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RevTestament

Do we need meaning? Does the Church provide that meaning?

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First, let me say that I can see this thread going far off base. I do not want it to become a political debate between the "right" and "left." I am going to raise a couple issues, but they certainly aren't the only ones that can be discussed under this broad umbrella. 

One of the things I see happening is that far left is encouraging youngsters to deconstruct or tear down the hierarchies that Judeo-Christian society has constructed over the last 5 centuries or so, and which I believe have blessed the United States so greatly.

1. They claim these hierarchies are fundamentally unfair. Thus professors complain about the "patriarchal order," and other societal structures.

2, Their solution seems to be a rather marxist solution to tear down those structures, and even invert them so that those on the bottom are at the top. My proposition is this is essentially a proposition of anarchy, and will leave people feeling like they have no purpose or meaning. They will generally feel lost and without direction or purpose unless they adopt the group idea to just tear down everything. This is manifesting itself in higher drug use and suicide rate.

Ok, I think some people won't like these particular people in this video, but they are talking about this here, and discuss potential solutions:

3. Can the Church do a better job in giving a message that meaning is there? and can be found within the Church?

I see this discussion occurring on this board between what I will call the conservatives and the liberals. I do not mean the Republicans and the Democrats. I mean those who like following the hierarchy to the letter, and those whom I tend to include myself more with, who see meaning outside of this hierarchy. 

Can you believe "the Church is true" if you see meaning outside of the current hierarchy or what it has taught? This is where I think I have run into "trouble" with my fellow Church members. I love the restored gospel, but I don't see eye to eye with all Church teachings from Brigham Young to some more modern brethren. If I bring up anything which challenges that paradigm, I seem to catch a lot of flack. Does this Church really leave room to grow in other directions than what the brethren have taught? Maybe, so long as one grows very quietly. I do enjoy the discussion on this board, because I feel it is discussion I cannot have "in the Church." I feel some - maybe most - are very comfortable with that hierarchy, and become very defensive if anyone challenges it. This sometimes manifests itself in attacks against those persons. This is where I have a bone to pick with the Church. Some who have come to this board intonating as much have been chased away. Church members are more than happy to discuss other ideas, but where the current Church hierarchy or paradigm is challenged, people can get defensive, caustic, or downright mean. I believe the Church needs to do better here, rather than have the knee-jerk reaction or charge of "apostasy."

I do believe the Church has started down a better path of a more discussion-oriented teaching. I don't believe it will cause as much feeling that if "I don't believe in this rigid interpretation of the scriptures" that I have no place in the Church. Or a feeling that then I can't believe that the Church is true. If that happens then people feel cast off on their own and as teenagers at least, that is a very precarious place to be. Some maintain that they are happy with that, that they made it through "their crisis." I believe maybe there shouldn't have been "a crisis" in the first place. 

This post is meant to be an invitation to those who feel the need to defend the brethren and those who are open to a looser paradigm, and want to be in the Church, but have felt "disenfranchised." However, I do not want it to become a discussion about accepting gay marriage or lgbtq issues or the November policy which I view as resolved. There are already plenty of threads on those issues, which can also involve debate on sin... etc. This is not a discussion about sin. This is a discussion more about hierarchical authority, and how it should be exercised in the best interests of the Church. 

Well, hopefully that is enough to get the ball rolling. Please be civil to all posters. Thank you.

 

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3 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

This is a discussion more about hierarchical authority, and how it should be exercised in the best interests of the Church. 

Well, hopefully that is enough to get the ball rolling. Please be civil to all posters. Thank you.

I think the heart of the issue is in the fact that the Church is an organization with hierarchical authority that extends beyond the mortal Church leaders who are living with us on this planet.  Which means that IF or WHEN our mortal Church leaders do or say something that they are not authorized to do or say (in the overall hierarchical authority structure on Earth and in heaven), then they will be answering to their superiors in the hierarchical authority structure in the kingdom of God.

So, pretty much like any other organization or society where there are leaders as well as followers of those leaders, except that in the Church we have the same basic hierarchical authority that our Father in heaven has, too.  The same priesthood, in other words.  With power to act both on this planet as well as in heaven in the kingdom of God.

Once that is understood it is only a matter of whether or not someone wants to join this organization, and if the decision is to join it, what kind of member to be while in it.  Someone who sustains/helps/assists those who are the leaders in it, while knowing that ultimately those who are the leaders are the leaders who have been appointed in it, or someone who opposes those who are the leaders while seeking to overthrow those who are the leaders in it.  

