Walking and a Talking with a NOM

James Mormon, new order mormon 38 Comments

What is a New Order Mormon?

New Order Mormons are those who no longer believe some (or much) of the dogma or doctrines of the LDS Church, but who want to maintain membership for cultural, social, or even spiritual reasons. New Order Mormons recognize both good and bad in the Church, and have determined that the Church does not have to be perfect in order to remain useful.

Questions you have always had about NOMs but were afraid to ask!

  • Do you ever wonder who in the congregation are the True Believing Mormons and who are the NOMs? What percentage of your ward is NOM – is it growing? Or are some just partially NOM (say 25% of the person- like their right leg)?
  • What is an NOM thinking during Sunday School when the topic is evolution, blacks and the priesthood, the one and only true church, we are led by a prophet today, etc?
  • How do they get through their temple recommend interview? Have any served or are serving missions now?
  • Do any hold high positions in the church, i.e, Bishop or High Councilman? How do they justify it?
  • If they don’t really believe the foundation of our church- the book of Mormon being a real grade A bona-fide history, why do they stick with it?
  • How can they bear testimony? Are there tell-tale signs of an NOM testimony?
  • What are they hoping will eventually happen with the church? Is it worth all the hassle of doublethink they must go through?
  • Are you becoming NOM ? Has your thinking become less black and white? Are you seeing things more allegorically?
  • Have your views changed on the Mountain Meadows Massacre, DNA, evolution, homosexuals, Mesoamerica, and the Hill Cumorah?
  • Would NOMs still come to church if they didn’t feel family or community pressure?
  • Some TBM views have changed i.e., polygamy as a requirement for salvation, blacks as less valiant in the pre-mortal existence, Adam-God, Native Americans as descendants of Lamanites. Is there a threat of the church becoming too NOM?

Comments

comments

Comments 38

  1. I just call em friendly apostates.

    Funny enough, I’ve never given them much thought, or wondered about any of the questions you list.

    The only time I bother with them is when I get into a confrontation with one. They always back down so they don’t worry me none.

  2. Well, it’s actually a very healthy forum, with a strong core that attracts a surprising number of people. I’ve never thought of NOM as a movement in any sense, it’s not like their producing their own Sunday School lessons like the Reformed Mormon website.

    Besides, where’s the other half of your post? You seem to be missing the answers.

    Hi Cis. This one don’t back down. Militant agnostic. I don’t know and you don’t know either.

    Your commenter’s. Thei hav a collectiv stoopid.

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  4. Cicero,

    I’ve been on mormonmatters almost from the beginning and I can’t think of too many times I’ve backed down. I do try and see both sides, but I certainly haven’t turned tail and ran. I like what NOM does for people who want to stay connected with the church for whatever reason…

  5. Some interesting questions have been asked. I’ll try to answer them

    How do they get through their temple recommend interview? Have any served or are serving missions now?

    The temple recommend interview… I look my “leaders” square in the eye and tell them the truth about my particular world view. I follow my leaders in righteousness only and recognize that they are mortal men. Mortal men make mistakes regardless of who they are or what position they hold. I respect “leaders” who understand this principle and don’t respect those who “rule from on high” (unrighteous dominion).

    When I’m asked if I have a testimony of the church, I respond with my testimony of the restored gospel. So far, it hasn’t been a problem… Even in Utah.

    I served a mission in one of the more remote parts of the world. Electricity, running water, and bathing were hard to come by. I taught people the gospel of Jesus Christ and did everything I could to help them correct the ungodly parts of their lives. I taught them to read the scriptures, pray, know for themselves the veracity of the message, and act accordingly.

    Do any hold high positions in the church, i.e, Bishop or High Councilman? How do they justify it?

    Not to my knowledge. From my experience, leadership seems to keep to its own kind and selects those with similar points of view. It’s very rare that one of “us” is chosen for a leadership position if we are known to be NOM’s.

    How can they bear testimony? Are there tell-tale signs of an NOM testimony?

    Bearing testimony is easy. You simply go up there and share your feelings. I’ve never had a problem with it. As far as tell-tale signs go, I’m not sure there are any.

    Since I’ve been here in the intermountain west, I’ve noticed that the most common phrases are “I know that this church is true” and “I know that Gordon B. Hinckley (now Thomas S. Monson) is a prophet.” Very, very rarely do people say anything about their testimony of Christ or how he has made an impact in their lives. Very rare. My non member friends, who have come to church with me from time to time, have asked me why that was as well. As a returned missionary, I should have had an answer for them.

