Matthew.Bennett

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About Matthew.Bennett

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    http://myreasonsforhope.blogspot.com

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    Male
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    Syracuse, NY
  • Religion
    LDS
  1. Interestingly enough, some of the greatest doctrine of scripture comes in response to completely unrelated questions. Hence a query about the practice of eating meat returns a principle that touches on the basic rules of human existence: "it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another", and that excess is a cause of woe. "Excess", as in "exceedingly rich". I should clarify that I think there are at least three broad categories of economic well-being and this principle touches on them: Poor- Unable to provide for one's own temporal needs. If they're really, really poor, they're "Exceedingly poor". Rich- Able to provide for one's own temporal needs with some to spare. In our modern world, virtually every single American is "rich" and has a little excess they could give to others. Exceedingly Rich- One has riches to excess. They have much, much more than they actually need to survive. Being "exceedingly rich" wouldn't be bad if everyone were "exceedingly rich". But, when you have the "exceedingly rich" who continually use their riches on vain and trifling tasks or material things and don't give that money to a better cause--and I think the Lord makes it clear that the best cause is to feed the naked, clothe the hungry, liberate the captive, etc.--you have someone who doesn't abide by scriptural principles and isn't justified in their actions. By the way, I've used the example of the $50k watch because it's relevant to this thread. I don't know the 70 who owned it, nor do I care to find out who it is or cast aspersions or judgment. I've always referenced it as an example of egregious wealth that, as far as we know, was used for an unjustified purchase that went against the principles found in the scriptures. Did you or did you not covenant to live the law of consecration in the temple? Just because the Church at large doesn't practice the principles of consecration, doesn't mean you and I, as individuals, can't. In fact, if we're ever to establish Zion, it would require us to be able and willing to abide by the law of consecration--and that would require us to put these principles into practice in our own lives, and recognize that they're valid principles, to prepare our hearts and minds. I'm not saying go and give everything you don't need to survive to the poor or the bishop--I'm not advocating that (although Jesus did, and still can, command someone to do that). I am saying there's a need to recognize these principles are true, and to begin putting them into practice in our own lives (and be wise and careful about doing it). If we don't, we won't ever make it to Zion, in this world or the next.
  2. I appreciate the clarification (although I'd say that one passage of scripture doesn't count as "repeatedly"--I thought you were aware of more than this).
  3. Matthew.Bennett

