The Folk Prophet

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  1. I recommend you look for your answers outside of a forum. Particularly, look to the scriptures and the writings and words of prophets and apostles. There are plenty of answers about this sort of thing. I highly recommend The Miracle of Forgiveness, by Spencer W. Kimball, for example. You have a strong testimony of the gospel, that is clear. But you don't seem to have a strong testimony of the repentance process. You have some trust issues with the system. That trust indicates a lack of testimony, but you CAN gain a testimony of the process. Just as with anything, study it, read, ponder, pray, etc... The process of repentance is a VERY difficult thing. It is part of why sinning is such a big problem and partly why we are counselled so strenuously to avoid sin. I have to go back to humility. None of us can truly repent without humility. Your response to my initial post about humility tells me that you don't quite get that. Without getting that, you won't understand repentance. We cannot come to the Lord in repentance with pride and think our offering will be accepted. Humility is paramount. We must lose ourselves to find Him. Any advice given to someone about repentance, including visiting the bishop, must incorporated this thinking. We HAVE to subject ourselves to the Lord's way and will. The offering expected is a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Have you thought about what that means? A Broken heart. It's not just some catch phrase. There is important meaning in that.
  2. I think these examples/proverbs/etc., are further insight into HOW to judge righteously (or when it is inappropriate to judge at all). I think your point is valid, but not entirely supportive that hypocrisy is always the issue and therefore we should never judge. Thank you though for the thought and some discussion action, which I really wanted. :) I do not think it is as simple as judge not, but I also don't think it's as simple as don't judge not--if that makes any sense at all. In other words, discussion is certainly warranted.
  3. Disciples = all followers. Not just leader. Moreover, the instruction was specifically to tell it to the people, so... I'm not sure I follow the logic.
  4. Your whole premise is based on something that is not accurate. Final judgment and the reward of salvation is Jesus Christ's to give and His alone. Not going to the bishop does not necessarily equate to going to hell. Take, for example, someone who had sinned, had truly and honestly repented, intended to go to the bishop, but had not had the chance because of...we'll go with the military or something...and then they were killed. We don't exactly do bishop visits for the dead. That's because we don't need to. It is not requisite for salvation. That is an extreme example, of course, and an unlikely scenario. But one that isn't extreme or unlikely is a choice someone makes because of emotional or mental disorders that cause them the inability to comprehend. We are only accountable for that which we know and understand. Someone who is incapable of understanding something (even due to trauma) will not be held accountable. We can't tell who is and isn't capable of that understanding. The final judgment rests with the Lord. All we can do is teach what has been told us is the right path. Going to the bishop when someone has committed sexual transgression is the right path. But if someone literally cannot comprehend or deal with that because of of a legitimate loss of ability, it doesn't necessarily preclude the possibility of salvation. However, I would argue that more often then not that those not going to the bishop because of fear comes down to pride and lack of humility rather than a true and honest inability to comprehend and act. As someone else pointed out...we preach the rule and then deal with the exceptions. Moreover, your view of bishop's ability to handle complex problems based on abuse and other traumas shows a fair bit of bias. Bishops, certainly, deal with this sort of thing all the time. Abuse, sadly, is not uncommon. Bishops don't just sit on thrones passing down judgment. This is a perception based on fear, but not on reality.
  5. ...only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile— (D&C 121:41-42) That is all any of us can do.
  6. The accountability I refer to is not simply going to one's bishop. To say that going to the bishop equates to absolution is absolutely false. The bishop does not, in any way, absolve sin. There is only one who can absolve sin, and that is the Savior. Yes, we go to the bishop because it is the means the Lord has set for us in His kingdom on earth to work through the process and satisfy the requirements for that absolution. But it is only one part of the equation. It seems like you're saying: It's not fair that the rapist and the fornicator both have to go the bishop to be absolved from sin. But it's much, much more in depth than this. Frankly, the bishop, in reality, has much, much less to do with absolution for sin than our own change of hearts and our acceptance of the Savior. But it is part of the equation. I'm not just trying to argue the point, by the way. I have a strong testimony of the keys of the priesthood and the role of bishops in the kingdom of God. I honestly hope my point of view is helpful and not just frustrating. :)
  7. Maybe a side note...but your compounding sins and comparing them as the same thing. Rape is worse than fornication because it includes more sins than just sex. It involves sins including but not limited to violence, theft, humiliation, abuse, etc., etc... It is much worse than consensual fornication, but not because the actual sex act is worse, but because of all the other evils and sins that are part of it as well. This is also true of adultery. It includes deception, lying, disloyalty, betrayal, etc., etc... And so forth with other sexually related sins.
