Beliefs Culture Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

What one bishop offers Mormons who don’t ‘know’ the church is true

Richard Ostler
Richard Ostler

Richard Ostler

This is a guest post from Richard Ostler, adapted with his permission from a Facebook post he wrote earlier this week.

I was very struck by its wisdom and compassion, and asked if I could edit and share it so that those who aren’t lucky enough to be Facebook friends with him can have a chance to read it. — JKR

 

A guest post by Richard Ostler

I serve as a bishop of a singles ward with over 300 members. They are incredible . . .  some of the best people I know. Among them are those who are not sure about their testimony in the church, with some being in a more difficult situation experiencing a total “faith crisis.” (I’ve come to believe this is part of mortality for some, and should be considered as expected or even welcome in their faith journey with the added growth that will come, versus something “bad” that they have caused to come upon themselves.)

Some of these good ward members attend church and some do not. I spend a lot of time meeting with members in this group, listening to them, praying with them, reflecting on how best to help them, and getting insights from others. I’d like to share some thoughts in hopes it might be helpful to others. These are my thoughts and my thoughts only. I do not claim to be a spokesperson for the Church.

  1. I avoid telling people just to be more faithful. I’ve come to learn that counseling them to “read more,” “pray more,” and/or “study the scriptures more” may in some situations not be helpful, and will actually make the situation worse. Why? They may already be doing these things. In fact they are sometimes doing a better job of this than I am. They may have spent years going down this road and have yet to gain an “I know the church is true with every fiber of my being” testimony. While this may be the correct advice for many, for others it may just add to their burden and make them feel they are different and just don’t belong, causing them to walk out of Mormonism.
  2. I accept that not everyone will fit into the “I know” crowd. As we learn in D&C 46:13-14, to some it is given to “know” and to others it is given to “believe.” There is not a “know” requirement in the first four temple recommend questions about our beliefs. We all have different spiritual gifts and we need to give permission for everyone to feel comfortable at church with a range of testimonies such as “don’t believe,” “sort of believe,” “not sure,” “feels right,” “maybe,” “I think so,” “I believe,” and “I know.” Elder Uchtdorf said, “I know of no sign on the door of our meetinghouses that says, ‘Your testimony must be this tall to enter.’”

I have so much respect for those who share their testimony and use less absolute phrases than “I know.” Maybe that is the best some are able to do now. I’ve met many of these wonderful members and see firsthand all they do to help and faithfully serve others. Often they have unique Christlike attributes and gifts. They are the best of the best. Maybe for some “I don’t know” is their destination for this lifetime … not just a temporary stop.

  1. I resist the temptation to bear testimony “at” this group. Instinctively, I’ve sometimes wanted to bear my testimony of the church to those who open up with their concerns. Maybe this results from my lifelong church training and mission experience. This might be the right thing for some people, but it makes others feel worse, shutting them down just as they are opening up. When people bear testimony at them, it reinforces the feeling that they are different, that there is something wrong with them.
  2. I work on truly listening. I feel the best thing I can do is listen. I call this listening to understand, as opposed to listening in order to find an opening to talk or teach. I often take notes as I listen during interviews and refer back to them to make sure I understand. I also don’t sit across from them from behind my desk, but face to face on the opposite side of my desk. I’ve always felt my best bishop interviews are when I listen well over 50% of the time, resisting the temptation to teach, fix, or talk about myself.
  3. I trust that they are receiving personal revelation. Instead of being prescriptive, I often feel impressed to invite the person I’m meeting with to discuss and act on their impressions to address their faith journey. I believe strongly in the principle of personal revelation … and that it is unique and customized to each person.
  4. I know my own testimony is a work in progress. Many of us have different feelings about different areas of the church such as doctrine, policy, individual leader styles, culture, past history, etc. For me, there are parts of the church for which I use the “know” word and parts for which I can’t use that word. For example, I know I hold the priesthood of God; I know this as I’ve given maybe 1,000+ blessings over the past three years. I know temple covenants are powerful, that I feel “at home” in the temple, that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real, and that the Book of Mormon is true (though I’m not comfortable when some people use those war stories to figuratively “go to war” with those who are different than us). These beliefs and experiences (including powerful spiritual experiences of teaching/inviting/walking three incredible young men into the waters of baptism) keep me firmly planted with both feet in the church that I love and sustain.

