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  1. Like
    askandanswer reacted to NeuroTypical in Like In The Days of Noah   
    Well, with other people leaving other organized religion in record numbers, maybe.  I mean, folks can always make cases for inactivity, or people who don't believe any more, but don't not-believe enough to have their names removed from the rolls.  But just plain old looking at membership numbers (or in this case, numbers of wards/branches):

    We've been tracking what they call a "declining rate of increase".  That means we're still growing, just not as fast.  (Sorry, I can only find 2019 data, but I've seen beancounter threads after April's General Conference where folks crunch the numbers and say we're still baaaaarely growing.
  2. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Carborendum in Like In The Days of Noah   
    People ignore what they want to ignore.
    I think we need to ask ourselves the question "of all the counsel that the Prophet has given, what am I ignoring?"  If we're following the counsel "individuals are responsible for their own decisions..." we need to know what all the considerations are for making an informed decision.
    If we've gone through the process of
    seeking out all their counsel on a topic Prayerfully considering where we sit in relationship to those topics Prayerfully seeking the guidance of the Spirit for our individual situations Making our final decision based on that counsel and the guidance of the Spirit Then we've done exactly what the Lord expects us to do. For others to accuse us of doing otherwise (just because we came up with a different answer) is unrighteous judgment.  Every situation, every person/family will have different variables in their lives.  We will be held accountable to the Lord in how faithfully we sought out His will for us individually.
    And just as people will ignore what they will ignore, they will also judge when they shouldn't.
  3. Like
    askandanswer reacted to CV75 in Tree of Life   
    This is my opinion, or what I think I know 🙂 : Any symbolism aside, the tree of life sustains immortality and life in God’s presence (as before the Fall) while the tree of knowledge of good and evil sustains temporal and spiritual death (as after the Fall). The tree of life was preeminent in the Garden of Eden because those who chose the second estate chose life with God; its purpose is to extend the presence of God from the first estate into the second estate (and third, if you count the resurrection). It took some spiritual effort for Adam and Eve to choose to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. After the Fall, temporal and spiritual death became preeminent, and likewise we have to exert spiritual effort to once again access the tree of life through the covenant path.
  4. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Traveler in Tree of Life   
    As we look into scripture - at least it is my opinion - there are many things that do not make sense or are difficult to understand.  I like your questions.  I had to go back to carefully review the scriptures in Genesis.  For example, Adam and Eve were never commanded not to partake of the tree of life.  But the Genesis scripture tell us some very interesting and important points.  The tree of life was always in the garden of Eden and Adam and Eve were told that they could partake of that particular tree along with all the others - the exception was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Once Adam and Eve partook of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil - G-d (Jehovah?) said that they (Adam and Eve) had become like them.  This is an indication of the plurality of G-ds and that the status of man had changed in a manner to become more like the G-ds.
    But the scripture is clear to indicate that Adam and Eve, being in the state and condition of having partaken of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil man was not to partake directly of the Tree of Life and G-d made absolutely sure that Adam and Eve and their posterity would not be able to partake of the fruit while in their fallen state.
    I think there is something else you ought to know.  In your post above you used the word Cherubims.  Your use is grammatically incorrect.  The correct singular term would be Cherub and the plural of Cherub is Cherubim - not Cherubims.   With the Cherubim (plural) there is a sword with two distinct characteristics.   The first characteristic is a flame.  This concept of fire is symbolically used in scripture to indicate a process of purification.   An example is the baptism of fire by the Holy Ghost.  If you speculate any other symbolic nature of a flame - I would be interested in your source or logic by which you come to such as a possible conclusion.  
    The other characteristic of the sword is that it terns "every way".  This I believe to be an indication of G-d's justice.  Often this symbolism is spoken of as a two edge sword that cuts in two directions.  This is a standard symbolization of the sword of justice and an indication that the sword both punishes (the guilty) and protects (the innocent).  I believe this is all very clear that the Cherubim were placed to guard the Tree of life to insure that nothing unjust and un-pure ever reaches the tree and that Adam and Eve were driven from Eden and the Tree of Life because they were no longer either pure nor innocent.