    Doubt

    I can't speak for MoE, but I agree with the gist of what I think he's saying. What I've seen of the "doubting" trend has, so far, been mostly about doubting the Church as an institution. Different "camps" would like to see different results from that doubting. The Third Lecture on Faith deals entirely with the "correct nature" of God, and continually stresses the importance of exercising "perfect faith" (LoF 3, Q. 20) unto "life and salvation" (LoF 4:1) to be able to actually achieve said salvation. To attain salvation you have to have perfect faith in God. In fact, the only being or concept you can ever have perfect faith in is God, and the result of that perfect faith is the receipt of life and salvation. It's impossible to have perfect faith in men or men's organizations, and if anyone were to attempt it they would be damming themselves by setting up a barrier between them and the author of their salvation, Christ. Unfortunately, in the modern Church there's been a trend among the members to try to view the Church, or the line of priestly/prophetic succession from Joseph Smith, or a specific Church President with perfect faith and depend on the keys the leaders hold for their salvation. That is an attempt at idolatry which Joseph warned against when he preached Ezekiel 14 to the Relief Society a few years before his death, and that the Lord described in D&C 76:100 as belonging to those who inherit Telestial glory ("These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias..."). Therefore, inasmuch as the recent trend of doubting shakes faith in the Church (without attempting to destroy it) and re-centers it in God, it's good. However, inasmuch as it shakes faith in God and tries to center one's faith in man or the philosophies of men, it's bad. It's all about what you're doubting or having faith in.
  4. Source(s)? And what are the "wise" uses that the Lord approves of wealth for? (I don't disbelieve you. I'm just curious as to how you would back that up with the word of the Lord.)
  5. Thank you for clarifying. I wonder if you wouldn't mind commenting on how you view two of the scriptures I quoted earlier. I keep seeing people saying "don't judge" (and we shouldn't judge people--we should, however, weigh the spirits and judge principles) and neglecting to even touch the material I've mentioned, which is taken directly from scriptures given to our dispensation and deal with the interrelation between affluence and righteousness. D&C 49:19-21: 19 For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance. 20 But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. D&C 70:14: 14 Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.
  6. Let's see if I follow your guys' argument, anatess and mdfxdb. This is what I believe you are saying: -There are no scriptures supporting the idea that temporal affluence (being "exceedingly rich" while others within your sphere of influence are "poor") is good in the eyes of God. -But there aren't any scriptures definitively against it. -Our leaders have temporal success and many of them are very affluent. -Our leaders are righteous, otherwise they wouldn't be our leaders. (I'm assuming this one; I feel that it's implicit in your statements. If I'm wrong, please correct me.) -Ergo, the type of success enjoyed by our leaders isn't against the scriptures. Would you say that's accurate? Or would you redefine or clarify anything? Just trying to understand.
  7. So, do you disagree with my assessment? Or do you disagree with the principles found in the scriptures? Regardless of which one you disagree with, use the scriptures to show your own assessment of the situation and prove how "liv[ing] in the best neighborhoods, driv[ing] expensive cars, and tak[ing] vacations we can only dream about" is in harmony with the scriptural admonitions about how we ought to live and serve one another. I'm all ears.
  8. I'm surprised that, in 6 pages of discussion, these (and similar) scriptures doctrine haven't even been mentioned (except for Jacob 2:18-19): Jacob 2:28-19: 18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. 19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. D&C 49:19-21: 19 For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance. 20 But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. 21 And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need. 2 Nephi 26:20: 20 And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor. D&C 70:14: 14 Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld. When someone gets enough gain that they can flippantly talk about their $125k membership and buy and wear $50k watches, they're going against the principles listed above. If any Mormon gets any kind of "gain" and refuses to impart of their substance liberally to the poor and needy (according to the wants and needs of the poor--D&C 82:17, Mosiah 18:29), they are guilty of breaking those commandments. Consecration--which would have prepared the Saints to bring again Zion--failed because of, among other things, "jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them" (D&C 101:6). Those "covetous desires" and "contentions" are encouraged by stratification into different socioeconomic statuses (poor, rich, etc.). The poor are strongly tempted to envy the finer things obtained by the rich--and the effect of that strong temptation is described as "grinding the faces" of the poor. The rich become lifted up and proud in their hearts. It is very rarely that a rich person will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven, because where a person's riches are, there will their treasure be also.
  9. Matthew.Bennett

