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Conversion By Physical Knowledge Vs Conversion By Faith


AeonJ

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I think I've heard that the GA's describe having faith as more important than having the ultimate knowledge of the scriptures' truthfulness.

So why would/is conversion by faith be better than conversion by physical knowledge or evidence then?

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I think I've heard that the GA's describe having faith as more important than having the ultimate knowledge of the scriptures' truthfulness.

So why would/is conversion by faith be better than conversion by physical knowledge or evidence then?

Simple. A conversion based on logic and evidence is always susceptible to the inconsistencies and flaws in the human brain. A spiritual conversion presents a sort of knowledge which is not subject to the fallacies of the human mind.

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I think I've heard that the GA's describe having faith as more important than having the ultimate knowledge of the scriptures' truthfulness.

So why would/is conversion by faith be better than conversion by physical knowledge or evidence then?

What precisely is "physical knowledge"?

I'd also point out that in LDS theology, faith is the beginning step which ultimately becomes perfect knowledge.

This is the second thread (the first being the Bom/Triple combination) where it seems you put the cart before the horse.

There is an (IMO terribly destructive) urge in our society to have/know/learn all things at once- to be taught all the world's knowledge while standing on one foot- rather than to acknowledge that things have their proper order and that patience and time are also ingredients in the recipe for wisdom.

Ultimately, there is relatively little we know or can know empirically about God, the universe which he created, and his higher purpose for us.

Our science is still in its infancy. Our most self-congratulatory scientific minds, smug in the assurance of their vast knowledge, are still little more than kindergartners on the top tier of the monkey bars, proclaiming that they have conquered Everest. There are still more mountains to climb and more knowledge to amass.

The point of this exercise (aside from the mortal tempering and physical body) is to develop trust and faith, which is why we don't have incontrovertable evidence- and why miracles do not convert.

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Knowledge can be defined as anything a person knows or knows about, not necessarily what a person believes.

I know about lots of things in this world, including what other people believe, but I don't believe everything other people believe... even though I know what they believe.

Knowledge is one thing. Belief is another. And Faith is also another matter.

Faith can be defined as an assurance, or being sure, about something.

God has assured me of what he knows, and I believe him. :P

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I think I've heard that the GA's describe having faith as more important than having the ultimate knowledge of the scriptures' truthfulness.

So why would/is conversion by faith be better than conversion by physical knowledge or evidence then?

Do you have any quotes from anyone on the subject I can specifically respond to? If not, Short answer: can it be both?

Long answer: I can respond with a simple opinion that our testimonies must be given by the Holy Ghost and founded upon Jesus Christ. Otherwise we aren't on a firm foundation.

Brigham Young's conversion story is awesome:

â??If I could command the language and eloquence of the angels of God, I would tell you why, but the eloquence of angels never can convince any person that God lives, independent of that eloquence being clothed with the power of the Holy Ghost; in the absence of this, it would be a combination of useless sounds. What is it that convinces man? It is the influence of the Almighty, enlightening his mind, giving instruction to the understanding. When that which inhabits this body, that which came from the regions of glory, is enlightened by the influence, power, and Spirit of the Father of light, it swallows up the organization which pertains to this world. Those who are governed by this influence lose sight of all things pertaining to mortality; they are wholly influenced by the power of eternity, and lose sight of time. All the honor, wisdom, strength, and whatsoever is considered desirable among men, yea, all that pertains to this organization, which is in any way independent of that which came from the Father of our spirits, is obliterated to them, and they hear and understand by the same power and spirit that clothe the Deity, and the holy beings in His presence. Anything besides that influence, will fail to convince any person of the truth of the Gospel of salvation...

