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Author Topic: "Why does denomination matter?" or, "Why should I be Orthodox?"  (Read 3051 times) Average Rating: 0
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truthseeker32
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« on: August 12, 2013, 04:46:18 PM »

I have been thinking about these questions a lot this week as I continue to discern whether I ought to become Orthodox or not. I look back on my Mormon upbringing and observe the Mormon-dense community and region of the U.S. in which I live.

States with a substantial Mormon population tend to have low crime rates, low rates of abortion, and a decent overall quality of life. They promote family values, and the LDS church provides great youth programs that seem to do a pretty good job of keeping people out of trouble.

When I look at Orthodoxy I see a religion whose members are more likely to support gay marriage, more likely to be pro-choice, and have less knowledge of the Bible. Further, they often seem not to care about spreading the gospel, content to remain a well-kept secret.

Why, then, should I care about denomination? Why should I want to be Orthodox when it seems like there are denominations out there better fulfilling the Christian mission?
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 05:10:07 PM »

Because two centuries ago the LDS didn't exist, whereas the Orthodox existed two thousand years ago.

The brown areas don't seem to be crime infested


Outside of the green, where are you going LDS in numbers enough to compare?
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 05:13:14 PM »

I have been thinking about these questions a lot this week as I continue to discern whether I ought to become Orthodox or not. I look back on my Mormon upbringing and observe the Mormon-dense community and region of the U.S. in which I live.

States with a substantial Mormon population tend to have low crime rates, low rates of abortion, and a decent overall quality of life. They promote family values, and the LDS church provides great youth programs that seem to do a pretty good job of keeping people out of trouble.

When I look at Orthodoxy I see a religion whose members are more likely to support gay marriage, more likely to be pro-choice, and have less knowledge of the Bible. Further, they often seem not to care about spreading the gospel, content to remain a well-kept secret.

Why, then, should I care about denomination? Why should I want to be Orthodox when it seems like there are denominations out there better fulfilling the Christian mission?
Btw, how many Jack Mormons are there?

As to support gay marriage and pro-abortion, an answer might be miscontrued as political-after all, who runs the US Senate?
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2013, 05:38:11 PM »

My brother outside the true and one church of God there is no salvation expect the one coming from the love of God.
With few words is a lot of harder to be saved outside His church. But the most important is that without His Church we cannot go near Him so much.
Without eating His flesh and drinking His blood can we be saved?
Now the devil tries to hold us back while we are seeking the truth. Also the thing you say that eastern orthodox are less good proves it more. The devil will fight with more anger the true church and it's soldiers. One man like you didn't know which church was the true... He experienced the most huge of them and you know why he chose Eastern orthodox?
 Because the thggns in the church were not so well and He said '' Here people are worse because the devil fights them more.''
If you want hear me. And one last thing. It is easy to be any religion but is hard to be Eastern orthodox.
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2013, 06:39:38 PM »

When I look at Orthodoxy I see a religion whose members are more likely to support gay marriage, more likely to be pro-choice, and have less knowledge of the Bible. Further, they often seem not to care about spreading the gospel, content to remain a well-kept secret.

Why, then, should I care about denomination? Why should I want to be Orthodox when it seems like there are denominations out there better fulfilling the Christian mission?

I think Orthodox would see marriage as a Sacrament (Μυστηριον) and thus wouldn't consider any marriage outside of the Body of Christ (i.e., the Orthodox Church) as legitimate.

Furthermore, Abortion is clearly forbidden in the early Church. "You shall not murder a child by abortion." (Didache) Those people are not following the Canons of the Church. And to say that Orthodox don't have knowledge of the gospel is pretty funny.

The gospel can be summed up in the Church's Paschal Troparion.

Quote
Χριστός Ανέστη εκ νεκρών,
θανάτω θάνατον πατήσας
και τοις εν τοις μνήμασιν,
ζωήν χαρισάμενος

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmvLA2lEy6M

Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling death by death and to those in the tombs he bestowed life.

This is the gospel. There is no Baptist. Lutheran, Catholic or Mormon who preaches this. Mormons preach "we are in the Last Days and all other Christians are apostates.", Baptists, "the Elect are the only chosen by God to enter heaven and the rest are reprobate." And Lutherans and Catholics are all in fear over a notion of hell and original sin that is not present in the early Church.

