Palmyra, I have a problem.

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græy
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Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by græy » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:17 pm

Rusty N. closed the October 2019 GC by asking everyone to "prepare for a unique conference" by studying the first vision "as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price." In January 2020 Church HQ sent a blast email to all members reminding them of this all-important assignment and even being helpful enough to provide some additional resources.

My ward's WC has decided that it is our responsibility to make sure people are getting their fill of the correlated legend by handing out printed lists of the available study materials on the subject. It is annoying to have all this talk about the first vision with so little mention of the contradicting evidence (multiple differential accounts, discrepancies in dates for the religious "ferver", etc.), but there is little I can do about it so I have mostly just been ignoring it. Until now...

Our bishopric wants to have March's 5th Sunday combined lesson focus on the first vision, and be taught by EQP (myself, closet apostate) and the RSP (extremely nice and loving 71 yr old truest of the true TBM).

How do I do this? How can I teach about an event that I don't even believe in? I might base my lesson on a nuanced reading of the essay, but I can barely read that thing without feeling seething anger, let alone teach it from a believing perspective.

Maybe its time to buy a new house and move...
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by RubinHighlander » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:35 pm

Damn crossroads!

Initial thoughts - three options here:
1 - Suck it up and just read out of the correlated material
2 - Try to subtly introduce some of the other church sourced materials, like the Essay, but under the ruse of a TBM
3 - Out yourself to your Bishop a bit that this topic is a struggle for you, because the PoGP is not the most accurate description of what happened; that either he is okay with you using the Essay material or he should have one of the old HPs take the assignment
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
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2bizE
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by 2bizE » Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:21 pm

A few ideas:
1) explain what the ask is from Pres. Nelson
2) then have a short quiz on FV knowledge. Include questions like, how many FV accounts are there? When was the first missionary tract of the FV created? ( it was like 1905 or 1915). Which FV version was written by JS? Develop your questions and answers from the Saints book or essays.
3) Then teach about the 1838 version. You will have planted seeds for people to check out the multiple versions.
~2bizE

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wtfluff
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by wtfluff » Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:57 pm

Fluffy ideas:
græy wrote:Bishop [first name] I am unable to complete the March 5 combined lesson teaching assignment.
Email, text, carrier pigeon, in person... However you get the message to him. Repeat as needed until he caves and assigns someone else.

Or... When Bishop [first name] asks why, tell him that the 1838 version of the first vision is not your favorite, and ask him which version is his favorite? ("Out" yourself a "bit" like Rubin mentioned. :twisted: )


græy wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:17 pm
Maybe its time to buy a new house and move...
(Not a cult.)

(Oh... Wait. If one feels like they have to sell their house and move to get out of volunteer "duties"... Well that person might be in a cult.)

The above sentences are not an attack on you graey. Too many of us have "been there."
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

We are secrets to each other

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Red Ryder
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by Red Ryder » Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:15 pm

It’s possible RMN could pass away by then so whatever you decide, don’t prepare until the night before. You know, like all great EQPs!
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Palerider
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by Palerider » Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:37 pm

I'm not sure where your DW is on the TBM scale. Would she understand if you just said, "I've had enough of hiding and I'm not going to do this anymore. I'm going to talk to the Bishop."???

Say you wait a couple of years to finally come clean and someone in your current congregation finds out and then asks you, "Do you remember that talk you gave about the first vision? We're you just jerking our chain? How could you stand up there and say those things knowing that you really didn't believe them?"

It's hard.....

I know. :|
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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nibbler
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by nibbler » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:14 pm

Ugh.

How? Many? Lessons? Are? We? Going? To? Have? About? Joseph? Smith? And? The? Restoration?

Is there any member out there that's attended church for more than 4 months that hasn't heard this lesson 138,294 times? Is this the church of Christ or of Joseph Smith? Rhetorical question.

I'd probably turn it into a lesson about seeking a personal witness of Christ. JS's vision was just that, JS's vision. Constantly calling the members to fawn over it is asking them to rely on borrowed light... but I don't think top church leaders are too big on members gaining spiritual independence? But I'd make my lesson about that.

Growing spiritual independence thorough gaining a personal witness of Christ.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

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Brent
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by Brent » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:24 pm

I would simply share Joseph's handwritten account. Verification through the JS papers. It's a beautiful plea for forgiveness..'nuff said.

