Nonbeliever's questions about your faith


Madam_Mim

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I should point out that Moroni's promise isn't restricted to the truth of the Gospel, or the Book of Mormon, but is something that can be used on any matter of truth.  Simply put, God does answer prayers. 

 

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  8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
  9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong;


Doctrine and Covenants 9

 

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People want God in a Box®. God in a Box® is safe, convenient, and almost mess-free. Want an explanation for why things happen? God in a Box® gives you all the "answers" you really need (because, let's face it, you don't really need answers, do you?). Who to turn to when you're discouraged? God in a Box® fills the bill! Someone to pray to without worrying about actually trying to communicate in a conversation. Need a safe, neutral personage to worship so that you don't look like a godless heathen, but that won't inflame your electorate with weird, cult-like associations? God in a Box® is your man!

Along with a few other Christians, Latter-day Saints foolishly don't preach God in a Box®. They go with this weird, cult-like god who does bizarre, out-of-the-Box® things like take an interest in your life, actively hear your prayers, and—scandalous!—reveal himself to people. Weirdos. When such people claim that God speaks to them, question their sanity, or at least the reliability of their obviously biased methodology. Mock and make fun, or roll your eyes and demonstrate some strained patience. But whatever you do, never take them seriously. Here be dragons.

Listen carefully: We've got a good thing going with God in a Box®. Let's not blow it.

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2 hours ago, estradling75 said:

Looks like you missed the point of the very first quoted post you made of me.  My very first statement in that post "It depends entirely on what you mean by proof"  Please go back and re-read the post until you realize just nonsensical your current post is as a response to my point.

OK - maybe I went off a bit half-cocked there - I get that you are talking about the difference between a "subjective proof" - something that convinces you internally of the truth of a proposition but which you cannot use to demonstrate that truth to anyone else - and an "objective truth" which you can present to others.

But I still don't agree with everything you say. Firstly you suggest a thing remains an abstraction to those who "choose not to believe" after it has been demonstrated through proof. But it seems to me that it matters little whether the proof is subjective or objective - the person concerned still believes and knows, even if they "choose" not to.

As for the reality of love serving as an analogy for the reality of the things Mormonism teaches, I'm going to have to think about this some more. I'm tempted to say that while Mormonism and love are undoubtedly powerful forces, belief in love does not require us to believe in the reality of angels, golden plates and other objective things.

It's an interesting discussion though - this is how we learn. Thanks!

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Short answer is yes, the Lord could send angels, reveal himself, and show himself fully to you.  That has happened. 

However, WHY do you believe it is him?

Why would you believe in the angels?

It's more to do with your emotion and how you feel about the matter.

Why does one think the Sun will rise in the morning when they have not seen it yet?   They may know facts and other items, but the truth of the matter is the reason they believe it will happen is that they feel it will happen.  They have facts to back up that feeling, but in the end, it comes down to what one feels about something.

This is why the emotion or feeling of it is so important.  One could see the Lord and Angels and NOT feel they were actually real, or that they represented what they said they represented (maybe someone would call them ancient aliens or some other thought).

Moroni's promise is NOT supposed to be built on blind faith.  It CAN be, just like other things in life, but in theory we are supposed to search it out and study for ourselves and THEN ask. 

Imagine wanting to get a permanent structure so we would not be in the weather all the time.  We could study out that there is this thing called a roof and a building.  WE study how to build it.

We then can build the thing.  We still need to have the emotional faith, or trust that it will do what we think it will do.  We have to have trust in the science of it.  Even after we build the building...let's say a house...we need to trust that it can protect us from the weather.  We might not go into it because we feel it won't do a thing.  It's built on an emotion.  ONCE we are in it, and we are protected we KNOW that it can, at least for the moment.  Prior to that, it was all built upon our emotion and faith that it would do so.  The days/weeks/months of building were all done on an emotion, a faith on the subject.

This is even harder to do when you have never seen a house.  Maybe you've only seen caves and live in caves.  Building a house and living in one would require a great deal more faith.  You'd probably want to study it a GREAT deal.

The same is with Moroni's promise in relation to the Book of Mormon.  You would study ALL the scriptures (which would be the bible as well) and ponder and consider them in relation to other things.  Only after the study, and having a belief in the matter to take a leap of faith do you say that prayer.  It is possible (and many have had their prayer answered quickly, others have taken longer.  Even those who eventually became the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have at times had a long time before such a prayer was answered).

