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 Post subject: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:18 pm 
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Born again Christians have had a renewed interest in Christianity. Seems to me that born again Mormons would be pretty much the same, except having our own terminology, we would call it something else. It happens infrequently, so we have the somewhat robotic term, "reactivated member". What our term fails to capture is the intensity of belief epitomized by born again Christians.

Instead of outward manifestations of religious passion, we channel our devotions into the quiet obedience to Church Authorities.

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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:48 am 
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True, Moksha. "Reactivated Mormon" doesn't carry quite the fire that the term "Born-Again Christian" carries. The absence of Mormon vocabulary adequately capturing the energy of a re-conversion to the gospel may be due to the way we Mormons have long treated conversion, itself - at least on a popular level.

It seemed fashionable when I was growing up for Mormons to have a special, individual narrative of when we first or finally felt that the Book of Mormon is true, or that Joseph Smith was a prophet, or that the current senior apostle is a prophet, or whatever. Gaining a testimony of Jesus was not really treated as separate and apart from these other matters. I can recall plenty of testimonies during the first Sunday of the month growing up where a ward member would emotionally declare that the church, or the Book of Mormon, or the prophet, or a combination of all these things, was true. I don't recall very many testimonies growing up where a ward member emotionally declared their testimony of Jesus alone, if at all.

As time goes by, I sense a shift in how we treat the process of continuous conversion in the Mormon tradition. I've certainly not minded the shift toward greater acceptance of the critical role of Christ's grace in our salvation and a more expansive view of the Atonement.

And what does it mean to know or believe that the Book of Mormon is true? What does a missionary mean when he/she declares to a puzzled investigator that he/she knows the Book of Mormon is true?

I suppose I used to think it meant believing it was an accurate history book. But that undercuts the mission and message of the Book of Mormon. If history were all it was good for, then shouldn't we also strive to gain a testimony of some of our college textbooks?

I realize the connection between the question of historicity of the Book of Mormon and Joseph's prophetic call. But, leaving vexing that question aside, shouldn't the Book of Mormon be more valuable to us than just a historical narrative? Shouldn't it be to bring us closer to a testimony of Jesus?

And do these pants make my rear look big?

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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:17 pm 
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Wonhyo wrote:
And do these pants make my rear look big?


No, the pants are great! It is the rest of the stuff that is troubling. The early Mormons must have included a large dose of Christ and the Christian message in their services because that is the milieu to which the members were accustomed.

Mike Reed has documented the transition that took place when our past LDS Church leaders were insulted by not being fully accepted at the World Religious Conference and retaliating to the snub by banishing the usage of the Cross and other outward manifestations of Christianity. Probably lead to a diminution of the inward manifestations of Christianity as well. Anger is always the strongest emotion and the hardest for us to temper.

For some time, we have been headed toward the semi-deification of Church Authorities. That is so alarming because it means stepping into the rabbit hole of cultism. It is not too late to change that trajectory. Hope spring eternal and it may be presaged by a rebirth of Christianity in us members. This rebirth does not have to spring from the top on down. It is much more of an internalized process. At some point in their future testimonies, our fellow Saints may proclaim that they believe in the message of Jesus, to love God and everyone else and that His grace will nurture us and free us from manipulating guilt.

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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:57 am 
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moksha wrote:

For some time, we have been headed toward the semi-deification of Church Authorities.



Moksha, I'm going to have to pick up a copy of Mike Reed's book, Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo. It sounds really fascinating.

I don't have any scholarly insight to offer about how we Mormons treat - or have been trained to treat - leaders of the church. But as a regular "Joe six-pack-of-whatever-cold-caffeinated-beverage" member, I have long felt that our reverence for leaders sometimes crosses boundaries of appropriateness. That veneration is certainly seen from the membership who gaze upward at the leadership. But it's also encouraged, however unintentionally these days, by some in leadership. Just a few quick illustrative examples occurring during or shortly before my life:

1. "It's wrong to criticize leaders of the church, even if the criticism is true." - Elder Dallin Oaks from the 2007 PBS series "The Mormons" (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/e ... ocumentary)