  8. I assume by "it" you mean Matthew 7:1. Which is certainly a valid presumption I think. But what I'm talking about is more related to people's' generic interpretation that seeing others as sinners is wrong because it's judging. I'm saying that it's perfectly acceptable see a sinner as a sinner. But it needs to be harnessed by righteousness and the spirit's guidance. I hope to love people in spite of their sins. But I do judge. I see their horrible behavior and I judge it as wrong. I judge their choices as wrong. I judge them as sinners. I utilize this to make choices that I hope are appropriate. I strive to act and judge in righteousness. But seeing a sinner as a sinner is not unrighteous. But it is judging. Ultimately, we are commanded to call sinners to repentance. How, may I ask, can we possibly do this if we cannot judge anyone to actually be sinners? Know what I mean? :)
  9. Uh...technically that conclusion would also be a logical fallacy. :)
  10. Yes. Except.... Dead on. But we cannot, as I'm sure you know, discount accountability because of that mercy. We are accountable. But our accountability will not and cannot save use. We must rely on mercy for that. But we are accountable.
  11. Going to see the bishop is not a solution to the problem. It is only the start of a solution. Going to see the bishop is the right answer though because only one's bishop has the keys and the rights to address these things in the church. It is his right and responsibility and he has the keys, the resources, and the mantle required. He has the right to the guidance of the spirit for these issues in ways that no one else does. Any other advice is potentially wrong. Go see your bishop is the right answer. I can understand that this policy being difficult, and appreciate your thoughts on it. But I'm not sure anyone has the rights of stewardship to really suggest anything else.
  12. I think (if I'm understanding correctly) that he's pointing out that it is perceived as discipline. Which is true. It is hard. It is scary. And sometimes it is not handled well. My take on it is that it doesn't much matter. Humility is humility. Abject humility is abject humility. All of us must come to that. A full giving of ourselves over to the Lord and His kingdom on earth. Anything less is insufficient. Whatever reasons one has for their pride, no matter how valid their position, no matter the sadness of the tale, it doesn't matter. Humility is humility. Faith is faith. Trust is trust. Sacrifice is sacrifice. Obedience is obedience. Consecration is consecration. We cannot conditionally define these principles and laws. Of course this does not justify bishops being insensitive jerks, which happens. But in the grand scheme of things, a bishop being a jerk no more justifies sin than having been abused or having taught horrible things by your parents or anything else. Justifications play a role into how things should be handled, but they're less important to our choice to humble ourselves or not. We must all get there. For some it is harder than others, but we trust the Lord that it is fair and that He will be fair in the end. We all have handicaps. Some are natural traits of personality, some are chains of sin, some are chains of situation, some are mental disorders or emotional or chemical imbalances. Everyone has to deal with these. It's part of life. Some have minor issues and some have major MAJOR issues. For some it is their own faults and for others it is not their fault in any way. Regardless, we all must humble ourselves and come to the Savior, sacrificing all that we have and consecrating our lives to Him and His kingdom on this earth. The imperfections in the men and women of the church are no excuse. Should bishops be more understanding and perfect. Yes, of course. But the idea that there is a policy problem...? Not so sure I agree. Perhaps. But wicked people will mess up any policy. Bad bishops will continue to be a problem because people aren't perfect. But we have to accept that this is part of the Lord's plan. That being said, I cannot imagine the church is sitting back and saying "whatever" about local leadership problems, something they surely get hounded about constantly. I feel confident that continued training, addition or change of policy, and general responses all align with best efforts to face these difficult and traumatic situations, that only worsen as the world slides further and further into the grasp of the father of lies. But it comes back to the same thing. Humble yourselves and come unto Christ, or don't. The choice is there for all of us in spite of bad bishops. And my advice remains the same for those who have transgressed sexually, no matter the reason. Go to your bishop. He has the keys given to him for this purpose and it IS the right suggestion.
  13. The power of the adversary's lies is astounding. I cannot understand believing it has no harm. Let's just let people do any evil thing they want, as long as they don't hurt anyone, then the depravity won't matter? Moreover, let's proclaim it and celebrate it as human-rights and justice for all. It won't leak into people's thinking and value systems? It will have no power to seep into the fabric of our sensibilities and our children's sensibilities? No strength to allow further encroachment on the rights of religion and truth? Really? How anyone can fail to find this self-evident within the scope of gospel doctrines... I'm baffled by this thinking. The only valid argument for not fighting against gay marriage is to accept that it is not harmful. And outside the church, I can see that. With no moral understanding of family, sexual relations, gender roles, etc., sure...why not think it's no problem? Within the church, however, these things have been taught pretty plainly.
