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The Parable Of The Prodigal Son

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This is also my favorite parable and I have a vested interest in understanding it correctly since I have been in a far country wasting my inheritence on rioutous living...I have studied this parable in depth for 15 years and I will comment on it in another post once I collect my thoughts, but I first want to comment on brother Talmages statement and tell you what I think HE IS NOT SAYING: He is not saying that the sons are not equal...he is saying the repentant son is not above the righteous one...The returing prodicals station as an heir is clearly restored, his station above that of the servants of the household is also established...His reward is not greater than the faithful son, but it is not less either...To believe otherwise is to deny that the atonement removes every blemish..."...Thou your sins be as scarlet...they shall be white as snow..."

I agree Isaac.

:P

Joseph Smith has some fascinating commentary on the parable that we seldom here. It's in the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He shows that we really want to be the "bad" son and not the "good" one. The good one is the pharisee.

I do not accept Spencer W. Kimball's interpretation in the least.

What was SWK interpretation? Off the top of my head, i don't remember it.

;)

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Joseph Smith has some fascinating commentary on the parable that we seldom here. It's in the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He shows that we really want to be the "bad" son and not the "good" one. The good one is the pharisee.

I do not accept Spencer W. Kimball's interpretation in the least.

Hey Drewnn, I am currently writing up my take on the parable, but I think Josephs take on it is correct, and injects an interesting dinamic to this parable I had not considered, which is a shame on me since I have loved this parable for so long...can you post what Joseph said on it? I think it would be useful to the discussion...

What about Spencer W. Kimballs interpretation do you disagree with?

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Spencer W. Kimball (I believe in The Miracle of Forgiveness) basically says the prodigal son was forgiven but his inheretance was lost. The "good" son was the better of the two and he would still receive his inheritance. However, the quote above by Joseph Smith (I quoted it about Isaac) clearly shows that the "good" son was the Pharisee who thought so highly of himself and, like the 99 sheep, will be damned.

"l say there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety-and-nine just persons that are so righteous; they will be damned anyhow; you cannot save them" (Joseph Smith).

We do not want to be the 99 sheep. We don't want to be the good son. We want to be the one who recognizes we are lost. All of us are! Then after we've been found, we should become like Christ, the shepherd, to go find the others who are lost.

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I for one am a prodigal son and I thank God for it. I recognize I am not a good son and that I don't deserve salvation. However, I also recognize God's grace and goodness and mercy towards me.

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I am going to go back to my original thoughts. We are all both of these children at different times in our lives, but our biggest problem is always going to be pride as that is what both sons had to deal with in some way or form.

I am definitely a prodigal son, but I also think that I can work on staying near to Heavenly Father now rather than running off time and time again. I would rather work with love for my Father, stay near Him, and not care about my inheritance or anyone else's for that matter.

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I am going to go back to my original thoughts. We are all both of these children at different times in our lives, but our biggest problem is always going to be pride as that is what both sons had to deal with in some way or form.

I am definitely a prodigal son, but I also think that I can work on staying near to Heavenly Father now rather than running off time and time again. I would rather work with love for my Father, stay near Him, and not care about my inheritance or anyone else's for that matter.

I think we can also be the father figure, the one who runs after the lost and helps them back. But ALL of us must at sometime realize we're lost and we need to return. If we haven't, we're fooling ourselves just like the Pharisees by thinking we're some how NOT "sinners" (the epithet they so quickly threw at Jesus' followers)

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I think the prodigal son story is interesting because where the story ends. Like I think alot of times people elaborate alot about it in terms of "who" is getting "what" and stuff-but the story sorta ends abruptly and puts the focus on the good son's reaction to the father showing his rebellious son love. The good son is good, and yet he can't be happy that his brother has returned-cause he's only thinking "why didn't I get a cow for my birthday party???" It's so Jan Brady!!!

And the father is so cool cause he let's his son know he still loves him, all he has is his. But he gently redirects his son's attention-away from himself and what he "deserves"---and makes him focus on the fact he needs to be happy his brother has not been lost.

