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counsel vs. commandment

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Guest mysticmorini

what is the difference between counsel and a commandment? in general it has been my observation that everything not covered in a temple recommend interview would be considered counsel. are the things we are counseled to do obligatory (things like avoiding caffeine and R-rated movies) or are they optional or wise counsel much like the word of wisdom originally was?

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I wonder about this myself.

I personally do not feel as though the things we're counseled on are obligatory necessarily, as that would basically make them commandments instead of very wise suggestions that we'd be smart to follow.

I don't think Heavenly Father will exclude us from the highest degree of glory if we drink a caffeinated beverage, but I do think that breaking commandments given by Him (for example, one or many of the 10 commandments) will definitely be things that if we don't follow them, or truly go through the repentance process when they're broken, will hinder our chances of progressing to the highest degree.

However, I do also think it's very, very smart of us to follow the counsel given by the Prophet and apostles because they're not just saying what they say... just to say it. What they're telling us we should probably think about doing are things that will be very beneficial to us and generally help us both temporally and spiritually in some way, shape, or form. And not only does it show our willingness to take what is being told to us to heart, but we're also exercising agency in choosing what is right. It's simply about making the best choices, which is what the Prophet, other church leaders, and Heavenly Father want for us ... they want the best for us.

Edited by JThimm88

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Guest mormonmusic

I think if it's in the interviews you have to go through to get certain ordinances, it's a hard and fast commandment. So, WoW, Tithing, garments etcetera are hard commandments.

There is other counsel given, but if you don't practice it, there's not denial of priviledges or access to resources. I call that counsel.

Some have argued that one has room to interpret the meaning of certain commandments when the meaning hasn't been formally accepted by the Church through the three-step process of First presidency approval, Quorum of 12 approval, followed by a vote/sustaining by the general membership of the Church.

I don't think most True Blue Mormons would go for that, though....

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With counsel you jump this far -------->

Counsel would include white shirts, only two earrings, buying Deseret books, etc...

With commandments you jump this far ----------------------------------------------------->

Commandments would include loving one another, no killing, no bearing false witness, etc....

:)

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in general it has been my observation that everything not covered in a temple recommend interview would be considered counsel.

I would say they are much more commandment than mere counsel.

are the things we are counseled to do obligatory (things like avoiding caffeine and R-rated movies) or are they optional or wise counsel much like the word of wisdom originally was?

Why are "wise counsel" and "optional" mutually exclusive terms?

Here's some food for thought:

"Some people argue over whether [some counsel] is a commandment. I do not need to argue. As far as I am concerned, whether it is a commandment or counsel, that which the Lord counsels becomes a commandment to Gordon B. Hinckley. I hope it does to you."

(Gordon B. Hinckley, "Learn Truth by Living Lord's Principles," LDS Church News, 08/26/95; see also Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 703)

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The difference between counsel vs. commandment is covenant. To those that understand what a covenant really is - there is no difference. To those that do not understand or honor their covenant - commandments are just counsel - perhaps wise counsel but never-the-less counsel.

The Traveler

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The difference between counsel vs. commandment is covenant. To those that understand what a covenant really is - there is no difference. To those that do not understand or honor their covenant - commandments are just counsel - perhaps wise counsel but never-the-less counsel.

The Traveler

In other words, if one is a member of the church, it is all commandment under the covenant of baptism.

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Does it mean that if something is just a counsel we can just ignore it and not be accountable? Doctrine and Covenants section 1:37-39 "...Whether by my own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same" So when a prophet or inspired leaders counsels us to do something or, counsels us against something we ought to take heed and not make excuses. It is God speaking through their mouth! I'm sure one would follow the counsel right away if it was God who have directly spoken it.

The covenant of baptism includes heeding the counsels of leaders, even if it challenges your health or your life! Where would the spirit of a man go if he dies because of heeding what is counseled of him?

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Last month, my girlfriend just got her ears pierced for a second time on both ears. Is she breaking a commandment and will therefore not be allowed in the celestial kingdom one day? She also has three very nice butterfly tatoos which she absolutely refuses to have removed (they are honestly nice looking). Will she be able to get through the gates of the celestial kingdom with them on? Curious.

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Carl, forgive me, but I can't remember if you and your girlfriend are members of the LDS faith. Here is a talk from Elder David Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve about the issue of following a prophet's counsel (go to page 3 for the pertinent part). Speeches Website

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Guest mysticmorini

what about the counsel by elder packard to only marry within your own ethnicity? should we treat it as if it came from the lord directly?

"We've always counseled in the Church for our Mexican members to marry Mexicans, our Japanese members to marry Japanese, our Caucasians to marry Caucasians, our Polynesian members to marry Polynesians. The counsel has been wise. You may say again, "Well, I know of exceptions." I do, too, and they've been very successful marriages. I know some of them. You might even say, "I can show you local Church leaders or perhaps even general leaders who have married out of their race." I say, "Yes--exceptions." Then I would remind you of that Relief Society woman's near-scriptural statement, "We'd like to follow the rule first, and then we'll take care of the exceptions."

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I am sure this is pretty cliche, but if it works...

