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David Bokovoy

The Sermon on the Mount and the LofC

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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.

That, too, is a good point. It is just that from what I understand of the counsel to forgive all men, its value is more for the innocent victims of sin who freely offer forgiveness, rather than the perpetrators who may or may not seek forgiveness.

Whatever the case, my view is that all divine counsel and commandments fit within and are intended to forward the Plan of Salvation and personal progression towards Godhood. Now, I can't speak for God, but I trust that he desires that we apply his divine counsel and commandments in ways that don't contravene, but rather promote, the intents of God's plan. To me, as previously explained, freely offering our substance to petioners in certain exceptional situation may likely and inadvertantly contrave God's plan. Such may be avoided by reasonably interpreting the passages in question in non-absolutist, more tempered and merciful and spiritually guided way--as exemplified by the Savior during his mortal ministry.

In short, I trust that in the case of charity, God doesn't expect us to be free with our substance in a mindless way, but to use the Spirit and our God-given intelligence in making responsible charitable choices that are in everyone's best interest.

But, I may be wrong.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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In short, I trust that in the case of charity, God doesn't expect us to be free with our substance in a mindless way, but to use the Spirit and our God-given intelligence in making responsible charitable choices that are in everyone's best interest.

But, I may be wrong.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

I would argue that freely imparting of your substance is the furthest thing from mindless. The natural man is self-centered not selfless.

But I still appreciate the point you are making.

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I would argue that freely imparting of your substance is the furthest thing from mindless.

To respectfully clarify, I meant "mindless" in a relative rather than absolute sense.

Of cource the mind is used in choosing to reasonably interpret and act on the Mosiah passage in an absolute sense. But, in so doing, and beyond that, the thinking is pretty much done. Whereas, in choosing to reasonably interpret and act on the passage in a more liberal sense, one then is obliged to judge if the petitioner is really "poor" or not, is more or less in need of one's substance than others--so as to best alocate one's charitable resources, whether the giving of one's substance will benefit or harm the petitioner and to withold if harm is deemed the likely result, and what type of substance may or may not be best to give the petitioner.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I don't see how that addresses the question I raised, which is this: Does God's divine capitalism depend on it being necessary for some people to sell their labor to other people?

What, pray tell, alternative is there, other than to sell something (labor, knowledge, talents, skills etc.) to others; i.e., to serve others and be served by them in a process of wealth creation. Work (labor of some kind), being the only ultimate or long term solution to the problem of poverty, what other alternative is there in mortality than the creation of wealth through productive economic activity?

We learned in the other thread that capitalism depends on it being necessary for some people to have to sell their labor to other people, and so, in a certain sense, the system depends on their being poor people.

This doesn't follow, as it implies that the only people who work, or need to work, are poor.

If God's glorious economy is capitalism, then does God's glorious economy depend on their being poor people?

No. It depends on their being scare resources with alternative uses, and free markets and property rights that allow the vast majority to attain comfortable levels of affluence and economic security such that they are economically independent enough to help the poor.

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For all the love Nibley got and continues to get for his defense of Mormonism, his economic ramblings are widely disregarded. His communist tendencies obviously led him astray.

As they should be, as Nibley's views of economic matters were recklessly ignorant. I don't believe for a minute that Nibley was a "communist". However, his wide eyed, naive "communitarian" beliefs, and his recklessly irresponsible denunciations of his own country for preparing defenses against the Soviet Union, a nation he characterized as one of "sharing", relegates much of his sociopolitical writing to the waste basket.

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In a "free enterprise" system a person (or company) offers to by your labor, and you can choose to sell your labor to them or to another person or company that makes you the offer. Or you can choose to produce your own product or service with your labor and sell that in exchange for the goods or services that you need but cannot produce (at least as efficiently).

No one forces you to work for that EEVVIILL capitalist. You are free to provide your own job, if you don't like the offers being proffered.

But you are not free to use the force of government to steal from your neighbor for yours or any other persons individual benefit.

Edited to add,

When someone gets something that they didn't earn, then someone doesn't get something that they did earn.

Unless the exchange was voluntary, where is the justice in it?

Quite. Indeed, it is precisely within socialist systems of economics and governance that one is forced to work for others and for the state, without the benefit of competitive bidding in a dynamic, varied free market for labor.

One's "free" agency dissipates and one becomes, for all intents, a serf, without choice as to either the kind of employment one has, or the level of economic independence one can attain.

There are some in the Church - astoundingly - who revel in the thought.

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I understand that. Free enterprise sounds good to me. Of course, let's be clear, you can only choose to produce your own product for exchange if you have capital to begin with. If you don't, then, sure, you can still choose not to sell the only thing you have to sell (your labor), but then you also won't have money to buy food.

