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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Reading 'Lost Boys' (No spoilers, please), questions about Mormon Religion. (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Reading 'Lost Boys' (No spoilers, please), questions about Mormon Religion.
Nathan2006
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Hi. I've been reading 'Lost Boys', and I haven't finished, and this topic is only loosely related to the book... But, what really seperates the Mormon religion from the Christian one?

Reading the book, I find a whole slew of similarites with Charasmatic/Pentecostal beliefs (And People... Think of Sister LeSueur. I've met a couple of her before.)

So. I have a couple of questions.

1. What is the basic fundemental belief system common to pretty much every mormon? Are there differences, denomonations, or sects?

2. What is a typical service like?

3. What is a 'testamony'?

4. Does the Book of Mormon supercede the Bible, or add to it, or 'none of the above'?

5. Why does Step have to wear special pajamas?

6. What's the deal about wearing a white shirt, as opposed to a colored shirt, at service?

7. Are services held on Sunday? Are they called services? Are they held in a 'church'?

8. Is there catholic kind of system, like, with Biships and arch-bishops, and disctrict managers, and then a 'pope'?

I have had more questions that I can't think of right now, so I'll post again later.

If anybody will take the time to answer, I'd really appreciate it. I know I'm being spectatularly ignorant.

Also, I understand that not everybody who is mormon automatically agrees about everything concerning their faith. I know that it's much more complicated then that. I'm just curious.

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SenojRetep
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1. Jesus saved us from physical and spiritual death through his Atonement and Resurrection. He has called Prophets and Apostles in our time just as in ancient times. For more in depth introduction you could go to www.mormon.org.

2. A typical service lasts 80 minutes, begins with a hymn, prayer, announcements, sacrament (similar to eucharist), several talks and/or musical numbers by congregation members, a closing hymn and prayer. It's followed by another couple hours of instruction.

I'll answer the rest later. Off to church with my family [Smile]

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Brinestone
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quote:

1. What is the basic fundemental belief system common to pretty much every mormon? Are there differences, denomonations, or sects?

Our basic fundamental beliefs are summed up pretty well in our Articles of Faith. Not listed in the Articles of Faith but also central to our beliefs is that families can be together forever.

Key points from the articles of faith:

1) We differ from many Christian religions in that we believe both faith and works are necessary for salvation (see Article 3). We believe we must eventually gain perfection through continual self-improvement and repentance.

2) We literally believe in miracles, such as personal revelation from God, healing, speaking in tongues, raising the dead, etc.

3) We believe in the priesthood authority that existed in the Old and New Testaments, namely that men have the authority to act in God's name and do His work when properly endowed with that authority and worthy to hold it. This authority is used to perform temple and other ordinances (baptism), preside over congregations of varying sizes, up to the entire church, and perform miracles (see above).


quote:
2. What is a typical service like?
SenojRetep answered this one pretty well, so I'll leave it alone.

quote:
3. What is a 'testamony'?
A testimony is an individual's personal witness that any or all of the doctrines of the Church are true. This is gained when the individual receives communication from the Holy Ghost confirming that what the individual is hearing (or praying about or reading) is truth. It's very hard to explain, but many Mormons can say with certainty that they know that part or all of the Church is true.

quote:
4. Does the Book of Mormon supercede the Bible, or add to it, or 'none of the above'?
As Article of Faith #9 says, we believe in both. Further, the Book of Mormon strengthens the witness in the Bible, and it clarifies some points that are a little confusing in the Bible. They are meant to be read and used together.

quote:
5. Why does Step have to wear special pajamas?
It's not his pajamas that are unusual; it's actually his underwear. He is self-conscious because he didn't bring pajamas since he didn't plan on having a roommate. Mormons who have made sacred covenants in the temple afterward wear longish underwear (to the knees on the bottom and short-sleeved on top) to remind them of the promises they made there.

quote:
6. What's the deal about wearing a white shirt, as opposed to a colored shirt, at service?
Probably just culture. White shirts are required when performing ordinances, such as preparing, passing, and blessing the sacrament (bread and water similar to the Eucharist). Other than that, they are not required but are pretty standard dress.

quote:
7. Are services held on Sunday? Are they called services? Are they held in a 'church'?
Yes. I guess they're called services. I just call it "going to Church" or "going to our meetings." Sometimes the meetings are called "the block," since they are three hours long. And yes, they are held in a church, which may also be called a chapel, a meetinghouse, or a stake center (actually, a stake center is a special type of chapel that is larger).

quote:
8. Is there catholic kind of system, like, with Biships and arch-bishops, and disctrict managers, and then a 'pope'?
Yes. At the top is the prophet and the twelve apostles. Below them are the quorums of seventy, who (I believe) assist the twelve and preside over fairly large areas. Below them are stake presidents, who preside over multiple wards (congregations). And then below stake presidents are bishops, who preside over wards. Each ward has about 300 members, not all of whom attend regularly, and they are based on the members' geographical location. In Utah, wards may be only a few blocks in size; elsewhere, they might be an entire city because the Mormon population is less dense.


Also, there aren't really Mormon sub-sects. There are a few splinter groups, often polygamist, that break off because of one disagreement with the church or another. One of the largest of these is the Community in Christ Church.

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Brinestone
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Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention: we don't have paid clergy. I believe the prophet and the twelve apostles do receive money for their needs since they spend all their time doing work related to the church, but other than that, everyone is a "volunteer." Our missionaries pay their own way for the eighteen months or two years they serve. Our bishops and stake presidents are "called" to serve in their positions for a few years, and then someone else is called to take their place. Those who speak to the congregation on Sundays are actually just members of the congregation; the bishop hardly speaks at the pulpit more often than anyone else. His role is more to organize the ward and to counsel and help the members.
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ketchupqueen
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Also important to your later understanding of the book, but not to spoil it: children are baptized (if they are considered ready by their bishop and their parents) at age 8. If the father is an active priesthood holder, he usually does the baptizing. After the baptism comes the confirmation and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, where hands are laid on the child's (or adult convert's) head and he is directed to "receive the Holy Ghost" by the power of the priesthood. Usually after this the child (or convert) is given a blessing, including the good experiences and gifts that the father (or whoever is baptizing) wishes for the child (convert), as the priesthood holder feels directed to bless him, by the Spirit. These blessings do vary widely but usually, especially when it is a father baptizing and confirming his child, includes something about going on a mission (for a boy especially), getting married in the Temple, staying strong in the Church, learning from the Scriptures, etc.
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SteveRogers
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I have a Mormon-related question. What are the specifics of the Christmas story from America? I remember reading something about people seeing a bright light from across the ocean. I think they talk about it at the end of Lost Boys.

Maybe I'm making it up, I can't recall. But where can I find more info (if it exists) on that particular story?

Edit: I have a copy of the Book of Mormon, so you could point me to the location if it's in there.

[ May 06, 2007, 07:18 PM: Message edited by: SteveRogers ]

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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Brinestone:

quote:
6. What's the deal about wearing a white shirt, as opposed to a colored shirt, at service?
Probably just culture. White shirts are required when performing ordinances, such as preparing, passing, and blessing the sacrament (bread and water similar to the Eucharist). Other than that, they are not required but are pretty standard dress.
Just a slight quibble among what was otherwise a great answer. White shirts are not really required. What is required is approaching ordinances and Sabbath observance with a proper attitude of reverence. This includes dressing appropriately to indicate the reverence of the occasion. In US culture, this has come to mean wearing suits, white shirts and dresses, but in other cultures could (and often, IMO, should) find a very different expression. Just my 2 cents, probably affected by the fact that I wore a blue shirt to church today [Wink]
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Tatiana
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SteveRogers, I don't know the answer to your question about Chrismas, so I don't think it's central or important, but the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi does talk about the advent of Christ, so it's probably there. I'll go see what it says and come back and link you to what I find. [Smile]

Here it is: 3 Ne 1 particularly verse 15. It says there was a night with no darkness on the night Christ was born, which had been foretold by the prophets.

"15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came."

Here's a link to that chapter in the Book of Mormon. It's near the end of the book if you want to find it in your hard copy. Does that answer the question you had?

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SteveRogers
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Yeah, that's what I was talking about. Thanks much. I'd just been curious about that one since I read Lost Boys. And, honestly, I haven't really read all of the Book of Mormon. I've only read bits and pieces, so I didn't know where that part was. Thanks.
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Occasional
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Answering the questions in order:

1. The Articles of Faith is a great place to start. There are a few other things, as mentioned as well. No reason for me to repeat good answers unless there are other questions on the topic.

2. Boring, I mean . . . Starts with a hymn, then a prayer. After that there are announcements or short comments by one of the local Church leaders. After that is the Sacrament/Communion (with bread and water rather than wine. This is because of religious dietary proscriptions). Most of the rest of the meeting is filled with gospel related talks by the general membership of the Church who are asked about a week in advance to speak. There might be another hymn between talks, and then at the end is another hymn and prayer. That is the first hour.

The second hour is Sunday school, where a teacher gives a gospel related lesson.

A third hour is split between the men and the women. The men go to Priesthood meeting (as all worthy men are given the priesthood) and the women to what is called Relief Society (a Church organization for women). They are taught more gospel lessons and covers things about homelife and practical matters.

