Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

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deacon blues
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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by deacon blues » Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:34 pm

The word “pitiful” comes to mind. May I suggest that Pres. Oaks is up to his neck in denial.
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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by nibbler » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:45 am

He acknowledged that some Latter-Saint couples face conflicts over important values and priorities. Matters of Church history and doctrinal issues have led some spouses to inactivity. Some spouses wonder how to best go about researching and responding to such issues.

“I suggest that research is not the answer,” he said.

The Church does offer answers to many familiar questions through its Gospel Topics Essays found at lds(dot)org.

“But the best answer to any question that threatens faith is to work to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “Conversion to the Lord precedes conversion to the Church. And conversion to the Lord comes through prayer and study and service, furthered by loving patience on the part of spouse and other concerned family members.”
It's hard to know without having heard the entire talk but from the context provided he said "I suggest that research is not the answer" on the back of "Some spouses wonder how to best go about researching and responding to such issues."

Me paraphrasing and putting lots of words into Oaks' mouth, "You're not going to resolve your inactive spouse's issues through responding to their issues with your own research."

It's still not a good look, but from the post Mormon perspective, no one wants to become a project or assaulted with weak apologetics. Me being charitable, that may have been all that Oaks was saying. But usually you'd follow up those statements with a, "Don't try to convince them that they're wrong, just show them an outpouring of love." or some such.

This is where not being there to hear it all doesn't help because the article continues as if there were no gap directly into, "But the best answer to any question that threatens faith is to work to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." The article is from churchnews so there's no reason to believe they'd pull a tricky edit to make his comments look worse than they were, so there's that.

IMO Oaks' suggestion doesn't work that well. Tell someone that is struggling with their faith to work to increase faith. Cool story bro. Okay, parsing better he said people struggling with faith in the church should work to increase faith in Jesus. This is where it would be better to treat "doubters" with more kindness and less judgment, cease to make belief in the correlated narrative be something that divides the worthy from the unworthy or something that divides relationships. You know, put Jesus before the church.

"Conversion to the Lord precedes conversion to the Church."

I wonder whether conversion to the church is necessary at all. Sure, someone it's cool to help the church as an organization to minister to people but I think all the insistence that the church is True and focus on the church as vital to people's salvation (saving ordinances) sets the church up as an idol regardless of the order in which someone becomes converted to it.

The church culture and leaders are more fixated with overcoming their own insecurities about being the True church than they are with trying to exemplify Jesus.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by jfro18 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:13 am

nibbler wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:45 am
It's hard to know without having heard the entire talk but from the context provided he said "I suggest that research is not the answer" on the back of "Some spouses wonder how to best go about researching and responding to such issues."

Me paraphrasing and putting lots of words into Oaks' mouth, "You're not going to resolve your inactive spouse's issues through responding to their issues with your own research."

It's still not a good look, but from the post Mormon perspective, no one wants to become a project or assaulted with weak apologetics. Me being charitable, that may have been all that Oaks was saying. But usually you'd follow up those statements with a, "Don't try to convince them that they're wrong, just show them an outpouring of love." or some such.
You covered it later in your post, but I think his follow-up comments put this in a context that is more about telling believing members that research isn't the way to help someone's testimony, be it the spouse who is doubting or the spouse that is still all-in.

In other words - if researching history is not going to help a member with doubts, it certainly isn't going to help someone who doesn't know the info in the first place, so best to just stay away from the issues and think about why you believed in the first place.

And follow that up with some of the other quotes in that article about finding it hard to love people who live differently... hoo boy.

I hope Oaks gets to be prophet - I really do. I think he will fight the institution around him that is trying to mainstream the religion and it could be a true sight to behold.

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by Reuben » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:30 am

