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  1. Teddyaware, thank you! There's a reason that I find LDS people beautiful, and you've just provided such a sweet and gracious illustration of that.
  2. Thank you for this, mfbukowski. I realize that I haven't communicated as clearly as I'd intended, since you have misunderstood what I've been trying to do and say here. And I won't try to explain further, as I can't be sure that I'll do any better! If I left the impression that I'm trying to puff myself up (though I did try to explain my contribution here through a certain amount of self-description) ... that couldn't be further from the truth. I highly respect the intelligence and depth of knowledge and experience of so many of you on this board. I'm not a strong logical thinker, and you and others could run circles around me in a debate. (I know ... I tried debating once, and it was absolutely terrible! That was over 50 years ago, and I'm sure nothing has changed!) When I think about how hard it can be to communicate clearly on a message board, I'm thinking about how wise smac is to break down the posts he's responding to, section by section, and answer as clearly, politely and respectfully as possible. Overall, I really like this board and the people on it. And I like the way that frequent posters have become a community, all with their different styles and quirks. But it can be hard for people who very rarely post, to fit in. And that's probably especially true when the 'relative stranger' comes from a different faith position. Having said that, I also see that this board can be very welcoming and respectful of newcomers, including those who are not LDS. I'm here to learn and to make peaceful connections where possible (my name Paloma means peace!), and sometimes to try to explain parts of my faith because I think it may be interesting or enlightening ... but I don't mean to ever be arrogant or patronizing. It makes me sad when my attempts to 'share' are misunderstood as attempts to correct, or to argue.
  3. Sorry for intruding, mfbukowski. I'm not sure if you're a "tough crowd" of one, or if I'm failing to come across as I intend, in general. Somehow, I sense there may be a few people who can understand where I'm coming from. But I recognize that message boards are not an easy or clear way to communicate, and then there's the fact that I very seldom contribute to the board, so I really am "unknown". I read much more than I post and there are long periods when I don't access the board at all. When I do read, I find people that I very much like and feel I know somewhat through having read this board sporadically for many years ... and then I realize that people don't know me at all, or very little. Just want to add ... and this is ridiculous, i know, but I'm in tears right now. I used to think that Navidad was too emotional about responses on this board, but now I'm getting a sense of how he felt. I'm not cut out for this ... no responsibility but my own!
  4. Teddyaware, I appreciate your giving a specific example of what's available on the internet that teach definitively there's no marriage in heaven. And mfbukowski has given an example ... and I don't doubt that many more could be found online. Obviously, it's there, though, in my opinion, that teaching goes beyond what is clear in Scripture, and beyond what has been part of my own experience, study and training. In entering into this conversation, I've wanted to show you that a living, breathing person with much experience and some credentials, finds the teaching foreign and unfamiliar. The textbooks that I mentioned in an earlier post are widely used, recognized, reputable, textbooks in many Protestant theological colleges and seminaries. I'm not looking for an argument here (and I'm enjoying the collegial nature of this thread!), but want to bring my own context and ideas into the conversation. Again, not to argue, but if I were to interact with the doctrinal opinion that you found on the internet (in your quote above), I would point out to that writer who included Romans 7:2 as proof that people will not be married to anyone in heaven, that such a conclusion goes beyond the plain meaning of the text which is addressing the sinful nature and the law of the Spirit, which are at war within us. The illustration from marriage is used as an example that when a spouse has died in this life, only then is the remaining spouse free to remarry. Verse 6 says: "But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code". While I don't mean to advocate for a position one way or another, I do love the open-endedness and mystery and anticipation of joy when thinking about the afterlife!
