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Meadowchik

A Secular Mormon Sacrament

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6 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

 

I think there is a great deal that common values can do to help people of differing beliefs enrich each others' lives, even with probably-atheists!

 

Thanks.  That was interesting.  And I agree, most definitely, with this last line.  

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12 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Thanks.  That was interesting.  And I agree, most definitely, with this last line.  

You're welcome. The experience was most unexpected! 

 

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52 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

These thoughts swirled around my brain and I could settle on that kind of love. It felt responsible and merciful. We’d been invited to make notes with the scripture reading, and as the moment of the sacrament approached, we were reminded that we’d be taking upon the name of Jesus Christ. I asked myself what that would mean for me. I wanted the bread and water to be meaningful and deliberate. So as a probably-atheist, I defined it for myself in my notes by four intentions: 1. When in a position of power, I will share it, 2. When I have insights that can inform those in power, I will share them, 3. Love others as myself, and 4. Love Goodness and Truth. That last one expresses my attempt to describe the space represented by God in my life. Goodness and Truth, together, is how I first understand God as a small child, and it is still real to me, and I have not let go of it.

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. 💜

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

..................A Secular Mormon Sacrament........

Just curious:  What is secular about the CC sacrament?  Did I miss the point?

Aside from that, I admire your commitment to personal integrity.

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21 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Just curious:  What is secular about the CC sacrament?  Did I miss the point?

Aside from that, I admire your commitment to personal integrity.

The secular part was how I was welcomed and able to participate in it, as I am, and the resulting experience for me:

Quote

We’d been invited to make notes with the scripture reading, and as the moment of the sacrament approached, we were reminded that we’d be taking upon the name of Jesus Christ. I asked myself what that would mean for me. I wanted the bread and water to be meaningful and deliberate. So as a probably-atheist, I defined it for myself in my notes by four intentions: 1. When in a position of power, I will share it, 2. When I have insights that can inform those in power, I will share them, 3. Love others as myself, and 4. Love Goodness and Truth. That last one expresses my attempt to describe the space represented by God in my life. Goodness and Truth, together, is how I first understand God as a small child, and it is still real to me, and I have not let go of it.

It probably also especially means this part, too. I am still amazed. I have had some pretty scary challenges this week and I believe this experience helped me in critical ways.

And thank you.

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

It’s been more than two years since I’ve partaken of the emblems of bread and water at church. As someone who no longer believes in the LDS claims, I’ve still attended a few dozen meetings in support of family. Despite the palpable pull of ritual that I have known all my life during those sacrament meetings, I did not want to misrepresent myself to other meeting participants, so I did not partake.

Okay.

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

Several weeks ago, my husband and I checked out a nearby Christian church. I call myself a probably-atheist, so when communion was offered, I did not take it. At this meeting, the invitation to communion seemed open, as if I could partake even as a probably-atheist. Yet I did not feel drawn to do so, so I abstained.

So it was, that, two days ago, the Community of Christ, previously known as the RLDS Church, led an ecumenical service at the end of the weekend conference of Sunstone Europe. Sunstone Magazine explores themes of Mormon-related life, in and outside the margins of belief. Along with the conference's presentations on LDS history, and a British member's ideas about revitalizing the LDS church to its cosmological toots, a lecture on spiritual pilgrimage, and a lecture child safety measures at church, I heard a keynote address on the spiritual and moral values of the Community of Christ. I began to feel significant respect for their values and admiration for the efforts they seem to have made to re-center on Christ. Also important, I felt welcomed as I am, a probably-atheist.

"Cosmological toots?"  😁

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

As has been my habit from the beginning of my changing beliefs, I have never voiced my dissent in LDS meetings.

That is appreciated.  Thank you.

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

It did not feel appropriate, given the way the LDS Church intended the meetings to be. Yet, it was clear to me, listening to a Community of Christ apostle and other members, that thinking out loud was part of their religious process, even if it is uncomfortable or maybe not what we in LDS Mormonism would call “faith-promoting.” As the ecumenical service began, I felt like I could participate honestly and sincerely, instead of feeling compelled to abstain, honestly and sincerely.

Interesting.

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

There were hymns on radical acceptance, sung in a cappella, and there was a scripture reading, and we were asked to ponder the passage on loving others and reaching to lift others up. We were also asked to think of one person that was the most difficult to love, and then to love them. This is the part where I would have walked out, without the previous day and a half of thought-provoking experiences.