In the end, the spirit talks to us with feeling because that is what builds the basis for almost all that we do, act, and believe in.  In some ways, how we feel or receive in feeling is the strongest motivator of how we act.

The biggest difficulty then is differentiating between if we are merely feeling what we want to feel as our own emotion, or if what we are feeling is something coming from something else.  That if the feeling we have telling us it is true is truly from the LORD, from our own need to want it, or from our own personal emotions. 

I think that is the greatest difficulty people have in determining whether or not what they are asking is true or not.

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15 hours ago, Jamie123 said:

But I still don't agree with everything you say. Firstly you suggest a thing remains an abstraction to those who "choose not to believe" after it has been demonstrated through proof. But it seems to me that it matters little whether the proof is subjective or objective - the person concerned still believes and knows, even if they "choose" not to.

Do you really want me to start listing all the things deny and offer "counter proof" for?   Pick any one of them and tell them to their face that they really do believe but are just lying to themselves ..  Odds are you will get an explosion of denial and counter proofs that make a nuclear bomb look like a fire cracker.

 

16 hours ago, Jamie123 said:

As for the reality of love serving as an analogy for the reality of the things Mormonism teaches, I'm going to have to think about this some more. I'm tempted to say that while Mormonism and love are undoubtedly powerful forces, belief in love does not require us to believe in the reality of angels, golden plates and other objective things.

If you think the bolded is what I am saying you very very mistaken..  I am saying that everyone believes in things that can not be objectively proven (Love is an example of this that most people would readily agree to)  Someone that says they only believe in what can be objectively proven is either a really bitter and lonely person or lying. 

Someone that demands objective proof of God but accepts personal subjective proof for other things (like Love) is being inconsistent or out right hypocritical.  Someone that accepts Love but denies God because they have personal subjective experience with one and not the other is completely understandable and consistent

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2 hours ago, estradling75 said:

Do you really want me to start listing all the things deny and offer "counter proof" for?   Pick any one of them and tell them to their face that they really do believe but are just lying to themselves ..  Odds are you will get an explosion of denial and counter proofs that make a nuclear bomb look like a fire cracker.

 

If you think the bolded is what I am saying you very very mistaken..  I am saying that everyone believes in things that can not be objectively proven (Love is an example of this that most people would readily agree to)  Someone that says they only believe in what can be objectively proven is either a really bitter and lonely person or lying. 

Someone that demands objective proof of God but accepts personal subjective proof for other things (like Love) is being inconsistent or out right hypocritical.  Someone that accepts Love but denies God because they have personal subjective experience with one and not the other is completely understandable and consistent

I'm still not totally convinced: I made a couple of attempts to respond to this, but I keep seeing faults in my own reasoning and I need a little while to sort it out. (What for instance do we really mean when we say that "love is true"?)

Also we are arguing two different issues which ought to be addressed separately:  there's the issue of whether it is possible to "choose" to disbelieve something which has been absolutely proven (and after what Vort said I'm starting to wonder if this may be a moot question) and the issue of whether the reality of love provides a useful analogy for the reality a religion.

I'm too busy to spend any more time on this now but I'll get back to you - maybe in a new thread.

Edited by Jamie123
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38 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

I'm still not totally convinced: I made a couple of attempts to respond to this, but I keep seeing faults in my own reasoning and I need a little while to sort it out. (What for instance do we really mean when we say that "love is true"?)

Also we are arguing two different issues which ought to be addressed separately:  there's the issue of whether it is possible to "choose" to disbelieve something which has been absolutely proven (and after what Vort said I'm starting to wonder if this may be a moot question) and the issue of whether the reality of love provides a useful analogy for the reality a religion.

I'm too busy to spend any more time on this now but I'll get back to you - maybe in a new thread.

Let me interject because people throw out the word Love and not know what it is.  So let's make sure we understand what exactly we are talking about.

So - LOVE is that all-encompassing desire to bring someone Joy.  Agree?  So "True Love" is 2 things - 1.) That it is honestly desiring to bring someone Joy rather than actually desiring to bring one's self Joy, and 2.)  That it is bringing REAL Joy rather than different versions of temporary pleasure.

So... this is where that equates with the belief in God.  Believing that there is such a thing as Joy and that certain things lead to Joy and certain things do not lead to Joy is exactly the same as believing that there is such a thing as God and doing certain things lead to God and doing certain things do not lead to God.

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6 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

You would study ALL the scriptures (which would be the bible as well) and ponder and consider them in relation to other things.  Only after the study, and having a belief in the matter to take a leap of faith do you say that prayer. 