3. Again, there has already been a pretty good answer for this one. Basically, it is a recognition that the person has gotten a Spritual Witness of the teachings and authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In some ways it is similar to, but with different connotations from, a person who says they are "Born Again" in other Christian traditions.

4. None of the above. It is ANOTHER WITNESS of Jesus Christ. It goes hand in hand with the Bible, often witnessing to the Bible as true and sometimes acting as (as Mormons see it) clarifications of difficult Bible teachings. It acts for Mormons the way the New Testament acts for the Old Testament for other Christians. And yes, Mormons believe in the Old and New Testaments as equally Holy, although with a nuance that angers innerantists.

5. This has been answered as well. I will add, the special undergarments are a symbol of promises and blessings obtained in the Holiest Mormon place of Worship - The Temple. These are places that are set apart for only Mormons in good standing to participate. Anyone member or not can go to a meeting, stake , ward, church house (whatever you want to call it), to worship. However, a Temple is only for Mormons who have shown they are in good faith with the Church to perform special ordinances.

6. It is a sign of respect for the ordinances of Communion, etc. However, it is more about creating a cultural reverance toward religous observances than any actual religious requirement. Some local churches are more strict about this than others.

7. They can be called services, and on Sunday. As explained at answer #5, they are in a Church. The Temple, on the other hand, is open from Monday to Saturday and can be attended at just about any time during the day.

8. The Church heiarchy can be very complicated to follow. This is because of the general nature of Mormon priesthood open to all men. However, a quick rundown from top to bottom(ish):

The President/Prophet of the Church and his two councelors (Leaders over the whole Church).

The Quorum of the 12 Apostles (considered Church wide ecclesiatical authorities).

The Presidency of the Bishoprich (generally maintaining the practical matters of the Church. To be honest, my understanding of them is sketchy).

The Quorum of the 70 (having authority in smaller geographical areas than the 12).

Stake Presidency and High Councel (leaders of a geographical area consisting of smaller units, or Wards).

Bishop and his two Councelors (Leaders of a Ward or congragation of about 300 people who go to the same Church House).

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Tatiana
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Can someone explain to me when exactly the title of Elder is used? I know it applies to male missionaries, but it's also used sometimes for others in the hierarchy. I can hear someone saying "Elder Bednar", for instance, and "Elder Oaks". I've been in the church now for six years but I've never understood exactly what makes someone eligible to be referred to as Elder. Can someone clarify for me?
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quidscribis
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Just a bit more on white shirts/not white shirts as it relates to LDS Church in Sri Lanka.

For men: Suits are not worn to church by anyone that I've ever seen. Dress pants for those who have them, more casual pants, sometimes jeans, sometimes sarongs, depending on what the person has. Dress shirts, long sleeved or short, white or colored, if they have them. If not, tshirts or something else. But always clean and presentable.

For women: dresses, blouses and skirts, saris, or shalwaar kameez. Sometimes pants and blouses. Again, it's dependent on what the person has, but is always clean and presentable regardless.


White shirts vs. colored shirts elsewhere is a cultural thing, not a gospel thing.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I've been in the church now for six years but I've never understood exactly what makes someone eligible to be referred to as Elder. Can someone clarify for me?
Male missionaries, apostles, general authorities, and area authorities, unless they are in a a presidency, in which case they're called President.
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Tatiana
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Okay, thanks! So all the 70s are Elders too?
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advice for robots
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Yes, 70s are addressed as Elder.

It is actually a special title reserved for those who are in full-time service.

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advice for robots
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Just to add my $.02 about Sunday services:

The center of Sunday services is definitely taking the Sacrament. That is the central point of the entire week as well. We consider taking the Sacrament as renewing our baptismal covenants with the Lord, or renewing the promises we made at the time of our baptism to follow the Lord and take His name upon ourselves. It is a very important event and even during the Sunday service it has its own special feel to it.

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Samuel Bush
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I’d like to expand on the excellent answers that have already been given to question # 4

"4. Does the Book of Mormon supersede the Bible, or add to it, or 'none of the above'?"


This is how we feel about the The Book of Mormon: It does all of the above and then some.

Sometimes it supersedes the Bible; sometimes it adds to it. Also it clarifies it. It justifies the faith of those who believe in the Bible. It gives another scriptural witness that Jesus is the Christ.

SUPERCEDES:
It is a well known fact that a lot of our doctrines differ from the doctrines of other Christian denominations. I’m not going to mince words about this but state flat out that WE DO NOT GET OUR DOCTRINES FROM THE BIBLE. We get our doctrines from The Book of Mormon and from the other two books which we believe to be scripture, namely, The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. Those three books are the result of revelation to modern-day prophets (mostly Joseph Smith). (Those three books and the Bible constitute what we call “The Standard Works.”)