    Mormon group plans mass resignation

    Last night, I was a little too fatigued to write a wholly coherent response that connected all the dots in my head. What I ended up with was something that confused, and for that I apologize. Mea culpa. Let me take a step back and try to explain the issue as I see it, and explain why I wrote what I did. You all are, of course, welcome to disbelieve it as you see fit, but I hope it at least makes sense, and I hope to turn aside the frustrations that have arisen. This is, of course, how I see things, and I'm not going to engage in further discussion on this thread about it after posting. Like I said earlier, I didn't mean to threadjack, nor do I want to cause contention. I believe a discussion about these topics can exist without contention, but I think this is the wrong place to do it. The principles at play are more far-reaching than what's already been discussed here, and I was alluding to those principles. The difficulties associated with our current position in the Church is that we've built up a hedge of traditions that God never intended for us to have, which dilutes our ability to actually see where we, as a people, are in our spiritual standing before God (that we, as a people, are condemned and have been since 1832). For one, God never promised, anywhere in the canon of the scripture that we have, that the prophet will never lead us astray. When Joseph was alive, he used Ezekiel 14 to emphasize the fact that even a true prophet will give the people only what they want--if they set up idols in their hearts, the prophet will answer them according to their idols. When ancient Israel refused to accept God's offer to speak to them and demanded Moses speak to Him for them, God turned them over to the idolatry of their hearts and gave them a man-God (Moses) and a complicated set of laws to follow. When they refused to follow the spirit of the Mosaic Law and govern themselves, they were given over to the idolatry of their hearts and given a king. Joseph lamented that a great number of the early Saints followed this same pattern of relying too much upon the prophet, and were thus "darkened in their mind". The fact that they had a "true prophet" and true priesthood and a living church became an idol, which became a stumbling block to some of them. Ultimately, this impeded the spiritual progression of the Church and the martyrdom of Joseph. It still causes problems. In the Church, however, we have a strong, strong tradition that the prophet will never lead us astray, no matter what, because the prophet is a PROPHET, and talks with God and so can't be deceived or led to do evil. It began in Utah with President Young and was cemented with the Manifesto era, when President Woodruff declared that he couldn't lead the Church astray because it wasn't "in the programme". One byproduct of this belief is the continuing conflation of the Church and the Gospel (see Elder Poelman's redacted talk). The subtle difference between "following the prophet" (found nowhere in the scriptures; we are to follow God, Christ, and the Spirit as guides) and "receiving a prophet" (found in the scriptures); the institutionalization of the President of the Church as "the prophet" (a term that, in scripture, means something entirely different from the Church President's actual role as a presiding high priest)-- both have led to some confusing conclusions. Possibly the most egregious example is President Romney's anecdote about President Grant claiming that, if a Church member does what the Church President tells him to do, he'll be blessed for it "even if it's wrong". What riper doctrine is there for abuse than that--if you break God's commandments because someone in authority over you told you to do it, God won't hold you accountable because you were commanded to do it? Can that be justified by claiming that the person in authority is "a prophet"? What is the message of 1 Kings 13:11-32? This all bespeaks of something being wrong with how the Church members, en masse, view the Church. The doctrines, principles, and ordinances get distorted and altered from what they were when they were first delivered to Joseph Smith. Previous leaders make policy decisions and doctrinal statements that lead the Saints to believe and do very unscriptural and un-Christlike things (such as the perpetuation of racial stratification, justified by the "curse of Cain" doctrine). In essence, the Church gets led astray on some issues. Then, when the course is corrected, the new mantra becomes "we don't know why it happened"--because the truth of what happened is so anathema to current Church culture that it threatens to fracture the Church entirely, if the Church will ever even come to accept it. If a Church be named after a man, it is a man's church. What we currently have is a Church that is both Christ's church and man's church. There are two distinct spirits present within it: one glorifies Christ, and the other glorifies mankind. When the great separation occurs and the wedding feast has commenced, we will know which spirit was which. My hope is that we may all be found to be wise virgins who have taken the Holy Spirit--and not "a living prophet"--as our guide. I think that's enough; this is long enough as it is. I haven't explained everything, but I think what I have explained is enough. I hope that you all understand where I'm coming from now, and that what I said earlier makes more sense. I'm still working through a lot of these issues for myself, and it's a harder journey than I thought it would be. By the way, thefolkprophet, I'm not your enemy. Nor am I a prophet, although I believe my prediction that the official Church stance will continue to change will yet be vindicated. And, the "Race and the Priesthood" article dealt (briefly) with the entirety of the Preisthood ban, not just the context whence it came. While I did read between the lines I read between the lines that were put there, on purpose, by its authors, in an article serving as an introductory essay for members largely ignorant of the ban and/or desirous to know more. From now on, members researching it will connect early 19th century American racism with the Priesthood ban--and they'll have that from an approved Church source. We will see what will happen, with time.
  10. Matthew.Bennett

    Did Gods create the earth?

