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The Sermon on the Mount and the LofC


David Bokovoy

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Hi, Droopy.

I don't think it's an issue of bad faith but rather passion, as you point out. After all, this is the primary subject you post about on both boards. I simply think that your argument would be more effective if you avoided references about your interlocutors' understanding (or lack thereof). But I shouldn't be looking for motes. Forgive me.

Well, your constructive criticism is well taken, so consider me in full William F. Buckley mode from here on out in this discussion. Not passionless, but with such passion suitably mediated by the decorum and intellectual propriety that should attend such debates between serious thinkers who take their thoughts very seriously indeed.

This is a fairly balanced view. I like to think of scripture in the sense of harmonic overtones. There are primary notes that reverberate along a given wavelength, but as you play them, they create related pitches at higher frequencies that are different but integrated and harmonious. Many verses of scripture resonate at multiple levels, and we see related applications along both temporal and spiritual wavelengths. But there still is a primary note or context for a given verse. For example, Alma talks to the poor as he compares faith to a seed:

And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the poor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel-- (Alm 32:2)

Note that he also calls them "poor of heart" while observing their poverty in relation to the things of the world in verse four. So is the primary context of "poor" in verse two a temporal sense or a spiritual sense?

So when we get to the Beatitudes, how do we gauge the primary context of Matthew's "poor" (??????)? Is the primary context spiritual or temporal? Or is it exactly equal at the same time? Granted that in an LDS application we would see both of these applications (and more), but I'm curious as to your read on the primary context. You recognize the ANE temporal context, but do you think it is the primary one?

I think the contextual priority here, like other of the Beatitudes, and very much like the Lord's various parables, is relative to the spiritual level at which one approaches the text.

In other words, taken as a whole, the scriptures do not present "the poor" as a class arrayed against another class that, let us call, "the rich", and who approach the blessings of the gospel as a class with respect to their temporal condition. Nor is their any teaching in the scriptures, when we approach, again, the gospel as a system, that places the rich, as a class, in a position of spiritual or moral inferiority simply as a function of their possession of wealth.

Unbalanced, hyperbolic interpretations which use sundry scriptures as proof texts for idiosyncratic interpretations (such as the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, for an excellent example of very much what leftist exegesis has done with various passages relating to the nature of poverty/wealth and the requirements of salvation relative to both) exaggerate the importance of isolated concepts while excluding the nuance and detail of the larger gospel system.

The contextual priority of "poor" then, can be either poor as to things of the world or as humility and meekness ("poor in spirit") when approaching poverty as a condition of the individual. When we attempt, however, to lump individuals into collectives such as "the poor" and attach to that collective the attributes reserved for individuals, such as imputation of certain blessings or promises grounded in membership within the class "poor", or to the rich, as in when we take the passage "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matt. 19:24) to have reference to all rich human beings as a group, and not to the greedy, self centered, avaricious rich, who withhold their economic help from the poor because of selfishness, we begin "wresting the scriptures".

In the same sense, our scriptures place severe limits upon that which the poor person and reasonably expect from the affluent among them. Endless prooftexting of Mosiah 4, regarding the beggar's petition, in isolation from the rest of the gospel as a system of doctrine and principle, destabilizes and creates an imbalance of understanding, much like the inordinate Protestant preoccupation with grace, between one principle and other mediating principles.

The poor who's "eyes are full of greediness", and "whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men

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I find it interesting that there is so much contention on the LOC and what it means. We are still under obligation to live it, regardless of the society we live in and it therefore is an individual responsibility. However, if we are talking about the church as a whole living under a United Order then I think we need to understand that we are even further away from that than the early saints, given the amount of contention within the church. In order to live the LOC as a body we need to be first unified as a church, and that means we are of one heart and one mind. I think we have a way to go.

And I want to add that no secular government on earth today is capable of justly administering the goods of others to support the poor. It is not something that should be coerced and certainly when unrighteous men make such decisions there will be injustice.

