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Meerkat

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About Meerkat

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    Immortal Diamond
  • Birthday 11/07/1948

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    Male
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    Puget Sound
  • Interests
    Reading. Ponderizing. Family History.

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  1. Your thought process seems reasonable to me. There may be as many thought processes to arrive at faith as there are people. There are some common elements to some of them. 1. Some of us experience a low point in our lives that enable us to turn to God with hope that He May be real, available and can expect God to respond to us when in our anguish, we call out to Him. (I use the pronoun “Him” because that lines up with what I believe. No offense intended.) A. In Mark 9 beginning at verse 17 a desperate father brought his son, who had been highly disruptive since he was a child. Today, some might call him mentally ill. Then, possessed of a devil. Jesus asked if he believed. I can imagine the father, wondering if God was real and could do this fantastic thing, healing his son. I can hear the desperation in his voice as he pleads “Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.” Christ accepted his doubt and confirmed his weak faith by healing his son. It was a low, desperate point that God answered his humbled prayer. 2. For people like Joseph Smith, and maybe you, Joseph responded to James’ invitation to pray by following the instructions in James 1:5, and received his answer. A. The Book of Mormon offers an explanation of the process that encompasses the man with the sick son, and the young Prophet Joseph. You are probably very familiar with Alma 32. The entire chapter is excellent. This part resonates with me and was part of my process: ”27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words. 28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me. 29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge. 30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow. 31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness. 32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away. 33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good. 34 And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand. 35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good...” At some point, I needed to ask God to let me know He was real and there for me. I prayed and He answered in a way similar to Alma 32. The rest is about 45 years of beautiful (to me) history. For me, it was like the formerly blind man answering the unbelieving Jews in John 9, when they accused Jesus of being a sinner for healing him “25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” I wish you the very best. It sounds like you are on a fruitful and productive track to me.
  2. Thanks Tacenda. Great interview. I think this interview has something for everyone. We have been moving to more smaller Temples. It makes sense. If we had gone smaller a few years earlier, we could have had a Temple in Seattle and Tacoma, and maybe one more for less than the cost of the Seattle Temple, and we could attend more frequently. I like the smaller Temple idea where possible. Apparently there is much yet to be revealed. We need to take our vitamins!
  3. Hi Tacenda-- Your questions are great, as usual. My responses are in red
  4. Such as the new policy of no weapons on Church grounds. We may not understand the reasons yet. But the Lord sustains the prophet. We covenant to do the same. It is okay to doubt, question and seek personal understanding. “I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true;”. I believe if we are sincere, we can receive personal revelation on the subject. Until then, as Bro. Gui said, we have a choice to make.
  5. You may be right. My point was that I believe Joseph Smith was trying to follow God’s commands.
  6. Hmmm. “if the church could let go of its role as an authority representing God, I think I could go back.” In other words, it’s not the authority that matters to you. Is it the social aspect? I have found members of the Church to be a delightful bunch. But for me, the proper authority is pre-eminent. Otherwise what’s the difference between the Church and the YMCA?
  7. Joseph didn’t want to consummate the marriage. Apparently, the idea was repugnant to him. Ultimately he came to understand what the Lord required of him and participated in the same manner as prophets of old. Hence, the restoration of all things including polygamy.
  8. That’s right. My daughter felt he wanted to satisfy the requirement in another way. Joseph went on and experimented with many things.