So whenever there is a seeming contradiction between what the Bible teaches and what these other three books of scripture teach, we go with what the latter teaches. So in that sense they supersede the Bible. This has been and continues to be a source of irritation to some folks in other Christian churches.

I would add further that what the Prophet today is saying can supersede the Standard Works (or clarify or add to) if need be. (consider our Article of Faith # 9 : “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”)

(I could point out examples of this if you are interested.)

IT ADDS TO AND/OR CLARIFIES IT:
Above I said “seeming contradiction.” The way we feel about is that often what is considered a contradiction is nothing more than a erroneous traditional interpretation of a Biblical concept. (An example of this would be the Nicene Creed.)

I’m not being critical of people who believe the traditional interpretations of Christendom. Many of those beliefs make perfect sense when looked at using only the Bible as the Standard Work. What I am saying is that, from our point of view of modern ongoing revelation, we claim a different interpretation.

So in that sense it adds to the Bible. We are saying that we’ve been given additional information, and we would be just thrilled as all get out to share that information. [Big Grin] And to discuss those differences.

One way of looking at the Book of Mormon is that it is a doctrinal commentary on the Bible.
Here’s and example of how the Book of Mormon clarifies the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible is there a definitive explanation of the concept of “resurrection.” But the Book of Mormon gives clear-cut explanations of just what resurrection is and why it is important.

JUSTIFIES THE FAITH/ANOTHER SCRIPTURAL WITNESS:
One of the doctrines on which we are in absolute agreement with most of the rest of the Christian world is that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world.

Consider the following passage from section 20 of our book of scripture Doctrine and Covenants. Where it says “holy scriptures” it is referring specifically to the Bible. It says that one of the things the Book of Mormon is doing is “. . . Proving to the world that the holy scriptures are true, and that God does inspire men and call them to his holy work in this age and generation, as well as in generations of old; thereby showing that he is the same God yesterday, today, and forever. Amen.” (verses 11&12)

The point I’m trying to make by mentioning this is that the Book of Mormon, as another witness, justifies the faith of all those people in the past and present who have accepted the Bible and believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world.

One of the worst apostasies from the Christian faith that is going on right now is that there is an increasing number of people who still claim to be Christian but have rejected the idea that Jesus is the Messiah. They are teaching that Jesus was a great man and a great teacher and all, but that he was just a man. No son of God; no redeemer of mankind; nothing divine about him. Many of these people are Christian ministers and scholars who should know better.

So here is the Book of Mormon standing side by side with the Bible declaring the witness that indeed Jesus is the Christ and you are justified in still believing that despite what some of these so called Christian teachers are saying nowadays.

Which makes me ask myself: Are Christians Christian? [Smile]

Sam

[ May 07, 2007, 01:47 AM: Message edited by: Samuel Bush ]

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dkw
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The Cards have specifically asked that we not debate/discuss whether particular religions/belief systems are or are not "really" Christian.
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Occasional
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And as Mormons we should be doubly careful about that. I don't care what anyone says or believes if a person considers themselves Christians. If they say they are then that is the end of the story.
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brojack17
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But then what would Christians judge others about.

Honestly, that is one of my biggest issues with organized religion (and I am a baptist). I hate how some people think that being a Christian gives them the right to judge others, tell others how to live, and look down their noses at "sinners".

My dad and my wife's mother are the worst about this.

I think too many Christians forget the whole "judge not lest ye be judged" and "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" parts of the bible.

Sorry about the rant. I don't mean to hijack this thread. I learned a lot about the Mormon faith that I did not know. Many of the same questions I had when I read Lost Boys.

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Puppy
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Samuel Bush is definitely overreaching with this statement:

quote:
It is a well known fact that a lot of our doctrines differ from the doctrines of other Christian denominations. I’m not going to mince words about this but state flat out that WE DO NOT GET OUR DOCTRINES FROM THE BIBLE.
I don't know what he's talking about. We DO get a majority of our basic doctrines from the Bible. We consider our four books of scriptures to be equally canonical, and all of them contribute important elements to our faith. Every belief we have in common with surrounding Christianity is Biblical.

Now, we do get asked a lot, "Where is THIS doctrine found in the Bible, you stinky Mormon?" to which the response is that NOT ALL of our beliefs are derived from the Bible. And we don't pretend that they are. I suspect that this is what Samuel Bush is trying to say.

The fact that the Bible has passed through more hands over the course of its history, and has a better chance of misstating its own original intent because of mistakes or omissions, means that we take more care in reading and interpreting it than we do some of our other books. But that doesn't make it less authoritative or less important than the other books.

