Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2017, October 17

“Critique of Elder M. Russell Ballard’s October 2017 General Conference Talk: ‘The Trek Continues!'” by grego

“Critique of Elder M. Russell Ballard’s October 2017 General Conference Talk: ‘The Trek Continues!'”
(c) 2017 grego

The Trek Continues!
Elder M. Russell Ballard

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/the-trek-continues?lang=eng

Summary of my feelings:
I wish leaders would understand first, especially when it could be so easy.
I wish leaders would not condemn the whole class with the student they aren’t getting along with. Talk to the student; solve the problem, if you can, or at least make it better.
Principles, principles, principles. If it doesn’t work, something’s not right.
Lay your points out.

Ok, so what does this talk really mean? Truthfully, I’m not sure, because all in all, it was unclear and didn’t make sense. Let’s talk about some of it:

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“Many of us are on amazing journeys of discovery—leading to personal fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment. Some of us, however, are on a trek that leads to sorrow, sin, anguish, and despair.”

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Over the past years since learning about lots of things, including energy healing, I have been on “an amazing [journey] of discovery—leading to personal fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment.” I would literally be dead, after having spent my family into debt, if I hadn’t taken this journey, or if I had taken the path of Western medicine. I have, on the other hand, helped lots of people who were in sorrow, sin, anguish, and despair, when other things didn’t.

-=-=-=

“We must be careful where our footsteps in life take us. We must be watchful and heed the counsel of Jesus to His disciples as He answered these questions: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man [and I add woman] deceive you.””

-=
I was pretty sure this scripture was about not being spiritually deceived, but let’s continue.
It seems that “being deceived” is synonymous here with “don’t leave Western Christian-Judeo tradition.” Of course, we know that that tradition, which we might see best in the 1940’s and 1950’s, is long gone in lots of ways, especially the “traditional” part.
We have a clue! I don’t think he would have said “and I add woman” if it didn’t have a connection.

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“Today I repeat earlier counsel from Church leaders.
Do not listen to those who entice you with get-rich schemes. Our members have lost far too much money, so be careful.”

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My first impression is that he means don’t invest in the stock market (which the church has lots of money invested in and managed in ways which have likely been beat with dartboards), and don’t join MLM’s (“get rich schemes”), which Utah is famous for. Every so often there is someone in the news who uses their church calling as a foot in the door to persuade people to invest in their plan, so I’m guessing that’s what was meant, though that could have been easily said, but wasn’t.

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“In some places, too many of our people are looking beyond the mark and seeking secret knowledge in expensive and questionable practices to provide healing and support.”

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It would be really nice to get a much clearer statement on this. Is there secret knowledge? Absolutely. Secret healing knowledge? Absolutely. And no offense, but only a person who was biased, an ignoramus, brainwashed, set in their ways, or unable to see, or purposefully malicious, would say there isn’t, especially as a short search online would show you. I could list a hundred different things, some of them “scientifically proven” and/or with so many anecdotes that are pretty hard to dismiss. Many have videos up, testimonials, etc. Some invite you to follow along and see. I’m sure if Elder Ballard or (any other church leader) wanted to understand better, he could have requested it and had hundreds of energy healers to choose from who would be willing to explain and demonstrate. Did he? Don’t think so.

Hmm… What is “expensive”? Christ-Centered Energy healing was $25,000 for a year at the top tier. Expensive? Yeah, I can see that. (Would/Did I join? Heck no, I didn’t think the ROI was good enough.) On the other hand… How is $100,000 to “heal” cancer for maybe two years, only to have it come back and kill you? Expensive? 4X more so. Did it get the source, take care of the cause(s)? Nope. Was it any better? I’d say not. Was the doctor licensed? Sure, under the AMA, whose purpose is to… make money and maintain a monopoly on and control medicine in the USA. Unless you went to Mexico, where you got cancer treatment that actually helped you heal, in which case the doctor was likely not licensed in the USA.
I’ve seen so many things clear up in minutes that have taken others years and much, much more money to overcome using licensed, professional practitioners.
So, who is getting bamboozled?

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“An official Church statement, issued one year ago, states: “We urge Church members to be cautious about participating in any group that promises—in exchange for money—miraculous healings or that claims to have special methods for accessing healing power outside of properly ordained priesthood holders.” (Church spokesman Eric Hawkins, in Daniel Woodruff, “The Business behind Christ-Centered Energy Healing,” Sept. 28, 2016, kutv.com.)”

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This “official church statement” was from a Church spokesman, so I’m not sure who was really speaking (because of things I’ve heard them say in the past).