  9. It's human beings who make mistakes, not the institution of the Church. This is from the title page of the Book of Mormon: "to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ. Meadowchik, you strike me as a sincere person and I have enjoyed some of your questions. Very thought provoking. I believe there have been mistakes made by well intentioned people, starting with Adam and Eve. Learning from our mistakes is an important part of mortality. I am always surprised to see anyone assigning blame for their circumstances or their feelings to another person. "If the Church would only apologize for decisions made over a hundred years ago..." The Church acted and revoked the practice of polygamy. What further would you want from an apology? Remorse? Regret? There is nothing preventing you from disagreeing with the practice back then. It is okay to have doubts and concerns about ideas or practices from long ago. That is where faith comes in. We can seek the knowledge to help us understand. Our 9th Article of Faith states: " We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does no reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." We can have those things revealed to us. But the proper channel to reveal them to the Church is through the prophet. I baptized a black man and his wife and daughter back in 1977. My Mother said "I could never join a church that wouldn't let a black man hold the priesthood." Several months later, our daughter was born and it was time for her to receive a name and a blessing. We invited my parents to the service. That particular fast Sunday, the good man and his daughter decided to bear their testimonies for the first time. He stood and said "I don't know why God won't let me have the priesthood and take my family to the Temple right now. But I have prayed about it. I have been assured by the Spirit of God that the day will come when I will have every blessing that any other member has. I have read and prayed about the Book of Mormon, and I know it is true. That's why I was baptized, and am glad to be a member of this church." Within the year, the priesthood was given to every worthy male in the Church. I asked Mom "What are your thoughts about Bro. Bailey's testimony?" What do you think she said? She said "Well, I could never join a church that wouldn't let me have my coffee." So the problem she had with blacks and the priesthood was apparently a red herring. I'm sure you and many others have sincere disagreements. One of my children asked "Why did Joseph Smith copy sections of the King James Bible?" I said "I've heard that when he saw the same doctrine being preached in the new world as was preached in the old, he copied what he could for convenience sake." He said “That makes sense to me. I’ll never ask that question again.”! My son then pivoted to "Well, Joseph Smith committed polyandry. What about that? And Polygamy? The Book of Mormon was plagiarized from another book. What about that? " "Blacks and the priesthood." The way the Church feels about LGBTQ," Etc. There was no end to his pivoting. I go back to Bro. Bailey's formula, because it's been mine too. Pray about it. For me, if the answer is "It's true," then I embrace it. If false, I would walk away. I have had the truth of it confirmed to me many times over and over. Regarding Polygamy, my daughter teaches Seminary. Last year, the subject of polygamy came up. She didn't want to teach it because she didn't feel good about it. She told her class "This is one area I don't feel comfortable or qualified to teach because I don't like the idea of polygamy. I will fast and pray this weekend for confirmation. Will you pray for me?" When she taught seminary on Monday, she told them she had studied and prayed and received a confirmation that it was a true doctrine. When Joseph Smith first received the revelation, he did not want to participate in it. There were women in the Church who were married to non believing husbands. Joseph felt he could satisfy the commandment by marrying those wives for eternity. That way, the marriages would not need to be consumated in this life. Through further study, she became convinced that Joseph's motives were good, and he was trying to follow what God had commanded him to do. She believes now that Joseph was indeed acting in his office as the mouthpiece of God. That is her. Brigham Young says everyone is entitled to their own revelation as to what is true. So I wish you the very best in sorting this all out.
  10. I believe such a serious statement that seems to go against a cherished Constitutional right of American citizens would need to be signed off by the prophet. My covenant to sustain the Brethren trumps my right to bring a gun to Church.
  11. I appreciate the health.harvard.edu link and article. It's something everyone should read and take seriously. I know a family who lost an adult son to suicide. He was very pleasant in the morning when they left for the Temple. But sometime during the day he made a decision. It was preceded by most of the warnings over the prior month or so. But the family thought he was getting better. He knew what to say to divert their attention from his suicidal thoughts. He had witnessed a suicide. The article says it is easier for someone to act out on what they have witnessed. The morning he acted, he appeared to be very much at peace and moving in a positive direction. 20/20 hindsight, he had made a decision that he was comfortable with. The parents and some siblings have had moments of remorse because they feel they should have known what was going on. Now, after the fact, they have read all the symptoms and wondered why they didn't do it before. We don't know why the Church has restricted weapons on Church property. Your theory that the odds of gun violence at Church are so low there is a higher probability of an accident or sudden (suicidal) event, etc. makes as much sense as anything. I trust the Brethren. I sustain them. I'm not going to second guess them or try to persuade them to go against the inspiration from above. I say "And should we die before our journey's through, happy day. All is well. We then are free from toil and sorrow too. With the just we shall dwell."