All this talk about counsel vs. commandment seems so strange to me. It is between you and the Lord.

Just like the Primary song says...

If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do?

Would I think of His commandments and try harder to be true?

Would I follow His example? Would I live more righteously,

If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

True, the song mentions commandments and not counsel, but would any of us be comfortable turning to the Savior and saying, "Well, what's that look for? You only counseled me not to do that, you didn't command me not to."

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Guest mysticmorini

i personally would have no problem standing next to the savior and drink a red bull yet we have been counseled against energy drinks. I think that counsel maybe less universal than commandments, or in other words there may be circumstances where it is ok to go against council but it is never ok to go against a commandment.

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i personally would have no problem standing next to the savior and drink a red bull yet we have been counseled against energy drinks. I think that counsel maybe less universal than commandments, or in other words there may be circumstances where it is ok to go against council but it is never ok to go against a commandment.

I agree and I see your point. That is why it has to be between you and the Lord. Counsel can and does change in different times. Take birth control for instance. Even commandments can and do change depending upon the Lord's knowledge of what His people need in different times.

This is why Joseph Smith argued against the concept of moral absolutism. This is heresy among many Christian groups, but the prophet said this is the true order of things. Absolute morality simply does not exist within the confines of the LDS doxology. We (LDS folks) believe in moral relativism. There are many great quotes in Joseph Smith's journals and in letters that he wrote to inquisitive members and non-members alike that speak heavily on this striking, and to some, surprising doctrine.

Edited by theoriginalavatar

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Last month, my girlfriend just got her ears pierced for a second time on both ears. Is she breaking a commandment and will therefore not be allowed in the celestial kingdom one day? She also has three very nice butterfly tatoos which she absolutely refuses to have removed (they are honestly nice looking). Will she be able to get through the gates of the celestial kingdom with them on? Curious.

I seriously doubt that anyone will be in the Celestial Kingdom that does not really really want to be there. Likewise I doubt that any one that wants to be in the Celestial kingdom will not find the way to sacrifice (meaning to make sacred) what ever is necessary to insure they will be there.

The Traveler

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I would recommend going to the topical guide in the Scriptures under "Counsel" and look at everything in the D&C, specifically D&C 101:8, 103:5, and 105:37 where the saints were under condemnation for esteeming the counsels of the Lord (through his servants) lightly. Brigham Young once said that he never delivered a sermon from the pulpit that was not scripture. Counsels are a form of correction. They put us on a higher standard than the rest of the world. When we refuse to accept them with the same seriousness and regard as the "temple questions" we are leaving ourlseves open to the firey darts of the advesary.

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Very recent and pertinent quote for this thread.

Thank you, Kristen. Now, brothers and sisters, if you are troubled about something we have just said, please listen very carefully to what I will say now. Perhaps you are a young man feeling pressured by what I have said about the need to start a pattern of dating that can lead to marriage, or you are a young woman troubled by what we have said about needing to get on with your life.

If you feel you are a special case, so that the strong counsel I have given doesn’t apply to you, please don’t write me a letter. Why would I make this request? I have learned that the kind of direct counsel I have given results in a large number of letters from members who feel they are an exception, and they want me to confirm that the things I have said just don’t apply to them in their special circumstance.

The explanation I gave that man is the same explanation I give to you if you feel you are an exception to what I have said. As a General Authority, I have the responsibility to preach general principles. When I do, I don’t try to define all the exceptions. There are exceptions to some rules. For example, we believe the commandment is not violated by killing pursuant to a lawful order in an armed conflict. But don’t ask me to give an opinion on your exception. I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord.

Source

The counsel the General Authorities give is very general counsel for all the Church, and it is directed by the Lord. If you feel as though you're an exception to this counsel, don't decide it for yourself, but seek the Lord instead. He will confirm to you whether or not you need to follow that counsel based on your own personal capabilities.

I think that's the difference between counsel and commandments. Counsel has exceptions for individuals (which need to be sought out through the Lord), whereas commandments only have them for very specific situations.

Also, Moksha tried saying only two earrings was counsel and not commandment. That isn't correct. We are commanded to treat our bodies like temples and not physically defile them in any way, including permanent piercings and tattoos. Modesty and respect for the body have always been commandments, but the Church made an exception with one pair of modest earrings, for women. I have a feeling this was because the skin of the earlobe closes the hole after a long period without earrings, whereas cartilage can't be repaired by natural means.

Edited by PrinceofLight2000

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I would recommend going to the topical guide in the Scriptures under "Counsel" and look at everything in the D&C, specifically D&C 101:8, 103:5, and 105:37 where the saints were under condemnation for esteeming the counsels of the Lord (through his servants) lightly. Brigham Young once said that he never delivered a sermon from the pulpit that was not scripture. Counsels are a form of correction. They put us on a higher standard than the rest of the world. When we refuse to accept them with the same seriousness and regard as the "temple questions" we are leaving ourlseves open to the firey darts of the advesary.

I would say they took it lightly because they assumed in their own minds it didn't apply to them, rather than taking it to the Lord and being honest about it with Him.

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Guest mormonmusic

The counsel the General Authorities give is very general counsel for all the Church, and it is directed by the Lord.