  5. "Focus on the Family" is creedal?? And yes, it is a well-known organization. You're right, mfbukowski, that there are too many sects, too many doctrines, etc. Earlier, when I mentioned my familiarity with Protestantism and Anabaptism, I thought to myself about how much I'm steeped in and how much I learn from Catholic and Orthodox mystics and writers. Some of my favourite writers are Peter Kreeft, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, etc. Truth and beauty are found everywhere in the Christian faith, and unfortunately, dogmatism and unfounded teaching can be found too! "Focus on the Family" lost ground with me through some of its conservatism and dogmatism several years ago, though I do accept that a lot of mainstream beliefs and teachings are found there. For the last several years, I've been appalled at the stance of that Christian organization and others in the United States when they've (in my opinion) overstepped their bounds and exerted influence in the public sphere. (That's all I have to say about that, and I hope to not cross into, and especially not lead myself and others into forbidden areas.) So yes, mfbukowski, you have provided evidence of teaching by a Christian organization that would contradict the beliefs of Christians like me (and all those I've been associated with and studied under) that we cannot teach what happens in the afterlife beyond supreme joy, fulfilment and union with God. I wonder if teddyaware wants to piggyback off what you've submitted, or if he'd like to bring proof of his own assertions. It's all good!
  6. I realize that what I said above may come across as more curt than I'd intended (though I don't particularly like the idea that I'm to spend hours doing Google searches when I'd asked you to support an assertion you had made ... somehow, that doesn't quite compute in my brain!). Teddyaware, you had wondered if the lack of teaching about the possibility of marriage and families continuing in heaven, could mean that I believe it may be so. And I'd say that Yes, anything beautiful, true and joy-filled is possible. I do tend to think, especially with the lack of specific teaching, that we cannot now conceive of what we'll experience in heaven. We are told that it will be so much more than we can imagine! And I understand the whole thrust of the Christian Gospel leads to more (restoration of our relationship with God; redemption; fulfilment; intimacy with God, etc.) And so what that means in terms of our human relationships, I don't know. Obviously, I don't believe in eternal progression as is taught in the LDS faith. Without wanting to denigrate that belief in any way, I do want to state that, for those of us who are non-LDS Christians, our belief in the hereafter is very deep, purposeful, hopeful, joy-filled and is centered in God's love. That's inconsistent with loss, and so I see that whatever we've experienced relationally here on earth will be more, whatever that continuation or fulfilment may encompass.
  7. Please provide examples of official Christian doctrinal teaching or statements that contradict the idea that earthly relationships (these may include marriages, families, friendships, etc.) continue in heaven. You made that assertion. Please provide documentation.
  8. I really appreciate this article written by Peter Kreeft. I've often thought that when it comes to sex, the core principles of intimacy, other-centredness, sheer pleasure, and delight in the beloved will be part of our eternal joy with God and loved ones in heaven.
  9. Teddyaware, you wrote this in response to Teancum's words: "I wonder how many non LDS Christians you have discussed this with. I can assure you they do believe that family members saved in heaven will maintain some form of familial relationships. Obviously it will be different to them than what the LDS Church believes because they don't believe in eternal procreation like the LDS Church teaches." I do want to say that I understand it's hard to know what non-LDS Christians teach about this subject, as there really isn't any official teaching about it, from my perspective. I know you referred above to having heard from rank and file members. While I'm a rank and file member of the Christian faith, I also have a lot of experience, reading, study and training. I grew up Presbyterian, married a Baptist, spent almost 15 years serving with an interdenominational mission agency in Africa, and am a retired pastor of an Anabaptist church. I have a Masters of Theological Studies, and am an ordained minister in my church denomination. In all of my study and experience, I have never come across any teaching about whether or not there is marriage in heaven. I have studied both the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Heidelburg Catechism. Both refer to eternal joy with God in heaven. I have taken several courses in Systematic Theology at a master's level, as well as courses in Biblical Theology. Sitting here right now, I can glance at my bookshelf and find 4 large, comprehensive texts on Theology that are a small fraction of my books on theology, biblical studies and the Christian life (Christian Theology: An Introduction by Alister E. McGrath; Systematic Theology by Augustus Hopkins Strong; Systematic Theology; An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem; Evangelical Dictionary of Theology by Walter A. Elwell). There is no mention in any of them about marriages and family life in heaven... which means that there is no teaching about these not existing in heaven. it simply means that there is no teaching or doctrine concerning matters we do not and cannot know. Christian churches and Christian parachurch organizations such as mission agencies typically have Doctrinal Statements. I have seen many of these and "signed on" with some. I have never seen any reference to the status (or lack thereof!) of family relationships in the hereafter. And so, Teddyaware, i would really like for you to support your assertion above that "such notions are contrary to official church doctrine". What doctrine??? Where??? I'm not saying that it doesn't exist, but I'd be very interested to know where it does exist and what it says, as I haven't come across it, and I do have quite broad experience and leadership in the non-LDS Christian faith ... at least in the Protestant and Anabaptist spheres.