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Amanecer
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quote:
I don't care what anyone says or believes if a person considers themselves Christians. If they say they are then that is the end of the story.
I think it's important to realize that there are reasons beyond an "us" versus "them" mentality to differentiate whether somebody is Christian or not. In a lot of Christian churches, a Christian baptism can essentially be transfered to other Christian churches. In other words, if you're Presbyterian and you want to become a Methodist, you don't need to be re-baptized since they believe the same act has already been performed. Well, in order to decide if the baptism really is the same act, a lot of churches need to look at each church's doctrine and determine if it is, in their opinion, a Christian church with a Christian baptism that would mean the same thing as having been baptized in their own church.

I think this is similar to the way that former Fundamentalist Mormons who want to join the LDS church would need to be re-baptized because according to the LDS, they're not really Mormon and their initial baptism didn't mean the same thing since it lacked the right authority.

I'm in no way trying to saying that Mormons aren't Christian. I just think that since Mormons re-baptize everyone, they overlook this reason of why defining "Christian" is relevant to many people and doesn't necessarily have anything to do with persecution.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Honestly, that is one of my biggest issues with organized religion (and I am a baptist). I hate how some people think that being a Christian gives them the right to judge others, tell others how to live, and look down their noses at "sinners".

My dad and my wife's mother are the worst about this.

I think too many Christians forget the whole "judge not lest ye be judged" and "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" parts of the bible.

I take it this is a problem when anyone does it, and not just social conservative Christians, right?

Because your 'issue'-while not without merit-has a whole lot of judging in it too.

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BlackBlade
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Puppy: Mormons smell? To be honest, "stinky" would have probably been the most generous adjective I could get in a Mormon diatribe.
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brojack17
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Honestly, that is one of my biggest issues with organized religion (and I am a baptist). I hate how some people think that being a Christian gives them the right to judge others, tell others how to live, and look down their noses at "sinners".

My dad and my wife's mother are the worst about this.

I think too many Christians forget the whole "judge not lest ye be judged" and "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" parts of the bible.

I take it this is a problem when anyone does it, and not just social conservative Christians, right?

Because your 'issue'-while not without merit-has a whole lot of judging in it too.

You got me. I guess I am guilty too. [No No]

I guess I am a little different because I do not throw it in their face, I just post it on a semi-anonymous forum. Not that my poop doesn't stink.

It's true that no one should do that. When Christians do this to non-believers it tends to drive them away. How is this behavior different than what they see their non-believer friends doing.

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Rakeesh
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If you tell me you've never thrown it in their face, or at least criticized them for it, I'll believe you...but generally speaking, most people do find ways to let people know when they disapprove of their behavior. Too judgemental being no exception.
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Occasional
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Amanecer, I understand what you are saying. Christian theology and authority between denominations is crucial. However, the term "Christian" and "non-Christian" has become so politically charged that it reaches beyond theology. This is especially the case when the words replacing "Christian" is pagan and cult.

By the way, I feel my Church's (LDS) attempt to show the difference between the "mainstream" and the "fundalmentalist" by refusing to call them "Mormons" is frustrating. I don't agree with it at all. Only if they argree that they should not be called "Mormon" would I say that is fine.

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Brinestone
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I agree with Puppy about the Bible.
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Samuel Bush
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Ok, I accept all your verdicts against being judgmental. I’m perfectly willing to allow a person to define himself as Christian. (My somewhat snide question, “are Christians Christian?” was a jab at the many people over the years who have said that Mormons aren’t Christian.)

So anyway, if a person who does not believe that Jesus is the savior wants to call himself a Christian, then that’s fine with me. He is a Christian and has every right to think of himself as such. But that does not alter the fact that he is a Christian who has rejected Jesus as his personal savior. And this is not being judgmental on my part for that person has already stated himself that he does not believe in Jesus that way. But ok, he is still a Christian if he says he is. I can live with that.

Puppy, you may be right when you say I was overreaching there. I don’t know. I need to think about this some more. Certainly we Mormons do not disagree with everything other Christians believe. [Smile]

But would I be overreaching with the following statement ? : We interpret the Bible through the lens of modern revelation (namely the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and the teachings of our prophets) and when our interpretations differ from the traditional, we trust ours. Or stated another way. Modern revelation supersedes traditional interpretations.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Originally posted by Puppy:
Samuel Bush is definitely overreaching with this statement:

quote:
It is a well known fact that a lot of our doctrines differ from the doctrines of other Christian denominations. I’m not going to mince words about this but state flat out that WE DO NOT GET OUR DOCTRINES FROM THE BIBLE.
I don't know what he's talking about. We DO get a majority of our basic doctrines from the Bible. We consider our four books of scriptures to be equally canonical, and all of them contribute important elements to our faith. Every belief we have in common with surrounding Christianity is Biblical.

