The One and Only "TRUE" Church

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The One and Only "TRUE" Church

Postby SallyM » 30 Jan 2009, 14:30

So I was wondeirng what your thoughts are...

Before I begin let me say that when I say "truth" in my title it infers that truth = the one appointed of God, or divine...which I am starting to realise is the way many LDS define truth.

Ok so on this journey I have lost big chunks of my testimony, and probably one of the most awakening for me is that perhaps many religions out there are EQUALLY as acceptable to God as the LDS church.

I cannot buy the line of "church is perfect, people/leaders are not"...as too MANY mistakes have been made, and to me if this was the ONLY divine church, the only one with a divinely appointed Prophet to lead its people, then God would be clearer with relevations etc so not so many mistakes would be made, and leaders would not be required to make sense of it themselves....so I guess I now feel that perhaps this life experience is all up to each person to work out on their own, and not necessarily is it VITAL that one follows without question what any Prophet, Pope etc saids. I guess I have lost the ability to believe in all the more sophisicated doctrine (eg 3 degrees of glory, having secret codes etc) that we are taught at church...and now I am more of the opinion that a belief in Christ is what is key.

As I feel following Christ is ultimately what we will be judged on, I guess I no feel that many different religions are out there so that people can find the one that helps them the most follow the Saviour.

So I am at a point where I still feel much of what the GAs say is inpired, and yes they may have a high level of spirituality, but much of what they say is of them, not of God...yet the culture of the LDS community is to accept all as being "gospel".

Please note I still see the LDS are being a very very good religion overall, but I no longer feel that it is superior, or the ONLY one that is acceptable. probably for me it may always be the one I turn to to learn more of Christ etc. But now I am not really motivated to push anyone else into it...especially if they already are of another faith that I can see brings much goodness into their lives etc.

In so many ways I feel that if the church DIDNT stress this "ONLY TRUE CHURCH" statement all the time, that in fact many of the past mistakes of the church would not be such a big deal...but since the world is constantly told that it is ONLY the LDS way to go as all others are not of God then all of the past, present and no doubt future is EXAMINED on a constant basis.

Maybe I am rambling a bit, just curious if any one else feels this altered way now as I have described above? And if so tell me how I stop feeling bugged when all I seem to hear now at church is that others need to change and be LDS etc....the constant talk on missionary work seems to of stepped up a bit of late and its really starting to get hard to filter it out.
When I am at church I find that this "ONLY ONE CHURCH" is so much in people's consciousness.
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Re: The One and Only "TRUE" Church

Postby Ray DeGraw » 31 Jan 2009, 01:34

Sally, I wrote a few posts on my own blog about missionary work that might interest you. Here are the links:

1) http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2008 ... ge-of.html

2) http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2007 ... n-joy.html

3) http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2008 ... quely.html

Finally, I also wrote something for Mormon Matters a while ago about the "only true and living church" concept. The comments that followed are interesting. (I don't know why the title got screwed up in the url.)

http://mormonmatters.org/2008/08/12/com ... rebellion/
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Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken
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Re: The One and Only "TRUE" Church

Postby curt » 31 Jan 2009, 13:06

Sally,

I think you're on to something here. Whichever church brings you closer to Christ stick with it. I think this was the message of Grant Palmer's book [i]An Insiders View[i]. But why Christ? Why not God? And so, why Christianity? Why not Judaism? or Islam? or Buddhism, etc?
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Re: The One and Only "TRUE" Church

Postby Ray DeGraw » 31 Jan 2009, 16:27

Good point, curt. I think the concept of this forum is to help people see that the LDS Church is a viable option for coming to Christ - even if it has to be supplemented by personal pursuit of spirituality through exploring other constructs. For example, my "spirituality" is enlightened by my study of lots of faith traditions and religious philosophies (and my attempts to develop divine characteristics outside of church activity), but my religiosity is centered on and expressed through the LDS Church.

If anyone is interested, I have a post scheduled on Mormon Matters for Feb. 12th entitled, "The Role of the Church in the Pursuit of Righteousness: Why It Works for Some and Not for Others". When it posts, I'll try to remember to copy it as a separate post here.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken
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Re: The One and Only "TRUE" Church

Postby Brian Johnston » 02 Feb 2009, 06:49

I am at a point now where I don't think the "truth" in an absolute sense is or has been known by humans. We can catch glimpses of it perhaps, like seeing something out of the corner of our eye. I think the story we are living prepares us for more enlightenment. So it is true in the sense that God has something to tell us.