My problem is: Studying the scriptures (mostly the bible) is what made me an atheist. The stories and messages in the bible... I don't even know where to start and I don't want to rant, so I'll just say: They didn't *inspire* me. 😏 And learning what god said and did according to the bible showed me that even if I knew for a fact that he exists, I couldn't worship him.

Also, reading books about the history of the bible, how it was put together etc. didn't help either. 

 

Anyways - I just have to ask about this: 

I read about the garments on the lds-website and it said

When worn properly, the garment provides protection against temptation and evil.

What does that mean? Do you believe it protects you from *doing* evil things or that it protects you from something evil happening to you? Or both?

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1 minute ago, Madam_Mim said:

My problem is: Studying the scriptures (mostly the bible) is what made me an atheist. The stories and messages in the bible... I don't even know where to start and I don't want to rant, so I'll just say: They didn't *inspire* me. 😏 And learning what god said and did according to the bible showed me that even if I knew for a fact that he exists, I couldn't worship him.

Also, reading books about the history of the bible, how it was put together etc. didn't help either. 

Answer this from the LDS Christian perspective: and can you tell me about your relationship with God during this time?  Were you praying to have Him better help you understand things?  Looking for applications?  Living open and willing to act on the knowledge He gave/gives you?  Do you know what His voice sounds like to you?

You don't need to actually answer any of those questions on here Mim- this isn't meant to be a cross-examination.  I'm simply illustrating the logical process.  *Just* reading scripture is pretty useless.  *Just* studying history of things is downright useless.  A person cannot have a relationship with God without opening up to God Himself.  And any relationship that you're not wiling to do something about and nurture, is just doomed to starve. 

1 minute ago, Madam_Mim said:

Anyways - I just have to ask about this: 

I read about the garments on the lds-website and it said

When worn properly, the garment provides protection against temptation and evil.

What does that mean? Do you believe it protects you from *doing* evil things or that it protects you from something evil happening to you? Or both?

First things first, need to state an obvious fact: there is nothing magical about the piece of fabric itself.  The fabric itself does zero.

The life of wherein a person chooses follow Christ, to follow His commandments, and honor their covenants with Him (which the garment reminds us of), that does make a world of difference.  Walking with Him helps you be strong (He gives strength) to better resist doing sinful things, and better repent when you do screw up.  By staying on His path, you'll also avoid a lot of the heartache sin / a sinful life brings about.  But avoiding some doesn't mean they'll never be heartbreak in your life (because there will be): rain falls on the just and unjust.  Having Christ with you helps us better endure and brings comfort during these hard times.

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3 minutes ago, Madam_Mim said:

My problem is: Studying the scriptures (mostly the bible) is what made me an atheist. The stories and messages in the bible... I don't even know where to start and I don't want to rant, so I'll just say: They didn't *inspire* me. 😏 And learning what god said and did according to the bible showed me that even if I knew for a fact that he exists, I couldn't worship him.

Also, reading books about the history of the bible, how it was put together etc. didn't help either. 

 

Anyways - I just have to ask about this: 

I read about the garments on the lds-website and it said

When worn properly, the garment provides protection against temptation and evil.

What does that mean? Do you believe it protects you from *doing* evil things or that it protects you from something evil happening to you? Or both?

They serve as a reminder of our covenants we've made (basically, that I'll be a good boy).  So, every time we get dressed or notice them as we wear them throughout the day, we remember that the Lord is an integral part of our lives.  He's always with us.  And our covenants are likewise a part of our lives.  Remembering that will certainly prevent us from doing evil (temptation).

This can be true in simply walking around or getting dressed.  And it will obviously be a reminder if we take them off when we're not supposed to.

"Worn properly" is referring to the fact that so many people will not wear them when they're supposed to, and approaching the wearing from the perspective that I've described above.  "It's too hot!" becomes an all too easy excuse to take them off and wear whatever else.  Or simply ignoring them and treating them like another piece of clothing likewise nullifies their purpose.

As far as evil happening to us.  Some say so.  And it seems to be a plausible interpretation of the wording, doesn't it?  I, myself, am not sure. I've hinted at the miracles that have happened in my life.  Some were protection related.  Could they have been due to wearing my garments?  Possibly/likely.  I don't know how I could determine that without hearing it from the Lord directly.  And the bottom line is that it doesn't really matter.  They remind me of my covenants.  And I tend to be a better person because of my covenants than if I had not made any.  I follow correct principles.  And by following correct principles, things just tend to turn out better.  I end up being protected from evil happening to me.