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w2mz
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by w2mz » Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:03 am

Palerider wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:37 pm
Say you wait a couple of years to finally come clean and someone in your current congregation finds out and then asks you, "Do you remember that talk you gave about the first vision? We're you just jerking our chain? How could you stand up there and say those things knowing that you really didn't believe them?"
Absolutely. I am atheist but I teach GD once a month. Those in the class are not there to think about anything new. They don’t want to be challenged. I teach like I would teach about Bilbo Baggins. They feel the “spirit” and get the confirmation and group acceptance feeling they want. I know it’s all horse $hit, but who am I to make church feel unsafe to them? This is their tribe and they need to feel right.

If someday I leave the church, I really don’t give a crap what they think.

I just play along for now because I’m not ready for the alternative.
The church has engineered your eternal family into a commodity that can be purchased with an annual fee. The fact that full tithing payment is a requirement for saving ordinances is the biggest red flag imaginable. Hagoth

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Corsair
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by Corsair » Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:58 am

Part of the "LDS logic" behind Joseph's First Vision is that no true divine manifestations occurred since the death of Jesus' original apostles. This is simply not true because lots of people claimed to have seen God or angels. Do we believe that Joan of Arc communed with God? How about Anabaptist leader Jan Matthys in Munster, Germany in 1534? What about Ellen White with the Seventh Day Adventists. There are lots more. If you really want to get your ward agitated, ask about Mohammed's visitation of Gabriel resulting in the creation of Islam.

Technically these should all be invalidated by LDS doctrine. Officially, the correlated material simply acknowledges the claims of divine manifestation without refuting it. Joseph's claim is paramount. It is possible that I will get such a teaching assignment in the next month, and this is the tactic I would go for. How do we deal with and speak with believers in other faiths about this? Certainly we need to understand these ideas if we seriously want to "Gather Israel" as Nelson urged us to do.

I spoke in church last October and presented stories of Christians doing Christlike things long after the first century. I did not overtly claim that the Great Apostasy was baloney, but I left that idea out there for people to ponder while simply directing them to follow Jesus Christ according to their inspiration. I think that the First Vision can be handled similarly.

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Hagoth
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by Hagoth » Sat Feb 22, 2020 4:07 pm

What a dilemma.

You know those Star Trek episodes where they force a computer or android to try to process a logical paradox and it starts blowing smoke and fire out of all orifices? That's what I would do if I had to give a faithful lesson about the FV.

If you can do this, Graey, you have incredible powers of mental disassociation. Maybe you can just put your body on autopilot and mentally go to The Land of Chocolate or something. I am reminded of the time, when I was a very shy 11 year-old, and I tried to break my leg to get out of giving a talk in SM. Don't do that, but maybe remove all of your clothing and feign a fugue state like Walter White.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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wtfluff
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by wtfluff » Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:06 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 4:07 pm
I am reminded of the time, when I was a very shy 11 year-old, and I tried to break my leg to get out of giving a talk in SM. Don't do that, but maybe remove all of your clothing and feign a fugue state like Walter White.
Putting my vote in early for the Graey Fugue State excuse for not teaching lies about the First Vision*.


* Restrictions apply. Questions should be forwarded to Rusty M. Nelson, CEO, LD$-Inc.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

We are secrets to each other

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Palerider
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by Palerider » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:57 pm

w2mz wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:03 am
Palerider wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:37 pm
Say you wait a couple of years to finally come clean and someone in your current congregation finds out and then asks you, "Do you remember that talk you gave about the first vision? We're you just jerking our chain? How could you stand up there and say those things knowing that you really didn't believe them?"
Absolutely. I am atheist but I teach GD once a month. Those in the class are not there to think about anything new. They don’t want to be challenged. I teach like I would teach about Bilbo Baggins. They feel the “spirit” and get the confirmation and group acceptance feeling they want. I know it’s all horse $hit, but who am I to make church feel unsafe to them? This is their tribe and they need to feel right.

If someday I leave the church, I really don’t give a crap what they think.

I just play along for now because I’m not ready for the alternative.
I kind of like Hagoth's comment here:

"If you can do this, Graey, you have incredible powers of mental disassociation. Maybe you can just put your body on autopilot and mentally go to The Land of Chocolate or something."
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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Hagoth
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by Hagoth » Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:23 am

Too bad you're not getting a cut of the profits. A good salesman doesn't have to believe on the product, he just has to sell it.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:41 am

Palerider wrote:
I kind of like Hagoth's comment here:

"If you can do this, Graey, you have incredible powers of mental disassociation. Maybe you can just put your body on autopilot and mentally go to The Land of Chocolate or something."
Me too. I mentioned once to a friend that Mormons have an incredible ability to compartmentalize uncomfortable things. His response was "That's why many of them succeed at business".

