How Active Are You? How Orthodox Are You? A Self-Assessment

John Nilsson book of mormon, christ, christianity, church, curiosity, doubt, eternity, faith, General Authorities, God, historicity, Jesus, joseph, LDS, liberal, Mormon, Mormons, new order mormon, obedience, orthodox, Priesthood, prophets, religion, repentance, restoration, sacrament meeting, salvation, scripture, Sermon on the Mount, smith, temple, testimony, theology, Word of Wisdom 67 Comments

Take this assessment and find out:

(Taken from D. Jeff Burton’s For Those Who Wonder : forthosewhowonder.com. Similar to a Correlation Department survey on Religion and Life conducted among LDS Church members in the mid-1980s)

Section I: Measures of Participation and Activity in Standard Church Programs

1. How often do you attend the temple?

(Use this first set if you live near a temple, e.g. within a 2 hour drive)

0 pts.) No temple recommend; no attendance in one year

1 pt.) No temple recommend now, but had one last year

2 pts.) 1-2 times per year

3 pts.) 3-4 times per year

4 pts.) 5-10 times per year

5 pts.) Once a month, or more

(Use this set if you live far-more than a 2 hour drive)

0) No temple recommend

1) No temple recommend now, but had one last year

2) Once per year

3) Once or twice per year

4) Two times per year

5) Three to four times per year

2. How much of the Word of Wisdom do you follow?

0) I ignore the Word of Wisdom

1) Not very much

2) I abstain from alcohol and tobacco, most of the time

3) I abstain from alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea almost always

4) All of above, all of the time

5) All of above plus caffeine drinks, chocolate, and/or meat in winter

3. If you should receive a church calling from your bishop, you would:

0) Never accept

1) Rarely accept

2) Accept only if convenient and desirable for me

3) Accept if certain conditions are met

4) Accept after discussion and prayer

5) Always accept without question

4. Describe your attendance at regular meetings (e.g. Sunday School, priesthood meeting or Relief Society, sacrament meeting, Mutual, as applicable)

0) Never attend

1) Rarely attend, e.g. one meeting per month, any church meeting

2) Occasionally (less than 40%)

3) Quite often (40-75%)

4) Regularly (more than 75%)

5) Never miss any meetings

5. During an average week, how many hours do you spend in church-related activities? (Attendance at all church meetings, socials, lesson preparation, home/visiting teaching, etc.)

0) 0

1) 1

2) 2

3) 3-4

4) 5-6

5) 7 or more

6. Describe your actual donations to the Church during the past few years.

0) No donations to Church

1) Irregular donations only, and only if asked

2) Occasional donations

3) Part tithe payer plus occasional other donations

4) Usually full tithe payer plus other offerings

5) Full tithe payer plus all other offerings

Scoring. The above questions are a rough measure of your activity and participation in traditional Church programs. Count the scores based on your answers. The following results are not definitive but suggest trends:

22-30 Very active; high participation

15-21 Moderately active

7-14 Moderately non-active

0-6 Very non-active, little participation

We will use these results in Section 3. If you scored 15 or higher, consider yourself “active”. If you scored 14 or lower, consider yourself “non-active”.

Section II. Measures of Belief (Parts A and B, below)

In this section we ask you to describe your real, personal thoughts and conclusions about the statements shown below. Answer honestly, not as you think you should. Please see the scale below.

<Increasing Doubt No Opinion/No Belief Increasing Belief>

_________________________________________________________________________

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Examples: (10) 2 plus 2 equals 4. (3) A Republican will be elected president in the next election. (5) James Quentin Smith is a parliamentarian in New Zealand.

Zero (0) represents negative knowledge-“I know the statement isn’t correct. I know it isn’t true.” Numbers 4 to 1 represent increasing doubt-“I don’t know for sure, but I doubt it is correct. I don’t think the statement is true.”

Number (5) represents lack of information and lack of belief one way or the other-“I don’t know; I have no opinion; I have no thoughts one way or the other”.

Ten (10) represents positive knowledge-” I know the statement is correct; I know it is true beyond any doubt.” Numbers between 6 and 9 represent increasingly strong belief-“I don’t know for sure, but I believe the statement is true;” “I think it is correct”.

Part A. Beliefs about the Church and its Unique Doctrines

The following statements represent common doctrines and teachings which set the LDS religion apart from other religious creeds and organizations. Please indicate your level of belief in the following statements.

Remember, record what you truly think, not what you’re supposed to think, and not what you are willing to accept by faith.

1. ( ) The LDS Church is the one and only true church.

2. ( ) It is God’s wish that we avoid alcohol and tobacco.