Now, we do get asked a lot, "Where is THIS doctrine found in the Bible, you stinky Mormon?" to which the response is that NOT ALL of our beliefs are derived from the Bible. And we don't pretend that they are. I suspect that this is what Samuel Bush is trying to say.

The fact that the Bible has passed through more hands over the course of its history, and has a better chance of misstating its own original intent because of mistakes or omissions, means that we take more care in reading and interpreting it than we do some of our other books. But that doesn't make it less authoritative or less important than the other books.

I was under the impression that we got our doctrines from God, and that the Bible is another source which sets forth many of those principles, but that we don't "get doctrine" from the Bible or the Book of Mormon or any other scripture; all doctrine comes from God and the scriptures are tools used to help us understand the doctrines.
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BaoQingTian
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Wasn't the Bible used a lot more than the Book of Mormon throughout most of the history of the church? From my understanding, it wasn't until Ezra Taft Benson was President in the 80's that the Book of Mormon really began to be emphasized.

On the Christian question, I think you made an important point here Samuel:
quote:
So anyway, if a person who does not believe that Jesus is the savior wants to call himself a Christian, then that’s fine with me. He is a Christian and has every right to think of himself as such. But that does not alter the fact that he is a Christian who has rejected Jesus as his personal savior. And this is not being judgmental on my part for that person has already stated himself that he does not believe in Jesus that way. But ok, he is still a Christian if he says he is. I can live with that.
The problem is I think you may be missing the point you made. Mormons don't believe the same thing as creedal Christianity on many important, theological aspects of the Savior and his role. For example, on the topic of grace and works, many Protestants* may feel that Mormons don't really accept Jesus as their personal Savior to the extent that they do because of Mormon beliefs regarding works (among other things of course). They may feel that Mormons have not fully accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, and are undeserving of the label 'Christian.' In other words, they may feel toward Mormons exactly as you feel toward someone who doesn't completely embrace the divinity of the Savior- that we don't deserve the label Christian because we don't believe the same things about theology that they do.

This is a complex discussion, with all sorts of historical, theological, philosophical, and personal factors at play, but I only think it's fair to try to understand where others are coming from.

*My apologies Dana, and others if I have mischaracterized aspects of your religion. I know I have tried to simplify things greatly, but if I'm flat out wrong, I would welcome any corrections.

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Zevlag
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KQ, hahah. You are exactly right.
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Nathan2006
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First off, thank you guys so much for the links and the info!!!

I'm fairly young, and I've never heard of Mormons (Well, I've heard of them, just not exactly what they were exactly).

Sorry if this caused some sort of debate.

I have a couple of questions...

A. What happens if say, a verse from 'The Pearl of Great Price' contradicts the Bible? Or, what if it contradicts The Book of Mormon?

B. Where do you get the term Morman? Wasn't the guy's name Joseph Smith?

C. What is the position about the Apocrypha? Are they considered a part of the Biblical Canon?

Now... The last thing I want to do is start debate, or pass judgement. Just so everybody knows. I'm not being a troll or anything. When I posted this I was so afraid I was asking a touchy question. And I know that's it got to be complicated. I've been a Christian for practically all my life (Since I don't believe that I was born one), and I don't understand near everything about Christian Doctrine, in any denomination. So, I know you guys are trying to make things easier to understand for somebody who hasn't got a clue, and I really appreciate it.

Would it be an apt parallel to compare the Mormon church, in terms of the 'callings', to the early church? With everybody helping out and pitching in, teaching, home-visiting, ect.

BTW, I finished Lost Boys. :~(
So sad.

EDIT:

D. What are your views on the trinity?

E. What are your views on the whole 'Jesus was God come in the flesh', 100% God, 100% man thing?

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ludosti
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A. Part of the importance of modern prophets is the ability to clarify points of doctrine. While the Bible is believed to be the word of God, we cannot guarantee that it has remained unchanged through translation issues. The Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price are believed to be free of translation errors that may be present in the Bible.

B. Mormon was the prophet who was the major editor/redactor of the Book of Mormon (the Book of Mormon being a collection of writings and excerpts from other prophets). The Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith (who established the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Because of the inclusion of the Book of Mormon in the cannon, we are often referred to as Mormons.

C. The Apocrypha are not considered part of the cannon, though they may be enlightening to one who reads "with the Spirit" (see Doctrine and Covenants, section 91)

D. We view the members of the Trinity as distinct and separate persons, working together but each playing differing roles. God the Father is our Spiritual Father and who we refer to as God. We believe God has a perfected physical body. Jesus Christ is his son (physical and spiritual) and our Savior (and again possesses a perfected physical body). The Holy Spirit (also called the Holy Ghost) bears witness of God and Jesus Christ and has a spirit (rather than physical body).