jfro18 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:13 am
And follow that up with some of the other quotes in that article about finding it hard to love people who live differently... hoo boy.
I wonder if interpreting that statement is overly subject to negativity bias.
“We are taught to love our neighbors, but it is not easy to love and live with those who have different standards and sometimes challenge us and our standards in a persuasive or even threatening way,” he said.
The word "but" is funny apart from being a homophone for the glutes. It can weaken the preceding phrase, entirely invalidate it, or signal that it should be ignored. Here are a few rewordings that make the different interpretations clear.
We are taught to love our neighbors. This teaching sometimes has less hold on us than we would like, because it is not easy to love...
This is obviously true. It's even empathetic, validating what many in the intended audience already feel. I can imagine most believing Mormons would interpret it this way.
We are taught to love our neighbors. This teaching is invalid because it is not easy to love...
I can imagine most believing Mormons would definitely not interpret it this way. I can also imagine a few disaffected Mormons being afraid it would be interpreted this way.
We are taught to love our neighbors. Ignore that for now, and focus instead on the fact that it is not easy to love...
Ah, now here's a problem. I can imagine a minority of believing Mormons and a majority of disaffected Mormons would interpret it this way. For example, it might induce a believing spouse to stew over the idea that her husband challenges her and her standards in a persuasive and threatening way. Probably the biggest problem here is the word threatening, actually. Mormons are already great at feeling threatened by a persuasive argument, and the phrase "persuasive or even threatening" can reinforce the idea that they should.

Personally, I would rather President Oaks use the word "but" more responsibly, like this:
It is not easy to love and live with those who have different standards and sometimes challenge us and our standards, but regardless of this, we are taught to love our neighbors' butts.
You were born to trust, not fear. It is your birthright.

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by jfro18 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:28 am

Reuben wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:30 am
jfro18 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:13 am
And follow that up with some of the other quotes in that article about finding it hard to love people who live differently... hoo boy.
I wonder if interpreting that statement is overly subject to negativity bias.
“We are taught to love our neighbors, but it is not easy to love and live with those who have different standards and sometimes challenge us and our standards in a persuasive or even threatening way,” he said.
The word "but" is funny apart from being a homophone for the glutes. It can weaken the preceding phrase, entirely invalidate it, or signal that it should be ignored. Here are a few rewordings that make the different interpretations clear.
I agree with this - and of course the words he chooses to use are interpreted differently depending on if you're a believer or non-believer.

Again I think you take this in totality with the other talks given just this year by Corbridge, Renlund, and even Holland's talk to the Maxwell Institute telling them they won't be punished for getting it wrong if it promotes faith... this is not all happening this quickly by coincidence.

So I agree that you can take the quote about loving our neighbors 100 different ways, but I can't help but take it in the context of what is being taught by all of the leaders suddenly in what feels like crisis mode.

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by Palerider » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:43 am

nibbler wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:45 am

"Conversion to the Lord precedes conversion to the Church."

I wonder whether conversion to the church is necessary at all.
This was a bit of a departure for Oaks I think. I've heard talks implying that one really can't fully be converted to Christ outside of the church.

Strange hearing it put this way because as you adroitly point out, why join the LDS church if you can be converted to Christ outside of it?

Of course their answer is going to be that they have the only true "saving" ordinances. The ordinances are the big thing.

Which creates the question: Does the atonement of Christ save me or do the "legal" ordinances specified by the LDS church save me?

Remembering that "sacrifice" was the "ordinance" of the law of Moses in the O.T.

The answer is found in Matt. 9:13

"But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

The ordinance of sacrifice was given as a foreshadowing of the Atonement and the Lord wanted it obeyed for that purpose but, He also showed in the above quote that ordinances are empty, earthly gestures. Without heartfelt conversion, without Mercy we are neither converted or saved.
"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."

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by Reuben » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:10 am

jfro18 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:28 am
Reuben wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:30 am
jfro18 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:13 am
And follow that up with some of the other quotes in that article about finding it hard to love people who live differently... hoo boy.
I wonder if interpreting that statement is overly subject to negativity bias.
“We are taught to love our neighbors, but it is not easy to love and live with those who have different standards and sometimes challenge us and our standards in a persuasive or even threatening way,” he said.
The word "but" is funny apart from being a homophone for the glutes. It can weaken the preceding phrase, entirely invalidate it, or signal that it should be ignored. Here are a few rewordings that make the different interpretations clear.
I agree with this - and of course the words he chooses to use are interpreted differently depending on if you're a believer or non-believer.

Again I think you take this in totality with the other talks given just this year by Corbridge, Renlund, and even Holland's talk to the Maxwell Institute telling them they won't be punished for getting it wrong if it promotes faith... this is not all happening this quickly by coincidence.