It's such a great reminder-this little part of the story- that God's love is not a scarcity-the guy next to you isn't your competition. You are all in this together. It's a great reminder of priorities and whether ours is directed in s self centered way, or in a more outward way. I think these are very important things to be reminded of too, in our American culture-cause we are big on competition and quatifying everything and thinking in terms of scarcity-of trying to get the biggest piece of the pie possible. We get so conditioned to think like that, sometimes this story is like getting ice cold water thrown in your face.

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I think the prodigal son story is interesting because where the story ends. Like I think alot of times people elaborate alot about it in terms of "who" is getting "what" and stuff-but the story sorta ends abruptly and puts the focus on the good son's reaction to the father showing his rebellious son love. The good son is good, and yet he can't be happy that his brother has returned-cause he's only thinking "why didn't I get a cow for my birthday party???" It's so Jan Brady!!!

And the father is so cool cause he let's his son know he still loves him, all he has is his. But he gently redirects his son's attention-away from himself and what he "deserves"---and makes him focus on the fact he needs to be happy his brother has not been lost.

It's such a great reminder-this little part of the story- that God's love is not a scarcity-the guy next to you isn't your competition. You are all in this together. It's a great reminder of priorities and whether ours is directed in s self centered way, or in a more outward way. I think these are very important things to be reminded of too, in our American culture-cause we are big on competition and quatifying everything and thinking in terms of scarcity-of trying to get the biggest piece of the pie possible. We get so conditioned to think like that, sometimes this story is like getting ice cold water thrown in your face.

are you that dancer guy?

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are you that dancer guy?

LOL....You called Koakaipo a guy.

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hahaha, no. But it's time for me to change my avatar-it's been over a year-that's some mormon kid ona dance show who made me laugh alot.

ps-I must come off super butch in my posts-people always think I"m a dude!haahah

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Hey Drewnn, I am currently writing up my take on the parable, but I think Josephs take on it is correct, and injects an interesting dinamic to this parable I had not considered, which is a shame on me since I have loved this parable for so long...can you post what Joseph said on it? I think it would be useful to the discussion...

What about Spencer W. Kimballs interpretation do you disagree with?

One thing that never ceases to amaze me about this parable is the number of people who wish to aportion a new inheritance for the prodigal. I simply cannot see that from the scriptural text or the cultural context. It simply isn't doctrinal, IMHO.

Being just, the father simply has no option of setting aside a new portion of the estate for the prodigal.

The son asked for all that was due him and promptly squandered it. He has nothing left, nor will he receive again in the future. He has no further or future claim on his father's estate. As the father himself admits to the faithful son "All that I have is thine."

Upon redemption and repentance, the prodigal is no less his father's son, but all that remains of the family estate belongs to the faithful brother. The prodigal cannot receive an inheritance without robbing the faithful brother of his due.

If the faithful brother, in turn, chooses to share the kingdom with the prodigal (as Christ does with us), then that is his choice to do so- but the prodigal, despite the forgiveness given him, has no claim on the estate.

This is supported by the law of the time and by the prodigal's initial intent to become a wage-earner in his father's home.

We in turn, having been forgiven our sins and reclaimed, have no claim on Heavenly Father's kingdom. We receive no inheritance as heirs. What we will receive- even all that the Father has- we receive only through Christ, our faithful brother.

Yes, the faithful brother was prideful and needed correction- but his sin does not release the prodigal from the consequences of his choices, nor does it lessen his foolishness.

Nowhere in the Scriptures can you find doctrine to indicate that are we released from the temporal consequences of our choices- only the spiritual ones. And even then, the law is fulfilled.

There are spiritual consequences for our sins. The difference is, Christ has shouldered those consequences and has borne the stripes for them.

Likewise, the faithful brother can choose to bear a portion of the consequences of the prodigal's sin and offer him an inheritance if he so chooses.

But the law must still be fulfilled.

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hahah, nope, not the girl either. She was just the dance partner of the mormon rm kid on the dance show. He got her to read the Book of Mormon though when they were partners-I thought that was cute.

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hahah, nope, not the girl either. She was just the dance partner of the mormon rm kid on the dance show. He got her to read the Book of Mormon though when they were partners-I thought that was cute.

I didn't think you were a guy....just so you know. Course I also remember you talking about working at that tourist place in Hawaii were you had to wear a coconut top.....so that sort of stuck out that you weren't a guy.