3. ( ) Both God and Jesus came to a grove of trees in which Joseph Smith was praying.

4. ( ) The Book of Mormon was translated from golden plates which the angel Moroni gave Joseph Smith.

5. ( ) LDS scriptures (e.g., Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price) are the word of God.

6. ( ) God directs Church leaders in their work for the Church.

7. ( ) The temple ceremony was written under the inspiration of God.

8. ( ) Christ’s gospel is being correctly taught by the Church.

9. ( ) The afterlife consists of three kingdoms (e.g., Celestial Kingdom, etc.)

10. ( ) It is important to gain a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

The above statements attempt to measure your personal beliefs about the Church’s unique teachings and doctrines. Add and score your answers as follows:

76-100 Strong belief and acceptance of Church’s unique teachings

50-75 Moderate belief and acceptance

25-49 More doubt than belief

0-24 Serious doubts about the Church’s teachings

We will be using these results in Section III. Count yourself a “Believer in unique Church teachings” if you scored 50-100 and a “Disbeliever in unique Church teachings” if you scored 49 or less.

Part B. Beliefs about your personal relationship to God and your feelings about Christ and his teachings.

This section tries to measure your thoughts and conclusions about your relationship to God and about your personal beliefs about Christ and his teachings.

Please rank your beliefs, as above, 0-10.

1. ( ) God exists.

2. ( ) Christ was crucified for my sins.

3. ( ) God often answers my prayers, directly or indirectly.

4. ( ) The gospel of Jesus Christ is very important to me.

5. ( ) I have been personally blessed by God.

6. ( ) I feel close to God; I feel that Christ is my brother.

7. ( ) Baptism and the taking of the sacrament provide for the forgiveness of sin.

8. ( ) Christ’s teachings are a blueprint for life and behavior.

9. ( ) It is important to gain a testimony that Christ is the Savior of the world.

10. ( ) The Bible is the word of God.

Score your answers as follows.

76-100 Strong personal beliefs in God and Jesus Christ; positive relationship with God.

50-75 Moderate personal belief in God and Jesus Christ; a developing relationship with God.

25-49 Moderate personal disbelief in God and Jesus Christ; weak personal relationship with God.

0-24 Serious doubts about God, Jesus Christ, and his teachings; little personal relationship with God.

Please count yourself a “Personal believer in God and Jesus” if you scored 50-100.

Please count yourself a “Personal disbeliever in God and Jesus” if you scored 0-49.

Section III. Results and Discussion

You will note that there are many possible combinations of belief or lack thereof in God and Jesus and in unique LDS teachings, and in activity versus nonactivity. So that one could presumably score as an active personal believer in God and Jesus and as a personal believer in unique LDS teachings, but one could also score as an inactive personal believer in God and Jesus and in unique LDS teachings. One could also be an active personal disbeliever in God and Jesus but be a personal believer of unique LDS teachings. I have witnessed this phenomenon several times.

I will omit Burton’s discussion points for this section and open it up to our readers to discuss the implications. I will simply add this caveat of Burton’s, that this assessment is designed to measure intellectual beliefs with activity, not faithfulness with activity-“Many people simply cannot separate faith and intellectual belief. This works to the benefit of some (those who live by faith) and to the detriment of others (those who see lack of belief as lack of faith).”

So share if you dare, or simply sit back and contemplate the combinations and their consequences for our church!

Comments

comments

Comments 67

  1. 26-100-100. The older I get (my primary kids call me ancient) the more I relize that everyone views things in different lights and shades. I never really thought of myself as orthodox LDS, I just thought either it is true or it isnt. If it is true than you gotta do everything that is asked of you. If it isnt true dont waste your time with something so demanding of all your faculties.

  2. 25, 65, 79. But, I object to some of the wording & focus in the “unique LDS” section – it misses some of the most important aspects of Mormonism by using language that is familiar yet too precise (and therefore potentially inaccurate). Ray could word that section much better.

  3. 10 for Participation/Activity = Moderately Inactive
    31 for Beliefs re Church/Unique Doctrine = More Doubt than Belief
    68 for Beliefs re God/Jesus Christ = Moderate Belief

    For some, it may be tough to conflate God and Jesus Christ in the same section.

  4. I’m not so sure about some of the statements as being that orthodox…”Baptism and partaking of the sacrament provides forgiveness of sins”…I don’t think that any GA would maintain that these ordinances are the causative force. The Atonement is.