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2 minutes ago, Ahab said:

I think the heart of the issue is in the fact that the Church is an organization with hierarchical authority that extends beyond the mortal Church leaders who are living with us on this planet.  Which means that IF or WHEN our mortal Church leaders do or say something that they are not authorized to do or say (in the overall hierarchical authority structure on Earth and in heaven), then they will be answering to their superiors in the hierarchical authority structure in the kingdom of God.

So, pretty much like any other organization or society where there are leaders as well as followers of those leaders, except that in the Church we have the same basic hierarchical authority that our Father in heaven has, too.  The same priesthood, in other words.  With power to act both on this planet as well as in heaven in the kingdom of God.

Once that is understood it is only a matter of whether or not someone wants to join this organization, and if the decision is to join it, what kind of member to be while in it.  Someone who sustains/helps/assists those who are the leaders in it, while knowing that ultimately those who are the leaders are the leaders who have been appointed in it, or someone who opposes those who are the leaders while seeking to overthrow those who are the leaders in it.  

I see the Church being patterned after the order of heaven. So, I do not really question the pattern. However, one point of the video is that those who best represent or teach certain values are those who will gain approval and move up in the hierarchy. What happens if a new teaching or value comes along? Can that hierarchy make room for it? So you are saying that this Church has the same power as God does. Is this earthly hierarchy omnipotent? Has it made errors? What should it do with those who disagree in some way? I disagree with certain things past leaders have said, but I still support leaders in their callings. I have never challenged a calling. So, where do I fit? Should I be excommunicated? Currently the teaching seems to be that as long as I don't try to lead others away into some new church that I am OK, but there seem to be others excommunicated who simply wrote a book the brethren didn't like. I don't buy the paradigm that when the president has spoken that the thinking is done. I enjoy thinking. I value my agency. I enjoy pursuing truth, and I am not terribly shy about where I see truth. When I speak truth, I am not trying to overthrow leaders. I am just speaking truth as I see it. Should that subject me to discipline? Should that bring ridicule upon me?

I think these types of questions are why the Church says it is losing its best and brightest. Bright people don't want to be ostracized for holding a different opinion about some canonical scripture or about Church history. So the question arises, is the Church going to continue on its path? Or is there room for change? Should the Church change?

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1. Many of the structures are unfair.

2. Tear down hierarchical structures to make things egalitarian in terms of opportunity and participation. Sounds like Zion. I admit their methods are unlikely to succeed and they are not seeking the virtues needed for a Zion community but the status quo is also not great. Those who are worried about this the most are those on the top who have the most to lose. It is inevitable anyways. When the scriptures talk about the inhabitants of Babylon lamenting the loss of their power, wealth, and influence they are not talking about the oppressed though many of the oppressed really just seek to become oppressors.

3. The best meaning is found in communion with God. Social, political, and economic structures are transitory and a poor substitute. As to wanting to defy the Apostles in church uhhhhhh.....no. I find that most growth is beyond what the Brethren have publicly taught and not down a different road. There is so much to explore and taste in the gospel and so much left open that disagreements with the Brethren seem kind of petty to me. Many of my beliefs would be considered heretical by most members but they are not in opposition to the apostles. I also do not talk about them much.

Alma knew this stuff:

9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

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12 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

I see the Church being patterned after the order of heaven. So, I do not really question the pattern. However, one point of the video is that those who best represent or teach certain values are those who will gain approval and move up in the hierarchy. What happens if a new teaching or value comes along? Can that hierarchy make room for it? So you are saying that this Church has the same power as God does. Is this earthly hierarchy omnipotent? Has it made errors? What should it do with those who disagree in some way? I disagree with certain things past leaders have said, but I still support leaders in their callings. I have never challenged a calling. So, where do I fit? Should I be excommunicated? Currently the teaching seems to be that as long as I don't try to lead others away into some new church that I am OK, but there seem to be others excommunicated who simply wrote a book the brethren didn't like. I don't buy the paradigm that when the president has spoken that the thinking is done. I enjoy thinking. I value my agency. I enjoy pursuing truth, and I am not terribly shy about where I see truth. When I speak truth, I am not trying to overthrow leaders. I am just speaking truth as I see it. Should that subject me to discipline? Should that bring ridicule upon me?

I think these types of questions are why the Church says it is losing its best and brightest. Bright people don't want to be ostracized for holding a different opinion about some canonical scripture or about Church history. So the question arises, is the Church going to continue on its path? Or is there room for change? Should the Church change?