There are other areas that are much harder for me, like some of the church’s history, polygamy (which I have on a shelf for now), and the sadness and pain I feel in my heart and the hearts of others with the November policy statements. To me, the pain I see this policy causing in some faithful members and in the LGBT community is not consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ … and I feel it is a contributing factor in the recent suicides of some of our dear LGBT sons and daughters, who are some of Heavenly Father’s most tender, pure, and precious spirits.

I share my personal feeling about the policy and LGBT issues not to persuade you to my way of thinking, but to let you know that although I have real concerns about some issues, I choose to keep both feet in the church and follow its teaching. In my situation it just adds to my pain when others tell me “the prophet has spoken” or double-down on the doctrine of traditional marriage. I believe in the prophet and the doctrine of traditional marriage, but I also need people to acknowledge my pain and “mourn for those who mourn.”

  1. I focus on strengths. Some without an “I know” testimony may conclude that something is wrong with them and focus on their faults, imperfections, or the commandments that they are still working to keep. They assume that the problem is all with them, instead of considering that they might not have this spiritual gift of knowledge, or that the “I know” may come later. Overanalyzing ourselves and focusing on our weaknesses is usually an emotionally damaging road, so I encourage people to focus on their strengths and gifts. This is how I believe Heavenly Father sees all of us.
  2. I strive to make a bigger tent. I worry that we Mormons have created a culture and a way of talking in “absolutes” that makes it hard for some to feel like they belong. Their leaving breaks my heart. I want the tent of the church to extend so that people with all ranges of testimonies feel like it is their spiritual home where they are welcome and accepted. I want them to feel safe to share their true feelings without judgment or suggestions about how they can be “fixed.” I believe the Lord wants our church to be a safe and accepting place for all His sons and daughters … not just those that fit the mold.

With love, Papa Ostler

 

Richard Ostler is a small business owner in Salt Lake City. He is married, the father of six, and the grandfather of one.


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About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church," which will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2019. She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

66 Comments

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  • Jana, a great post! Bishop, thank you for opening up your heart and sharing with us. May God continue to bless you in your service.

  • The War Chapters: to help readers of the Book of Mormon, who are
    being challenged by sin, temptation, addictions, etc., to apply the teachings
    in Alma chapters 43-63 to their own personal “war” against sin and temptation.
    Sections
    Part 1 Increase Insight and Awareness
    Part II Create and Fortify Defenses
    Part III Develop Offensive Skills
    Part IV Strengthen Determination and Desire
    Part V Maintain Your Freedom and Peace
    These are the section titles of a 6 page report by Travis Baer, LCSW, titled, “Captain Moroni’s Model of Success.

  • Great post, but as someone who has been through a faith crisis and come out the other as a non-believer I would like to add my two cents. Most of these thoughts are merely variations on a theme, that the struggling member doesn’t fit in with the rest of the congregation. It’s true they don’t, so the best thing to do is to just love them and let them be who they are. Let them accept their struggles and give them a safe place to express their doubts to others in the ward. In short, don’t just strive to make a bigger tent. Make a bigger tent; make your congregation welcoming of everyone, believer, non-believer, and everyone in between.

  • Are you saying people that are going through a “faith crisis” are really battling sin and temptation? I don’t see that anywhere in this article nor in my “faith crisis” or the FC of others I have learned of.

  • This makes it sound like people who have doubts are the enemy and that they should be neutralized or defeated somehow. I don’t think you’ll get very far with that approach.

  • Thank you for sharing these thoughts and comments. I actually read them on Papa Ostler’s FB post, but we were not friends and so I couldn’t comment there. I’m going to write here what I was going to write there.