â??If all the talent, tact, wisdom, and refinement of the world had been sent to me with the Book of Mormon, and had declared, in the most exalted of earthly eloquence, the truth of it, undertaking to prove it by learning and worldly wisdom, they would have been to me like the smoke which arises only to vanish away. But when I saw a man without eloquence, or talents for public speaking, who could only say, "I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of the Lord," the Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality were before me. I was encircled by them, filled with them, and I knew for myself that the testimony of the man was true. But the wisdom of the world, I say again, is like smoke, like the fog of the night, that disappears before the rays of the luminary of day, or like the hoar-frost in the warmth of the sun's rays. My own judgment, natural endowments, and education bowed to this simple, but mighty testimonyâ?¦

The world, with all its wisdom and power, and with all the glory and gilded show of its kings or potentates, sinks into perfect insignificance, compared with the simple, unadorned testimony of the servant of God.â? (Journal of discourses 1:88)

John Taylor:

"It is difficult for them to comprehend correct principles when they hear them, or to know the light when they see it shine. The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not. They understand many things, perhaps better than you do, but they do not understand the principles of the Gospel as you do, for want of the light of the Spirit of God. No man can understand that without the Spirit." (JoD 1:147)

And Brigham again:

"Nothing short of the power of the Almighty, nothing short of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, can prove to you that this is the work of God. Men uninspired of God cannot by their worldly wisdom disprove it, or prevail against it; neither can they by wisdom alone prove it to be true, neither to themselves or to others. Their not being able to prevail against it does not prove it to be the kingdom of God, for there are many theories and systems on the earth, incontrovertible by the wisdom of the world, which are nevertheless false. Nothing less than the power of the Almighty, enlightening the understanding of men, can demonstrate this glorious truth to the human mind." (JoD 1:309)
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Brigham Young's conversion story is awesome:

John Taylor:

And Brigham again:

I appreciate the testimonies of Brigham Young and John Taylor, but I think it should be noted that people can still reject a testimony from someone bearing their testimony even when their testimony was given to them by the power of the Holy Spirit... and even when the Holy Spirit (aka Holy Ghost) gives his personal witness to the person who is listening.

A person reading Brigham's testimony could get the idea everybody who listened to the person Brigham Young listened to, and believed, would also somehow automatically believe what he said, or what the Holy Ghost said, and yet that never does happen because God never overrides our agency.

It's left up to us to choose whether or not to believe what God tells us.

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I'd also point out that in LDS theology, faith is the beginning step which ultimately becomes perfect knowledge.

Good quote which I believe applies to other beliefs as well.

Our science is still in its infancy. Our most self-congratulatory scientific minds, smug in the assurance of their vast knowledge, are still little more than kindergartners on the top tier of the monkey bars, proclaiming that they have conquered Everest. There are still more mountains to climb and more knowledge to amass.

Side question. Would you compare Mormonism as a science where concepts and understanding evolve or is better comparison to math where it is absolute like 2+2=4? Just curious.

The point of this exercise (aside from the mortal tempering and physical body) is to develop trust and faith, which is why we don't have incontrovertable evidence- and why miracles do not convert.

I couldn't agree more that miracles actually do not convert.

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I appreciate the testimonies of Brigham Young and John Taylor, but I think it should be noted that people can still reject a testimony from someone bearing their testimony even when their testimony was given to them by the power of the Holy Spirit... and even when the Holy Spirit (aka Holy Ghost) gives his personal witness to the person who is listening.

A person reading Brigham's testimony could get the idea everybody who listened to the person Brigham Young listened to, and believed, would also somehow automatically believe what he said, or what the Holy Ghost said, and yet that never does happen because God never overrides our agency.

It's left up to us to choose whether or not to believe what God tells us.

Indeed, I tried to temper the tone by including the John Taylor quote there about those who rejected the testimony. Here's a few more about your point:

Orson Hyde on people rejecting the testimony of witnesses, saying following a prophet takes away their freedom:

"O," says one, "how does this look, to be slaves, to have no mind or will of our own, but be swallowed up in the will of another, and thus become tools, machines, slaves, and not free men, and independent like other people!" Well, my dear friends, I will tell you how it was in heaven. There was a disposition once in heaven that preferred to be independent enough to chalk out its own course. The rebellious angels undertook it, and what became of them? They fought against the throne of God, and were cast down, to be reserved in chains of darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. Yes, they are reserved there, and that is their glory, and the honor that is attached to them for being independent, and declaring in the presence of God their independence-instead of deriving any advantage from this course, down they went to their reward." (JoD 1:121)

Brigham Young:

"If you ask me what will prove a man or woman to be a Saint, I will answer the question. "If you love me," says Jesus, "you will keep my sayings." That is the touchstone. If you love the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father, you will keep the commandments of the Son-you will do his will. If you neglect to do this, you may have all the visions and revelations that could be bestowed upon a mortal being, and yet be nothing but a devil. Why I use this expression is because when a man's mind is enlightened, and he turns from that light to darkness, it prepares him to be a devil. A man never knew how to be wicked, until light and truth were first made manifest to him. Then is the time for men to make their decision, and if they turn away from the Lord, it prepares them to become devils." (JoD 1:131)
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Side question. Would you compare Mormonism as a science where concepts and understanding evolve or is better comparison to math where it is absolute like 2+2=4? Just curious.