I'm not able to judge you because I don't know enough about you but you seem to be a good member to me.  Questioning is fine, as they say. And not knowing what to think or who is right is okay too, for a moment, until you find out enough to know the truth on an issue.

The way I regard my Church leaders is as I would like to be regarded as a member, myself.  I am a member and I want to be a member because I have found out enough about some of the issues the Church supports and sustains as its/our basic doctrine.  The Book of Mormon is inspired scripture just as the Holy Bible is inspired scripture, too.  And scripture is what (holy) men have written as they have been inspired to write through the power of the Holy Ghost.  And the key words there for me are "inspired" to write through "the power of the Holy Ghost".

I have felt that power as I have read and tried to understand their writings, and I think I do a fairly good job of recognizing scripture wherever I find it.  I don't profess to be 100% effective, but I do seek it and try to find it wherever I can, even in the words of our Church leaders whenever they say something. Anything.  And sometimes I can tell they are just trying to be funny, or at least it seems that way to me at the time.  But maybe I misunderstand or misinterpret them sometimes, too.  Who really knows?  All I can do is the best I can do and when I find out how to be better then I will put in more of an effort to try to be as good as I can be, which is and always will be as my Lord and Savior wants me to be.

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8 hours ago, Ahab said:

I'm not able to judge you because I don't know enough about you but you seem to be a good member to me.  Questioning is fine, as they say. And not knowing what to think or who is right is okay too, for a moment, until you find out enough to know the truth on an issue.

The way I regard my Church leaders is as I would like to be regarded as a member, myself.  I am a member and I want to be a member because I have found out enough about some of the issues the Church supports and sustains as its/our basic doctrine.  The Book of Mormon is inspired scripture just as the Holy Bible is inspired scripture, too.  And scripture is what (holy) men have written as they have been inspired to write through the power of the Holy Ghost.  And the key words there for me are "inspired" to write through "the power of the Holy Ghost".

I have felt that power as I have read and tried to understand their writings, and I think I do a fairly good job of recognizing scripture wherever I find it.  I don't profess to be 100% effective, but I do seek it and try to find it wherever I can, even in the words of our Church leaders whenever they say something. Anything.  And sometimes I can tell they are just trying to be funny, or at least it seems that way to me at the time.  But maybe I misunderstand or misinterpret them sometimes, too.  Who really knows?  All I can do is the best I can do and when I find out how to be better then I will put in more of an effort to try to be as good as I can be, which is and always will be as my Lord and Savior wants me to be.

Fair enough. Thank you Ahab, but I don't know if you really understand the issues I am posing. I am not really asking you to judge me as to whether or not I should be excommunicated. I was just using myself as an example for an issue I think the Church has. I think the Church can be more judgmental of its members who speak up than other persons it says were given truth - like Muhammed. Muhammed did give a certain order to things, but I do not consider him to be a teacher of truth - far from it. So Muhammed will get spoken of well, and me? Or how about the other guy who speaks up? Or writes a book disagreeing with certain doctrine? Should we excommunicate that person? Is it a case of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few?

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31 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Fair enough. Thank you Ahab, but I don't know if you really understand the issues I am posing. I am not really asking you to judge me as to whether or not I should be excommunicated. I was just using myself as an example for an issue I think the Church has. I think the Church can be more judgmental of its members who speak up than other persons it says were given truth - like Muhammed. Muhammed did give a certain order to things, but I do not consider him to be a teacher of truth - far from it. So Muhammed will get spoken of well, and me? Or how about the other guy who speaks up? Or writes a book disagreeing with certain doctrine? Should we excommunicate that person? Is it a case of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few?

Muhammad was not a member of the Kingdom of God. More is required of those who covenant allegiance.

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8 hours ago, The Nehor said:

1. Many of the structures are unfair.

Life is not about fairness or complaining about it. These structures are the best man has ever encountered, and have resulted in the western society being the most scientifically advanced and economically advanced the world has ever seen. Should I complain about unfairness when I can go to the toilet in the comfort of my home? Or cook food in a matter of minutes which was stored in the convenience of my refrigerator so that I don't have to go out and hunt or pick it every day? Or I don't have to wash my clothes in some dirty bucket of water? I have what I need to be quite comfortable...more comfortable than Yeshua was or even the Israelite kings. Should I squawk about the body God gave me? Maybe God gives some more to overcome because they received more that they asked for? (see your scripture from Alma below)

Yet people are all up in arms because conservatives won't call certain other groups Zhe or Zhem. It's absolute ludicrousy. Life will never be about equal outcome. That is not the heavenly model God wants us to learn.  

