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Thread: John Dehlin to interview Terryl Givens

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    Stepping Razor wuapinmon's Avatar
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    Default John Dehlin to interview Terryl Givens

    John Dehlin is soliciting questions to ask Terryl Givens in an interview he's got lined up.

    http://mormonstories.org/?p=1953
    "LDS people need to lighten up and not take religion so seriously." --CardiacCoug
    "[...]
    liberals tend to take the moral teachings of the New Testament literally and the stories figuratively while conservatives do the opposite." -- Harry Tic

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    For more info on Terrly Givens see the following thread where I reviewed his Very Short Introduction to the Book of Mormon:

    http://cougaruteforum.com/showthread.php?t=10793

    Or the following posts elsewhere:

    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php...terryl-givens/

    http://www.juvenileinstructor.org/qa...monism-part-i/

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    Stepping Razor wuapinmon's Avatar
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    Why the new thread?
    "LDS people need to lighten up and not take religion so seriously." --CardiacCoug
    "[...]
    liberals tend to take the moral teachings of the New Testament literally and the stories figuratively while conservatives do the opposite." -- Harry Tic

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    Quote Originally Posted by wuapinmon View Post


    Why the new thread?
    For Levin.

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    Stepping Razor wuapinmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pelagius View Post
    For Levin.
    If we start kowtowing to every silver-tongued attorney on this board, we'll never recover.
    "LDS people need to lighten up and not take religion so seriously." --CardiacCoug
    "[...]
    liberals tend to take the moral teachings of the New Testament literally and the stories figuratively while conservatives do the opposite." -- Harry Tic

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    Quote Originally Posted by wuapinmon View Post
    John Dehlin is soliciting questions to ask Terryl Givens in an interview he's got lined up.

    http://mormonstories.org/?p=1953
    Day-um that was good! And I'm only through two hours. Everyone should listen to this.

    http://mormonstories.org/?p=2018

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    Anyone know of an Android podcast app that works well with mormon stories? Teh one I've been using doesn't.

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    Semper infra dignitatem PaloAltoCougar's Avatar
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    Dehlin just posted a copy of the fireside talk Terryl Givens gave to the singles ward in Palo Alto three days ago. It's addressed to those in the Church who have serious doubts--the talk won't dispel them, but it may bring a measure of peace and understanding amidst the struggles. The talk is excellent; I wish I had written it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob View Post
    Anyone know of an Android podcast app that works well with mormon stories? Teh one I've been using doesn't.
    Dogcatcher.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaloAltoCougar View Post
    Dehlin just posted a copy of the fireside talk Terryl Givens gave to the singles ward in Palo Alto three days ago. It's addressed to those in the Church who have serious doubts--the talk won't dispel them, but it may bring a measure of peace and understanding amidst the struggles. The talk is excellent; I wish I had written it.
    That was good. I like the idea that LDS people shouldn't feel like they have to defend (either externally or internally) the faith too broadly and the example of BH Roberts being confounded by Native American language diversity is a good one. And this was a strong finish:

    The call to faith, in this light, is not some test of a coy god, waiting to see if we “get it right.” It is the only summons, issued under the only conditions, which can allow us fully to reveal who we are, what we most love, and what we most devoutly desire. Without constraint, without any form of mental compulsion, the act of belief becomes the freest possible projection of what resides in our hearts. Like the poet’s image of a church bell that only reveals its latent music when struck, or a dragonfly that only flames forth its beauty in flight, so does the content of a human heart lie buried until action calls it forth. The greatest act of self-revelation occurs when we choose what we will believe, in that space of freedom that exists between knowing that a thing is, and knowing that a thing is not.

    This is the realm where faith operates, and when faith is a freely chosen gesture, it expresses something essential about the self.