Yes, but remember, they aren't always inspired. Sometimes it's just opinion. There have been leaders in the past that have been disciplined for saying things that aren't true as well, such as Paul H. Dunn, for example.

I read an explanation lately about one general authority (Poelman?), who gave a talk about how the Gospel and the Church are two different things. It seemed to lessen the role and importance of the Church overall if you listen to it. This was broadcasted in Conference. Then, after the talk, his talk was edited , videorecorded again using the new ideas, and the revised version printed in the Ensign. All videorecordings of the talks used the revised version as well, which contained some fundamentally different ideas compared to the original.

Then, the original talk was found on Youtube for all to see and compare. Apparently, some members had video cameras and had taped the original talk.

So, we can't say it's ALWAYS inspired, although one needs to treat their counsel with respect, and work off the assumption it is in fact inspired Best to run everything through your own thought and prayer processes and decide what fits your unique circumstances.

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Last month, my girlfriend just got her ears pierced for a second time on both ears. Is she breaking a commandment and will therefore not be allowed in the celestial kingdom one day? She also has three very nice butterfly tatoos which she absolutely refuses to have removed (they are honestly nice looking). Will she be able to get through the gates of the celestial kingdom with them on? Curious.

When we choose to disregard inspired counsel, we begin to orient our course away from the celestial kingdom. If we do not repent, we will drift away off-course.

Let me use an example. Go watch the movie Apollo 13. It's a gripping drama and a true life story. There's an important gospel lesson in it, believe it or not.

Apollo 13 experienced an explosion of an oxygen tank on the way out to the moon. The main spacecraft that was designed to return them to earth lost all its oxygen and all its electricity. The astronauts couldn't be sure, but it was assumed that the explosion destroyed their rocket engine that would allow them to control their flight path.

The astronauts relied on a "redeemer"--the spaceship that was designed to land them on the moon. It had enough oxygen to get them home--barely. This "redeemer" gave them hope, but they had to follow careful directions and listen to the instructions from mission control. Like us, we need to lean on the Redeemer and listen to Mission Control (the Spirit).

The venting oxygen gradually put them a few degrees off course. It was almost imperceptible, but the drift was very real. A few degrees, multiplied across almost a half-million miles would have been disastrous. Likewise with us, sin throws us off course. When we break commandments, it destroys our "life support system" and our ability to navigate our course back home. When we disregard inspired counsel--even a little bit, it has an impact. Multiplied over the course of a mortal life, it adds up. We can easily find ourselves way off-course, even though the error seemed almost negligible.

The astronauts had to reenter the earth's atmosphere at the perfect angle--going nearly 25,000 mph! There was no room for error. If they came in too steep, they'd burn up like a meteor. If they came in too shallow, they'd skip off the atmosphere like a stone skipping on a lake's surface.

Likewise, the way into the celestial kingdom is very "strait and narrow." The Savior said that "few there be that find it." If we fail to follow counsel of the Lord's inspired servants, our mistakes will lead to greater sins. We will find ourselves unable to make a proper "re-entry" to the celestial kingdom.

Repentance allows us to get back on course. Listen to "mission control"--the voice of the Spirit. If we don't follow the instructions or disregard them, we won't make it back.

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i personally would have no problem standing next to the savior and drink a red bull yet we have been counseled against energy drinks. I think that counsel maybe less universal than commandments, or in other words there may be circumstances where it is ok to go against council but it is never ok to go against a commandment.

:huh:

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if you could explain your confusion I may be able to clarify.

I don't know friend. In my experience during my mission i never found it easy to reason with people who have the same philosophy as you do. Actually I'm not confused although that may have been what the icon has projected. I'm worried. Especially every time I read and read posts of people, LDS or not, expressing all sorts of excuses to justify their actions or beliefs when confronted by Church standards. Hey, to me you are still a child of God no matter what. Don't bother clarifying. I think you will only try to defend your stand.

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Guest mysticmorini

I'm not trying to justify anything it was merely an example. perhaps if you reread the previous posts before mine you would understand why i said what i said. The statement was made that feeling comfortable or being willing to do something in front of the savior was the measure to use when determining what is right or wrong. I simply disagree there are a number of things which many people would feel comfortable doing in front of the savior which are explicitly not ok. many non-mormons would have no problem drinking in front of the savior. at the same time there are things which are ok that i would not feel comfortable doing in front of the savior, sexual relations with a spouse for example.

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I'm not trying to justify anything it was merely an example. perhaps if you reread the previous posts before mine you would understand why i said what i said. The statement was made that feeling comfortable or being willing to do something in front of the savior was the measure to use when determining what is right or wrong. I simply disagree there are a number of things which many people would feel comfortable doing in front of the savior which are explicitly not ok. many non-mormons would have no problem drinking in front of the savior. at the same time there are things which are ok that i would not feel comfortable doing in front of the savior, sexual relations with a spouse for example.

That because drinking is not wrong for non Mormons. Just like many Mormons would have no issues eating un kosher meat, shell fish and being clean shaven in front of the lord .It is not their covenant.

But i agree with your over all premise that the Would you do it in front of Jesus, is not the best measure

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