    What are they hoping will eventually happen with the church? Is it worth all the hassle of doublethink they must go through?
    Doublethink? Interesting choice of words. While I don’t deny that it exists, I’ve never really experienced it, I don’t think I’ve experienced much of it. I simply ignore the modern day Pharisees with their “traditions of the elders” and the modern day Zoramites. For some reason, they don’t like that. Don’t know why…

    Are you becoming NOM ? Has your thinking become less black and white? Are you seeing things more allegorically?

    There are a few “thou shalt’s” and “thou shalt not’s.” Aside from that, the world is gray. Anyone who denies that is diluting themselves. Too many of our people seem to have the mentality that “Mormon world good. Outside world bad.”

    Have your views changed on the Mountain Meadows Massacre, DNA, evolution, homosexuals, Mesoamerica, and the Hill Cumorah?

    Our own historians have admitted that there was a systematic effort to get rid of records relating to the mountain meadows massacre. The bottom line is that church members were involved and committed the massacre. A somewhat recent Ensign article put a very good spin on it. What is bothersome to most of “us” is the record destruction and denial that lasted for so many years. I realize that this was a very sensitive time in our history and that circumstances of the time were not good for the church. However, denying it for ~150 years makes one wonder.

    Would NOMs still come to church if they didn’t feel family or community pressure?

    Sadly, that is a major factor if that is the community/family you grew up in. I’ve heard of several people who have gone inactive or left the church and have lost everything. Family, employment, social network, etc.

    I didn’t grow up like that. For me, the Mormonism is a religion, not a culture. Unfortunately, culture can exert more influence than faith. For example, a young man who chooses not to go on a mission (note I use the term choose, not unable. Stop thinking unworthiness. There are more reasons than that for not going on a mission.) has his chances of marrying an LDS woman cut down significantly. I knew a few guys who were getting cars and help with college for going on missions.

    I go to church because I believe in the gospel and realize that even though the church may not be perfect because it is run by mortal men, it is useful for associating with good people, for the teaching of good values, and (most importantly) for the learning of the gospel.

    Some TBM views have changed i.e., polygamy as a requirement for salvation, blacks as less valiant in the pre-mortal existence, Adam-God, Native Americans as descendants of Lamanites. Is there a threat of the church becoming too NOM?

    Interesting choice of words, “Threat” that is. Some view us as a threat. Many aspects of our doctrine are simply not taught anymore and many of us simply wonder why. While it is true that there have been fundamental shifts in many aspects of what is taught about our doctrine, the explanation of why they have changed is sorely lacking. There seems to be a major push to make us more and more mainstream. The standard line of “follow the brethren” only goes so far for many of us “dangerous intellectuals.”

    We are not disloyal to the church. We simply want to understand more.

  6. My mom had a useful attitude to apply when members around her seemed a little too fanatically closed minded or strict absolutist. She told me that some members are “iron rodders” and other members like herself were “liahonas”. She would just smile pleasantly when members at the pulpit or in class would show evidence of their type. She has great faith that everyone will be straightened out when they’re ready. No good causing uncomfortableness at church. Contention is of the devil, I was taught. I think my husband may be NOMish. He says I’m a fanatic.

  7. Wow. I think I stumbled upon a modern-day Zoramite congregation. Just remember to listen to Alma this time when he comes among you. It will work out much better than last time. Take care!

  8. “Are there tell-tale signs of an NOM testimony?” Yes, more meticulous word choice. Fewer unblinking cliches.

    There are extremes at both ends of the spectrum: total NOM who disbelieves large parts of the church’s claims and doctrines and may even be agnostic or atheist but attends for various personal reasons vs. the total TBM who can recite BRM’s Mormon Doctrine by rote and has never questioned a single claim of the church internally or externally. Those are caricatures. Real people are in between.

  9. What I’ve never figured out is what is it about people that labels and categorizing MUST always take place. Within the homogeneous world of the church, there is a spectrum of belief because of intellect, pre-conception, upbringing, economic situation and many other reasons. Sometimes those things are difficult to fully articulate.

    What concerns me the most is whether people are trying to built up or tear down, trying to live Christ’s principles versus man’s principles, trying to do the best they can versus slacking.