Why is that?  What part of that message is offensive to you?

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

Thus, I did not feel the inclination to revolt and leave. Rather than a vague concept of acceptance, the language of the service focused on welcoming others to the table. There was the concrete example of helping a wounded would-be enemy, through the recounting of the Good Samaritan story. Dressing wounds of a dying person, this is specific. Joining at a table with the goal in mind of drawing closer to Jesus, this is specific in objective and context in which to work with others, with the understanding that our own paths as victims of trauma are not to be dictated at this table.

These thoughts swirled around my brain and I could settle on that kind of love. It felt responsible and merciful. We’d been invited to make notes with the scripture reading, and as the moment of the sacrament approached, we were reminded that we’d be taking upon the name of Jesus Christ. I asked myself what that would mean for me. I wanted the bread and water to be meaningful and deliberate. So as a probably-atheist, I defined it for myself in my notes by four intentions: 1. When in a position of power, I will share it, 2. When I have insights that can inform those in power, I will share them, 3. Love others as myself, and 4. Love Goodness and Truth. That last one expresses my attempt to describe the space represented by God in my life. Goodness and Truth, together, is how I first understand God as a small child, and it is still real to me, and I have not let go of it.

With these scribbles noted and tucked away, the Sacrament prayers began. A male Community of Christ member blessed the bread, and then he and a female priesthood holder passed it. Their sacrament prayers are the same as the ones I grew up hearing. A thousand times at least, I have heard this blessing of the bread and this blessing on the water. Then, when the water was blessed, and for the first time in my life, I heard this blessing by a woman. I clenched my jaw and bit my lip to avert the sobs that were threatening to escape my throat, and I drank.

I came home from London with a sense of spiritual uplift and it continues within me. I think I now better appreciate the power of the principle of two or more believers gathered in Christ's name. It is mind-bending to me that I can even feel its benefits with the most I could manage, my secularised concept of Jesus Christ, but I am grateful for it.  

I am happy for you.  I hope you find further happiness and peace.

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

I honestly do not know if the LDS Church could someday be accessible like this for me again one day.

The Church is accessible to all.  However, I think there is only so much we can do to mold it to suit our individualized preferences and expectations.  We can and should seek to improve and strengthen it, but there are also elements of it that may be outside an individual's comfort zone.

John 6 is an excellent example of this:

Quote

42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
...
52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
...
60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heardthis, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
...
66 ¶ From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Jesus Christ said something that was not popular.  Many of those who heard it "murmured at him."  Many of those who heard it "strove among themselves."  Many of those who heard it "went back, and walked no more with him."  

Christ said and did things that were not well-received by the society around Him.  I'm quite okay with that.  I'm also quite okay with His servants doing the same thing.  Of course, they will mess up far more often that He did.  But if the Church really is what it claims to be, then I need to focus on that, and allow that fundamental truth to strengthen my resolve.  To be patient.  To be forgiving.  To be kind.  To repent.  To change.  To improve.

For what it's worth, I believe the Church is what it claims to be.  That does not diminish the many fine principles espoused in other faith traditions.  I respect them very much. 

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

Maybe the costs for the members at large would be too high, I do not know.

The costs of what?

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

But I think that this experience, aside from helping me personally, has helped me remember the real value people find in worship, wherever it may be.

I find our worship services provide ample opportunity for reflection, contemplation, and so on.  Again, John 6 comes to mind:

Quote

61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
...
66 ¶ From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

If Jesus is not, for you, the Son of God, but instead just a man with some thoughtful things to say, then I hope you can retain at least that and build on it.  And, in the process, perhaps forgive those who profess to follow him when they screw up.

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

I think there is a great deal that common values can do to help people of differing beliefs enrich each others' lives, even with probably-atheists!

I think so, too.

Thanks,

-Smac

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22 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Okay.

"Cosmological toots?"  😁

 

I know, I just caught that, LOL! I think my devout Mormon mom would love it, in part because we ate A LOT of beans growing up!