2. Then-Elder Ezra Taft Benson's BYU devotional from 1980, entitled "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet" (https://speeches.BYU.edu/talks/ezra-taf ... g-prophet/)

3. President Harold Lee, speaking in the closing session of the October 1973 General Conference (which turned out to his final conference address), in which he paraphrased/restated what George Albert Smith had said almost 30 years earlier in conference about Fawn Brodie and her biography of Joseph Smith:

"We have had some who, writing in the public press occasionally, are among those who have fallen by the wayside. They befoul the honored family names that they have. They have disgraced the honors that we had given to them in times past. They are trying to join the forces of the enemy against the work of the Lord. And we can say to them, as President George Albert Smith said then, 'Those who have will be forgotten in the remains of mother earth, and the odor of the infamy will ever be with them, but honor, majesty, and fidelity to God, exemplified by the leaders of this church and attached to their names, will never die.' (https://www.LDS.org/general-conference/ ... s?lang=eng)

4. "I am scripture," reportedly recently said by Elder David Bednar, but also attributed to others previously: (http://anonymousbishop.com/2015/08/10/i-am-scripture/)

5. The popular concept among the membership (which was heavily emphasized when I was seminary student) that a general authority, and especially an apostle, must necessarily have seen and handled Jesus Christ in the flesh in order to qualify as a "special witness" of Him. In particular, Elder Boyd Packer was mindful of this notion, and addressed it (without dispelling it) more than once during his decades of conference addresses, starting with this one from 1971:

"Occasionally during the past year I have been asked a question. Usually it comes as a curious, almost an idle, question about the qualifications to stand as a witness for Christ. The question they ask is, 'Have you seen Him?'

"That is a question that I have never asked of another. I have not asked that question of my brethren in the Quorum, thinking that it would be so sacred and so personal that one would have to have some special inspiration, indeed, some authorization, even to ask it.

"There are some things just too sacred to discuss. We know that as it relates to the temples. In our temples, sacred ordinances are performed; sacred experiences are enjoyed. And yet we do not, because of the nature of them, discuss them outside those sacred walls.

"It is not that they are secret, but they are sacred; not to be discussed, but to be harbored and to be protected and regarded with the deepest of reverence." (https://www.LDS.org/general-conference/ ... d?lang=eng)

We could go on and on with examples from just during my life...

Because of the central role of priesthood restoration and apostolic authority in the church, I don't know that we Mormons will ever be able to fully look past the leadership. But as time marches on, I am hopeful for a more constructive and realistic approach to the role that leaders actually play in our relationship with God.

As for my own contribution to this new approach, I have tried to neither bring up leaders nor quote them (although I did offer a Dieter Uchtdorf quote) during the few talks I've been asked to give in sacrament meeting over the past 5 years or so. The grace of Christ and the atonement of Christ are powerful enough by themselves to fill a lifetime of sermonizing.

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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:35 am 
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moksha wrote:
Born again Christians have had a renewed interest in Christianity. Seems to me that born again Mormons would be pretty much the same, except having our own terminology, we would call it something else. It happens infrequently, so we have the somewhat robotic term, "reactivated member". What our term fails to capture is the intensity of belief epitomized by born again Christians.

Instead of outward manifestations of religious passion, we channel our devotions into the quiet obedience to Church Authorities.

Is this not because what you describe is exactly how the evangelical vs Mormon doctrine depicts proper "Christian behavior"?

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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 2:27 pm 
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subgenius wrote:
Is this not because what you describe is exactly how the evangelical vs Mormon doctrine depicts proper "Christian behavior"?

You mean Christians should ascend to a higher orbit of frenetic energy/belief? Not all forms of Christianity hold to that ideal.


Wonhyo, yes all of those things are part of the push to make our leaders something more than men. Thankfully, the apologists can point to their sayings as being said strictly by men and not something more grandiloquent or worthy of beatification.

This would be a good course of action to follow:

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
-- Jesus, The New Testament, Somewhere in Israel, 27-33 Anno Domini

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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 2:27 am 
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moksha wrote:
-- Jesus, The New Testament, Somewhere in Israel, 27-33 Anno Domini
Or AD sometime...