Who has the false gospel that Paul anathematizes? I think there is no question when you look at how the early Church understood what the gospel was.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 06:57:55 PM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2013, 06:42:45 PM »

@truthseeker
First of all you ask yourself why do you want to be Orthodox.
As for your view on Orthodox stance on issues you prensented, you do not seem to have grasped what Orthodixy stands for. I will give you an example.  Orthodoxy is against homosexuality but it does not mean that I as an Orthodox believer will hate homosexuals or try to cause them any harm even though some Orthodox may do so.

So Orthodox Christianity does not support such teachings as homosexuality, abortion, etc but distinguishes between a sin and a sinner. A sinner can always change. Please let's not make this into another thread about homosexuality.

First what you need to do is grasp basic teachings of Orthodoxy and then decide if it is for you. The problem is that it appears that you fail to see the elephant in the room (not our lovely oc.net elephant) which is that you have wrong reasons for (not) wanting to be Orthodox or something else. Orthodoxy is not just a set of rules...it is much more than that. Orthodox Christians are supposed to be living examples and not Pharisees who only blame others without wishing to help them. If we truly wish to help others then we need to pray for them and be kind to them...deeds not (just) words...prayer helps I have seen it happen.

Christ be with you and may you find the Truth and not any truth relativized as a mean for something temporary lowly pleasure...
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2013, 06:45:23 PM »


Outside of the green, where are you going find the LDS in numbers enough to compare?
oops!

Looks like Adams county is where you should make your comparison:
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 06:52:30 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2013, 07:16:22 PM »


 Because the thggns in the church were not so well and He said '' Here people are worse because the devil fights them more.''
If you want hear me. And one last thing. It is easy to be any religion but is hard to be Eastern orthodox.

Αμην, the Orthodox Church has always been at battle with heresy and the powers of this world. Since the 1st century with the heretics, Jews, Romans and pagans, into the 6th and through the Middle Ages with Islam, Roman Catholicism (the Crusades) and into the modern era with Communism.

And it still stands. That's a miracle in my mind. There is no greater proof in my mind that Orthodoxy is the True Church when Christ said "the gates of hell will never prevail against it."(Matthew 16:18) and it still stands. After heresy, conquest, and genocide continually for nearly 2000 years, and the Church still stands.

Christ's words were not in vain.
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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2013, 07:21:17 PM »

A lot of the "domestic tranquility" enjoyed by mormons comes from being made up of white folks from 'Mercuh, as opposed to having to really tackle the issues of a heterogenous or immigrant community.
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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2013, 08:22:00 PM »

There are EO Church fathers who have respected St. Francis of Assisi in word, and he tried to be as much like the original Apostles who had no "Denomination". St. Francis said he wanted to love all Jesus Churches in the world, and not just his Catholic ties, that were simply what he had been brought up with.

 There are Greek Orthodox Bishops who have praised St.Francis for his simple ways of living without any property, and always serving the poor, and accepting brothers to his Franciscans without judging anyone where he came from.
He said he was following Jesus, and nothing else.

We also should look to these ways, it is part of why Mt. Athos exists, and why men seek out hermit existence away from the politics of life and Church. Follow Christ, Which is who gives salvation and not any denomination, honoring your roots as Francis did, or choosing a new denomination that suits you, but devoted to Jesus and not the Church.

Jesus said to Peter which in Greek means Rock, "On this Rock I will build my Church" Matthew 16:18, But have you ever seen a church built with only one rock.

Look to God, and his beloved Son without rejecting any of his sheep.
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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2013, 08:24:08 PM »

Roman Catholic or Orthodox, whatever you choose you must pick it because you honestly believe that is the True Church, the one which has maintained the faith of the Apostles from the beginning of the Church, the one you believe teaches the truth. 

Ignore the individual people who speak of their personal beliefs which are contrary to Orthodoxy or they will confuse and bring you down, there are many.  Either the Orthodox Church or the Catholic Church is the true Church and you must decide which one you believe fits the bill.  That does not mean you can’t respect the other and admire the works the other does for Gods glory.  For many people it boils down to whether you like the mysticism of Orthodoxy or the scholasticism of Catholicism, but not all.

It is a difficult decision so do not rush your choice.  Make sure you are certain when you do choose. 
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« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2013, 08:30:18 PM »

I have been thinking about these questions a lot this week as I continue to discern whether I ought to become Orthodox or not. I look back on my Mormon upbringing and observe the Mormon-dense community and region of the U.S. in which I live.