    And “it is important to gain a testimony of Joseph Smith.” Important to what? To living a decent life? To even going to the celestial kingdom? (I’m assuming that you’re talking about gaining a testimony in this life…that the work for the dead element is out…otherwise, you would be using a statement of orthodoxy to determine the orthodoxy of another statement…). And when you say, Christ’s gospel is being taught in this church…are we talking about the Proclamation, Gospel Doctrine class? Because I’ve heard some very un-Christlike things in classrooms, but I don’t think that reflects on the Church…

    But otherwise, I got 27, 70, 53.

  5. Mine is probably not the most relevant feedback desired, but thought it may be interesting as I’m a regular visitor here.

    As a Mormon prior to my wife and I deciding to investigate traditional Christianity, I was: 16;41;62

    To answer honestly now, I do have to nuance some of the questions a bit in section 1 & 3, but I think I’ve done so in a way favorable to how Burton was intending. Though in section 1 I lose points for not having a comparable temple or WoW “holiness standards” in my present congregation. 18;12;87.

    This was an enjoyable way to think about and consider what has changed for me in both action, belief and perspective.

  6. But ask yourself, do you avoid mathematicians? What efforts do you go to help others avoid them.

    “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever the cost.” -Arthur Ashe

    “The good Christian should beware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and confine man in the bonds of Hell.” — Saint Augustine

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    Ok, here are my “measurements”:

    20-Moderately active
    40-More doubt than belief in unique church teachings
    59-Moderate personal belief in God and Jesus; a developing personal relationship with God

    Hawk,

    I agree Ray could have phrased some questions better. I’d love to see him rework these items. Maybe a little challenge, Ray? 🙂

    What does everyone think of the notion that one can have faith in concepts which one does not intellectually believe, or which one doubts more than believes?

    Also, given the comment above relating to baptism and the sacrament leading to forgiveness of sin, is there such a thing as Mormon orthodoxy?

  8. I agree with Matt about the Jesus & God stuff being conflated together being problematic.

    Here are some of my objections to the phrases in the unique Mormonism section (some is ticky-tack, but isn’t that what this site’s all about?). Plus, since some of these aren’t even in the TR interview, they’re not exactly core:
    1. The LDS Church is the one and only true church. Meaning what exactly – there’s no truth in other churches?
    2. It is God’s wish that we avoid alcohol and tobacco. What does “God’s wish” mean? Is the WoW inspired seems like a better wording.
    3. Both God and Jesus came to a grove of trees in which Joseph Smith was praying. My issue with this is whether it is a vision or a visit. I am not certain.
    4. The Book of Mormon was translated from golden plates which the angel Moroni gave Joseph Smith. There could be some issues with the definition of translated.
    5. LDS scriptures (e.g., Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price) are the word of God. “The Word of God”? What happened to “insofar as they are translated correctly”?
    6. God directs Church leaders in their work for the Church. This seems a little oddly worded – how about the role of the church leaders in seeking inspiration being the subject of this sentence?
    7. The temple ceremony was written under the inspiration of God. And re-written that way? Does inspired imply 100% is inspired vs. human?
    8. Christ’s gospel is being correctly taught by the Church. That’s a loaded question and pretty subjective. It’s been better in some wards than others.
    9. The afterlife consists of three kingdoms (e.g., Celestial Kingdom, etc.). This may be an oversimplification.
    10. It is important to gain a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. As was pointed out, important how, to whom? Does this mean that if you were living in the interior of Africa in 300 B.C. and died with no awareness of the gospel you have to have a testimony of JS? Really?

  9. Two scores: 1) when I was a repressed gay man married to a woman but very active in the Church and 2) 20 years later.

    1) 24 – 43 – 72 (Better at activity than orthodoxy, quite religious)

    2) 1 – 3 – 20 (LOL, but I’m much less stressed out now)

  10. Hawkgrrl,

    You know I never disagree with anything you say, but I have to admit I think your nitpicking this time. 😛 (But you know I still love you.)

    These questions aren’t as ambiguous as you are suggesting because each of them have well understood meanings and purposes within a Mormon context.

    1. When Mormons says they believe God setup the LDS Church as the true church, this rarely (as in very very rarely if at all) actually means “no other religions have truth” except to people who don’t believe in the LDS church and are looking to be offended.

    2. If it’s “inspired” in any of the nuances of the Mormon understanding of that word, it’s also “God’s Wish” (for you at least) in some understanding of that phrase. So this seems like valid wording to me.

    3. I don’t see how visit vs. visititation make any difference on whether or not they came to Joseph while he was in the grove.

    4. You should uses Joseph’s own broad definition of the term “translated” or at least accept that this is the word the LDS Church consistently uses when describing how the Book of Mormon was created from an authentic historical record. The rest doesn’t matter to the question.