Remember that much of the time the evil that happens to us is because we follow incorrect principles.  Don't mistake this for "sin".  While there is overlap, they are not entirely the same thing.

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2 hours ago, Madam_Mim said:

My problem is: Studying the scriptures (mostly the bible) is what made me an atheist. The stories and messages in the bible... I don't even know where to start and I don't want to rant, so I'll just say: They didn't *inspire* me. 😏 And learning what god said and did according to the bible showed me that even if I knew for a fact that he exists, I couldn't worship him.

Also, reading books about the history of the bible, how it was put together etc. didn't help either. 

 

Anyways - I just have to ask about this: 

I read about the garments on the lds-website and it said

When worn properly, the garment provides protection against temptation and evil.

What does that mean? Do you believe it protects you from *doing* evil things or that it protects you from something evil happening to you? Or both?

Both.

And here’s logical reasoning especially packaged for atheists (haha, tongue in cheek).  When you’re mindful of doing good, the resulting consequence would be that you avoid putting yourself in places where bad things happen.

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21 hours ago, Madam_Mim said:

My problem is: Studying the scriptures (mostly the bible) is what made me an atheist. The stories and messages in the bible... I don't even know where to start and I don't want to rant, so I'll just say: They didn't *inspire* me. 😏

Amazing. Yet I've read those same scriptures many times, and I find them profound and, yes, inspiring. What do you suppose accounts for the difference? Serious question.

I have a friend who thinks that Jane Austen wrote trite, boring books. Do you suppose we ought to give his opinion equal credit with millions of others who think she's a genius? Or do you suppose that maybe my friend is missing something from his analysis?

21 hours ago, Madam_Mim said:

And learning what god said and did according to the bible showed me that even if I knew for a fact that he exists, I couldn't worship him.

You cannot be serious. Literally. Here is what you are saying:

If you knew FOR A FACT, BEYOND ARGUMENT that God existed, that he created the universe and all things in it, including you, that YOU WOULD NEVERTHELESS BE UNABLE TO WORSHIP HIM—because of what you think you read in the Bible.

I choose to believe that no sane person is that shallow. Because shallow is exactly what such an attitude is, and you have not yet come across to me as a shallow person. I believe no other interpretation is possible. It's one thing to disbelieve in the very existence of God, as you do. I can understand that. It's quite another to posit that if Goes really does exist in all power, magnificence, and glory, that he is yet unworthy of your worship because of the prejudices you have formed reading once through several hundred pages of translations of ancient scripture.

21 hours ago, Madam_Mim said:

When worn properly, the garment provides protection against temptation and evil.

What does that mean?

I'm not sure what your question is here. Do you not understand the words? Are you unable to visualize what "protection against temptation and evil" is? Or are you confused as to how underwear might produce such an effect? Or maybe something else? Again, these are sincere questions. The statement seems straightforward and obvious, so I'm not seeing the source of your confusion.

21 hours ago, Madam_Mim said:

Do you believe it protects you from *doing* evil things or that it protects you from something evil happening to you? Or both?

Probably both. Primarily the former. It is a reminder and a physical token of the covenants we make with God. Those covenants give us great spiritual protections. The garment, as a token and present reminder of those covenants, serves to reinforce those protections by reinforcing our remembrance of and obedience to the covenants that protect us.

Edited by Vort
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10 minutes ago, Vort said:

If you knew FOR A FACT, BEYOND ARGUMENT that God existed, that he created the universe and all things in it, including you, that YOU WOULD NEVERTHELESS BE UNABLE TO WORSHIP HIM—because of what you think you read in the Bible.

A person's understanding of the Bible is key here.  

For example, if I was raised with a Calvinist interpretation of the Bible and was looking through that lens... frankly I would agree with @Madam_Mim here.  I don't find the Calvinist view of God to be a  tremendous monster, completely undeserving of worship.   

But I don't look through a Calvinist lens, and instead understand the Gospel through prayer and the restoration.  Seeing that value of individual agency, God reaching out to ALL men, and the great value of this life (including it's hardships).  

Edited by Jane_Doe
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8 hours ago, Vort said:

Amazing. Yet I've read those same scriptures many times, and I find them profound and, yes, inspiring. What do you suppose accounts for the difference? Serious question.

I'd assume we've read them with different presuppositions? Of course I don't know, but I guess you've read them when you were already a believer? I've read them when I was already doubting. 

Or we simply take different things from the stories or have different views on what we consider to be admirable. Just one famous example that's often mentioned: Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac. Many believers admire Abraham for having such strong faith while to me this is purely horrific and scary.