    The original post talked about how Papa Ostler works in marketing, and so do I. So I am going to speak in marketerese for the rest of my comment. Apologies in advance to anyone not in corporate marketing. 😀

    I need you to understand that some people who have “struggles” with the church do so because they have negative brand experiences. This is especially true for LGBT members. There is no way for an LGBT member to be fully comfortable with both of their brands, because the LDS brand considers the LGBT brand a competitive platform. The LDS brand mission is to eliminate the LGBT brand from the marketplace. The LGBT brand would coexist with the LDS brand if LDS corporate executives would stop generating negative brand messaging regarding the LGBT brand. However, the LDS executive vision prevents that paradigm in the current marketplace and therefore, those who are brand advocates for the LGBT brand will continue to experience negative brand experiences.

    Rather than being a net positive in their lives, the positions and politics of the LDS brand experience drive those who are also LGBT brand sympathizers toward brand fatigue. After these negative brand experiences, LGBT brand sympathizers fail to identify themselves with the LDS brand and drift towards brand apathy. You see, the LDS product works very well for many people – those brand adopters, brand evangelists and target market allies who might convert from similar brand experiences or those who lack a product but identify with the brand message. But many of use former customers simply no longer subscribe to the product vision.

    The best thing to do in these cases is to recognize when someone has had negative brand experiences with the LDS brand, and encourage them to explore other product options or let them try living without the product for a while. I recognize that this goes against the mindset of the evangelical brand advocate. But constant brand fatigue creates negative influencers, who will typically soon identify with the ex-Mormon brand. Additionally, those who cannot reconcile the brand incongruities between the LDS and LGBT brands may experience identity confusion, which may lead to termination of all product use through a poorly-executed strategic exit strategy, which creates a negative message for all involved in the brand conversation.

    I am grateful that you no longer wish to engage in creating brand fatigue. That’s a positive step in the development of how you as an implementation consultant handle LDS product implementation. I would like you to consider identifying when those who subscribe to the LGBT brand may be best served by finding another product that will fit with their branding identity. Other spiritual product brands like the Community of Christ brand, the Unitarian brand, or Liberal Quaker or Episcopal brands will work well for those who are LGBT brand customers. I recognize that these are competitive brand choices, but will be the best overall implementation of spiritual products for those who are also LGBT-brand customers.

    No matter which paradigm you continue to utilize in your LDS product implementation, I as an ex-LDS brand advocate am grateful that your future LDS product execution strategy will consist of increased overall branding awareness and heavy utilization of the love and compassion feature. It is my hope that your implementation strategy ideas will resonate with other LDS implementation consultants and improve the overall brand experience for all who are involved in the brand circle.

  • Thank You for these words. I’ve struggled and still do, but I believe this IS the Church Christ formed. Every thing else will come to me in God’s timing.

  • More of the same stuff as usual, in the usual attempt to make it all sound better than it is. It didn’t take too long to get to this little gem:

    “and I feel it is a contributing factor in the recent suicides of some of our dear LGBT sons and daughters, who are some of Heavenly Father’s most tender, pure, and precious spirits.”

    So, which are we? Tender, pure, and precious spirits? Or broken, sexually confused individuals, acting contrary to god’s plan for sex, self, family, and civilization? Because the latter, not the former, is what your church has been pushing for decades: The idea that we are People whose very existence and desire to live our lives authentically, as we are made, in the way that brings us joy, family, and community, in our families, in our communities, churches, cities, states, nation, and culture…

    That we must be considered a threat to faith, freedom, morality, heterosexuality, country, Constitution, family, children, and marriage, not to mention, Western Civilization. We must be stopped, lest we contaminate Mormon and American purity.

    You cannot have it both ways, except in Christian-speak land. You cannot call us threats–even though the “threats” are demonstrable, vile lies– and pretend that you love us, you just hate our sins. One need only look at the fruits–teeheheehehee– of your 2 millennia old JIHAD against our right to exist, to know the rotten theology produces rotten fruit.