  10. Yes, to answer the question of this topic, LDS do misrepresent what other people believe about eternal togetherness. And, as has been recognized in the comments here, we all tend to misunderstand and misrepresent others' beliefs. When LDS friends have mentioned their thoughts about "till death do us part" referring to husband and wife not being together after death, I've tried to explain that there's no thought or intention of that by the actual people making those vows. In a non-LDS wedding ceremony, the emphasis is much more on togetherness and permanence than otherwise. "Till death do us part" is first and foremost a call to lifelong faithfulness (as mentioned in the opening post I quoted here). Secondarily, it is both a recognition that death comes to all of us, and understanding that death may create the circumstance for the bereaved spouse to remarry if the desire and opportunity were present in the future. I have officiated at many non-LDS Christian weddings. I would say that most of the time the words "until death do us part" are not even included in the vows spoken by the bride and groom nowadays. Most often, the concept is not even present. Or it may be alluded to in something like "... for all the days God gives us together". That sentiment presupposes that there will be faithfulness to each other in this life, and infers nothing about the next life. When pronouncing the marriage, the Christian minister says something like "Inasmuch as the bride and groom have chosen to enter the marriage relationship and have pledged their vows here today, it is my privilege to declare them husband and wife according to the ordinance of God and to the law of the land. What God has joined together, let no person separate." As for the next life ... I'm in complete agreement with what has been mentioned in some previous posts about heaven bringing supreme joy. Eternal life with God cannot be "less than" what we experience now, or even what we can imagine! Relationships cannot be "less than". And so, I believe that we will not only know each other and have familial bonds, but it will all be "more than". Just what that means, and what it will look like, I don't know.
  11. Two memories come to me when I read this topic ... one from my childhood long before I knew anything about the LDS faith, and another from twenty years ago or so that involves LDS missionaries (and has nothing to do with tithing, but everything to do with finances). The first memory has to do with how appalled my parents were when the Presbyterian minister of our church took it upon himself to do something that was completely uncharacteristic. Never before or after had we known of a minister to expect confirmation of the precise tithing of parishioners. But this fellow had a laser focus on people's annual givings. He was convinced that my parents were giving the church less than a tenth of our actual means. He confronted my parents about it, and found, upon seeing their yearly income, that we were actually giving considerably more than a tithe. The fact is that we were an extremely poor family, but my parents had what can only be called 'class', and great money management skills. We lived simply. My mother sewed and knitted almost all our clothing. We 'looked' far more wealthy than we were. To this day, I remember and feel indignation surrounding that minister's intrusion and wrong assumptions about our family's finances. The second memory involves a couple of LDS missionaries with whom I was in dialogue about our respective faiths. At that time I was a pastor with an Anabaptist church. When these LDS missionaries learned that I was a pastor, they made the assumption that I received a salary (which I did not by my own choice), and spoke quite scathingly about my being a minister who worked for "filthy lucre". To their credit, they changed their tune once I explained (to their surprise) that I worked full time as a pastor with no financial reimbursement. But I remember that I felt their disdain before I set the record straight. I freely acknowledged to these young missionaries that I have no problem with full time ministers working for pay when needed, but explained that I had no need for pay, when my husband was employed and made a sufficient living for us as a family. Back to the topic here ... I've been really impressed with the way that tithing is often handled in the LDS church, by the accounts of many of you, in terms of its being an honour system. And that tithing settlement time is often seen as an opportunity to connect with ward members and check on their well being.
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