Sacrament meeting talk on the search for truth

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
Post Reply
User avatar
sparky
Posts: 72
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:47 pm

Sacrament meeting talk on the search for truth

Post by sparky » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:23 am

Hello fellow NOMs! I feel a little bad coming here for advice when I post so seldom, but just know that I do check in from time to time and I appreciate the unique tone and community of this board. It was a lifesaver when I first joined about four years ago, and it's nice to know there are others out there facing the same struggle in the church as me.

Anyway, despite my complete unbelief in the church, I love my wife and am reluctantly active for her sake. I've been invited to give a sacrament meeting talk in a couple of weeks on the topic "James 1:5 and Joseph Smith's search for truth". I guess it's supposed to support the hype for the upcoming 200 anniversary conference extravaganza, but I don't plan on giving that any time. At first glance it seemed like a terrible topic for an unbelieving NOM like me, but I think I can actually write something I'm mostly comfortable with saying.

My current plan is to break it into two parts: Smith's search for truth, and our own search for truth. Here are some initial thoughts; they are a little jumbled right now, but hopefully they come together into something coherent in time:

Smith's search
  • It's okay to question God -- discuss the "upbraideth not" phrase in James 1:5. Lots of examples of people questioning God in the scriptures: Smith in D&C 121, Job, even Jesus on the cross. Sometimes the world doesn't make sense and it is human nature to question and try to understand
  • God is self-secure enough that he doesn't punish questions, in contrast to human institutions (*cough* the church)
  • Being open to answers that may be very unexpected, going against your previous intuitions and beliefs. Possibly mention the different first vision accounts of how Smith wasn't sure which church was true, or whether any were true at all. He seemed open to both possibilities.
  • Finding truth comes with responsibility. Smith was tasked with starting a church, most people will be tasked with building their own lives on the truth they find. Finding truth should change your life and outlook.
  • Sometimes your family, friends, or neighbors won't understand the truth you find and may even reject you. This happened to Smith, it happens to many converts to our church, and it happens to church members whose personal search for truth may lead them away from the church. As church members, we should honor and respect those who are earnestly seeking truth (share Uchtdorf quote: "In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth. It may break our hearts when their journey takes them away from the Church we love and the truth we have found, but we honor their right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, just as we claim that privilege for ourselves."
  • Smith himself recognized the personal nature of the search for truth in a quote toward the end of his life ("You don't know me; you never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don't blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I would not have believed it myself. I never did harm any man since I was born in the world. My voice is always for peace.")
Our search
  • God expects us to continue to grow and learn more truth throughout our life
  • The worth of every soul is great. He knows and understands you, and you will learn truth in your own way (2 Nephi 31:3 For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.)
  • We can learn truth from many places, not just from the scriptures, but also from other books (D&C 88:118 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.)
  • Quote from Elder Poelman's 1984 conference talk (the original version, not the one that was re-recorded in an empty tabernacle with a cough track): "God wants us to grow, become independent As individually and collectively we increase our knowledge, acceptance and application of gospel principles, we become less dependent on Church programs. Our lives become gospel centered.
It's a start! Do any of you folks have thoughts or suggestions I might discuss? My goals are 1) to give an interesting and/or inspiring talk about things I actually believe (except I have to throw God in there to not raise too many eyebrows) and 2) to send up a subtle signal flare to possible other NOMs or closet nonbelievers in the ward (hence the Uchtdorf, Poelman, and "no man knows my history" quotes).

User avatar
2bizE
Posts: 1581
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:33 pm

Re: Sacrament meeting talk on the search for truth

Post by 2bizE » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:59 am

Wow. This is a really good start. So good, I’d like to be in the Audience listening on Sunday.
~2bizE

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 2827
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: Sacrament meeting talk on the search for truth

Post by moksha » Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:09 pm

Best wishes for a good talk.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

User avatar
græy
Posts: 681
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:52 pm
Location: Central TX

Re: Sacrament meeting talk on the search for truth

Post by græy » Sun Feb 02, 2020 11:10 pm

This does sound like a positive direction to take this topic. I think I'm actually looking forward to my next talk to see how much NOM-spin I can fit into it. Really great start!
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

User avatar
crossmyheart
Posts: 370
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:02 am
Location: Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain

Re: Sacrament meeting talk on the search for truth

Post by crossmyheart » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:38 pm

sparky wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:23 am
We can learn truth from many places, not just from the scriptures, but also from other books (D&C 88:118 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.)


maybe throw in that a another source of information are the Gospel Topics and some really great essays...? :shock:

User avatar
nibbler
Posts: 456
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:12 pm

Re: Sacrament meeting talk on the search for truth

Post by nibbler » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:15 pm

What does the church actually teach members, to seek truth or to seek confirmation of a very specific truth?

It's a rhetorical question. It's been my experience that we're less seekers of truth and more seekers of validation.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

User avatar
sparky
Posts: 72
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:47 pm

Re: Sacrament meeting talk on the search for truth

Post by sparky » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:38 pm

nibbler wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:15 pm
What does the church actually teach members, to seek truth or to seek confirmation of a very specific truth?

It's a rhetorical question. It's been my experience that we're less seekers of truth and more seekers of validation.
It's rhetorical because it's so obvious for we who have gone through the faith crisis gauntlet, but I think I will actually try to make this point sometime in my talk. Thanks for posting this!

User avatar
Random
Posts: 1074
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:44 pm

Re: Sacrament meeting talk on the search for truth

Post by Random » Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:51 pm

sparky wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:23 am
I've been invited to give a sacrament meeting talk in a couple of weeks
I hope you gave this talk. It's excellent! (I know it was a preliminary outline, but nothing in it should be offensive to the typical tbm, and it might help those who need to know that it's okay to accept the answers you get that don't match the narrative.)
There are 2 Gods. One who created us. The other you created. The God you made up is just like you-thrives on flattery-makes you live in fear.

Believe in the God who created us. And the God you created should be abolished.
PK

User avatar
StarbucksMom
Posts: 257
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:14 am

Re: Sacrament meeting talk on the search for truth

Post by StarbucksMom » Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:57 pm

I like your outline so far! I like the other ideas too about actually searching for REAL truth and not being afraid of it. Along those lines, (If I missed it & this has been mentioned, sorry) I would use this quote:

“Well, we have nothing to hide. Our history is an open book. They may find what they are looking for, but the fact is the history of the church is clear and open and leads to faith and strength and virtues.”
—President Gordon B. Hinckley

User avatar
MoPag
Posts: 2002
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:05 pm

Re: Sacrament meeting talk on the search for truth

Post by MoPag » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:57 am

What a great talk!!! I love how you quoted Poleman. :D
...walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests