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Recovery from Mormonism (RfM) discussion forum. 
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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 12:55PM

This is what the LDS Church members believe. (Has nothing to do with my beliefs).
If we are going to understand Mormonism, I take the position that it's imperitive to know what their beliefs are and how they function.

I made the statement that the office of "elder" in the LDS Church is not about age, but is about a title. This is why I made that claim.


This is from their web site:

Melchizedek Priesthood

The Melchizedek Priesthood is the greater priesthood. Its name comes from the name of a great high priest who lived during the time of Abraham (see D&C 107:2–5). Brethren who hold this priesthood have the power and authority to hold positions of leadership in the Church and to direct the preaching of the gospel. They may preside, as called, over missions, districts, branches, and quorums.

Before a man can be ordained to an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood, he must first have the Melchizedek Priesthood conferred upon him. Then he is ordained to an office in that priesthood. These offices are elder, high priest, patriarch, seventy, and apostle. Mission or district priesthood leaders organize brethren who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood into quorums of elders in the mission or district. A president presides over each elders quorum. He teaches quorum members their duties and encourages brotherhood among quorum members. All brethren in the branch who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood are members of the elders quorum.

Elder and Elders Quorum Presidency -- more here:
http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&sourceId=9a230f9856c20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=9d885f74db46c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

This is their religious system. As a believer, it's part of the traditions and their culture also.

Also, as a side note: in the Protestant church I used to attend the office of "elder" had different responsiblilities, and could be a young man in his 20's to 30's. It was not just older men.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2012 12:56PM by SusieQ#1.

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Posted by: hobblecreek ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 02:04PM

Mormons can use the term however they want, but I don't think Joseph Smith understood how the term was used in early Christianity. Originally it was interchangable with 'bishop' and was, by the second century, applied mainly to the office we call in English priest' (comes from the Greek for 'elder')

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Posted by: snb ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 02:43PM

Most people don't understand the words they use. It only means that words have fluid definitions and people have a need to clarify. It doesn't mean those words are any less valid.

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Posted by: freeman ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:52PM

We'd have a hard time using language today at all if we got hung up on what the words we use in English today meant in the second century in a classic language like Greek or Latin.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 02:19PM

Joseph Smith Jr was, indeed, in my view, limited in what he understood about the use of many words and terms. I find some of them very strange, such as the use of the word: agency, which he claimed meant choose "liberty or captivity" or right and wrong which is an odd way to use the word in my view.

The same could be said for how he used titles, but it was his decision and that is how it stands today.

Back to the title: "Elder" - I had a friend that served as an "Elder" in their church in his 30's. "Elders" are many ages in some churches. I'm not sure

My point is that words often have different meanings in different church organizations such as: bishop, priest, elder, etc.

For instance: a cardinal, is a bird also! :-)

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Posted by: Devoted Exmo ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:53PM

Since the bird is named for its resemblance to the ordaned official, I'm not sure what you mean by that. Do you mean that a person in their 20's or 30's are called Elders because they resemble senior citizens?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2012 03:54PM by Devoted Exmo.

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Posted by: DeAnn ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 02:44PM

I started the thread to which this thread is a kind of response.

I will continue to assert that calling a 19 year old kid an elder is bizarre. The Mormons can define or not define words however they want. You might be right that "elder" is, for Mormons, just the name of an office like, uh, secretary.

I declare that, according to most definitions of the word "elder," 19 year old kids are not.

Besides, most people coming face to face with a 19 year old elder are not going to be aware of the exotic definition that you claim the Mormons use. They will mainly perceive the irony.

The phrase "19 year old elder" is still deliciously oxymoronic.

Or is it oxymormonic?

You say: "If we are going to understand Mormonism, I take the position that it's imperative to know what their beliefs are and how they function."

I find your observation, uh, strange.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 02:57PM

DeAnn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
I'm a purist, of a sort. If I am going to gain an understanding of a religion and how it functions, I want to know exactly what they teach and claim.

Religions are based on teachings for their believers.
Outsiders generally don't understand them anyhow.

Outsiders often think religious teachings, rituals, attire, traditions are: strange, odd, weird, etc. That's probably because it's not their religion or heritage, or culture either. Generally, only their beliefs and traditions are OK with them. Never someone else's.