    Good point.
  11. Matthew.Bennett

    Mormon group plans mass resignation

    So, the only way to be in line with the current Church's stance is to shrug your shoulders and say "I dunno...."? Ignorance and unknowable mystery are the defining traits of Satan's organizations, not God's (Revelation 17:5; Alma 12:10-11). In the earlier days of Utah, the Brethren were very clear as to why the ban was set in place (I won't bother cutting/pasting here, as I don't want to threadjack. You can look up quotes for yourself; they're not hard to find). The recent essay on blacks and the priesthood pins the origin of the priesthood on... well, it wasn't God. The racist tendencies of early Americans (which included Brigham Young, et al.) seems to be the culprit without being explicitly stated as such. In less than 40 years, the Church's official stance on this issue has done almost a complete 180-degree turn, and I guarantee that it hasn't stopped turning yet. When the spirit of man is the driving force for an action and not the spirit of God, then that action has come about by the will and power of man, and not the will and power of God. By the way, your replies (JAG, anatess, and thefolkprophet) emphasize the point I was making. Marion G. Romney, in his remarks, described being in "harmony with the leaders of the Church and the counsel and direction they give" as part of the "full spirit of the gospel". The changing position on blacks and the priesthood (from what it used to be--blacks couldn't hold the priesthood because of the "curse of Cain"--to today) and the ban itself highlights the difficulties that position presents. If the Gospel is eternal and unchanging but Church practices change radically with no reason given from God and no explanation even being attempted by the leaders, then can lockstep obedience with Church leaders really be considered one of the basic requirements of Christ's eternal Gospel? Or is that level of strict obedience one of the hedges we make around the law?
  12. Matthew.Bennett

    Mormon group plans mass resignation

    I wonder if early members who thought blacks ought to have the priesthood and the priesthood ban was put in place due to the will of man and not God was out of harmony with the spirit of the Gospel. I guess, if they lived in Brigham Young's day they would be, but if they lived today, they wouldn't. And yet, the Gospel is eternal and unchanging. Hmmmm....
  13. Matthew.Bennett

    Depression and church callings

    One of the major problems with the way American medicine currently approaches psychological disorders is that it classifies and treats disorders based on symptoms, not root causes. If you look at the DSM-IV-TR (the "Holy Bible" of diagnosing mental illness) it categorizes sicknesses based on symptoms manifested without really looking at the root causes. If the same approach were applied to healing the physical body, you'd have doctors asking about pain in various areas of your body, physical dysfuctionality, and then diagnosing a treatment plan--all without ever actually looking at or touching your body to find out what the root problem is. A lot of modern approaches to psychological healing simply don't work, or are so ineffective as to be practically useless. Biology-altering medications often serve to cover up symptoms for a time while leaving the root causes completely untreated--often because the root causes aren't biological, but spiritual. Then, when enough pressure gets put on the person, the person buckles. I suggest a two-pronged approach to healing: ensure that your physical body is getting the correct nutrition, exercise, and rest that it needs, and focus on delving into the depths of your soul to figure out what the root spiritual causes of your depression are. The ultimate healer in the universe is Christ. Turn to Him and let Him heal you. It won't be easy or a short-lived endeavor, but if you truly desire to be healed, you can let that desire grow into the faith requisite to actually be healed. Melvin Fish's books and works are worth taking a look at: http://www.drmfish.com/ . I can't recommend them highly enough. Good luck. This is a difficult issue to deal with. I struggled with depression so powerful that it stopped me from any kind of personal growth or advancement for 6 years after High School (I mean ANY--couldn't hold a job; couldn't go to school; couldn't serve a mission; couldn't do anything worthwhile). It was only a complete dependence on the Lord and being brought down to the depths of humility that enabled Christ to come to me and heal me. It IS possible, and it DOES happen.
  14. Matthew.Bennett

    Another One Returning

    Touche... lol. I guess it just slipped my mind as a possibility.
  15. Matthew.Bennett

    Did Gods create the earth?

    That's the most sensible explanation I've heard for the platypus' origin. As for "the Gods"--the term "Elohim" is the plural of El, meaning "God". If "the Gods" sat in council and made the world, it makes the most sense (to me) that "the Elohim" sat in council and made the world. And, who are the El? Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raguel, Remiel, Saraqael... That's my guess. Interestingly enough, we know the earthly identities of Michael and Gabriel--it stands to reason that the rest would also have had similarly prominent mortal missions to fulfill.