The Folk Prophet

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  1. Fwiw, btw, Brad Wilcox's take on these matters never sat well with me. It's hard to articulate why without review. I know the talk you're speaking of. I'd have to review it in detail to really express why it doesn't sit well with me. (It's been a while since I've heard it but I remember it not sitting well with me.) But as a direct reply to the direct quote: earning isn't in opposition in any way to learning. So the statement doesn't really make contextual sense. And it's a false idea to promote that "learning" heaven is what qualifies us for heaven. Because if "learning" is the key...then why could "learning" be considered "earning" just as easily as anything else (depending on how one views the idea of "earning"). Brad Wilcox may not have meant to say that learning is the key...but he implies it with statements like you've quoted, whether he means to or not. Maybe that's why it doesn't sit well with me. And maybe that's unfair of me. Just sharing my feelings on it.* As with many things, "earning" becomes a semantic issue. But one I don't care for as to how it's typically addressed. What does it mean to "earn" something? I do quite like your ladder idea. That works pretty well. But I'm not sure it's fully accurate either. I think it becomes semantically problematic to say we don't earn our reward (and semantically problematic to say we do earn our reward). I think it would be more helpful to our understanding to simply qualify what we must do. What are the requirements? That's what we need to know. Defining whether those requirements qualify as "earning" or not isn't, honestly, that helpful. It's a distraction. Useful question: Do we need to be baptized to be saved? Not a useful question: Is choosing to be baptized part of "earning" your salvation? It's not a useful because it's semantic. It depends on what you mean by "earning". And...more importantly...whether you believe the answer to be yes or no has nothing to do with your salvation. If you choose to accept, follow, and obey, but view doing those things as "earning" it will not disqualify you, as far as I understand, from anything. It's just a semantic perception. Anyhow...just some of my thoughts on "earning". Not really relevant to the points I was making before. But since you brought it up, I thought I'd share. *I've become particularly pet peevish about the idea of "learning" being key in the past few years. Meaning to say, I don't like that narrative. So I might read into certain ideas unfairly -- and maybe I'm doing that with Brad Wilcox. I dislike the idea, and consider it false, that knowledge is the measure of our status.
  2. I hate it when that happens. But, man alive, the forum's been dead for the last 2 days. Maybe others had the same outage. I don't believe I used the word "earn". So I'm not sure where you're reading that into what I said. Whether we "earn" it or not isn't relevant to my point. But...the point I'd like you to answer and discuss is the one I made about being eternally "telestial" and that just being revealed vs. choosing whether we are tel/terr/celestial. Are we just fish? Or do we choose to be fish?
  3. Hi Carb, I hope my reply comes across in the spirit I intend. You seem interested in the discussion. I'm replying in that way as best I can, but I know I can sound argumentative and dismissive and the like sometimes. So hopefully you'll find this interesting, thought provoking, and of value, rather than just stubborn argumentative-ness. (And I'm working to view others replies to me in the same way. It's so easy to just take a defensive position at times, right?) Like I said. I don't believe the first point. I know many do. I know it's actually quite common to. But I do not. (I don't hold my views in such a way that if I'm wrong in the end that I'll be upset by it in any way. I just don't see it this way.) FWIW, I suggest anyone might consider doing some study on reward/punishment as it relates to these things in the scriptures. Though I believe this is another semantic issue. When one says "I don't see life eternal as a reward" but the scripture clearly speak of it in those terms -- well, I'll give the benefit of the doubt here and not just claim that they're wrong. But they're clearly viewing the meaning of what is and is not a "reward" in different terms than are often expressed in the scriptures. ("punishment" gets a bit more muddy because we don't always know how long any given torment is, and what's really meant by "eternal", other than that some things expressed as "eternal" will have an end. But "reward"....there's no such confusion. And I tend to see reward and punishment in strictly mutually exclusive terms.) Anyhow, not seeing it as a "reward" doesn't mean it isn't one. One could apply that to any thing received for any reason. Alternatively not receiving something for not doing something can be seen as a "punishment" -- or not. I don't find that a particularly useful argument. I don't care whether the telestial kingdom is termed a "punishment" or not. It amounts to the same. A loss of glory that could have been. A debate about whether the amount of glory one receives is legitimately termed reward/punishment or not is, frankly, a deflection from the question. The question is that of joy. So the question is simple. Do the Telestial inhabitants have more or less glory and joy than the Celestial? Whether they can abide it or not isn't the point. We can term more glory and joy a "reward" and we can term less glory and joy "punishment"....... or......we can not term it that way. Who cares? It's still more/less glory and more/less joy. I guess I have to ask...do you understand the semantics here? Because very often when I engage in this sort of discussion...people cannot seem to see past their negative view of the word "punishment" to understand the broader idea. They don't seem to understand that debating whether something is a punishment or not is subjective and not worth much more than seeing as subjective. But is it your understanding that there's a strict correlation between glory/joy levels and where we end up in the eternities? Or is your understanding different than that? By saying this you're implying that telestial beings