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Posted by: bu2b ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 09:37PM

So I was asked to give a talk in sacrament meeting on Sunday, on how to make choices. I have no belief in the church, but I am not quite ready to leave the church. I am a senior in high school and leaving the church would not be the right idea at the moment.

Anyway, I was wondering if any of you have been in a similar situation before and have any suggestions for me. I am fine with speaking, but I REALLY don't want to spend my talk talking about praying for "answers", as I am sure everybody expects me to do. Do any of you know any atypical resources I could use while writing it? Maybe something from a greek philosopher. It would be really cool if I could tie Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" into it...

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Posted by: Res Ipsa Loquitur ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 09:44PM

I was in this situation many, many times before I left the church. I was a non-beleiver for a long time, but my bishop kept getting inspiration to have me speak, and he even called me to teach the youth sunday school.

My advice is this: The topic you got is a good one. It's about ethics and morality. There is plenty you can say that you still believe in, without relying on Joseph Smith or revelation or whatever. Find quotes from prophets and apostles that basically agrees with what you believe, and give as good a talk as you can about basic human goodness. Even an atheist like myself could give a rousing and inspiring talk on choices, and you can do it in such a way that the Mormons in the crowd will love it. They won't even realize that you gave a completely secular talk.

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Posted by: bona dea ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 09:44PM

Well, you can always talk about loving your neighbor, the Golden Rule, serving others etc. They can't object to Jesus now can they?You don't have to say that you believe he was the Son of God. Just talk about what he taught.If you want to bring in some outside stuff like Plato, go for it. Just stick with stuff that won't upset anyone

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/28/2010 09:47PM by bona dea.

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Posted by: Major Bidamon ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 09:58PM

Go to the library and look for a book titled "Good without God" by Greg Epstein. He's a good, moral Humanist Chaplain at Harvard. Ask the question of the members -- "are we good to one another because we truly love our fellow man or are we good because we desire some reward / fear some punishment?"

A legit, moral, good, and holy question.

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Posted by: another guy ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 10:17PM

Research and cite respected, non-mormon authors, such as Thoreau and Ghandi. A great message regarding choices can be made using great thinkers and moralists from history.

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Posted by: Raptor Jesus ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 11:17PM

Was about the temple. I didn't believe in the church either, but needed to give the talk. I gave the talk about temples from various cultures and "similar" beliefs throughout the ages. A lot of people liked my talk because it was very different. Bishopric hated it, but I didn't care. They asked ME to talk.
You have a great topic and already some good ideas. I like the ethics idea mentioned too. You could also bring in free will from a philosophical standpoint. Lots of cool stuff there.
Good luck and remember that anyone who doesn't like your talk will forget about it in a week. TBMs have terrible memories like that.

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Posted by: Summer ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 12:07AM

My attitude has always been, if you chose ME to give this talk, do this job, be delegated this task, write this opinion, etc., it is because you wanted ME to do it. If you wanted someone else's opinion, you would have chosen that person. So silly you if you expected something different. lol

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Posted by: Queen of Denial ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 12:02AM

Ditto pretty much everything that has already been said. I gave a lot of lessons and talks before I actually left. Just stay true to what you do believe. It's actually pretty easy to please the congregation while remaining true to your heart. They never have to know (until you want them to that is).

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Posted by: Summer ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 12:02AM

...of *choosing* to ally oneself with ideals and organizations that are open, honest, charitable, and transparent [insert long, beatific pause.] Give a glowing account of the Boy Scouts, an organization that builds character in young, mission-bound young men. Mention that you have perused their financial statements and you are assured that all monies donated are indeed used for charitable, worthy purposes. Praise the Boy Scouts organization for their honesty with donors and good stewardship of resources.

Let your listeners draw their own conclusions about LDS, Inc. If they can.

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Posted by: maria ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 12:26AM


Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son to the lord, and Heber C. Kimball gave his 14 year old daughter to polygamy to Joseph Smith.

It will sound oh so faith-inspiring, but it will plant seeds at the same time, too.

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Posted by: DebbiePA ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 01:47AM

maria Wrote:
> Seriously.
> Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son to the
> lord, and Heber C. Kimball gave his 14 year old
> daughter to polygamy to Joseph Smith.
> It will sound oh so faith-inspiring, but it will
> plant seeds at the same time, too.

Oooooo....good one!!!!

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Posted by: Heathjh ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 08:06AM

Sometimes new information comes available to us so it is necessary to reevaluate the choice we had already made and possibly make a new choice. Life is constantly changing. Our choices effect our lives and those around us. Make sure that the choices you make keeps your personal integrity intact."

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Posted by: honestone ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 01:02AM

I would throw in some stuff about analyzing the situation. Most mormons don't analyze- they just follow orders. It would be good to let them know they are "allowed to do that. I agree with many of the above comments about speaking on the Golden Rule, ethics, morality, etc. Good luck and if you are no longer a believer I would leave out the "prophet talk".

