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David Bokovoy

The Sermon on the Mount and the LofC

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Wade,

I know it wasn't your intent but it sounds like you just said "I'm watching him starve for his own good but I won't judge him harshly for letting his corpse rot on the sidewalk." LOL.

I realize that you are not in the practice of grossly distorting what I said, but somehow you managed to do just that.

Knowing our past conversations, I believe you are talking about the creation of a permanent underclass by a system that rewards dependence.

You thought incorrectly. I made no mention of "systems", but rather I was talking about certain individual situations (as evidenced by the words "some cases and some instances").

If you would like to address what I actually said, I will be pleased to hear and respect your point of view.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I realize that you are not in the practice of grossly distorting what I said, but somehow you managed to do just that.

Wade,

You do realize that I expressly said I knew this was NOT your intent but rather how I perceived your words. Please don't take offense where none was given. I explicitly acknowledged that you did not say what I posted.

You thought incorrectly. I made no mention of "systems", but rather I was talking about certain individual situations (as evidenced by the words "some cases and some instances").

If you would like to address what I actually said, I will be pleased to hear and respect your point of view.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

As evidenced by my words "Knowing our past conversations, I believe you are talking about..." I was again expressing my perception of where you were taking the discussion. :P

In any case, I didn't mean to offend, grossly distort, or think incorrectly. So I'll state it as plainly as David did. The only two references I can find in the LDS Standard Works to "withholding your substance" are these:

Mosiah 4: 22

And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

Alma 5: 55-56

Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them? And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily repent.

Neither one is flattering.

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This perspective on poverty and Zion certainly runs contrary to everything we see scripturally.

I understand that is YOUR dogmatic position. It clearly isn't mine. So, it is inaccurate for YOU to presume to speak for all of us by using the inclusive "we".

The idea that one can help eradicate poverty by turning away the beggar stands in direct conflict with the Book of Mormon: "Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you" (Jacob 2:17).

The only conflict is in reading both my statement and the scriptures in an overly narrow and absolute sense. That is not how I reasonably view either.

We make others rich by being "free with our substance," not by witholding our substance for their own good.

As a general rule, perhaps. But, I do not make an alcoholic pan-handler rich by freely giving him a couple of bucks that he then uses to get drunk with. In such cases, we both are mearly made all the poorer.

Moreover, in light of the fact that the Savior declared, "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again," I simply could never feel comfortable choosing to withold my substance from the poor for their own good (see Matt. 7:2).

I can appreciate that is how you feel. And, as a general rule, I agree with you. But, having been relatively impoverish at times myself, and having done significant amounts of volunteer work with the disadvantaged, I have personally witnessed instances where well-intended, though irresponsible charity, has done more harm than good--to some degree inadvertantly robbing the person of their dignity and creating a disincentive to personal growth. Somehow, that doesn't strike me as part of the Plan of Salvation.

But, to each their own.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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But, to each their own.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Wisdom in all things.

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DB,

Thanks for bringing this topic up. It caused me to read some talks I had forgotten.

From the Oct 1990 GC, Bishop Glenn L. Pace:

Referencing King Benjamin's counsel not to judge the person in need, Bishop Pace said, When a person has been hit by a truck, we don

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Wade,

You do realize that I expressly said I knew this was NOT your intent but rather how I perceived your words.

Yes. And, perhaps I should have been more clear in saying that your perception was a gross distortion of my words. (What I had said and meant in a markedly moderate sense, was somehow misconstrued by you in and extreme sense.)

Please don't take offense where none was given. I explicitly acknowledged that you did not say what I posted.

I won't and didn't take offense. Please don't confuse as offense my matter-of-fact mention of your gross misperception of my words.

As evidenced by my words "Knowing our past conversations, I believe you are talking about..." I was again expressing my perception of where you were taking the discussion. ;)

Right. And since your perception was incorrect, that is why I said, "you thought incorrectly", and mentioned as evidence in support thereof the marked absense of the word "system", and went on to respectfully invite you to address what I actually said and meant, rather than what you had wildly misperceived and wrongfuly predicted what I said or would later be saying.