States with a substantial Mormon population tend to have low crime rates, low rates of abortion, and a decent overall quality of life. They promote family values, and the LDS church provides great youth programs that seem to do a pretty good job of keeping people out of trouble.

When I look at Orthodoxy I see a religion whose members are more likely to support gay marriage, more likely to be pro-choice, and have less knowledge of the Bible. Further, they often seem not to care about spreading the gospel, content to remain a well-kept secret.

Why, then, should I care about denomination? Why should I want to be Orthodox when it seems like there are denominations out there better fulfilling the Christian mission?

Perhaps better to ask yourself why you are defining the worth of a faith by your (inaccurate) perceptions of its practitioners?
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« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2013, 08:44:08 PM »

There are EO Church fathers who have respected St. Francis of Assisi in word, and he tried to be as much like the original Apostles who had no "Denomination". St. Francis said he wanted to love all Jesus Churches in the world, and not just his Catholic ties, that were simply what he had been brought up with.

 There are Greek Orthodox Bishops who have praised St.Francis for his simple ways of living without any property, and always serving the poor, and accepting brothers to his Franciscans without judging anyone where he came from.
He said he was following Jesus, and nothing else.

We also should look to these ways, it is part of why Mt. Athos exists, and why men seek out hermit existence away from the politics of life and Church. Follow Christ, Which is who gives salvation and not any denomination, honoring your roots as Francis did, or choosing a new denomination that suits you, but devoted to Jesus and not the Church.
One cannot receive Christ if one rejects His Body.
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« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2013, 08:46:36 PM »

I have been thinking about these questions a lot this week as I continue to discern whether I ought to become Orthodox or not. I look back on my Mormon upbringing and observe the Mormon-dense community and region of the U.S. in which I live.

States with a substantial Mormon population tend to have low crime rates, low rates of abortion, and a decent overall quality of life. They promote family values, and the LDS church provides great youth programs that seem to do a pretty good job of keeping people out of trouble.

When I look at Orthodoxy I see a religion whose members are more likely to support gay marriage, more likely to be pro-choice, and have less knowledge of the Bible. Further, they often seem not to care about spreading the gospel, content to remain a well-kept secret.

Why, then, should I care about denomination? Why should I want to be Orthodox when it seems like there are denominations out there better fulfilling the Christian mission?

Why do you want to leave Mormonism?
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2013, 02:11:25 AM »

Quote from: SolEX01

Why do you want to leave Mormonism?
I left Mormnism years ago because I did not believe it was true. I acknowledge that it teaches a lot of good things, but I don't believe the stories about its founding.

My current debacle, though, is that after five years of study I haven't found anything I believe in any more. I pray and God doesn't answer. Rather than feeling as though I draw nearer to truth with each passing year I feel myself slowly passing into disbelief, unable to make sense of anything ortrust my own perceptions.

What is one to do when neither prayer or study bears any fruit?
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« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2013, 02:18:43 AM »

Perhaps better to ask yourself why you are defining the worth of a faith by your (inaccurate) perceptions of its practitioners?
All I know is Christ said that "by your fruits you will know them" and I see a Mormon faith that does more missionary work than maybe any other religion in the world. They raise well-behaved citizens known for their honesty and sobriety, and in surveys conducted by the pew forum seem to be more faithful to Orthodox moral teachings than the self-proclaimed Orthodox Christians that participated in the poll:

http://religions.pewforum.org/comparisons#
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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2013, 07:20:56 AM »

I left Mormnism years ago because I did not believe it was true. I acknowledge that it teaches a lot of good things, but I don't believe the stories about its founding.

My current debacle, though, is that after five years of study I haven't found anything I believe in any more. I pray and God doesn't answer. Rather than feeling as though I draw nearer to truth with each passing year I feel myself slowly passing into disbelief, unable to make sense of anything ortrust my own perceptions.

What is one to do when neither prayer or study bears any fruit?

So I gather that, some years ago, you left Mormonism and became a Nicene/trinitarian Christian? Were you rebaptized (if you don't mind my asking)?

Btw, are you "truthseeker" on another forum(s)? If so, I think I remember you from a few years ago.
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« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2013, 07:23:38 AM »

There are EO Church fathers who have respected St. Francis of Assisi in word, and he tried to be as much like the original Apostles who had no "Denomination".

