clbent04

What in Sam Hill is the Point of there Being an LDS Church at All?

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This is to continue a discussion from another thread that I was having with @Just_A_Guy

My personal interpretation of the gospel: Before God reveals us the Truth, we are not penalized for rejecting it; and once He does reveal it, He always does it in such an unambiguous and even overpowering way virtually no one who lived a life of Celestial caliber will reject it.

Is their still a need for the LDS Church if being a member in your mortal life is not required to make it to the Celestial Kingdom?

@Just_A_Guy  

Quote

...if it is possible for people to attain exaltation while staying out of the LDS Church and the “covenant path” for their entire lives—and even willfully rejecting the opportunity for membership and priesthood covenants when it comes—then what in Sam Hill is the point of there being an LDS Church at all?

If we consider a non-member who lives a life worthy enough to be admitted to the Celestial Kingdom upon eventually accepting the gospel for what it is, the fact they made it to the highest Kingdom without living as an LDS member on Earth shouldn't discourage us into thinking the gospel isn't as important as it is.  

It should further validate the truth that God is a merciful and just God who is mindful of all His children, and how we are unable to comprehend even a small fraction of the many moving pieces involved or the many beautiful reunions that await us.

Edited by clbent04

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Also quoting @Vort who once responded to me on this subject that, "If this were true, the Church and the ordinances it provides would have no reason to exist."

But can the Church and its ordinances be just as important as you believe them to be despite not being necessary to stumble upon in this life?  I believe so.  Whether we are required to go through those ordinances in this life or the life hereafter, the ordinances are equally important regardless of place and time.

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14 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

Whether we are required to go through those ordinances in this life or the life hereafter, the ordinances are equally important regardless of place and time.

There are no ordinances in the life hereafter. All ordinances must be done in this life. That's why we do work for the dead.

Edit: I realized I might have misspoken. More accurately: The saving ordinances we do in this life must be done in this life...etc. We don't really know if there are other post mortal ordinances. But the ones we do here, baptism, endowment, sealing and so forth must be done in mortality.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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25 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

 

My personal interpretation of the gospel: Before God reveals us the Truth, we are not penalized for rejecting it; and once He does reveal it, He always does it in such an unambiguous and even overpowering way virtually no one who lived a life of Celestial caliber will reject it.

 

. . . .

If we consider a non-member who lives a life worthy enough to be admitted to the Celestial Kingdom upon eventually accepting the gospel for what it is, the fact they made it to the highest Kingdom without living as an LDS member on Earth shouldn't discourage us into thinking the gospel isn't as important as it is.  

Isn't there some degree of tension between the two statements above?  How can one argue that [paraphrasing] "the celestial accept the truth when it's presented to them"  while simultaneously [apparently] arguing that [paraphrasing] "a person can spend a lifetime rejecting the fullness of the gospel but still, in fact, be a 'celestial person'"?  

Or am I misunderstanding your assertions?

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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I have often wondered if I hadn't been born into the Church if I would have struggled to accept it or if I'd even entertain considering it. It's a difficult premise because I know I'm quite pigheaded on my faith in the gospel. But........ that pigheaded faith is concretely based on spiritual experiences. So I don't explore Scientology or...the Jehovah Witnesses or what-have-you because I already know what I know and that knowledge precludes (or, perhaps excludes) the possibility that other churches could be the correct path back to God.

But....I was taught to think that way! I was taught by my mother and primary teachers and in seminary, etc., etc. that we pray to know the truth directly from God via the Spirit and that it is from the Spirit and the Spirit alone we can know the truth of the gospel.

But.... what if I hadn't been taught that?

I don't know. Would I be as pigheaded in something that, having been taught what I was, doesn't make sense to me, but maybe would had I been taught differently? How much of my reasoning on the matter is a mere product of what I was taught?

That being said...I fully outright reject a lot of what I was taught in, say...college, about, say....music theory... so that implies there might be some independent thinking there, right? But it's not exactly the same thing as core beliefs that were drilled into me from diaper day one.