    5. “In so fars they are translated correctly” is an appendage here that I don’t think is relevant to the question be asked. Even Evangelicals who believe in Biblical inerrancy believe there is errors introduced since the original holograms. The purpose and meaning of this question seems pretty clear to me.

    6. sort of agree on this one.

    7. “Inspiration” is a Mormon word with a myriad of possible meanings and the question seems to me to be obviously allowing for you to accept any method you wish for how it works. So I don’t think this is an ambiguous question at all.

    8. Again, I don’t think how good a particular ward is has any relevance to the obvious question being asked.

    9. I agree it’s an oversimplification, but that seems besides the point to me. It’s looking for a division between three basic kingdoms and a “one heaven” concept. Seems like a fair question to me and fairly clearly worded.

    10. This question seems fairly obviously intended as contextually about modern living people post Joseph Smith. so I don’t see the 300 BC question as relevant.

    If you are allowed to nitpick them as much as you are doing, I have my doubts that Ray or anyone could write questions that would satisfy you without writing them in legalees, which would then make no sense to anyone at all. 😉

    Might I suggest that the problem with these questions isn’t that they are difficult to understand, but that they have no clear way to score.

    I’m not sure how to score them at all. I have a great deal of faith in the LDS Church’s teachings, I doubt anyone would call me on that. But I’ve never claimed a perfect knowledge of it’s truth and I don’t agree with many here that the “I know” wording LDS people use was ever meant to imply 100% perfect knowledge.

    I think that “I know” generally DOES NOT mean 100% perfect knowledge for anything. Do you know the world is round? What DO you know with 100% perfect knowledge? Yet we all use the term all the time without worrying to much about it. I think “I know” means in most contexts “I have knowledge about or of a certain belief.” I sounds wrong to say “I believe the world is round by knowledge on authority of others that have first hand knowledge” yet this is more technically correct. Instead I just say “I know the world is round” an assume people understand the concept.

    That being said, do I give myself a 10 for everything because I have a strong faith in it? Or do I give myself a 6 in everything on the theory that I’m certain enough to act but it’s not a perfect knowledge? I don’t know and thus I think the answers don’t mean anything.

  11. My real scores, now that I’m not at work………..

    22, 52, 50

    An active member stuck in spiritual neutral. The real challenge is to teach gospel doctrine without bearing your testimony. I think I’ve mastered that.

    MoHoHawaii:

    Glad you posted both ways. I’ve read a lot of your posts and your #1 scores answer why you still hang around. It’s hard to shake for whatever reason.

  12. Gone all day and look what I miss!

    Does anyone really need to ask where I end up? Didn’t think so. I’m fairly certain I’m the only one who makes Thomas Parkin look disaffected.

    I like the idea and the general construct, but I automatically read the questions as *I* interpret them to have real meaning and avoid silly mis-applications that would lead someone to vote too low a number. For example, my version:

    1. ( ) The LDS Church is the [“only true **and living** church”]. – My strict parsing answer to the original questions would be tortuous and long.

    2. ( ) It is God’s wish that [**Mormons**] avoid alcohol and tobacco. – “We” in the universal sense would have been about a 3.

    3. ( ) Both God and Jesus [visited] Joseph Smith [while he was] praying [in a grove of trees]. – “Came to” eliminates some viable interpretations, imo.

    4. ( ) The Book of Mormon was [recorded on] golden plates which the angel Moroni gave Joseph Smith. – “translated from” could be taken too literally, prompting some to answer with a low score – since most of the translating didn’t occur “from the golden plates”.

    5. ( ) LDS scriptures (e.g., Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, [D&C, Bible]) are the word of God, [as far as they are translated and/or transmitted correctly]. – I think you need to include all the “LDS Scriptures”, including the Bible – and I’ve always preferred the combination “translated and/or transmitted”.

    6. ( ) God [provides direction to] Church leaders in their work for the Church. – The original version could imply constant and infallible direction.

    7. ( ) The temple ceremony was [inspired by] God. – The original wording makes it seem like the question classifies the temple ceremony as the result of direct revelation, void of other influences. If that is the intended meaning, the wording should be explicit – not this vague. If it’s going to be vague, it needs to be even more vague and generic.

    8. ( ) Christ’s gospel is being taught correctly by the Church. (I just corrected the bad grammar in this one – ’cause, you know, I just can’t help it.)

    9. ( ) The afterlife [includes four] kingdoms (e.g., Celestial Kingdom, etc.) – Nit-picky, I know, but I didn’t think it was meant as a trick question – and it’s incorrect doctrine as worded originally.

    10. ( ) It is important to gain a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. – No changes to this one.

    How’s that, John? 🙂

  13. #15: “What does everyone think of the notion that one can have faith in concepts which one does not intellectually believe, or which one doubts more than believes?”