That seems a slightly odd thing to say, inasmuch as the concept of "denominations" didn't develop until centuries after St. Francis.
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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2013, 09:17:42 AM »

Quote
One cannot receive Christ if one rejects His Body.
Totally agree. Kerdy, there is one true. We can;t follow our heart. That's one reason we sin a lot. Because we follow our heart. Our soul has turned to a shadow. Can the blind follow his blindness? He needs someone to lead him. God is not about what your heart wants. Is about what He wants. And He wants all the people to be saved and be with Him forever.
And what I said into the last post it's not my personal belief because whenever I have doubts I say '' God exists no matter if I believe it or not...'' and '' Eastern orthodox is His church no matter if I believe it or not.'' And when from my sins I see God as being away while I know He loves me I say it. '' I care not what you say, God loves me.''
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« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2013, 09:24:33 AM »

Quote
One cannot receive Christ if one rejects His Body.
Totally agree. Kerdy, there is one true. We can;t follow our heart. That's one reason we sin a lot. Because we follow our heart. Our soul has turned to a shadow. Can the blind follow his blindness? He needs someone to lead him. God is not about what your heart wants. Is about what He wants. And He wants all the people to be saved and be with Him forever.
And what I said into the last post it's not my personal belief because whenever I have doubts I say '' God exists no matter if I believe it or not...'' and '' Eastern orthodox is His church no matter if I believe it or not.'' And when from my sins I see God as being away while I know He loves me I say it. '' I care not what you say, God loves me.''

You quoted ialmisry.
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« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2013, 09:25:20 AM »

The Truth is what matters. Personal opinions and expectations can only harden the process of finding the Truth. It is true that Orthodox Christians have their own faults -- it's normal and that's why we confess we are sinners (those who do). However, there is also a lot of sainthood and good things to be found in Orthodoxy, if one seeks honestly (I believe). And, it's not point judging the faith based on what people do (like I said, we are all sinners); I see this logical fallacy a lot.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2013, 09:26:16 AM by IoanC » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2013, 09:28:40 AM »

Yes I quoted Him but I also replied and explained some things to you after viewing your answer.
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« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2013, 09:31:41 AM »

Yes I quoted Him but I also replied and explained some things to you after viewing your answer.
Oh.
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« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2013, 09:49:26 AM »

Dear truthseeker32,

Can you spend some time in an Orthodox church, without studying or evaluating, just taking it in?

Love, elephant
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« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2013, 10:04:43 AM »

St. Francis said he wanted to love all Jesus Churches in the world

 There are Greek Orthodox Bishops who have praised St.Francis for his simple ways of living without any property, and always serving the poor, and accepting brothers to his Franciscans without judging anyone where he came from.
He said he was following Jesus, and nothing else.


We also should look to these ways, it is part of why Mt. Athos exists, and why men seek out hermit existence away from the politics of life and Church. Follow Christ, Which is who gives salvation and not any denomination, honoring your roots as Francis did, or choosing a new denomination that suits you, but devoted to Jesus and not the Church.

Look to God, and his beloved Son without rejecting any of his sheep.

Truthseeker32 said, "All I know is Christ said that 'by their fruits you will know them'". Also "after five years of study I haven't found anything I believe in any more. I pray and God doesn't answer. Rather than feeling as though I draw nearer to truth with each passing year I feel myself slowly passing into disbelief, unable to make sense of anything ortrust my own perceptions.

What is one to do when neither prayer or study bears any fruit?"

Dear Truthseeker32, I was baptized Catholic and my family left that church, when I went back on my own it had changed. I have wandered around in the protestant world, I do not fault the denominations as I have found true Christians everywhere, like St. Francis I cling to people who bear the Fruit of the Spirit. I have been wandering for decades and just now found the Orthodox church. In October it will be two years of earnest study and 'experiencing' and I am like you, God doesnt answer and the closer I think I am something is said or done that I feel farther and farther away. I believe in God. I dont believe in the politics that have evolved concerning His church. In my experience Orthodox Christians can be quite refreshing yet extremely harsh...making you doubt your very existence. I have sought 'spiritual counsel', it is not found on forums OR at the parish level. Those who catechize are too involved in politics and can not see a Genuine believer struggling and toss you to the dogs. Lord, have mercy. I knew when I studied about closed communion that I would never commune again. Not because I dont want to, its the politics involved.

My sin...not being born Orthodox

ps. I have two dear friends who are Mormons. I would lay my life down for them, because they would do the same.
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« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2013, 10:07:41 AM »

Dear truthseeker32,

Can you spend some time in an Orthodox church, without studying or evaluating, just taking it in?