8 hours ago, The Nehor said:

2. Tear down hierarchical structures to make things egalitarian in terms of opportunity and participation. Sounds like Zion. I admit their methods are unlikely to succeed and they are not seeking the virtues needed for a Zion community but the status quo is also not great. Those who are worried about this the most are those on the top who have the most to lose. It is inevitable anyways. When the scriptures talk about the inhabitants of Babylon lamenting the loss of their power, wealth, and influence they are not talking about the oppressed though many of the oppressed really just seek to become oppressors.

The Church was given the opportunity to live a ZIon economy, and wasn't able to do it. My brother suffered through several years of poverty, until he invented a medical device with my cousin. In a world of equal outcome - no hierarchical structures - he would not have gone through that poverty, and then risked anything to invent a new helpful medical device (copied by many other companies). People just won't put themselves through all that out of the goodness of their heart with no promise of reward. Reward based systems with hierarchical structures are here because they work - better than anything else in history. Tearing them down out of some vague notion of being fairer is a recipe for complete failure and utter disaster, which has been shown by several countries which attempted it. We far surpassed the USSR model and it is no longer the USSR. China gave up on it. My brother is proof that relatively equal opportunity already exists in this country. That is why it has economically surpassed all others in the history of the world. Perhaps you are confusing opportunity with outcome...

8 hours ago, The Nehor said:

3. The best meaning is found in communion with God. Social, political, and economic structures are transitory and a poor substitute. As to wanting to defy the Apostles in church uhhhhhh.....no. I find that most growth is beyond what the Brethren have publicly taught and not down a different road. There is so much to explore and taste in the gospel and so much left open that disagreements with the Brethren seem kind of petty to me. Many of my beliefs would be considered heretical by most members but they are not in opposition to the apostles. I also do not talk about them much.

Alma knew this stuff:

9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

Just to be clear. I do not wish to defy the apostles. That is not the subject of this thread. It really is more about how the Church reacts to those who see things a little differently than Church leaders have taught. As Alma pointed out there doesn't seem to be a limit on who the Lord will reveal the mysteries of God to... other than the desire of their heart. The keys to the mysteries of God do not lie with the Church presidency... they lie within the Melchizedek priesthood. I agree with Alma completely. Thank you for your consideration.

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19 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Life is not about fairness or complaining about it. These structures are the best man has ever encountered, and have resulted in the western society being the most scientifically advanced and economically advanced the world has ever seen. Should I complain about unfairness when I can go to the toilet in the comfort of my home? Or cook food in a matter of minutes which was stored in the convenience of my refrigerator so that I don't have to go out and hunt or pick it every day? Or I don't have to wash my clothes in some dirty bucket of water? I have what I need to be quite comfortable...more comfortable than Yeshua was or even the Israelite kings. Should I squawk about the body God gave me? Maybe God gives some more to overcome because they received more that they asked for? (see your scripture from Alma below)

Yet people are all up in arms because conservatives won't call certain other groups Zhe or Zhem. It's absolute ludicrousy. Life will never be about equal outcome. That is not the heavenly model God wants us to learn.  

They are not the best we have ever encountered. Have you heard the apostles talking about the growing tide of evil? Would you rather live now or in the hundreds of years of peace the Nephites found or the city of Enoch. We have machines that bring comfort but the soul starves.

I am not sure why you are talking about fringe pronoun weirdos unless you are angling for a political derail. Arguing that some aspect of society (those idiots) is wrong is not proof that their opponents are virtuous.

19 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

The Church was given the opportunity to live a ZIon economy, and wasn't able to do it. My brother suffered through several years of poverty, until he invented a medical device with my cousin. In a world of equal outcome - no hierarchical structures - he would not have gone through that poverty, and then risked anything to invent a new helpful medical device (copied by many other companies). People just won't put themselves through all that out of the goodness of their heart with no promise of reward. Reward based systems with hierarchical structures are here because they work - better than anything else in history. Tearing them down out of some vague notion of being fairer is a recipe for complete failure and utter disaster, which has been shown by several countries which attempted it. We far surpassed the USSR model and it is no longer the USSR. China gave up on it. My brother is proof that relatively equal opportunity already exists in this country. That is why it has economically surpassed all others in the history of the world. Perhaps you are confusing opportunity with outcome...