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

These thoughts swirled around my brain and I could settle on that kind of love. It felt responsible and merciful. We’d been invited to make notes with the scripture reading, and as the moment of the sacrament approached, we were reminded that we’d be taking upon the name of Jesus Christ. I asked myself what that would mean for me. I wanted the bread and water to be meaningful and deliberate. So as a probably-atheist, I defined it for myself in my notes by four intentions: 1. When in a position of power, I will share it, 2. When I have insights that can inform those in power, I will share them, 3. Love others as myself, and 4. Love Goodness and Truth. That last one expresses my attempt to describe the space represented by God in my life. Goodness and Truth, together, is how I first understand God as a small child, and it is still real to me, and I have not let go of it.

While I share these values you enumerate, I perhaps prioritize them a bit differently. The greatest law is to love God. The second it like unto it - to love your neighbor, which if you are doing, you are loving God. I think it is worth asking why are these the greatest? Why should we give these the most priority? I posit that it is because this is where our happiness comes from. This is closest to utopia we can get.  It envisions a world where our actions reflect the welfare of others. Whereas, in our capitalist society, we have a lot of laws designed to protect us from the selfishness of others, and selfish acts. There are really no laws designed to encourage us to love our neighbor. When I reflect back on the happiest moments of my life, they are inevitably memories of family and friends doing things with me which we enjoyed - vacations, sports games, etc. They had nothing to do with fame, power, or money, which are things many people prioritize, and which feed our selfish sides. So if we all learn to abide by these laws, we don't really need other commandments because everything else falls into place - we won't steal, commit adultery, etc. So your 3 is my 1. After this I strive to live goodness and truth. I have found truth in His word. With this commitment I believe God will open and has opened more to me. I believe I can pray directly to God to understand anything in His word. I don't need to wait for someone else to tell me. But ultimately, that makes me responsible for my understanding and actions.  So I make my 2 your 4. I believe the Church structure does take into account your third principle to share insights with those in power - although I don't really like the word power, but would use responsibility. That is why every president has two counselors - because often 3 minds are better than one. Counselors can perhaps better appreciate the potential impacts of a decision on the congregation, and provide voices of advice from a third party perspective. I share my insights with those on this forum, but I think most don't care much. I think your first point is perhaps the least important. Ultimately the buck stops with the leader called to a position of responsibility. The law of God really does not allow him or her to share that responsibility. Christ cannot put his responsibilities on us. He was called to be our Savior. We might choose to share some of His load as best we can, but ultimately, the buck stops with Him, and God does not look to others to bear the weight of our sins. We are responsible for our own, and only He is responsible for ours. So while it may seem admirable to be willing to share "power," in the end it is not completely practical, because of our inability to share responsibility. Just some thoughts from my perspective. 

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

With these scribbles noted and tucked away, the Sacrament prayers began. A male Community of Christ member blessed the bread, and then he and a female priesthood holder passed it. Their sacrament prayers are the same as the ones I grew up hearing. A thousand times at least, I have heard this blessing of the bread and this blessing on the water. Then, when the water was blessed, and for the first time in my life, I heard this blessing by a woman. I clenched my jaw and bit my lip to avert the sobs that were threatening to escape my throat, and I drank.

Just a word of caution for you since you describe yourself as a probable atheist:

3 Nephi 18:29

29 For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and ablood bunworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.

What does this mean?

Mosiah 3:18

18 but men drink adamnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and bbecome as little children, and believe that csalvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the datoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.

Presently, you don't seem to share this belief. However, if the Community of Christ is able to lead you back to Christ, I count that as a good thing, and am only sorry that the Church was not able to do it.

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The failing is mine, I'm sure, but I find the Sacrament so meaningful, so powerful, so impactful on such a deep and personal level that I cannot even begin to imagine what a secularized version of it would look like, would feel like, or would be experienced in such an equally transcendental way.

 Already, there seem to be far too few moments amidst mortality's seemingly innumerable vicissitudes in which I am reminded, "Well, Ken, the reason you find so much here so bewildering is because you are a Stranger here: It is bewildering because you are out of your element.  Mortality is but a temporary way station on the way to Somewhere so grand, so glorious, so incomprehensible to the finite mortal mind that it is little wonder you feel that you don't belong."

It's almost as though God is my Jedi Master, and I am His confused young Padawan:  "Patience, my little one.  Patience.  In time, you will see things as they really are where now, you catch only an occasional fleeting glimpse."

Again, I'm sure the failing is mine, but I cannot make sense of life any other way.

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27 minutes ago, smac97 said:

That is appreciated.  Thank you.

It just doesn't feel right to go into someone's house and knowingly break their customs. 

