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1 hour ago, askandanswer said:

And if the teachings of that other church happen to be fairly similar to those of our church, as many Christtian doctrines are, can a member who has joined another church be excommunicated from our church for apostasy for teaching things that are fairly similar to the teachings of our church? 

In my experience, bishops don't tend to be in a real big dang hurry to excommunicate anyone for anything.   The priorities are spelled out pretty clear - protect the flock, help the person come closer to God, protect the integrity of the church.  You don't go around breaking the first or third of those things, and a bishop doesn't think excommunicating you will help you, then I doubt he'd be in any hurry to do so.

Many years ago, we had an inactive female member who had actually become an ordained pastor of a congregation.  Our bishop was in no hurry to get in touch with her and ask about her desire to stay on the rolls of this church.  But I'm relatively sure if she started trying to draw folks away from our church to hers, he would have quickly gained some motivation.

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On 2/21/2020 at 11:26 PM, mrmarket said:

Akin to death row inmates. You mean murderers? There is like virtually nothing else that will get you on death row except murder and perhaps the random treason case.

I invite you to read page 36 and tell me where they state masturbation isnt included in the sins next to murder.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/ForTheStrengthOfYouth-eng.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjGnPfyweTnAhVsCTQIHXVQALMQFjAAegQIBBAC&usg=AOvVaw0FbP7O_GM0pydlf9vY7APk

Masturbation isn't even mentioned in the pamphlet specifically, and after reading that page I'm not quite sure what you're getting at. Do you feel that you have been taught in your life that if you masturbate you are evil and going to hell? That the only worse thing you could do is kill someone? That is simply not the case. Masturbation is a sexual sin yes, and is quite damaging because it drives away the spirit and can lead to worse/more sins, but it in and of itself is not the same thing as adultery. Adultery is the sin next to murder in terms of severity. With regards to page 36, and the verse referenced in Alma 39, Corianton was guilty of Fornication - a very serious sin. What's worse is that he was knowledgeable in the gospel, was at the time a missionary who held the priesthood, and drove people away from the gospel because of his actions. These factors compound the seriousness of his sin. It was much worse than masturbation, but still not quite as severe as adultery.

Edited by scottyg
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On 2/21/2020 at 10:26 PM, mrmarket said:

For the Strength of Youth is written in a straightforward expository manner. I don't think any reasonable adult would read that passage mentioned above (and pasted below) and conclude, "Oh, look, masturbation is worse than anything else except for murder."

In God’s sight, sexual sins are extremely serious. They defile the sacred power God has given us to create life. The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder or denying the Holy Ghost (see Alma 39:5).

Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. Pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can be clean and virtuous. The Spirit of the Lord will withdraw from one who is in sexual transgression.

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In large part, the 'next to murder' sentiment that I've seen typically originates from Alma 39:5.

Quote

5 Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?

In the Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual it instructs teachers to explain the following to their students (youth):

Quote

You may want to point out that as recorded in verse 5 Alma was referring to sexual sins such as fornication and adultery, which involve participating in sexual relations with another person outside of marriage.

 

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6 hours ago, Vort said:

For the Strength of Youth is written in a straightforward expository manner. I don't think any reasonable adult would read that passage mentioned above (and pasted below) and conclude, "Oh, look, masturbation is worse than anything else except for murder."

In God’s sight, sexual sins are extremely serious. They defile the sacred power God has given us to create life. The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder or denying the Holy Ghost (see Alma 39:5).

Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. Pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can be clean and virtuous. The Spirit of the Lord will withdraw from one who is in sexual transgression.

Moses walks down the mountain with the two tablets in his hands.

"Good news and bad news everyone. The good news is that I talked him down to ten, the bad news is that adultery is still on the list." 

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9 hours ago, Vort said:

For the Strength of Youth is written in a straightforward expository manner. I don't think any reasonable adult would read that passage mentioned above (and pasted below) and conclude, "Oh, look, masturbation is worse than anything else except for murder."

In God’s sight, sexual sins are extremely serious. They defile the sacred power God has given us to create life. The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder or denying the Holy Ghost (see Alma 39:5).

Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. Pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can be clean and virtuous. The Spirit of the Lord will withdraw from one who is in sexual transgression.

It is good to see we agree. It says what it says without exception.

 

 

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10 hours ago, scottyg said:

Masturbation isn't even mentioned in the pamphlet specifically, and after reading that page I'm not quite sure what you're getting at. Do you feel that you have been taught in your life that if you masturbate you are evil and going to hell? That the only worse thing you could do is kill someone? That is simply not the case. Masturbation is a sexual sin yes, and is quite damaging because it drives away the spirit and can lead to worse/more sins, but it in and of itself is not the same thing as adultery. Adultery is the sin next to murder in terms of severity. With regards to page 36, and the verse referenced in Alma 39, Corianton was guilty of Fornication - a very serious sin. What's worse is that he was knowledgeable in the gospel, was at the time a missionary who held the priesthood, and drove people away from the gospel because of his actions. These factors compound the seriousness of his sin. It was much worse than masturbation, but still not quite as severe as adultery.