An anecdote is not proof of a general principle. Strange, above you claim fairness is a deception yet you include an anecdote designed to show the system is fair. Meanwhile you cannot imagine any other option other then autocratic communism. It is like the Lord of the vineyard who went and tasted the fruit. It was of many kinds but they were all bad.

I have worked too long among abused and neglected children to imagine that equal opportunity is a real thing. Many are given almost o chance. Furthermore the Lord Himself refuted the idea that even service to Him would be rewarded equally in this life:

25 And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself.
26 For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?
27 Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.

Note all the sons served obediently but some got robes and some got rags and the Lord claims that He is like that father. Then at the end the commandment to be one or be rejected. Zion is the only acceptable system. It is not here and I mourn for that and for the reality that I probably would not fit in if it was here. I am not going to pretend that a Telestial economic system is good. I also worry if I come to like such a system I will be given the desires of my heart, worlds without end.

Reward based? I work 35 hours a week and have a 2,000 square foot home that I anticipating paying off before I am 50. I did not work hard in school. I was born into a wealthy family and am about to get a five figure check from my parents just because they want to help out. Compare that to a friend of mine. Single mom, works two jobs, probably 55 hours a week, and does a better job at her church calling than I do. She lives in a small two bedroom apartment with her three kids. She does so much more then me but got so much less. Your system does not work.

28 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Just to be clear. I do not wish to defy the apostles. That is not the subject of this thread. It really is more about how the Church reacts to those who see things a little differently than Church leaders have taught. As Alma pointed out there doesn't seem to be a limit on who the Lord will reveal the mysteries of God to... other than the desire of their heart. The keys to the mysteries of God do not lie with the Church presidency... they lie within the Melchizedek priesthood. I agree with Alma completely. Thank you for your consideration.

You may have missed the part in that scripture where they are under command not to share generally except what has been revealed generally. There are rare exceptions that I have shared things but wanting to discuss them in public church meetings or write books about them is forbidden. It can be a burden. Joseph Smith made the comment that he wished he could bare his soul to someone but feared he would never get the chance in this lifetime. Living even a Terrestrial life is an isolating prospect. A Celestial one is to often be alone.

The keys to reveal the mysteries to the church or world or both belong to the apostles. I have seen members who have tried to push the church forward as a spiritual leader revealing new doctrine. They all fall into apostasy and lose what light they had.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

The keys to reveal the mysteries to the church or world or both belong to the apostles. I have seen members who have tried to push the church forward as a spiritual leader revealing new doctrine. They all fall into apostasy and lose what light they had.

... says he who wants to dismantle all other hierarchical structures. There is no scripture in the Canonical works to support your contention. The keys lie generally in the members of the priesthood. Any priesthood member can exercise them. God Himself will prove your contention wrong.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:19

19 And this greater apriesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the bkey of the cmysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the dknowledge of God.

Doctrine and Covenants 107:18-19

18 The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the akeys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—

 

and you are wrong about the Nephites. They did have a hierarchical order even if they had no king even when peace reined. and you know nothing of the order of the city of Enoch - you are just suppositioning.

Edited by RevTestament

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58 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

... says he who wants to dismantle all other hierarchical structures. There is no scripture in the Canonical works to support your contention. The keys lie generally in the members of the priesthood. Any priesthood member can exercise them. God Himself will prove your contention wrong.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:19

19 And this greater apriesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the bkey of the cmysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the dknowledge of God.

Doctrine and Covenants 107:18-19

18 The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the akeys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—

 

and you are wrong about the Nephites. They did have a hierarchical order even if they had no king even when peace reined. and you know nothing of the order of the city of Enoch - you are just suppositioning.

I do not want them dismantled. I want them destroyed as obsolete when the Kingdom of God comes. The scripture I quoted suggests God decides when Doctrine will be revealed. The teachings of the apostles since make it clear that only the President of the High Priesthood and those operating under his direction, can reveal the mysteries generally.

There are multiple kinds of keys. Some keys are general to priesthood holders. Some are the keys of Presidency and are the power to direct the powers of those who they preside over. As Joseph Smith taught all member of the church through the higher priesthood can be given knowledge as quickly as they are able to bear it. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both also taught that these things are to be kept sacred, almost always just for yourself. Preaching them generally means you cannot be trusted and will get no more. Even Joseph Smith was told in the revelations to not share things. He was told he could share it with the righteous but because he could not always tell who was righteous he was to hold them close. Joseph also said:

“The reason we do not have the secrets of the Lord revealed unto us, is because we do not keep them, but reveal them; we do not keep our own secrets, but reveal our difficulties to the world, even to our enemies, then how would we keep the secrets of the Lord? ‘I can keep a secret till Doomsday’”

I did not say that the previous Zions of this world did not have any hierarchy. I said they were happier and better then the current state of the world. Is that controversial? One was a time of unity and happiness and Enoch’s city exceeded even that to the point that Jehovah came and dwelt in the city with the people. I would trade air conditioning to live in such a city.

