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I’m finishing up War And Peace this week, and first off want to recommend this book. It’s a long read (started reading it last January) but it’s a work that makes you think deeply about the human condition both individually and collectively, which goes to my OP discussion. As I’m reading the second epilogue, Tolstoy seems to indicate that as human beings our free will is actually more limited then we’d like to believe, as we are subject to political, cultural, and other currents that powerfully influence our behavior. This got me thinking about the LDS concept of agency. Even though I think Tolstoy has some good points about how we are influenced by our environment, I think Tolstoy underestimates how much the acquisition of knowledge can cause us to go against what some would consider fate or destiny and act more freely for ourselves. This causes me to think part of the blessings of Grace is that we are more aware of our sins and shortcomings and can choose to be changed.
So what do you all think? Are there limits to our free will? If so why? If not why not?
By Raymond Ellis
Little children are precise and meek and trusting and curious, and they ask questions. We know King David as a teen was precise with his slingshot, killing a bear a lion and Goliath; he was precise because he loved God. His love of God also made him wise.
Little children do not worship power: Zechariah 4:6: Not by might nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord -- not by the worship of might and the worship of power but by the worship of my Holy Spirit says the Lord.
We also know God is precise from Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing, to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, and the joints and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The worship of power is the cause of all sin and evil and pain and sorrow. Might is another form of power worship, a heavy and stubborn black spirit. The spirit of Power is not the sin but the worship of power is the sin because we should only worship the Holy Spirit.
The worship of power enables Satan to get close to us. And we form a covenant with death and some of Satan's spirits because of the worship of power: Isaiah 28:15.
Repent of the worship of power and seek the truth. The truth will set us free: John 8:31-36. We know from Alma that the word is like a seed that grows with faith -- when the seed becomes a large tree it casts out all evil and sets us free -- also the parable of the Mustard seed in Matthew.
This board does not allow sermons or preaching.
By Five Solas
Another thread took an interesting twist on the oft-debated subject of “free agency.” Rather than risk thread derailment, I thought the topic merited its own. So here we go--
The quote (I’m sure Kenngo1969 won’t mind) was intended to refute the free part of free agency. He wrote: It's not "free": the Best Blood That Ever Lived was spilled for it.
For it. It being agency. Jesus spilled his blood & died for agency, what LDS (back when I was a kid) used to call "free agency."
I never heard this before and I admitted as much. Another poster jumped in and provided a number of passages from Joseph Smith’s Book of Abraham and Book of Moses to make the case that the LDS Jesus certainly did die for agency. He finished his post by excoriating me for what he takes to be my willful ignorance. Apparently every good LDS already knows this. You can find it here.
But is this really commonly understood by LDS - that their Jesus died for agency? What do you think? Did he die for something else? Or for a bunch of things? To tell the truth, it always seemed a little fuzzy, back when I was LDS.
By Five Solas
Okay, I'm not a huge fan of watching videos - but having gone through the YSA program back in the day, this caught my eye & I yielded to temptation (appreciation to Valentinus for his thread containing the link). Kind of funny, kind of sad, and to tell the truth, I was multi-tasking through some of it. But at about 26:16, it caught my attention: The speaker was talking about overlapping geographic jurisdictions between LDS stakes associated with different colleges/universities. These overlapping jurisdictions "increase choices for young single adults"--leading to "ward shopping" and other "conflicts."
His recommendation to address the LDS Church's declining retention of the Millennial generation is to eliminate ambiguity that might result in choice of ward. Choice is a bad thing--and where it exists it should be taken away.
Isn't that a bit ironic for a church that talks so much about "agency" (by which they mean free will)?
So I asked to teach the lesson on virtue for my turn this month and the scriptures cited for the lesson focused on four steps:
1) Seeking good things to develop a righteous pattern in our lives
3) Lusting over and objectification of others and fornication is sin.
4) God will strengthen us as we obey.
I started by defining virtue historically, first as it related to masculine strength, like for courageous soldiers, then as it was used for honorable upper-echelons of society, then centuries later, as it was applied even to the least, ie the "noble poor."
In other words, once a person's power was recognised by society, their personal use of their power unto righteousness was assigned a name: virtue.
So out came the Legos. We distributed them and asked each class member to come forward and offer a Lego and an element of their lives which exemplifies personal power unto righteousness. Each subsequent comment was made as the Lego was stacked onto the others.
They started by stacking one directly atop the others. At about the sixth piece, the teetering tower toppled. We had to "repent" and start again. This time I directed the building just enough to produce a mostly solid block.
I commented on how solid and strong the block has become. It also one inevitably had a pattern. The class members had been encouraged to repeat elements of that felt so inclined, and if course there where about six different repeating colors of Lego blocks, all representing answers like love, prayer, scripture study choices, purity, temple, entourage, the Spirit, the WOW, dependence,...
I then chipped a few pieces off the edges, which happened to be two whites and a blue. I then showed the block and asked?
"Are there any blues left?"
"Are there any whites left?"
Yes, there were.
By building life of these elements, we'd created a pattern that will help us and remind us what and how to live when things got rough, to literally help us to remember Him and keep out baptismal covenants.
We then read the scriptures in groups, summarized them for each other and discussed a bit.
The pres has the scripture about lust. She said it was normal for such feelings to arrive, but we cannot misuse them to objectify another person, and must repent if we do so. We pointed out our bodies are designed for these feelings so it is a difficult task to use them properly.
We also pointed out that in repentence, Jesus Christ blesses us with the chance to learn, grow and reconcile ourselves to truth, that we should get used to repenting in a daily basis.
It was a good experience for us, at least the YW president and I got something out of it. We hope the young women did, too.