See my response to vort. It is right there in front of you.

 

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Frankly, @mrmarket, I think you're chasing after the wrong problem.  I don't think there's any reasonable adult that considers masturbation to be anything akin to murder.  I doubt there are many reasonable adults that would consider adultery to be all that close to murder.  Reasonable adults would consider it serious, and I certainly don't mean to pass it off as a triviality.  But let's keep perspective:

If you're going to rank the severity of sins, you can put denying the Holy Ghost and murder in first and second place, and then you can put "sexual sin" in third place, but I imagine it is a very distant third place. 

And if you're concerned that our culture may have gone overboard on advertising the severity of sexual transgressions (and I don't disagree that there may be some validity to that argument), I think there are better ways to temper the culture. For instance, reading the whole context of Alma's message to Corianton.  While Alma starts off seemingly harsh, we get (and I paraphrase)

Quote

These sins are very serious.  Only denying the Holy Ghost and murder are more serious...

[Several pages about the Atonement of Christ]

Now get back to work teaching people about repentance, so that they can feel the same joy that you will feel as you are repenting (Alma 42:31)

That's right...in the very same discussion with Corianton, Alma pretty clearly made the point that "sexual transgression is serious and easily contained within the limits of what the Atonement can heal." 

Usually, the solutions to our problems involve more information, not less.  This is a beautiful case where reading the whole context of the message to Corianton brings about a spectacular and relieving beauty that we would all do well to remember.

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4 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

If you're going to rank the severity of sins, you can put denying the Holy Ghost and murder in first and second place, and then you can put "sexual sin" in third place, but I imagine it is a very distant third place.

I agree with both parts of this statement, both the "ranking" part (though I still struggle with fully understanding why it's helpful to rank the egregiousness of various sins) and the "distant" part (though, unlike MoE, I think we today tend to badly underrank the depravity of sexual sin and the very serious damage it does to our spirits).

4 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

And if you're concerned that our culture may have gone overboard on advertising the severity of sexual transgressions (and I don't disagree that there may be some validity to that argument), I think there are better ways to temper the culture. For instance, reading the whole context of Alma's message to Corianton.

Again, I'm in agreement. If Church members and leaders seem sometimes narrowly focused on sexual sin, disagreeing or mocking or otherwise denying their teaching isn't helpful. There is always the very good chance that they're right and we're wrong. Besides, building off of an existing foundation is usually more effective than ripping the foundation out and building from scratch.

I, too, think that we misinterpret the Corianton story somewhat. I think it has much more to offer than "fornication is baaaaaaaad"—not to say I disagree with that message, because I most certainly do not. But I think there's more than silver in this particular vein.

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29 minutes ago, Vort said:
5 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

If you're going to rank the severity of sins, you can put denying the Holy Ghost and murder in first and second place, and then you can put "sexual sin" in third place, but I imagine it is a very distant third place. 

I agree with both parts of this statement, both the "ranking" part (though I still struggle with fully understanding why it's helpful to rank the egregiousness of various sins) and the "distant" part (though, unlike MoE, I think we today tend to badly underrank the depravity of sexual sin and the very serious damage it does to our spirits).

I agree with both of you on this.
Image result for i agree meme

Edited by person0

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31 minutes ago, Vort said:

I agree with both parts of this statement, both the "ranking" part (though I still struggle with fully understanding why it's helpful to rank the egregiousness of various sins) and the "distant" part (though, unlike MoE, I think we today tend to badly underrank the depravity of sexual sin and the very serious damage it does to our spirits).

Again, I'm in agreement. If Church members and leaders seem sometimes narrowly focused on sexual sin, disagreeing or mocking or otherwise denying their teaching isn't helpful. There is always the very good chance that they're right and we're wrong. Besides, building off of an existing foundation is usually more effective than ripping the foundation out and building from scratch.

I, too, think that we misinterpret the Corianton story somewhat. I think it has much more to offer than "fornication is baaaaaaaad"—not to say I disagree with that message, because I most certainly do not. But I think there's more than silver in this particular vein.

No.  stop it.  Stop agreeing with me.  Every time you agree with me I get my hopes up that you're becoming a reasonable person.  And then you always disappoint me.  :D

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32 minutes ago, Vort said:

I think we today tend to badly underrank the depravity of sexual sin and the very serious damage it does to our spirits

At least Elder Holland still holds fast in explaining the damage it causes. Video is only 1:44 minutes.