Love, elephant

Good question!  I too have found sometimes my study gets in the way of the experience.
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« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2013, 10:15:51 AM »

Why everyone is harsh my Lord? Our hearts are rocks...
My friend the Truth exists. I am sorry if I was harsh. I tried to answer to your dilemmas...
If you want more discussion I am here.
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« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2013, 12:21:05 PM »

Dear truthseeker32,

Can you spend some time in an Orthodox church, without studying or evaluating, just taking it in?

Love, elephant

Yes, I can and I have been doing so, although with the closest church being an hour away (if there is no traffic) I don't get to visit as often as I would like.

So I gather that, some years ago, you left Mormonism and became a Nicene/trinitarian Christian? Were you rebaptized (if you don't mind my asking)?

Btw, are you "truthseeker" on another forum(s)? If so, I think I remember you from a few years ago.
I haven't been an active Mormon for 6 or 7 years. Since then I have looked into Islam, Judaism, Atheism, JW, Hinduism, and I took a good hard look at Roman Catholicism due to its rich philosophical tradition and the number of friends and professors I have that are members of the faith.

It might be better to say that I have flirted with Nicene Christianity. I spent a couple years in RCIA and before that I attended an Episcopal Church. I have never had a trinitarian baptism.
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« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2013, 02:16:50 PM »

So I gather that, some years ago, you left Mormonism and became a Nicene/trinitarian Christian? Were you rebaptized (if you don't mind my asking)?

Btw, are you "truthseeker" on another forum(s)? If so, I think I remember you from a few years ago.
I haven't been an active Mormon for 6 or 7 years. Since then I have looked into Islam, Judaism, Atheism, JW, Hinduism, and I took a good hard look at Roman Catholicism due to its rich philosophical tradition and the number of friends and professors I have that are members of the faith.

It might be better to say that I have flirted with Nicene Christianity. I spent a couple years in RCIA and before that I attended an Episcopal Church. I have never had a trinitarian baptism.

OIC. I was guessing that you had gone from Mormon to Protestant (possibly changing denominations once or twice within Protestantism) ... but I see now that you've traveled a greater distance (so to speak) in your journey than I had imagined.

Anyhow, I might not say a lot here (as this thread is in the Convert forum and I'm a Catholic) but welcome to OCnet. Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2013, 02:25:43 PM »

Quote from: SolEX01

Why do you want to leave Mormonism?
I left Mormnism years ago because I did not believe it was true. I acknowledge that it teaches a lot of good things, but I don't believe the stories about its founding.

My current debacle, though, is that after five years of study I haven't found anything I believe in any more. I pray and God doesn't answer. Rather than feeling as though I draw nearer to truth with each passing year I feel myself slowly passing into disbelief, unable to make sense of anything ortrust my own perceptions.

What is one to do when neither prayer or study bears any fruit?

What kind of doubts are interfering with your prayers?
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« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2013, 03:14:40 PM »

What kind of doubts are interfering with your prayers?
I am a skeptical person, so my chief issue is recognizing truth or knowing when I have found something true. Honestly it would be enough for me to believe something is true, but I can't overcome my skepticism.

Strangely enough I have an easy time believing there is something that transcends the material, but have difficulty moving from this point to a personal God.
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« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2013, 03:46:38 PM »

What kind of doubts are interfering with your prayers?
I am a skeptical person, so my chief issue is recognizing truth or knowing when I have found something true. Honestly it would be enough for me to believe something is true, but I can't overcome my skepticism.

Strangely enough I have an easy time believing there is something that transcends the material, but have difficulty moving from this point to a personal God.

Are you familiar with the Nicene Creed (without the filioque)?  Perhaps studying the Creed (especially its relationship to Scripture) will help you make a distinction between what the Orthodox believe and Mormonism.  If you have questions, you can ask them here.  If you're still interested in Orthodoxy, it is better to be in contact with an Orthodox Priest although you said that you lived a significant distance away from an Orthodox church.
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« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2013, 06:47:55 PM »

Denonmination is not just a brand. Choosing between different denominations is not like choosing a colour for you car. It is something to which you entrust your life. Before there wasn't a need for denominations within Christianity for two reasons: 1-all Christians had the same foundational belief 2-when a difference among interpretations arose some clarifications such Necean Creed came about in order to avoid concussion and stop incorrect teachings. Nowadays we have individuals and groups calling themselves Christian but yet deny some basic Christian teachings.
So in a sense you are not choosing between similar teachings, because similarity between different denominations who process to be Christian diminishes rapidly...they end up teaching different things ...but all believe to be right...even though they can't all be right...
In front of you is a difficult task. You might not get an answer to your question right away. There is a reason for it which we do not see at the moment. Regardless of the outcome do not despair. These words are intended for OP and Martyr Eugenia...it is a struggle but that is how it is supposed to be no matter whether you are cradle, convert or an inquirer into Orthodoxy. I do not seek what is easy but what is right. If I wanted comfort then I would have not remained Orthodox. Some things are worth fighting for especially if we are fighting against OURSELVES (I capitalized this last word not for yelling but to illustrate how often we are the biggest obstacle to ourselves).