27 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Why is that?  What part of that message is offensive to you?

It's not a conscious decision. I experience major anxiety around a certain person who was very scary. Even going to the same town where he lived, I would find myself going over self-defense moves in my mind. I realised that I was anxious because I might see him somewhere like I have in the past. He was in our last ward. So the thought of loving him is revolting to me and intellectually seems like an irresponsible thing to do, considering the way he treated me and those I protect.

But these boundaries delineated by the CoC,  and in this imagery of meeting at the table helped me imagine a context of loving that I could hope for.

27 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The Church is accessible to all.  However, I think there is only so much we can do to mold it to suit our individualized preferences and expectations.  We can and should seek to improve and strengthen it, but there are also elements of it that may be outside an individual's comfort zone.

It's that place between personal comfort zone and the church's customs which is difficult. At the moment, there is not space for me. 

27 minutes ago, smac97 said:

John 6 is an excellent example of this:

Jesus Christ said something that was not popular.  Many of those who heard it "murmured at him."  Many of those who heard it "strove among themselves."  Many of those who heard it "went back, and walked no more with him."  

Christ said and did things that were not well-received by the society around Him.  I'm quite okay with that.  I'm also quite okay with His servants doing the same thing.  Of course, they will mess up far more often that He did.  But if the Church really is what it claims to be, then I need to focus on that, and allow that fundamental truth to strengthen my resolve.  To be patient.  To be forgiving.  To be kind.  To repent.  To change.  To improve.

Yes, what's right can be unpopular. I can agree to that part.

27 minutes ago, smac97 said:

For what it's worth, I believe the Church is what it claims to be.  That does not diminish the many fine principles espoused in other faith traditions.  I respect them very much. 

I think that kind of respect helps everyone.

44 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The costs of what?

You basically referred to it a bit, but namely: the costs of making church the kind of place where I can both respect its customs and have an experience as edifying as the one I had this time. Its a YMMV situation. Of course I don't expect that, and like I said, I do not know if it's possible. 

45 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I find our worship services provide ample opportunity for reflection, contemplation, and so on.  

Yes, they can.

51 minutes ago, smac97 said:

If Jesus is not, for you, the Son of God, but instead just a man with some thoughtful things to say, then I hope you can retain at least that and build on it.  

Thank you. Principles are what I have left at the moment. I'm open to that changing. But in any case, I also believe that if the Personality that I believed God was truly exists, God would be merciful and my adherence to principles might be acceptable.

54 minutes ago, smac97 said:

 And, in the process, perhaps forgive those who profess to follow him when they screw up.

And I'd hope for the same from others.

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31 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Just a word of caution for you since you describe yourself as a probable atheist:

3 Nephi 18:29

29 For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and ablood bunworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.

What does this mean?

Mosiah 3:18

18 but men drink adamnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and bbecome as little children, and believe that csalvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the datoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.

Curious. Yet LDS communion is open, right? Anyone can receive it as I understand, including non-LDS. These quotes from the Book of Mormon seem to indicate that communion should be closed, like Catholic communion is closed.

If it is open communion and an atheist receiving it would be damned, shouldn't there be some sort of announcement prior for visitors so they know what they are doing?

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Where your thread was well written, I am woeful in such talent, so where do I begin? 

Having not grown up LDS, and the son of a Minster, and of the many Church’s which I have attended, I have never known a Church where Jesus Christ and his teachings were taught more, than ours. Each sermon, each Conference talk, too those who listen are filled with the teachings and examples of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have known a number of child abusers who have been disciplined, or excommunicated as a result, sadly two cases I was in the governing body. Also, the requirement, or the need to try and succeed in forgiving the abuser, is not an LDS Doctrine, but what Jesus Christ, teaches and requires of all believers, or “within us lies the great sin”. After all, how are we to plead for mercy, if we are unwilling to extend mercy? Don’t get me wrong the abuser must pay, as laws require. Mercy and forgiveness, does not require the abused, or their family members to allow access to the abuser. The Sacrament, that we partake of weekly all about Jesus Christ, all about forgiveness (ours and others) and all about our pleading to be a better people. Our Sunday School classes are the Scriptures, the learning of these Scriptures, so that we might know, God our Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, aided by the Holy Spirit. “Possible Atheism”, has none of the teachings, and no answers to the truly important issues of the soul. 