Hopefully, the misunderstanding is now cleared up.

In any case, I didn't mean to offend, grossly distort, or think incorrectly. So I'll state it as plainly as David did. The only two references I can find in the LDS Standard Works to "withholding your substance" are these:

Mosiah 4: 22

And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

Alma 5: 55-56

Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them? And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily repent.

Neither one is flattering.

True. But, in my opinion, neither one need necessarily be interpreted in a narrow and absolute sense. Both can be reasonably viewed as guiding principles and general rules with possible exceptions. In other words, the letter of the law still leaves room for the spirit and mercy. :P

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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DB,

I find it interesting that Bishop Pace (in the talk I linked to two posts prior to this one) speaks of the command to forgive all men in conjunction with the command to impart freely of our substance.

The requirement to forgive all men is the equivalent of spiritual consecration. We willingly share the mercy we've received with those who've offended us even if they don't seek forgiveness or realize their offense. Our obligation to forgive is not tied to their obligation to repent. We are simply told to share the mercy we've been given.

Likewise, we are told to impart of our substance. Temporal consecration. We receive blessings from God and we are commanded to share them with others regardless of whether we consider them deserving. Our obligation to impart is not tied to their obligation to deserve help. We are simply told to impart of the substance we've been given.

The Sermon on the Mount, imo, speaks to both these issues and ties them together nicely also.

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I understand that is YOUR dogmatic position. It clearly isn't mine. So, it is inaccurate for YOU to presume to speak for all of us by using the inclusive "we".

Then by all means, Wade, you should provide us with a scriptural text that supports your dogmatic view: That one can build Zion by withholding substance from the poor who haven

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DB,

I find it interesting that Bishop Pace (in the talk I linked to two posts prior to this one) speaks of the command to forgive all men in conjunction with the command to impart freely of our substance.

The requirement to forgive all men is the equivalent of spiritual consecration. We willing share the mercy we've received with those who've offended us even if they don't seek forgiveness or realize their offense. Our obligation to forgive is not tied to their obligation to repent. We are simply told to share the mercy we've been given.

Likewise, we are told to impart of our substance. Temporal consecration. We receive blessings from God and we are commanded to share them with others regardless of whether we consider them deserving. Our obligation to impart is not tied to their obligation to deserve help. We are simply told to impart of the substance we've been given.

The Sermon on the Mount, imo, speaks to both these issues and ties them together nicely also.

This is brilliant! And Elder Pace! What a great man! Thank you so much for drawing our attention to this talk. I love his analogy that "when a person has been hit by a truck, we don

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DB,

I find it interesting that Bishop Pace (in the talk I linked to two posts prior to this one) speaks of the command to forgive all men in conjunction with the command to impart freely of our substance.

The requirement to forgive all men is the equivalent of spiritual consecration. We willing share the mercy we've received with those who've offended us even if they don't seek forgiveness or realize their offense. Our obligation to forgive is not tied to their obligation to repent. We are simply told to share the mercy we've been given.

Likewise, we are told to impart of our substance. Temporal consecration. We receive blessings from God and we are commanded to share them with others regardless of whether we consider them deserving. Our obligation to impart is not tied to their obligation to deserve help. We are simply told to impart of the substance we've been given.

The Sermon on the Mount, imo, speaks to both these issues and ties them together nicely also.

Very well said, MG. Thanks for your insight.

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This is brilliant! And Elder Pace! What a great man! Thank you so much for drawing our attention to this talk. I love his analogy that "when a person has been hit by a truck, we don

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Frederick Taylor's "scientific management" is the very thing that Nibley criticizes: heavily centralized micromanagement. Ironically, Nibley embraces this principle on a wider economic scale. Yet, both ideas come from the same intellectual arena of early 20th century progressivism. See Thomas C. Leonard, "American Economic Reform in the Progressive Era: Its Foundational Beliefs and Their Relation to Eugenics," History of Political Economy 41:1 (2009). Nibley's abstract economic vision of Zion ultimately breeds less cooperation, trust, and growth when actually tested. It is a more autonomous, dare I say market-oriented approach that fosters these virtues:

I'm not sure you've correctly understood Nibley. Or, maybe I misunderstand him... Anyway, I don't think Nibley embraces heavily centralized micromanagement on a wide economic scale. What I understand Nibley to be advocating is a society where members are already committed, by their own choice, to a certain, and sufficiently effective, level of cooperation, trust, growth, and charity. He seems to envision a utopian society. But, not one where its important features are managed (micro or otherwise) by some manager or even by a leader (even though he's more fond of leaders than managers). As I said, he seems to envision a society where its members manage themselves according to certain principles they all happen to have freely committed themselves to before being part of that society. So, on his view, I don't think it's right to say that sort of society breeds less cooperation and so on. Because his response ought to just be "the society doesn't exist to encourage people to cooperate, rather, it exists because people are already cooperating". Zion, on his view, is the end game. Not the thing to take us to some other end (i.e. breed cooperation by and by, or whatever). There certainly are tough criticisms of that view, but I don't think that one of them is to gesture at attempts at anarchist/utopian/zion societies and point out that they failed. His response would probably be "Right, of course they failed. They weren't Zion.".

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I'm not sure you've correctly understood Nibley. Or, maybe I misunderstand him... Anyway, I don't think Nibley embraces heavily centralized micromanagement on a wide economic scale. What I understand Nibley to be advocating is a society where members are already committed, by their own choice, to a certain, and sufficiently effective, level of cooperation, trust, growth, and charity. He seems to envision a utopian society. But, not one where its important features are managed (micro or otherwise) by some manager or even by a leader (even though he's more fond of leaders than managers). As I said, he seems to envision a society where its members manage themselves according to certain principles they all happen to have freely committed themselves to before being part of that society. So, on his view, I don't think it's right to say that sort of society breeds less cooperation and so on. Because his response ought to just be "the society doesn't exist to encourage people to cooperate, rather, it exists because people are already cooperating". Zion, on his view, is the end game. Not the thing to take us to some other end (i.e. breed cooperation by and by, or whatever). There certainly are tough criticisms of that view, but I don't think that one of them is to gesture at attempts at anarchist/utopian/zion societies and point out that they failed. His response would probably be "Right, of course they failed. They weren't Zion.".

One of the best posts I have ever read. Thank you.

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I'm not sure you've correctly understood Nibley. Or, maybe I misunderstand him... Anyway, I don't think Nibley embraces heavily centralized micromanagement on a wide economic scale. What I understand Nibley to be advocating is a society where members are already committed, by their own choice, to a certain, and sufficiently effective, level of cooperation, trust, growth, and charity. He seems to envision a utopian society. But, not one where its important features are managed (micro or otherwise) by some manager or even by a leader (even though he's more fond of leaders than managers). As I said, he seems to envision a society where its members manage themselves according to certain principles they all happen to have freely committed themselves to before being part of that society. So, on his view, I don't think it's right to say that sort of society breeds less cooperation and so on. Because his response ought to just be "the society doesn't exist to encourage people to cooperate, rather, it exists because people are already cooperating". Zion, on his view, is the end game. Not the thing to take us to some other end (i.e. breed cooperation by and by, or whatever). There certainly are tough criticisms of that view, but I don't think that one of them is to gesture at attempts at anarchist/utopian/zion societies and point out that they failed. His response would probably be "Right, of course they failed. They weren't Zion.".

Fair enough.

Nicely put.

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Then by all means, Wade, you should provide us with a scriptural text that supports your dogmatic view: That one can build Zion by withholding substance from the poor who haven

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This is brilliant! And Elder Pace! What a great man! Thank you so much for drawing our attention to this talk. I love his analogy that "when a person has been hit by a truck, we don

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I have a question: my Institute teacher shared a story about when he was a bishop. A woman came to him seeking welfare assistance from the Church. She explained that she didn't have enough to pay her upcoming bills. After discussing with her, it turns out that she had just gotten back from a trip to Disney World with her family. Because of that trip, she was unable to pay her bills. The reason she decided to go on the trip even though she obviously could not afford it? "I needed a break."