God be with both of you!  Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2013, 07:47:37 PM »

Perhaps better to ask yourself why you are defining the worth of a faith by your (inaccurate) perceptions of its practitioners?
All I know is Christ said that "by your fruits you will know them" and I see a Mormon faith that does more missionary work than maybe any other religion in the world. They raise well-behaved citizens known for their honesty and sobriety, and in surveys conducted by the pew forum seem to be more faithful to Orthodox moral teachings than the self-proclaimed Orthodox Christians that participated in the poll:

http://religions.pewforum.org/comparisons#

Are you seriously going to base your view of Orthodoxy on a survey and highly imperfect knowledge of what the Orthodox Church and people do? Really?
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« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2013, 07:49:46 PM »

St. Francis said he wanted to love all Jesus Churches in the world

 There are Greek Orthodox Bishops who have praised St.Francis for his simple ways of living without any property, and always serving the poor, and accepting brothers to his Franciscans without judging anyone where he came from.
He said he was following Jesus, and nothing else.


We also should look to these ways, it is part of why Mt. Athos exists, and why men seek out hermit existence away from the politics of life and Church. Follow Christ, Which is who gives salvation and not any denomination, honoring your roots as Francis did, or choosing a new denomination that suits you, but devoted to Jesus and not the Church.

Look to God, and his beloved Son without rejecting any of his sheep.

Truthseeker32 said, "All I know is Christ said that 'by their fruits you will know them'". Also "after five years of study I haven't found anything I believe in any more. I pray and God doesn't answer. Rather than feeling as though I draw nearer to truth with each passing year I feel myself slowly passing into disbelief, unable to make sense of anything ortrust my own perceptions.

What is one to do when neither prayer or study bears any fruit?"

Dear Truthseeker32, I was baptized Catholic and my family left that church, when I went back on my own it had changed. I have wandered around in the protestant world, I do not fault the denominations as I have found true Christians everywhere, like St. Francis I cling to people who bear the Fruit of the Spirit. I have been wandering for decades and just now found the Orthodox church. In October it will be two years of earnest study and 'experiencing' and I am like you, God doesnt answer and the closer I think I am something is said or done that I feel farther and farther away. I believe in God. I dont believe in the politics that have evolved concerning His church. In my experience Orthodox Christians can be quite refreshing yet extremely harsh...making you doubt your very existence. I have sought 'spiritual counsel', it is not found on forums OR at the parish level. Those who catechize are too involved in politics and can not see a Genuine believer struggling and toss you to the dogs. Lord, have mercy. I knew when I studied about closed communion that I would never commune again. Not because I dont want to, its the politics involved.

My sin...not being born Orthodox

ps. I have two dear friends who are Mormons. I would lay my life down for them, because they would do the same.

No one is "born Orthodox."
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« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2013, 07:53:58 PM »

What kind of doubts are interfering with your prayers?
I am a skeptical person, so my chief issue is recognizing truth or knowing when I have found something true. Honestly it would be enough for me to believe something is true, but I can't overcome my skepticism.

Strangely enough I have an easy time believing there is something that transcends the material, but have difficulty moving from this point to a personal God.

The first truth: You are a sinner.
The second: You cannot save yourself.
The third: You need to repent.
The fourth: For this, you need help from God.
The fifth: Help from God comes from His grace, which comes through the sacraments, which come through the Church. Which Church?
The sixth: The Orthodox Church is the true church.

This is, roughly, my experience in arriving at truth. And it's not something over and done with. I did roughly one 1-6 cycle of truth realization before becoming Orthodox, and have reiterated all of them again and again.
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« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2013, 08:16:01 PM »

Are you familiar with the Nicene Creed (without the filioque)?  Perhaps studying the Creed (especially its relationship to Scripture) will help you make a distinction between what the Orthodox believe and Mormonism.  If you have questions, you can ask them here.  If you're still interested in Orthodoxy, it is better to be in contact with an Orthodox Priest although you said that you lived a significant distance away from an Orthodox church.
Just to clarify I am not new here. I have been on OCnet for a few years. I spent a few years in the Episcopal Church and RCIA as an investigator prior to discovering Orthodoxy, so I am at least somewhat familiar with the Creed.