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græy
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by græy » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:26 am

Many thanks to everyone for the suggestions!
Red Ryder wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:15 pm
It’s possible RMN could pass away by then so whatever you decide, don’t prepare until the night before. You know, like all great EQPs!
Not that I wish the man any harm, but that would sure save me a bunch of problems. Of course, Oaks would just create new ones, so... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Palerider wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:37 pm
I'm not sure where your DW is on the TBM scale. Would she understand if you just said, "I've had enough of hiding and I'm not going to do this anymore. I'm going to talk to the Bishop."???

Say you wait a couple of years to finally come clean and someone in your current congregation finds out and then asks you...
DW tolerates me occasionally venting about ward council or GD discussions, but it is largely due to her lack of understanding that I accepted this calling in the first place. One day, maybe.

If someone comes to me many years down the road? That won't happen. No one actually cares. I barely remember two EQPs back and I was in the bishopric, I'm sure I'll be forgotten as soon as I don't show up. I'm just that memorable. :D
Brent wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:24 pm
I would simply share Joseph's handwritten account. Verification through the JS papers. It's a beautiful plea for forgiveness..'nuff said.
I like this idea.
Hagoth wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 4:07 pm
If you can do this, Graey, you have incredible powers of mental disassociation. Maybe you can just put your body on autopilot and mentally go to The Land of Chocolate or something. I am reminded of the time, when I was a very shy 11 year-old, and I tried to break my leg to get out of giving a talk in SM. Don't do that, but maybe remove all of your clothing and feign a fugue state like Walter White.
:lol:

I'm going to try a couple of approaches and see if I can wrap my mind around actually delivering a message I feel good about. Failing that, I may just delegate to a counselor and skip that day. If the bishop asks about it, then that's a conversation we'll have to have.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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græy
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by græy » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:45 am

In order to say I've done at least a little honest work in trying to consider this topic, I've started listening the JS Papers podcast on the FV. They spend the first two episodes talking about the poor Smith family, their hard work in trying to maintain a livelihood in 19th century New England and the cultural milieu that brought about the Second Great Awakening which opened the door to the FV. They get through a good amount of detail, much of which is completely glossed over in more official material.

They casually mention the 1832 account, and note that JS was concerned for his spiritual welfare. But nothing beyond that.

The third episode focuses on the "sacred" grove. They spend ~12 minutes talking about how different the grove would have looked in early spring vs. the summer grove which almost exclusively portrayed in the correlated material. They go on and on about the animals that would have been present (apparently it was skunk season :lol:), which trees are native in the area, when they bloom, and what their buds/blossoms look like. They point out how all of these details are different than what we see in the videos, but those details don't matter. In episode 3 at 12:16, we get this amazing quote...
And while historians love to pin down the concrete details of events, we also recognize that an event's historical significance often transcends the minute details.
All of this, so that the casual listener understands that the details don't matter. The ways that the accounts contradict, don't matter. The fact that JS only saw the Lord, and not God and Christ, while the BoM taught Modalistic Monarchianism doesn't matter. The fact that no one ever heard of the first vision for more than a decade afterwards doesn't matter.

No!

An event's historical significance is determined by the minute details that led to and defined the event. They are inseparable, and significant.

... Maybe I really can't do this. So much for mental disassociation. :|
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Just This Guy
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by Just This Guy » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:03 am

Call in sick. Let someone else figure it out.
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Not Buying It
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by Not Buying It » Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:00 am

Heh, this brings back a fun memory. I had to teach a lesson on the First Vision in Elder's Quorum the Sunday that a non-member was visiting for the first time who was dating a widow in the ward. At this point I was way past my own faith crisis and faking it for my wife. So just for grins I put a special emphasis on the following verse from JS-H 1:
19 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.”
I might have said that if Jesus said other religions are an abomination in his sight, it isn't our job to correct him. Just to be funny. Never saw the guy in Church again. Personally I don't think he realized what a huge favor I did for him.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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Palerider
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Re: Palmyra, I have a problem.

Post by Palerider » Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:22 am

Not Buying It wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:00 am
Heh, this brings back a fun memory. I had to teach a lesson on the First Vision in Elder's Quorum the Sunday that a non-member was visiting for the first time who was dating a widow in the ward. At this point I was way past my own faith crisis and faking it for my wife. So just for grins I put a special emphasis on the following verse from JS-H 1:
19 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.”
I might have said that if Jesus said other religions are an abomination in his sight, it isn't our job to correct him. Just to be funny. Never saw the guy in Church again. Personally I don't think he realized what a huge favor I did for him.
You are SO not teaching by the spirit..... :)
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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