I know that many (even more of late) are, or have become disaffected from the Church. But why does it matter who said the Sacrament Prayers. Was the female who blessed the Sacrament, the only time in your life when you, “clinched your jaw, bit your lip, to avert your sobs”, if so why? Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer anyone be in a Christian Church somewhere, than nowhere at all. If this will pull you off the cliff, of leaning toward atheism, then I am all for it. But, if this is only about gender, and as of late so many seeing all (or almost all) men as nothing more than predators, then I mourn. It seems that such feelings are, becoming a trend that I fear is becoming a trend. “Women good, Men bad”. I truly hope the best for you, make no mistake about that, but I am a Latter-day Saint, and will always hope and pray, you return to the fold, as a member who is a believer in God, and not just look to mankind for those “questions for which the soul needs to strive”.

So, if that happy occasion never comes, then good luck.  

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37 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

While I share these values you enumerate, I perhaps prioritize them a bit differently. The greatest law is to love God. The second it like unto it - to love your neighbor, which if you are doing, you are loving God. I think it is worth asking why are these the greatest? Why should we give these the most priority? I posit that it is because this is where our happiness comes from. This is closest to utopia we can get. 

 I ended with the most important principle, I think the others fall under it. Basically, your description was the way I also framed it during my belief.

43 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

However, if the Community of Christ is able to lead you back to Christ, I count that as a good thing, and am only sorry that the Church was not able to do it.

Yes, I am plenty aware of these Bible verses, thanks. I was given to understand that CoC welcomes atheists to Communion, so I felt like I could honestly participate. 

47 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

However, if the Community of Christ is able to lead you back to Christ, I count that as a good thing, and am only sorry that the Church was not able to do it.

Thanks.

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45 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

The failing is mine, I'm sure, but I find the Sacrament so meaningful, so powerful, so impactful on such a deep and personal level that I cannot even begin to imagine what a secularized version of it would look like, would feel like, or would be experienced in such an equally transcendental way.

 Already, there seem to be far too few moments amidst mortality's seemingly innumerable vicissitudes in which I am reminded, "Well, Ken, the reason you find so much here so bewildering is because you are a Stranger here: It is bewildering because you are out of your element.  Mortality is but a temporary way station on the way to Somewhere so grand, so glorious, so incomprehensible to the finite mortal mind that it is little wonder you feel that you don't belong."

It's almost as though God is my Jedi Master, and I am His confused young Padawan:  "Patience, my little one.  Patience.  In time, you will see things as they really are where now, you catch only an occasional fleeting glimpse."

Again, I'm sure the failing is mine, but I cannot make sense of life any other way.

I can relate to this. I didn't think it could until it did.

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4 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

... I was given to understand that CoC welcomes atheists to Communion, so I felt like I could honestly participate. 

Thanks.

This might seem snarky, and I don't mean it to:  As an atheist, with whom are you communing when you participate in communion?

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28 minutes ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Where your thread was well written, I am woeful in such talent, so where do I begin? 

Having not grown up LDS, and the son of a Minster, and of the many Church’s which I have attended, I have never known a Church where Jesus Christ and his teachings were taught more, than ours. Each sermon, each Conference talk, too those who listen are filled with the teachings and examples of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have known a number of child abusers who have been disciplined, or excommunicated as a result, sadly two cases I was in the governing body. Also, the requirement, or the need to try and succeed in forgiving the abuser, is not an LDS Doctrine, but what Jesus Christ, teaches and requires of all believers, or “within us lies the great sin”. After all, how are we to plead for mercy, if we are unwilling to extend mercy? Don’t get me wrong the abuser must pay, as laws require. Mercy and forgiveness, does not require the abused, or their family members to allow access to the abuser. The Sacrament, that we partake of weekly all about Jesus Christ, all about forgiveness (ours and others) and all about our pleading to be a better people. Our Sunday School classes are the Scriptures, the learning of these Scriptures, so that we might know, God our Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, aided by the Holy Spirit. “Possible Atheism”, has none of the teachings, and no answers to the truly important issues of the soul. 