are, eternally...just fish who need the water. By implication...their choices, and accordingly their agency, don't much matter, beyond exposing their "true" selves. I don't accept that. We are, all of us, Celestial beings in embryo. If we choose otherwise, it's not because we didn't have the potential for greater. I don't know how that all works. But the idea that we are all just what we are, and this life is just to reveal that rather than to actually choose it doesn't sit with me. The question is a matter of why they cannot abide it. It's just who they are? Or it's what they chose? As I've said...I don't believe they just were telestial beings from the dawn of their existence and this is all about revealing that. I know that's also a common view point. But I don't believe it. I believe every child of God has the same potential for Celestial glory as the next, and that it is by their choices that they BECOME. They alter their character by choice. They aren't just, secretly, a certain character and the so-called "choices" they make (that aren't really choices after all) simply show what they really were all along. I do not believe that. I think the atonement shows how sin can be separated from the consequence of sin. But that's not, probably, what you mean. So I'll change my feedback. You said The Lord does not cleanse us "from wages of sin." He cleanses us "from sin." So in feedback, if the two are inseparable, then the first part of your statement is false. He does, indeed, cleanse us "from the wages of sin" and cleanses us "from sin". Actually He did remember to do just exactly that. He gave his only Begotten Son to pay the price for our sin. Jesus was punished for our sins. The reason our sins can be remembered no more is because they were paid for. I agree with this because of the word "simply". But it is, regardless of what else it is, an accountant's ledger that is paid in full. Yeah. By paying for them. I mean I understand you're speaking in other terms, which I'm working to understand. But... if I break a window in someone's house and then I want to make it as if that never happened, I pay for a new window, install it, clean up the mess, etc. I pay for the mistake, in full. That being said, I fully agree that there's more to the Atonement than we can understand. It's more than just fixing broken windows.
  4. I don't believe this idea. Never have. It is contrary to everything I know of the gospel. This isn't correct. The Atonement was to overcome the consequence of sin. "Sin is the cause of the estrangement [from God], and therefore the purpose of atonement is to correct or overcome the consequences of sin." https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/bd/atonement?lang=eng "to atone is to suffer the penalty for an act of sin, thereby removing the effects of sin from the repentant sinner" https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/gs/atone-atonement?lang=eng I mean even the scripture where we get the phrase "wages of sin" makes this plain: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23
  5. Just so it's clear, I think the ultimate answer to these sorts of questions is that we don't really understand the eternities or have much of a clue about it. The importance of these concepts seem to be only in how they feed our faith. One of the reasons I tend to reject some of the ideas you're presenting (and to be clear...it's only a few, and it's primarily semantics) is because it feels to me that there is danger there. I've seen it when people have embraced the idea that they'll be saved no matter what to turn away from that with which they ought to be concerned. So my motivation in seeing it the way I do stems from that sort of thinking. I appreciate the time you took laying out your "case" as it were. I'm responding in kind. I'm not in the mindset of "YOU'RE WRONG!" here. So if any of my poor phrasing comes across that way it's just because of my poor communication. That being said, here are some of my thoughts in response: Surely we must admit that there has to be a meaningful difference between returning to God the Father's presence, and receiving the ministering of the Holy Ghost. My point isn't complicated. It's that the first (returning to be again with our Father) is what all the scriptures that speak of entering the Kingdom of Heaven mean. Frankly, I have a bit of problem with D&C 76. To be clear, I have a problem with the way people interpret it and use it to ignore myriads of other scriptures. I struggle with what seems to be important and meaningful warning after warning after warning taught again and again throughout the scriptures being waved away because of D&C 76. I'm not suggesting that's your intent or what you're doing. I'm suggesting that I've seen people do that, and your points here allow for that in a way that makes me a bit uncomfortable. I'm suggesting that is the result (in my mind) of taking D&C 76 as if the expressions therein are equivalent to the same expressions elsewhere in the scriptures (like the ones I posted in my prior response). There's this general approach that in D&C 76 we can clearly see that telestial beings are "saved", and therefore any time we read of "saved" or "salvation" elsewhere we must apply it to the telestial. I don't think that line of reasoning is as obvious as it's sometimes made out to be. Here's my thinking on the matter for what it's worth: (And I noted that you addressed something similar later on in your post, in the mission of the Church). When the scriptures deal with salvation, the kingdom of God, damnation, etc., they are dealing with a binary* intentionally. That binary is exalted vs not exalted. D&C then expands our understanding of the "not exalted" part of the binary. Which means it must, accordingly, expand some things definitionally. It's been brought up before, that terms like saved are relative terms. When someone says "saved" it really has no meaning by itself. We must add the "from" part for it to have meaning. D&C 76 is talking about being saved from a specific thing -- that is to say, outer darkness. But I believe when most of the scriptures speak of being saved it's speaking of the binary with which we are meant to concern ourselves...saved from being cut off from the Father. Saved from losing