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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:53 pm 
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Actually, I do not believe that anyone has described the meaning of "Born-again Christian". It is far deeper than merely reaffirming one's faith in Christ or reaccepting one's former Christian beliefs. The Born-again Christian can be an individual who never professed to be a Christian ---- but then comes to the realization that Christ is his Personal Savior and is thus reborn in spirit to become a real child of the Living God.

A Born-again Christian is not one who merely attends services regularly and pays a tithe. The Born-again Christian is what Jesus described to Nicodemus. This is someone who believes that the only way to heaven is through the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ and that he is free of the dread of saying the wrong thing or living the wrong way or attending the wrong church. The Born-again believer feels at home with God, and that God is now directing him along a path to the finish line. And while such an individual may make mistakes, he knows that God will work things out and bring him back to the right path.

A "Christian" can be anyone who enjoys some of the teachings of Christ, but really has no feeling of need or a relationship. The Born-again believer feels overwhelming sadness/discouragement when he gets off the track, but this has nothing to do with losing salvation, rather it's a real feeling that one has made God sad and maybe misdirecting others away from God's salvation.

We do have rededication and revival. And this I feel best describes someone who is a Born-again Believer, but has been living for himself and finds no real joy in that prospect. And suddenly this individuals feels a real need to recommit his life to God's service. And this is what a Born-again Believer ultimately desires: To live for Christ and to tell others the Gospel Message that God Loves us and died for us and wants a very personal relationship (one on one) with everyone. And once someone see this need and accepts Christ as his personal Savior, he is forever changed and will never be the same again --------------------- He has been REBORN! And thus is a BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN BELIEVER!


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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:18 pm 
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moksha wrote:
For some time, we have been headed toward the semi-deification of Church Authorities. That is so alarming because it means stepping into the rabbit hole of cultism.

This is one of the main problems I see of the church... and unfortunately it includes a host of other negative consequences.
I asked my bishop if he thought the 1st presidency were gods and he said no.
Then I asked if he agreed that they were not perfect and he said yes.
But then I asked if they ever make mistakes and all he said was "They always do good."
And away we went in a circle.


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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:15 am 
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Amore wrote:
moksha wrote:
For some time, we have been headed toward the semi-deification of Church Authorities. That is so alarming because it means stepping into the rabbit hole of cultism.

This is one of the main problems I see of the church... and unfortunately it includes a host of other negative consequences.
I asked my bishop if he thought the 1st presidency were gods and he said no.
Then I asked if he agreed that they were not perfect and he said yes.
But then I asked if they ever make mistakes and all he said was "They always do good."
And away we went in a circle.

doing good is not always exclusive of making a mistake.
Giving a hungry man a fish to eat is good and teaching that man to fish is good as well. It is easy to speculate that either of these actions may be a "mistake", but what of the hungry man?

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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:57 am 
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moksha wrote:
..."reactivated member"


Nope, you are using old terminology there, which would indicate some past "inactivity" going on.

I believe the right term is "more activated member"


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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:31 pm 
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Subgenius,
When called "good Master" Jesus replied, "No one is good save one, that is God."
If Jesus could be so humble, why can't those who are using his name to make money and stealing from the poor (Deut. 14:28-29) while pretending to be godly prophets?

My bishop used his power to bully me. He and prior bishop knew about my belief regarding prioritizing God over church leaders for years and I've been serving and even teaching with their approval. But he called me in days before a family church event to threaten me. And in his rage after we disagreed about this he told me I won't speak in church won't visit teach or anything. As much as I feel hurt and manipulated by him, I realized as he implied, I don't belong in a church that hides evil as it does and punishes anyone who doesn't deify church leaders.


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 Post subject: Re: Born to be Mild: The Born Again Experience for Mormons
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:25 am 
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To latter-day saints the term born-again refers to baptism (to be born of water and the spirit) so all members are actually born-again but to conventional christians this is not an ordinance but a spiritual commitment. I wonder if they ever question the origin of their definitions? To whom do they attribute their doctrine since there are so many of them and all christianity is in one way or the other the byproduct of the catholic church, so thanks be to the catholic church for spawning all these churches.


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