    Everything else is virtually meaningless to me.

    In some situations, joining the Church is a divorce from everything we’ve every known before, friends, family, lifestyle, everything. I guess leaving the church might invoke the same situation. Why should those choose to leave have it any easier than those choosing to join?

    As I stated before, since my family and I are the only members and we don’t socialize that much, if I stopped believing, we’d be out of there in a minute and never look back.

  10. The NOM site is a great place that serves the needs of an important group of brothers and sisters in the Church. While the concept of it might be uncomfortable for the larger mainstream population of the Church, I believe it creates a positive and uplifting community for the people that belong there.

    I’ve met Dathon in real life. He’s a wonderful person. He puts a lot of himself into the site, his passion and his compassion. The same goes for the other moderators like fh451, Melodica, GypsyD, Ungewiss, and GDTeacher. They walk a fine line keeping the place open for people who start having problems in the Church with it’s history and doctrine, while not letting the place become so toxic that it scares away people who still want to find good and (t)ruth in the Gospel and Church.

    I salute them!

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    Well Said Mr Spector

    “What concerns me the most is whether people are trying to built up or tear down, trying to live Christ’s principles versus man’s principles, trying to do the best they can versus slacking.

    Everything else is virtually meaningless to me.”

  12. Evolution? You mean, you can’t be an “old order” Mormon and believe in evolution? That would be news to James E. Talmage and John Widtsoe.

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    Valoel

    “The NOM site is a great place that serves the needs of an important group of brothers and sisters in the Church. While the concept of it might be uncomfortable for the larger mainstream population of the Church”

    I think were all alot more NOM than we were 3 or 4 years ago! If you look how are views have changed on the Mountain Meadow Massacre, Darius Grays and Margaret Youngs devotional at BYU which I would think was vetteed by the Y, Sacred Lonliness on Joseph Smith and Polygamy reviewed by Farms, Rough Stone Rolling Richard Bushman- all these in my opinion have radically changed what we may have percieved as the church’s view on these subjects.

    Sadly I think its generally only the Blogernacale that are up on all of this and it hasn’t filtered into the mainstream thinking of the church.

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    Hawkgrrl

    “There are extremes at both ends of the spectrum: total NOM who disbelieves large parts of the church’s claims and doctrines and may even be agnostic or atheist but attends for various personal reasons vs. the total TBM who can recite BRM’s Mormon Doctrine by rote and has never questioned a single claim of the church internally or externally. Those are caricatures. Real people are in between.”

    Well said Hawkgrrrl – Some time I think a stake presiden or a bishop can foster a feeling of openness for those real people in between (the ones who fall a little left of center)- just by wording things more sensitively in a less black and white fashion , showing they understand the complexities more often.

  15. Gordon,

    It’s harder now. DNA research has added levels of complexity that our GAs have not begun to assimilate into our theology.

  16. Actually, DNA research makes it easier to believe in evolution, not harder. Although I’ll bet Joseph Smith would have incorporated evolution and DNA into our theology had he survived into this time, I don’t think it is wise for the current GAs to try to incorporate scientific advances into our theology. Neither should they try to exclude them, however.

  17. I like #9 & 10. I consider myself a “true believer”. However, I recognize that people are not perfect, and that few things are black and white.

    Having questions over some issues doesn’t mean I no longer have a testimony.

  18. Thankyoufor counting me in rather than allowing me to count myself out-I now no longer have the excuse of saying either no-one understood me or there were none of like mind.I don’t like to disturb the testimonies of others as they are sacred to them,but I have never known what is literal and what is symbolic and still don’t.I have no idea as to how to teach the creation to my son-I tend to teach my kids nowadays that everything is up for grabs eventually.Just what is myth and what reality?These things do not necessarily diminish the gospel in my eyes,indeed they may enrich my relationship with Deity,but they sure do sideline me from a fundamentalsit and literalist congregation.

  19. The biggest problem I have with many labels like NOM and TBM is that they tend to draw lines that classify people into one camp or another. Based solely on the definition in this post (“New Order Mormons recognize both good and bad in the Church, and have determined that the Church does not have to be perfect in order to remain useful.”), I am a NOM – and yet I also am as much a TBM as perhaps anyone who posts and comments regularly here.