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If you exist in a community of common beliefs, common goals, and common ideals, a community where you've been able to develop deep friendships with others, I find it astonishing that you would be willing to hold on to something that you could share with someone who does not have it simply because you may have the right to do so.

Who has made any such argument?

Wouldn't you want the other to have as much as you do, wouldn't you go out of your way to see that all are blessed to the extent that you are, isn't this something you would desire with all your heart.

How, with any sense of propriety or rationality, can a heart surgeon be remunerated to the same temporal degree as a High School custodian? Upon what basis?

While a saint, living the LofC, would certainly want others to have material comfort and security, and be blessed, from where are you deriving this idea of "as much as you do"?

Again,"equality" as used in the scriptures regarding the UO is not equality of condition or economic uniformity among the members of a Zion community. I have yet to see a plausible scriptural reference to such a social condition. "Equality", in this scriptural sense, is grounded in the size of one's family, that families unique circumstances, needs, and "wants".

This would also have to include the various differences among individuals as to talents, abilities, gifts and capacity. Since Zion will be, according to both the scriptures and the entire body of modern General Authority teaching on the matter, a free market based social order as to economic structure, based in private stewardship and private control over personal property, there is every reason to believe that economic remuneration will exist at a variety of different levels or degrees (just as salvation will ultimately occur at a variety of different levels or degrees).

There will not be any rich or poor, or, in other words, no vast poles of wealth differentiation, in a Zion society, but there will be a number of degrees of relative material state based upon the skills, talents and abilities one brings to the community and the degree to which the market in Zion (the personal economic choices of all of its members as to what they prefer more and what they prefer less) determines their relative temporal value.

No one will be poor. No one will be indigent. All will be materially comfortable and secure. I see no reason to believe, however, and no scriptural warrant, for a belief that a central, organizing authority will decide what wages shall be paid for what work, what the price shall be for various goods and services, or how many of what trade or profession there shall be or not be in a Zion society (providing such trade or profession is honorable and upright in its nature as a trade or profession).

If they weren't ready to share it, then wouldn't you be working with them to help prepare them for receiving the blessings you've been given and then being honoured that you are able to be the one through whom God has worked to give it to them?

Let me quote Presiden Benson again:

The law of consecration is a celestial law, not an economic experiment.

This is the core of the problem David is presenting to the normative and established understanding of the UO in the Church: the economic aspects of Zion are incidental to the larger social context of a Zion society.

Whether or not the bogey of "capitalism" is inserted into the discussion or not, if we are living the gospel now, then we are already living the LofC in our conduct and, most importantly, in our hearts. The UO is nothing more than the making explicit what is already implicit in our relations to and with our private property in the present.

The UO does not change either the privatness of our property or our control (ownership) over it. The only real change here is the explicit covenant relationship between ourselves and God that will obtain as a feature of the society as a whole. The deeding back to the individual or family his "stewardship" (all of our private property as created, bought, sold, and owned in our present "capitalist" economic order is already conceived of as a stewardship in present gospel doctrine) is the explicit reminder and symbolic representation of that explicit covenant relationship. Its also an explicit commitment to Zion as a separate, definable, gospel based society and culture, (encompassing social norms, politics and economics) which does not now exist, as we are now living in Babylon, while trying not to be of it.

We desire to share the gospel because of the joy it gives us, we desire to share our knowledge, to teach others because of the sense of purpose and meaning and capabilities that this knowledge has added to our lives.

Yes.

I cannot understand how a true follower of Christ would be generous to a fault with the intangible things of life while holding on to the material things of life

A couple (non-passionate) points:

1. Our testimony of the gospel, our joy, our knowledge, and our wisdom are inexhaustible. They are not depletable or "non-renewable" resources.

2. The material world in which we live is one of scares resources with alternative uses. The dynamics surrounding their appropriate use, and our ability to share them, is different than that surrounding our internal spiritual/psychological/intellectual characteristics.

