Question re mercy


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Which do you think is the most merciful arrangement:

a)       Complete and unconditional mercy for all;

b)      Complete mercy for all who meet all the conditions on which it is offered, ie. You meet all the conditions so you get all the mercy you need;

c)       Some mercy in proportion to which the condition have been complied with, ie, you only meet some of the conditions so you only get some of the mercy you need; 

d)      All the mercy you need subject to you keeping a broad, flexible, maybe even negotiable, range of conditions; or

e)      All the mercy you need subject to you making a considerable effort to meet a broad, flexible, maybe even negotiable range of conditions?

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43 minutes ago, askandanswer said:

Which do you think is the most merciful arrangement:

a)       Complete and unconditional mercy for all;

b)      Complete mercy for all who meet all the conditions on which it is offered, ie. You meet all the conditions so you get all the mercy you need;

c)       Some mercy in proportion to which the condition have been complied with, ie, you only meet some of the conditions so you only get some of the mercy you need; 

d)      All the mercy you need subject to you keeping a broad, flexible, maybe even negotiable, range of conditions; or

e)      All the mercy you need subject to you making a considerable effort to meet a broad, flexible, maybe even negotiable range of conditions?

None of the above.

If you look at final judgment as the sectarians do, your options would be much more applicable.  But with the three degrees of glory, there is a completely different paradigm.  Each of the kingdoms is not based on "how much mercy you deserve or need".  It is about what our eternal potential truly is.

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52 minutes ago, askandanswer said:

Which do you think is the most merciful arrangement:

a)       Complete and unconditional mercy for all;

b)      Complete mercy for all who meet all the conditions on which it is offered, ie. You meet all the conditions so you get all the mercy you need;

c)       Some mercy in proportion to which the condition have been complied with, ie, you only meet some of the conditions so you only get some of the mercy you need; 

d)      All the mercy you need subject to you keeping a broad, flexible, maybe even negotiable, range of conditions; or

e)      All the mercy you need subject to you making a considerable effort to meet a broad, flexible, maybe even negotiable range of conditions?

A

 

But pure, unadulterated mercy freely given to everyone goes contrary to God’s plan.
Christ’s message is not one of “maximum mercy”, but rather perfection for those who wish for it and relative happiness for the rest.

Read Alma 42 and it is clear that mercy and justice have their place

Edited by Fether
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3 hours ago, askandanswer said:

Which do you think is the most merciful arrangement:

a)       Complete and unconditional mercy for all;

b)      Complete mercy for all who meet all the conditions on which it is offered, ie. You meet all the conditions so you get all the mercy you need;

c)       Some mercy in proportion to which the condition have been complied with, ie, you only meet some of the conditions so you only get some of the mercy you need; 

d)      All the mercy you need subject to you keeping a broad, flexible, maybe even negotiable, range of conditions; or

e)      All the mercy you need subject to you making a considerable effort to meet a broad, flexible, maybe even negotiable range of conditions?

Well, the most merciful is of course complete mercy, so answer A.

However, that does not mean it is the best option. Complete mercy allows no room for growth, because there is no accountability. Mercy and justice go hand in hand in God's plan...one cannot escape the other. Agency would not exist with mercy alone.

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19 minutes ago, scottyg said:

Well, the most merciful is of course complete mercy, so answer A.

However, that does not mean it is the best option. Complete mercy allows no room for growth, because there is no accountability. Mercy and justice go hand in hand in God's plan...one cannot escape the other. Agency would not exist with mercy alone.

I agree.  The subtext of the OP seems to be, when is mercy not really mercy?  It seems to beg some definitional questions.  What is mercy?

 

Edited by Just_A_Guy
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2 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I agree.  The subtext of the OP seems to be, when is mercy not really mercy?  It seems to beg some definitional questions.  What is mercy?

 

I would say mercy is showing compassion by relieving pain or suffering. To me, the Lord's condescension, and resulting ability for me to repent through Him, is merciful.

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Interesting question. Our word "mercy" derives from the old French merci, meaning "pity". This in turn comes from the Latin merced, meaning "merited reward". So the idea of somehow qualifying for, if not actually earning, God's mercy seems baked into the etymology of the word.

I agree with scottyg that the "most merciful" course is by definition the first. I also agree with JAG that it really invokes the question of what is mercy. God is infinitely merciful, so we need not worry that maybe God won't show us all the mercy he can. But if the idea of God's infinite mercy turns us into universalists, then we have fallen into the trap warned of by Nephi:

Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us...Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

Nephi goes on to call these "false and vain and foolish doctrines". Yet even within the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, look how many cling to some form of exactly this.

The most merciful course that God can follow is exactly the course that he will follow. Maybe that's not very useful, but it's the truest answer I can think of.

Edited by Vort
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Well, "most merciful" isn't necessarily "best".  Mercy seems to be a way to remove just consequences earned from one's actions.  So it's nice that Christ extends grace (mercy on steroids), to make up for our sinful imperfect natures.  But if you raise a child with all mercy and no consequences, well, prisons are full of people raised like that.

What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.