The important thing to remember, in my view, is that these religious teachings, titles, traditions, rituals are for the specific believers. They do not apply to anyone else. So it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or believes. It's for and about the believers. Other people's opinions don't matter to them. The religion and it's believers really don't have any much interest in what other people think. :-)

Yes, if we are going to understand Mormonism, we do need to know exactly what their claims are, what they teach and why and how that functions for the believers. I think that is very important. It also applies to other religious believers.

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Posted by: blueorchid ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:07PM

Deanne, love the term Oxymormonic! Good one.

Your original point is a good one too.

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Posted by: anagrammy ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:16PM


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Posted by: anagrammy ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:19PM

It helps to know what kind of Mormon you are dealing with. An apologist who full well knows where the skeletons are buried or a Stevie Wonder who wants to tell you what he sees.

Anagrammy

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Posted by: Helen ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:16PM

DeAnn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I declare that, according to most definitions of
> the word "elder," 19 year old kids are not.

I declare, when the missionaries introduced themselves I said, "Oh , you both have the same first name."

I thought Elder was their name and then when they said they were both from the United States I figured maybe Elder was a popular name in America.

:-)

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Posted by: snb ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:25PM

Haha! Nice. :)

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Posted by: blueorchid ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:06PM

"If we are going to understand mormonism, it is imperative that we
know what their beliefs are and how they function.""

Are you kidding me? You are telling the people on THIS board, this RFM board, that WE need to learn what mormonism is.?!?!?

We are here because we know all too well.

And then again you say, "Yes, if we are going to understand Mormonism, we do need to know exactly what their claims are, what they teach and why and how that functions for the believers."

That is the single most insulting thing I have ever heard. It's positively ludicrous. And you are going to clarify it all for us? Why not just bring in the high council, or FARMS or FAIR?


THis is RECOVERY from MORMONISM. With very few exceptions, everybody here knows all too well EXACTLY what mormonism is.

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Posted by: lillium ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:12PM

I'd guess 60% to 80% of the people on this board have actually held the position of elder. And 99.9% of us grew up knowing elders were 19 year olds. But she takes it upon herself to straighten us out about what it means. LOL

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Posted by: snb ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:26PM

"You are telling the people on THIS board, this RFM board, that WE need to learn what mormonism is.?!?!?"

If you can't figure out something simple like what Elder means to Mormons, then yes, you could use some education on the topic.

Elder doesn't mean "old man" to Mormons, like some people claim. It isn't an oxymoron in the Mormon church to call a 19 year old Elder.

To a lot of people, it seems, this is news.

"That is the single most insulting thing I have ever heard."

Really? You need to read my posts more often.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2012 03:27PM by snb.

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Posted by: blueorchid ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:30PM

I was an elder. I have never met a mormon in my entire life that didn't know it was a title in mormondom, nothing more.

It is an amusing term to non mormons for obvious reasons.

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Posted by: derrida ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 04:05PM

Most people outside of Mormonism would find the inflated sense of importance that Mormons attach to twelve to seventeen year old Aaronic priesthood holders, whose main religious test of discipline is to keep from pulling on their penises, to be ludicrous.

No one on this board needs to have either perspective spelled out to them.

SuzieQ is typically patronizing. Her lesson on the priesthood here on RFM of all places is no different from many of her posts in that regard. She's the enlightened one and all the rest of us are just knuckleheads, because, you know, we disagree with her.

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Posted by: snb ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 04:24PM

I'm an overconfident asshole, Susie is patronizing and you are delusional and arrogant.

We make a nice family, no?

edit: I had to make sure that those sensitive folks never read my post.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2012 04:24PM by snb.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:12PM

NOPE. Clearly, every one posting here does not know "exactly what Mormonism is"... most Mormons don't.
Just ask them such things as: how did you like the story about the white buffalo in the Book of Mormon?....
Ask them if D&C 132 has anything to do with the marriage sealing covenant and what it is?I could go on and on.

Many have an idea, they know a few things, some know a lot, some know a little, but as many have posted, they learned much more about Mormonism when they left or in the process of leaving when they researched it.
I've seen several threads on that specific subject.


So, I will continue to make sure what I refer to is actual church teachings or policy so there is no confusion.
Having worked for CES in years past, I have a lot of experience in what Mormons don't know about their own religion! :-)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2012 03:14PM by SusieQ#1.