    It is also interesting to note that anciently (in Hebrew and many other ancient languages) an individual's name was also their title or position.  This is in part what certain individuals in the Old Testament were given names - because their position or title before G-d and man was changed.  This change is also and indication of covenant.  The name Adam - is and indication of both title and covenant.  The meaning of Adam, interestingly is "mankind".  The epoch of "Adam" is critical and important and is even referenced much later in the New Testament.  I believe that we all can think of ourselves (male for Adam and female for Eve) as the participants in partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and being driven from the Garden of G-d into the lone and dreary world to suffer sorrow all the days of our lives that will eligibility end in death - both of the spirit and of the physical body.   That before we could partake of the Tree of Life there must be an atonement and our repentance.  That the Cherubim will make sure that only through the atonement and repentance can any man or woman partake of the Tree of life.
    But because this is all symbolic that journey to the Tree of Life is not completed by just partaking of the fruit of the tree.  There is still something else to accomplish.
    The Traveler
  5. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from Anddenex in Tree of Life   
    I understand what would have happened if Adam had partaken of the fruit of the tree of life. That's not what I'm curious about. I'm curious as to why the tree existed. You suggest that if Adam had eaten of the fruit of that tree, it would have terminated the whole plan of salvation. I'm a bit puzzled by the idea that God, after having worked so hard to set up the Plan of Salvation and creating the setting in which it would take place, would then risk everything by placing a tree in a garden, whether literal or symbolic, that could have ruined everything if Adam had eaten from it. The idea doesn't seem to make sense to me. I think that all that God does is in furtherance of His plans and that He doesn't engage in self-sabotage or do anything to put His plans at risk. 
    It may be, as you claim, that the tree of life, while in the garden was life, spiritual, but then again, that might also not be the case. I'm not sure what this idea is based on or where it comes from. I'm also not immediately seeing how the existence or absence of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, whether literal or symbolic, had any impact on the nature or degree of opposition that was already in existence well before this earth was created. 
  6. Like
    askandanswer reacted to laronius in Tree of Life   
    In Alma 32, Alma compares "the word unto a seed" which we are to plant in our hearts. This seed, upon maturity, is called by Alma "the tree of life" "springing up unto eternal life." Viewing the Garden of Eden from this perspective, something within us, opens up new meaning. I agree with @Carborendum that "the" Garden of Eden is largely representative of childhood and a state of innocence for Adam and Eve. We know the garden literally existed and I have no problem with the two trees being literal trees, placed there to help tutor the childlike Adam and Eve, one that gave life and one that brought death but knowledge also. Once cast out of the garden the tree of life became a symbol of returning back into God's presence.
  7. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from Vort in Tree of Life   
    Let me point out a few areas where your analogy/interpretation doesn’t seem to fit.
    In your interpretation, you suggest that the Tree of Life is “symbolic of the spiritual light that and truth that sustains eternal life.” However, in the Genesis account Adam was warned not to partake of the fruit of the tree of life. If the Tree of Life was symbolic of the spiritual light and truth that sustains eternal life then it is more likely that Adam would have been commanded or encouraged to partake of it, as we all have been, rather than commanded not to partake of it and prevented from doing so. God wants all of us to partake to the full of the spiritual light that sustains eternal life and is unlikely to place barriers in our path to stop us from doing so. 
    A second area where your interpretation doesn’t seem to fit well, to me, is the idea that the Cherubim with a flaming sword that turned every way to keep the tree of life is actually Christ. This characterization of Christ doesn’t fit well with how Christ is often characterized in many other scriptures as the one who inviteth and enticeth all of come unto Him, as the good shephard who is out searching in the wilderness for His sheep, and who is forever doing all He can to help us return to Him. He beckons us to Him with a hand of love rather than keeps the way with a flaming sword.