E. As I see it, Jesus was 100% man - he was a physical person susceptible to all the same pains and foibles as any of us. Because of his divine parentage (the 100% God), and through his choices (not giving in to temptations the rest of us do), he became something more than man. Could he have made mistakes? I think that yes, to be fully human, there had to be the opportunity for failure. However, he became the sinless sacrifice that allows us to be cleansed from sin, making it possible to return to be with God.

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Puffy Treat
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What happens if say, a verse from 'The Pearl of Great Price' contradicts the Bible? Or, what if it contradicts The Book of Mormon?


As other have said, we consider the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price to be equally canonical.

As you have not defined what you mean by "contradiction", I'll just say that we believe the Scriptures as far as they are translated correctly. We also believe in seeking God's guidance to properly understand them.


Where do you get the term Morman? Wasn't the guy's name Joseph Smith?


The proper name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. "Mormon" was a nickname given to the church many years ago because we believe in the Book of Mormon.


What is the position about the Apocrypha? Are they considered a part of the Biblical Canon?

The Apocrypha is not included in the LDS printings of the KJV of the Bible, but the books are considered to have some merit. However, this merit is also believed by the church to be mixed in with much that came from man instead of God.


What are your views on the trinity?

The LDS Church believes in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. However, we believe them to be separate, distinct beings who are one in knowledge, love, and power...yet not one physically.


What are your views on the whole 'Jesus was God come in the flesh', 100% God, 100% man thing? We believe that Jesus was exactly who he claimed to be, the literal Son of God, divine in nature...yet at the same time, in his earthly life he was subject to the same things all mortals are subject to.

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Occasional
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As for contradictions, it depends on what you mean. However, using the benefit of the doubt meaning, I would say Mormons are far less prone to think of the Scriptures as perfect. If there are mistakes or contradictions, Mormons tend to logically reconcile them. If they can't then they assume the completeness of the info is not available to mortals.
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brojack17
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
If you tell me you've never thrown it in their face, or at least criticized them for it, I'll believe you...but generally speaking, most people do find ways to let people know when they disapprove of their behavior. Too judgemental being no exception.

It's my dad (and my mother-in-law). I would never call him out that way. The fact is, there are many things that I disagree with him (and the Southern Baptist Convention) about, but why pick those fights. I'm not going to change his (or their) mind, so why bother.
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Nathan2006
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:
.

[i] Where do you get the term Morman? Wasn't the guy's name Joseph Smith?



The proper name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. "Mormon" was a nickname given to the church many years ago because we believe in the Book of Mormon.

Yikes. I'm sorry... Is using the word 'Morman' considered an offensive word, or a slur? If so, I'm really sorry, as I have repeatedly used it.

PS: Thanks again everybody for answering my slew of questions.

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Puffy Treat
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"Mormon" is not considered a slur or offensive.

It's an acceptable nickname, it's just members sometimes feel the need to point out that it's not the actual name of the church. [Smile]

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Occasional
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And it is "Mormon" with an "-on" at the end. Most Mormons prefer LDS or Latter-day Saint. No bother whatever you decide.
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SteveRogers
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Some missionaries visited my house the other day right before I was going to leave for a job interview. So, I was decked out in a dress shirt (white, coincidentally), black pants, black shoes, a black belt, and a tie.

I opened the door, motioned to my clothes, and said, "Look, we match!"

I shook hands with them and had an enlightening conversation about LDS missionaries. I remembered two that had visited my house before, and they asked me what they'd said to me. Blah, blah, blah. Long story, short. My dad got home and told them we were already churched.

He's such a party pooper. I always enjoy talking to door-to-door missionaries. Not necessarily about religion even. I just react in a much more friendly manner than most of the people around here would.

[ May 07, 2007, 10:38 PM: Message edited by: SteveRogers ]

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Rakeesh
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Brojack,

quote:
It's my dad (and my mother-in-law). I would never call him out that way. The fact is, there are many things that I disagree with him (and the Southern Baptist Convention) about, but why pick those fights. I'm not going to change his (or their) mind, so why bother.
Well then, I'll take you at your word. I'd also like to refine my question, slightly. Change "throw it in their faces" to "critize their judgemental behavior", or at least "express disapproval" about it.

I've known very few people who meet that particular standard in practice.

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striplingrz
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Did anybody else see this link? LDS article: "Approaching Mormon Doctrine"

Its really excellent in my opinion. Might help some of this conversation too.

And nathan, i applaud your approach to this topic. I'd just add that you shouldn't worry too much about offending us Mormons. We historically have some pretty thick skin. LOL

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advice for robots
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Especially when we have numerical superiority. [Evil]
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
We historically have some pretty thick skin.
You take that back, right now. :pirate:
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Javert
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Nathan, just to let you know that you're not alone, I had never heard of the LDS church before coming to this site and reading OSC either!