I think the simplest way of looking at things is would you withhold any material or immaterial possessions from members of your family simply because you had the right to do so (for no other reason).

This is a straw man. No one has been making this argument.

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I find it interesting that there is so much contention on the LOC and what it means.

There is a mentality among the sons and daughters of God in mortality that is, irrespective of what may be a sincere sense of compassion for and desire to help the poor, thoroughly imbued with two fundamental desires, or ideals.

The first is the desire to level. That all are comfortable and economically secure is not enough. All must be equal.

The second is the desire to control the choices and conditions of others. It is the desire to remove the agency of others and replace it with their own. Always, this is done in the name of "compassion", "love" and "brotherhood".

The United Order, as it has been revealed, will not meet the expectations or standards of such a mind.

It will not be good enough.

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So, here's what I want to know, Droopy. You're in Zion, and you've got your stewardship and your work ethic, and you proceed to produce an great surplus, a great profit.

I hope that, whatever it may be that I bring to it, I will be able to magnify my talents and abilities there for the building of the Kingdom.

Now, the Bishop comes round and says "Hey Droopster, any surplus this week?", and you say "Oh, yes, a great surplus". Now, given that your family's needs are more than sufficiently cared for, and you still have a great surplus beyond that, do you have the right, in Zion, to say to the Biship, "So, Bishop, you can move along, I'll be keeping all this. See ya on Sunday!"?

I certainly do have that absolute right, at which point I can pack up all of my stuff and leave the Zion community. That is my right. I'm not aware, however, of anyone here who has made an argument that such an attitude as appropriate in a Zion context.

Certainly you can say that. You have the ability. I'm not asking about your agency. I'm asking about your rights. I want to know if it's a right you have in Zion.

Yes, and then I can leave.

Do you have the right to keep any surplus you produce for any reason whatever?

Legally, within Zion, as I've deeded all of my property to the Church, if I choose to defy and rebel against the laws of that covenant, I must leave the property I've deeded with the Church. I am otherwise free to move out of that community.

And by 'right' I mean, will God look down and say, "Good on ya, Droopy, what you're doing is permissible in Zion [thumbs up].

Although I've answered above, your example has nothing whatever to do with that which I've been arguing in this thread, or any other, regarding this issue.

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I do believe that there exists confusion amongst some members who have tried to fit a square peg into a round hole, i.e. Capitalism and conservative political agendas with the Gospel of Christ.

Perhaps unwittingly, David has just played his hand here, which is a good thing, because our biases and philosophical framework should be out in the open where it can be inspected and analyzed as a factor in any serious debate where fundamental principles are at stake.

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There is a mentality among the sons and daughters of God in mortality that is, irrespective of what may be a sincere sense of compassion for and desire to help the poor, thoroughly imbued with two fundamental desires, or ideals.

The first is the desire to level. That all are comfortable and economically secure is not enough. All must be equal.

The second is the desire to control the choices and conditions of others. It is the desire to remove the agency of others and replace it with their own. Always, this is done in the name of "compassion", "love" and "brotherhood".

The United Order, as it has been revealed, will not meet the expectations or standards of such a mind.

It will not be good enough.

I'm quite confident that the UO(ie,Zion) will easily exceed the expectations of everyone that seeks after it with purity of heart; regardless of your condescendingly derogatory mis-caricature of the "mentality of the sons and daughters of God" that express a differing viewpoint than you.

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I'm quite confident that the UO(ie,Zion) will easily exceed the expectations of everyone that seeks after it with purity of heart; regardless of your condescendingly derogatory mis-caricature of the "mentality of the sons and daughters of God" that express a differing viewpoint than you.

I find it interesting that you term "condescending" a principled philosophical disagreement with your own view. How you came to this conclusion, I'm not at all sure.

A bit sensitive about this issue are we?