8 hours ago, Vort said:

If you knew FOR A FACT, BEYOND ARGUMENT that God existed, that he created the universe and all things in it, including you, that YOU WOULD NEVERTHELESS BE UNABLE TO WORSHIP HIM—because of what you think you read in the Bible.

If the translations of the bible got it wrong and he didn't actually wipe away almost all the people on earth because he regrettet making them, and he didn't create humans and helped his favorite people to kill other humans he created, and he didn't kill all the first borns in Egypt, and he didn't command the killing of people who slept with the wrong person, and he didn't give instructions on how to treat your slaves, and he didn't degrade women - ok, THEN I shouldn't take the bible as a reason to not worship god. 


But even if we ignore the bible stories, I would still wonder: Did he create a world that includes horrific, deadly deseases/miscarriages/natural desasters etc. even though he could have created a world without all those things? Ugh... sorry, I'll better stop my ranting now and get back to LDS-questions.
 

9 hours ago, Vort said:

I'm not sure what your question is here. Do you not understand the words? Are you unable to visualize what "protection against temptation and evil" is? Or are you confused as to how underwear might produce such an effect? Or maybe something else? Again, these are sincere questions. The statement seems straightforward and obvious, so I'm not seeing the source of your confusion.

I understand the words. Sadly enough, my not very helpful or explicit question was still the better option compared to the first one that came to my mind ("Whaaaat!?"). 
I'm sure you understand that reading something like the part I quoted sounds very alien to someone who isn't familiar with this (of course I knew about the garments, but not about this particular virtue about them) and I wasn't sure how to phrase a question without sounding derogative. 

But the answers you were all giving already helped! 
 

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Thanks for explaining the garments! 
As with most things so far, it doesn't seem that "strange" anymore after reading your comments. But I have to admit - even though you don't see it as a burden - I feel a little bit bad that whoever invented them, didn't just use a ring or a bracelet as a reminder of your covenants instead. 

12 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

*Just* reading scripture is pretty useless.  *Just* studying history of things is downright useless.  A person cannot have a relationship with God without opening up to God Himself.  And any relationship that you're not wiling to do something about and nurture, is just doomed to starve. 

I agree, *just* reading doesn't bring one closer to god. And I didn't read the bible with that intention - I read it to learn what it says (before that, I only knew portions of it). So yeah.. it's not surprising that reading it didn't suddenly bring me closer to god because I wasn't, as you said, "opening up". Thinking about one of your questions.. I'd say I never had a relationship with god. 

Sure, as a kid I had to pray every night before going to sleep and sometimes my family went to church, but this was never very serious or important to me. 

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3 hours ago, Madam_Mim said:

I'd assume we've read them with different presuppositions? Of course I don't know, but I guess you've read them when you were already a believer? I've read them when I was already doubting. 

Or we simply take different things from the stories or have different views on what we consider to be admirable. Just one famous example that's often mentioned: Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac. Many believers admire Abraham for having such strong faith while to me this is purely horrific and scary.

If the translations of the bible got it wrong and he didn't actually wipe away almost all the people on earth because he regrettet making them, and he didn't create humans and helped his favorite people to kill other humans he created, and he didn't kill all the first borns in Egypt, and he didn't command the killing of people who slept with the wrong person, and he didn't give instructions on how to treat your slaves, and he didn't degrade women - ok, THEN I shouldn't take the bible as a reason to not worship god. 


But even if we ignore the bible stories, I would still wonder: Did he create a world that includes horrific, deadly deseases/miscarriages/natural desasters etc. even though he could have created a world without all those things? Ugh... sorry, I'll better stop my ranting now and get back to LDS-questions.
 

I understand the words. Sadly enough, my not very helpful or explicit question was still the better option compared to the first one that came to my mind ("Whaaaat!?"). 
I'm sure you understand that reading something like the part I quoted sounds very alien to someone who isn't familiar with this (of course I knew about the garments, but not about this particular virtue about them) and I wasn't sure how to phrase a question without sounding derogative. 

But the answers you were all giving already helped! 
 

It is a matter of perspective.

Some (definitely not all, and probably not a majority) of those in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have what you may consider a mythology in relation to Heaven, the Earth and a conflict between the forces of good and evil.  IN this, a war broke out in heaven between Good (those who supported the Lord) and Evil (those who supported the adversary).  This war did not end.  The adversary and a third of heaven were cast down, but they still are able to be on this earth, and on this earth, this war continues.