our exaltation. Saved from the wages of sin, which is spiritual death**, which is separation from our Father. And, once again, to accept that being ministered to by the Holy Ghost is the same wage as returning to the Father and therefore saved in the same manner would seem unreasonable. *I've seen arguments made before that this is due to lesser knowledge and greater knowledge. Like a line upon line thing. Or like the Book of Mormon prophets didn't fully understand or know the complete truth. I reject this sort of argument. The binary view is not a lesser truth. In my mind, if anything, it's a greater truth, and the truth which which we ought to be concerned. **I accept and understand there are semantics at play here too, and that spiritual death can have broader meaning. Sure. But...once again... from what? Just using the term "saved" or "salvation" without detailing the "from" is bound to get muddled in both communication and interpretation. And I mean in every instance. In Christendom at large because they only accept a binary eternity the term "saved" has an implicit "from". Because we have subdivided out that binary the "from" isn't implicit and must be made explicit when we speak of salvation. It is my contention that when that "from" isn't made explicit, we must default to the binary. And that binary is exaltation and everything else. If the binary isn't meant to be that, then it's important to clarify the matter. D&C 76 is still dealing with a binary, of course. But it's set the binary as outer darkness and everything else. I think it's important to see and understand that. The binary there is not the same binary the scriptures and other teachings typically utilize (that being exaltation, I believe). So at the least, it strikes me that clarifying which binary is being used when speaking of "salvation" is important. And it is my contention that D&C 76 using outer darkness as the binary line is an anomaly, not a standard. This phrase feels meaningless to me. It's not "sin" that's of concern in my mind when we're speaking of being saved. It's the wages of sin. We sin, and the result of that sin is A, B, C, D, etc... It's the A, B, C, etc. that we are concerned with. Which will be our reward (wage) because of the sin. It's never made sense to me to separate the end result from this matter. I mean if we literally were talking wages (like money payment) then it's like saying that due to your choices, you'll get either $10 an hour, $50 an hour, or unlimited pay. And with repentance in this life you get that unlimited pay without having to pay for all the stuff you broke first, but with the $10, or $50 or whatever, you'll first have to do just that. In the end, you'll get the job. You'll be "saved" from $0 an hour. But you can't rightly be making $10 an hour and be considered "saved" from having restricted income. There's only one wage that's unlimited. And there's only one wage that $0. It really feels like that's the crux of what I'm pushing at here. If one individual is shouting "saved" and means unlimited income, and the other is shouting "saved" and means anything greater than $0 income then there's going to be a problem. And, it seems, the word is used to mean both, doctrinally. And so....confusion occurs. And it's a hard matter to really debate, because the truth is that we don't really know. What did every prophet mean, specifically, when they used the terms saved or salvation. The $0 or the unlimited? Or something else? Shrug. I'm of the view they generally meant the unlimited because that's what seems important when calling people to repentance, which is the doctrine of Christ, and the Father's work and glory. But maybe I'm wrong. This is probably another can of worms to open...but I'm not sure how "explicit" it needs to be. It gets more into semantics (what argument doesn't, it seems. ). But did Satan "explicitly" reject salvation? Or did he claim salvation through himself and his plan, but was then, against his explicit will, cast out? It strikes me that those Sons of Perdition will more likely be more like, "We want salvation OUR way!" Rather than "We don't want salvation!" Yes (the semantics) they will reject God's salvation. But that doesn't translate, to my thinking, that they won't have wanted salvation. There can be no argument that Satan wanted glory. It was the primary motivation for his actions. Yes. But, I'll return to the idea again: their eternal wages are still only $10 an hour or what-have-you. They still only get the ministering of the Holy Ghost. They still don't receive all things. They still aren't returned to the presence of the Father. They are still subject to the angels. Etc. etc. Right. And I don't know what the difference is. If God and the Son are one then one could reason there is no meaningful difference. But I think it's obvious there is a meaningful difference. But I do not understand it. One thing that strikes me, that may or may not have merit, is that both The Son and The Holy Ghost attend (or attended) to us in mortality where wickedness abounds. The Father's appearance has only been in the case of transfigured and thereby "redeemed" individuals (though, in most cases, these transfigurations have been necessary for the appearance of The Son). I'm not sure that thought has any meaning as related to what we're discussing. Just a thought. Repeating myself, but... saved "from"......?? I mean it's really the key thing here. And it's the "why" behind understanding any of this. In this comment you are clearly meaning saved from outer darkness in line with D&C 76. But as you point out, the church's concern is exaltation, as are the teachings in most scriptures. Which is another can of worms what we could get into if you'd like. I think there's a definite case to be made that baptism will have been performed for all who ever lived through the work for the dead here and throughout the millennium. Whether that baptism will have been accepted being key to exaltation or telestial existence.... shrug. I'm not sure. Of course it's the same debate we've been having as to what is meant by "the kingdom of God". Okay...I know I repeat myself a lot in my responses sometimes. Hopefully it didn't get annoying. And hopefully I'm getting my thoughts across clearly and meaningfully.