  14. I'm a bit confused at what the suggestion is here. Are you suggesting that the recommendations to go the the bishop were mistaken? Or that the bishop must have been wrong to not allow the person in question to go on her mission? That some sexual acts are worse than others is obvious, and I would doubt that any bishop would look at them all the same. But one thing being horrible doesn't alter the severity of another sinful act. As more and more wickedness enters the world should we downplay the severity of lesser sins? The bottom line is that sexual sin of any nature is very, very serious. Because there are worse things one can do than fornication does not mean fornication is a lesser sin than it is. And more and more people engaging in sexual sin has no bearing on the nature of its severity either. This is a big part of how Satan is pushing his lies on the world. Anyhow, I'm not entirely sure what sort of thoughts you're looking for in response as I'm not sure what conclusion you meant to draw or question you meant to ask.
  15. This came to mind. It certainly doesn't answer all the complexities of these sorts of things, but there is insight here I think. Mark 10:29-30 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
  16. The well known and oft quoted Matthew 7:1-2 reads Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. The Joseph Smith translation of this is delivered thus: Now these are the words which Jesus taught his disciples that they should say unto the people. Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment. (Note: 3 Nephi 14 is rendered the same as the Bible pre-JST (“Judge not, that ye be not judged…”)) Judgment is an interesting topic, and I thought some insight into it was in order. I did a bit of scriptural research on it. I think it’s clear that certain types of judgment are reserved for the Lord. Certain levels of condemnation are to be left to God alone. Other levels of condemnation are only appropriate to the right political or ecclesiastical authorities. So if using judgment as a synonym for condemnation, I think the idea of “judge not” can be taken as generally accurate. However, judging is not synonymous with condemning, but it has become popular to look at it that way. To condemn is a judgment. To judge is not necessarily a condemnation. If you read a bit on judgment in the scriptures and look past those referring to final judgment, condemnation, etc., we find insight in scriptures like: Lev 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Alma 41:14-15 Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again. For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all. Moroni 7:18 (other verses surrounding this are quite insightful as well) And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. And D&C 11:12 And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit. It’s a bit difficult to really set a factual standard on judgment because we use the idea of judging to mean something that it doesn’t necessarily mean, and even the scriptures use it this way. But scriptures like the above seem to indicate that rather than “judge not” (which even aside from the JST rendering could rightly, I think, be understood to mean “condemn not”) that we are, in fact, commanded to judge, but to do so in righteousness. Ultimately, I would contend that the reading of “judge not” as a literal expression is a paradoxical impossibility, arguing strongly for the JST rendering. By this I mean to say, in order to not judge, one must judge. There is no fence sitting when it comes to judgment. There is no neutral. Non action is choice. Going further with this: Action requires choice, choice requires judgment. If one is to act, including the act of remaining motionless or neutral, it requires a choice, and that choice requires a judgment. To use a specific example, a loved one wants to be in your home whose standards are at odds with yours. The common Christian approach to this is to decry that not letting them in your home is judging them. Letting them into your home is not. I cry foul on that logic. Letting them into your home is judging them just as much as not letting them into your home is. Either way, the action requires choice and the choice requires judgment. The intention of this example is not to draw a conclusion as to which choice should be made (and which judgment, therefore, should have been made) but to simply point out that “judge not” as a denunciation of a choice is not a valid response. I would argue that a replacement for preaching "judge not" (which in and of itself, I would point out, is a judgment) would be to preach "judge righteously".
  17. I see this sort of advice akin to an old writer teaching younger ones that they'll write better if they use a typewriter instead of a computer. Rubbish I say. Still, follow your leaders and you'll be blessed. But I don't agree with this sort of thinking. (Spirit stronger if you don't use electronics? Really?) I find the notion ridiculous. Now asking the youth to bring paper scriptures to church, or in preparation for a mission. There's some logic there at least.
