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SouthernMo

What Are Blessings?

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Both the scriptures and the more modern words of prophets have at times promised blessings if commandments are followed.

“Blessings” seems to be a nebulous catch-all word to indicate something better than cursings.  But it’s not clear to me what blessings really are.

What are blessings (not referring to the priesthood ordinances)?

I ask because I think it’s important to objectively determine the fruits of those prophetic promises.  If I’m told to keep commandment XYZ, and am promised blessings will come, how can I identify those blessings when they come, rather than see them as natural consequences, or just the randomness of the universe?

Happy to expound more, but let’s keep the opening question/topic as brief as I can.

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2 hours ago, pogi said:

We don't "objectively determine the fruits", we subjectively experience them.  See Alma 32. This is not an objective science experiment, it is a subjective spiritual one. 

Perhaps - so do you distinguish blessings in your life from things that just happen?

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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

I think the rub is that sometimes we don't know that something is a blessing until we have a better perspective or more understanding.  To a 5 year old, a vaccination shot is not a blessing

This is a perspective we could take further. Is all pain a blessing, then?  If we grow from pain and trials, they should all be blessings because they help us become more godlike. 

In that same token, are there any cursings?  Can’t all difficult situations become blessings?  Our whole earthly experience could be categorized as a painful separation from our Heavenly Father, but it prepares us for a more triumphant return to him (quite a blessing!).

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46 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

Perhaps - so do you distinguish blessings in your life from things that just happen?

Yes and no.  Yes, because life is a gift.  All of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly - some are blessings; some are lessons, and sometimes *hit just happens, and I am grateful for that too.  Trials are a blessing - or they can be anyway, if we allow it.  Every experience in life is a moving experience, we get to decide which way it will push us.  I view everything as an opportunity to turn to God in every moment.  I am grateful to be alive in all things.  I believe that with all my heart, and I have faith that someday the rest of me will follow suit too.

But I also believe that on top of the general gift of the opportunity that life affords, there are specific blessings conditioned upon obedience to certain principles (D&C 130:20-21).   

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7 minutes ago, pogi said:

Yes and no.  Yes, because life is a gift.  All of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly - some are blessings; some are lessons, and sometimes *hit just happens, and I am grateful for that too.  Trials are a blessing - or they can be anyway, if we allow it.  Every experience in life is a moving experience, we get to decide which way it will push us.  I view everything as an opportunity to turn to God in every moment.  I am grateful to be alive in all things.  I believe that with all my heart, and I have faith that someday the rest of me will follow suit too.

But I also believe that on top of the general gift of the opportunity that life affords, there are specific blessings conditioned upon obedience to certain principles (D&C 130:20-21).   

This is helpful. So everything in life can be called a blessing?

Doesnt that diminish the promise of receiving blessings for righteousness/obedience?  I mean - if I already see everything in my life as a blessing, and I can’t measure blessings (to see if I get more blessings after keeping a commandment), why would I be obedient?

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1 minute ago, SouthernMo said:

This is helpful. So everything in life can be called a blessing?

Doesnt that diminish the promise of receiving blessings for righteousness/obedience?  I mean - if I already see everything in my life as a blessing, and I can’t measure blessings (to see if I get more blessings after keeping a commandment), why would I be obedient?

I think my second paragraph answers that.  There are blessings on top of blessings. A hierarchy of blessings.  Line upon line, precept upon precept... 

Quote

 

20. There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

 

We passed the first estate.  We are now reaping the blessings for that  - we get to experience life.  The blessing of life was predicated upon obedience, just as further blessings are predicated upon obedience as well.  

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Those sweet rare moments when things go right that make the panoply of misery and loneliness we endure the rest of the time tolerable.

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33 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Those sweet rare moments when things go right that make the panoply of misery and loneliness we endure the rest of the time tolerable.

You’re annoyingly positive. Kind of Pollyanna-esque.

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20 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

You’re annoyingly positive. Kind of Pollyanna-esque.

I get that a lot.

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For me, a blessing is any opportunity that allows me to seek out God.  Some blessings open new ways to do so.  Other blessings may give me strength to access already received blessings in more effective ways.