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16 hours ago, NeedleinA said:

In large part, the 'next to murder' sentiment that I've seen typically originates from Alma 39:5.

I would like to place emphasis on the fact that the passage specifically states:

Quote

. . . these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord . . . above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost   (Alma 39:5)

See, the reality is that Alma the younger had a much better understanding regarding the nature of composite/compounding sin than I think most of us do.  In his youth, he was the son of a prophet and high priest an yet he outright rejected the gospel truth he had been taught and lived his life in such a way that, not only did he commit many sins and whoredoms, but in doing so, he also led others to commit the same sins.  Let us consider a related topic:

Quote

And again, inasmuch as parents have children. . . that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.   (D&C 68:25)

Just as parents are responsible for teaching their children the truth, I believe that those who have received the light of the gospel are also responsible to set an example and to not steer people away from the truth.  Alma the younger experienced this, and because of his experience, he knew first hand how serious it was:

Quote

I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments. Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction. . .   (Alma 36:14)

Corianton forsook his ministry, and specifically sought out the harlot Isabel, to be physically intimate with her.  This was most certainly not a wrong place, wrong time, wrong decision in the moment kind of action.  He was preaching the gospel, then specifically going against the very principles he was teaching, actively sought the opportunity to fornicate.  In doing this, he set a bad example and led the Zoramites to not believe in the teachings of the gospel.  He started down the same path where Alma had spent much of his own time as a youth. 

The reason the composite of those sins is next to murder is because of the hypocritical nature.  Not only are you mocking God by teaching his word and then actively living contrary to it, but in doing so you are leading others astray as well.  Although I would still place sexual sin as a distant third, I think it's important to note that the true and immediate third would be found in the composite of sexual sin and blatant hypocrisy against God and the gospel of Christ.

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6 minutes ago, person0 said:

Although I would still place sexual sin as a distant third, I think it's important to note that the true and immediate third would be found in the composite of sexual sin and blatant hypocrisy against God and the gospel of Christ.

This gets into the "ranking sin" area, and as I've stated before, ranking sins according to severity is something that often leaves me scratching my head. I will not deny the overriding severity of sexual sin. It is damnable. Perhaps it will have a part in claiming the eternal lives of more sinners than any other single category of sin.

But I would note that the mortal Savior told a woman who was taken in the very act of adultery, "Neither do I condemn thee; go thy way and sin no more." The Lord of all creation and that same Being who will act as our eternal judge refused to condemn this sinful woman—at that time. The time will quickly come when rightful condemnation will fall on the heads of all such sinners:

And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.

We, like the woman taken in adultery, have been granted a space of time during which we may repent and prepare to meet God. But make no mistake; that day will come.

Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.

It's perhaps also worth noting that Christ treated all with dignity and never showed malice or contempt toward any man or woman. But he came the closest to contempt when dealing with hypocrites, especially with those so blinded by their hypocrisy that they proclaimed themselves as doing God's work even while they desecrated his laws. And I suspect this ties back to the immense gravity of sexual sin.

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14 minutes ago, Vort said:

This gets into the "ranking sin" area, and as I've stated before, ranking sins according to severity is something that often leaves me scratching my head. I will not deny the overriding severity of sexual sin. It is damnable. Perhaps it will have a part in claiming the eternal lives of more sinners than any other single category of sin.

But I would note that the mortal Savior told a woman who was taken in the very act of adultery, "Neither do I condemn thee; go thy way and sin no more." The Lord of all creation and that same Being who will act as our eternal judge refused to condemn this sinful woman—at that time. The time will quickly come when rightful condemnation will fall on the heads of all such sinners:

And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.

We, like the woman taken in adultery, have been granted a space of time during which we may repent and prepare to meet God. But make no mistake; that day will come.

Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.

It's perhaps also worth noting that Christ treated all with dignity and never showed malice or contempt toward any man or woman. But he came the closest to contempt when dealing with hypocrites, especially with those so blinded by their hypocrisy that they proclaimed themselves as doing God's work even while they desecrated his laws. And I suspect this ties back to the immense gravity of sexual sin.

It's a beautiful story (Christ forgiving the woman caught in adultery) and it states something we should never forget. As serious as sexual sins are (and I agree with you @Vort, they are gravely serious) they are still forgivable.

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19 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

It's a beautiful story (Christ forgiving the woman caught in adultery) and it states something we should never forget. As serious as sexual sins are (and I agree with you @Vort, they are gravely serious) they are still forgivable.

Contrast Christ's warm empathy for the adulterous woman with the cold, stony logic he used with her hypocritical accusers. It was evident where his sympathies lay.