This is also important. In my observation and experience, the stories don't really work unless you believe them on some level. Crazy paradox ... I don't mean you have to believe history that is not accurate, but you do have to put faith in your spiritual actions to give them effect. Rituals in particular require belief. Perhaps they work because we want them to? I don't know. I think that sometimes though.

I've thought about this topic a lot. What I decided for now is this: I believe in God. I find that God placed me into a "mormon" life. I personally have benefited from it. I have the sense that this is my role. I feel comfortable here. On some level, I think "it's as good a place as any..."
I really enjoy it a lot more now that my eyes have been opened (after some turmoil). I enjoy it and benefit a lot more from my membership in the Church now that I no longer think it is true (the facts, in the absolute sense).

So why the LDS Church and not Judaism, Islam or Wicca? Answer: because God led me to Mormonism, and I still feel like it is my home. Also, I feel very free to take "truth" and enlightenment from any good source. That is a central part of Mormonism, especially as taught by Joseph Smith. Now that I am free from "truth" only being in the LDS Church, I can include all truth in my Mormonism. Does that make any sense? Mormonism is the pursuit of answers. I love that about the LDS Church. Unlike many other faiths, no question in Mormonism is forbidden. We may not get the answer when we want or how we want it, but we can ask and seek. The LDS Church teaches that all *can* be known given enough time and effort. I love that.

I think "the one and only true Church" has to be a part of our mythology for Mormonism to work. I thought I would add that. I don't think our modern day Church would fullfill God's design if that were not a part of the mormon story.

"Truth" in the whole and absolute sense, I call that "The Gospel." We are taught "All truth can be circumscribed into one great whole." That is the ultimate truth IMO. It is an irrational idea that is too expansive for our mortal capacity. The LDS Church is a valuable subset of the truth in my opinion.
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Re: The One and Only "TRUE" Church

Postby Orson » 02 Feb 2009, 10:57

Hi Sally, in short – yes, I think many people experience a similar “altered” view that you describe. As Richard Bushman described in one interview "Mormonism embraces both the universalistic and the particularistic view (the “one and only”) at the same time." Yes, this is paradoxical and many people have not learned to be comfortable with paradox (more on this in Fowler’s “Stages of Faith”). In my opinion when people can’t grasp the paradox they let go of one pole and hold onto the other with all their might. The result is a CULTURAL phenomenon that many (even most) LDS members experience. The important distinction (to me at least) is between the culture and the true doctrine.

SallyM wrote:So I am at a point where I still feel much of what the GAs say is inpired, and yes they may have a high level of spirituality, but much of what they say is of them, not of God...yet the culture of the LDS community is to accept all as being "gospel".


Notice you point out here it is the CULTURE to accept leaders words as gospel – it is not doctrinal to accept every word as gospel. We can get into a lot of trouble when we start seeing culture as doctrine, and I think a look into the short past can demonstrate several such situations.

To me “the gospel is perfect but the leaders are not”. I would not even say the church is perfect, the church is an organization of mortals – the programs are not perfect. Our collective grasp or understanding of the gospel is also probably far from perfect – but the gospel itself – what we are trying to understand, what I like to boil down to 'LOVE' in it’s purest essence, is the perfect thing that may elude us mere mortals through the remainder of time. I try not to be bothered when I see the gospel misrepresented in church. I don’t see the gospel, or even truth, as something in whole or in part held exclusively in the LDS church. It is a gift of God (no other way to describe it) given to his “children” on earth. I think God lets error enter our culture and our history to keep us humble, and he hopes that we will open our eyes to see it – and then learn from it.

My thoughts for today at least.

Very thoughtful post, thanks for that.
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I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.
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Re: The One and Only "TRUE" Church

Postby Fig-bearing Thistle » 04 Feb 2009, 21:25

SallyM wrote:I cannot buy the line of "church is perfect, people/leaders are not"...as too MANY mistakes have been made, and to me if this was the ONLY divine church, the only one with a divinely appointed Prophet to lead its people, then God would be clearer with relevations etc so not so many mistakes would be made, and leaders would not be required to make sense of it themselves....so I guess I now feel that perhaps this life experience is all up to each person to work out on their own, and not necessarily is it VITAL that one follows without question what any Prophet, Pope etc saids. I guess I have lost the ability to believe in all the more sophisicated doctrine (eg 3 degrees of glory, having secret codes etc) that we are taught at church...and now I am more of the opinion that a belief in Christ is what is key.