  6. Hmm. This thinking isn't connecting with me. Some basic scriptural research I did thinking upon it follows a bit down. A few things strike me as true. When the scriptures speak of "the kingdom of heaven" they are speaking of God's presence. No unclean thing can be in God's presence (the kingdom of God). God's presence will not be part of the terrestrial and telestial experience. Note: I'm not saying or arguing that repentance will not be required for the telestial kingdom. I think that's plain. I believe the when, why, and where of repentance matters to that end. It's just the idea that the telestial is "the kingdom of heaven" didn't register with me as accurate. (Though I accept it could be semantically argued to be that -- I just don't think that's what it's meaning in typical usage. I mean technically all known reality is God's kingdom.) I dunno. I'm open to your case being made if you wanted to dig in deeper. But this was my thought in response to your post. Here are some of the scriptures I read thinking on it. I did some bolding correlated to the above thoughts, but honestly a complete reading makes a stronger case. The wicked are cut off from God. They cannot enter His kingdom. These two ideas are equivalent. ___________________________________________ 1 Nephi 10:21 Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever. 2 Nephi 2:8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. 1 Nephi 15:34 But behold, I say unto you, the kingdom of God is not filthy, and there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore there must needs be a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy. Alma 7:21 And he doth not dwell in unholy temples; neither can filthiness or anything which is unclean be received into the kingdom of God; therefore I say unto you the time shall come, yea, and it shall be at the last day, that he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness. Alma 11:37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins. Alma 40:26 But behold, an awful death cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness; for they are unclean, and no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God; but they are cast out, and consigned to partake of the fruits of their labors or their works, which have been evil; and they drink the dregs of a bitter cup. Helaman 8:25 But behold, ye have rejected the truth, and rebelled against your holy God; and even at this time, instead of laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where nothing doth corrupt, and where nothing can come which is unclean, ye are heaping up for yourselves wrath against the day of judgment. 3 Nephi 27:19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end. 2 Nephi 2:8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. Mosiah 2:41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it. Mormon 9:4–5 Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell. For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you. And, of course, of the celestial: D&C 76:52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; D&C 76:62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever. And of the terrestrial: D&C 76:77 These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father. __________________________________________________ I think there's more to find. This was a cursory study of the matter. Moreover, it strikes me, logically, that warning people that they need to repent or they cannot enter the kingdom of God/Heaven loses all meaning if, in the end, everyone is going to repent to be in the kingdom of God anyhow. Was all the preaching in the scriptures above meant only for the rare Sons of Perdition qualified individuals? I dunno. Like I said...I'm open to you expounding on your thought.
  7. So after I posted this late last night I thought to myself, "Yeah, that actually wasn't the joke part. And...the phrase 'you never know...' is actually true...." so it isn't a good example after all. But, hey, it was late and right before going to sleep. I'll keep an eye open for more examples. But maybe I'm entirely wrong and misreading every example that made me slightly uncomfortable my first watch through.
  8. Perhaps you're reading too much into my thoughts on the matter.
  9. So two things in ep1 of season 2. The one you pointed out with the Torah was mild. The more obvious was the joke he made with the guy who robbed and was thrown from the horse of a Jew. Simon said "we better get back before it's too late." Jesus then says, "Yeah. You never know what sort of people you may encounter in the roads at night." Then he looks at the man and says, "Too soon?" It's funny. But it's a good example of what I mean. The truth is that they all know what kind of men they might run into. Saying "You never know..." is a joke because it is the opposite of truth.
  10. @zil2 So the original thing I read was when you said, as I understand it, that we are all saved based on whether we choose right or wrong, which we all have the ability to do because of the Light of Christ. Even accepting that I may have misread you...even then, I don't, for the record, flat out disagree. I stated, "I don't see it that way", but I admit I don't really know how that all works. I don't know how it will work for someone who lives their entire life choosing the good because of the Light of Christ, but never hears the gospel. Does that choosing the good prepare them better for when they hear it? I don't know. I don't think a full on disagreement was ever my intent.