Also, the origin of the term "Mormon" may be somewhat more confusing (at least it was to me) because Joseph Smith received the gold plates after being visited by the angel Moroni.

For the longest time I couldn't figure out how you get Mormon from Moroni. Then the PBS doc came along, and I found that Moroni's father was named Mormon.

*the more you know* [Smile]

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brojack17
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Brojack,

quote:
It's my dad (and my mother-in-law). I would never call him out that way. The fact is, there are many things that I disagree with him (and the Southern Baptist Convention) about, but why pick those fights. I'm not going to change his (or their) mind, so why bother.
Well then, I'll take you at your word. I'd also like to refine my question, slightly. Change "throw it in their faces" to "critize their judgemental behavior", or at least "express disapproval" about it.

I've known very few people who meet that particular standard in practice.

It's something I talk about with my wife (and now you), but that is as far as I take it. It's still, basically, doing the same thing. Although I am not telling the person they are going to hell because..., I am doing the same thing. I guess I have some work to do.
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Verloren
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
Can someone explain to me when exactly the title of Elder is used? I know it applies to male missionaries, but it's also used sometimes for others in the hierarchy. I can hear someone saying "Elder Bednar", for instance, and "Elder Oaks". I've been in the church now for six years but I've never understood exactly what makes someone eligible to be referred to as Elder. Can someone clarify for me?

I didn't see where this was answered accurately, so I'll chime in, even though we've moved far beyond this by now [Wink]

Elder is an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood.

To explain this more, we believe in basically two Priesthoods (think of it much like how in the Old Testament there was the Priesthood that Aaron and his sons had and then the Priesthood that the sons of Levi had).

You can find a lot of this in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 107 (see http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/107 ).

The first one is the Aaronic Priesthood. This is meant more for the administering of the church on earth. Typically, boys receive this at age 12. They start out as Deacons (which is the first office in this Priesthood), then move to Teachers at age 14, and then Priests at age 16.

Although a boy may be a Priest, he still has all the rights, power, and authority given to him as a deacon. For example, Deacons are the ones who pass the sacrament and Priests are the ones who say the sacramental prayer. However, Priests can also pass the sacrament (but Deacons cannot bless the sacrament).

At age 18 (again, typically), boys are given the higher, or Melchizedek, Priesthood. This Priesthood has the right of presiding over the church and for spiritual blessings.

The first office of this Priesthood is Elder. However, this priesthood works a bit differently than the Aaronic since we don't change to a different office based on age. The other offices are High Priest, patriarch, Seventy, and Apostle.

I am 35 years old and still an Elder. However, there are others my age who are High Priests. It has nothing to do with sins, but more to do with what services you are asked to render (certain leadership positions require certain offices in the Priesthood).

That all being said, most people don't call me Elder Verloren (if that were my last name). We typically reserve the title of Elder for those who are leaders, like those in the Seventy or even Apostles; or for missionaries. Although, when I was the president over the group of Elders in my ward, I often would say "Elders" to get their attention, and so forth.

Anyway, there is a lot more detail that I could go into on which office is allowed to do what and so forth, but that would take up LOTS of space, so I'll stop there. If you have more questions, feel free to contact me through email.

Thanks,

V

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Tatiana
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I think there may be a special exception for doing things *back* to people who are doing them to you. I'm not sure about that, and there's a lot to be said for modeling the behavior you think is best, but for instance, when it comes to bullies who beat people up day after day, unprovoked, just for fun, then I've found that hurting them real bad just once (when they pick on you) is an effective teaching tool. It works out much for the best that way. Ignoring it and not responding, or responding with words, or by an appeal to authority, or any other non-violent means doesn't seem to work (trust me, I have years of experience in this). However, being nice to everyone, but responding to violence by making the violent one feel severe pain (hopefully without injury but accidents do happen) then breaking it off, seems to work instantly to teach people better behavior. This is good for everyone in the end, most of all, for the bully themselves. For they learn how to have healthy interactions with others. It's sort of taking parental responsibilty for someone, and giving them a spanking, when they desperately need some correction.

So I think this principle is larger than just schoolyard or family bullying, too. I believe by analogy, it's not at all the same thing to use judgementalism indiscriminately, and use it first, versus using it in a limited way, in direct response to someone else's indiscriminate judgementalism, and in an effort to teach them better. I believe that indiscriminate judgementalism is wrong but measured, specific, and corrective judgementalism may be wise and good. Things like that can't be examined in a vacuum but context matters, and motive, and outcomes.

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Tatiana
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Verloren, thanks for the clarification! I know there is Elder's Quorum, and then there are High Priests. Do they meet separately on Sundays? Are Apostles not High Priests, then?
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