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Posted by: Boughxb ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 01:06AM

I would use the theme from Man's search for Meaning by Victor Frankl mixed with some of how Covey describes it in 7 habits of highly effective people. I love how he asks you to imagine you are floating above the room (I used a laser pointer) and look down on the room, then on yourself. Ask yourself what you look like from above, are you paying attention, are you bored, etc. Then explain that what you have done is uniquely human and indicates that what makes us human is not our body, or our mind, not our choices, or anything but our ability to choose. What makes us special is that "between stimulus and response" we can choose.

I loved that stuff until I read 1984 and Persuasion. Now I'm just plain cynical.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 01:28AM

Follow these simple rules for giving a talk:
1. Start with an attention getter - joke or a statement
2. Tell them what you are going to tell them
3. Tell them what you told them
(Speak w/out reading, look at the audience, smile, and have FUN with the talk!)

1. You can start your talk off with a little joke -- about making choices and decisions ... probably find something on the Internet.(or leave that out - it's a way to get people's attention as you know people fade out in church!)

2. Then you can go to your subject:
My subject today is on making choices. I will be using D&C 9:8
"But Behold I say unto you that you must STUDY it out in your mind..."
as my reference, focusing on how to study and use our minds to make choices and decisions that will bring the result we want to achieve.

3.Suggestions for the body of the talk:

You could focus on one part of D&C 9: 8
(Forget the rest of it) ...
use this phrase: Study It Out In Your Mind
as your basis for making choices -
how to use reason and logic and how not to fall for logic fallacies (look it up, it and use examples), make the talk about the power of the mind to study and learn and grow in understanding, etc.

4 Conclude with how your self confidence, self respect grows when you make the best choices and decisions that will bring you the greatest happiness and joy whether deciding what car to buy, what college to attend, how to spend your time, and your money.

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Posted by: bu2b ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 01:25PM

I especially like this idea. That's a great scripture reference to use. With this format I can also incorporate some psychological studies on how the brain wrongly interprets situations and makes mistakes - not only is it secular, but it is also a lot more interesting then average church talk that everybody seems to do.


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Posted by: FreeAtLast ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 02:58AM

If you say "No" calmly and firmly and follow through on what you've said, most people will figure out that you actually mean "No." You can tell the 'brainwashed' remainder to f*ck off; they'll get the hint.

Here's the info.:

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Posted by: They don't want me back ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 03:13AM

I think you can give a good talk and teach about making health choices and throw in some scriptural reference that fits your talk without compromising your integrity. In fact good choices led one to keep their integrity intact.

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Posted by: Heathjh ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 08:38AM

Its 5AM and I need to get back to sleep but I have your talk on my mind.

"Everyone makes different choices. Just because we choose one way and Joe down the street chooses another doesn't mean we need to criticize Joe verbally or mentally because his choice was different than ours. His choice is his to make and our choice is ours.

Have you heard of the childrens books 'Choose your own Adventure'? The books give the reader many choices throughout the book that effect the outcome of the story. That is like our life. We have the ability to choose our outcome in life."

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Posted by: JoD3:360 ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 08:51AM

There is not a man, from the President of the United States to the Editors of their sanctorums, clear down to
the low−bred letter−writers in this Territory, but would rob the coppers from a dead @#$%&'s eyes, if they had
a good opportunity. If I had the command of thunder and lightning, I would never let one of the damned
scoundrels get here alive.
JD 5:111, George Albert Smith, August 2, 1857

We are moved by a higher law. They talk sometimes about a higher law in the States. Greeley is a great man
to talk about a higher law, which means, with him, stealing @#$%&. We do not care anything about that. We
want to do something better − something higher and more noble. That is rather too low for us; consequently
they need not be afraid of our stealing their @#$%&: we will let them have all the benefits of them as one of
the grand institutions of Christians, together with the amalgamating process as another of the institutions of
Christianity. And another grand institution they have among them is prostitution.
JD 5:158, John Taylor, August 23, 1857
... [speaking of prostituton]Well, so it is; and
this niggerism in the South is about the same kind of thing, only a change of colour.
JD 5:158, John Taylor, August 23, 1857
Brother Robbins also spoke of what they term the "@#$%& drivers and @#$%& worshippers," and observed how
keen their feelings are upon their favourite topic slavery. The State of New York used to be a slave State, but
there slavery has for some time been abolished.
JD 4:39, Brigham Young, August 31, 1856

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Posted by: JoD3:360 ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 08:58AM

I was copying pasting--thank goodness for this boards auto editing---I should have edited those myself. And I apologize for the one that did get through.