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While I believe in supporting leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints qua leaders, that's not whence I derive the meaning I derive in my life vis-a-vis the Church of Jesus Christ: While I think most organizations which can provide some sense of meaning by asking their members to contribute time, talents, money, and resources to a wider cause can, by so asking, providing a sense of belonging and meaning, the meaning I derive in my life vis-a-vis the Church of Jesus Christ is fundamentally different, and, from where I sit, deeper and richer, because that meaning stems from what I am asked legitimately to sacrifice for it:

 

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Joseph Smith taught that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” In the eternal perspective, the blessings obtained by sacrifice are greater than anything that is given up.

Guide to the Scriptures, s.v. "Sacrifice," accessed on line at  https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/gs/sacrifice?lang=eng on August 21, 2019. 

 


 

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Matthew 16 [KJV]:

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

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Mark 10 [KJV]:

28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,

30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

 

I get that the "eternal life" bit is too ethereal, too ephemeral, for many: "Why should I sacrifice for an uncertain reward in a far-off (to say the least!) future?" they ask.  Frankly, however, that's one of the few things that keeps me hanging on in the here-and-now amidst life's innumerable bewildering vicissitudes.

Who doesn't love [at least one] member or [at least some] members of his family?  And yet:

 

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Matthew 10 [KJV]:

37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

 

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Matthew 19 [KJV]:

29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

 

Of course, while, as I have already mentioned, "eternal life" is a concept which many cannot grasp, the corollary to that is that these things don't play well in a society that, not only is "Me, Too," but "Me, First, Last, and Always."

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9 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I do not want them dismantled. I want them destroyed as obsolete when the Kingdom of God comes. The scripture I quoted suggests God decides when Doctrine will be revealed. The teachings of the apostles since make it clear that only the President of the High Priesthood and those operating under his direction, can reveal the mysteries generally.

Those inconvenient scriptures....when will man learn to live by them?

9 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I did not say that the previous Zions of this world did not have any hierarchy. I said they were happier and better then the current state of the world. Is that controversial? One was a time of unity and happiness and Enoch’s city exceeded even that to the point that Jehovah came and dwelt in the city with the people. I would trade air conditioning to live in such a city.

Have no worry, the hierarchies will be dismantled. But it won't be by us. God will replace them with His hierarchy in the millennial reign of Christ. The world will be ruled by the iron rod. It is still hierarchy, and I am happy to take my place in it, and learn.

I imagine New Jerusalem will be such a city, but is for when the world begins to learn these principles.

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6 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

While I believe in supporting leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints qua leaders, that's not whence I derive the meaning I derive in my life vis-a-vis the Church of Jesus Christ: While I think most organizations which can provide some sense of meaning by asking their members to contribute time, talents, money, and resources to a wider cause can, by so asking, providing a sense of belonging and meaning, the meaning I derive in my life vis-a-vis the Church of Jesus Christ is fundamentally different, and, from where I sit, deeper and richer, because that meaning stems from what I am asked legitimately to sacrifice for it:

I get that the "eternal life" bit is too ethereal, too ephemeral, for many: "Why should I sacrifice for an uncertain reward in a far-off (to say the least!) future?" they ask.  Frankly, however, that's one of the few things that keeps me hanging on in the here-and-now amidst life's innumerable bewildering vicissitudes.

Who doesn't love [at least one] member or [at least some] members of his family?  And yet:

And:

Of course, while, as I have already mentioned, "eternal life" is a concept which many cannot grasp, the corollary to that is that these things don't play well in a society that, not only is "Me, Too," but "Me, First, Last, and Always."

Thank you. Some wise words. (Scriptures usually have them). 

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22 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Those inconvenient scriptures....when will man learn to live by them?

Have no worry, the hierarchies will be dismantled. But it won't be by us. God will replace them with His hierarchy in the millennial reign of Christ. The world will be ruled by the iron rod. It is still hierarchy, and I am happy to take my place in it, and learn.

I imagine New Jerusalem will be such a city, but is for when the world begins to learn these principles.