So I agree that you can take the quote about loving our neighbors 100 different ways, but I can't help but take it in the context of what is being taught by all of the leaders suddenly in what feels like crisis mode.
I suspect you might be right, but I'm not sure what you mean. Can you connect the dots for me?
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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by moksha » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:29 am

This new dictum against research will make for interesting future doctoral dissertations at BYU. As part of the dissertation defense, all doctoral candidates will add the ending sentence, "I say this in the name of Dallin Oaks, Amen".
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by jfro18 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:40 am

Reuben wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:10 am
I suspect you might be right, but I'm not sure what you mean. Can you connect the dots for me?
It's the continuation of the church telling members that doubts lead to Satan, etc... really seemed to kick off with Saints and the "face-to-face" event, but just in 2019 so far:

Renlunds devotional to worldwide youth tells members that doubts lead to Satan and that looking at one issue after the other isn't healthy and you'll end up spiritually broken like "Steve"

Corbridge then did a devotional at BYU where he told members not to focus on "secondary questions" that make up church history, but to only focus on the primary question of if you believe in God and therefore Joseph Smith.

Holland told the Maxwell Institute that they should always error on the side of promoting faith/loyalty and they will never be punished if they error (lie) to help the church.

Then this talk by Oaks which again tells members not to research historical problems.

There's another fireside on Feb 17th called "Faith Crisis: Keeping faith in an ever doubting world."

It just seems like the church is packing this theme on members hard and fast - we're only six weeks into 2019 and we've had two devotionals about doubt, Holland's talk to the Maxwell Institute, and then Oaks talk about doubt to young couples in Chicago...

Again I know I'm looking at this through my own bias, but I really believe the Renlund/Corbridge talks were really hitting it hard and Oaks' talk fits into that theme very easily... do not research the church but just focus on those warm feelings that brought you here in the first place.

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by Palerider » Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:45 am

The old grandpa sleeping on his chair by the barn has finally been awakened from his pleasant dream by the sound of horses' hooves thundering past the door.

Vainly he tries to slam the door shut but the horses are already out and running wild.

Too little, too late. Crying to an empty yard that the barn door should remain shut at this point is an exercise in futility. ;)
"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."

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by deacon blues » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:22 am

Palerider wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:43 am
nibbler wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:45 am

"Conversion to the Lord precedes conversion to the Church."

I wonder whether conversion to the church is necessary at all.
This was a bit of a departure for Oaks I think. I've heard talks implying that one really can't fully be converted to Christ outside of the church.

Strange hearing it put this way because as you adroitly point out, why join the LDS church if you can be converted to Christ outside of it?

Of course their answer is going to be that they have the only true "saving" ordinances. The ordinances are the big thing.

Which creates the question: Does the atonement of Christ save me or do the "legal" ordinances specified by the LDS church save me?

Remembering that "sacrifice" was the "ordinance" of the law of Moses in the O.T.

The answer is found in Matt. 9:13

"But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

The ordinance of sacrifice was given as a foreshadowing of the Atonement and the Lord wanted it obeyed for that purpose but, He also showed in the above quote that ordinances are empty, earthly gestures. Without heartfelt conversion, without Mercy we are neither converted or saved.
I encountered this on my mission. Southern California in the 1970's was a hotbed of Christian Evangelism, and as a missionary I had this explained to me almost as clearly as you explain it here, Pale Rider. I was with companions who were in denial and/or intentionally blind, and I doubted my self, and went with the flow. I do remember thinking "Even our Mission President would not have a valid answer for this." I doubt President Oaks would either, but I think he should at least address it. I am glad he recognizes there is a difference between Jesus Christ and the Church, even if sometimes Church Leaders actions belie this.
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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by deacon blues » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:58 am

Pres. Oaks does approve of “study and prayer.” Does he think research is different than study? I would say they are the same.
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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by græy » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:10 pm

Palerider wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:43 am
Strange hearing it put this way because as you adroitly point out, why join the LDS church if you can be converted to Christ outside of it?

Of course their answer is going to be that they have the only true "saving" ordinances. The ordinances are the big thing.

Which creates the question: Does the atonement of Christ save me or do the "legal" ordinances specified by the LDS church save me?
This has always been a small shelf-item for me. I guess I rationalized it via baptism. Baptism is considered a "saving" ordinance and is even taught by Christ himself as being necessary to "fulfill all righteousness." And now that I think of it, same with the sacrament. So why not the temple ordinances as taught by the church?

I still don't know where the line is between being saved by the atonement and grace or by the act of participating in ordinances. If ordinances are required, which ones? Only those from the New Testament? Or also the new ones JS inven... er, restored? None? Some? All?

