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BenRaines

Are we obedient out of fear or love

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Do we keep God's commandment for fear of being punished or do we keep them out of love of God and His Son, Jesus Christ?

An earlier thread on church attendance made me think of this.

I do what I do out of a love for God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I do not do it for fear of godly reprisal, denial of entrance in to the Kingdom. I do it for love of a Heavenly Father and love and sacrifice of His Son.

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I think for many the answer would be both. I think I actively do good things out of love, avoid the negative out of fear of punishment.

Sometimes I'm not really good at putting my personal thoughts into words but hopefully I'm conveying my meaning well.

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I think in a way both... If wanting to go to the CK is considered doing things out of 'fear' then I do a lot of the things I do out of 'fear'. I guess I would prefer to think of it as reaching for the best. Trying my hardest to gather in as many blessings as I can, which include going to the CK. But I want to go to the CK so I can be with my Father, who I love. So is trying to return to him, and doing the things I need to do so that I can return to him, considered doing it because I love him and want to return to him, or that I am afraid if I don't do the right things I won't be able to return to him (which would be a punishment). I guess it depends on how you want to define it.

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I'm confused. LDS doctrine has always seemed to threaten much less in terms of punishment than many other flavors of Christianity. Compared to Southern Baptist Hell, even if I'm utter stinker, the LDS church doesn't offer much in terms of things to be frightened of.

I'm not a member yet, but I'm trying to be. So what I say here may not be accurate. But LDS theology seems to be oriented a lot more on obtaining reward than on fearing punishment. Except for the sort of sin which is impossible to commit at this time in this life, every other error can be atoned for and, even if we die in sin, remediated at least part-way. Thus we risk rational consequences more than externally meted-our punishments should we fall by the way-side.

Or maybe I should say that the punishment seems to be not getting the reward... which seems like it should be punishment enough.

But from my tiny slice of LDS gospel that I've managed to get exposed to so far it seems like we are rewarded according to our efforts in this life and the next. Doing five dollars worth of work with the expectation of getting ten dollars in remuneration and then walking away with five dollars isn't a punishment. Putting half the effort in throughout our existence and getting half the possible reward out isn't a punishment.

I expect to be corrected, so don't pull any punches.

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I think you're right, scholasticpastic. The gospel as preached by the Latter-day Saints is not much based on fear as a motivator. The warnings are certainly there, but even those are mostly for the Saints who have already made covenants and are not keeping them. In general, the approach seems to be to paint a picture of where you want to go and then start going there. More carrot, less stick.

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Do we keep God's commandment for fear of being punished or do we keep them out of love of God and His Son, Jesus Christ?

An earlier thread on church attendance made me think of this.

I do what I do out of a love for God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I do not do it for fear of godly reprisal, denial of entrance in to the Kingdom. I do it for love of a Heavenly Father and love and sacrifice of His Son.

There is a scale of reasons for obedience that extends from motivation derived from personal benefit or fear to the love of serving others (God and Jesus in this case). I think this is what is taught by the laws associated with the transition from the preparatory law to the new law, the law associated with the higher order of priesthood. Most of us are working towards doing everything out of pure love but it is often done by taking steps to get there such as obedience by way of fear or wanting personal rewards associated with the commandment. The reasons for which we obey, I am sure God will use those desires to determine which Kingdom we are assigned. The Celestial is one where people have an eye single to the glory of God ... and not one eye looking at other motivations.

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I think scholasticpastic is right in regards to the LDS church. From what I know of it, it's a very rewards-based faith: as opposed to a church that would say "do this or go to hell" the LDS church seems to emphasize "do this and you will be rewarded with ..."

Other churches are mostly slightly different. The SBC (Southern Baptist) church is very fear-based. Hell is spoken of more frequently than almost any other topic. The Catholic Church, however, is more love-based: there *is* and can be a mixture of fear of Hell (a very real place), and love of God. However, if a person confesses a sin *solely* or even *mostly* out of fear, then that sin is not absolved. There *must* be love of God in that act of contrition for it to be valid. At the end of the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), the sinner must recite an Act of Contrition, which shows his guilt, repentence, love of God, and vow to turn from sin. A common Act says "...I detest all of my sins, because of Your just punishments, *but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all-good and deserving of all my love..." and another version states, "...I have sinned against You, whom I should love above all things..." So love of God must be in the repentence for it to be valid.

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I think that throughout one's life, there is a natural development in motivations, if we are progressing. Basal levels may be out of fear. Better, but not best, is seeking reward. The highest, is simply out of love.

That is one of the beauties of the Gospel, within, and across dispensations. It provides for the necessary motivators for all types of individuals and in all stations through life. Hopefully we can continually progress in our motivations.

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I feel like I have progressed from doing it out of fear, to love. Just growing up and learning more has done that for me. I am glad I can now say out of love. Although I don't think htat it was bad when I was young and did it out of fear, because it was never a heavey fear, just a "I don't know very much" kind of fear.

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Elder Oaks' book "Pure in Heart" is a great read revolving around why we obey and our true intents. Highly recommended.

We all obey for different reasons. As long as love is the reason we are striving for, the Lord knows where our hearts our.

Im glad the church (at least in my experience) does not use fear to motivate as others might. This is the reason I was never a huge fan of the book Miracle of Forgiveness as I fealt it left you overwelmed with fear and hopelessness sometimes.

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This is the reason I was never a huge fan of the book Miracle of Forgiveness as I fealt it left you overwelmed with fear and hopelessness sometimes.

My sentiments appear to align closely with yours regarding the book. Yet, I have met several people (a Stake President being one) who found the book "motivational and inspiring".

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I didn't personally find MoF too disturbing, but I had a mission companion that it caused a great deal of distress for, actually it was worse than distress, and because I was privy to what happened there, I don't think I would ever recommend it to anyone, and I would council my children etc., against reading it.

-RM

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I used to do things out of fear and want of reward.

Now I do them because I love God, I'm not in it for the reward....nor do I do anything out of fear of punishment.

At this point I don't think I could go back to the other way.

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