OF COURSE it’s for money!! Did President Nelson do all his heart operations for free?? Do you have health insurance?? Do you pay when you see a doctor?? Do you pay when you see a counselor??

So, where are “miraculous healings” “promised”? With tens of thousands of energy healers, and many on the internet, those should be easy to find, right? I don’t see them. Does Christ-Centered Energy Healing make promises like that? I don’t know, but I hope so, for his sake.

Of course there is healing power outside of priesthood–ask Dr. Nelson, that should be obvious. I believe what Elder Ballard meant was, “that claim methods for accessing healing power outside of [priesthood] and WESTERN MEDICINE.” I think he is confusing healing=only done by the priesthood.

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“The Church Handbook counsels: “Members should not use medical or health practices that are ethically or legally questionable. Local leaders should advise members who have health problems to consult with competent professional practitioners who are licensed in the countries where they practice.” (Handbook 2, 21.3.6.)”

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I’m wondering what they meant by “ethically or legally questionable.” Almost none of those energy healing or alternative medicine practices that I am aware of are “ethically or legally questionable.”
President Nelson makes more money in one operation than many poor people in the USA make in a year or more of hard work. Is that ethical? Invest in the stock market, and you can make millions doing nothing–is that ethical? I could go on and on asking questions about ethics.
In addition, I’ve run into lots of “licensed” “professional practitioners” (doctors, dentists, marriage therapists, etc.) who were definitely ethically, and possibly legally, questionable. Yup, the top oncologist in the (10 cities or so?) region said to a relative, “I think you have pancreatic cancer, so I need to cut out your intestines, part of your stomach, [and a whole bunch of other things that will either kill you or make your life a living hell].” Six years later, fine. Another oncologist said to a relative, “I need to stick radioactive devices up your prostate,” then years later admitted it would have been totally unnecessary, as the levels were within range–he just wanted the money. “The small bumps on your arm are from soap. Your bumps are just a small reaction to something. Your bumps…” Every time it was something different, didn’t matter which doctor it was. I could go on and on with just relatives’ experiences.

Unfortunately, that key word “competent” is a real bugger, you know?

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“Brothers and sisters, be wise and aware that such practices may be emotionally appealing but may ultimately prove to be spiritually and physically harmful.”

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Yup, just like any other medical and emotional treatment. Actually, I’m wrong–energy healing is usually much safer. I know lots of people who come back from the hospital with, so as to not freak out people, “different personalities” that lead them to say and do un-Christ-like things. I have felt that personally, too. Western medicine–spiritually and physically harmful? Often. Oh hey, let’s not forget all these (often unnecessary) operations that put people on opioids–that’s not energy healing doing it!

-=-=-=

“For our pioneer ancestors, independence and self-reliance were vital, but their sense of community was just as important. They worked together and helped one another overcome the physical and emotional challenges of their time. For the men, there was the priesthood quorum, and the women were served by the Relief Society. These outcomes have not changed in our day.
The Relief Society and the priesthood quorums provide for the spiritual and temporal well-being of our members.”

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Okay, this sounds like Elder Ballard is saying to not use energy healers to overcome problems, but to
rely on your church groups to support you. I really don’t understand this, either. Does he also mean to not use Western medicine to overcome problems, but to rely on your church groups to support you?
And after sitting in years of PEC, ward council, and priesthood meetings, and talking with people in problematic situations, that’s generally a… very optimistic hope, as I haven’t generally seen people get much support. Especially if you haven’t lived in that ward for a long time.

-=-=-=

Stay on the gospel path by having “faith in every footstep” so you can return safely back to the presence of Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord is our precious Savior. He is the Redeemer of the world. We must honor His sacred name and not misuse it in any way, always striving to keep His commandments. If we do so, He will bless us and lead us safely home.

-=
I think he’s saying Christ-Centered Energy Healing shouldn’t use the name, and for once, I would probably agree. If this is his meaning, he/ the church should have handled this much differently, then spoken more clearly; or at least, spoken more clearly.

-=-=-=

“We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism.” …

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Okay, this is ironic… Because Elder Ballard has just shown prejudice, including racism (only Western medicine is good), nationalism (only Western medicine is good), and offended millions of people with his talk content, as much of the world (including, interestingly enough, many in the USA) does not use Western medicine.

I strongly believe it was unintentional, but I really wish he would search things through and get help when needed before coming out with things to say. And after newspaper and TV interviews I’ve done, I sure hope he doesn’t rely on media for his information, either.

All in all, it seems this was mostly directed towards Christ-Centered Energy Healing–but who could be sure?

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