    I think it’s a notion well-supported in scripture. Reading Alma 32 carefully this time, I noticed that it’s really about trusting that the word is *good* (until you have “perfect knowledge” that it is), not trying to be convinced that the word is “true” in spite of yourself. Nowhere do I see a requirement that we have perfect knowledge of all truth. There’s also a consistent theme in the Book of Mormon of goodness being evidence of truth.

    Doubt is fine. (Wearing it publicly like a badge of honor is usually not.) Desire to believe – whether because you noticed the goodness or because you believe in something related and consistent – is sufficient. I don’t buy the idea that we need “stong testimonies” of anything except perhaps a couple of basics, and those can get as basic as you like. It’s faith that saves, and as Alma shows, it’s more about trust and hope than belief.

  14. I would be more active if I weren’t so sick. I deducted a few points here and there for wording I couldn’t strictly get behind, so perhaps I should adjust the second and third numbers upward. I totally didn’t think you were asking if I believe in one heaven vs. three. I was thinking that three is probably a simplification and there are actually billions.

  15. And as for the word of wisdom, I’m shocked that you could even ask! Of course we all avoid alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea absolutely, right? (goggles at the included picture) right? … right? (faints)

  16. My score goes up with Ray’s clarifications, but even more if I take Bruce’s comment in: “That being said, do I give myself a 10 for everything because I have a strong faith in it? Or do I give myself a 6 in everything on the theory that I’m certain enough to act but it’s not a perfect knowledge? I don’t know and thus I think the answers don’t mean anything.” I am not “certain” of things but I take action based on my faith. Yet, there are other aspects of our doctrine that I find more compelling that some of the above.

    The only ones I am not really sure I believe, even with Ray’s parsing, is #3 – I rather think that the First Vision was a vision rather than a visit, although the implication for the restoration is the same. On #4, I also question the Book of Abraham being the Word of God. I believe it was probably ancient (but not contemporary to Abraham) and apocryphal. And JS-H and Articles of Faith may be “inspired” but it is the word of JS rather than of God–it doesn’t actually purport to be revelation from God. So the phrase “word of God” doesn’t work for me there. For that matter, Song of Solomon is clearly not the “Word of God,” and Proverbs (and a few others) probably fail that test also.

    But Ray’s rewording got me up to an 83. That’s pretty TBM.

  17. 15, 100, 100

    Of course, lack of attendance due to being ill has had a major impact. Before I became sick I’d have been 24, 100, 100.

  18. 21, 100, 100.

    Probably makes me a fanatical fundamentalist. 🙂

    Those who are less than 100,100 really should go back to the basics (imho).

    This is all too important to have doubts still after so long in the church.

  19. Oh, if I were trying to set up a better indicator for the belief questions (those we have reworded), I also would change the scoring system’s focus. I would have 1-10 indicate how “true” the recipient felt the statement was – not how firmly s/he believed it. There is a difference between those two, and the new focus would allow for a better evaluation of basic belief as opposed to conviction.

    For example, changing that focus means I would change the wording of #8 a bit. Currently, “Christ’s gospel”, at the most basic level, is taught in the BofM as being faith, repentance, baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost – nothing more. With that definition, I believe the statement is 100% accurate. If, however, “Christ’s gospel” is intended to mean “everything Christ taught or wants taught” (as I suspect it was), I would score it around an 8, since I believe “God will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God” – and that some of these things will change what the Church teaches currently.

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  21. I think the diversity is why I ended up on this website. My take on the 100,100 people is they simply have not been blessed with enough trials. Years ago, I probably was close to that.

  22. 21, 76, 75… all moderate. Which is strange because that matched up with my political views as well… maybe this says a lot about me. 🙂

    The first score is lower than I would like it to be.

  23. 15-44-78

    First off, I am surprised at all the X-100-100 results. Do people really harbor zero doubts? I thought I was bold in putting some 9’s in there, and I feel like I had some pretty profound spiritual experiences with God … yet I still question myself a little bit. I’d even argue that people with 100-100 are really the ones that need to go back to the basics and start over, not the doubters. Hehe.

    Regarding #15 & #22 on having faith/hope in things one intellectually can’t believe. I hear you! I am working on hard on getting there. I think this is a solid, Fowler Stage 5 trait — the acceptance of the paradox. It can’t be true, but I see and feel it working for me. This perspective help me score a lot higher than not trying this viewpoint.

  24. Oh yeah, almost forgot. I wanted to mention that I have become very active in attending Church and participating since my struggles. I scored lower because of my lack of Temple attendance and loss of faith in our current interpretations of the WoW.