I agree. I don't advocate that.

Good. Keep in mind, however, that anyone who advocates socialism, or collectivism, of any kind, is, for all intents and purposes, advocating precisely and exactly that.

Socialism (communism, communitarianism, whatever), is theft, by direct expropriation, or be degrees and in triplicate.

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I find it funny that this thread hardly touches anything David talked about. Consecration can't be brought up without socialism and capitalism being mentioned and debated apparently.

Because David is, and has been preoccupied with the alleged connection between these concepts for a long time, and no thread he authors of this subject will long remain devoid of an eventual turn to the UO-is-socialism shibboleth.

Frankly, I don't really see what either of those secular institutions have to do with the Law of Consecration.

Right, they have nothing whatever to do with each other, but David believes that both the fabled "capitalism" and socialism are directly relevant to the UO and the doctrines surrounding it. The one is proscribed, and the other in some sense validated and/or fulfilled.

And given the technological and industrial advances the world has known since Christ's time, King Benjamin's time, and even Joseph Smith's time, approaches to the poor will out of sheer necessity be different. The grinding poverty of Christ's time is not the same as the "poverty" of, say, modern America. The standard of living has increased dramatically since those days.

Exactly correct.

If you had tried to explain Marxist or capitalist views of a hi-tech, industrial, globalized economic society to Peter, James, or John, they wouldn't have known what in the hell you were talking about. So, let's put the anachronisms aside.

Marx' ideas would have destroyed ancient Semitic society just as it has destroyed any modern society upon which they have been inflicted, only on a much smaller scale.

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Unless the exchange was voluntary, where is the justice in it?

Voluntary is the key word.

If it is voluntary, is it communism? Is it socialism if you choose to give what you have to lift others up with your surplus?

Every time this topic comes up the words socialism and communism get tossed around as if they had some relevance to FREELY imparting of one's substance. The word "freely" implies without strings and without inhibition, but also without compulsion.

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timestamp='1290035914' post='1208941177']

I do not believe that there is a contradiction. Here is one of the explanations that Brade hinted at:

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I'm not quite sure on what thing you disagree with based on what you quoted. Do you disagree that the standard of living has increased dramatically since the time of Christ or Joseph Smith?

I'm afraid - truly afraid, that what both Nibley and David believe is that standards of living, much above basic subsistence, are fundamentally evil, and constitutes a kind of spiritual inauthenticity. Nibley, indeed, made this point quite clear.

Do you disagree that what is considered poverty in modern America is not the same poverty as 1st century Palestine due to the standard of living being raised? Or are you disagreeing that the approach will be different? And please don't read confrontation into this: I am really just asking because I'm not sure. I'm not seeing what your response has to do with what I said because I didn't say anything about changing the principle or that the poor have "not earned the right to our help."

The main point I was trying to get across is that "the poor" is a very abstract category that is often invoked. "The poor" of Christ's day are not equal to "the poor" of many modern countries. Even "the rich" of Christ's day don't in many cases rise to the level of today's "the poor." The rise in living standards for everyone is worth noting. Does being poor only relate to necessities (i.e. food, shelter, clothing) or does it mean that you can't afford a luxurious cruise that King Benjamin's people would have known nothing about? Or high-speed Internet that 19th century saints would have been baffled by? Or a nice car that Jesus wouldn't have known how to drive?

"Poverty" in the United States particularly, is a relative concept. The overwhelming majority of the "poor" in America own there own homes, have cars, televisions, DVD players, cell phones, and other items the rich have. The primary difference here being only in the gold plating of the item in question (Toyota or Jaguar?).

Poverty, in a dynamic free market country is also fluid and in flux. Traditionally, and increasing exponentially since the end of WWII, numerous people move up and down the economic scale, from poor to middle class, middle class to "rich", and back down the scale again. A great many people will experience life in multiple "classes" in a free market oriented society, and do in American, throughout their lives.

What has, in other words, actually happened in American and other relatively free market societies is that classes, in the traditional sense, have disappeared and the concept of poverty has altered from real indigence, which is quite rare, to relative prosperity.

Many people in the U.S. judged as "poor", by government measurement, are "cash poor" at various times, or over long periods, but this does not, relative to other countries, and, as has been pointed out, ancient societies, reflect a desperate absence of wealth, or, that is, stuff.

Only one economic model is, and has been capable of reducing poverty to this degree, narrowing class divisions as to actual living standards (even while some have much less money than others), and creating the opportunity for economic independence among the vast majority of those who are truly poor, and that is free market, rule of law based "capitalism", or rather, economic liberty under the principles of liberal democracy.