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Posted by: blueorchid ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:24PM

Yes, we know that Mormons don't know much about their own religion, but apparently it has escaped you that the people on this board are here precisely because they do know all the titles,the teachings, the doctrines, the ordinances, the covenants, the dirty secrets and the ridiculousness.

Knowing those things is what got us all here in the first place.

If you want to educate some mormons on their own religion, I am sure there is a ward house near you. Have at it.

It is hard to refrain from using the word arrogance if you insist on telling the people on this board that they don't understand mormonism.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:20PM

they do not have a right to dictate how others perceive them. Nor do they have a right to expect nonbelievers to support peculiar terms or strange religious beliefs.

There's a huge difference between respecting everyone's right to do and say dumb things and actually honoring or respecting what is dumb, dishonorable, or lacking in respectibility.

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Posted by: Thomas $. Monson ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:23PM

Everyone has the right to believe in whatever they want. TSCC believes that a 19yo kid is an elder. That's great, but... who cares? They are asking the rest of the world (retirees etc.) to call them "elders", which is ridiculous to say the least.

> This is their religious system. As a believer, it's part
> of the traditions and their culture also.

just like forcing BS on others... long tradition of their culture!

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Posted by: snb ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:41PM

"That's great, but... who cares?"

+1 a thousand times over!

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:28PM

I didn't say anyone must agree! Be mad, angry, hateful, bitter, resentful, etc., etc., about other people's religious beliefs. I don't think they care much ! :-)

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Posted by: Helen ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:56PM

That's why they spend their time, talents, and members tithing on hiring a PR firm.

Spin the beliefs, spin the beliefs, hope someone's listening

SusieQ#1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I didn't say anyone must agree! Be mad, angry,
> hateful, bitter, resentful, etc., etc., about
> other people's religious beliefs. I don't think
> they care much ! :-)

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:37PM

But the fact remains that many other Christians are going to find the Mormon use of titles bizarre. On the other thread, someone termed it "title inflation." That's how it strikes me. It makes me wonder why Joseph Smith and the early church leaders decided to confer among children and teenagers the titles of deacon, priest, and elder. What drove that decision? That's the curious thing.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:47PM

I find titles in religion very strange. I don't care to use them, but they are applicable within the system.

I don't much care for titles period, and found them a little "off putting" in the business world also. Especially when, in banking they separated "the Platform - officers" from " the staff."

Oh well, that's how organizations so it. They give people titles and labels that designate their office or position.
Doubtful that will ever change in business or any organization or any religion.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2012 04:02PM by SusieQ#1.

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Posted by: braq ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 04:25PM

In mainstream Christian theology there is no such thing as priesthood. A causal reading of Hebrews points out that Christ was the final high priest and did away with the priesthood as well as the temple.

Deacons, Elders, etc... all have clearly defined roles from Paul's letters (example, "husband of one wife"; old joe, brig, taylor, etc.. fail on that one). mo’s make it up to fit their twisted view. Funny what one can do when he claims God told him and others believe him.

mo's are not Christian. If they want to claim some other title, no problem. Claiming to be Christian?? No dice.

Best to all,

Merrill

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Posted by: snb ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 06:18PM

I think your pastor, or whatever leader you have, is telling you stories that don't exist in the Bible. Hebrews 5, the verse I feel you are trying to quote, supports Mormonism much more than it supports anything you just said.

The talking head in front of your church that told you this is no more correct than the talking heads that teach Mormonism.

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Posted by: presbyterian ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 05:45PM

In my denomination, there are three ordained offices. Starting from the "top" you have the Minister of the Word and Sacrament. He or she can preach, bless and administer Communion, marry people, and usually they are the administrative leader of a church.

Next you have Elder. Elders can be any age, and in our denomination male or female. Elders are like the senators of the church. They decide on policy and oversee the various ministries of the church. There are about 12 or 15 Elders currently in the church. They can serve Communion but not marry people and stuff.

Thirdly, are the Deacons. They are like the house of representatives. There are many deacons, maybe 22 in my church. They are male or female, also any age, as long as they have formally joined the church, usually 16 or above. Deacons serve the congregation on a personal basis, bringing meals, giving rides, visiting in the hospital, etc. If someone needs a refrigerator or a power bill payed, it's the Deacons who handle that. It has only been a few years since Deacons were allowed to help serve Communion.

Anyone can preach in our church, but it's almost always an ordained pastor, or a student-pastor.

Right now we have a 16 year old Deacon who is sharing the job with a parent.

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