A cursing would therefore be anything that limited or took away from the ability to seek out God.  I think most cursings are either self imposed or imposed by the limitations of those around us rather than God.  It may be possible that God "cursed" someone in regard to a particular blessing because they were already "cursed" by their own choices or the choices of those around them and it was better to delay receiving a blessing until it actually meant something wonderful so it wouldn't be refused or cheapen in the individual's eyes, but I can't say for sure that view is correct because I don't have the level of awareness of people's lives to be able to judge, I would be guessing.

Life itself is a blessing, so I don't think it inappropriate to say everything is a blessing.  It depends, imo, on whether you look at life as a process or see it in pieces.

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On 10/11/2018 at 3:26 PM, SouthernMo said:

This is a perspective we could take further. Is all pain a blessing, then?  If we grow from pain and trials, they should all be blessings because they help us become more godlike. 

In that same token, are there any cursings?  Can’t all difficult situations become blessings?  Our whole earthly experience could be categorized as a painful separation from our Heavenly Father, but it prepares us for a more triumphant return to him (quite a blessing!).

I don't believe that we necessarily grow from all pain or trials, or rather, I don't believe that God expects us to grow from all pain or all trials.

And yes, I do believe there are such things as cursings.  One way to look at it is that blessings lead towards spiritual life and cursings lead us towards spiritual death.  Blessings are a sign of divine favor and cursings are a sign of divine disfavor.

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On 10/11/2018 at 5:18 AM, SouthernMo said:

Both the scriptures and the more modern words of prophets have at times promised blessings if commandments are followed.

“Blessings” seems to be a nebulous catch-all word to indicate something better than cursings.  But it’s not clear to me what blessings really are.

What are blessings (not referring to the priesthood ordinances)?

I ask because I think it’s important to objectively determine the fruits of those prophetic promises.  If I’m told to keep commandment XYZ, and am promised blessings will come, how can I identify those blessings when they come, rather than see them as natural consequences, or just the randomness of the universe?

Happy to expound more, but let’s keep the opening question/topic as brief as I can.

Hello SouthernMo...

If you think Nehor seems Pollyana, let me share my experience with "blessings."  ☺️

I refer you to Malachi 3:6 - 10... regarding payment of tithes and offerings... "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

During the years when I've been active (as a girl from age 12 - 19 years, then beginning again at age 55 after being inactive for 34 years) I've faithfully lived the Law of Tithing... I took the Lord's challenge to "prove me now herewith"...  I'm 78 now, widowed, no children, living alone (except for a pushy cat named Bob)... and my blessings are numerous and varied.  Blessings ranging from financial (I've struggled on occasion but something always happened for my benefit)... to health... to spiritual... and so far, mental...  While I struggle with some health issues due to aging, they are controlled via meds, (including a heart problem that suddenly disappeared just before surgery, after having numerous tests, baffling my doc)... I wake up feeling well and happy.  I am self sustaining (since my dear hubby's death in 1998), owning my own home outright (a cottage-by-the-sea on the Oregon coast) as well as everything in it... my van I bought new and paid cash for in 2008... and on and on... I have been retired for 28 years and have never had to go back to work... I have been blessed as if the "windows of heaven" have indeed been opened to me... I love my life...

GG

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2 hours ago, Garden Girl said:

Hello SouthernMo...

If you think Nehor seems Pollyana, let me share my experience with "blessings."  ☺️

I refer you to Malachi 3:6 - 10... regarding payment of tithes and offerings... "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

During the years when I've been active (as a girl from age 12 - 19 years, then beginning again at age 55 after being inactive for 34 years) I've faithfully lived the Law of Tithing... I took the Lord's challenge to "prove me now herewith"...  I'm 78 now, widowed, no children, living alone (except for a pushy cat named Bob)... and my blessings are numerous and varied.  Blessings ranging from financial (I've struggled on occasion but something always happened for my benefit)... to health... to spiritual... and so far, mental...  While I struggle with some health issues due to aging, they are controlled via meds, (including a heart problem that suddenly disappeared just before surgery, after having numerous tests, baffling my doc)... I wake up feeling well and happy.  I am self sustaining (since my dear hubby's death in 1998), owning my own home outright (a cottage-by-the-sea on the Oregon coast) as well as everything in it... my van I bought new and paid cash for in 2008... and on and on... I have been retired for 28 years and have never had to go back to work... I have been blessed as if the "windows of heaven" have indeed been opened to me... I love my life...