    After all, I am a High Councilor, and I am over the Public Affairs activity in the stake – and would love to be over the Missionary Committee. It doesn’t get much more TBM than that – unless you define that term very narrowly to mean someone who believes everything about the Church is perfect and unimprovable. That, however, fits VERY few members, according to my experience.

    Honestly, my answers to the questions are:

    1) I don’t care, as long as they are sitting with us and feel comfortable talking privately with someone about their concerns – or continue to worship with us even if they feel they have to remain silent and find expression here or elsewhere.

    2) Why is this question limited to NOM’s? My own thoughts on these topics don’t match many others’ thoughts, but I can express them because everyone knows I am committed to the Church. They know my comments are coming from a perspective of faith, so I can say much of the what a “NOM” would say – and nobody questions my motives or testimony. It really is possible to be a TBM and not be a goose-stepping robot.

    3) By being honest. Why wouldn’t they?

    4) I do. I justify it by being honest – and it bothers me more than any other aspect of this post that someone would assume I can’t be open-minded AND hold a leadership position in the Church.

    5) That seems like a loaded, incredibly simplistic question.

    6) By being honest about what they believe – not focusing on what they don’t believe.

    7) That only can be answered individually. The second question is inane. “Double think” – Everyone engages in what those who disagree would call “double think” or “mental gymnastics”. Why not lose the pejorative terms and simply accept it as the sincere beliefs of those who disagree?

    8) I see many things allegorically. I see many things literally. It’s not as simple as the question implies, imo.

    9) Sure, part of growing up and maturing is having things change as new information arises. I will say, however, that new discoveries about DNA have reinforced my testimony of what the BoM actually says – NOT what people have assumed it says.

    10) “Pressure” or “an attempt to carve out a peaceful life and not cause others pain” – It’s all in the outlook, and it could be said about almost everyone – not just NOM’s.

    11) Not based on the definition at the beginning of the post.

    Again, I think these terms tend to polarize and separate more than they should. Most people, I think, are more complex than these terms can allow – when they are set in contrast to another stereotype.

  20. #21 — “The biggest problem I have with many labels like NOM and TBM is that they tend to draw lines that classify people into one camp or another.”

    I agree. It seems that no matter how well-intentioned or well-reasoned, all labeling systems (NOM vs. TBM; liberal mormon vs. orthodox mormon; liahona vs. iron rod) eventually devolve into us vs. them. They divide rather than unify.

  21. The only real problem I have with individuals who take those types of positions is that they want their concerns and ideas discussed in Church meetings and classses and that is inaproppriate. Thats not to say there is never a time or a place, because those types of discussions and research can be quite enjoyable and occasionally very helpful. Church meetings have their purpose and the types of things described in the site linked are interesting and useful at times, but shouldn’t be part of Sunday School, Priesthood, or Sacrament meetings

  22. #21 and #22:

    I have mixed feelings on labels.

    On the one hand, they are often used to label others and I find this generally problematic. (Though a felon really is a felon, even if the person rejects the label.)

    On the other hand, they are used to self label to, and I find this useful as a “first glimpse” of what someone believes. Reality is too complex to not try to categorize. We’d be lost without categories.

    On the other hand, the “first glimpse” rarely tells the whole story and thus the label is somewhat misleading in most cases.

    On the other hand, labels do tend to disunify and become an us vs. them.

    On the other hand, the difference underlying a label generally do matter and often by a lot. Pretending that those difference don’t exist help no one.

    In short, I don’t have any really good answers here. I think labels are useful and I think it’s pointless to fight them. But they carry power that can be abused easily and so must be used cautiously.

    I like your point here, Ray, that these questions are often just as valid for a BM. On the other hand, these are real human questions being asked and I think they do represent what goes through real people’s minds. Having you point out that some of these questions are also asked by a BM goes a long way to break down some of the preceived barrier, so I appreciate that.

  23. Ideas that the world is flat and the center of the universe aren’t really science at all, good or bad. Those are assumptions that most people made based on they way things seemed to them. Even in ancient times, the first assumption was proven wrong by Greek science. (http://www.phys-astro.sonoma.edu/observatory/eratosthenes/). The second assumption was certainly questioned by the ancients (e.g Aristarchus), but the tools to test it were not available until telescopes came about. Things that can’t be tested aren’t science.

  24. “Some TBM views have changed i.e., polygamy as a requirement for salvation, blacks as less valiant in the pre-mortal existence, Adam-God, Native Americans as descendants of Lamanites. Is there a threat of the church becoming too NOM?”