  11. I'll review it too to see if I can figure out where, if anywhere, I'm saying I actually disagree.
  12. Sometimes it's hard to follow the thread of where things came from and went, what was said in response to what, etc., etc. So I'm not sure. But...I'm not sure agreement was the issue at hand here.....in this...case.......?? I believe you were asking if I thought you understood my point clearly, and I wasn't sure you fully did, so I was making efforts to ensure it was clear. I don't think, in this particular case, I was disagreeing with anything, per se. If you understood my latest comment on that matter and agree with it then I believe we've come to where we wanted to be. I did disagree with the comment on "doing stuff", but even then I admit it was a semantic thing. That being said, I'm not trying to debate. I'm just sharing my view. I'd love you to express more on what you're trying to say and your thoughts on the Nibley quote. I did say I disagreed with Nibley, per my understanding of what he said. But that doesn't mean I interpreted it correctly, or that you're interpreting it in the same way I did.
  13. Repentance is a works. So I'm not sure it's a completely different matter. I don't agree with this. Doing stuff is, indeed, what "gets us" all that stuff (semantically dependent). It's simply not a one to one relationship. Christ is the go-between. We do stuff because He commands it. We must do that stuff. It's the condition He set. No one can legitimately make the argument that we can do nothing and be saved. It's semantics when we throw in phrases like "earn", like "do we earn salvation?" Anyhow, it's the wrong question. The question is simply, what must we do? And the understanding should be that despite what we do, we cannot be saved without Christ. But neither can we be saved without doing stuff. What we do very much matters. So I may be quibbling over what you're saying with "gets us", but I think it's important. The covenant path is key. I have no problem seeing it as key. I'm not saying works aren't requisite. I'm saying that becoming is the result, not the key. The key is accepting Christ and doing all that we can to do His will. The result is becoming more like Him. I'm trying to saying that when we stand to be judged, how much we are like Christ isn't the key. There will be some who are very far along that path and some who are not very far. But that won't matter. What will matter is that we accepted and then strove faithfully to follow Him. Is that any more clear?
  14. Side story because I want to to tell it. Maybe someone will find it interesting. The main experience I had with JWs was in high-school. One of my best friends and I learned that some other friends we had (2 brothers) were JWs. (I hope it's not considered disrespectful to them to use JW. That's not my intent.) This was extremely uncommon in that I was in Utah Valley. So we were curious. So we asked. It turned into, almost immediate, daily Bible bashing. My friend and I would go home after school, and research. The next day we'd come back and give them all our "proof" that we were right. Then they'd counter (often the same way...taking a day to research) and so forth and so forth. We had a specific plan to meet up every day at lunch time and bash. Ah, the memories! Good times. My mom told me not to. She taught me then how useless it was. She taught me how conversion comes from the Spirit, not "proof". But I was obsessed, and it was SO much fun. Moreover...it was the catalyst for 2 very, very important things in my life. 1. I realized at that point how much I knew about the gospel. I never knew how much I actually knew until it started being challenged. It was the beginning of the gospel being a true passion of mine. 2. I learned the importance of Spiritual conversion through the proper means. That has affected my view of such throughout my life (including many responses I've given in this forum. Bashing doesn't convert. There is no "proof". JW's are silly for believing there is proof and that it can all be reasoned out. And it doesn't matter how silly a story sounds.* I know bashing isn't a good pursuit. But I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. On a side note: one of my other friends told me that he ran into one of the brothers in the MTC. Yes...you read that right. Going on a mission. My friend claimed that he spoke to him and the guy denied he was the same JW we knew... buy my friend swore it was him. So......................................................maybe bible bashing does work? Anyhow, we learned an awful lot about the JWs. *One time one of the brothers told us this story of how the JW religion was founded. (Spoiler: he made it all up to sound outlandish). He told us this dude was walking through the woods one day and came across a tree, inside of which he found some magic doo-hickey of some sort that etc., etc. In retrospect, he was trying to point out how silly the story of Joseph Smith was by making up a similar thing. Well...actually it wasn't even "in retrospect". It was made clear when he finished the story by saying, "Now doesn't that sound outlandish. That's how your story of Joseph Smith sounds to us!" But as he was telling it, we were dead serious in accepting he believed it, not knowing about his religion at all, and not being aware he was using that tactic. All in all...the story sounded like.... well any number of stories told in the Bible that are "outlandish" (a point we quickly made with him). Anyhow...funny. Ah...the memories.