I'm more comfortable with thinking of things in terms of forgiveness and repentance. I'll do my best to extend forgiveness to all who offend me, whether they repent or not.  But my forgiveness doesn't necessarily remove the consequence.  Like when I forgave the person who sexually assaulted someone I love.  I still took part in the court proceedings (where dood got a 5-life sentence), and the disciplinary actions (which got dood excommunicated).  

At one of his parole hearings, the judge noted that dood hadn't put a single effort into signing up for his mandated offender programs.  Judge said something to the tune of "You know, as I sit here trying to find a reason to release you, something that tells me you might just not offend again, I'm really coming up short.  Can you offer me any reassurance?"  Dood couldn't think of anything.  "Well, you're a pedophile.  I think pedophiles belong in prison.  Do you believe that?"  Dood said he agreed.   Dood's parole was denied for another year, which caused Dood to react so negatively the bailiff moved closer to restrain him if necessary.   Holy, holy, holy crap was it a good thing for all the kiddos out there, that the judge wasn't feeling merciful that day.

Edited by NeuroTypical
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7 hours ago, askandanswer said:

Which do you think is the most merciful arrangement:

In order for something to be merciful, it must reflect accurate what mercy is. As was already brought up, we can ask a similar question with regards to love in relation to the potential kingdoms. Which do you think is the most loving arrangement?

A) All are saved because God's love is complete and unconditional -- only Celestial

B) All are saved who choose to be saved - Celestial and hell

C) All are saved, except sons of perdition -- Celestial, Terrerstrial, Telestial, and Hell

From the provided list, I would choose B because it reflects more what mercy actually is. This is why I also appreciate the scripture lesson regarding "spheres of truth." Mercy is within a sphere of truth, and as long as it remains within it's sphere it is merciful. The moment it extends outside of it, it will either rob justice or no longer be merciful. This is where we see people who are "enablers" which extends beyond the bounds of mercy and begins to rob justice.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I agree.  The subtext of the OP seems to be, when is mercy not really mercy?  It seems to beg some definitional questions.  What is mercy?

What got me thinking about this question are the many claims I’ve read that God is merciful. I started to wonder how well those claims stack up. With God’s full mercy being available to all, but only, those who strictly meet a very specific set of conditions, I started to think about just how merciful God is. Of course He is merciful, but does the conditionality of His mercy detract from the quality of His mercy? Can we say that an arrangement that offers a broader set of conditions, or does not require such strict adherence to those conditions, would be more merciful?

 

ps. No one need have any concerns that I am on the road to doubt or apostasy. These are just things that I like to think about from time to time. I think about such things in the hope that it might lead to a greater understanding of God and His character, why He does what He does, and the environment in which He operates. The answer to this question, in the short term, is unlikely to have any impact on my faith and testimony, amd hopefully it will lead to increased understanding. Increased understanding can often help to strengthen faith in the longer term. 

Edited by askandanswer
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57 minutes ago, askandanswer said:

No one need have any concerns that I am on the road to doubt or apostasy.

Oh, we already thought that a few years ago.:eek:

If you're pondering, I'd advise you to ponder how you would re-word the question when considering it from how the Three Degrees of Glory actually work.

Edited by Carborendum
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On 7/7/2022 at 9:13 AM, askandanswer said:

Which do you think is the most merciful arrangement:

a)       Complete and unconditional mercy for all;

b)      Complete mercy for all who meet all the conditions on which it is offered, ie. You meet all the conditions so you get all the mercy you need;

c)       Some mercy in proportion to which the condition have been complied with, ie, you only meet some of the conditions so you only get some of the mercy you need; 

d)      All the mercy you need subject to you keeping a broad, flexible, maybe even negotiable, range of conditions; or

e)      All the mercy you need subject to you making a considerable effort to meet a broad, flexible, maybe even negotiable range of conditions?

I think the most merciful arrangement is reflected by 2 Nephi 25:23, "it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." I think this phrase encompasses the principle that Christ saves us (i.e., enables us to become like Him, free of sin and death), by His Atonement on one hand, and by our doing in faith all He gave us to do on the other hand. What He gives us to do is quite a bit less than what He did, which aligns with our intelligence per Abraham 3:19, but which grows and grows unto the perfect day.

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3 hours ago, askandanswer said:

I started to think about just how merciful God is. Of course He is merciful, but does the conditionality of His mercy detract from the quality of His mercy? Can we say that an arrangement that offers a broader set of conditions, or does not require such strict adherence to those conditions, would be more merciful?

ps. No one need have any concerns that I am on the road to doubt or apostasy. These are just things that I like to think about from time to time. I think about such things in the hope that it might lead to a greater understanding of God and His character, why He does what He does, and the environment in which He operates. The answer to this question, in the short term, is unlikely to have any impact on my faith and testimony, amd hopefully it will lead to increased understanding. Increased understanding can often help to strengthen faith in the longer term. 

I wasn't worried, nor did it enter into my heart. I thought the question, overall, was a good question. Mercy is one character trait we all could better understand and apply.

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7 hours ago, Carborendum said:

Oh, we already thought that a few years ago.:eek:

If you're pondering, I'd advise you to ponder how you would re-word the question when considering it from how the Three Degrees of Glory actually work.

