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About Meerkat

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  • Birthday 11/07/1948

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  1. That’s a good question for another thread. I would put them on nearly equal footing (due to “as far as the Bible is translated correctly,”) with the edge going to the Book of Mormon. My personal opinion is that I am more spiritually fortified reading the Book of Mormon than the Bible. I love it. My faith in Jesus Christ is strengthened every time I read it. My gratitude for the Prophet Joseph Smith is reaffirmed every time I read it. In my opinion, the Book of Mormon is a miraculous work that has been proved true to my satisfaction through reading and answered prayer. I also love the Holy Bible, and am enjoying reading the New Testament this year. It also testifies of Jesus Christ to me in a powerful way.
  2. The role of the Holy Ghost confirming true religion and other facts.
  3. Here’s an interesting comment from “The New Testament Study Guide Start to Finish” by Thomas R Valetta: “President Joseph F. Smith noted that whether Judas was “qualified to commit the unpardonable sin, is not at all clear to me. To my mind it strongly appears that not one of the disciples possessed sufficient light, knowledge nor wisdom, at the time of the crucifixion, for either exaltation or condemnation; for it was afterward that their minds were opened to understand the scriptures, and that they were endowed with power from on high; without which they were only children in knowledge, in comparison to what they afterwards become under the influence of the Spirit. . . . “But not knowing that Judas did commit the unpardonable sin; nor that he was a ‘son of perdition without hope’ who will die the second death, nor what knowledge he possessed by which he was able to commit so great a sin, I prefer, until I know better, to take the merciful view that he may be numbered among those for whom the blessed Master prayed, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’” (Gospel Doctrine, 433–35).
  4. Jesus knew the end from the beginning. He knew how to direct His disciples to the upper room. He knew Judas would betray Him. Why couldn’t the Romans have just arrested Jesus without Judas’ betrayal? I wonder the Savior wanted to point out that we should be aware that some individuals can do a lot of damage to us individually, and as a society and world, if we let them. “Judas” is a cliche, as is “Benedict Arnold,” “Hitler” and probably many others. I have been tempted in years past to have sympathy for Judas and the role he played in the Atonement, when the Romans could have done it without him. “Poor Judas.” But Jesus said: “24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” Matt. 26:24. Woe unto any of us who would be tempted to betray anyone for money (or power, or influence, or anything else.). It’s not worth the money. I’m thinking of the Pharisees who devour widows houses. I believe honor and honesty are the premier virtues.
  5. I get that, and agree that many frameworks influence for the good. I often think of my wonderful Baptist neighbors, that if they don’t make it to Heaven, neither will I. Yet they have let me know they believe Mormons are good people, just “deceived.” Maybe that falls into the “overreach” category you are uncomfortable with in our church. I think, as time goes by, the Church is taking a more ecumenical approach, recognizing that if the Elect don’t embrace the authority and sacred ordinances of the Church while here in mortality, many will embrace the Temple ordinances done for them when they are in the Spirit World. The important thing, in my opinion, is how did we live and treat others? Did we love God? Did we love our fellow man? If we lived right, I think our understanding of what is true will come.
  6. Can a lasting conversion be obtained through reason alone?.
  7. Cognitive dissonance is valuable in our quest for a workable framework for our lives. For many of us, that framework becomes the Gospel. It may not always have been. But as life experience percolates to the surface, some choose to take the Gospel, and table the imperfections until more wisdom is available. Your idea here makes a lot of sense. We should be able to discuss these things without taking offense (or intentionally giving offense.) I believe this cognitive dissonance from Bernard Gui’s thread “Where Will This Lead” pertains to this discussion. (I hope I’m not out of line copying and posting it here): ”...our (Sacrament) speaker gave perhaps the best sermon I have ever heard and felt on repentance. He said at first he worried that his words might not be appropriate, but then he came to the conclusion that what he had to say was what the Lord wanted him to say. He told his story... A life-long member, seminary graduate, returned missionary young man who had made some very poor choices and ended up in many years of inactivity, moral degradation, addiction, depression, homelessness, self-loathing, and despondency. At a point when he was making the decision whether or not to live any longer, he thought of his father. He called him and asked if they could meet. They agreed and at that visit in their home, his father gave him a blessing during which the slate was wiped clean. Embraced by his parents, from that moment he began to take the steps that would restore his spirit, mind, and body through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Now three years later, he is sealed to a sister from our ward who had earlier suffered at the hands of an abusive ex-husband. They and their little baby boy are now a healthy and whole loving family. God be praised! There were many tearful eyes in the congregation, and some wept openly. We did not know of his journey, only that he had come as a great blessing into the life of our friend. I am sure many were thinking of loved ones they fear have slipped forever away from the path into forbidden areas from which there will be no return. Or perhaps there were those who are having similar feelings of uselessness and despair themselves. As the Spirit bore witness, we were given the hope that “Where will this lead?” does not necessarily have be to tragedy, but rather to deliverance, and redemption, and joy. It is possible for all of us. Thanks to this good brother for sharing his story of repentance, and thanks be to God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” It seems to me that this young man had an experience with truth he tested by the practical consequences of his belief. That is the definition of pragmatic from Merriam- Webster. The speaker came through some secular experiences that revealed which behavior he needed to eliminate to remove the dissonance from his mind and life. Stepping out on that limb of faith, he found a pragmatic Atonement revealed by his secular experience. It appears he has found a way of living now that works for him. Sounds like you have one that works for you also.