Think about a war.  It is nasty.  It is terrible.  It has different sides.

We still choose sides in this war.  It is a war with battles and ideas.  Some believe that it is still a physical war with physical consequences in this world.  Sometimes people still choose sides, and there are strategies and tactics that continue.  The spiritual battle becomes a real and physical war.

In this, it gets complicated.  You have all this as creations of the Lord, but at the same time, some of those creations are furthering the side of his enemy, while there are those of his that he uses to combat those who are helping the side of his enemy.  As any commander, his first goal is to protect the ground he already has, or to keep the volity or sanctity of his troops pure.  Thus, this is what you see in a majority of the battles and wars of the Old Testament.  It is a spiritual war becoming a physical reality in our world between the forces of the Lords and those that oppose the Lord's people. 

It get's crazier.  We view death as the end of life and existence.  From the Lord's perspective, this is not so.  Death is merely another point of existence.  To put it similarly, life could be us in School, death is when we leave School and the afterlife is seeing what we can do with what we did (whether we never graduated high School, got a college degree, got a graduate degree, went to tech school, etc).  Having us leave school is not actually that big of a deal, it's not the end of existence as we might view it in this life.  Thus, when he sees death and killing it is not as we see it, or the end of existence.  In some cases, it may even release those from pain and suffering in this life.  Sometimes, if one is going to far on the side of the enemy, it may even be a time out, or way to get them to come to their senses rather than desert to a foe that could care less about them.

However, it is STILL a WAR.  In that light, I also view that all sickness, and many ailments and evils that afflict us (and children and innocents especially) are caused by the enemy, or the spiritual adversaries to heaven (those opposing the Lord).  We see in the Book of Job that the illness isn't something that the Lord creates and causes to occur on Job, but something the adversary does to him.

This leads to the question of WHY the Lord allows this to happen?  IF he loves us, why does he allow such things to occur.

This is another items of Mythological thought you may have in regards to the Church.  We believe we are Children of a Heavenly Father.  He LOVES ALL his children.

If you have ever had children fight, what do you do?  Do you instantly kill the child you think is guilty?  That would be horrible and terrible. 

A loving God will not do that to his children either.  He does not instantly condemn his children to non-existence or to a place without his light.  So, we have this war between his children.  He gives a LOT of lee way.  I feel this is why the adversary and 1/3 of the hosts of heaven that followed him are still here.  Their Father will not totally abandon them until they have gone the full measure of rebellion to the point where there is no hope they can ever be redeemed or saved.  Just like we would with our children, until they become full on criminals we probably do our best to protect them and help them, even when they are fighting with their brothers and sisters.

When viewed from a temporary view where life begins and ends in this earth, it seems incomprehensible.  When viewed that this world and this life is a mere instant compared to the eternities, and that it's akin to a year in school or less (maybe even just a day in school), and that he is basing his judgments and doings on the scale of eternity rather than just this life, it becomes a little easier to accept (though probably still very hard to understand for many).

Now, this is NOT a thing believed by many of our Members, and it may even be a very small minority.  For that minority or group that does, though it may be a mythology to you, it is actually a religious belief and theology for me and others.  It explains why bad things are happening in this world to a small degree, as this world is but a small moment compared to the eternities of this conflict that is going on around us.  The pain, the sickness, the ailments that seem random are not so, but weapons used against us by a force that hates us with all they possess.  It is not the Lord who is doing it, but our enemy.  It is allowed, ironically, because they are also the children of God, and as such, are also loved just as he loves all his children.  Ironic, but it can be viewed as a larger and greater extension of what we see in our own homes when our own children fight and squabble amongst each other, but on a greater and larger scale.

 

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9 hours ago, Madam_Mim said:

Thanks for explaining the garments! 
As with most things so far, it doesn't seem that "strange" anymore after reading your comments. But I have to admit - even though you don't see it as a burden - I feel a little bit bad that whoever invented them, didn't just use a ring or a bracelet as a reminder of your covenants instead. 

I agree, *just* reading doesn't bring one closer to god. And I didn't read the bible with that intention - I read it to learn what it says (before that, I only knew portions of it). So yeah.. it's not surprising that reading it didn't suddenly bring me closer to god because I wasn't, as you said, "opening up". Thinking about one of your questions.. I'd say I never had a relationship with god. 

Sure, as a kid I had to pray every night before going to sleep and sometimes my family went to church, but this was never very serious or important to me. 

@Madam_Mim, I majorly appreciate the self honesty of your posts here (this and many others).  

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  • 3 weeks later...