The three degrees of glory seem to fit broadly within option C - Some mercy in proportion to which the condition have been complied with, ie, you only meet some of the conditions so you only get some of the mercy you need; 

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9 minutes ago, askandanswer said:

The three degrees of glory seem to fit broadly within option C - Some mercy in proportion to which the condition have been complied with, ie, you only meet some of the conditions so you only get some of the mercy you need; 

I would suggest that our very existence as premortal sons and daughters of our Father is a mercy of infinite scope. I suspect that nothing we can ever do throughout eternity will, or can, earn us the right to have been created by our heavenly Parents. It's very much a pay-it-forward scenario. The same must be true for literally every blessing we receive from God's hand. We earn nothing, at least in the sense that we have paid the eternal price for something and thus can claim it as our own. All is a gift from God.

Given the above, I think the whole discussion about various levels of mercy and what we deserve or earn or merit is probably not meaningful. Not to criticize A&A for bringing the topic up or anyone else for providing insights. It's an interesting discussion. I just suspect that it needs to be approached differently.

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24 minutes ago, askandanswer said:

The three degrees of glory seem to fit broadly within option C - Some mercy in proportion to which the condition have been complied with, ie, you only meet some of the conditions so you only get some of the mercy you need; 

That isn't really how it works.  The reasons behind the three degrees are not some sort of performance/rewards program.  It is much deeper than that.  Think about it for a while.

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According to Alma 42, mercy is conditional:

13 Therefore, according to justice, the aplan of bredemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would ccease to be God.

I take the Lord's Atonement to be a charitable act, with the greatest desire to extend mercy, but this mercy can only be extended upon conditions of repentance.

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15 hours ago, Carborendum said:

That isn't really how it works.  The reasons behind the three degrees are not some sort of performance/rewards program.  It is much deeper than that.  Think about it for a while.

While the final judgement not a performance/rewards program, it is the conclusion of a testing program (Abraham 3: 25 -26). From D&C 88,

36 All kingdoms have a law given;

37 And there are many akingdoms; for there is no bspace in the which there is no ckingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.

38 And unto every kingdom is given a alaw; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.

39 All beings who abide not in those aconditions are not bjustified.

40 For aintelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; bwisdom receiveth wisdom; ctruth embraceth truth; dvirtue loveth virtue; elight cleaveth unto light; fmercy hath gcompassion on mercy and claimeth her own; hjustice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.

I think that God's grace enables the willing to qualify for eventually attaining a fulness of intelligence, wisdom, truth, virtue, light, mercy, justice so that we too can govern and execute all things. 

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13 hours ago, CV75 said:

According to Alma 42, mercy is conditional:

13 Therefore, according to justice, the aplan of bredemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would ccease to be God.

I take the Lord's Atonement to be a charitable act, with the greatest desire to extend mercy, but this mercy can only be extended upon conditions of repentance.

 I agree with this and accept that in the circumstances we are currrently living in, things have been arranged in such a way that for some reason, "mercy can only be extended upon conditions of repentance." It is that conditionality that I am thinking about. Does attaching conditions to the giving of mercy impact on the quality of that mercy and is there an objective or purpose for the attaching of those conditions that cannot be achieved in any other way?

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10 hours ago, askandanswer said:

 I agree with this and accept that in the circumstances we are currrently living in, things have been arranged in such a way that for some reason, "mercy can only be extended upon conditions of repentance." It is that conditionality that I am thinking about. Does attaching conditions to the giving of mercy impact on the quality of that mercy and is there an objective or purpose for the attaching of those conditions that cannot be achieved in any other way?

Where preserving and maximizing agency is the purpose of the plan of salvation and the Lord's Atonement, I think that such conditions are the only way that we can exercise our agency to enjoy the mercy we are willing to receive (D&C 88).

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11 hours ago, askandanswer said:

 I agree with this and accept that in the circumstances we are currrently living in, things have been arranged in such a way that for some reason, "mercy can only be extended upon conditions of repentance." It is that conditionality that I am thinking about. Does attaching conditions to the giving of mercy impact on the quality of that mercy and is there an objective or purpose for the attaching of those conditions that cannot be achieved in any other way?

The Lord is less interested in the individual choices we make than the person we ultimately become as a result of those choices. If a person is a screw-up most of his life but ultimately learns those hard lessons and becomes a righteous individual in the end then that person may still inherit eternal life. But it requires God's mercy for that to happen. Where as if a person never learns those lessons then the granting of mercy does not really accomplish anything because he is still the same person as before. Placing a Terrestrial being in the Celestial kingdom is not an act of mercy.

Of course this person still receives some mercy but not to the point of placing him in an unnatural state.

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Mercy is a gift. Any gift must be given, of course, but it must also be received. If a gift is not received, then cannot be given.

 The Book of Mormon tells us that "salvation in sin" is a contradiction in terms. One cannot be "saved in sin", because sinfulness is the antithesis of salvation. I think the same holds true with mercy. We receive mercy on conditions that we open ourselves to receive it. If we will not receive it, then we will not get it, because we do not want it.

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