LDS Prophets would clearly say all ordinances in our modern church are necessary. But I think it is very clear that the first Christians didn't have anything like temples or endowment ceremonies. Were they not saved? Why does the unchanging God have different requirements now?
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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by Hagoth » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:14 pm

"But the best answer to any question that threatens faith is to work to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."
The problem here is that the more I am able to believe in Jesus Christ the less I am able to accept the idea that he would send an avenging angel to force someone to marry young girls behind his wife's back, or create a fraudulent bank, or create a book of scripture that is neck-deep in evidence that it is fake.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by Palerider » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:14 pm

græy wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:10 pm

This has always been a small shelf-item for me. I guess I rationalized it via baptism. Baptism is considered a "saving" ordinance and is even taught by Christ himself as being necessary to "fulfill all righteousness." And now that I think of it, same with the sacrament. So why not the temple ordinances as taught by the church?

I still don't know where the line is between being saved by the atonement and grace or by the act of participating in ordinances. If ordinances are required, which ones? Only those from the New Testament? Or also the new ones JS inven... er, restored? None? Some? All?

LDS Prophets would clearly say all ordinances in our modern church are necessary. But I think it is very clear that the first Christians didn't have anything like temples or endowment ceremonies. Were they not saved? Why does the unchanging God have different requirements now?
This issue of ordinances has been a curiosity for me for a long time and I'm not sure I have an answer, but I do have some suspicions.

No doubt the Lord taught that whomever believed should be baptized. And those instructions were given to Apostles and those called by them to what appears to be a position of authority.

That being said, if a "partial" apostacy did occur not long after the Gospel was established, then it must be asked, "Who has authority to baptize now?"

The Catholics, and other "Orthodox" branches claim they have it. The Protestants claim it is a kind of "generalized" priesthood that any "Christian" can make claim to. It isn't lineal.

My thoughts are that priesthood and subsequently ordinances aren't absolutely necessary to be a true Christian for the time being.

To wit a scripture from Acts:

"Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?"

Peter is visiting a household of gentiles here and has preached the Gospel to them and they have received the Holy Ghost. And this is before baptism. So obviously baptism isn't necessary to have a testimony of Christ or to receive the Holy Ghost.

Another scripture that really interests me is in Revelations. (I know, I know.... nobody can understand Revelations)
But humor me.

John is speaking about the persecution and what is happening to the church when the Apostacy occurs and he mentions something critical in Rev. 12:14:

"14 And to the woman (the church) were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."

So essentially the church is carried away to a hiding place where she can be nourished for a great deal of time and is hidden from utter destruction by the "serpent".

I believe the church is still in hiding at this point. It is amorphous in that there is no clearly defined and true organization. It (the true church) exists only in the hearts of God's people who he has called and who seek him out on a personal level.

It will only be restored upon the 2nd coming of Christ. Until that time we are (hate to use an Evangelical term here but it fits..... I'm not Evangelical!)....we are in a state of Grace.

Believing and sincerely attempting to follow Christ is enough, for the time being. If a person wants to get baptized....fine.
Go get baptized.

But if baptism requires authority? There isn't any here. Period.

But that's just me..... ;)

Edited for clarity.
"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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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by slavereeno » Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:47 pm

Palerider wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:14 pm
But if baptism requires authority? There isn't any here. Period.
This is something DW and I are still struggling with a little. I have challenged my assumptions about God, Jesus and a "true" church. I have lost my belief in a One True Church entirely. I find it difficult to see God as an old bearded white guy. I struggle with the concept of Jesus as a deity. So I start to see baptism as a symbol, in which case, why would authority even matter? It seems that the most likely explanation is that the "authority" concept was introduced later when a budding church needed to establish its place in the new religion.

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by consiglieri » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:47 pm

Will the last person to leave Mormonism please turn out the lights?

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by Brent » Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:30 pm

Where was this grand schorally advice when i was at BYU?

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by 2bizE » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:34 am

I think this statement from Oaks May have been taken out of context.
For those who have already researched church history, found the deception, and now are in a crisis of Truth, continued research is not the answer that will bring the poor souls back onto the covenant path
~2bizE

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Re: Dallin Oaks: “I suggest that research is not the answer"

Post by Hagoth » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:45 am

2bizE wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:34 am
I think this statement from Oaks May have been taken out of context.
For those who have already researched church history, found the deception, and now are in a crisis of Truth, continued research is not the answer that will bring the poor souls back onto the covenant path
I'm not sure whether he's saying that or tacitly admitting something he may have statistical evidence for: that sincere research may be more likely to help a believer come to the same conclusions of their spouse.
“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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