    To the best of my knowledge, the sodomy laws are still on the books in Utah. The Mormon Church has never apologized for its attacks on gay people, its support of the World congress of families and their viciously antigay agenda, including prisons for those of us who don’t see the light. Stuart Reid and Paul Mero have, in the past few weeks, declared a special right to discriminate against gay people because Christians are just so dam special– so special that they don’t have to obey laws which forbid discrimination on the basis of religious belief. This was the subject of two recent columns in the past few weeks. And in those two columns, all of the garbage about gay people being a threat to everything good and holy was once again repeated, though in Reid’s case, he was so thrilled with his cleverness that he barely made any sense. But the message was clear, and it wasn’t about tender pure and precious spirits.

    Since you are a marketer, and I am a gay man, living a good life as a gay man for the past 45 of my 66 years, I’ll tell you what I see. The harm that the Church– and I’m not just speaking of Mormons here– has inflicted on gay people for the past 2000 years has been incalculable. Oh yes, there has been a resounding tsk-tsk from you, by which I am referring to the Church, but never an actual apology. Never an admission of wrong doing. Certainly no cessation of it. You simply don’t see it, or consider it inconsequential. You certainly don’t consider what is obvious to so many gay people, and invisible to so many “good” Christians: You have taken a very ancient, vicious, destructive, and deeply engrained prejudice, a prejudice that not only produces the suicides of those “who are some of Heavenly Father’s most tender, pure, and precious spirits”– but convinced yourself it is all about sincere religious belief.

    explain, if you will, the goodwill behind the so-called Utah Compromise. Two alleged gay rights bills, one of which allows discrimination on the basis of religious belief by the very people most likely to engage in it– small business owners and landlords– while forbidding it to the very people LEAST LIKELY to engage in it– large businesses and landlords. And a separate bill that says as long as someone claims it’s about their sincere religious beliefs– the Mormon Church perhaps– then that discrimination is just ducky.

    either we ban discrimination on the basis of religious belief, or we allow it for everyone. Finding exceptions to such laws merely underlines why we have them in the first place, while encouraging the undermining of such laws, and the hypocrisy of the so called Christian response to extra super duper ickiness of gay people.

    You simply don’t see any of this. You are a white, heterosexual, Christian male, an official in a state founded by your religion, and outside of SLC itself, run by your religion. So, why should you? That’s why you wrote about the “November policy statements.” nice euphemism there, and requires a link or prior knowledge to say what it is about– gay people are STILL a threat, and not welcome. That’s what Reid say, that’s what Mero said.

    I have no more time to write. This is enough for now.

  • ” The Mormon Church has never apologized for its attacks on gay people,” If they were an authentic church…..otherwise, why would a church need to apologize to you because you chose to sin?

  • You are right. I have my own sin that I understand too well, but the sin of homosexuality is beyond me – thank the Lord!

  • I am so sorry for not explaining this! The author made a reference to not particularly caring for the war chapters. Those chapters can be extremely valuable for those with addictions and other major challenges in life. I just was taking the opportunity to share how valuable those chapters can be to the right person.

  • “If they were an (?)authentic(?) church . . .”

    All authentic churches have been built on a foundation of delusion and/or fraud. But, the Mormon Church was obviously built on the foundation of Joseph Smith’s purely fraudulent tale of the gold plates.

  • I thank the Lord because that isn’t a sin that I chose to battle Ben. You know better than the silliness of your comment!

  • I don’t get why someone needs to know only one church is true. And, I don’t get why the conservative version of Mormonism has to be the only one that is correct. I think that it would be better if Latter-day Saints just changed how they spoke. First off, saying they their branch of Mormonism is “true” is like calling green grass purple. It really isn’t true. It’s just a branch of the Latter Day Saint church that splintered in 1844. There are other Mormon denominations with the same keys and the same Gospel.
    It would be better to say that Mormonism is the most correct branch of Christianity and that the LDS branch of Mormonism is right for you. I know the Book of Mormon is true, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, I know that Jesus is the Christ. I also know that the LDS branch of Mormonism is not right for me. I don’t want my kids thinking that the evils coming from LDS leaders are the word of God. I don’t want them questioning why the LDS branch rejects the teachings of the Book of Mormon. So, it just isn’t for me or my family. Next year I’ll be proud to ordain my daughter a deacon in the Relief Society (or I will assist my wife as she does it, it’s up to our daughter). She will take out the first part of her temple endowments. She will be a minister of Jesus Christ. That’s something no 12 year old girl could do in the LDS branch. I won’t tell you I know the Fellowship is true, but I will tell you it is right for me and my family. It’s not perfect, but it also doesn’t teach that white men are better than everyone else. That’s as true as it gets.

