Dolly

Looking to learn about Mormons, have 3 questions

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Hello all! I have three questions about Mormon beliefs:

-Do you believe that God controls everything that happens to us in life? or do you believe He only controls some of what happens to us?

-Do you believe that God created our spirits? and if so, why did He create our spirits?

-When God told us that He wanted us to come to earth and be tested, did we have the option of just saying no and staying in Heaven with Him, or did we have to?

Thank you!

Edited by Dolly

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7 hours ago, Dolly said:

Hello all! I have three questions about Mormon beliefs:

-Do you believe that God controls everything that happens to us in life? or do you believe He only controls some of what happens to us?

-Do you believe that God created our spirits? and if so, why did He create our spirits?

-When God told us that He wanted us to come to earth and be tested, did we have the option of just saying no and staying in Heaven with Him, or did we have to?

Thank you!

1) "Controls"?  I wouldn't use that word.  He's "involved".  But we believe in free agency (free will, the ability to choose).  And this discussion can go on for weeks.  What is free will?  If God knows the future... yadda yadda.  But the short answer is: We believe we have free agency and God is involved in the affairs of men.  Let's save the discussion and definitions for another thread.

2) Yes, God created our spirits.  We had a level of being which we know little about prior to becoming spirits.  We call them "intelligences".  God knew he was more advanced than us.  You might say we were the spiritual equivalent of a primordial soup.  But there was "something" that set us apart from dead matter.  He wanted us to progress and grow.  You might say it was a moral imperative or that he felt love and kinship for us (that's the why).  So, he gave us our first form which was a spirit body.  And again we know little about our spirits except that they had shape/form and looked something like our bodies here on earth.  But having a spirit body, we were able to do things that "intelligences" could not.

3) Since you know of the "come to earth to be tested", I'll assume you know of the war in heaven.  The earthly metaphor is that as my children grow and learn, I want them to have life experience, get married, have a successful career, give me some grandchildren, feel the joy of serving others.  They can experience some of this while under my tutelage.  But the greatest of these things happens when he's doing things on his own with guidance from me when he needs it.  He just needs to call me.

The part that few pay attention to is that we continually grow and learn and age.  There is no such thing as not aging.  We physically mature.  No choice.  No force. One does not choose to age.  It just happens on its own. 

Our spirits do the same thing.  The only way to avoid growth is to die.  So, siding with Satan in the war in heaven is spiritual death.

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I believe that God set up a series of Laws.  If we break those laws consequences flow naturally from them... if we keep those laws consequences flow naturally from that as well.  Some Laws we understand (or think we understand) like gravity.  And some Laws we don't understand at all or very much, and are usually called miracles when we see their consequences.

So God is in control in that he has a perfect understanding and knowledge.  But part of this test (see question 3) is that we get to freely interact with these Laws and take the consequences.

So if I decide to walk off a cliff and fall to my death, then while God 'controlled' it by creating gravity and the cliff, but really the responsibility of belongs to me.  For making that choice to defy the Law of Gravity when I knew what would be the most likely result.

We believe that there is a part of us that is eternal.  God organized this eternal bit into our spirits.  He did this in order to give us the chance, through the Laws he created to live, and grow and become more like him in as much as we are willing to do so.

We always have the option to say no.  However we don't have the option to pick and choose the consequence of defying a Law (like falling from gravity).  We say this mortal life is a test, but the test started back in our pre-mortal existence.  Those that said no to mortality reached an end to their growth and development and will be put in a place designed by God for such individuals.

 

 

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(Adding my response so you can have a chorus.  I didn't read the other responses here)

These were all really good thoughtful questions!

10 hours ago, Dolly said:

-Do you believe that God controls everything that happens to us in life? or do you believe He only controls some of what happens to us?

God is in the ultimate the driver's seat and makes sure everything works out for the good of His people.  However, He does not deny anyone their agency to choose things themselves.  For example, I was in a car accident this fall.  I was stopped at a red light, and the other guy smashed into me, totaling my car.  God didn't make the other guy choose to not pay attention and hit me.  But God did protect me and my family- we were all ok.  He helped us through the headache of dealing with insurance (much patience required).  Due to the insurance pay out, we had money for unanticipated bills this winter-- God was taking care of us again/still.  He didn't make the other guy hit me, but He took care of me, and made the accident work for my good.  

10 hours ago, Dolly said:

-Do you believe that God created our spirits? and if so, why did He create our spirits?