    This is totally incorrect.

    TBM views are the same, that is, polygamy will be a requirement for exaltation as several prophets taught, blacks were less valiant in the pre-mortal life even if it isn’t mentioned anymore, Adam-God never was a doctrine just a misunderstanding by some, and native americans are descendants of lamanites although over 2 thousand years they may have intermarried with those immigrating from asia hence the asian marker.

    The church doesn’t necessarily change its beliefs only because it doesn’t talk about them too much today due to political correctness. Nor are fundamental doctrines changed simply because our generation can’t follow them, which is the case with polygamy -it is still in section 132.

  25. Alan:

    Polygamy is not taught as a requirement for salvation; the idea that Black people were less valiant in the pre-earth life was repudiated explicitly by Elder McConkie and reinforced by others, including Pres. Hinckley very bluntly; Adam-God isn’t taught in any official publication of the Church and is believed by very few members; and the whole Native American ancestry question is now totally up in the air – as it should be, given what the BofM actually says (doesn’t say) on the matter.

    Yeah, the Church ‘s non-Gospel teachings and “beliefs” change regularly. That’s one of the beauties of the LDS Church and on-going revelation, imo. I know it drives lots of people nuts, but I love it.

  26. #26: “TBM views are the same, that is, polygamy will be a requirement for exaltation as several prophets taught, blacks were less valiant in the pre-mortal life even if it isn’t mentioned anymore, Adam-God never was a doctrine just a misunderstanding by some, and native americans are descendants of lamanites although over 2 thousand years they may have intermarried with those immigrating from asia hence the asian marker.”

    Speaking broadly, I consider myself to fall in the TBM camp and I certainly don’t believe any of these things and I knew very few people who do. That’s the problem with labels — it leads to stereotyping rather than an actual and honest discussion.

    #24 — “On the other hand, the difference underlying a label generally do matter and often by a lot. Pretending that those difference don’t exist help no one.” That’s a fair point and I agree that ignoring difference only makes things worse. My point is not the we should put these differences aside, but rather that we should engage in a deeper discussion of them than resort to labels will allow. Such a dialogue is more likely to lead to understanding (although not necessarily agreement), while reliance on labels is more likely to misunderstanding between groups.

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    Ray thanks for your comments- the object was to get those that are more orthodox in their thinking to think more openly and as the poem said walking and a seeing just like me.

    1.Do you ever wonder who in the congregation are the True Believing Mormons and who are the NOMs? What percentage of your ward is NOM – is it growing? Or are some just partially NOM (say 25% of the person- like their right leg)? I don’t care, as long as they are sitting with us and feel comfortable talking privately with someone about their concerns – or continue to worship with us even if they feel they have to remain silent and find expression here or elsewhere. I’M IN TOTAL AGREEMENT WITH YOU HERE- BUT WHAT I HAVE SEEN IS THERE IS NO ONE IN THE MAJORITY OF CASES TO GO TO. MOST END UP HAVING TO FIND AN ONLINE BLOG WHERE THEY FEEL PART OF THE COMMUNITY.

    2.What is an NOM thinking during Sunday School when the topic is evolution, blacks and the priesthood, the one and only true church, we are led by a prophet today, etc?Why is this question limited to NOM’s? THE IDEA IS FOR YOU TO HAVE EMPATHY AND COMPASION AND UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THEY MAY BE THINKING WHICH MAY BE ALIENATION, ANGER AND CONFUSIOUN WHEN THESE AND OTHER SUBJECTS ARE BROUGHT UP My own thoughts on these topics don’t match many others’ thoughts, but I can express them because everyone knows I am committed to the Church. They know my comments are coming from a perspective of faith, so I can say much of the what a “NOM” would say – and nobody questions my motives or testimony. RAY CYOUR IN A VERY POWERFULL POSITION AS E A HIGH COUNCIL MAN AND HAVE A LOT OF BROWNIE POINTS. IF YOU SAY SOMETHING THAT IS MORE THOUGHT PROVOKING AND AGAINST THE NORM YOU SO TO SPEAK HAVE MONEY IN THE BANK.
    I WAS HOPING THIS POST WOULD HELP US HAVE COMPASSION FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST, MUCH OF THEIR FAITH AND CLOUT IN THEIR WARDS BECAUSE OF THE TURBULANCE THEY MAY BE GOING THROUGH LEARNING ABOUT FOR EXAMPLE MORMON HISTORY THAT WASN’T WHAT THEY THOUGH IT WAS . It really is possible to be a TBM and not be a goose-stepping robot. RAY YOU’RE A GREAT EXAMPLE OF THAT – KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