I thought I'd give all of you a break until General Conference is over. 

I didn't listen to all the talks of the conference, but I watched Pres. Nelson's talk and wanted to ask some things. 

He said:

Quote

They need to understand that while there is a place for them hereafter—with wonderful men and women who also chose not to make covenants with God—that is not the place where families will be reunited and be given the privilege to live and progress forever. 

This sounded very drastic at first (well... at least if you like your family members) but then I remembered some of you explaining to me that nobody is forced to stay in the celestial kingdom. So if a family misses its son, who's in the terrestrial kingdom, they can just "downgrade" and join him, right? 

And if the whole family chooses to not make covenants with god, wouldn't they all be reunited in the terrestrial kingdom?

Another thing I was wondering: If you don't believe in god or the church - could you still get a temple recommend and receive all the necessary blessings simply by lying to the bishops about your faith and testimony? If I imagine my whole family being terribly upset and worried about me for leaving the church, I'd consider doing that. 
And is there any scripture about people who do that? What will happen to them after death? 
 

Edited by Madam_Mim
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On 3/30/2019 at 8:13 AM, Madam_Mim said:

But even if we ignore the bible stories, I would still wonder: Did he create a world that includes horrific, deadly deseases/miscarriages/natural desasters etc. even though he could have created a world without all those things?

There's a really good book by C.S. Lewis called "The Problem of Pain"  that addresses that very question.  I used it as a source for a talk I recently gave at Church on this very subject.  ;)

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18 minutes ago, Madam_Mim said:

This sounded very drastic at first (well... at least if you like your family members) but then I remembered some of you explaining to me that nobody is forced to stay in the celestial kingdom. So if a family misses its son, who's in the terrestrial kingdom, they can just "downgrade" and join him, right?

And if the whole family chooses to not make covenants with god, wouldn't they all be reunited in the terrestrial kingdom? 

A degree of glory is not a house to be 'downgraded'.  It's a state of being.  

A person who is truly selfless, loving, and devoted to God & others (aka person with Celestial glory), can indeed visit/serve a relative who is still selfish and lackluster about caring for others (aka a person with Terrestrial glory).   But due to that selfishness these relatives can never be fully one: such oneness only happens when all fully & truly selfless, loving, and devoted to God & others (aka a person embodying Celestial glory).  

18 minutes ago, Madam_Mim said:

Another thing I was wondering: If you don't believe in god or the church - could you still get a temple recommend and receive all the necessary blessings simply by lying to the bishops about your faith and testimony? If I imagine my whole family being terribly upset and worried about me for leaving the church, I'd consider doing that. 
And is there any scripture about people who do that? What will happen to them after death? 
 

I mean, you technically could completely lie to yourself, your family, your Bishop and God.  God knows you're lying, and that the promises you're making will only stand to damn yourself.  But unless there is radical repentance & change of heart, such selfishness & lies will bar that person from being one with their family in the eternities.  

It would be FAR better to be honest from the start.  Do not dig yourself into a hole of lies and mockery.  

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3 hours ago, Madam_Mim said:

If you don't believe in god or the church - could you still get a temple recommend and receive all the necessary blessings simply by lying to the bishops about your faith and testimony?

Sure. That makes the person a liar. Liars don't do well in the patterns of existence. Liars are constitutionally incapable of receiving the things of God. So they don't. God is not mocked.

From earlier:

On 3/30/2019 at 1:13 AM, Madam_Mim said:

But even if we ignore the bible stories, I would still wonder: Did he create a world that includes horrific, deadly deseases/miscarriages/natural desasters etc. even though he could have created a world without all those things?

Why do you suppose the above bolded part? I see little reason to believe that's the case.

Edited by Vort
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Guest Mores
1 hour ago, Madam_Mim said:

This sounded very drastic at first (well... at least if you like your family members) but then I remembered some of you explaining to me that nobody is forced to stay in the celestial kingdom. So if a family misses its son, who's in the terrestrial kingdom, they can just "downgrade" and join him, right? 

And if the whole family chooses to not make covenants with god, wouldn't they all be reunited in the terrestrial kingdom?

There is a higher level of understanding sealing than you're aware of.  The nature of family is not just that we call each other "mom and dad" or "brother and sister".  There is an emotional and spiritual connection.

While on earth, we experience it in a very mortal way.  But in eternity, this bond (when not accompanied by the sealing power) fades.  It becomes unimportant and, eventually, meaningless. When sealed, this same bond increases and becomes a welding link between family members.