  12. Are you referring to issues such as the revelation on priesthood, or the sins of individual members who served in leadership positions? Regarding the first part, I believe the Church is moving in that direction with mea culpa for past policy or mistakes. I believe individual transgression should be handled privately. Church discipline can include excommunication that local members are often aware of. Things that are illegal should be referred to the authorities and tried and their shame shouted from the rooftops. The problem with calling out Church leaders and others publicly is that some or even many accusations are wrong. There was a time in the 80’s when therapy elicited vivid but false memories of severe childhood events that destroyed families. Look up “False Memory Syndrome.” “False memory syndrome, also called recovered memory, pseudomemory, and memory distortion, the experience, usually in the context of adult psychotherapy, of seeming to remember events that never actually occurred. These pseudomemories are often quite vivid and emotionally charged, especially those representing acts of abuse or violence committed against the subject during childhood. We had a wonderful family in our ward devastated by accusations by adult daughters on opposite sides of the world. They remembered their father participating in evil rituals in a stake center cultural hall involving human sacrifice. The memories were false, of course. But the idea “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” prevailed. “Two or more witnesses.” The family was torn apart by divorce and alienation. I saw the father 30 years later in the Temple. He said his life had been destroyed. We also had a truly wonderful stake president with two children who suffered from false memory syndrome during that time. Very devastating while accusations are flying. Should there be discipline where serious sin exists? Of course. Most should be private, in my opinion. I sustain the First Presidency in the way they handle controversy. Where they err, (as human beings can do sometimes,) God will bring it to light at the appropriate time and place, in my opinion. Otherwise, the focus is to preach Christ and Him crucified and the things that are appendages to that.
  13. Do you believe President Nelson is the Lord’s mouthpiece on earth? If so, why would you choose not to follow his counsel? How do you feel about the Temple Recommend questions? Would they have any bearing on your decision?
  14. Thank you for your thoughts here Meadowchik. You ask some very good and thought provoking questions, from my point of view Yes, they felt good because they experienced a mighty change of heart. What was that change? I believe it was the change from sin and sorrow, carrying around the big bag of regrets that many of us carry, to the joy of having that burden physically removed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was a real experience with several lifelong payoffs for those who endured (and endure.) 1. Because they made an effort to live virtuous lives, they became sources of light, improving the lives of other people. 2. Because they turned away from sin, they left the people they met in better shape than they would have had they not had the mighty change of heart. 3. They left people they would have offended with fewer regrets and greater happiness. Think of their parents, siblings, children and friends all associating with a better person than the one they knew before that person experienced the mighty change. (Very similar to point #2.) 4. The mighty change saved them for their mortal lives. The hope of eternal life gave them more peace and purpose than they could have had without experiencing the mighty change of heart. They do significantly more good in their lives for the world around them than they otherwise would have. I would say that believing in God is more than an experience that makes one feel good. It is more than “a significant good.” I believe it is The most significant good that one obtains in this life. Speaking of our great Mother Eve in Moses 5:11: “And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.” Thats what mortality is all about in my opinion: making mistakes, recognizing our desperate need for the Savior, and experiencing the mighty change of heart. That is the most significant good in life, in my opinion.
  15. Would you say this is inherently good: ”10 And now I ask of you on what conditions are they saved? Yea, what grounds had they to hope for salvation? What is the cause of their being loosed from the bands of death, yea, and also the chains of hell? 11 Behold, I can tell you—did not my father Alma believe in the words which were delivered by the mouth of Abinadi? And was he not a holy prophet? Did he not speak the words of God, and my father Alma believe them? 12 And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true. 13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.” Alma 5:10-13 It sounds good to me, and confirms the experiences I have been having the past forty plus years. But that could be just me. 😃
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