So I tend towards being forgiving....while also staying pigheaded? It's a real conundrum of an existence I guess.

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1 hour ago, clbent04 said:

If we consider a non-member who lives a life worthy enough to be admitted to the Celestial Kingdom upon eventually accepting the gospel for what it is, the fact they made it to the highest Kingdom without living as an LDS member on Earth shouldn't discourage us into thinking the gospel isn't as important as it is.

Your entire premise is flawed. Other than Jesus Christ, no one "lives a life worthy enough to be admitted to the Celestial Kingdom." No one. There is no such man (or woman).

Entrance into the celestial kingdom of God happens only because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The atonement of Christ is received only on conditions of acceptance. Acceptance of the atoning blood of Christ means repenting and obeying Christ's teachings. Such repentance and obedience includes making and keeping divine covenants.

Only Latter-day Saints are in a position to make and keep such covenants.

 

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2 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

But the ones we do here, baptism, endowment, sealing and so forth must be done in mortality.

Is this iron-clad fact?

Edited by clbent04

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I have often wondered if I hadn't been born into the Church if I would have struggled to accept it or if I'd even entertain considering it. It's a difficult premise because I know I'm quite pigheaded on my faith in the gospel. But........ that pigheaded faith is concretely based on spiritual experiences. So I don't explore Scientology or...the Jehovah Witnesses or what-have-you because I already know what I know and that knowledge precludes (or, perhaps excludes) the possibility that other churches could be the correct path back to God.

But....I was taught to think that way! I was taught by my mother and primary teachers and in seminary, etc., etc. that we pray to know the truth directly from God via the Spirit and that it is from the Spirit and the Spirit alone we can know the truth of the gospel.

But.... what if I hadn't been taught that?

I don't know. Would I be as pigheaded in something that, having been taught what I was, doesn't make sense to me, but maybe would had I been taught differently? How much of my reasoning on the matter is a mere product of what I was taught?

That being said...I fully outright reject a lot of what I was taught in, say...college, about, say....music theory... so that implies there might be some independent thinking there, right? But it's not exactly the same thing as core beliefs that were drilled into me from diaper day one.

So I tend towards being forgiving....while also staying pigheaded? It's a real conundrum of an existence I guess.

Hey-o, now you're speaking my language.   I've researched a bunch of religions.   This year I've spent a considerable amount of time looking at Catholicism due to some questions I had.   As I said in another thread, everything in its time.   I'm so behind the curve being a convert, but the advantage is I had to fight for every sliver of testimony.

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2 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Isn't there some degree of tension between the two statements above?  How can one argue that [paraphrasing] "the celestial accept the truth when it's presented to them"  while simultaneously [apparently] arguing that [paraphrasing] "a person can spend a lifetime rejecting the fullness of the gospel but still, in fact, be a 'celestial person'"?  

Or am I misunderstanding your assertions?

To further qualify how I'm using the term “Celestial”, I consider charity and love to be the defining characteristics of what qualifies someone for the Celestial Kingdom regardless of the what religion they claimed here on Earth. 

If a Methodist lived a faithful life with just as much love and charity in his heart as the faithful Mormon, one is not necessarily better off than the other in terms of their eternal salvation.

It’s my opinion that anyone of Celestial caliber independent of their religion on Earth will naturally accept the gospel whenever the Holy Spirit presents them with their chance to accept it. 

For it to constitute as an official chance to accept the gospel, it must be received as God-given knowledge that the gospel is true, knowledge that was testified by the Holy Spirit to be true and could not be refuted in good conscience. 

In most cases, I don’t consider a pair of missionaries knocking on your door to qualify as what constitutes your chance to accept the gospel.

Edited by clbent04

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20 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

To further qualify how I'm using the term “Celestial”, I consider charity and love to be the defining characteristics of what qualifies someone for the Celestial Kingdom regardless of the what religion they claimed here on Earth. 

This idea is dependent on if you had been given God-given knowledge that the gospel is true, knowledge that was testified to you by the Holy Spirit to be true and could not be refuted in good conscience. 