  25. “I think the diversity is why I ended up on this website. My take on the 100,100 people is they simply have not been blessed with enough trials. Years ago, I probably was close to that.”

    Now that’s an arrogant thing to say.

  26. Btw, “in the interest of full disclosure” – I just went back and tried to score myself using a “narrow” interpretation of the questions and allowing for extreme pickiness in how I parse them. The results:

    27.5, 64, 86

    It really does make a difference how you read and interpret the questions.

  27. When I was 18 it was probably 30-100-100.
    Today it is 26-0-0.

    That’s probably why I feel a lot of stress attending church and doing my callings… To be honest, I foresee the first number going down before the other numbers go up.

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    Thanks to everyone who has been civil in their comments.

    And I hope the lurkers will play nice with the info they see here, too.

    Jeff Burton’s short book does explain at length different ideas about faith, belief, knowledge, certainty, and doubt. I think many of us here are operating on different definitions of these concepts.

  29. Ray: “It really does make a difference how you read and interpret the questions.” I feel much better now that you went back to the questions and got scores closer to mine! Yes! I am not a total heathen!

    I suggest that the 100-100 folks probably just didn’t parse the questions like some of us have. Also, we’ve observed on this site before that those who tend to be most certain and black/white in their beliefs are most vulnerable to swinging to the other end of the pendulum. It’s faith for a reason; doubt is implied. If your faith has no doubt mixed in, it may be brittle and easily shattered. But that’s just an opinion.

  30. Ah, but we’re close. And you have to realize that I have a degree in English and don’t much care for Jeff’s assessment which I’ve read before, and therefore I nit picked the crap out of it. 🙂

  31. #31 John,

    Yes, very. The basics is where one starts to find a testimony of all those things, from believing in that first vision/visit to the Book of Abraham and all the rest of it. I don’t harbor any doubts at all, even though I’d like to see some things change in the church, like the garments or missionary strategy, what some of the brethren do and some other macro-management issues.

    I’d point out that whether the question askis: Do you believe the WoW is from God, or Does God want us to avoid alcoohol, or Is the Wow inspired text? I’d answer 10 for all. Same with BoM: was it translated, was it inspired, is it the work of God, I would also answer 10 for each as all the others. Once one fully accepts that God’s hand is in this work the semantics of these faith questions isn’t all that important. There’s no need to consider a 100,100 as an outlyer nor that there is some doubt implied in faith, that’s a contradiction for me.

    (But seeing that so many here are moderate makes me understand why there is so much pro-gays stuff in MM!)

  32. Ray,

    Obviously by mentioning the celestial, he is referring to ‘Kingdoms of Glory’ and hell is not one of them. Re #21.9, So it is correct doctrine as its worded since the implication if ‘Glory’ exists.

  33. #49 – Carlos, the question never mentions “glory” – and outer darkness is a kingdom. According to Mormon theology, there are 4 kingdoms in the afterlife – which is all the question asks.

    Who cares, however, since it’s all in how you interpret the question – which proves my point completely.

  34. Why does it matter, Carlos? As I said, many of the questions can be answered differently depending on how one reads them. That point is quite relevant to this post.

  35. I am happy for those who self-assess as 100,100. That must be a comforting feeling. As defined above, a 10 represents “I know it is true beyond any doubt”. I don’t possess that knowledge. For me, it is beyond comprehension.

    From those in my life and certainly in my own life, faith can and usually does coexist with doubt. “Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief” Mark 9:24 is a favorite scripture. It lets me know I am not alone in my doubting faith.
    Alma 32 distinguishes between perfect knowledge (knowledge beyond any doubt?) and faith.

    D&C 46:13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
    14 To others it is given to believe

    As I speak to people, I belief this scripture to be true, that the best “knowledge” that some are meant to come to is a belief, even though that is contradictory to what is found in other scriptures and what is taught elsewhere.

    In the Mormon community, testimonies include “I know”. What do people mean when they say that? That is for each to say. A 90 year-old member of our ward, a former bishop and a life-long member of the church never says “I know” in his testimonies. He says “I believe with all my heart”. I applaud his integrity. It would be so easy to say “I know” when that is not what he means or wants to say.

    I, a struggler, found comfort in reading “Mother Theresa, Come Be My Light”. This book, a collection of her writings, talks about the prolonged absence of God’s spirit in her life, despite all of her good works and total dedication to Him. I believe this is the situation with many LDS as well, although few (any?) are as spiritual as Mother Theresa was.

  36. Holden,

    Interesting thoughts. I’ve come across this issue before in MM even back when it was only John Dehlin’s podcasts. Seems that there are many life long members who struggle with this and don’t have that 100,100 faith in the unique mormon doctrine.