  • I will add this to my commentary below.

    Mr. Ostler, you seem to be a good man, trying to do good. And for that, as a gay man, I thank you.

    Your church? not so much. MY criticism still stands.

  • I have to add this as an edit: the “you” of the last paragraph is clearly not you personally. But it remains true of your church.

  • Some of you with crises of faith: it may just be that your faculties of reason, logic and common sense are fighting your desire to believe. Instead of delving deeper into your faith or praying more take a step outside and critically look at your church, its history and beliefs. Read books by Christopher Hitchens and other atheists. Look for books or articles by those who have left your faith and see if their experiences resonate with you. Your religion and faith should handle that examination. Churches seldom encourage such questioning but do it anyway.

  • I’m a big fan of the Myers-Briggs personality typing system. One dimension P/J describes the personality dimension between a type that is more comfortable with grayness and uncertainty vs. those who need black/white and certainty. I wonder if that plays a role here.

  • I’m guessing the whole “time and all eternity” thing scares them as well. Being part of a church that has made so many mistakes in the past 180 years doesn’t bode well for infinity and beyond. Flunking Sainthood isn’t as easy as it seems.

  • “I don’t get why someone needs to know only one church is true. And, I don’t get why the conservative version of Mormonism has to be the only one that is correct.”

    Because social control is a major part of the church. Such views encourage coercion and peer pressure within the flock.

    One of the most notable features of the LDS church is its insistence on entangling itself into the lives of its members in a way no other Christian church does in this day and age. There is no expectation or respect for personal boundaries by the church.

  • And he somehow convinced all three witnesses of the plates to turn against him but then still continually testify of the angel and the plates! Explain that one. Better yet you cant explain it so don’t bother trying. They saw the plates and testified throughout their lives of it.

  • “And he somehow convinced all three witnesses of the plates to turn against him but then still continually testify of the angel and the plates! Explain that one.”

    The most plausible (but by no means the only one) could be disagreements as to who is going to lead the group. Power struggle of fellow confederates in a grift.

  • Noel Jensen, I too am a fan of this personality typing and being a ‘P’ I am one that can see many different sides of a debate or controversy. I’m all about the grat area 🙂 I’ve often wondered how the various Meyer-Briggs personalities fair in the Mormon religion. Somebody needs to write a book, perhaps a lighthearted one, on the best way to implement the various personalities in the church. If you write it let me know. 🙂

  • Hi. I’m here to respond to your comment with as much thoughtfulness as I can provide.

    First, I’ll give some background on myself. I’m a 23 year old jack-mormon female who has deeply struggled with sexual things both in regards to and not in regards to the mormon church. I am autistic and bipolar 1. I AM of normal attractiveness, I have had people call me smart, captivating, talented, easy to talk to, cool, a leader. Here is my story.

    I grew up incredibly mormon. Mesa is like second provo basically. I worked really freaking hard to be a good mormon. This meant that I faitfhfully read my scriptures, said my prayers, went to church, etc. My whole journey started around 5th-7th grade. THAT is when I was diagnosed as autistic, that is when I didn’t fit in because I was weird. My best friend of 7 years (non-mormon but a sweetheart) left my side because my depression and weirdness I guess was too much for her.

    I was interested in boys, I started puberty, but I didn’t get sexual feelings. I got crushy feelings, I wanna hold your hand, and kiss you, but nothing about sex. Idk if I was just THAT determined to not have ANY sexual feelings or if I was asexual. In any case, it didn’t matter, mormons didn’t date til they were 16 anyways. As long as I tried my best to be someone they wanted to date (attractive and cool) SOMEONE would want to. 16 knocked on my door, I was doing well in school, on the XC team…but I didn;t have friends or dates. I had fairwather friends, SURE. They weren’t about to be jerks to me, that would look bad…just fake nice. I wasn’t good enough because my milkshake didn’t bring boys to the yard. 18 came and passed…no boys. I asked a guy out on a day and had a panic attack trying to and that was as a friend. But, I did get my first sexual feelings.

    I didn’t get access to the internet until 15, but I tried to stay pure once I was on it. But around 18, I discovered feelings. It was so weird that it came then, but I went to the bishop and begged him to help me have the faith to stop. I went to college and months and months of not making ACTUAL friends…like the kind that every freshman is supposed to make, the kind that want to be around you, after not getting asked on dates….I knew something was off. Enter the world of online dating.

    I had power….whoooo-ie…I. HAD. A CHOICE. Boys liked me, I could choose…I wasn’t going to wait 30 years for the fattest ugliest person stupidest person ever to exist to ask me, no wait MAYBE MAYBE IN 1000 MILLION YEARS ask me on a date irl. The caveat was 99,9% in my area were not mormon. Easy, i explain my standards and stick to them. At first, I could…

    But then, I got to go to provo Utah for a month and holy crap, it was like boys gone wild. I compromised my standards, after being free of those feeling for months, I compromised. I wasn’t exactly promiscuous, but I wasn’t a nun either. I had fun, for the first time in my life, people wanted me. I felt terrible and asked for help from the bishop of that ward too.

    I found a mormon boy. He was SO GREAT. I mean he wasn’t amazing, but I liked him. Also he was autistic, so like, I had won the lottery basically. But I knew for a fact from my first relationship that I couldn’t do long-distance…plus, I finally had the upper hand, I got what I wanted and it felt nice to get cuddles and attention. I got him to move a state for me at 19. In order to be together. The he tries to rape me after a few months of being together. At that point I had had a lot of dates but only 2 bfs. He had sex previously, but I was still a virgin by technicality and he wanted to take that away from me.

    Again, I asked for help (oh and before Utah, I went to BYU-idaho where I was kicked out for experiencing mental health issues, getting no support and I asked for help with my sexual issues there while dating my first bf long-distance) anyways….at that point, I rebelled. Nothing worked. And even worse…I had a sexual addiction. One that hurt me so badly. Not to other people though. It destroyed my life and so many people said a girl can’t get addicted to that. I felt so terrible, I felt broken, I felt like why should this happen when I tried so hard before and waited for a boy to ask me out but they never did.

    I lost my virginity. I struggled for years with that. But I finally decided 2 years ago that I wouldn’t anymore. I won’t struggle. I’ll try to understand. But I won’t feel bad for going through what I did. And I enjoy sex.

    Here is what I have come to say. If you want gay marriage to be okay with the church, I think premarital sex is fine too. Because the rules of the church are clearly there for logical reasons as well as emotional/faith-based ones. Also, if free the nipple is okay with church members, then they better accept that I’ve had sex. I’ve struggled just as much as you have trying to accept that I have sexual feelings that are against the churches will. In fact, I’ve struggled with things that are mental with sex too, addictions.

    I am trying to decide if I want to return to the church. I am waiting to see if I can find people that are kind, who will love me as I am. But I understand your feelings.

    I think that businesses that don’t provide an essential service should be able to discriminate if they can prove it was in regards to gay marriage, that they would be aiding the marriage of 2 gay peoples. You know why, because this country was built on religious freedom. ANd it’s not fair if you get the freedom to do something that I have struggled with so much when sex is okay within the bonds of matrimony. I want to express myself sexually but I think the church has every right, individuals have every right to feel the way that they want about it. That’s why I write so much, to convince others that premarital sex isn’t the 3rd worst sin that you can ever do.

    You say to allow religious expression for everyone, allow it.

    But I say this as a girl who is completely different from you in so many ways that it would boggle your mind. We are fighting for essentially the same thing, the church to accept the way we sexually express ourselves. The only difference here is that I am not asking the church to change policy, I am asking myself if I like the church. I feel like you should do the same.