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Posted by: luminouswatcher ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 09:09AM

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Posted by: dr5 ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 09:34AM

You could actually be sincere. State the rule, then give examples of applying it in various situations. You don't need to quote anyone, although I like this quote about Mr Rogers:

“He said, once you realize that everybody’s your neighbor, you have a choice. You can either be an advocate or an accuser. An accuser is somebody who only sees what’s awful about themselves so they look through those eyes and look for what’s awful about their neighbor. An advocate is somebody who looks through the eyes of God at their neighbor and sees what’s good about that person because they’re created in God’s likeness. That’s a very simple, basic truth, but to live that out in our daily lives is tremendously difficult.”

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Posted by: They don't want me back ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 09:50AM

about choice, and don't mention a thing about choosing the Church over other activities, choosing a Mission over a college education, or choosing to be obedient to the God spell.

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Posted by: bu2b ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 01:21PM

I am totally surprised at the response this got. Thank you for all of the excellent suggestions! This talk is going to be so much easier now. Thanks again!

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Posted by: badseed ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 01:37PM

You can certainly include some though provoking thoughts.

The Abraham and and Heber C. Kimball topic will be news to some.

I would also consider things like quotes from Hugh B. Brown's Abundant Life about the value of questioning and dissenting. Sorry, it's long.


"As we all proceed to make our individual "declarations of independence," I hope we can distinguish between liberty and license, that we can realize that freedom is only a blessing if it is accompanied by wisdom and intelligence. At the same time, we all need to resist the down-drag of mental laziness which sometimes leads to the premature hardening of the intellectual arteries. And I would especially urge all of us to avoid sluggishness of spirit, which is the worst kind of lethargy. Some people are phlegmatic to a degree that would make a turtle seem intolerably vivacious. I admire men and women who have developed the questing spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas as stepping stones to progress. We should, of course, respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent -- if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression.

Both science and religion beget humility. Scientists and teachers of religion disagree among themselves on theological and other subjects. Even in our own church men and women take issue with one another and contend for their own interpretations. This free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence or any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences. We should all be interested in academic research. We must go out on the research front and continue to explore the vast unknown. We should be in the forefront of learning in all fields, for revelation does not come only through the prophet of God nor only directly from heaven in visions or dreams. Revelation may come in the laboratory, out of the test tube, out of the thinking mind and the inquiring soul, out of search and research and prayer and inspiration.

We should be dauntless in our pursuit of truth and resist all demands for unthinking conformity. No one would have us become mere tape recorders of other people's thoughts. We should be modest and teachable and seek to know the truth by study and faith. There have been times when progress was halted by thought control. Tolerance and truth demand that all be heard and that competing ideas be tested against each other so that the best, which might not always be our own, can prevail.

Knowledge is the most complete and dependable when all points of view are heard. We are in a world of restlessness and skepticism, where old things are not only challenged but often disappear, but also a world of miraculous achievement, undreamed of accomplishment, and terrifying power. Science offers wonderful tools for helping to create the brotherhood of humanity on earth, but the cement of brotherhood does not come from any laboratory. It must come from the heart and mind and spirit of men and women.

We should continue to become acquainted with human experience through history and philosophy, science and poetry, art and religion... One of the most important things in the world is freedom of the mind; from this all other freedoms spring. Such freedom is necessarily dangerous, for one cannot think right without running the risk of thinking wrong, but generally more thinking is the antidote for the evils that spring from wrong thinking. More thinking is required, and we should all exercise our God-given right to think and be unafraid to express our opinions, with proper respect for those to whom we talk and proper acknowledgment of our own shortcomings.

We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it. The church is not so much concerned with whether the thoughts of its members are orthodox or heterodox as it is that they shall have thoughts. One may memorize much without learning anything. In this age of speed there seems to be little time for meditation.

And while all members should respect, support, and heed the teachings of the authorities of the church, no one should accept a statement and base his or her testimony upon it, no matter who makes it, until he or she has, under mature examination, found it to be true and worthwhile;"

Can't really argue much with this stuff. It's from a guy who was a member of the 1st Presidency and I think it's sorely needed in Mormonism. That last line/phrase is great.

There's more here:

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Posted by: bu2b ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 01:45PM

Wow. That is a great quote. I might run it by my TBM parents to make sure that it won't cause an uproar in my ward. But then again, you can't argue with a GA...

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Posted by: badseed ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 01:49PM

could be used to talk about making choices about what to believe and think.

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Posted by: bu2b ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 01:55PM

Yeah, I agree. But snippets of it could be used in my talk. But even if I don't use it, I'm going to save the quote because it is absolutely excellent.

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Posted by: Rebecca ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 07:16PM

So, we may all need to brainstorm and come up with an appropriate ending for your talk.

Something more fitting than, "In the name of cheese and rice, AMEN!"

Surely other peeps on the board can help out here.

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Posted by: JoD3:360 ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 07:21PM

Most of the sermons I've heard in other churches end with 'thank you' or something similar.

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