Both.

I'm old fashioned- I consider science to be a quest to understand God's universe, rather than an end unto itself.

As with secular science, there are some basic things (such as 2+2=4) that we've got the basic grasp on, but the fulness of knowledge still eludes us.

As is the case about so much of the physical universe, there are many questions about the divine which we lack the understanding even to ask.

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Indeed, I tried to temper the tone by including the John Taylor quote there about those who rejected the testimony. Here's a few more about your point:

Orson Hyde on people rejecting the testimony of witnesses, saying following a prophet takes away their freedom:

Brigham Young:

Woo hoo hoo !!!

Scary AND true!

Great follow-up!

:P

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I think I've heard that the GA's describe having faith as more important than having the ultimate knowledge of the scriptures' truthfulness.

So why would/is conversion by faith be better than conversion by physical knowledge or evidence then?

Because Faith is what changes heart and actions, not knowledge.

But don't misunderstand. They aren't speaking that Faith is somehow absent of knowledge, for all Faith is based on "evidence" (thus knowledge) accurate or not. The GA's aren't speaking of that. What they are stating, is that "perfect" knowledge isn't necessary for us to start living in Faith and progressing according to that Faith. In other words, we aren't to procrastinate the day of our repentance, meaning we must go forward no matter how much we lack in whatever manner.

An example of this too me is that I often view anti-mormons as lacking True Faith. They've made themselves experts on the Church before they really give God the benefit of the doubt to know if their immediate perceptions might in fact be wrong. They don't let go of their current biases to really try to understand, thus, they lack Faith.

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I am not sure what the OP means by physical knowledge vs faith but here is a quote that speaks to this relationship:

(Alma 32:16-23) "Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.

Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.

Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.

And now, how much amore cursed is he that knoweth the will of God and doeth it not, than he that only believeth, or only hath cause to believe, and falleth into transgression?

Now of this thing ye must judge. Behold, I say unto you, that it is on the one hand even as it is on the other; and it shall be unto every man according to his work.

And now as I said concerning faithâ??faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

And now, behold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word.

And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned."

So faith was defined here that it is not a "perfect knowledge of things" but it is a hope of things not seen which are true. That means that you cannot have faith in something that is false. We are cursed if we know something and then sin against it. Later in the chapter it is explained that faith is not a static thing it is more like a living growing thing:
(Alma 32:26-43) "Now, as I said concerning faithâ??that it was not a perfect knowledgeâ??even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.

But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselvesâ??It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.

But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.

And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.

Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.

And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.

And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.

O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?

Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.

And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.

But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.

Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.

And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.

But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.

And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.

Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you."

You notice that this faith grows if it is nourished until it becomes knowledge, but you still do not lay aside faith, in fact you never stop having faith it is an eternal principle which God exercises on a much higher level. In the premortal existance we also exercised faith--not that God existed for we could see Him. But we exercised faith in the plan of salvation and chose to follow the Savior and the plan God had for us and rejected Satan's plan.
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Because Faith is what changes heart and actions, not knowledge.

But don't misunderstand. They aren't speaking that Faith is somehow absent of knowledge, for all Faith is based on "evidence" (thus knowledge) accurate or not. The GA's aren't speaking of that. What they are stating, is that "perfect" knowledge isn't necessary for us to start living in Faith and progressing according to that Faith. In other words, we aren't to procrastinate the day of our repentance, meaning we must go forward no matter how much we lack in whatever manner.

I totally agree

An example of this too me is that I often view anti-mormons as lacking True Faith. They've made themselves experts on the Church before they really give God the benefit of the doubt to know if their immediate perceptions might in fact be wrong.