  15. Your comment is a springboard for this one, even though it isn't really related directly or a reply. I have often wondered about Scientology in this regard. We hear so many wack-a-doodle things about it, but it's always from disaffected people. And, it seems, this sort of thing, as you describe of "recovering Mormons" is somewhat human nature. Would it not be true of recovering Scientologists as well? Of course Scientology's weirdness seems to be right in line with all the claims. This is true of JWs too (I have direct experience to know, somewhat, of what I speak in the case of JWs). So is it just the Latter-day Saints who are smeared so falsely????? Who knows. Like I said...not directly related. And clearly off topic. Just the thought I had.
  16. I many have injected some interpretations based on what seems to be a common trope I hear. That is to say, the idea that becoming more like God is what this life is all about. We are meant to strive to be like God. That is obvious. It's commanded. But it seems like a lot of people, then, conflate this idea with the conditions of salvation. I guess I read that into what you'd written incorrectly.
  17. What that tells me is that what we think is being tested is probably not what's being tested. At it's core, the test is given in Abraham 3: "And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;" But if we're testing our capacity to obey in mortality, you're right... the conditions of the Celestial Kingdom don't match. We're being tested to see if we can obey when blind. That doesn't match up with the idea of being perfect, all knowing, and all powerful. Some people want to try and connect the dots. Like if we can do the lesser thing, then it qualifies us for the greater. I'm not sure that's the connection. I don't know what the connection is. But the implication of the lesser test implies a greater test. And we know that isn't the case. This is THE test. Pass it and we pass. The other line people try to draw is learning to be like God to become like God. That is a pretty spurious connection in regards to "the test" though. I don't deny the fact that every way we can learn to be more like God helps us along our paths to become more like God. That's a given. (Though, even then, it's a hard line to connect...since as you pointed out, we're in the artificial environment where we hunger, etc.). But it isn't the test. The test isn't whether we can be like God. We can't. The test is whether we can obey God in faith while blinded by the veil. But God isn't blinded by a veil and isn't subject to anything. Yeah...I know. He's subject to "eternal law" in theory. Maybe. We don't really understand that. Interesting thought on your part. I'm just not sure on the connection. But people do (including myself) try and reason out the mysteries of God with mortal reasoning. Seems bound to fail in many cases.
  18. Nonsense. I knew tons of fellow missionaries when I was on mine in the early 90s who had just such sensibilities.
  19. @zil2, btw, I apologize for falling into any habitual phrasings that may come across poorly. For example, I'll write, "I simply don't believe..." instead of "In my opinion..." or "I think/believe..." I know sometimes the way I write can come across badly, patronizing or rude. I've been working on improving that, but when I get to writing a lot instead of a short answer I am more likely to fall back into said habits. So I thought in this case instead of going back in and editing even more than I have already, I'd simply ask for your understanding.
  20. Yeah. There seem to be some consistency issues in his expressions. I don't tend to think this way. It's part of the equation, to an extent, but I think there are way too many examples of people being born into terrible things who then perpetuate those terrible things to suggest that we all intuitively understand better or worse. In point of fact, I think we all intuitively are inclined towards the worse. The Light of Christ fights against that natural tendency...but can be easily drowned out by it, and often by things not of our choosing. Moreover, the condition whereby we gain salvation is very clearly set, and it is not whether we choose better or the worse in the aggregate. That idea aligns too closely with us earning our own salvation to my thinking. The condition of salvation is not self improvement. Self improvement is a result. But it's not the condition set. The condition is to accept Christ. Granted, part of accepting Christ is the effort to self-improve. But, once again, not the condition. I believe there are those who will have spent a life-time self-improving who will, by virtue of pride, have rejected Christ and will therefore not gain their exaltation. Alternatively, I think there will be those who failed in a myriad of ways to self improve for various reasons, but who will humbly accept Christ, who will gain exaltation. In point of fact, I would say it's much more accurate to state what you did here by inserting the words "try to" into it: "really it's whether we will [try to] choose better or worse". But even then, that does no good if we reject Christ. With all the good choices in the world, if we fail in that one.... FWIW I do not agree with Nibley's statement either, according to what I'm suggesting here. I can go into this further if you're interested. But for now I'll just leave it with what I've explained here and see what you think. Yeah, but there's a fatal flaw in @Traveler's theory in my opinion. None of us experienced what it was to be exalted. So how could we, according to his view, choose whether we wanted that glory or not? If what he's suggesting is correct then to truly exercise agency we'd all have to be exalted and be sons of perdition, etc., before choosing which test we'd be given so we'd know what we were choosing. And it just doesn't work that way. None of us know what being exalted will be like until we're exalted. Hence, we have to choose that based on faith. Fully agreed. So many people seem to equate "freedom" and "agency" as if they're one and the same. And then they go even further (as Traveler has done, I believe) and apply agency to everything as if it's the