I know that many (even more of late) are, or have become disaffected from the Church. But why does it matter who said the Sacrament Prayers. Was the female who blessed the Sacrament, the only time in your life when you, “clinched your jaw, bit your lip, to avert your sobs”, if so why? Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer anyone be in a Christian Church somewhere, than nowhere at all. If this will pull you off the cliff, of leaning toward atheism, then I am all for it. But, if this is only about gender, and as of late so many seeing all (or almost all) men as nothing more than predators, then I mourn. It seems that such feelings are, becoming a trend that I fear is becoming a trend. “Women good, Men bad”. I truly hope the best for you, make no mistake about that, but I am a Latter-day Saint, and will always hope and pray, you return to the fold, as a member who is a believer in God, and not just look to mankind for those “questions for which the soul needs to strive”.

So, if that happy occasion never comes, then good luck.  

Feminism didn't drive me out of the LDS Church, but it helped draw me toward this service. I'm sorry if any of my postings here have given the impression that I believe "Women good, Men bad." I realise that strong opinions about sexism can quickly sound abrasive like that, but I have tried to be careful differentiating between what I think are systemic problems and individual failings.

Many a time I've averted sobs during the sacrament, sometimes I've failed. 

I think I have always wondered exactly where the boundaries are in forgiveness of abusers (like whether it implies access and a return to normal contact with an abuser) and what Christlike love means. This was the first time I could envision a cohesive framework incorporating all of it: forgiveness, love, responsible boundaries, the context in which contact is intended.

Perhaps in asking "the questions for which the soul needs to strive" from another direction, I might arrive at the same spiritual place as you. "The Lord looketh upon the heart."

I really appreciate your kind encouragement. Thank you very much. 

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31 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

Curious. Yet LDS communion is open, right? Anyone can receive it as I understand, including non-LDS. These quotes from the Book of Mormon seem to indicate that communion should be closed, like Catholic communion is closed.

If it is open communion and an atheist receiving it would be damned, shouldn't there be some sort of announcement prior for visitors so they know what they are doing?

I don't think LDS communion is completely open. I  do not know what the manuals say about it. I am apparently more conservative than the Church though on this subject. When I invite visitors to Church I have counseled them in the past not to take communion unless they gain a testimony of the restored gospel. I will let the Church decide what to do on this issue, but that is what I do and will continue to do. So I was not one to stuff the sacrament down my toddlers' mouths. When they got old enough to inquire, we used it as a teaching moment. I think the Church takes the position that if a person wants to become closer to Christ, then that is sufficient.

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22 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

This might seem snarky, and I don't mean it to:  As an atheist, with whom are you communing when you participate in communion?

To be clear, by probably-atheist, I mean something like agnostic atheist. But, I would be communing with other people and perhaps Something Else, if it is. But in any case, the principles matter to me and are essential as part of the communing.

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23 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Yes, anyone can take it. In our faith the sacrament only has any value (towards salvation or damnation) If one is renewing covenants so only someone who has been at least baptized can partake of it with any efficacy. Small children generally take it anyways and that is harmless. People visiting who are not members can take it with no blessing or harm. 

It is sinning members who have made covenants and broke them that can damn themselves. Sometimes part of church discipline is being told you should not partake of the sacrament and occasionally individuals feel they are not whole before God because of something they have done and abstain temporarily until they can repent but no one will stop them from partaking anyways. People in these group do, or at least should, know better. If not, I think the reasoning is that it is on them.

Right. I think that if I had not ever believed and took the sacrament as an investigator or visitor, it might have been different. But it means something more to me than to that hypothetical person.

Edited by Meadowchik

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5 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

To be clear, by probably-atheist, I mean something like agnostic atheist. But, I would be communing with other people and perhaps Something Else, if it is. But in any case, the principles matter to me and are essential as part of the communing.

It makes more sense to me that an agnostic might commune with a reputed higher Being.  One can hope that such a higher Being exists while striving to commune with such a Being.  I think of Alma: "If ye can do no more than desire to believe ..."

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Sacrament is just about renewing baptismal covenants to take His name upon you and always remember Him.   Why can't someone who has made those baptismal covenants who has trouble with the church truth claims but has never been asked to stop partaking, continue to take the Sacrament to renew that covenant?   (OP, don't expect an answer just wondering why a member would have to think that way so that they invoked that self limitation in those circumstances?)

Edited by rpn
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21 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Right. I think that if I had not ever believed and took the sacrament as an investigator or visitor, it might have been different. But it means something more to me than to that hypothetical person.

Yeah, it means.......

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Mod shock collar strikes again. I am trying okay!

 

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13 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Yeah, it means.......

I'll remember to let you know if that ever happens so you can enjoy the laugh ;)

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