    Modern revelation, speaking of spiritual gifts, notes that while to some it is given to know the core truth of Christ and His mission, to others is given the means to persevere in the absence of certainty. The New Testament makes the point that those mortals who operate in the grey area between conviction and incredulity are in a position to choose most meaningfully, and with most meaningful consequences.
    Last edited by CardiacCoug; 10-18-2012 at 09:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaloAltoCougar View Post
    Dehlin just posted a copy of the fireside talk Terryl Givens gave to the singles ward in Palo Alto three days ago. It's addressed to those in the Church who have serious doubts--the talk won't dispel them, but it may bring a measure of peace and understanding amidst the struggles. The talk is excellent; I wish I had written it.
    Thanks for posting. That was very good. Inspired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacCoug View Post
    That was good. I like the idea that LDS people shouldn't feel like they have to defend (either externally or internally) the faith too broadly and the example of BH Roberts being confounded by Native American language diversity is a good one. And this was a strong finish:
    I used to sort of think the same thing. I'm curious to know, for those of you for whom this resonated, why in your view is it noble to make a choice to believe without good evidence? I'm focused here strictly on the choice to believe, not on the choice to do good which is a different matter. What exactly does it say about you?
    Last edited by UtahDan; 10-18-2012 at 12:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahDan View Post
    I used to sort of think the same thing. I'm curious to know, for those of you for whom this resonated, why in your view is it noble to make a choice to believe without good evidence? I'm focused here strictly on the choice to believe, not on the choice to do good which is a different matter. What exactly does it say about you?
    For me, the choice to believe is essentially the same thing as the choice to do good, because my belief is the impetus behind much of my desire to do good.

    I think this is where I differ from so many of the good people on this board. You don't need religion to propel you to do good, but I do. If not for religion, I would be even more selfish than I currently am - and that is saying something. My religion, my belief in God and Jesus, makes me a better person.
    Last edited by smokymountainrain; 10-18-2012 at 12:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokymountainrain View Post
    For me, the choice to believe is essentially the same thing as the choice to do good, because my belief is the impetus behind much of my desire to do good.

    I think this is where I differ from so many of the good people on this board. You don't need religion to propel you to do good, but I do. If not for religion, I would be even more selfish than I currently am - and that is saying something. My religion, my belief in God and Jesus, makes me a better person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokymountainrain View Post
    For me, the choice to believe is essentially the same thing as the choice to do good, because my belief is the impetus behind much of my desire to do good.

    I think this is where I differ from so many of the good people on this board. You don't need religion to propel you to do good, but I do. If not for religion, I would be even more selfish than I currently am - and that is saying something. My religion, my belief in God and Jesus, makes me a better person.
    I thought someone would probably say this, that it is not desirable, or maybe even difficult, to separate the two, at least for them. I imagine you are probably selling yourself short, but it is undeniable religion has the ability to focus human impulses in unique ways. For good and bad (in this case good).

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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahDan View Post
    I used to sort of think the same thing. I'm curious to know, for those of you for whom this resonated, why in your view is it noble to make a choice to believe without good evidence? I'm focused here strictly on the choice to believe, not on the choice to do good which is a different matter. What exactly does it say about you?
    Not sure how much I even agree with Givens in reference to my own beliefs/actions, but I just thought everything was very well stated and would appeal to a lot of Borderlanders.

    You're asking people to insult those who have left the Church and paint with a broad brush, which I hate to do. I mean look at all the LDS true believer assholes out there and the fantastic apostates. I strongly believe that every person has to figure out for himself/herself whether or not he/she is better off in the Church or out of the Church and that the right answer won't be the same for everyone.

    Generally however I think it would be fair to say that some of those Borderlander types who "choose to believe" despite doubts might be more humble, more selfless, and more patient than those who give up trying to believe -- or at least those who choose to believe are cultivating and nurturing these traits (humility, selflessness, patience) in continuing to try to believe and participate in the Church.

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    I like the idea of free will only being possible in the world of faith (who's going to choose evil when God is standing in front of you telling you get eternal bliss by choosing good?), but it just raises the question of why this self-revelation is so essential. God made a bunch of different kinds of people and now wants to go through this whole exercise just to show us which kind we are? Sounds pretty Calvinistic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahDan View Post
    I used to sort of think the same thing. I'm curious to know, for those of you for whom this resonated, why in your view is it noble to make a choice to believe without good evidence?
    I agree with you of course that believing in abstract, unprovable theological concepts doesn't do anybody any good. Those that believe in LDS teachings in a superstitious, primitive way while treating people around them like shit don't earn or deserve any credit whatsoever by their supposed beliefs.