    3) How do they get through their temple recommend interview? Have any served or are serving missions now? By being honest. Why wouldn’t they WHAT I WAS HOPING FOR WOULD HAVE BEEN BROUGHT OUT, WAS HOW AND WHAT THEY MIGHT THINK ON SOME OF THE BASIC QUESTIONS I.E WHEN ASKED ABOUT THEIR BELIEF IN GOD , THEY MY BELIEVE HE IS ANTHROPOMORPHIC. Have any served or are serving missions now? Ray your answer was – Why wouldn’t they? ONCE AGAIN GREAT ANSWER – I WAS HOPING IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BROUGHT OUT THE POSSIBILIYT OF THOSE WHO DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH A PROSELYTING MISSION THAT THEY CAN STILL FEEL COMFORTABLE AND THAT ITS EXTREMELY WORTH WHILE TO SERVE A HUMANITARIAN AID MISSION AS JEFF BURTON HAS DONE.

    4.Do any hold high positions in the church, i.e, Bishop or High Councilman? How do they justify it?4) I do. I justify it by being honest – and it bothers me more than any other aspect of this post that someone would assume I can’t be open-minded AND hold a leadership position in the Church. RAY THESE QUESTIONS WERE NOT INTENDED TO PROVOKE ANGER – BUT UNDERSTANDING! I’VE RECENTLY SEEN A BLOG FOR MEMBERS WHO FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE NOW KNOWING WHAT THEY KNOW , HOLDING HIGH PROFILEPOSITIONS.THEY FEEL HYPOCRITCAL AND FELT MORE COMFORTABLE WITH AN ACTIVITY CALLING. OR HUMANITARIAN SERVICE TYPE CALLINGS. I GUESS THEY PERSONALY BELIEVE IT WAS BEING TOO OPEN MINDED TO HAVE A HIGH PROFILE LEADERSHIP POSITION FEELING THE WAY THEY DO.
    DO YOU EMPATHIZE WITH THEIR POSITION!!

    5.If they don’t really believe the foundation of our church- the book of Mormon being a real grade A bona-fide history, why do they stick with it?5) That seems like a loaded, incredibly simplistic question. ITS NOT LOADED QUESTION TO CATCH YOU OUT! I WAS HOPING IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EXPLORED MORE OF THE IDEA THAT THEY MAY STICK WITH IT BECAUSE OF THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE MEMBERS, A GREAT AND WHOLESOME WAY TO RAISE A FAMILY, CLEAN LIVING, ENJOY MUCH OF THE DOCTRINE IE ETERNAL FAMILIES

    6.How can they bear testimony? Are there tell-tale signs of an NOM testimony? How can they bear testimony? Are there tell-tale signs of an NOM testimony? By being honest about what they believe – not focusing on what they don’t believe. IN TOTAL AGREEMENT. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE A MOVE FOR THOSE WHO FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE SAYING” I BELIEVE INSTEAD” OF I KNOW!

    7 What are they hoping will eventually happen with the church? Is it worth all the hassle of doublethink they must go through? That only can be answered individually. TRUE BUT ITS WORTH ONCE AGAIN HAVING COMPASSION ON WHAT THEIR ASPIRATIONS ARE! The second question is inane. RAY YOU’RE A NICE GUY AND IM SURE YOUR NOT TELLING ME IM IDIOTIC BY ASKING THAT QUESTION (AT LEAST I WOULD HOPE SO)! “Double think” – Everyone engages in what those who disagree would call “double think” or “mental gymnastics”. Why not lose the pejorative terms and simply accept it as the sincere beliefs of those who disagree?

    8 Are you becoming NOM ? Has your thinking become less black and white? Are you seeing things more allegorically? I see many things allegorically. I see many things literally. It’s not as simple as the question implies, imo. MOST OF THE CHURCH IS IMO STUCK IN A STAGE 3 PHASE OF FAITH OR BINARY BLACK AND WHITE–DOUBLE THINK IS AWKWARD. YOU’RE AN IVEY LEAGUE KIND OF A GUY ITS EASIER FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND ALLEGORIES AND THINGS LITERALLY – YOUR EDUCATION MAY HAVE BEEN ALL ABOUT THAT!