There is no other alternative until we are angels or gods. The alternatives that have been tried, and to which David, for one example, subscribes, have already been shown to be failures, and to, in point of fact, create, spread and institutionalize precisely what it claims to ameliorate.

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I'm not quite sure on what thing you disagree with based on what you quoted. Do you disagree that the standard of living has increased dramatically since the time of Christ or Joseph Smith?

I'm afraid - truly afraid, that what both Nibley and David believe is that standards of living, much above basic subsistence, are fundamentally evil, and constitutes a kind of spiritual inauthenticity. Nibley, indeed, made this point quite clear.

Do you disagree that what is considered poverty in modern America is not the same poverty as 1st century Palestine due to the standard of living being raised? Or are you disagreeing that the approach will be different? And please don't read confrontation into this: I am really just asking because I'm not sure. I'm not seeing what your response has to do with what I said because I didn't say anything about changing the principle or that the poor have "not earned the right to our help."

The main point I was trying to get across is that "the poor" is a very abstract category that is often invoked. "The poor" of Christ's day are not equal to "the poor" of many modern countries. Even "the rich" of Christ's day don't in many cases rise to the level of today's "the poor." The rise in living standards for everyone is worth noting. Does being poor only relate to necessities (i.e. food, shelter, clothing) or does it mean that you can't afford a luxurious cruise that King Benjamin's people would have known nothing about? Or high-speed Internet that 19th century saints would have been baffled by? Or a nice car that Jesus wouldn't have known how to drive?

"Poverty" in the United States particularly, is a relative concept. The overwhelming majority of the "poor" in America own there own homes, have cars, televisions, DVD players, cell phones, and other items the rich have. The primary difference here being only in the gold plating of the item in question (Toyota or Jaguar?).

Poverty, in a dynamic free market country is also fluid and in flux. Traditionally, and increasing exponentially since the end of WWII, numerous people move up and down the economic scale, from poor to middle class, middle class to "rich", and back down the scale again. A great many people will experience life in multiple "classes" in a free market oriented society, and do in America, throughout their lives.

What has, in other words, actually happened in American and other relatively free market societies is that classes, in the traditional sense, have disappeared and the concept of poverty has altered from real indigence, which is quite rare, to relative prosperity.

Many people in the U.S. judged as "poor", by government measurement, are "cash poor" at various times, or over long periods, but this does not, relative to other countries, and, as has been pointed out, ancient societies, reflect a desperate absence of wealth, or, that is, stuff.

Only one economic model is, and has been capable of reducing poverty to this degree, narrowing class divisions as to actual living standards (even while some have much less money than others), and creating the opportunity for economic independence among the vast majority of those who are truly poor, and that is free market, rule of law based "capitalism", or rather, economic liberty under the principles of liberal democracy.

There is no other alternative until we are angels or gods. The alternatives that have been tried, and to which David, for one example, subscribes, have already been shown to be failures, and to, in point of fact, create, spread and institutionalize precisely what it claims to ameliorate.

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

This is not how people become "rich". The only possible way to "be" rich is to produce; it is to work, labor and participate in the creation of wealth by serving your fellow beings economically.

Taken to its logical conclusion (and it has been), all David's general principle, as stated here, will produce, is a permanent, entrenched, dependent "underclass", whose culture will then, over time, produce the values, attitudes and perspectives that ensure its perpetuation. This is the history of welfare as income guarantee of the western democracies over the last half century, and it is tragic, to say the least.

It is called the "welfare state", and it is utterly contradictory to the principles of welfare as understood in the gospel, the Church, and in the Church's welfare system.

I still do not quite understand where David believes he has recieved the authority to teach to, or for the Saints, what really constitutes the authentic living of our covenants and what does not, as the Brethren are not now teaching, and never have taught anything approaching what David is proposing. Indeed, I'm not even going to bother posting, yet again, the long laundry list of General Authorities who have explicitly denied any connection between the UO, the LOC, and socialism, or an economic system based upon redistribution of wealth of any kind.

It will be dismissed out of hand and we'll get another Nibley quotation.

That this intellectual rot is so deep within academia, and, in particular, its upper reaches, is perhaps even the greater tragedy, as it is these very kinds of ideas that have become entrenched within the popular imagination, and as government policy, as "welfare", while for much of the culture, the real meaning of the term "charity" has all but disappeared.

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Good. Keep in mind, however, that anyone who advocates socialism, or collectivism, of any kind, is, for all intents and purposes, advocating precisely and exactly that.

Socialism (communism, communitarianism, whatever), is theft, by direct expropriation, or be degrees and in triplicate.