    It’s perfectly within your right to not believe, or even cherry-pick. I don’t like that term, but I do like the concept of analyzing EVERYTHING and feeling for yourself. There is so much good in the church that I am not ready to leave behind. That is why I am trying to hold a place in my heart for when I move to a place that doesn’t have such bad memories. To try again with the church.

  • Testimony by “witnesses” claiming to have seen something through a supernatural visionary experience would not stand up in a legitimate courtroom.

    Even if those witnesses had said they literally saw the gold plates, they probably would not have wanted to admit later in life that they were liars.

    If the gold plates really existed, the LDS Church would logically have them preserved and protected for all to see in Salt Lake City, or at a shrine near Manchester, New York. But, conveniently for the Church, they can explain why they can’t do that . . . because Joseph Smith was smart enough to say he gave the plates to the angel, Moroni.

  • Maybe in the history of churches, another denomination has had to spend so much time explaining things, re-explaining things, and re-re-explaining things and devoting so much time to keeping people in the flock.

    The LDS church surely stands out in the 21st century as spending inordinate time doing that.

    I do not wonder why.

  • Here is a suggestion, Nali…the next time that you find yourself in some sort of crisis,instead of going to a human being to try helping you, why not go to CHRIST HIMSELF, Someone who CAN help you without any doubt, if you trust Him to do so??

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry that there has been so much pain and conflict in your life. I hope that you find both peace and resolution for it. I don’t think you will find it with the Mormon church, but that’s just me.

    I think you misunderstand me. The church has the right to set whatever it wants of its policy for whatever reasons it may have. What it doesn’t have the right to do is press its purely theological concerns into the civil law that governs all of us. I am not a Mormon.

    I have the right to criticize the church for it because I think it is stupid, destructive, wrong, harmful, and an abuse and misuse of scripture. What I don’t have is the right to use the civil law that governs all of us to force the church to change its doctrines.

    As for the very few vendors who are so stupid and so rude that they cannot say to a prospective client, “sorry, I’m booked, call so and so.”. There is NOTHING about providing a cake that is a religious act. No one is asking for approval or participation. They are asking for a cake, not a sermon. We have laws at every level of government which forbid discrimination on the basis of religious belief: no exceptions. Finding exceptions is what these laws are about. If they can make a cake for a false god worshipping Hindu who denies the totality of Mormon belief, they can make a cake for me.

    Personally, to me, it sounds like a lot of your issues are with the church. You might make your life a lot better by finding a better class of church to attend, and a better class of Christian to hang out with. I would suggest United Church of Christ or the Unitarians, sometimes, as with your former BF, you just have to accept that you cannot make a relationship work.

  • They also spend FAR more money than any other denomination attracting people to the flock and still over half run away in the 1st year. Riddle me that, why such an amazing church has so few people running towards it

  • Actually, Dean, it is a sin, and it is a choice.

    1 Timothy 1: 9-11 “ …. understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,a liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.”

  • I am not a Mormon and don’t care for the Mormon church. However, this post shows a Mormon man who’s very kind, thoughtful and loving. My impression of Mormonism has risen a notch. Kudos to you, Mr. Ostler. Keep treating those people with such gentleness and I hope more take up your suggestions.

  • Sounds like this bishop is the one that lacks faith and is watering things down for a lame duck audience of do nothing deserters.

  • I’d say there are branches of Mormonism that are worse but yes, I agree. There are some great branches out there that actually help rather than attempt to control. That’s why it’s important to learn about all the Mormon denominations and not just go with the one with the most money and power.

  • The NALT (Not All Like That) response is so feckless. It only comes out when outsiders criticize a faith. It denotes a level of spinelessness some liberalized sects have with more offensive brethren.

    Maybe those more beneficent denominations you referenced should do better public relations work and make their presence known more to both those outside of the faith and fellow Mormons. If people haven’t heard of those sects, it’s not incumbent on others to find out about them. It is incumbent of those sects to raise greater awareness in others. You never see such people taking members of their own faith to task for bad behavior.

    In all fairness, a far better response would have been rather than expect me to go research blindly on the subject, provide examples of those other groups.