Edited by Vort

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26 minutes ago, Vort said:

This gets into the "ranking sin" area, and as I've stated before, ranking sins according to severity is something that often leaves me scratching my head. I will not deny the overriding severity of sexual sin. It is damnable. Perhaps it will have a part in claiming the eternal lives of more sinners than any other single category of sin.

But I would note that the mortal Savior told a woman who was taken in the very act of adultery, "Neither do I condemn thee; go thy way and sin no more." The Lord of all creation and that same Being who will act as our eternal judge refused to condemn this sinful woman—at that time. The time will quickly come when rightful condemnation will fall on the heads of all such sinners:

And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.

We, like the woman taken in adultery, have been granted a space of time during which we may repent and prepare to meet God. But make no mistake; that day will come.

Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.

It's perhaps also worth noting that Christ treated all with dignity and never showed malice or contempt toward any man or woman. But he came the closest to contempt when dealing with hypocrites, especially with those so blinded by their hypocrisy that they proclaimed themselves as doing God's work even while they desecrated his laws. And I suspect this ties back to the immense gravity of sexual sin.

It is important to note (and perhaps you already see the story this way) that Christ did not forgive the woman taken in adultery...at least not right then. Christ has the power to forgive sins, but we are not forgiven unless we repent. We need to make the effort to change and improve. Just moments before this event she was caught in the very act of adultery...she literally had no time to repent of anything. Most likely she was just sorry that she got caught. What Christ did was save her life, and allow her the opportunity to change and repair what was done. He did not condemn her, but she was also not, at that point in time, forgiven.

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9 minutes ago, Vort said:

Contrast Christ's warm empathy for the adulterous woman with the cold, stony logic he used with her hypocritical accusers. It was evident where his sympathies lay.

Couldn't agree more. I think we all could learn multiple lessons from that parable. 

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6 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Couldn't agree more. I think we all could learn multiple lessons from that parable. 

Indeed we can. But some people have been wont to learn the wrong lessons from that parable, namely, that God easily forgives sin merely for the asking—or in this case, not even for the asking. This false lesson is dangerous, because it leads people to a wrongful feeling of security, that their sinful nature doesn't really matter. The begin to believe that a merciful God will always forgive all things, even gravely serious matters such as adultery, just because he's a super nice guy.

I think I was in my mid-30s before I realized that Christ didn't forgive the adulterous woman; he simply refused to condemn her. Apparently, this distinction was too subtle for my younger self to perceive. But as a firmly middle-aged guy, I don't find it at all subtle any more. I find it exactly the same as how God treats me: He doesn't condemn me (yet), but he does call me to repentance.

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4 minutes ago, Vort said:

The begin to believe that a merciful God will always forgive all things, even gravely serious matters such as adultery, just because he's a super nice guy.

But...he will forgive even gravely sinful matters. Such as adultery. So...

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Just now, MormonGator said:

But...he will forgive even gravely sinful matters. Such as adultery. So...

He will forgive those who repent. But sincere repentance is a necessarily prerequisite.

No repentance = no forgiveness.

And this is obvious. Repentance is contained in the atonement of Christ, freely given to all who will avail themselves of it. But if you don't repent, you are choosing not to avail yourself of that gift. And God will force no man to heaven.

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Just now, Vort said:

He will forgive those who repent. But sincere repentance is a necessarily prerequisite.

No repentance = no forgiveness.

And this is obvious. Repentance is contained in the atonement of Christ, freely given to all who will avail themselves of it. But if you don't repent, you are choosing not to avail yourself of that gift. And God will force no man to heaven.

I think we need to focus more on the forgiveness and repentance part. I don't want people who have committed these sins to lose hope in the atonement. 

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This is one of my favorite scriptures:  "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. But if any man sin and repent, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous"  -- I John 2:1 Inspired Version

This is also one of my favorites talks:  "Let me be direct and clear. The answers to the questions “Am I good enough?” and “Will I make it?” are “Yes! You are going to be good enough” and “Yes, you are going to make it as long as you keep repenting and do not rationalize or rebel.” The God of heaven is not a heartless referee looking for any excuse to throw us out of the game. He is our perfectly loving Father, who yearns more than anything else to have all of His children come back home and live with Him as families forever. He truly gave His Only Begotten Son that we might not perish but have everlasting life! Please believe, and please take hope and comfort from, this eternal truth. Our Heavenly Father intends for us to make it! That is His work and His glory.

I love the way President Gordon B. Hinckley used to teach this principle. I heard him say on several occasions, “Brothers and sisters, all the Lord expects of us is to try, but you have to really try!”  [Italics added] -- Elder J. Devn Cornish -- October 2016 General Conference

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2016/10/am-i-good-enough-will-i-make-it?lang=eng

Edited by Still_Small_Voice

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