Yes, but I would posit that the iron rod Christ will rule with is the word of God, not a suggestion of harshness.

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8 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Yes, but I would posit that the iron rod Christ will rule with is the word of God, not a suggestion of harshness.

God is the ultimate embodiment of talking softly and carrying a big stick vis-a-vis the plagues of Egypt the world will see.

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10 hours ago, The Nehor said:

The scripture I quoted suggests God decides when Doctrine will be revealed. The teachings of the apostles since make it clear that only the President of the High Priesthood and those operating under his direction, can reveal the mysteries generally.

There has been a time or two when I thought I had some new mystery revealed to me but I soon found out that other people, those with the keys, had already had those mysteries revealed to them, too, and had openly shared them with other people.

It still feels pretty good though to have God reveal things to me, through the Spirit, before finding out that the Lord has already revealed those same things to some other people, too.  

The only things we're not supposed to reveal to other people are the things the Lord tells us that we should not reveal to other people, and there are only a few things I know that fall into that category.

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34 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

God is the ultimate embodiment of talking softly and carrying a big stick vis-a-vis the plagues of Egypt the world will see.

God does not use punishment as a coercive force to compel compliance. Sometimes suffering comes to wake people up and stir them up to repentance. When he gives up he often kills them. We can see that as retributive but I doubt God sees the transition to the Spirit World as punishment. It is more that your turn is over.

As to the plagues of Egypt I have my doubts about those. The story of Exodus appears to be a mashing of multiple plague stories. There are arguably three. One where only the firstborn of Pharaoh dies, one where all the firstborn of Egypt (man and animal) die, and one where the whole multiple plagues play out. I am guessing the first or second is the original story. It is quicker and more decisive.God’s destruction in other cases of punishment is quicker. Sodom and Gomorrah, the destruction amongst the Nephites, the promised two in the field of the Second Coming. The plague litany seems to me like dramatic embellishment. The problem is if all the plagues were as complete as described how did Egypt survive at all? All the crops and animals destroyed? Why did they not starve?

More tellingly the New Testament and the Book of Mormon never mention the plagues except for one reference to a plague on the Firstborn in the New Testament. It also mentions the Egyptian pursuit and the crossing of the Sea. The rest just talk about delivering the people from Egypt. Even the Old Testament says little after it happens and there are lots of plagues in the camp of Israel while they wander in the wilderness but they are never (that I remember) compared to the Egyptian plagues other then references to Passover. The book of Joshua talks about the plagues once and one Psalm recounts them but that is pretty much it. Seems to me that it is likely the whole extended torture of Egypt thing was a late addition. I am not wedded to the idea and if I am wrong my faith will not be shaken.

It does make for one hell of a story though and I enjoy it. I just doubt it happened that way (I also doubt some of the mass killings in Israel’s camp and some of the stories of murder attached to the Torah) and I will not use it to create my conception of God. God does kill but not to force obedience or compliance and He will not rule that way when He comes.

As to how cool the story can be:

 

I am probably sensitive about this. There is a tacit and unspoken belief amongst too many Christians that God should be obeyed because He is powerful. You can see in their descriptions that the primary reason they follow God instead of Satan is that God is going to one day beat Satan into a pulp. A kind of worship of the strongest bully on the street. A kind of “We will take your bullying now but one day my Dad will come home and beat you up and he will take me to Disneyland” vibe in their preaching. It is not an entirely unrighteous desire to be vindicated. The promise is that those who wait on the Lord will not be ashamed but it often turns to thoughts of vengeance.

There was a discourse given by Brigham Young I cannot find where he talked about some coverts who were drawn into the church not out of a love for righteousness or holiness but because they found power in the gospel and craved it. He said they do not last because the power does not come to those who lust after it for power’s sake. I get that drive. I love knowledge and power, often more then I love virtue. The only thing keeping me from hermetic sorcery and/or Satanism is I do not believe the former work and my experiences with the latter reveal a lot less power and knowledge then I expected when I foolishly dabbled in it.

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Posted (edited)

I think there is good cause to abandon spiritual authority. An argument could be made that divine authority is only ever an artificial construct that effectively limits God. One who authoritatively claims who and what God it is essentially denying what they say God isn't, without really knowing. In a sense, it might be a form of blasphemy.

As harsh as that sounds, I know we are all functioning as people born midstream. None of us created the world we were born into, and each one of us can only do what we can do, psychologically and otherwise.  So, religious authority is still a very powerful influence for people.