Droopy, I don't advocate a society that expropriates property from anyone. Insofar as I do advocate a socialist sort of society, I'm only in favor of those sorts of societies in which participation is strictly voluntary and by commitment. That's also what Nibley clearly advocates in his writings

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I still do not quite understand where David believes he has recieved the authority to teach to, or for the Saints, what really constitutes the authentic living of our covenants and what does not, as the Brethren are not now teaching, and never have taught anything approaching what David is proposing.

This thread presents the teachings of Jacob and King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon, and Jesus Christ as found in the New Testament and modern revelation. Since when do these individuals not count as "the Brethren"? I look forward to the day when you attempt to counter these views with more than just your private political perspective, but with scriptural analysis. Alas, however, the ideology you espouse will never hold up to such an effort. "You cannot serve both God and wealth" (Matthew 6:24).

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Beginning in 3 Nephi 26:19, we learn that those in the Book of Mormon, living as near a Zion lifestyle as possible having just been visited en masse by the resurrected Jesus Christ, had all things common among them. This was done voluntarily for over 150 years. It was not until in 4 Nephi when people became concerned with the fine things of the world that the societal structure began to fail, dishonesty and violence returned and the righteousness of the people began to decline. This period of peace and righteousness began shortly after the delivery of the Sermon on the Mount to the people of the Book of Mormon. This ushered in a society who did effectively live the Law of Consecration for over 150 years. The main purpose of the book of 4th Nephi is to exemplify that indeed the teachings of Christ and the faithful following of those teachings, particularly those included in his Sermon on the Mount, lead to living the Law of Consecration. Living the Law of Consecration is living a covenant-and a society with associative practices is indeed a covenant society. When people covet private property above God and put that property above their covenant, a Zion society cannot exist.

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Droopy, I don't advocate a society that expropriates property from anyone. Insofar as I do advocate a socialist sort of society, I'm only in favor of those sorts of societies in which participation is strictly voluntary and by commitment. That's also what Nibley clearly advocates in his writings

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This thread presents the teachings of Jacob and King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon, and Jesus Christ as found in the New Testament and modern revelation. Since when do these individuals not count as "the Brethren"? I look forward to the day when you attempt to counter these views with more than just your private political perspective, but with scriptural analysis. Alas, however, the ideology you espouse will never hold up to such an effort. "You cannot serve both God and wealth" (Matthew 6:24).

Unfortunately David, I've found on numerous occasions in the past, in threads of similar subject matter, that your interpretations of the relevant scriptures are so iconoclastic and eclectic as to, for all intents and purposes, obviate any possibility of a meeting of the minds here.

I, many other Saints, and the General Authorities of the Church do not share with you similar interpretations of basic scriptural passages relating to, or possibly relating to, economic matters, and you have, at this point, inserted deeply personal philosophical and ideological content (what you claim I am doing) into your own interpretations of scriptural passages that clearly may or may not have the slightest thing, in any direct way, to do with economic systems or matters of broad social organization.

The modern special witnesses of Christ in our day have not, and are not now teaching anything remotely similar to your particular dogmas, nor have they ever so much as approached any claim that the Saints, or the Church, are in some sense not fully living their covenants because we have not entered into a collectivist social order and repudiated "capitalism".

None of the Brethren - and I (and bc, among others) have posted long lists of quotes and sources (go back to that old thirty odd page thread (the United Firm thread) for examples) detailing this, including quotes from church published sources including Institute manuals, conference talks, and the D&C itself - have ever taken the positions you (or Dr. Nibley) consistently do on this subject, and indeed, have, over several generations, repudiated and denounced each and every one of your core assertions.

It does not seem to matter, for whatever reason, how many times they have done this, or in how many church published sources those repudiations and clarifications may be found. You have apparently been infected by the wide and starry (when not glassy) eyed virus of utopian collectivism and social reformation, the major vector of which is the modern humanities and social science professorate.

The long experience of the world, and in particular, the West, over the last century, has been that this is a fever that runs a very high temperature, and is hard to treat, once it takes hold of a mind and an imagination, and especially a highly educated and sophisticated mind that moves and has its being too deeply enmeshed in a rarefied academic world of theory.

I have every reason in the world to hope and believe that, one day, you will fully return to us, no worse for the wear, when the fever finally breaks.

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Beginning in 3 Nephi 26:19, we learn that those in the Book of Mormon, living as near a Zion lifestyle as possible having just been visited en masse by the resurrected Jesus Christ, had all things common among them.

Meaning precisely, and in detail, what?

