

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