I'm trying not to be mean spirited here, but how does one differentiate between missionaries who go door-to-door and other salesmen. I'm pretty sure everyone on this board would groan at the first mention of words like Amway or whatever. People have misconceptions and will not give you the time of day. In my particular case, missionaries have to explain why my LDS half of the family has gone through so many divorces and remarriages. The lowest # being 2 and the highest being 18 and the misconceptions of LDS history or beliefs hasn't even been brought up.

They don't let go of their current biases to really try to understand, thus, they lack Faith.

We all have our particular crosses to bear.

But in my particular case, I need to try to listen for the benefit of my TBM wife.

I'm sure there are members here who would consider me an anti but I have found this the best place to try to understand my wife's faith.

Peace

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I'm sure there are members here who would consider me an anti but I have found this the best place to try to understand my wife's faith.

I've never seen "annoying" spelled a-n-t-i before <_< . Guess, I've learned something! :P

Seriously though, no- inquiry is not hostility, discussion is not persecution.

From everything I've seen, you disagree with the Church and have different beliefs. That's not the opposition of the anti-Mormon, but a statement of honest differences and disagreements.

You are consistently polite and considerate despite your disagreements, and willing to recognize that people can sincerely disagree without being dupes or frauds- that says an awful lot.

I doubt anyone here considers you an anti.

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I'm sure there are members here who would consider me an anti but I have found this the best place to try to understand my wife's faith.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with being "anti", or "against" something.

If you are against something, you are against it.

... and you don't necessarily need to be angry, or ashamed.

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From everything I've seen, you disagree with the Church and have different beliefs. That's not the opposition of the anti-Mormon, but a statement of honest differences and disagreements.

You seem to be one of those people who use the word "anti" incorrectly.

The word "anti" simply means "against"... without any extra baggage.

I am anti the use of the word anti in the way you seem to be using it.

And I am also anti-Satan.

Go ahead and call me a bigot now.

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You seem to be one of those people who use the word "anti" incorrectly.

The word "anti" simply means "against"... without any extra baggage.

I am anti the use of the word anti in the way you seem to be using it.

And I am also anti-Satan.

Go ahead and call me a bigot now.

Bigot.

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(I will use the word soul, and my definition of soul is the one I get from Joseph Smith -- the spirit and body together is the soul.)

Faith and conversion and knowledge have nothing to do with mental commitment to an opinion about whether something is true or right -- being convinced so dearly and not being able to be swayed. That is nothing to faith or conversion or knowledge or belief.

Faith is a principle of creation. If you are creating your life (with good -- see Genesis ch 1, lol), then you have faith. If you are not creating your life, you don't have faith. I give the example of laser eye surgery. How much faith would it take for a person living in, say, 1712 to be able to have laser eye surgery? If that 1712 person wished with their whole heart!!! Because why? Laser eye surgery has to be created. I do not know when exactly this miracle of technology was invented, but there was a period where people had to invest a lot of creation energy into producing this marvel. Now, how about for you and I? How much faith does it take to have laser eye surgery? Maybe $2500! lol. All we have to do is look upon the serpent that is up on the pole, so to speak. It is already prepared for us! When we have the results of laser eye surgery, we have knowledge.

Jesus Christ, or our Father through Jesus Christ, has offered us a promised of an eternal life/ celestial life. This opportunity has been provided. We simply must create it, if we desire. If you don't desire a celestial life, and you don't create it, then you won't have it, and what you will have is what you wanted and what you DID work for. Our efforts to create IS faith -- we have to trust in the promises, we have to apply them, we have to endure -- then we receive (knowledge). If you don't trust the promises, well then, there is that. How will you find a way to trust? On what basis? (Maybe that is the question then, eh?)

Conversion, again, is not a mental opinion about whether something is true. Nor is it a warm fuzzy (if I hear that again, I might throw up, lol).

Conversion is a change to your soul -- literally, actually, physically, spiritually, every way. It begins, or is mainly, a conversion to sinlessness. Sinlessness is an actual condition of soul available to mankind -- and from this condition of sinlessness we may grow (create) further. The etymology of 'conversion' is transform; and also 'to turn'/ ('turn together').