    In most of the references to Genesis 3:24 that turn up on, almost all of them indicate that the role of the cherubims was to guard, not keep, the Tree of Life.
  8. Like
    askandanswer reacted to NeuroTypical in Like In The Days of Noah   
    Over the decades, I have encountered no fewer than half a dozen people who told me they knew the year.  Those years have all come and gone.  
    Over the centuries, I've read of at least a dozen other people or groups who all claimed to know the time of the second coming.  Like the ones I personally encountered, their timeframes were all soon/immediately/quickly.  I'm told the first predictors of the second coming happened within a few years of Christ's death/ascendance.  
    *shrug*.   Eventually, someone'll get it right.  Like they did in the BoM with prophecies of Christ's birth.
  9. Like
    askandanswer reacted to prisonchaplain in Why doctrine is important -- when a family member dies   
    Mental Health Awareness and Overdose Awareness--two causes that came onto my radar with the death of a great-niece. At 20 Fetinol took her life. She believed there is a God, and in some ways showed openness--though she never agreed with "religion." What we can agree on is that she now sees much more than she did. She now knows God the Father is real and that Jesus is the way to reconcile with Him. This story might cause some here to renew their dedication to Baptisms for the Dead. For me, it is a reminder that life is short and our love must be intentional and out loud.  
  10. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Vort in Feedback requested to Alma 11:37   
    My opinion:
    You're overthinking this. Amulek offered a simple logical response to a straightforward, if dishonest, question from Zeezrom: Will God save us in our sins?
    This is a yes or no question, and whichever answer Amulek gave, Zeezrom would have skewered him. Had Amulek answered "no", as expected, Zeezrom would have responded that such a God was unjust, partial, and certainly not All-Powerful.  Had Amulek answered "yes", Zeezrom would have asked Amulek what he was worrying about, then.
    But Zeezrom wasn't expecting Amulek to answer with an explanation that exposed Zeezrom's lies. Amulek's answer was, in effect, "No, of course not. That's like asking if God will let us be dry in our wetness. It makes no sense. To be saved MEANS to be sinless, without spot. God cannot save us in our sins, because 'salvation in sin' has no meaning."
  11. Thanks
    askandanswer reacted to MarginOfError in Feedback requested to Alma 11:37   
    On the more critical side, I think it's fair to recognize that Amulek was not a particularly strong orator. And unfortunately, we don't get much else from him in the Book of Mormon to know if he got much better with time. 
    In his defense, however, he was kind of new to this preaching thing. He was also being put on the spot by a very hostile and, we are told, skilled debate opponent. He may have been a little flustered. 
    So let's deconstruct the message a bit by first backing up to verses 26 - 34. Zeezrom is questioning Amulek on the nature and existence of God, and it is Zeezrom who introduces the terminology "saved in sin." We aren't really sure what Zeezrom means by this, but Amulek kind of rolls with it. In response, Zeezrom says that Amulek is assuming the ability to command God by saying that He will not save people in their sins.  Verse 37 is an attempt by Amulek to clarify what he means. In my opinion, his clarification is rather muddled:
    No unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven You are unclean if you have sinned You must inherit the kingdom of heaven to be saved What's lacking in the immediate response is that repentance is the bridge from being unclean to becoming clean and inheriting the kingdom of heaven.  Amulek kinda-sorta gets around to that in verse 40, but it isn't very direct. So we kind of have to fill in the gaps. And then to top it off, he takes a tangent down physical resurrection in verses 41 - 45 that doesn't add much to his point about sinning, resurrection, and cleanliness.  These verses do give us an important hint, however, because they sound very similar to what Alma taught Corianton in Alma chapters 40-42.  In those chapters, Alma talks about sin, the Atonement, repentance, death, resurrection, and how all those concepts coexist right up until the resurrection, at which point we stand before God to be judged. 