This is not something that can fully be explained in words.  If you ever gain a testimony of it, you'll only begin to understand it.

Quote

Another thing I was wondering: If you don't believe in god or the church - could you still get a temple recommend and receive all the necessary blessings simply by lying to the bishops about your faith and testimony? If I imagine my whole family being terribly upset and worried about me for leaving the church, I'd consider doing that. 
And is there any scripture about people who do that? What will happen to them after death? 

You can "go through the motions".  Of course.  How would anyone stop you?  But the covenant is not between men.  It is between man and God.  And if you don't really mean it or believe, then God does not honor the "motions" because the motions alone do not define a covenant.

The converse is also true.  If you have the real desire and belief, but fail to ever go through the motions, then a covenant was never made.

You need belief that is backed up by action.  This is the gospel definition of faith.

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1 hour ago, Madam_Mim said:

I thought I'd give all of you a break until General Conference is over. 

I didn't listen to all the talks of the conference, but I watched Pres. Nelson's talk and wanted to ask some things. 

He said:

This sounded very drastic at first (well... at least if you like your family members) but then I remembered some of you explaining to me that nobody is forced to stay in the celestial kingdom. So if a family misses its son, who's in the terrestrial kingdom, they can just "downgrade" and join him, right? 

And if the whole family chooses to not make covenants with god, wouldn't they all be reunited in the terrestrial kingdom?

Another thing I was wondering: If you don't believe in god or the church - could you still get a temple recommend and receive all the necessary blessings simply by lying to the bishops about your faith and testimony? If I imagine my whole family being terribly upset and worried about me for leaving the church, I'd consider doing that. 
And is there any scripture about people who do that? What will happen to them after death? 
 

President Nelson’s sermon was remarkably carefully worded.  In the excerpt you cite, he talks of being able to “live and progress forever”.

It’s not just “who you’re with”; it’s what you’re doing—and that, in turn, can’t help but to qualitatively affect your relationship with others who are unable or unwilling to do the same things that you are.  

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19 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

It would be FAR better to be honest from the start.  Do not dig yourself into a hole of lies and mockery.  

Oh, I completely agree! Of course it's better to be honest. But if someone doesn't believe in the church or in a god anymore, being honest means there's no way for them to receive ordinances and get to the celestial kingdom. Obviously the "threat" of not seeing your loved ones again isn't a big deal to someone who doesn't believe in an afterlife anyway, but it is to believing family members. I thought about what former members could do to make the situation easier for their family members and that's why I somehow came up with that idea of lying... It was just a thought. I doubt that anyone would really do that.

 

But am I getting this right? Even if someone has been THE prime example of a good person, who has helped others, was loving and caring, donating money, saving lives, followed the commandments, went to church etc. but decided - for example - to not pay tithings, that person won't get to the celestial kingdom?

 

20 hours ago, Vort said:

Why do you suppose the above bolded part? I see little reason to believe that's the case.

If god is the creator of everything, he's the one who makes all the rules and (if he's all-knowing) must be aware of all the possible consequences. The way he created the earth, he must have known that earthquakes will be happening. That was just my assumption when people talk about god as the creator. I can't imagine that believers think god made volcanos and was then surprised when an eruption happened. He must have foreseen things that happened as a result to his creation - diseases, natural disasters etc.

What's your view on this? 

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1 hour ago, Madam_Mim said:

If god is the creator of everything, he's the one who makes all the rules

This is non sequitur. If I create a computer program, that doesn't mean I define the rules of logic on which the program runs, or the machine op codes into which the program is decoded.

Foreseeing is a different matter. Certainly God foresees everything; it may be that he experiences the future in a "present" way. I mean, I don't know, because I'm not God and I'm not a celestial person. But yes, God foresees everything. And if God creates something ex nihilo (that is, from nothing), then without argument God is responsible for how that thing operates, be it a rock, a star, or a human being.

But the common Christian/Jewish/Muslim doctrine of creatio ex nihilo is self-negating nonsense. God doesn't create "from nothing". That includes us. We ourselves are self-existent beings, and in that sense, we are co-equal with God himself. God created our spirits, and he created our bodies; but the essence of ourselves, which in LDS doctrine is called "intelligence", is uncreated. Doctrine and Covenants Section 93 teaches us:

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.

We are not God's puppets. We are beings of agency, gifted with the ability to choose our paths. We do not forge those paths; we simply follow them. The choice is ours, and by that token, we must choose carefully, at the peril of our eternal happiness.

There's a quick lesson in LDS Doctrine 101.

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