    9 Are you becoming NOM ? Has your thinking become less black and white? Are you seeing things more allegorically? Sure, part of growing up and maturing is having things change as new information arises. I will say, however, that new discoveries about DNA have reinforced my testimony of what the BoM actually says – NOT what people have assumed it says.

    10 Would NOMs still come to church if they didn’t feel family or community pressure? “Pressure” or “an attempt to carve out a peaceful life and not cause others pain” – It’s all in the outlook, and it could be said about almost everyone – not just NOM’s.
    11Some TBM views have changed i.e., polygamy as a requirement for salvation, blacks as less valiant in the pre-mortal existence, Adam-God, Native Americans as descendants of Lamanites. Is there a threat of the church becoming too NOM? Not based on the definition at the beginning of the post. WHO KNOWS WHAT IT WILL LOOK LIKE LOOKING BACK!

    Again, I think these terms tend to polarize and separate more than they should. FOR ME IT’S A HARD ONE TO GET OVER FOR NOW. AS MANY DO FEEL POLARIIZED BUT ITS STARTING TO BLUR A LITTLE AND HOPEFULLY IN THE FUTURE THOSE TERMS OF TBM AND NOM WILL BE DROPED Most people, I think, are more complex than these terms can allow – when they are set in contrast to another stereotype. THIS MAY BE A POOR ANALOGY – BUT I CONCIDER MY SELF A MODERATE BUT ALSO HAVE EXTREME POINTS OF VIEW TO THE LEFT AND RIGHT. I THINK WERE LIKE THAT IN THE CHURCH

  28. #21 Ray

    “I am a NOM – and yet I also am as much a TBM as perhaps anyone who posts and comments regularly here. ”

    A NOM and TBM? Nope. Either you are a very confused man or in lalaland. You do fit the profile as a NOM though or an extremely liberal mormon.

    Plus let me point out that high council isn’t a ‘high’ calling at all. You are little more than messenger boys for the stake presidency! But I guess you’ll use your new found McCarthy powers of censorship to delete this comment?

    By the way, is Mormon Matters ‘your’ site now? Or who’s site is it?

  29. #30 – ??

    I said very clearly that I would be considered a NOM “based solely on the definition in this post” – and yet I am considered a TBM by almost everyone in the Bloggernacle and everyone who knows me in person. That’s all I said, and it’s 100% correct.

    I have never claimed I have a “high calling”. I have said I have a highly visible calling. There is a HUGE difference, and it is 100% correct.

    “McCarthy power of censorship”?? – I have deleted comments from only two commenters in the months I’ve been here, and I have been very open about the ones I have deleted and why. I have edited comments by one person only, and I was very open about why.

    Mormon Matters is not and has never been my site. I am a very small cog here, and I have never pretended to be anything else.

    Honestly, I don’t get the vitriol – and I won’t address it further. This is a good post, and it doesn’t deserve to get derailed by this kind of exchange.

  30. #31 Ray,

    Ouch! You didn’t mention ‘visible’ in that #21 comment. And the author here starts off by defining NOM’s as “those who no longer believe some (or much) of the dogma or doctrines of the LDS Church, but who want to maintain membership for cultural, social, or even spiritual reasons.” So either you were confused or you don’t believe in some doctrines of our church. I can’t believe that a TBM would even doubt some doctrines of the church let alone no longer believe in them. One is either TBM or a NOM.

    ..

    Yesterday I had just read an old exchange between between you and Jeff Spector and also remembered how you censored people needlessly in that gay rights post, so at very least you do act as if this is your site now. Seems at times that you’re waiting to beat someone down who may not agree with your views. I haven’t seen anyone else delete comments here at all, and Dehlin only deleted porn links when they come up.

    But fine, maybe it is better if we don’t address this further (now that I’ve answered). Contention is a bad thing after all, isn’t it?

  31. Carlos, the first paragraph includes fair questions and readings. Please allow me to clarify:

    1) I never said in comment #21 that I hold a “high calling”. I only said I am a High Councilor. Again, those are very different things – very different.