    To me the beliefs and actions are inextricably connected and so in that sense I completely agree with you that belief alone is meaningless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahDan View Post
    I used to sort of think the same thing. I'm curious to know, for those of you for whom this resonated, why in your view is it noble to make a choice to believe without good evidence? I'm focused here strictly on the choice to believe, not on the choice to do good which is a different matter. What exactly does it say about you?
    I think the concept of choosing to believe or to not is a little too simplistic, perhaps even still somewhat binary. I prefer having the ability to believe in selective elements and being able to discard those that I find unpalatable or unnecessary. I know that runs counter to what Givens is saying and falls into the easy faith that he's talking about, but the thing that I believe in most (with regards to the church) isn't an aspect theology, but rather in its community, more specifically the power that is found in community living.

    Whether or not I believe in the doctrines of the church is irrelevant, IMO. Mormons are my people, we have shared experiences, shared values (for the most part) and I believe in participating fully in church life and church community because I believe that humanity in all its variety is beautiful and engaging with my fellow Mormons weekly puts me in contact with segments of humanity I would otherwise never meet (and I'm not just referring to the members I see every Sunday, but also the seven or eight inactives that I am assigned to visit each month). It teaches me patience, love, tolerance, and sacrifice. That is what I believe in. That is what keeps keeps me coming back for now, that is what gives me satisfaction in church life.
    Last edited by pellegrino; 10-19-2012 at 10:57 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacCoug View Post
    Not sure how much I even agree with Givens in reference to my own beliefs/actions, but I just thought everything was very well stated and would appeal to a lot of Borderlanders.

    You're asking people to insult those who have left the Church and paint with a broad brush, which I hate to do. I mean look at all the LDS true believer assholes out there and the fantastic apostates. I strongly believe that every person has to figure out for himself/herself whether or not he/she is better off in the Church or out of the Church and that the right answer won't be the same for everyone.

    Generally however I think it would be fair to say that some of those Borderlander types who "choose to believe" despite doubts might be more humble, more selfless, and more patient than those who give up trying to believe -- or at least those who choose to believe are cultivating and nurturing these traits (humility, selflessness, patience) in continuing to try to believe and participate in the Church.
    I believe more than I ever have that the two groups more or less mirror one another with the vast majority on each side understanding the other very little and thinking pretty negative things about them. There are a few voices of empathy and reason in each group too, people who are at least aspiring to that. It is hard, because each group thinks the other has a pretty fundamental flaw to overlook. This to say that I think the people you are talking about are probably cultivating a better self than most apostates; better than most believers too. There are also some on the other side trying to cultivate the same things, though maybe for difference reasons. Or maybe not so different. Maybe it all just comes down to whether one is empathetic. Whether one is naturally inclined toward it or because ones experiences have forced them to be. Or because they think it is right to try to be. But from where I sit these things seem to operate with or without belief in the supernatural.

    EDIT: Not saying where I think I fit in, by the way. I want to be in that empathetic group, and I think I'm making progress, but I am aware that I am not nearly where I want to be.
    Last edited by UtahDan; 10-19-2012 at 11:02 PM.

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    Givens is most interesting when he's talking about faith and doubt.

    He's just another hack apologist when he's talking about Book of Mormon issues. He treats very serious arguments against the BOM about as dismissively as Dan Peterson does.

    This faith and doubt thing is really something to ponder. I felt my eyes were really opened when I heard him talking about faith in his MoSto podcast. He opened up the issue talking about how faith is not a choice (with illustrations of moon is made of cheese on one end and gravity on the other--we simply cannot choose on these issues) on the extremes, but that faith is a choice in the gray area where a reasonable case can be made for both side. But after giving that a lot of thought, I still believe this is not true. We can't choose even in the gray area. We can't choose to believe...ever.

    The OJ Simpson case is one of gray area. A lot more people believed OJ did not kill Nicole than believe the BOM is an ancient document. So my question is could anyone here that believes OJ killed Nicole, choose to believe he didn't? Well you say, I don't WANT to change my belief, so I CHOOSE not to. OK, what if you had a lot of incentive. If I gave you $10M if you could believe OJ did not kill Nicole. I think you could try your hardest and in the end say "shiz I just can't do it. I know he killed her."

    Belief is not a choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    Givens is most interesting when he's talking about faith and doubt.