This was done voluntarily for over 150 years. It was not until in 4 Nephi when people became concerned with the fine things of the world that the societal structure began to fail, dishonesty and violence returned and the righteousness of the people began to decline. This period of peace and righteousness began shortly after the delivery of the Sermon on the Mount to the people of the Book of Mormon. This ushered in a society who did effectively live the Law of Consecration for over 150 years. The main purpose of the book of 4th Nephi is to exemplify that indeed the teachings of Christ and the faithful following of those teachings, particularly those included in his Sermon on the Mount, lead to living the Law of Consecration. Living the Law of Consecration is living a covenant-and a society with associative practices is indeed a covenant society.

What does this mean?

When people covet private property above God and put that property above their covenant, a Zion society cannot exist.

True. However, nowhere in the scriptures, in the writings or sermons of the modern Brethren, or in the D&C itself, which sets the conditions and principles of the LoC out in basic detail, is having, controlling, utilizing, amassing, and productively employing private property condemned or proscribed to the Saints, indeed, the fundamental features of the UO requires and encourages exactly the opposite.

Covetousness is an individual trait, and has nothing to do with property being either private or collective. Our stewarships in the UO will be private and individual, while our attitude toward our property will be that all of it belongs to the Lord and can be used as he sees fit at any time. That is the covenant relationship; that is "having all things in common".

Note: there is a vast abyss between the statement, "All property belongs to the Lord", and "All property belongs to the community". The first states that all property may be private in practice, while being understood to be a stewardship in which the Lord's property is transferred to us (talents) by covenant to be employed and increased in productive ways.

The second claims that all property belongs to everybody; it is a claim that all property is public. No concept of stewardship exists in the second situation, because stewardships cannot be collective. Stewardships cannot be collective because accountability for them to the Lord cannot be collective.

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...repudiated and denounced each and every one of your core assertions.

I'm curious Droopy, what part of the OP do you feel needs to be repudiated?

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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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I'm curious Droopy, what part of the OP do you feel needs to be repudiated?

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Every time this topic comes up the words socialism and communism get tossed around as if they had some relevance to FREELY imparting of one's substance. The word "freely" implies without strings and without inhibition, but also without compulsion.

I am not sure it implies "without strings"...at least not without strings in regards to the recipient, I would say instead that it is to be given without strings in regards to the giver. That individual is to give wholeheartedly, without reservation, with pure charity, etc....it is speaking of his level of commitment to sharing,his willingness to share his all. But it doesn't necessarily attach to the 'how' of his giving and I see that as possibly have conditions attached to it as this is the way God does things---he is willing to give us everything, share his all and his glory, BUT we have to be prepared to receive it by accepting certain conditions, such as being repentant, having faith, etc.

I don't see our stewardship over our resources ending once we've decided to share them with others fully, rather we are instructed imo to be faithful and thoughtful stewards by using our resources wisely and that may mean sometimes withholding them until certain conditions are fulfilled.

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Been gone for awhile and so am late responding with this, perhaps someone has noted this already...

The analogy given and responded to are apples and oranges imo.

I would point out in the real life example that was given---the woman who chose to go to Disneyland there was no admission of sin, just a request for help (sounds like more of a demand if she walked away ticked off about it as well). She thought she deserved it.

God does not grant mercy to those who think they are entitled to it, he grants mercy to those who admit they are in the wrong and seek his help to change...which is what forgiveness allows them to do.

In the case of the woman seeking Christ's help, she has humbled herself and is thus more likely open to the change that God's mercy can grant her.

I do not mean to imply that we should never give to someone in need unless they are repenting of what they did to get there (assuming that it was their own actions that set them up). I am just saying the two cases are not the same and one shouldn't assume that the Lord wants us to respond in identical ways to what are different situations.

1. How do you know that the woman did not acknowledge that in hindsight she should not have gone to Disneyland? I actually would be very surprised if such was not the case. Moreover, the mere fact that she was openly discussing her unwise decision with the BIshop creates an appropriate analogy with the woman who confessed her sin.

2. Poverty is a vicious cycle in as much as it causes depression which can lead to increased/unwise spending habits. The only thing we know is that the teacher claimed that this woman made a poor decision because she felt she needed an escape. Sounds to me like someone in desperate need of feeling the unconditional love of Christ which can break the bonds of depression.

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Unfortunately David, I've found on numerous occasions in the past, in threads of similar subject matter, that your interpretations of the relevant scriptures are so iconoclastic and eclectic as to, for all intents and purposes, obviate any possibility of a meeting of the minds here.

So again, as I have done on multiple occasions, I invite you to justify your assertions via scriptural analysis. There's a reason you have never been able to do so.

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