    If we take into account that Alma met Amulek in chapter 8 and recruited him to help teach, I would guess that the duration of time between chapter 8 and chapter 11 is somewhere in the vicinity of several days to a few weeks.  I like to think that Amulek's head is swimming in new information, and the teachings around the physical resurrection are new and exciting to him. In the way I envision these events, he's so excited about this new piece of knowledge and flustered enough by the intense confrontation he's in, that he simply forgets to add a certain part of the puzzle. The message he's trying to convey in verse 37 would come across more clearly if he had though to include some of the teachings in Alma chapter 5 (perhaps verses 26-27?).
    So, in short, I don't think Alma 11:37 can be properly understood in isolation. It's an incomplete thought. Fortunately, there's enough information in Alma's teachings to help us complete the message Amulek was trying to convey.
  12. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Anddenex in Feedback requested to Alma 11:37   
    This conversation leans toward the following principles:
    1) The repentant vs. the unrepentant.
    2) The Saint vs. the sinner.
    In both cases, each individual is a sinner, or better said -- has sinned. The repentant individual is no longer "in sin" as they are alive in Christ. If we think the repentant (Saint) is "in sin" then what does this tell us of the blood of the lamb? When we come unto Christ, our perfection is through him -- who is without sin. As we are alive in Christ, through repentance, we are no longer "in" sin because he is without sin. This verse pays little respect to the individual (the fallen nature of man) as it highlights more of what the Savior does, not who we are -- but who we are becoming.
    In that light, without Christ we are all "in" sin and there is nothing we can do ourselves. We are lost and we are fallen. Those who continue in this fallen state, by their choice, will to some degree be in their sins. Those who have recognized their lost and fallen state, the need of our Savior, will then repent and become perfected in Christ -- once again his perfection saves us -- or makes us holy without spot.  If we are without spot, and are holy, then we are for sure not "in" our sins, but saved from our sins because we know in whom we trust. Only confirming once again, that Christ is the only way to the Father.
    This verse all the more testifies and witnesses the need of a perfect Savior, a perfect sacrifice, by which we become holy without spot (even while we progress toward perfection) otherwise we would never be able to enter the presence of God until we were perfect. But we will be long in his presence until that time in the eternities because of Christ.
  13. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Carborendum in Feedback requested to Alma 11:37   
    Perfection is a horizon, not a destination.
    "In our sins" vs "From our sins" a good analogy would be "enslaving ourselves" vs "trying to escape bondage".
    In the study of addiction we find that there are many different reasons why people remain addicted.  But there is only one reason they escape the addiction:  They keep trying.  No matter how many times they fail.  They keep trying.
    Many who have just "resigned themselves" to captivity don't need any chains or guards.  They will never run away.  Even if they are rescued, they are never truly free.  They don't have the mindset of the free person.
  14. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Emmanuel Goldstein in My Scripture Dream   
    In December I had a dream that I was at my wife's grand-parent's house, they having died before I met her. Her grandfather, who was never talkative in any way, walked up to me and held some scriptures out to me and said, "These are for you, share them." I woke up and looked at the bookshelf in my bedroom and saw my wife's old scriptures sitting there, collecting dust. I had the distinct impression at that moment, I think it was the spirit, that I was to buy a new set of scriptures every year, read through the entire standard works, and mark them. I was then to box them up for a future grand or great grandchild. A week later was Christmas and I bought a new, large set of scriptures and a case and started reading. I am now in Ester and I am picking up steam in this effort. 
    I know that the scriptures are all true and my testimony of them has grown by leaps and bounds. I look forward to the days when my grand children begin coming and I give these scriptures to them with their grandfather's testimony marked throughout. I am hoping these will be a cherished memento of my testimony and feeling towards God and His great mercy on me in my life. I encourage you all to do something similar and leave a heritage of faith and love to your families.
  15. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from Vort in Anniversary alone   
    Happy anniversary. I like the idea of spending an anniversary in bed, but I suppose it depends on which bed, and where that bed is. 
    Perhaps the existence of Third Hour might be somewhere on that list of unparalleled blessings God has showered on you?