GG

That’s wonderful. I am glad you are happy.

Two questions arise for me:

1: why is having money a blessing?  It’s clear you and others prefer it; but is it better to have more money in God’s eyes?  Does he see it as a blessing?

2: how do you know your fortune came as a result of paying tithing?  I know many people who live lives just as comfortably if not more so who have never paid tithing.

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On 10/11/2018 at 5:37 PM, SouthernMo said:

This is helpful. So everything in life can be called a blessing?

Doesnt that diminish the promise of receiving blessings for righteousness/obedience?  I mean - if I already see everything in my life as a blessing, and I can’t measure blessings (to see if I get more blessings after keeping a commandment), why would I be obedient?

Great thread!

Everything is a blessing - consider the original 12 apostles - 11 of them died horrible horrible deaths, they were "blessed" for their obedience with horrible painful deaths... quite a few prophets were stoned to death etc.  so living a righteous life = horrible painful death if you read the scriptures...

You will not be tried more than you are able to bear = those who have easy lives with shallow trials? they are not "blessed", they are weak, not strong enough to handle anything so they get easy lives - haha.  Some might claim "their spirit was already so perfect, no refining fires were needed..."  - Jesus was perfect, and he went through hell so.... ??

One of the things that bothers me about most church leaders, they do not seem to have been through the worst of the trials out there - have not been raped, have not survived genocide, have not lived with horrible handicaps and diseases, ... and it seems like they do not have experience to guide those who have been through the worst of it all....

 

Why be obedient?  I suppose it is a selfless kind of a thing - to refine your character, to prove how strong you are, etc.

 

Edited by changed

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7 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

That’s wonderful. I am glad you are happy.

Two questions arise for me:

1: why is having money a blessing?  It’s clear you and others prefer it; but is it better to have more money in God’s eyes?  Does he see it as a blessing?

2: how do you know your fortune came as a result of paying tithing?  I know many people who live lives just as comfortably if not more so who have never paid tithing.

Hello SouthernMo...

My "fortune?"  Did you not notice in my post that I cited not just the financial blessings but also health, spiritual, and mental blessings... i.e., numerous and varied... and you are right, many more people than I have much more in the way of wealth than I... in fact, I wish I had more, but I am blessed with a comfortable life in numerous ways that has allowed me peace of mind in my daily life.  

In your OP you stated that the scriptures and modern prophets have at times promised "blessings" if commandments are followed.  So I chose to cite a scripture that very specifically promised that if followed, i.e., the commandment by the Lord to pay tithes and offerings, the windows of heaven would be opened and pour out so many blessings that there wouldn't be enough room to receive them.  And how I accepted the Lord's challenge to be obedient, and faithfully and specifically tithed... and how my life has been comfortable in numerous and varied ways, not just related to money.  I choose to exercise my faith in the Lord and His promise and believe that these blessings are grounded in my obedience.  

GG

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"he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

I think that's Jesus recognizing that there are no divine blessings for being a good person, at least not immediately. I think he believed that rewards for right action were reserved for the coming Kingdom of God.

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On 10/11/2018 at 7:18 AM, SouthernMo said:

Both the scriptures and the more modern words of prophets have at times promised blessings if commandments are followed.

“Blessings” seems to be a nebulous catch-all word to indicate something better than cursings.  But it’s not clear to me what blessings really are.

What are blessings (not referring to the priesthood ordinances)?

I ask because I think it’s important to objectively determine the fruits of those prophetic promises.  If I’m told to keep commandment XYZ, and am promised blessings will come, how can I identify those blessings when they come, rather than see them as natural consequences, or just the randomness of the universe?