  • More flinging of the Theo-poo by the True Christians (TM) towards the Not True Christians.

    As always, it is charming.

  • Not to be disrespectful or annoying…but just to keep it real……as a public service I like to remind humans every once in a while that Their favorite “God” is but one of many that humans have created for themselves to worship. This happens all over the place. Which “God” is superior depends on what You were told by someone else and believed. That’s cool, and all that the 1st Amendment is about……the Freedom to believe in any supernatural entities that one chooses. That’s it. None of the many “Gods” are any more special than any of the others. They are equal and exist in the minds of those who follow them. That is a constant. Another constant is that ALL who do choose to believe in any of them just “know” that Their favorite is the “Real” one and the rest are phony. That is universal. Just a reminder. Sad to see so many need to depend on something other than themselves to live good lives. Oh well. If anyone reading this wants me to go to a really hot place when I die, or call me names or cut off my head for saying so, You are who I am addressing. Peace.

  • So much work, this faith thing, so hard to find.
    Why is a car crash so easy, a slip of a moment, a real thing? But yet God makes us guess.

    I think we are god, each person a nerve in gods head, that is why we can’t find him.

  • There is a reasonable alternative for believers in the Creator.
    We don’t ask you to abandon reason and logic.
    The United Deist Church
    On Facebook

  • Yes, but shouldn’t the church leaders help her do just that, as His representatives? Shouldn’t we all, if we have taken upon ourselves His name, simply love her?
    Nali, I am so very sorry for the lack of support and love you have suffered. I hope you find the love and peace you are seeking. I will not even try to defend the LDS church, because it is a community of broken and imperfect human beings, a spiritual hospital in effect. Mistakes, gross errors, and sins have been committed that have hurt and continues to hurt countless individuals; however, I would rather trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and try to learn of Him and attempt to emulate Him. I know that there are also very good people with the same heart, but even with the best of intentions, we might offend and hurt others for our lack of understanding and experience. Good luck one your journey! Keep hoping and looking for truth, for the best in humanity, and most of all look to Christ, the only one who can love you perfectly!

  • What version of the Bible is this? Strange. Clearly a hack. Unless it is the King James Version, keep this lie to yourself.

  • was it too difficult for you to read?
    10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind – is how the KVJ defines homosexuals.
    blessings.

  • It is false. More man made than the KJV. People just making stuff up. Like yourself. Christ never said anything about Gay Folks and nor should you.

    Matthew 7: 1-5. And I’d bet money you are a glutton.

  • I expect everyone to do their own research. You can start with the Community of Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship. It’s hard as none of the other Mormon denominations have the cash flow to pay huge marketing firms to push for them.

  • I don’t disagree with you. My point is that for the LDS branch of Mormonism to survive they’re going to have to stop teaching this false doctrine. Only 30% of their young adults are active because they’re pushing these doctrines of men that don’t sit right with people that actually read their scriptures.

  • As I said, it would be nice if they directed criticism towards those within their faith rather than defensive postings in response to outsiders. At least online, you could have made some kind of remark directed at the LDS policy first before taking such a posture with someone like me.

  • Tell it to your fellow Mormons. Be willing to risk the ostracism and strong arm tactics of the LDS to assert your views among them. It’s not my faith. I have no concern beyond how they act in public and its affect for the rest of us.

  • I was excommunicated from the LDS branch back in January. I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship now.

  • I’m not LDS and I don’t support many of their policies. I’m a member of the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship.

  • DNA blows the church out of the water. About 78%of people have Neanderthal DNA which dates back 60,000 years. Read D&C 77 and there you go.

  • I have a question regarding this quote from your article:

    “There is not a “know” requirement in the first four temple recommend questions about our beliefs.”

    The first 3 interview questions ask “do you have a testimony of…”.

    On LDS.org (https://www.lds.org/topics/testimony) it reads “The foundation of a testimony is the knowledge that…[basically first 4 recommend questions]”

    According to the official LDS resources, a testimony is founded on knowledge. So, while I appreciate (and agree) with the approach you’ve laid out here, it seems a bit inconsistent with official resources. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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