I am in contact with the priest at the closest parish. I actually just got off the phone with him.

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« Reply #37 on: August 13, 2013, 08:19:05 PM »

The first truth: You are a sinner.
Truth 1.5: You need saving.
The second: You cannot save yourself.
The third: You need to repent.
The fourth: For this, you need help from God.
The fifth: Help from God comes from His grace, which comes through the sacraments, which come through the Church. Which Church?
The sixth: The Orthodox Church is the true church.

This is, roughly, my experience in arriving at truth. And it's not something over and done with. I did roughly one 1-6 cycle of truth realization before becoming Orthodox, and have reiterated all of them again and again.
I know the standard formula. Unfortunately I am not sure if I believe all seven points. That is what I am working through.
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« Reply #38 on: August 13, 2013, 08:46:25 PM »

The first truth: You are a sinner.
Truth 1.5: You need saving.
The second: You cannot save yourself.
The third: You need to repent.
The fourth: For this, you need help from God.
The fifth: Help from God comes from His grace, which comes through the sacraments, which come through the Church. Which Church?
The sixth: The Orthodox Church is the true church.

This is, roughly, my experience in arriving at truth. And it's not something over and done with. I did roughly one 1-6 cycle of truth realization before becoming Orthodox, and have reiterated all of them again and again.
I know the standard formula. Unfortunately I am not sure if I believe all seven points. That is what I am working through.

On the other hand, they are all but a singular point.
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« Reply #39 on: August 13, 2013, 08:49:45 PM »

What kind of doubts are interfering with your prayers?
I am a skeptical person, so my chief issue is recognizing truth or knowing when I have found something true. Honestly it would be enough for me to believe something is true, but I can't overcome my skepticism.

Strangely enough I have an easy time believing there is something that transcends the material, but have difficulty moving from this point to a personal God.
I know this isn't the prayer forum, but:

Lord Have Mercy!

Perhaps instead of passing all sorts of personal advice, we should all pray for understanding, guidance and comfort be given to you.
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« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2013, 12:13:46 AM »

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All I know is Christ said that "by your fruits you will know them"

You may have just answered your own question. So lets pursue this line of reasoning a little further.

If Christ is the vine and the members of the Church are the branches then it should reproduce in kind. Figs from figs right? Thus it is reasonable that whichever church claims to be Christ's Church (and many do) will both be rooted historically in the original Church and bring forth fruit in kind.

You said that you examined the fruit of both Mormons and the Orthodox and find the Orthodox fruit lacking in comparison (of course I suppose much will depend upon what qualifies as fruit for these purposes)

What did the Lord say would happen with unfruitful branches? Would they not be chopped off? But being chopped off/removed from the tree is not the same as the tree being made bad by the fruitlessness of any given branch.  

Can we agree that there are going to be bad actors, disloyal, ignorant, shamefully inadequate members of any human institution, but those bad actors do not in themselves get to define or set the standard of what this or that organization stands for.  Consider yourself. You have bad days. You don't always live up to your ideals. Yet some days you do much better, you are more the person you want to be. Should a third party be watching and judging which "days" would you hope most informed that judgement. That's easy, our good days, the day's we are at our best.  So why not show that same courtesy to both the LDS and the Orthodox and any other ostensibly Christian body you want to consider? Why not let your opinion be formed by the intersection of 2 things: The teachings of the organization and it's best exemplars. Look at what they teach, and look at those historically and in the present time from that organization who best embody and exemplify that teaching. That is the fruit to examine. Any tree's fruit can be spoiled, but it is the fruit itself, as it should be that proves or disproves the worth of the tree it came from. It is from that fruit that we can see if indeed the tree is reproducing in kind, and what it produces is indeed good and very good.

