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Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Whatever the prophet says that doesn't match up with their own interpretation of Mormonism is false? I honestly do not know, I never thought this way when I was LDS.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

I masquerade as a liberal Mormon on Facebook since I'm still in the closet with my unbelief. In my discussions with friends and family the most common position taken is that the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles cannot teach false doctrine or else they will be forcibly removed by God. I even had a former missionary companion tell me that President Gordon B. Hinckley died in 2008 not from old age (he was 98) but because he had made false statements on Larry King Live concerning the doctrine of exaltation in which worthy Latter-day Saints can become gods.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Those are good examples. Though I guess whether this is possible depends on your definition of "forget". Speaking of the Spanish Inquisition, I am of the opinion that the Inquisitors did not forget their core tenets but that further knowledge (however flawed) gave them new means to interpret the original tenets. You could suggest that this re-interpretation was exactly what Jesus wanted to keep people from doing, of course. The question I ask Christians, then, is "What knowledge is acceptable and how should it be attained when God doesn't encourage the utilization of all knowledge?" This would certainly be an important question for theists to answer, and may be relatively simple. I can already guess a few possible answers.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Oh, okay, I understand how this could be seen as contradictory.

In the first case I was arguing from my own, real-time atheist self that believes Jesus was illogical in his comments on people forgetting the basic principles of Christianity in their pursuit for more knowledge. How could someone forget such simple principles like "love one another" in their pursuit for more knowledge? Note that I never said this reason was insufficient for a Mormon to hold this belief, I was only saying it was insufficient to atheist me and I wanted JohnH to provide a better defense of his point, which he didn't.

In the second case I used past-tense "... you think that it WAS unreasonable for me...", and we were already talking about my former beliefs. So, I was arguing from my former Mormon self that did believe that Jesus saying something was enough to validate a belief.

The discussion became rather confusing because JohnH wanted to discredit my past beliefs rather than my current beliefs.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Those are strong arguments for discontinuing this discussion. Thank you for helping me grok this situation better. :)

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

So, this whole debate is about whether your-previous-self, or JohnH, is better deserving of the title of 'true Mormon'?

That's funny. No. I don't care what JohnH wants to be seen as or what title he deserves. I just want my previous-self identified as a "plausible Mormon". In my opinion, JohnH wants me to be seen as a "fringe Mormon" whose departure from the LDS Church is unimportant in the debate over whether the LDS Church is true, because I didn't really understand Latter-day Saint beliefs. Which I did as much as any other average Latter-day Saint I know.

They appear to contradict each other. Can you explain?

I don't see the contradiction. These statements appear to be unrelated. Can you explain what contradiction you see?

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Please show what I said (excluding the reference to Confucius) is not clearly based in scripture, Numbers 11:29 may be helpful.

I apologize. I had thought that you were using the three scriptures I quoted earlier to support the point that the scriptures confirms that atheists can be as happy, healthy, and moral as theists. In actuality, you were using them to describe how blessings come from following the commandments and not just from belief in the first two cases and in the third case you were supporting the idea that God understands it is difficult for people to distinguish truth from error.

The point I made about our conversation still stands, however. Your goal seems to be "Make atomliner look like he didn't believe in things Mormons should" while my goal is "show I was a normal Latter-day Saint before losing my faith".

What the prophet thinks and communicates in addition to that particular thing has no guarantee of being correct and is very likely to be at least partially incorrect. The prophet will place the words of Jesus in the framework of other beliefs and cultural constructs in the world in which they live. Prophets just as much as anyone else do not receive the fullness at once, meaning that of necessity some of their beliefs (and therefore some of their teachings) will not be correct, excluding Jesus.

I have two problems with this. The first is that I do not see any scriptures supporting this view clearly. How was I supposed to know this? No one teaches in church that prophets can teach false doctrine. In my experience with hundreds of active Latter-day Saints, THIS belief is atypical. In fact I just got called out by a bunch of mission buddies for saying this on Facebook, that the prophets can sometimes lead us astray (we were talking about gay marriage), and I got called an apostate outright.

My second problem is that I said false doctrine, not small inaccuracies attributed to translation error. You think that a prophet could speak to Jesus Christ face-to-face and then write up entire discourses on stuff like Adam-God theory, blood atonement, doctrinal racism and affirm boldly that this is the truth to the Saints? God must have a very strange way of picking his prophets, it seems like he would want to call people who wouldn't invent their own ideas and who would simply repeat to the Saints what was said to them by Christ. I mean, does God want the truth expressed accurately or not? Were the prophets really the best people available for this task?? They have a terrible track record.

Why is what he said logical to you?

Because I have not stood in the Divine Council and so I know that not only do I not know the secrets of God I also do not have a complete understanding of faith, repentance, baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, of loving God or of loving my neighbor as myself, nor will I until, either in this life or the next, I hear the Father say Ye shall have eternal life and receive an end to my faith.

Great. That still makes no logical sense to ME since I don't believe in any of that. So, failure on your part to defend this point from an objective argument.

Why is that relevant? Older than you.