Yes and no.  Part of us has always existed- our "intelligence" has always existed, but from there God created our spirits as His children.  What an intelligence is vs a spirit, we admittedly don't know- honestly I doubt we could understand that metaphysics.  Why do this?  The same reason we have children on Earth: they are wonderful.  

10 hours ago, Dolly said:

-When God told us that He wanted us to come to earth and be tested, did we have the option of just saying no and staying in Heaven with Him, or did we have to?

From your question, I'm assuming you are familiar with the War in Heaven.  I'm mistaken, please say so and I'll explain that background.

We don't live in Neverland, aka a place where you can pretend time doesn't exist and never grow up.  This is simply the product of time: through time we naturally all gain experiences and grow-- it can't be stopped.  As children grow, the natural inclination is to want to be like our parents-- it's just part of being who we are.  For a person to say "no I never want to change and don't want to be like my perfect Father" doesn't make sense, because that's not how we are at all.   

 

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I don't know if your questions stem from hardships you have experienced, or if it just seems that way to me.  My answers are somewhat skewed toward that, but either way hopefully they give some of the light you are seeking.

11 hours ago, Dolly said:

-Do you believe that God controls everything that happens to us in life? or do you believe He only controls some of what happens to us?

He doesn't "control" us in the sense of determining our behavior and choices.  We have agency.  https://www.lds.org/topics/agency?lang=eng&old=true says "Agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves. Agency is essential in the plan of salvation. Without agency, we would not be able to learn or progress or follow the Savior. With it, we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” ( 2 Nephi 2:27)."

A common question that you might have is, "is God doing all of the things that happen to me?"  As Jane_Doe explained, we have agency, and so do others.  Choices bring consequences.  We can make choices that cause us misery and others can also cause us grief (temporarily anyway).  Furthermore, lots of what happens to us is a consequence of the Fall.  If I get cancer, if my house gets destroyed by a tornado, if my children get attacked by wolves, I wouldn't say God is doing that to me.  He does allow it to happen, but these are all consequences of the Fall.  God didn't create the world this way.  It was Adam and Eve that made the choice to bring about the Fall.

So, the next question is "since God is all powerful, why does He allow these difficult things to happen?"  Even though these seem like horrible things and it's miserable to go through them, the Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that a world with opposition and trials was necessary to allow us to grow.  There must be bad in order for there to be good.  Without misery there is no joy. (See 2 Nephi)  The Apostle Paul taught "we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22)   Our trials can help us to be humble and help us to turn to God.  If we turn to God, he can change our hearts and help us to become better people.  We can find happiness that we would not have had without Him.  It's worth noting that Jesus Christ suffered all of the pains and afflictions that we go through and it was miserable for Him too.(Alma 7:11).  He understands.

 

11 hours ago, Dolly said:

-When God told us that He wanted us to come to earth and be tested, did we have the option of just saying no and staying in Heaven with Him, or did we have to?

There's a diagram in our primary room that teaches that good choices lead to freedom and happiness, and bad choices lead to misery and captivity.  In the premortal world you made a choice for the Plan of Salvation (a.k.a. the Plan of Happiness).  You received freedom and happiness because of that choice.  (And, you'll receive more eventually since you'll be resurrected and receive some amount of glory.)  Living in this world and accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is THE ONLY PATH to freedom and happiness.  There is no other way.   In the premortal world, you had to either choose the plan of salvation (and its freedom and happiness) or the opposite (which would result in captivity and misery).  The scriptures teach that those who "kept not their first estate" didn't stay as spirits living forever with their Heavenly Father.  Living forever as spirits with Heavenly Father is NOT the Plan of Happiness.  The spirits who didn't want a body and the Plan of Happiness were "cast out" (Revelation 12:9) and have become miserable.

Edited by Rhoades

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I would suggest that these three questions do not have hard, fast, "doctrinal" answers that all Mormons believe or are required to believe. IMO, any answers would be speculative and not "official". That said, may I add my thoughts on these three questions:

1)

11 hours ago, Dolly said:

-Do you believe that God controls everything that happens to us in life? or do you believe He only controls some of what happens to us?

I don't know the answer to this one. Was God walking around my community yesterday counting snowflakes so that just the right number fell on my driveway so that I would have to shovel? Was he walking through the neighboring communities determining exactly how much snow would fall where? Is he up in the atmosphere pulling and pushing on the jet stream so that these storms will pass over northern Nevada and Utah and cause those rivers to flood? Or did He trigger the atmospheric disturbance over the Pacific that became those storms and then sat back and watched where they would go? Or, at the other extreme, did he create the universe billions of years ago (along with the natural laws that woud govern this universe) and then passively watched the whole thing unfold until now? How much around me can be directly attributable to God? I don't know the answer to this. I tend towards a view where God creates the natural laws that govern the universe, watches and occasionally "tweaks" something when it suits His purposes.