    2) The actual wording of the quote about NOM’s is as you cited, but you then ignored one of the critical words. It says “dogma or doctrine” – and it says “some”. I don’t think the Church has reached perfection in doctrinal understanding, and I certainly think there are aspects of “dogma” that are suspect, based on the actual definition of that word in the dictionary. (partly defined as: “a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle”) I think there are some things that are “established opinion or belief” that probably aren’t the pure word of God, so I can’t say I “believe them”. I think there are things that will be different about our teachings 50 years from now than what we teach now, and I actually see that as a testimony of on-going revelation and the reality of our prophetic leadership. Honestly, I have a hard time understanding members who know our history and disagree with that – at least as a possibility.

    3) Your second to last paragraph, however, simply is factually inaccurate. I will send you an e-mail separately about that, if you want me to explain it in greater detail. Just let me know.

  32. 1) Ok, but you answered!

    2) Ah, how do you say? splitting hairs, fastidious, semantics….Doctrine, Dogma, dogs….anyway.

    You do express doubt on the whole DNA BoM issue, so that to me says NOM, which is Ok by the way. I don’t think your bad or less a person for being a NOM or a liberal thinking modern Mormon, nothing wrong with that. But to claim you are also TBM, ahh nope, I have a hard time believing that.

    3) Please do. I don’t see it as ‘factually inaccurate’ at all.

  33. I know you only too well, James, and the only reason I post my comments on this page is because it gives me a grateful ooportunity to perhaps share a deep feeling. Your questions reflect very much this branch of thinking called NOM…or whatever name you’ll want to give it. There is nothing new there. I understand scepticism can stem out of confusion and associating with other sceptical people. But in all ages of gospel dispensations have we seen groups coming up with a new attitude towards the Church and ending up falling out of it. I would not like to attend a Church that creates too much doubt in my mind and calls for my obedience in commandements that may no longer make sense. I would prefer to leave and live in harmony with my philosophy. If the water is at an unpleasant temperature, what’s the point of soaking?
    My father always told me that it doesn’t matter if the gate keeper has a bad leg, as long as he has the key to open the gate for me. Our leaders are men, and one must have enough faith, in order to justify Church attendance or gravitation, that these men have the key of the priesthood. I know one thing: it is very easy in life to follow a trend. I will explain. For Centuries, most men were likely to meet around 200 persons in their life. They were very sedentary. We are now in the golden age of worldwide fast communication and globalisation. As a result we are exposed to a constant flow of opinions from other people. We end up diluting the self in this ocean of philosophies. Some are good, many are decent, but where do we stand? We need to return to our true self, the undiluted version of ourselves, the man who knows what really feeds his soul. We need to get in touch with our true nature, without these interferences. Pondering, meditation are good ways. Being in contact with nature is also a productive method. And it is only then that we can revisit our faith in Christ and its expression through the Church which I believe to be led by noone else but our God. If one can honestly say that confusion remains after repeated and authentic attempts to know, then so be it. But I know that the Spirit is not much of a competitor. If we follow this NOM route, our self allowed to be so distracted by other people’s thinking, then there are few chances that we are making a real effort to grow closer to God. Should 10 million members join this ancient intellectual movement, the Church might collapse, but the Truth will stand unspoiled and more demarked.
    I read some of the comments, and I enjoyed them. Why do some of us have an unshakable faith? Here’s a mystery! And I don’t know! But before we take pride in belonging to a progressist branch of Mormonism, let’s attempt to feel of the Spirit and understand the reason why things are how they are in the Church.
    I expect all the Noms to start their own chucrh anytime soon and to put on the Net their revised Gospel and new Articles of Faith. Surely all that web buzz is going to lead to something more concrete? But don’t hold meetings on Sunday mornings please, because I won’t be able to visit.
    See you on Sunday…in the corridors!

  34. Post
    Author

    Mr X

    Its great to have classy French Man blogging on Mormon Matters.

    You brought up many good points, but lets start with these two:

    “Why do some of us have an unshakable faith? Here’s a mystery!”

    “If one can honestly say that confusion remains after repeated and authentic attempts to know, then so be it.”

    Some people have tried for years to gain a testimony and are still feel confused. Jeff Burton has really tried to educate those orthodox members understand those who just don’t ever seem to grasp it. And help those who wonder.

    http://forthosewhowonder.com/bl13easygo.pdf

    Also Richard Bushman helps us all understand the growing trend of members questioning
    our history – even at BYU and what they are doing to help!
    http://www.lifeongoldplates.com/2008/08/bushmans-introduction-to-joseph-smith.html

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