It’s also my opinion that anyone of Celestial caliber independent of their religion on Earth will naturally accept the gospel whenever the Holy Spirit presents them with their chance to accept it. 

In most cases, I don’t consider a pair of missionaries knocking on your door to qualify as what constitutes your chance to accept the gospel.

The catch to all this is that we are told in prophecy that eventually *every* knee shall bow; *every* tongue shall confess.  So theoretically, *everyone* (perhaps excepting the sons of perdition) has some evidentiary standard that, if/when met, leads them to accept and obey Jesus.  But it seems some people’s standard is lower than others due to an excess of faith, love of God, humility, etc.

There’s also an element here that’s sort of like the old grace-works conundrum.  It may be that it’s the love/charity that defines a celestial person; but would a person who has cultivated that level of love and trust in the Savior really reject the fullness of His truth when it came a’knockin’?

The idea that God may deliberately withhold a spiritual confirmation from someone because their calling is to do a work that requires them to be out of the Church for a while (possibly, eg, Thomas Kane, John Paul II, etc), is an intriguing one.  But as a general rule, knowing that light cleaveth to light and whatnot . . . I’m thinking that someone who isn’t at least a little intrigued at the shreds of Mormonism that come their way, probably hasn’t yet grown into the sort of trajectory that defines a Celestial person.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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7 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Yes. That is why work for the dead is so important.

Do you happen to have a reference for this? I've been trying to find it myself, but not sure if I'm searching the right terms.

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Just now, clbent04 said:

Do you happen to have a reference for this? I've been trying to find it myself, but not sure if I'm searching the right terms.

What, you don't take my word as enough authority on the matter? :)

I'll see what I can find...

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D&C 128:8-9

8 Now, the nature of this ordinance consists in the power of the priesthood, by the revelation of Jesus Christ, wherein it is granted that whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Or, in other words, taking a different view of the translation, whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven; for out of the books shall your dead be judged, according to their own works, whether they themselves have attended to the ordinances in their own propria persona, or by the means of their own agents, according to the ordinance which God has prepared for their salvation from before the foundation of the world, according to the records which they have kept concerning their dead.

9 It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?

Edit: Read all of Section 128.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

Your entire premise is flawed. Other than Jesus Christ, no one "lives a life worthy enough to be admitted to the Celestial Kingdom." No one. There is no such man (or woman).

Entrance into the celestial kingdom of God happens only because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The atonement of Christ is received only on conditions of acceptance. Acceptance of the atoning blood of Christ means repenting and obeying Christ's teachings. Such repentance and obedience includes making and keeping divine covenants.

Only Latter-day Saints are in a position to make and keep such covenants.

Considering the life of a Baptist who lived his beliefs faithfully and exercised just as much love and charity as a faithful, covenant-keeping Mormon would, do you think the Baptist is automatically cut off from the Celestial Kingdom simply because of the religion he claimed in this life?

What if that same Baptist had a pair of LDS missionaries knock on his door once, but for whatever reason the Holy Spirit did not prick his heart in that moment?

What is God to do with all our brothers and sisters out there who live just as honorably as the most faithful Mormons do? 

Where do you draw the line with those who should be given a chance to accept the gospel via baptism of the dead versus those who already had their shot and blew it? 

Should your non-Mormon friend not be given an opportunity to accept the gospel in the life hereafter because he has an association with you, a member of the Church, and you once invited him to read the Book of Mormon?

What if you invited him to Church with you and he attended for a year but then dropped off?  Does he not get a chance at accepting the gospel in the life hereafter?  Was that his shot?

Edited by clbent04

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“And so we have two great churches, one in heaven, the other upon the earth. They are moving along parallel lines, and the temple of God, it appears to me, is the connecting link that connects the heavens with the earth, because it is through the temple that we will be able to reach our dead, and not otherwise. To pray for the dead may not be of any real assistance to them. To actually help them we must do a work for them” (Rudger Clawson, in Conference Report, Apr. 1933, 77–78).