Happy to expound more, but let’s keep the opening question/topic as brief as I can.

Determine the objective mechanism of what science now calls the placebo effect?

Best wishes.

They work that's all we have to be concerned with., and are absolutely real.

 

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On 10/14/2018 at 6:52 PM, bluebell said:

I don't believe that we necessarily grow from all pain or trials, or rather, I don't believe that God expects us to grow from all pain or all trials.

And yes, I do believe there are such things as cursings.  One way to look at it is that blessings lead towards spiritual life and cursings lead us towards spiritual death.  Blessings are a sign of divine favor and cursings are a sign of divine disfavor.

When I am consistently doing pretty well following the Commandments life gets easier. I get more inspiration do the right things follow the inspiration and life just gets better.

When I am not life gets harder. It's as simple as that.

do you want Divine help or do you want to do it on your own? The latter choice is not a good one.

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9 hours ago, Garden Girl said:

Did you not notice in my post that I cited not just the financial blessings but also health, spiritual, and mental blessings... i.e., numerous and varied... and you are right, many more people than I have much more in the way of wealth than I... in fact, I wish I had more, but I am blessed with a comfortable life in numerous ways that has allowed me peace of mind in my daily life.  

I’m sorry if my word choice was poor, but my fortune, I meant the god results that came from that choice.  Like “I’ve had the good fortune of meeting you.” Fortune does not always only mean money.

 

9 hours ago, Garden Girl said:

So I chose to cite a scripture that very specifically promised that if followed, i.e., the commandment by the Lord to pay tithes and offerings, the windows of heaven would be opened and pour out so many blessings that there wouldn't be enough room to receive them.  And how I accepted the Lord's challenge to be obedient, and faithfully and specifically tithed... and how my life has been comfortable in numerous and varied ways, not just related to money.  I choose to exercise my faith in the Lord and His promise and believe that these blessings are grounded in my obedience.  

Your faith is laudable that you ascribe your “blessings” that have come as a result of paying tithing.

Would you describe your current lifestyle as being so blessed with fortune that you don’t have any more room for more blessings?  Do you have “no room to receive” any more blessings?  If so, congrats. If not, I wonder if your full blessings from paying tithing have not yet come.

The question still remains to the objective observer: is there a correlation between the payment of tithes and more of something?  My experience has shown that people who pay tithes struggle just as much as those who don’t. People who don’t pay tithes can lead very happy prosperous lives.

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7 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Determine the objective mechanism of what science now calls the placebo effect?

Best wishes.

They work that's all we have to be concerned with., and are absolutely real.

 

So it’s possible that the concept of blessings is a placebo?

In the illusion, it becomes real to the imaginer?

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40 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

I’m sorry if my word choice was poor, but my fortune, I meant the god results that came from that choice.  Like “I’ve had the good fortune of meeting you.” Fortune does not always only mean money.

 

Your faith is laudable that you ascribe your “blessings” that have come as a result of paying tithing.

Would you describe your current lifestyle as being so blessed with fortune that you don’t have any more room for more blessings?  Do you have “no room to receive” any more blessings?  If so, congrats. If not, I wonder if your full blessings from paying tithing have not yet come.

The question still remains to the objective observer: is there a correlation between the payment of tithes and more of something?  My experience has shown that people who pay tithes struggle just as much as those who don’t. People who don’t pay tithes can lead very happy prosperous lives.

Sorry, SoMo...

Are you being purposely dense?  Not only in regard to my words/meaning, but also to that of scripture... so, have a good day...

from the beach on a lovely fall afternoon... more blessings... GG

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1 hour ago, Garden Girl said:

Are you being purposely dense?

This seems like an insult.  Can you clarify what you mean?

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6 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

So it’s possible that the concept of blessings is a placebo?

In the illusion, it becomes real to the imaginer?

Gosh

No, the placebo effect actually illustrates that belief that one will get well actually cures people.

Science allows for the placebo effect as a measurable predictable phenomenon and cannot explain it.

Likewise blessings are a real phenomenon which science cannot account for.

Our answer is Mind Over Matter, or if you will the spirit Over Matter.

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