In perusing conversion scriptures, of which I will provide several below, I was struck by two things. 1) conversion is healing (NOT being convinced or 'believing' in the common vernacular); and 2) most of these verses are stated in the negative -- that is: persons who are unprepared are KEPT from being converted -- seems that God is not in a hurry to convert anyone who doesn't want it, doesn't understand it, and/ or can't handle it. He's not being rude -- he is just big on preparedness. (BTW, a lot of the NT -- and the D&C --scrips seem to be hearkening back to Isaiah's expression.)

3 Ne 7:21

Psalms 19:7

Isaiah 6:10

Matthew 13:15

Matthew 18:3

Matthew 4:12

Acts 3:19

3 Ne 9:13

D&C 112:13

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Ps 19:7 I see nothing here that supports your argument

IS 6:9- YOu don't see this as negative? This is punishment. And it's appeal is through the senses, thus providing empirical evidence.

MT 13:15 ditto

MT. 18:3 Trusting, or having faith as a child does not necessitate foregoing emipirical evidence for a claim. Even a child understands "up" is not "down".

Acts 3:19 I would contend that this verse is totally negative. Repent from what? Obviously, repent - is to first recognize our sinful nature. Nothing could be more negative and this is why some have such difficulty believing to begin with.

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Hoops:

Re the warm fuzzy: LOL -- :P ; I should also tell you that I DO like warm fuzzies (I just don't equate them with the spirit). My dad taught us when we were small about warm fuzzies and cold pricklies from the book popular at the time "I'm OK, You're OK" -- my dad made sure we knew we could ask him for warm fuzzies anytime; so . . . fond memories.

Psalms 19:7. A) I have no argument, just thoughts; cool.gif You are right, this is not a doctrinal clincher, but I still thought it belonged in a collection/ sample of conversion scriptures

Isaiah 6:9-10 (and dittos) Yes, it is negative; I mentioned that it was. So it causes me to inquire why is the statement made in the negative preferable (to God or Isaiah's expression) than something more positive? Gives me some thought; I"m not necessarily in possession of the conclusion of that inquiry yet.

I disagree with characterizing the situation described in the passage as punishment. God might be a little ticked off which might lead him to take a stand in dealing with his children who : (e.g. ch 6 v 5). Why would somebody who doesn't want to be converted want to be converted? If God gives someone what they want, how does that punish them?

Both of these scriptures show that conversion is a literal process of soul/ heart/ healing -- not merely a loyalty to a set of doctrine. That is my point, and not any other, although what you bring up is interesting discussion on other points.

Matthew 18:3 The idea of a little child is not a call to so-called blind faith; again it is a model for a process -- note the word "become". Your comment: "Trusting . . . does not necessitate foregoing empirical evidence for a claim." I would have to think about that one. As you've stated it, I wouldn't think the one would contradict the other -- but it would be an interesting area of soul to ponder and study to see if perhaps the full implications of both might not often be compatible. Faith is never blind. Faith is always based on evidence. Faith is reality, otherwise it leads nowhere. I would not be impressed with empirical evidence for spiritual substance; I would like to encounter spiritual evidence for spiritual substance. Empiricism is a paradigm not a reality. In any case, the human body is a technology, a tool, a communication device. We mark off the 5 senses (the basis of empiricism), but I don't believe we've located all the bells and whistles on the Adam model -- meaning, there are more signal gathering capacities than the five senses.

Acts 3:19 To recognize sin in oneself is not equatable or definable with the low self-esteem, schoolyard namecalling emotion of "You are a loser." (You use the term "sinful nature" -- not LDS terminology I would remind you. To LDS, humans enter the world innocently.) Sin has real effects of illness and pain and lack of ability to create, lack of a lot of things -- one experiences captivity and similar. If you've never felt captivity, then Hoops22, you are already in the celestial kingdom and this passage of course has no application to you. Repent is simply an opportunity to be free -- there is nothing in Peter's tone that cries out "You bonehead!" lol. Repent is to return -- come back and be converted that your sins may be blotted out -- this blotting out doesn't occur in some church organization. It occurs in the soul actually, so that the effects of mortal struggles may be converted to their good or be wash away. Lovely thought -- passage brings me relief not fear. "The times of refreshing", eh?

Nice talking to you, Hoops. Happy seeking!

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