  8. I agree with your first sentence here. I don’t know why it would be different for other conservative faiths that teach a strict moral code. Why would the implications be different? Looking back at the strictness with which we raised our children, I do believe it would have been better to have loosened the reins at an earlier age. They could have experimented with their agency and learned that choices have consequences on less weighty decisions. As it turned out, three of our five are strong members. Two went overboard with their decisions after leaving home and left the Church. We are on good terms now and love them whether or not they ever decide they want to have anything to do with the Church going forward. 20/20 hindsight, there are many things we should have done differently and known better. Thankfully, I believe God allows for the mistakes we all make. I think He has provided a way to sort things out in the spirit world, if we don’t figure it out here in mortality. (See 1 Peter chapters 3 and 4, and Doctrine and Covenants 138.)
  9. More reasons for Church , centered in a home near you.
  10. I love Doctrine and Covenants 138. It gives me hope for family members and others who have left the faith, rejected it when offered, or rejected the prophets. President Smith expounds on one of the most comforting doctrines in the Bible that is routinely overlooked by other Christian faiths— the doctrine of teaching the plan of Salvation to those in the Spirit world who rejected the Gospel in mortality so all would have equal opportunity the be judged fairly (on equal footing) in the final judgment. He is talking about 1 Peter chapter 3:18-20 and 1 Peter 4:6. It is one of those scriptures that lines up with the character of the God I worship better than Alma 34, which states: ”33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. 34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. 35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked. 36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.” I have reconciled these two scriptures, but forget from time to time how they are reconciled. I would be interested in how you or others reconcile Doctrine and Covenants 138 and Alma 34:33-36.
  11. I pretty much agree with this. It seems to me that with the knowledge of God comes increased responsibility to act on that knowledge, to live according to that knowledge and endure to the end. When we give into temptation after having known what we believe is the right way, it seems logical to me that it would hurt more than if we were not accountable. Christ spoke in parables to avoid making non believers accountable to a life they were not prepared to live.
  12. I believe they afflict us more when we either abandon our faith in Jesus Christ, sin to the point we can no longer hear the still, small voice, or suffer deep depression, grief or malady that exacerbates a mental illness. Then the playing field may be skewed against religious (or formerly religious) people because the understanding of sin and guilt is more ingrained. I can see that, if you are talking about a genuine mistake and not deceit, which should cause guilt in anyone.
  13. I agree with what you are saying here. Unfortunately, I believe their methods of coping with that guilt (which comes to all of us,) is not as effective as religious conversion and may lead to anti-social addictions such as drugs, anti-depressants, and other guilt causing activities that can lead to unhappiness and even suicide. “We can’t break the Commandments. We can only break ourselves against them.” DeMille
  14. You, MFB and Jordan Peterson seem to be on a similar quest to give secularists a rationale to understand how the Savior’s Atonement can work in a person’s life. Maybe secularists could use that rational about justice, sacrifice and forgiveness to pray about what many of us believe actually happened (rather than the myths that, for the most part, point to Christ) and experience a true, humble and lasting forgiveness in their lives. If they accept the myth as a guide for living, the “Hero’s Journey,” their behavior may improve. If so, they may eventually recognize the blessings resulting from their change, and become converted to their actual Savior, Jesus Christ. The reason I believe the focus must eventually become the God/Man/Redeemer is that I believe God cannot lie. His integrity holds existence together, according to laws, in my opinion, just as the elements are governed by law. The great Atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ provides evidence in the lives of the believers, which manifests itself by lifting burdens of guilt and enabling joy to displace despair. “17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 6 Experiencing that consolation is a very personal thing that must eventually happen when “Every knee shall bow, and Every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. I understand how off putting such an absolute statement is to many non religious secularists. Hence, the importance of finding humanistic words and ideas that will communicate the whys and how’s of the Savior’s actual love for them, and His actual atoning sacrifice.
  15. The difference is that many Denominationalists believe “once saved, always saved— you can’t take yourself out of God’s hand.” Our view is that Salvation requires a sincere attempt at changing our behavior and enduring to the end. I believe faith in Jesus Christ will come later for many ( “6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” from 1 Peter 4. I believe, if we embrace that idea of repentance (not merely believing, but sincerely attempting to turn away from our sinful behavior and nature, the end of that path (forgiveness) will result in exaltation. The main thing we have over other Christians, faiths and other good people is the required sacred ordinances. I believe changed behavior is the object God wants for us. If we do the thing, belief and desire for the ordinances will eventually come. If the secular approach will take us that far, the joy of testimony will come and we will embrace Jesus Christ and His doctrine and ordinances. Well put. The Prodigal Son is the perfect example. After squandering his inheritance, perhaps estranginging himself from his parents and family, he comes to himself and realizes he deserves nothing. He humbles himself, and tells his father “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” Luke 15:18-19 He didn’t say “I am here to resume my role as couch potato. You, my parents, have a duty to bail me out, take me in, give me a computer and sustain me for the rest of my life.” He said “I know I’ve done wrong. I know I am a great great sinner, and don’t even deserve your name. I’m not asking for anything, other than to work for your Grace, the great privilege of being near you and enjoying your presence. I realize now how much I love you, Dad.” in a reflection of our Father’s Mercy, he runs out to meet his son, giving him full benefit of the doubt that the son had learned his lesson and indeed, been changed for the better. He did kiss him, clothe him, feed him and give him a valuable gold ring. That’s what I call forgiveness. And honestly, I believe the prodigal’s Mother’s heart was probably twice as tender, merciful, forgiving, filled with love and desire to have her son back than his Father was. I believe that is true Grace, accessed by true Repentance (change of behavior— work, effort, sorrow, regret and profound gratitude.)
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