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This is also my favorite parable and I have a vested interest in understanding it correctly since I have been in a far country wasting my inheritence on rioutous living...I have studied this parable in depth for 15 years and I will comment on it in another post once I collect my thoughts, but I first want to comment on brother Talmages statement and tell you what I think HE IS NOT SAYING: He is not saying that the sons are not equal...he is saying the repentant son is not above the righteous one...The returing prodicals station as an heir is clearly restored, his station above that of the servants of the household is also established...His reward is not greater than the faithful son, but it is not less either...To believe otherwise is to deny that the atonement removes every blemish..."...Thou your sins be as scarlet...they shall be white as snow..."

I agree

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I didn't think you were a guy....just so you know. Course I also remember you talking about working at that tourist place in Hawaii were you had to wear a coconut top.....so that sort of stuck out that you weren't a guy.

haha, well, you know what I notice? Gals tend to know I"m a gal. But I must have a touch of the butch in my posts cause guys always call me fella and stuff like that!LOL:)

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Elder Jeffery R. Holland gives an interesting take on the parable of the Prodigal Son:

(Jeffrey R. Holland, â??The Other Prodigal,â? Liahona, Jul 2002,

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YOU'RE the prodigal son, BC. And what's with this "greater reward?" That notion as you have expressed it runs contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ as I understand it. I remember another parable about laborers in the vineyard. Elder Oaks has somewhat to say concerning the "reward" interpretation:

I agree; and you're the prodigal, too.

Though many want to use the eleventh hour coming to the vineyard thing for the repentant, I believe it is for the converted. The truly converted.

The prodical son however is definitely about repentance. It definitely shows that the repentant receives a welcome that is all about the level of joy we feel when those who were lost are found. This joy supercedes the joy we feel about those who are dedicated reliable saints who can always be counted on to be true and faithful.

We shouldn't compare one with the other. They are like comparing slow students with smart students. Some get it right quicker and the first time around. Others take longer to get it right. It is indeed something to rejoice about when a slow student finally gets it. You don't rejoice as much when a smart student gets it. But you do feel glad they get it and don't take as much work, stress, and head ache.

Sinners are like slow students. They take the long way to get there. Because of it they are behind the smart ones.

If you want my take on this eternal perspective, and even if you don't here it is:

Everyone will eventually get to the highest degree. They just won't get there at the same time depending upon how continuously righteous they are. How grievous their sins/detours are--how long it takes them to repent and get back on the road going to the final destination.

Consider a trip in a car as an analogy. Some run out of gas, some get a flat tire. Some have a great car that takes them all the way without any stops that would delay them.

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Hammer:

I don't believe that there is a "final destination". If Eternal Progression is applicable to Celestial beings as well then there can be no Final Destination.

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I personally don't think this parable is like some checklist template of doctrines really. I think it's this story that is rich with meaning and insight.

Just because the story doesn't really point to certain doctrines, doesn't mean we have to force them into the story. I think the interesting thing for instance is that the dad says all that is mine is the older sons-and yet he just gave the big cow away to the younger son. So, is that literally true what he's saying? Does it line up with who is getting what portion of the literal inheritance of this man?

I think the strength of this parable is that it doesn't give us the whole story-we don't know how the older son responds to the father at the end. We don't know if the party went down, or if the prodigal son messed up again. But we are given a number of situations that we can all relate to and gain greater u nderstanding, cause we all have a bit of the prodigal AND the good son in us. Most of us are hybrids in that regard.

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Luke 15

Todays reflections

To understand this scripture we must first understand the setting and the question, or questioning which caused Jesus to utter the Parable (Which is what Joseph Smith teaches us to do when reading parables). Jesus was in the house of a Chief Pharisee, and as was the custom, the seating was arranged and awarded according to ones stationâ?¦Jesus received those which normally would not be allowed at the table; namely, the Publicans and sinnersâ?¦

1 THEN drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

And now the question which caused Jesus to utter the parable:

2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

These men are sinners and deserve no seat at the table, and should not even be present at the Feastâ?¦

Perceiving the question within their hearts, or perhaps hearing their murmurings, Jesus actually tells three parables, which when taken together, reveal the various characters involved in salvation, the process of repentance, the rewards of repentance, and the rewards of the faithfulâ?¦Upon understanding these stories, we should have a picture of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all aboutâ?¦Indeed it is contained beautifully, and completely in these three stories, and they really must be treated togetherâ?¦

3

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Sinners are like slow students. They take the long way to get there. Because of it they are behind the smart ones.