most important thing in every choice we make. All of this is flawed thinking to me. I've explained this before so apologies if I'm repeating, but: Agency is much more related to accountability than it is to freedom. It requires the ability to choose (freedom), of course, but it's not merely "FREEDOM!!!!" There is only one application of agency that actually matters in gospel terms. One's ability to be an agent unto themselves in their choice of breakfast cereal is not what we're talking about (except to whatever extent choosing breakfast cereal affects one's understanding of good and evil). This is drawn out pretty clearly in scripture. "And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil;" 2 Nephi 2:27 THAT ^ is the agency we're speaking of. We choose Christ or we choose the devil. We choose humility or we choose pride. We choose obedience or we choose disobedience. We choose repentance or we continue in our sins. It is not the application of those choices that really makes the difference. We will do evil as mortal men. The condition set is whether we choose evil. Of course that's semantics again. But hopefully my point comes across. In life, we are fallen. We will be fallen. We cannot not be fallen. What we can do...choose Christ. I cannot express how often I've "tried" to do right only to cause harm (evil). I must trust that those instances are not to my damnation, and that only my evil choices count. Where any choice is available to be made in these matters then our agency counts. And, as you state, you only need the freedom to that end. You don't need much freedom...just enough to choose Christ. The more freedom, of course, the more accountability (but only relative to our understanding of Christ and His commandments). But no one has complete freedom. And certainly, it can be reasoned, that we don't need much freedom to choose Christ or not. Traveler seems to think that if we're born into whatever situation it must be because we exercised agency to choose it. But agency in all things isn't a doctrine that's ever been taught. He states agency is "the number one doctrine of our intelligent pre-existence". But then seems to translate that to mean everything we ever have put upon us must be by our own choice. I see it differently. The agency that is "the number one doctrine", as he puts it, was the same in the pre-existence as it is here. It's whether we accepted Christ or not. Also...there's another flaw in Traveler's view: since so much of what is put upon is from the agency others exercise, how can we possibly have chosen that without stepping on other's agency? No other choice but that of choosing Christ ultimately matters.* And I think it's a serious problem to conflate all choice with that most imperative one. *obviously other choices matter. They just don't "ultimately" matter. I mean if you stick your hand in a wood chipper, you lose your hand. That matters. But it doesn't ultimately matter if you have chosen Christ. Fwiw, I have never accepted this kind of narrative. It gets too much into semantics to really be much of a useful debate in most cases. And it's probably partly because I'm old-school in my religious thinking. But I simply don't believe that if I fail to reach the Celestial Kingdom that I'll be hunky dory with it. Nor do I believe that my desperate feelings that I want to go to the Celestial Kingdom will be sufficient to qualify me for it. Once again, I'd change what you're stating to the following: "yep, turns out that really is what [was correct for me] all along." Using the word "wanted" gets into too much semantic mud. Haha. I do that all the time. In point of fact, I very often just give up and hit "Submit Reply" before really detailing out my thoughts....as I'm about to do.......right............now.
  21. I really tried to take interest in this. I just couldn't quite find it in me.
  22. I'll grant this point as a generic, though I personally believe there's more to it. I know the "all things are possible with God" idea is scriptural...but one must always consider the sort of idea, "Can God make something so heavy that even He cannot lift it?" More important would be the idea, "Can God sin?" And also, "Can God save someone in their sins?" Expressions abound in the scriptures where God "cannot" do this or that. Where we are explicitly taught that we can trust that these sorts of things cannot be. ("for God cannot be tempted with evil" James 1:13, "he cannot walk in crooked paths; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left, or from that which is right to that which is wrong; " Alma 7:20, "I, the Lord, promise the faithful and cannot lie" D&C 62:6, etc.) So it's all fine and dandy to consider the science of it or to semantically twist the ideas into whim (as in suggesting God "can" sin, but He chooses not to.) Suggesting that all things are possible means that God could cast away His power and authority by choosing sin tomorrow seems flawed. I don't believe the "order" of things is God's whim either. The order of procreation, I believe, is eternal. Male and female. So I would suggest, no, we cannot procreate with Christ. It takes male and a female. We are sealed to one another, male and female, to that end. That's what I'm getting at. Clearly that is not the end-all of sealing. But it is an important component of it I think. As a reminder of the discussion point, you said, " if it was not important who we are individually sealed to – why not just be sealed to Christ alone?" My suggestion is that it is important that we are sealed to a member of the opposite sex for the sake of eternal procreation, and that is one of only two keys that matter in that regard. The second being that said person is exalted as well. Beyond that, I tend to think that it won't matter who we are sealed to, for one perfect individual is as perfect as another. Since I reject your view of pre-committed agency as to who we are sealed to, I reason it thusly: We choose in this life who we are sealed in marriage to. The individual who we choose may, or may not, exercise their agency to gain exaltation. If we exercise our agency to that end and they do not then we must still be sealed to someone in order