I think I see where you are coming from SallyM. I'll tell you my perspective, and you can take it for what it's worth.

I know the Church leaders are imperfect, and make their share of mistakes in policy decisions of the Church. I can name a bunch myself. Such as missions going from 24 months to 18 months, then back to 24 months. This happened while I was serving in Taiwan btw. I think the Lord expects them to learn and become wise through experience, just like us.

But personally, I don't see mistakes in the vital doctrines and principles and ordinances. I believe the Holy Priesthood is necessary to function in all these ordinances, from baptism and gift of the Holy Ghost, to the Temple and sealing ordinances.

And that is one of several things that sincere followers of Jesus Christ outside the Church do not have.

I guess I just have faith in the promise stated by Wilford Woodruff, which other prophets have repeated:

“I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God.” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 212–13.)

SallyM wrote:
Please note I still see the LDS are being a very very good religion overall, but I no longer feel that it is superior, or the ONLY one that is acceptable. probably for me it may always be the one I turn to to learn more of Christ etc. But now I am not really motivated to push anyone else into it...especially if they already are of another faith that I can see brings much goodness into their lives etc.


I think the LDS people can learn a whole lot from others, and it isn't a matter of superiority in my mind, because the LDS people certainly aren't superior. And there are many acceptable and admirable things in other faiths that the LDS could learn from. But I do believe that there are some essentials missing in other forms of Christianity.

And they are outlined in the four cornerstones of our faith as Gordon B. Hinckey outlined:

1. A testimony of Jesus Christ. (It seems so much fuller to me than it would be w/o the BoM or living Prophets.)
2. Joseph Smith's First vision, and the idea of continuing revelation from the heavens.
3. The Book of Mormon
4. The Restoration of the Priesthood, and the authority to administer in the saving ordinances of the gospel

Personally, once I've had a knowledge and testimony of these and other truths, I don't know where I'd be without them.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.
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Re: The One and Only "TRUE" Church

Postby Brian Johnston » 05 Feb 2009, 08:15

Fig-bearing Thistle wrote:And they are outlined in the four cornerstones of our faith as Gordon B. Hinckey outlined:

1. A testimony of Jesus Christ. (It seems so much fuller to me than it would be w/o the BoM or living Prophets.)
2. Joseph Smith's First vision, and the idea of continuing revelation from the heavens.
3. The Book of Mormon
4. The Restoration of the Priesthood, and the authority to administer in the saving ordinances of the gospel

Personally, once I've had a knowledge and testimony of these and other truths, I don't know where I'd be without them.


Have you gone through a period in your life where you questioned the factual nature of these claims? If so, how did you work past those doubts? A big part of the mission of this support group is sharing strategies -- which are usually as varied as the people who pass through doubt.

The nagging doubt. That's what brings a lot of people here.
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Re: The One and Only "TRUE" Church

Postby Fig-bearing Thistle » 05 Feb 2009, 08:38

Valoel wrote:
Fig-bearing Thistle wrote:And they are outlined in the four cornerstones of our faith as Gordon B. Hinckey outlined:

1. A testimony of Jesus Christ. (It seems so much fuller to me than it would be w/o the BoM or living Prophets.)
2. Joseph Smith's First vision, and the idea of continuing revelation from the heavens.
3. The Book of Mormon
4. The Restoration of the Priesthood, and the authority to administer in the saving ordinances of the gospel

Personally, once I've had a knowledge and testimony of these and other truths, I don't know where I'd be without them.


Have you gone through a period in your life where you questioned the factual nature of these claims? If so, how did you work past those doubts? A big part of the mission of this support group is sharing strategies -- which are usually as varied as the people who pass through doubt.

The nagging doubt. That's what brings a lot of people here.


Thanks, V.

I've got to get some things done, but I'll try to get back with you later tonight.
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Re: The One and Only "TRUE" Church

Postby GDTeacher » 05 Feb 2009, 11:48

I think Sally has it right. The "one true church" approach makes me feel uncomfortable. Besides my belief that the church is a well-intentioned, man-made organization, I think it is the height of arrogance to claim sole access to truth. I am comfortable participating in church as it teaches things like the Golden Rule, love, and compassion. I am uncomfortable when we hear things like:

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
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