    I really think that mother Theresa expressed what life is like without what we call ‘Gift of the Holy Ghost’ and this is so for many who like her do good and live for Jesus or for God. But for us, due to this Gift, we should be well past the doubting over those very basic questions listed here. Maybe if people here had doubts about ‘the buffetings of Satan’ or other more complicated doctrine I’d understand them more, but the questions here are the very basic ones.

    And that father in Mark (imo) was only asking to know more after coming to the knowledge that Jesus was the Christ after seeing that miracle, not doubting his own faith, as I understand it. (Off course its always better to reach that knowledge via the spirit.)

  37. “To SOME it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.” (D&C 46:13-14)

    Carlos, our own scriptures tell us that not everyone will be able to answer a 10 even on the question about knowing that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God, as that score is defined in it. Not every one can “know” – and expecting them to be able to do so drives many away due to feeling like they are failing somehow. That burden should never be placed on someone else. Some are given to know, and some are given to believe – and those who are given to believe should not be made to feel inadequate because of it.

  38. I don’t expect everybody to “know”, but I would prefer people not tell me that when I say that I do know that I must not have “been blessed with enough trials”, or that my faith is “brittle”.

    My whole life has been filled with crap, and the last 8 years has been a steady diet of nothing but, so I think I got plenty of credit when it comes to having trials, and not shattering because my faith is so brittle.

    There are plenty of things I don’t know. Like why I’m miserable and in pain, while all these rebels and apostates around me have success show down on them when they aren’t even trying to get it. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do anymore to fix my problems. But that doubt doesn’t negate the knowledge that I’ve already gained about the truthfulness of the restored gospel. So I just keep on going on with what I do know, and figure God will let me know the rest when He’s ready.

    I got nothing against a “doubting Thomas”, but I am annoyed when a “doubting Thomas” uses his doubt as justification for posturing as my moral or intellectual superior.

  39. You’re twisting this argument now. Scripture you quote is talking about how people reach that knowledge, its not about knowing or not knowing. Your saying that ‘believers’ don’t necessary know that its true.

    Anyway I see now why you hold some of the philosophical views you have. But thats fine, you have a right to believe whatever you want too off course. I’m not judging you! Nor is it a ‘burden’ to answer 10 to those questions. People should simply be past that level after going to church for years plus a mission plus maybe Institute, plus their current calling. I mean wondering still if the BoAbraham is true, well, I’m repeating myself here.

  40. I believe ,hope, feel in my heart but I don’t know. I’m a 90,100 in the belief section but I have had lots of trials in life I’m not saying everybody has to be a certain way. My life really does need a lot of improvement. I believe but am not living the gospel very well right now. I don’t know can a jack Mormon have a strong testimony? wouldn’t that mean I am opening rebelling against God? I know whats right I just don’t do it.

  41. Well AJ,

    All I can say is that I comprehend a man who believes but fails to live up to his beliefs far more than someone who is active but doesn’t believe.

    God knows I’ve failed in living up to my beliefs often enough.

    That said, you might want to think about it a little. If you really do believe it, shouldn’t you at least attempt to live the gospel? Maybe somethings seem too big to change or correct, does that mean you can’t correct anything?

  42. Cicero – as to the brittle comment, that’s of course not true 100% of the time. It’s just something that some have shared on this site through comments (e.g. people who say they used to have a rock solid testimony who are now equally convinced the church is completely wrong–swinging from an “I know” testimony to an “I know” anti-testimony). It is to these pendulum swings I refer. I would imagine that the 12 don’t hit 100 on Jeff’s scales, mostly due to the parsing element (Oaks was a judge; I would think he’s a parser). For example, do I believe God & Jesus “visited” upstate New York in the first vision? I’m not closed to that possibility, but I tend to think it was a “vision” rather than a “visit.” It’s not called “The First Visit.” Does that make me an unbeliever? No, because a vision is still important in JS’s prophetic call, but it’s not quite as singular as a “visit.” So, you may be fine at 100, 100, and just not over-thinking the questions like I was.

    AJ – There’s a wide gulf between “the gospel is true” and “I am true.” Ultimately, I think the latter is the more important one to me subjectively and experientially. But, no one is perfect in living the gospel. The key is to continue to improve, which is the heart of Mormonism.

  43. Carlos (#57) – I don’t know where to start, so I am left to parse again:

    “You’re twisting this argument now. Scripture you quote is talking about how people reach that knowledge, its not about knowing or not knowing.”

    ?? – I honestly don’t have any clue what you mean by that, given the quote I used.