Welcome to the short bus, then. The one everyone is riding, except Christ, of course.

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One thing that never ceases to amaze me about this parable is the number of people who wish to aportion a new inheritance for the prodigal. I simply cannot see that from the scriptural text or the cultural context. It simply isn't doctrinal, IMHO.

It is doctrinal...your entire post is filled with false doctrine I am sorry to say...

Being just, the father simply has no option of setting aside a new portion of the estate for the prodigal.

Not so at all...Mercy (Christs sacrifice) satisfies the demands of Justice for the penitent, and Gods inheritence is limitless therefore it can be protioned out again...

The son asked for all that was due him and promptly squandered it.

As do we all to some degree or another...

He has nothing left, nor will he receive again in the future. He has no further or future claim on his father's estate. As the father himself admits to the faithful son "All that I have is thine."

Yep it is, and it is also gven to everyone who repents and enters his kingdom...again the inheritence is limitless...

Upon redemption and repentance, the prodigal is no less his father's son, but all that remains of the family estate belongs to the faithful brother. The prodigal cannot receive an inheritance without robbing the faithful brother of his due.

This is completely false. There is not limit to Gods estate and the older son loses nothing simply because his younger brother gets his...

If the faithful brother, in turn, chooses to share the kingdom with the prodigal (as Christ does with us), then that is his choice to do so- but the prodigal, despite the forgiveness given him, has no claim on the estate.

Also false...He has claim because mercy satisfies the demands of justice.

This is supported by the law of the time and by the prodigal's initial intent to become a wage-earner in his father's home.

He had that intent because it was all he thought he could hope to recieve...His Father shows him differently.

We in turn, having been forgiven our sins and reclaimed, have no claim on Heavenly Father's kingdom. We receive no inheritance as heirs. What we will receive- even all that the Father has- we receive only through Christ, our faithful brother.

...Mercy satisfies the demands of Justice...We recieve an inheritence because of the mercy and sacrifice of Christ. It is because of his grace, and our repentence that we are "joint heirs" with him as it states in Holy Writ...

Yes, the faithful brother was prideful and needed correction- but his sin does not release the prodigal from the consequences of his choices, nor does it lessen his foolishness.

He suffered the consequences of his choices through his trials in a famished land and his road to repentence as he journeyed back to his Fathers house...His Father suspended those consequences as soon as he saw his sons repentnece as genuiune and accepted him into his household and established his station above that of his other servants.

Nowhere in the Scriptures can you find doctrine to indicate that are we released from the temporal consequences of our choices- only the spiritual ones. And even then, the law is fulfilled.

THis parable has nothing to do with temporal blessings, but our inheritence in a heavenly kingdom...and actually there are many instances in which the penitent are released from the temporal consequence of their sins that they adequately repent of and forsake...

There are spiritual consequences for our sins. The difference is, Christ has shouldered those consequences and has borne the stripes for them.

So why then do you deny the reward for those whose sins who have been washed away by Christ? IF GOd remembers our sins no more when we repent, then how does he deny us the inheritence when we have truely repented and taken his name upon us?

Likewise, the faithful brother can choose to bear a portion of the consequences of the prodigal's sin and offer him an inheritance if he so chooses.

False...THe faithful brother in this story is not Jesus, it is a Pharisee, and is also a symbol of those who would deny the returing prodical his place at the masters table...Christ would never behave as the older brother in this stroy...

But the law must still be fulfilled.

False...Repentence and CHrists blood removes the eternal consequence of sin, and restores us to our heavenly inheritence...satisfying the damnds set forth by the law...

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It is doctrinal...your entire post is filled with false doctrine I am sorry to say...

Sorry, but you're going to have to prove that rather than merely assert it.

Not so at all...Mercy (Christs sacrifice) satisfies the demands of Justice for the penitent, and Gods inheritence is limitless therefore it can be protioned out again...

Yes- God's estate (kingdom) is limitless, but the estate of the father in the parable is not.

Yep it is, and it is also gven to everyone who repents and enters his kingdom...again the inheritence is limitless...