    I've just had a closer look at your nickname here and was wondering if you've been experiencing a bit of gender confusion lately, mother of dragons?
    If you ever start to turn blue, rather than just feeling blue, I would suggest a return to the hospital, annivesary or not. 
  16. Haha
    askandanswer got a reaction from LDSGator in It appears Roe Vs. Wade is about to be overturned.   
    A wake up call for the woke?
  17. Haha
    askandanswer got a reaction from LDSGator in It appears Roe Vs. Wade is about to be overturned.   
    A wake up call for the woke?
  18. Like
    askandanswer reacted to MrShorty in Anniversary alone   
    Glad to hear you will be released and able to rejoin your wife today.
    On another note, I looked a little into C. diff. infections. If memory serves, you know at least a little French. I found it interesting that C. diff is also sometimes referred to as C. difficile (si difficile??) and I chuckled a little.
  19. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Vort in Anniversary alone   
    Today is my 34th anniversary. My wife is over 200 miles away, while I lay in a hospital bed with a C. diff infection. Feeling a bit blue. But as a chance to reflect on the unparalleled blessings God has showered on an unworthy soul like myself, I feel humble and deeply grateful.
    Sorry for the FB-like post, but I'm not much into FBing stuff like this.
  20. Love
    askandanswer reacted to Jane_Doe in Donny Osmond   
    Back in the day, my sisters & I loved it so much we decided to memorize it and perform it for our parents.  We each had parts, costumes, sets, etc.  I was the Brothers (yes all 11) during this part.  We put puppets on my hands to show the "many" people I was playing and then all the Brothers "punched" Joesph & threw him in the pit (played by the baby of the family whom did get all of that attention).
    Even today I still have the songs memorized and still sing them to my baby boy when he's having a rough night and I need songs I can sing for an hour straight. 
  21. Like
    askandanswer reacted to JohnsonJones in a limitation on the Atonement?   
    Sure, he'll still help us understand the stuff, but the test is over.  If you flunked the test because you simply wouldn't ask him for that REALLY his fault. 
    To be honest though, if a student would NOT ask to be given help and even the answers during the test itself, how likely are they to ask when there is nothing at risk?
    Maybe the professor would lift them to a higher grade if asked, but in my experience, once a test and grading is over, very few students come back to ask for actual knowledge or help.  Maybe one or two who flunked will beg for their grade to be raised (but not to actually LEARN the material or help to learn it, just to have their grade raised for no reason other than they want it to be higher), but other than that, no one really ever comes back after everything is said and done.
    I have office hours and the number of students that come in is abysmally small.  Right before the end of the semester you start to have some come in who are concerned about their grade, but before that very few come in, and after the grades are given out, no one comes in to ask for more information generally. 
  22. Like
    askandanswer reacted to JohnsonJones in a limitation on the Atonement?   
    Going back to the OP, I think it depends on what you mean by limitation. 
    It is eternal and endless in what it covers, in so much as it is over our temporary test.  Once the test is over, the atonement still applies in what it covered, but does not rectify our eternal choices.
    To put it into an example.
    I am taking a math test.  The Professor has said that we can come up for help at any time and, if we need it, he will guide us through the question, the process for answering it, all the way up until we have the correct answer for the question.  We just have to ask and he will help us, teaching us on the spot if we need to, in order to get the right answer.  WE can do this as long as we take the test.  Even if the time goes over, he will still be there to answer our questions, though because it is after the time the test ended, for some who already turned in their test, returning to a specific question may be a little tougher.
    Once the test is over though and then graded, he will NOT go back and help us get the right answers.  AT that point, the test is over, the grades rewarded.  However, any help he gave while the test was ongoing, will not be counted against us and the answers that are correct, even if gotten by him guiding us through them or even, eventually just giving to us, stand as correct answers.  That cannot change.