That is your test. Take the best exemplars of the the LDS faith (or any other you like), and the best exemplars of the Orthodox faith both past and present, set them side by side.  If lived out as it is taught will the LDS faith give you the likes of St. Silouan, Mother Gavriella, St. Pasius, Elder Sophrony, Elder Porphyrhios, St. Arsenius, Elder Cleopas, St. Seraphim of Sarov, St. Sergius of Radonezh, Fr. Arseny, St. Xenia of St. Petersburg, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Nectarios, any of the Desert Fathers or Mothers, and this is a very short list and yet it is a list of men and women from the earliest days of the Church to the present who are everyone of apostolic era caliber. These are men and women literally transfigured like Christ, who worked miracles, whose whole life was resolved into a burning dew of prayer.

You will find many good God loving people in other faith traditions, but if you want to know if they are in any meaningful sense "The Church" ask to see their saints both past and present. If you are not being shown lives like those I just named in unbroken continuity from Apostolic times to the present, you are propped against the wrong tree. If any other faith tradition can give you the likes of St. Seraphim or Elder Porpyrhios in the present day then you are very close to the Kingdom of God indeed.  

You say you see Orthodox too cozy with corrupt political and social agendas…but America is hardly definitive of Orthodoxy. Look at Russia which boasts an Orthodox culture, which has seeded the earth in recent years with hundreds of thousands if not millions of martyrs. They have recently passed laws to punish "exhibition style" desecrations of religious sites. They have recently passed laws to forbid public gay propaganda promoting that lifestyle. While America makes idols of it's liberties (and is losing them) Russia is embracing it's historic faith and healing itself little by little. It is becoming more and more an overtly Christian nation…certainly Christian friendly. And they are one of the very few nations supporting the persecuted Orthodox religious minorities of Syria during their civil war.

Inspecting the fruit of various faiths is an excellent idea, definitely a Biblical one, just be very sure not to confuse religious activity with the "fruit" of living in union with Christ, for it is that union that enables the Church to reproduce in kind, not just be busy. Remember bad limbs get chopped off, good ones get pruned, and if you want to judge a tree by it's fruit then judge it by it's best exemplars…not the worm bitten casts that have fallen to the ground.

The proof of the Church is not her programs and mission statements. The proof of the Church is her saints…because if what she teaches and ministers is not true, that untruth could not produce divinized human beings.
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« Reply #41 on: August 14, 2013, 01:39:53 AM »

The first truth: You are a sinner.
Truth 1.5: You need saving.
The second: You cannot save yourself.
The third: You need to repent.
The fourth: For this, you need help from God.
The fifth: Help from God comes from His grace, which comes through the sacraments, which come through the Church. Which Church?
The sixth: The Orthodox Church is the true church.

This is, roughly, my experience in arriving at truth. And it's not something over and done with. I did roughly one 1-6 cycle of truth realization before becoming Orthodox, and have reiterated all of them again and again.
I know the standard formula. Unfortunately I am not sure if I believe all seven points. That is what I am working through.

Is the bolded, purple text your sticking point?  Forgive me if I was not familiar about your background.   angel
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« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2013, 10:47:26 AM »

The first truth: You are a sinner.
The second: You cannot save yourself.
The third: You need to repent.
The fourth: For this, you need help from God.
The fifth: Help from God comes from His grace, which comes through the sacraments, which come through the Church. Which Church?
The sixth: The Orthodox Church is the true church.

This is, roughly, my experience in arriving at truth. And it's not something over and done with. I did roughly one 1-6 cycle of truth realization before becoming Orthodox, and have reiterated all of them again and again.

that is not possible, there are no sacraments outside of orthodoxy
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 10:47:46 AM by Martyr Eugenia » Logged
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« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2013, 12:53:28 PM »

Is the bolded, purple text your sticking point?  Forgive me if I was not familiar about your background.   angel

No, I would say I have problems with points 5 and 6.

Quote
The fifth: Help from God comes from His grace, which comes through the sacraments, which come through the Church. Which Church?
I don't believe the sacraments are the only means by which God helps people. Otherwise all those born outside the Church are lost. That being said, I might acknowledge they are one means, and perhaps even a more powerful means to gaining God's help.

Quote
The sixth: The Orthodox Church is the true church.
This one I definitely can't say I believe, at least not yet. The Oriental Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, or Assyrian Church of the East might be true. Perhaps God's grace is in the sacraments of all these churches and perhaps even extends to Anglicans and other denominations. I just don't know.

One additional point of clarification: I am not comparing Nicene Christianity to Mormonism. I no longer believe in Mormonism and I am considering Christianity by itself
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« Reply #44 on: August 14, 2013, 02:01:57 PM »

Quote
that is not possible, there are no sacraments outside of orthodoxy

How could you possibly know that?
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