    He's just another hack apologist when he's talking about Book of Mormon issues. He treats very serious arguments against the BOM about as dismissively as Dan Peterson does.

    This faith and doubt thing is really something to ponder. I felt my eyes were really opened when I heard him talking about faith in his MoSto podcast. He opened up the issue talking about how faith is not a choice (with illustrations of moon is made of cheese on one end and gravity on the other--we simply cannot choose on these issues) on the extremes, but that faith is a choice in the gray area where a reasonable case can be made for both side. But after giving that a lot of thought, I still believe this is not true. We can't choose even in the gray area. We can't choose to believe...ever.

    The OJ Simpson case is one of gray area. A lot more people believed OJ did not kill Nicole than believe the BOM is an ancient document. So my question is could anyone here that believes OJ killed Nicole, choose to believe he didn't? Well you say, I don't WANT to change my belief, so I CHOOSE not to. OK, what if you had a lot of incentive. If I gave you $10M if you could believe OJ did not kill Nicole. I think you could try your hardest and in the end say "shiz I just can't do it. I know he killed her."

    Belief is not a choice.
    That's not a convincing example. I don't know he killed her.

    Suppose I was a friend of OJ and thought back on all the good times we had together and all the wonderful things he had done for me over the years. In that case I could see some virtue in believing his word in spite of evidence to the contrary so I might choose to believe him.
    So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pellegrino View Post
    I think the concept of choosing to believe or to not is a little too simplistic, perhaps even still somewhat binary. I prefer having the ability to believe in selective elements and being able to discard those that I find unpalatable or unnecessary. I know that runs counter to what Givens is saying and falls into the easy faith that he's talking about, but the thing that I believe in most (with regards to the church) isn't an aspect theology, but rather in its community, more specifically the power that is found in community living.
    Yes, I agree with this.

    I remember at times on the mission it would occur to me that I might be enjoying the experience a little more if I were a true believer. But I finally came to the conclusion that the way I could relax and enjoy the culture and language and not worry too much about following all the stupid rules was great. On the whole I think I enjoyed the experience more than those who felt guilt and anxiety because they believed in their heart that God wanted them to follow every mission rule to the letter.

    One way to adapt what Givens is saying here is that Borderlanders who find it hard to believe can actually be stronger than true believers because they can take and apply the good in the religion and and ignore the bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    We can't choose even in the gray area. We can't choose to believe...ever.
    Yeah, deep down in my heart I think all abstract religion is nonsense and I'm pretty sure that won't ever change -- I've thought that since I was a little kid. Deep down there is no way I could ever choose to believe otherwise.

    I guess when I say "choose to believe" in reference to Borderlander LDS people I mean choose to continue some type of Church activity, remain part of the LDS community, raise their kids in the Church and thus give them an opportunity to be members of the Church, live an LDS-ish lifestyle, etc..

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    As for Abraham saying Sarah was his sister God told him too. Good reason for Moses to beat the manure out of that egyptian who was beating the manure of that Isrealite. Peter may have been told to deny knowing who Jesus was. Whatever God requires is right JS said. That said people don't have an excuse to be disobedient but Abraham was told to say Sarah was his sister.

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    Receiver of Memory LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaloAltoCougar View Post
    Dehlin just posted a copy of the fireside talk Terryl Givens gave to the singles ward in Palo Alto three days ago. It's addressed to those in the Church who have serious doubts--the talk won't dispel them, but it may bring a measure of peace and understanding amidst the struggles. The talk is excellent; I wish I had written it.
    Thanks, PAC, I really enjoyed that. Here is a good bit:

    The option to believe must appear on one’s personal horizon like the fruit of paradise, perched precariously between sets of demands held in dynamic tension. Fortunately, in this world, one is always provided with sufficient materials out of which to fashion a life of credible conviction or dismissive denial. We are acted upon, in other words, by appeals to our personal values, our yearnings, our fears, our appetites, and our egos. What we choose to embrace, to be responsive to, is the purest reflection of who we are and what we love. That is why faith, the choice to believe, is, in the final analysis, an action that is positively laden with moral significance.
    “There is a great deal of difference in believing something still, and believing it again.”
    ― W.H. Auden


    "God made the angels to show His splendour - as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But men and women He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of their minds."
    -- Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons


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    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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