to gain our exaltation. Additionally there are many who choose righteousness but never have the opportunity to be sealed in marriage in this life. And when it comes to that time where we must be sealed, are worthy of it, but are not for reasons beyond our control....? Well I'm not sure how it will all work out but it doesn't matter to me. My point is that God could simply arrange all such marriages and it would lead to the same perfect joy in exaltation as were we to mingle, date, and select based on...well...based on what? If all women involved are, at that time, perfectly perfect, then what characteristics, exactly, are we using to choose one above the other? I suggest this thinking based entirely upon my reason, not my feelings. I feel, strongly, (as I believe we all do) that my wife, individually, matters and that being sealed to her, specifically, matters to me a great deal. But I also must trust that if she ultimately fails to achieve exaltation that I will not be left out to dry for that reason alone. And that despite her choices, I will have eternal joy if I choose to follow Christ in obedience. My eternal joy is not dependent upon her choices (even though it often feels in this life as if our eternal joy is dependent on others choices.) It seems like you're suggesting two ideas that feel contradictory. 1. We choose everything about this life in the pre-existence. 2. This life is a test. How does that work out? Correct my misunderstanding. Because it feels as if you are saying that the pre-existence was the test where we exercised our agency to select everything about this life, and now we're just riding the wave of those choices. Am I misunderstanding? Another question: How do you reconcile your idea that knowledge is requisite for agency with the concept of faith? You claim we cannot use our agency to choose without knowledge. But it strikes me that the entire test of mortality is just that. We are intentionally put behind a veil, intentionally deprived of knowledge, and then tested upon whether we will use our agency to exercise faith without knowledge to choose obedience. And, just so we're clear, obviously some knowledge is required for agency. I don't reject that. We must have some level of knowledge in order to be accountable (accountability being a key component of agency). The point where we seem to differ is whether we need explicit knowledge of every little thing in order to exercise agency in every little thing. For example. God commands us to climb a mountain. We don't know what's up the mountain. But based on our trust in God, we exercise our agency to go up the mountain. Or based on our lack of trust in God we refuse. The lack of knowledge about the mountain doesn't seem important. So another question: Is the use of agency important in every choice we make -- large or small? I would suggest not. But what think ye?
  23. Yeah, but it amount to the same thing. I'm a firm believer in the Lord doesn't lie. But he also doesn't explain everything to us in detail, knowing we cannot understand. My point was simply that the strong feeling that we don't need to have another child may well be a "for now" thing, whether it's implicit in the feeling or not. In some ways it's like going to a service project, feeling that the service was good, acceptable to the Lord, and it was time to go home now, and translating that feeling to "you never have to serve again"? The Spirit may communicate decisions to us. The simple decision is to not have more children. But we take that feeling and translate it to "for the rest of our life!" Which may or may not have anything to do with what we were inspired for. Another example might be something like... we come to a fork in the road. We pray to the Lord and ask which path is safer. We receive a clear impression to go left. Then we get into all sorts of danger and trauma. Others who took the right path tell us how safe and easy it was. So what's up with that? Well... first... the direction may not have been related to the mortal concerns we have. He may not have said, "the left is safer." He may have just said, "go left". We injected the safer idea. But...even more important... What does "safer" mean? We may have been in more physical peril. But maybe the safety with which the Lord was concerned was our soul's? Perhaps the physical trials protected us spiritually. We see examples of that sort of thing all over the place in scripture and church history. (Zion's camp, for example.) So that's what I'm really getting at. I don't believe the Lord tricks us through deception. But he doesn't reveal everything to us either. He says to trust Him and move forward. Another more difficult example to explain (this one is based on real life): A pregnant sister in my ward testified that she had received revelation that she was going to have a little girl. Then....she had a boy. Literally the opposite of what she received revelation would be the case happened. My takeaway....she didn't actually receive revelation. She just had a thought and presumed it was revelation when it wasn't. But...I don't really know. I don't want to poo-poo other's spiritual experiences as invalid.* *Well...in some cases I do. For example, another individual I knew said that they received revelation in the Celestial room in the temple that the church wasn't true.
  24. Does that mean you believe everyone willfully chose whether they will be in the the Telestial, Terrestrial, or Celestial kingdoms prior to mortality? And does that further mean that you believe that this life is not a test? Can we procreate with Christ? What do you believe the important part of being "sealed" is? It doesn't logically resonate with you that one perfect, exalted, all-knowing, all-loving being might be no different than another perfect, exalted, all-knowing, all-loving being? Have you forgotten that we've gone the rounds on this many, many times, with many frustrated feelings following? I'll pose my responses as questions. You can justify your position in response as you like. But I'll forgo countering those positions. Anyhow, I'd be surprised if you cannot recall my view on these matters. I've expressed it to you in great detail.