    “Your saying that ‘believers’ don’t necessary know that its true.”

    Correct. Why is that controversial at all?

    “Anyway I see now why you hold some of the philosophical views you have.”

    Like . . . What? Again, I don’t know what you mean.

    “But thats fine, you have a right to believe whatever you want too off course.”

    I think you mean “of course” – not “off course”. I only mention it, because both actually fit in context.

    “I’m not judging you! Nor is it a ‘burden’ to answer 10 to those questions.”

    I only said it is a “burden” if someone insists that someone else who has been in the church for a long time should “know” everything mentioned in those questions.

    “People should simply be past that level after going to church for years plus a mission plus maybe Institute, plus their current calling.”

    That IS judging others, and it isn’t scriptural. Again, our scriptures say very clearly that those who believe without knowing but endure faithful to the end will be blessed.

    “I mean wondering still if the BoAbraham is true, well, I’m repeating myself here.”

    Are you serious? I accept the BofA as inspired by God, but whether or not Joseph actually translated an ancient, written record to produce it is debated by hardcore, faithful, Mormon historians. Pretty much everyone (all professional historians) now agrees that the scrolls weren’t translated literally. If they can’t agree on that one, it’s easy to see why regular lay members might express doubt that it is “the word of God” – especially if they interpret that to mean “direct revelation to the ancient prophets mentioned in it”.

    Finally, your comment is that all long-time members should be able to score 100-100, but the scoring system itself doesn’t support that. Think about this wording:

    “Numbers between 6 and 9 represent increasingly strong belief – ‘I don’t know for sure, but I believe the statement is true;’ ‘I think it is correct’.”

    This means that someone could score 70-90 and be expressing “strong belief” in each and every statement. How is that a sign of “needing to return to the basics? Couple that with a score from the first section that classifies that person as “very active” and you have a strong, dedicated, believing, active member. That’s a negative in some way?!

    Sorry, but I just don’t see it – and I’ve seen too many people leave activity and even the Church who were this type of member but made to feel inadequate and unworthy by those who demanded they score 100-100. I have at least two people who are VERY close to me who have been crushed by such unrealistic expectations, and it’s judgmental and wrong. Even Jesus’ disciples who spent 3 years watching his miracles and hearing his sermons couldn’t answer right away that he was the son of God. Seriously, think about that: It appears that there might have been only one of twelve (and the most impetuous one, at that) who could testify with knowledge that, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.” At best, there was not unanimity among the disciples in that knowledge. If they weren’t able to know with absolute confidence even in his presence, I’m not going to hold all members now to that standard.

  44. How we scored on this assessment can change–either way. I hope all of us can improve our scores if needed or maintain our high scores.

    I thought the assessment was well done. I would like to see more assessment questions relating to experiences with things of the Spirit. In the final analysis that is the most important part. I believe each of us need to have scared experiences with the gift of the Holy Ghost, just like the prophets teach in the standard works and in General Conference.

  45. 24-72-72

    I really think the first question should have the same scale as the last 2 questions. It seems quite misleading that the first number is so low compared to the last 2 questions. When I was reviewing people’s scores, at first I thought nobody was active here.

  46. “All I can say is that I comprehend a man who believes but fails to live up to his beliefs far more than someone who is active but doesn’t believe.”

    There are a lot of family reasons for people staying active. I have often felt among the priesthood that if it weren’t for wives, a number of the brethren would disappear.

  47. There are a lot of family reasons for people staying active. I have often felt among the priesthood that if it weren’t for wives, a number of the brethren would disappear.

    My response is shaped by our experience after moving on to a new denomination. I know several LDS women who feel similarly inauthentic and are maintaining appearances for their husbands and family. I do know more men in this state than women. This could be that the common understanding is true that more men face this kind of situation than women. It might also be that I have more opportunity to talk with men about these kinds of things than women. Either way, the opportunity I see for myself is to help more married couples we know, LDS or otherwise, see in our example that it is healthy for a marriage to pursue openness, authenticity, understanding, and respect about matters of faith pursuit. It’s not healthy to live out faith just for tradition and appearances.

  48. OK, now we measure ourselves to what purpose? Are we trying to show others where or at what level of activity we stand?
    I don’t really know why “Measures of Participation and Activity in Standard Church Programs” was devised, if for ones own self knowledge or to be like the pharisees and show the world their greatness (not humility) by showing what they do.
    Where is your heart?
    Where is your spirit?
    Ask yourself why you do the things you do in church and if your honest with yourself then measure your Participation and Activity in Standard Church Programs. And definitely keep it to yourself or be the lone pharisee beating your chest and show off to the world- not to God

  49. Pingback: Eric

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