“Be Not Deceived, but Continue in Steadfastness”
It is time to address the tricky topic of individual “apostasy”–falling away from God and the Church. Are the two the same? Can you do one without the other? What does “being deceived” mean in this context? What is the relationship between doubt and apostasy?
The lesson and discussion will address the following topics:
- The role of the label “apostate” in navigating group boundaries
- How our gifts and strengths as well as weaknesses risk leading us into apostasy
- How can we discern truth from error, especially in spiritual contexts?
- Discuss integrity, both in the sense of honesty (not claiming to be what you aren’t) and in the deeper sense of being true to your best self
- The relationship between questioning, doubt, and apostasy
- The relationship between leaving the Church and leaving God and gospel
- The broader context of young people leaving religion and what we can learn from those trends
- The need to love and respect those on different paths and how to do so
One Time Donation:
Student Reading: D&C 26; 28; 43:1–7; 50; 52:14–19; D&C 28:2, 6–7; 43:1–3; Moroni 7:15–17; 2 Nephi 28:20–22; D&C 6:4–6; D&C 10:26; D&C 84:54; D&C 93:39; D&C 121:37
Additional Teacher Reading: 2 Nephi 2:18, 27; D&C 112:2–3, 10; Ether 12:27; D&C 64:8–11; D&C 82:1; D&C 43; D&C 28:13; D&C 20:65; D&C 42:11; D&C 1:37; D&C 33:16; D&C 52; 3 Nephi 11:29; James 1:27; Alma 1:30
We were fortunate to be joined by Terryl Givens this episode; he, Leslie, Mike and I discuss these crucial topics.
You can access my Reading Notes here.
You can access my Lesson Notes here.
- The By Common Consent presentation of this lesson
- Elder Holland’s 2013 Conference talk on Doubt and Belief
- Elder Stephen Richard’s 1932 talk on Humanity and the Gospel
- Terryl Givens’ “Letter to a Doubter”
- On the Crucial Necessity of a Faith Crisis, Jacob Baker’s Post on By Common Consent
- The balance of individual and institutional Church (by Bonner Richie, professor of organizational behavior at BYU)
- BYU Studies article on “the seduction of our gifts”
- Dan Ariely: The (Honest) Trusth About Dishonest
- Mormon Matters on “Recognizing the Spirit”
- One of my favorite episodes of the podcast on revelation
- What is Truth? CES devotional by President Uchtdorf
- Elder Nelson on personal revelation (Conference 2009)
- PEW data on changing religious demographics, especially young people disengaging from organized religion.
- Young People and the Future of Religion, Huffington Post
- An NPR special on why young people are leaving religion
- The role of social issues in driving young people from religion, and what religious leaders are doing to reclaim them
- Daniel Kinniman on his survey results about young people and religion
- Daniel Kinniman, Are Christians Losing Touch? (You can also find this episode on iTunes)
Many thanks to Devin Roth for the beautiful bumper music. Check out his arrangement of hymns and other work at DevinRothMusic!
Thanks to James Estrada of Oak Street Audio for his timely and high quality post-production.
I’m looking forward to listening to this podcast because I’m supposed to teach this Sunday, and frankly, I’m at a loss. It’s so disheartening to see 2/3 of this lesson in the manual taken up with anecdotes about people leaving because they were offended or they wanted to sin. Because of course, those are the only reasons people ever leave the Church. Seriously, I just don’t know if there’s anything I can use from the manual and still maintain my personal integrity.
Matt Russell says:
I love what Jared asked about how those that have faith can minister to those who struggle in a faith crisis. This was one of the reasons that I kept my doubts to myself for a long time, because the people around me who have faith are content and exposing them to my doubts can turn toxic. John Dehlin’s personal story about working through his doubts with his Stake President really inspired me to try and let someone minister to me. So, far its been a good experience.
And “life before death” is a great perspective. Kinda reminds me of Marcus Aurelius Meditations quote, “What we do in life echoes in eternity”, because this moment matters, this life matters, everything is not just worked out in the afterlife, we work it out now. Thanks for that.
John Burlison says:
This was a beautiful lesson. It helped me put my own apostasy, and my own coming back to the LDS church in a framework that makes sense. I like the notion of apostasy being apartness – often how I feel at church. The God I really struggle to believe wants me in a relationship. I can work with that. Thanks.