And that's where your analysis of the parable breaks down. There is not a single one of us who can re-enter the kingdom except through Christ. By law, the kingdom belongs to the faithful son- Christ. We have no claim on our inheritance, having squandered it through sin and riotous living. Our only recourse is the mercy of our faithful brother.

This is completely false. There is not limit to Gods estate and the older son loses nothing simply because his younger brother gets his...

But the parable is only an approximation- not an accurate representation of God's kingdom. The estate in the parable is finite and the inheritance belongs to the faithful brother alone.

Also false...He has claim because mercy satisfies the demands of justice.
Are you familiar with the essential element of Mormon belief which states plainly that mercy cannot rob justice? The price must be paid, or God becomes a liar, a lawbreaker, and a respecter of persons. That is why Christ's atoning sacrifice was necessary.

This is a critical point, one often overlooked and usually dismissed. Why can God not simply forgive- why did he feel it necessary to see his son murdered? Because he cannot be God and violate the law. He cannot rob justice and still be just. The price must be paid.

God cannot offer mercy to the unrepentant- the price must be paid. God cannot violate the law, which is why an atoning sacrifice was necessary. Christ paid it on our behalf, which is why he can say, "No man can come unto the Father except through me."

He had that intent because it was all he thought he could hope to recieve...His Father shows him differently.
This assertion is not support either by the text or the context. It is an unwarranted assumption that turns the Gospel on it's head.

We in turn, having been forgiven our sins and reclaimed, have no claim on Heavenly Father's kingdom ourselves. Our inheritance has been squandered. We receive no inheritance as heirs. What we receive- even all that the Father has- we receive only through Christ, our faithful brother.

...Mercy satisfies the demands of Justice...We recieve an inheritence because of the mercy and sacrifice of Christ. It is because of his grace, and our repentence that we are "joint heirs" with him as it states in Holy Writ...
Mercy CANNOT rob justice. We become heirs again through Christ- a gift he offers us. We have no claim without him.
He suffered the consequences of his choices through his trials in a famished land and his road to repentence as he journeyed back to his Fathers house...His Father suspended those consequences as soon as he saw his sons repentnece as genuiune and accepted him into his household and established his station above that of his other servants.
He received a ring and a robe, and was welcomed with great joy. These tokens do not justify the idea of a complete dismissal of the consequences. The text and context do not allow it, and in fact contradict it. Even after the prodigal receives thes gifts, the faithful son is told, "All that I have is thine."

Not, "All that I have, less the forty acres I am going to cede to your brother the day after tomorrow, is thine."

THis parable has nothing to do with temporal blessings, but our inheritence in a heavenly kingdom...and actually there are many instances in which the penitent are released from the temporal consequence of their sins that they adequately repent of and forsake...

As with nearly all parables or analogies, it is an imperfect metaphor. There is nothing in this parable to indicate that the Prodigal has been released from the consequences of his choices. Yes he is welcomed back with great joy and fanfare- which demonstrates the value of an individual soul to God- but nothing here demonstrates that the father was going to pretend it never happened.

So why then do you deny the reward for those whose sins who have been washed away by Christ? IF GOd remembers our sins no more when we repent, then how does he deny us the inheritence when we have truely repented and taken his name upon us?
God cannot offer us blessings for the good we have not done. Our redemption comes not from the Father but from the Son. Check your scriptures again- "no man comes unto the Father except through me". It is by Christ's sacrifice- the son's mercy that we are redeemed.

The law is fulfilled in Christ, not broken.

False...THe faithful brother in this story is not Jesus, it is a Pharisee, and is also a symbol of those who would deny the returing prodical his place at the masters table...Christ would never behave as the older brother in this stroy...

There are other interpretations to the story, though I agree that Christ would not act as petulantly as did the faithful brother.

False...Repentence and CHrists blood removes the eternal consequence of sin, and restores us to our heavenly inheritence...satisfying the damnds set forth by the law...

Wrong- Christ's blood fulfills the law. He took the consequences of the sin upon himself and paid our debts. The debt is still paid. The law is still fulfilled.

One more thing......the "quote" function is every bit as easy to use as the "bold" function and makes it a heck of a lot easier to compose replies.

Can you try using that one in the future?

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