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  1. This goes along with how I view myself. I like to consider myself a generally good person, but there are many other people not of our faith that I am sure are much closer to Christ. Maybe there were many valiant spirits who choose not to be born in the church, but it would be a complicated choice to not give yourself that advantage. Maybe pre-mortal righteousness was a contributing factor, but it seems too black and white to say those that members were just more valiant and could be born in the gospel. Do you have any specific sources you could quote? I plan to dig a little deeper into this myself.
  2. I tend to imagine a situation where I attempt to explain to my very young child why I need to leave home and go to work each day. Trying to explain this to the level of detail I want to understand the pre-existence would require so much more explanation. For example, the concept of having a "job" and being paid for service/time, and the idea money in general would have to be expounded upon at some length. It is much simpler to just give a brief overview to the child's understanding and trust that someday they will grow up and be able to understand the concept as they mature and do it themselves. Its a weird example, but I think you guys understand what I am trying to get at. The trust has to go both ways.
  3. I like that story. I think I have had similar promptings to just sit back and trust the Lord. Maybe it's just one of those things the God knows we aren't ready to really understand or maybe we just literally cannot understand in this perspective of reality.
  4. I think you described better what I was really trying to articulate. I totally agree that the pre-existence must have played such a huge role in the "why" of our initial mortal circumstances. It provides the crucial framework of how, individually, we will each have to navigate our souls back to the path. Its when I ponder how my own decision was made to be born into and LDS family or why the spirit of the man born into the isolated tribe lifestyle choose that path that things start to get messy. This topic even reaches out to complicate the idea of the final judgement. Our final judgement must, by default, take into account at least in some part our "starting point" since its relative to where we end up. There must be a need for "judgement" at least at a couple different times throughout our journey to perfection. Do you have any sources to back up the idea of choosing everything we start with or conceptualizing which kingdom we would be aiming for? Can we go that far to say that many have just simply forgotten that they have already chosen to be content with a Telestial or Terrestrial state for eternity? I think there is a lot of grey area here. This must just be one of those things that we will just have to trust is fair and just to everyone even though the logistics don't always appear completely just.
  5. I recently realized that I have always subconsciously thought that regardless of whether I do my part in the member missionary effort or not, all those people who I could have helped be brought unto Christ, will just somehow be brought in another way, by someone else. But I don't think that is how it works. That's not to suggest that most people will have many opportunities to accept the Gospel, but maybe I need to look at this from the perspective that. If I decide not to act, potentially that soul I could have touched in that particular way may not ever come into the fold. Meaning that there should be a real sense of urgency because those people might really be lost because I didn't make an attempt. I wouldn't attempt to take it so far that it would suggest that their eternal salvation rests on me sharing my testimony that one time, but if seems right that there will be some eternal consequence of my decision not to serve, both for me and the other person. Would the Plan of Salvation allow for my inaction to affect the salvation of another? How is that any different from someone taking another person's life and ending their time early before the could accept the Gospel? Would they really not be saved another way or by someone else? Unless there really is an urgency that souls will be forever lost unless I (we) share what has been given, all the members of the Church could just let the missionary work go on by and pass the buck to the spirit world to teach those that were prepared. It makes me think of how great our joy will be when we bring even one soul unto Christ. I think it is because it really does make a difference here and now and its not just the fact of bringing them to the Gospel "sooner" instead of wait until the spirit world. Thoughts?