Others have talked about agency and free will and that God will not force people to do things, so I will leave that part of the discussion to them.

2)

11 hours ago, Dolly said:

-Do you believe that God created our spirits? and if so, why did He create our spirits?

Yes, I believe that He created our spirits. I do not know why.

3)

11 hours ago, Dolly said:

-When God told us that He wanted us to come to earth and be tested, did we have the option of just saying no and staying in Heaven with Him, or did we have to?

I don't know the final answer to this one. Everything I have seen mentioned about our premortal choices suggests that there were only two choices -- Follow Satan or follow Christ. I do not recall any discussion or allowance for a third "not rebellious but not interested either" class of spirits in the premortal counsels. If there is a third class of spirits who just chose not to come to earth, I am not aware of any statements by anyone that suggests that they exist or what their past/current/future state might be.

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Short version: No. Yes. Yes.

Slightly less short version: God is not a God of compulsion. Reality, however, is pretty compelling.

Slightly less less short version: To answer these questions adequately, we would need to have a better revealed understanding of the conditions in premortal life. Since we do not have that public revelatory knowledge, it makes it hard to give answers that are anything more than opinion coupled with educated guessing.

Long version: [redacted]

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On 2/27/2017 at 11:53 PM, Dolly said:

Hello all! I have three questions about Mormon beliefs:

-Do you believe that God controls everything that happens to us in life? or do you believe He only controls some of what happens to us?

-Do you believe that God created our spirits? and if so, why did He create our spirits?

-When God told us that He wanted us to come to earth and be tested, did we have the option of just saying no and staying in Heaven with Him, or did we have to?

Thank you!

1) No

2) Yes, Moses 1:39

3) Yes, think of Satan, all of which was choice and consequence

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On February 27, 2017 at 11:53 PM, Dolly said:

Hello all! I have three questions about Mormon beliefs:

-Do you believe that God controls everything that happens to us in life? or do you believe He only controls some of what happens to us?

-Do you believe that God created our spirits? and if so, why did He create our spirits?

-When God told us that He wanted us to come to earth and be tested, did we have the option of just saying no and staying in Heaven with Him, or did we have to?

Thank you!

1. He has that power but he lets things run a loton their own.

2. Unknown, if you mean as to what was before there were spirits. He did however organize and raised us up, which i would guess would be a type of creation.

3. Unknown. Howeverit seems to me that god isnt the type that forces things on people.

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for question 3.  We had the choice not to come to Earth, and 1/3 of us/them did, but they are now stuck and can't progress.  We got bodies and will be resurrected with a perfect body like Christ, which is apparently necessary for progression toward perfection.  Those who chose to stay behind, are left behind, never to progress further, and are therefore damned.

Edited by bytebear

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On 3/3/2017 at 10:44 PM, bytebear said:

for question 3.  We had the choice not to come to Earth, and 1/3 of us/them did, but they are now stuck and can't progress.  We got bodies and will be resurrected with a perfect body like Christ, which is apparently necessary for progression toward perfection.  Those who chose to stay behind, are left behind, never to progress further, and are therefore damned.

Not to sound nitpicky but I've always understood this to be "a third part" which is not the same as 1/3.  Basically, 1/3 implies there are 3 equal parts.  A third part implies there are 3 divisions which may be of different numerical sizes.  But then, that's probably just the engineer in me looking at a mathematical 1/3.

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Sorry, I don't have anything to add to the answers at this point, but I have to ask: Does anybody else see the title to this thread while scrolling down the page and think it's one of those links to a 3 Mormons video?

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On 3/7/2017 at 0:02 AM, bytebear said:

I agree, that it's a third part, but it's just easier to go with 1/3 for brevity.

One of my nit picky pet peeves.  It's 1/3 part. :)

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On 3/10/2017 at 7:51 PM, SilentOne said:

Sorry, I don't have anything to add to the answers at this point, but I have to ask: Does anybody else see the title to this thread while scrolling down the page and think it's one of those links to a 3 Mormons video?

Nope.  Never crossed my mind.

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On 3/10/2017 at 8:51 PM, SilentOne said:

Sorry, I don't have anything to add to the answers at this point, but I have to ask: Does anybody else see the title to this thread while scrolling down the page and think it's one of those links to a 3 Mormons video?

I know what you mean.  When scrolling the words kinda get mixed up.  And, yes, I thought it too.

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