  18. Actually, it's a very difficult position to make an argument from in my view.
  19. Agreed. But sometimes the directive is more direct. "You must get out personally and..." I've had situations like that where I've struggled. Ultimately, I've concluded to do what I'm asked. Sometimes what I've been asked has been downright stupid. With the right leader you can discuss, work it out, etc... With some leaders, not so much. So you obey. It's a tough thing, for sure. And like I said, there's a time and a place to say no. But this is my general philosophy. And it applies all the way up the chain and to every level of church bureaucracy. Sometimes things get lost in the huge engine. And people are dumb. ALL people. So bad calls are made all the time. But you move forward, obey, do your best, serve, etc... Start with a premise of obedience. Then, attend to all of this, of course, with sincere and earnest prayer and attention to the guidance of the spirit. edit: this post was responding specifically to the ability to delegate. I did note the "sometimes" part of it and do not mean to be arguing something where we obviously agree. Thought I'd better make that clear.
  20. I tend to think that most of us who struggle to get out and serve more are at conflict with time spent watching TV rather than actually having a problem being away from our families. My experience tells me that most brethren's priorities are something akin to: 1. Sports 2. Work 3. Family 4. Calling This is not literal, of course, replace "sports" with a variety of other time-wasters and you get my point though. And it may not actually be #1. But I think it's generally much higher on the list than it probably should be, whatever it is. No argument here on behalf of the accuracy of the mission presidents directives. But it amazes me how many brethren in our ward can make it out to play basketball early morning Saturday, but cannot find time to get out when there's a service project instead. I also understand that my response doesn't necessarily fit appropriately to the original post, but I do think it expresses a point that does fit. We can all find more time in our lives if we look for it. Other responses are, I think, generally excuses and nothing more. That being said, I generally agree that leaders can sometimes misunderstand how to balance time properly and that a lot of time can end up being wasted, etc., etc... Just thought I'd throw another thought into the mix. But... I also feel pretty strongly that you follow your leaders even when they're wrong. If 3 times a week is the directive, you get out 3 times a week. And it will be accounted to you for good. There are, of course, extreme exceptions wherein it is proper to say no. But generally, find a way to make it work even if your local leaders are making bad calls on policy.
  21. I would content (lightly) that it's the other way around. Biological sex is a result of something else inherent in our basic existence that ties more closely to things like the priesthood and what-have-you. I theorize that biological sex is a result of something deeper. This is, of course, way beyond our ability to understand or any revealed concrete doctrine. But, well...there it is.
  22. I would go a bit further and say that if one truly accepts the theology of the patriarchal priesthood, that inequality is preferable, that we will have more joy from it than we would from equality, and that the levels of the kingdoms and glories and the inequalities therein are perfect and will be the very best for all. So it's not a matter of superseding, but a matter of the reality of wherein glory truly lies.
  23. I suppose it would make sense for me to tie my thought into the original post, now that you mention it. Paul is laying out a hierarchal difference between the sexes. The church’s doctrine of “equality” between men and women is specifically referred to (in the original post) as to our partnership in a marriage. The one does not preclude the other. The patriarchal hierarchy (an inequality) does not mean that we cannot be equal in our marriage partnership. The two thoughts do not conflict. Moreover, the patriarchal order of marriage does not play into our value or our eternal potential.
  24. Your clarification is in order, certainly. I overreached a bit perhaps. But your thought does tie in. Specifically, in the opportunities (particularly here in mortality) that men and women have in the church...not equal. Easiest example is in the priesthood. Women do not have the opportunity. The political equality you speak of would infer that they should, if they are indeed allotted true equality.
  25. Yes. But I would suggest, that theologically, men and women are not equal. Not in the terms the world would like to impose, which is to say, exactly as capable as one another in all regards. The question is, wherein is that a problem? Wherein is equality a desirable attribute. Example: I don't necessarily buy into the "women are superior and that's why they don't need the priesthood" theory. But we can use it as an example of my point. Accepting this as temporarily factual: If this is true, then it is true. Facts are facts. If women do not need the priesthood because they are spiritually superior then that's the way it is. What good will it do me to claim equality in that regard. If we use equality to infers identical value, however, then I would suggest that across the board, men and women are identically valuable, and in that regard we can accept equality as a proper attribute. But this is generally not what is meant when people cry for equality. The call is for an acceptance of shared capabilities across the board. (Though this is an extremely one-sided levy.) Within various characteristics, abilities, roles, etc., etc., there is definite inequality. Why is that bad? Equality in and of itself is not an important plane to share. Theologically, men have their value that is of greater worth than women in specific arenas and women have value that is of greater worth than men in certain arenas. I know it's complicated and becomes significantly more difficult socially speaking. Nor can universal compendium justly be applied to the individual (example: the idea that women are universally more nurturing does not mean that all women are more nurturing) and so how this sort of thing plays out in equality in mortality becomes considerably more convoluted than my ideas here.