  6. Maybe I am just slower than most. Could you expound on this a bit more?
  7. A few days ago I watched a documentary, First Contact The Lost Tribe of the Amazon. This film sparked something I have been pondering and debating in my head for some time now. Maybe someone here has been able to reconcile this issue in their own mind. When looking at the earth population as a whole, 7 Billion people, I start to ask myself about the pre-mortal circumstances that placed me to be born in a semi-active, good natured LDS family vs. the circumstances that allowed for one of God's children to be born and live their life in total isolation to not only the gospel, but the entire world as we know it, such as some of the people shown in the documentary. These people have to worry about scavenging food each day and hoping the other tribes don't come and murder their family in the night, while we debate here about the fate of "unrepentant" people in the Telestial world. And not to focus on just extreme poverty or isolation, there are plenty of "civilized" people that go through very similar circumstances today as well. The spectrum is so broad and its difficult to account for the whole group under the Plan of Salvation as I understand it. The first inner conflict is that I just don't feel like I am that lucky. Out of 7 billion people, I just happened to be born into the Gospel, ended up serving a church mission ( I was certainly not prepared at the start, but I was able to gain a real testimony during my service), sealed in the temple and have access to higher temple knowledge, by chance? And that doesn't even take into account the amazing point in time during the earth's history. I don't believe there is any randomness in the Plan of Salvation. I feel that there must be something I did or requested to be where I am, but I can't tell if that makes me feel better or worse. Without a doubt, there are plenty of people I know, outside of the LDS bubble, that are in many ways much closer to Christ that I or my fellow church members. So I don't believe it can't be solely based on merit, however looking at the doctrine of Foreordination it gets messy in my head. A .002% chance to be born in the true Church of Christ on the earth gives me pause. I am never ever that lucky at anything. Take it a step further an look at of those .002% how many will actually truly be saved after receiving higher ordinances and knowledge. Its difficult to imagine or such a small fraction of God's children becoming exalted. How would so many by into a plan they might not ever be exposed to? states, under Foreordination, "In the premortal spirit world, God appointed certain spirits to fulfill specific missions during their mortal lives. This is called foreordination. Foreordination does not guarantee that individuals will receive certain callings or responsibilities. Such opportunities come in this life as a result of the righteous exercise of agency, just as foreordination came as a result of righteousness in the premortal existence." So am I really to believe that my foreordination to be born in these relativity abundant circumstances as compared to others is because I was potentially more "righteousness" than others? I suppose the only way for me to accept that perspective is to acknowledge that now I am under a much greater condemnation than those that started with "less," so it wouldn't be viewed as an un-fair advantage. The "what if's" make me really wonder if I would have been able to listen to the spirit of Christ enough to be pulled towards the Gospel and become converted from the outside. Could that be the only reason I had to be born within the Gospel? Because I wouldn't have been strong enough to find or accept it otherwise? That line of thinking just leads to more questions and doesn't feel right. This begs the question of what is fair? At least in the context of everyone's starting mortal condition. It doesn't seem fair that I was placed where I am, given so much without much "temporal" effort on my part, and then I see others that will possibly never even hear the name of Jesus Christ in the right context. I don't buy into the pre-mortal "fence sitter" line of thought so how does everyone else reconcile their situation with that of those on the other extreme of life? Are any "Noble and Great Ones" born into an amazon tribe in the middle of the rain forest? Is that the "mission" some feel they have been assigned in life? Can any of these missions be unrelated to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Great Muslim leaders for example? When we were all sitting their during that great council in the beginning, were we thinking about how this could all be fair to everyone? I can imagine that maybe this topic might have been something that caused some others to choose the other side, complaining "How could that be fair?" Honestly it is hard to imagine a new, excited spirit child of God giving their "buy-in" to a plan in which they will have no part while in their earthly state. A plan that so many will never learn about. Were we able to see what path we would be starting in our earthly existence? Did we all agree to our birth time and surrounding circumstances, or parents even? It just seems too easy to say to ourselves, that they "deserve" their lot in life because that is how they chose to exercise their agency in the pre-mortal existence. Seeing these people make contact with the outside world makes me really wonder about the Garden of Eden setting. How close are these people to that same state of "innocence"? They must have some inkling of the Light of Christ somewhere, but things like taking another person's life don't seem to impact them spiritually in the same way. How different could these people be from the time of Adam and Eve and Cain and Able? Go and watch some of the first time encounters and tell me what thoughts run through your head as you attempt to view life through their perspective. Maybe I am just overthinking all this. I trust in God's plan, but I would really like a way to fit this part in my understanding. Elder Holland's recent talk in GC, "Songs Sung and Unsung", touches on the fact that it can be hard to focus on singing happy hymns in the face of extreme poverty. This talk touches on the topic I am getting at, but its not just the poverty, its the access to the Gospel knowledge. Not only do they not have the basic Gospel teaching or temples, but they don't know who their savior is in any sense of the word. Its impossible for us to decide what constitutes a "Fair Chance" to accept the Gospel of Christ, but at least the majority of people get to hear the watered down story of who Christ was. Long story short, I just don't feel that I am lucky enough or was righteous enough to deserve my life over the life of someone less fortunate, in both a Gospel sense and temporal well being. How am I and that tribal chief different in God's plan? How is it all fair to everyone without thinking you are or at least were better in some way, than someone else?