You are saying in your experience Mormonism is obviously a certain way and I'm saying in my experience Mormonism was not that way... I was wondering how much of a difference there is in our amount of experience. Did you hold all of these liberal Mormon beliefs when you were 21?

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Paul saying those that didn't know God and that didn't have the law but that acted justly being justified because of their actions doesn't imply to you that it is possible to be moral, healthy, and happy without faith in God?

I don't know where you draw that implication from the word "justified". So, no.

How about this, where in "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." does it mention anything about having faith in God being a prerequisite for receiving a blessing?

I guess I did have a very abstract belief that those who followed the commandments, the "law", even if they didn't believe, would still receive the same blessings as those who do. But, the part of The God Delusion that talked about atheists being just as happy, moral, and healthy as theists never said anything about following Mormon commandments to do so, and for that reason it was a revolutionary concept to me. What was a new concept was that you could have a lifestyle completely different from those lived by Latter-day Saints and still be moral, happy, and healthy. Though, come to think about it, I was introduced to this concept not just in The God Delusion, but also in my interactions with hundreds of Brazilian families. Certainly the mission experience added to the knowledge base I needed to refute Mormonism.

Where in "if ye have done it unto the least of these they brethren ye have done it unto me" does it say that one must believe in God for that to be valid?

"Till you have learnt to serve men, how can you serve spirits?"

" Would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!"

The reason we are having this discussion is because I feel you've characterized me unfairly as "the Ex-Mormon who never really knew his own religion and had no reason to believe in the fringe theories he did". My goal is to support my case that I really was a mainstream Latter-day Saint before I lost my faith. So, you can use your apologetic arguments all you want for whatever idea you have about Mormonism, but if they aren't based clearly in the scriptures (which I studied a great deal), and if they were never taught widely in the Church, then why exactly did I err in not coming to the same understanding as you? I do not think you have any good evidence for why I was an atypical Mormon who was unjustified in believing in the things I did.

How could anyone ignore these parts of the Gospel while studying "deep doctrine"?

Very easily, as Jesus repeatedly stated.

What Jesus stated on this is extremely illogical to me. Why is what he said logical to you?

every member of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were prophets, seers, and revelators and that they spoke directly with Jesus Christ, therefore they were incapable of teaching false doctrine to the members of the Church.

I am not sure how the first part of this lead to the second part of this, but I will believe that was your belief.

So you think that it was unreasonable for me to assume that men who are given an office BY GOD with the title "prophet, seer and revelator" and who speak directly with Jesus Christ, face-to-face, would not teach false doctrine? Do you think that a person who speaks face-to-face with Jesus Christ would then teach his own false ideas to members of Christ's One True Church?

My whole life.

And you are how old?

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

I already pointed you to Romans 2, specifically in this case Romans 2:13-15, did you want more?

Yes. I don't see anything in Romans 2 that shows me that you can be moral, healthy, and happy without faith in God.

A prophet is only a prophet when they are acting as a prophet.

But you have to admit it's hard sometimes to distinguish whether or not a prophet is acting as one.

More specifically there are multiple First Presidency statements saying Adam-God is wrong.

I never believed that Adam WAS Elohim, but I did believe that what Brigham Young and others intended to say was that Adam was the God of this Earth.

Statements by Apostles saying that the racist theology was created with limited understanding and is wrong

I never believed that black people were cursed for being fence-sitters in the War in Heaven, but I did believe that it was because of the curse of Cain that they couldn't have the priesthood until 1978. In my defense I started believing around 2009 that the priesthood ban was just an incorrect Church policy. Still, I never read anything from the Apostles saying that the priesthood ban was wrong, just that it was unknown why there was a priesthood ban.

I am not referring to polygamy as a practice but the belief that polygamy is the new and everlasting covenant itself, which again has revelation and first presidency statements and even the scriptures on polygamy saying that is wrong.

I always believed that the new and everlasting covenant was referring to celestial marriage, but I did believe that polygamy would eventually be re-instated being that before the Second Coming there would have to be a restitution of all things.

Also given that none of those theories were presented to the Quorums of the Church and that Apostles and a member of the First Presidency disagreed vocally with Adam-God at the time I would have thought it was clear that one can disagree with ideas not presented as revelation and not sanctioned by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.

I really only developed an understanding of Official Doctrine after my deconversion. Before, however, my understanding was that every member of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were prophets, seers, and revelators and that they spoke directly with Jesus Christ, therefore they were incapable of teaching false doctrine to the members of the Church.

what do you even mean by the "weightier parts of the gospel"?

The two great commandments: Love God, Love your neighbor as yourself, and the actual gospel: faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

You were saying how those who read the Journal of Discourses "seem to be those that are trying to prove the church wrong and those that are seeking 'deep' doctrine while ignoring the weightier parts of the gospel". I think you were trying to put me in the latter category, suggesting that I was ignoring what was really important in the Gospel. Now that you've explained what these "weightier parts" are, I assure you that I did not ignore these teachings. Those are incredibly simple and basic concepts that I had known for years and years. How could anyone ignore these parts of the Gospel while studying "deep doctrine"?

How long have you been a member of the LDS Church?

Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable

I say probably because it might not require an authoritarian government to enact such a policy. I can imagine realistic scenarios.

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