My Institute teacher said, "The Church is not going to pay for your Disney World trip. Had you not gone, you would be able to pay your bills. But instead, you thought the Church would bail you out. I'm sorry, sister, but that isn't how it works."

The woman was furious, but my Institute teacher refused to give assistance. He suggested that she seek help from friends and family.

Was he wrong?

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Was he wrong?

It would seem that after reading a few posts in this thread it appears that a case could be made that he was wrong. I mean after all you can't blame her (Meaning that we should not hold it against her) for being poor.

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Was he wrong?

I think it depends on too many factors to really say. Did his

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I have a question: my Institute teacher shared a story about when he was a bishop. A woman came to him seeking welfare assistance from the Church. She explained that she didn't have enough to pay her upcoming bills. After discussing with her, it turns out that she had just gotten back from a trip to Disney World with her family. Because of that trip, she was unable to pay her bills. The reason she decided to go on the trip even though she obviously could not afford it? "I needed a break."

My Institute teacher said, "The Church is not going to pay for your Disney World trip. Had you not gone, you would be able to pay your bills. But instead, you thought the Church would bail you out. I'm sorry, sister, but that isn't how it works."

The woman was furious, but my Institute teacher refused to give assistance. He suggested that she seek help from friends and family.

Was he wrong?

I don't view myself as in a position to judge whether he was right or wrong. As Mercy intimated earlier in the thread, such things are between him and God.

However, it is possible that I may have handled it somewhat differently. Like the Bishop in question, I may have used the circumstance as a teaching moment to instruct the individual on appropriate financial decision-making and the proper use of the Church's sacred assistance funds, yet offerred some assistance to help her current desparate situation, though on condition that she understands that now that she knows better, such assistance under such conditions may likely be witheld in the future.

In so doing, one satifies the spirit of the law proffered by Mosiah, while also not violating, but perhaps fulfilling, the spirit of the aforementioned divine precepts.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I have a question: my Institute teacher shared a story about when he was a bishop. A woman came to him seeking welfare assistance from the Church. She explained that she didn't have enough to pay her upcoming bills. After discussing with her, it turns out that she had just gotten back from a trip to Disney World with her family. Because of that trip, she was unable to pay her bills. The reason she decided to go on the trip even though she obviously could not afford it? "I needed a break."

My Institute teacher said, "The Church is not going to pay for your Disney World trip. Had you not gone, you would be able to pay your bills. But instead, you thought the Church would bail you out. I'm sorry, sister, but that isn't how it works."

The woman was furious, but my Institute teacher refused to give assistance. He suggested that she seek help from friends and family.

Was he wrong?

As we've seen, there exists a direct correspondence between the principle of forgiveness and debt. So consider the following analogy:

A woman comes to Jesus and says,

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Was he wrong?

I think the Spirit would have to dictate that in the moment.

But consider what your Institute teacher said and more importantly what he didn't say. He didn't say "You should go hungry, have your electricity turned off, and get evicted because that is the natural consequence of your foolish choice." He said "I'm not helping you. Go to your family."

The presumption was that someone would help her, it just wasn't going to be him.

Does it sound better or worse framed that way?

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Tough love does not reflect my experiences with the Savior and his atonement.

I can respect that.

Tough love does, however, reflect my experience with the Savior and his atonement in the sense that to me it is the difference between helping to save a person from their sins as opposed to inadvertantly helping to save a person in their sins.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I can respect that.

Tough love does, however, reflect my experience with the Savior and his atonement in the sense that to me it is the difference between helping to save a person from their sins as opposed to inadvertantly helping to save a person in their sins.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

You bring up a great point. The Lord does withhold blessings in order to allow us to be humbled. Once we are humbled, however, He allures us and speaks comfortably to us. He draws us to Him with bands of love. (Hosea 2,11) Our limited judgment, however, dictates that of us it is required to forgive all men. (D&C 64, Matt. 6)

It is by the wicked that the wicked are punished (Mormon 4). These natural consequences of sin that lead us to humility (and often humiliation) are, in my experience, executed by our accusers not our advocate.

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