    In that same light, we choose to accept the atonement or not.  WE choose to accept the gospel's guiding principles or not.  At the end, once we get a Telestial, Terrestrial, or Celestial body, then we have those immortal and unchanging bodies.  The atonement still stands and so all sins and transgressions are cleaned away, but our eternal reward stays. 
  23. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Vort in Stacey Harkey comes out   
    A nice-sounding sentiment, but there is no lasting happiness outside the kingdom of God, which is the Restored Church.
  24. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Traveler in a limitation on the Atonement?   
    I would like to discuss the concepts in this thread in more detail.  I am not sure if I agree with any posts in this thread - at least not my interpretation of what is being said.  Lets begin with what is classically called "the final judgment.   It is my opinion that this is misunderstood because we tend to think of judgment as something forced upon us - something that is in response to choices and we no longer have any control.   In essence I believe that agency is lost in such interpretations.   I am of the opinion that my views concerning agency are somewhat different.  Perhaps I should say that it appears to me that many have an incomplete view of agency.
    As much as we talk about "agency" I am not sure that we are capable of determining much through agency during our mortal probation.  I am not willing to say this life reflects agency or even comes close to it.  This is why I believe we all can repent and be forgiven of all our sins committed during our mortal probation.  Here is a simple question that represents my thinking:  Did any individual exercise their agency if it is possible for them to "change their mind"?  What was the true and real expressions of one's agency?  Would it be the first exercise of such agency or the second or some succeeding expression?  With such thinking noting could ever be resolved.  In contrast, we are told in modern revelation that agency is the light and intelligence to make manifest that which was from the beginning. 
    It is also my understanding that the "sons of perdition" are those that act contrary to the perfect light of truth with the full knowledge of it.
    I do not believe one exercises agency if they are beguiled at any level.  I believe we can only exercise agency with full knowledge of all consequences.  I do not believe such knowledge is possible in morality - this is why I believe when most come to their senses that they will repent.  However, I speculate that many will discover under the full light of truth that they do not want or desire to become one with G-d and what is a G-d.  I have discovered that there are many good people that do not want to be a G-d as they understand the person and character of G-d to be.  As I listen to their understanding of the attributes of G-d - I do not want to end up like that either. 
    I cannot speak for anyone else but for me the more I learn about G-d (even from what is coming through science) the more I realize how ignorant I am concerning such things.  If I were to pass from mortality this day - I am not ready for a "Final Judgment" in any way shape or form and I think it is most likely that as I am exposed to greater light and truth - much (most?) of my thinking and behaviors will change accordingly.  I live by faith with but few drops of knowledge accumulated in my life long bucket of what I think I am. 
    For all of you that have figured out all this - I would like to talk the more to you to discovered how you have come to such absolute understanding.  I will say with as much certainty as I am currently capable - there is nothing I have learned or discovered in my life long search for truth and light that has convinced me that there is any religion or scientific knowledge that demonstrates that there is anything to better prepare us for what is to come in either this life or the next than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I am so convinced that I am willing to put all my eggs of hope, trust and understanding in this one basket.  I am willing to discuss and point or principle with anyone.  And with all my uncertainty - I am certain there is nothing better - or at least nothing I have encountered.  With no intention to down play anyone else - I have discovered that I have encountered more than most.  If there is any point in this post that is a question to anyone or anyone that thinks that they have a better understanding - I would not hesitate to openly and calmly (without malice) discuss anything on your mind - I am that certain.  And if I can discover even the slightest particle of truth from anyone and everyone (and I believe that something can be learned from everyone as per Moroni chapter 10) I hope you share it - but I have discovered that often I am not bright enough to see the genus in others.  Please be patient. 
    The Traveler
  25. Like
    askandanswer reacted to laronius in a limitation on the Atonement?   
    Prior to the final judgement everyone but the sons of perdition will be redeemed or saved. It may come after a lengthy stay in hell but to inherit a kingdom of glory it will have to happen. So to that extent any repentance and forgiveness that is going to happen must happen before then. Now what happens to these individuals in the eternities we just don't know.