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3 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

Considering the life of a Baptist who lived his beliefs faithfully and exercised just as much love and charity as a faithful, covenant-keeping Mormon would, do you think the Baptist is automatically cut off from the Celestial Kingdom simply because of the religion he claimed in this life?

I don't understand why you're flailing away against this straw man.

Everyone who will be saved in the celestial kingdom of God will do so through obeying Christ and entering the kingdom of God through the ordinance of baptism. The only exception I know of is little children who die before reaching the age of accountability. So yes, everyone who will enter the kingdom of heaven must enter the kingdom of God. Even loving, charitable Baptists.

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“Elijah! what would you do if you were here? Would you confine your work to the living alone? No: I would refer you to the Scriptures, where the subject is manifest: that is, without us, they could not be made perfect, nor we without them; the fathers without the children, nor the children without the fathers.

“I wish you to understand this subject, for it is important; and if you will receive it, this is the spirit of Elijah, that we redeem our dead, and connect ourselves with our fathers which are in heaven, and seal up our dead to come forth in the first resurrection; and here we want the power of Elijah to seal those who dwell on earth to those who dwell in heaven. This is the power of Elijah and the keys of the kingdom of Jehovah” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:252).

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You know I realized I was just pasting a bunch of quotes from the same page. Just read the page yourself!

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/doctrines-of-the-gospel-student-manual/31-redemption-of-the-dead?lang=eng

:D

 

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3 minutes ago, Vort said:

I don't understand why you're flailing away against this straw man.

I'm trying to flesh out how members in general understand the salvation of others outside the LDS Church versus my own understanding of it.

4 minutes ago, Vort said:

Everyone who will be saved in the celestial kingdom of God will do so through obeying Christ and entering the kingdom of God through the ordinance of baptism. The only exception I know of is little children who die before reaching the age of accountability. So yes, everyone who will enter the kingdom of heaven must enter the kingdom of God. Even loving, charitable Baptists.

Who do you think will be given the opportunity to accept baptism via proxy baptism performed on behalf of the dead?  Where is your dividing line for those who quality for that opportunity versus those who already had their chance to accept it during their mortal lives?

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Just now, clbent04 said:

Who do you think will be given the opportunity to accept baptism via proxy baptism performed on behalf of the dead?  Where is your dividing line for those who quality for that opportunity versus those who already had their chance to accept it during their mortal lives?

I know you're asking @Vort but I'll comment -- The Savior is our judge and who qualifies for what is His purview. Ours is to do His work as best we can.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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22 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

D&C 128:8-9

8 Now, the nature of this ordinance consists in the power of the priesthood, by the revelation of Jesus Christ, wherein it is granted that whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Or, in other words, taking a different view of the translation, whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven; for out of the books shall your dead be judged, according to their own works, whether they themselves have attended to the ordinances in their own propria persona, or by the means of their own agents, according to the ordinance which God has prepared for their salvation from before the foundation of the world, according to the records which they have kept concerning their dead.

9 It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?

Edit: Read all of Section 128.

If I'm applying this scripture to my question the same way I believe you are, wouldn't that limit the ordinances performed to our existence on Earth?  If so, it doesn't seem to make sense to me considering our existence here on Earth is but a small fraction of what our time will be in the eternities.  To think no other ordinances will be performed after this existence seems improbable to me.

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5 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

Who do you think will be given the opportunity to accept baptism via proxy baptism performed on behalf of the dead?

All who did not receive that opportunity in life, at least.

5 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

Where is your dividing line for those who quality for that opportunity versus those who already had their chance to accept it during their mortal lives?

I do not have a dividing line. I trust that God understands who has rejected his invitation and who has yet to make that decision.

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15 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

If I'm applying this scripture to my question the same way I believe you are, wouldn't that limit the ordinances performed to our existence on Earth?  If so, it doesn't seem to make sense to me considering our existence here on Earth is but a small fraction of what our time will be in the eternities.  To think no other ordinances will be performed after this existence seems improbable to me.

Perhaps you've heard that the majority of the work for the dead will be done in the millennium.

https://emp.byui.edu/SATTERFIELDB/Quotes/Millennium/Work for the Dead.html

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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