Personally, I find deep meaning in kindness and, paradoxically, perhaps, in uncertainty. Not knowing what happens when I die, not knowing some overarching reason for existence puts a sharp focus on the here and now. 

Further, however, human beings are social creatures. We are generally built to thrive on connection with others. Ritual and belief, and feeling validations in our beliefs through sharing belief with others, is comforting and it has likely aided social group cohesion since prehistory. I think that a major challenge for secular societies is finding emotional and psychological fulfillment in cohesive groups (that don't wage war and kill each other) when religions have failed them.

 

Edited by Meadowchik

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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

I think there is good cause to abandon spiritual authority. An argument could be made that divine authority is only ever an artificial construct that effectively limits God. One who authoritatively claims who and what God it is essentially denying what they say God isn't, without really knowing. In a sense, it might be a form of blasphemy.

Not a good argument, or one that can be easily found to be false.  Divine authority is only ever the authority that God gives others to do something God authorizes others to do.

God has not said that he always gives the same level of authority God has to do everything God does or can do, so whatever level of authority God gives to someone, that is all God has given someone to do.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Ahab said:

God has not said that he always gives the same level of authority God has to do everything God does or can do, so whatever level of authority God gives to someone, that is all God has given someone to do.

honor_societies.png

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26 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

honor_societies.png

What is obvious to some people isn't obvious to some other people.  Seeing that fact in action surprised me in the past, on several occasions, but now I have gotten used to it.  

And no it also no longer is a surprise to me that not everybody knows what I know even when I think the facts are obvious and available for common consumption.

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15 hours ago, Ahab said:

Not a good argument, or one that can be easily found to be false.  Divine authority is only ever the authority that God gives others to do something God authorizes others to do.

God has not said that he always gives the same level of authority God has to do everything God does or can do, so whatever level of authority God gives to someone, that is all God has given someone to do.

 

 

I'm not sure what you're saying. Can we use an example?

The church says that God rejects gay marriage.  Therefore, the church is rejecting the God (if any) who accepts gay marriage. Does God reject gay marriage? Can the church know? No, the church cannot know this in any verifiable way, but it still insists upon it as divine law. 

By the same token,  a Baptist that claims the authority to say that Mormons will go to Hell are denying the God who would receive Mormons into His presence. Same for any other person who claims to speak for God.

"God told me that you should all go this way," he proclaims and points, implying that God does not accept another path, effectively denying the God who does.

The only way a claimant to avoind denying God is to be right, every single time. Otherwise they will, at some point be leading any adherents down wrong paths, prioritizing his own view over their own personal communication with God.

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22 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

I think there is good cause to abandon spiritual authority. An argument could be made that divine authority is only ever an artificial construct that effectively limits God. One who authoritatively claims who and what God it is essentially denying what they say God isn't, without really knowing. In a sense, it might be a form of blasphemy.

As harsh as that sounds, I know we are all functioning as people born midstream. None of us created the world we were born into, and each one of us can only do what we can do, psychologically and otherwise.  So, religious authority is still a very powerful influence for people.

I understand your issues with spiritual authority. Man certainly has faults exercising it. But to abandon it is a dangerous proposition. That is one of the points of this thread. Without spiritual authority man goes rudderless. Group think seems to take over, and we end up with mass genocide - the fascist movement of the Nazis, and on the opposing side the communist movements in Russia, China, etc. When people do not value each other as individuals, and do not follow the command of God to love each other, things go far astray. "Right" becomes whatever the group wants. That has never worked to date. We live in a system that has worked very well. Yet people don't realize it is because of the Judeo-Christian value system that we have been so blessed. 

Isaiah 61:7

7  For your shame ye shall have adouble; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess bthe double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.

22 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Personally, I find deep meaning in kindness and, paradoxically, perhaps, in uncertainty. Not knowing what happens when I die, not knowing some overarching reason for existence puts a sharp focus on the here and now. 

Further, however, human beings are social creatures. We are generally built to thrive on connection with others. Ritual and belief, and feeling validations in our beliefs through sharing belief with others, is comforting and it has likely aided social group cohesion since prehistory. I think that a major challenge for secular societies is finding emotional and psychological fulfillment in cohesive groups (that don't wage war and kill each other) when religions have failed them.

Christ has never failed man. Man has failed Christ. Men go astray. It is not his fault. The second He goes silent, it seems, men start going astray. They kowtow to the pressures of society, to personal or selfish things, etc.

Thanks for your input.

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