And I do not think there is any mischaracterization. This mentality is, has been, and probably will yet be, among the most socially and morally devastating - especially to one who allows it to grow in his mind and heart - mentalities to exist among God's children here on earth.

But that is not, of course, where that mentality had its beginning...

If you would like to adduce an argument as to why it is a mischaracterization, please do so.

Please see Alma 5:29 for what I believe to be the proper characterization of this mentality.

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I don't think so. I think He knew what would happen but that's different. Brace yourself. Here's comes some doctrine according to MnG or doctrine as best I understand it... :P

Opposition exists independently being the natural state of the universe.

God works within that natural state to create order out of chaos, teaching us to master the laws by which He is governed.

These universal laws are based on the behavior of intelligence and element and are perhaps better described as naturally

occurring conditions.

God is an exalted man who lives perfectly with respect to that set of universal laws or conditions.

The only way He can circumvent opposition is to teach us how to live in unity (Zion), and the most effective way (perhaps the only way) He can get around the law of the harvest is by providing an alternate satisfaction of justice. A covenant. A scapegoat. etc... (Of course, this is satisfaction of justice is perfect as the covenant relationship with the scapegoat leads to unity anyway.)

Unity (reconciliation or atonement) is His primary goal as expressed by the Savior in the intercessory prayer, and this unity is what allows us to have a fullness of joy in spite of the naturally occuring condition of opposition.

He is omnipotent and omniscient in that He knows how to work perfectly within those laws to bring others intelligences through the process of eternal progression.

This all seems tangential to the thrust of David's thread but if you believe God is seeking to elevate us above our natural condition (Mos.3:19), then it makes sense that not only did he not create that condition, His intent is to teach us how to overcome it. The only instructions in the scriptures for creating poverty, despair, depravity, etc. consist in DISobeying God's explicit instructions and reverting to our natural state.

Remember God created a garden. Man fell and God could not allow Him to remain in that garden state without violating natural law (justice). It was man that created the lone and dreary world, not God.

edit: MDalby just posted a wonderful quote on another thread which I find applicable here.

edit: One more quick thought... often we think of the creation of the negative when we talk about opposition. Perhaps, God is creating the positive in order to bring order and balance.

Some very intersting and enlightening points. It is one reasonable way of looking at things, though I tend to see it somewhat differently--i.e. as not drawing as mutually exclusive a distinction between the creation and the material or laws by which the creation was made. It is kind of like the debate over whether guns/bullets or people that kill people. I tend to think "both".

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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This all seems tangential to the thrust of David's thread but if you believe God is seeking to elevate us above our natural condition (Mos.3:19), then it makes sense that not only did he not create that condition, His intent is to teach us how to overcome it. The only instructions in the scriptures for creating poverty, despair, depravity, etc. consist in DISobeying God's explicit instructions and reverting to our natural state.

God is seeking to elevate us above our natural condition.

Therefor, God did not create that natural condition.

This is a non-sequitur as it stands, and is missing a premise. Could you supply the middle term?

It would appear that you are implying some kind of general claim that God does not create "natural conditions" in the universe.

1. If he did not "create" the natural, fallen condition of the terrestrial earth, then who/what did? Is there a demiurge running around loose?

2. What is/are the alternatives to a "natural" condition?

Remember God created a garden. Man fell and God could not allow Him to remain in that garden state without violating natural law (justice). It was man that created the lone and dreary world, not God.

But by creating the universe according to certain, specific rules and laws, and not others, did not God both foresee and accede to the Fall, and all its attendant conditions? Is not the "natural" state of fallen humankind and the earth just as "natural" as conditions in a Terrestrial or Celestial world?

edit: One more quick thought... often we think of the creation of the negative when we talk about opposition. Perhaps, God is creating the positive in order to bring order and balance.

There would appear to be a major problem arising here in that there can be no concept of positive or negative without its opposite already existing such that the opposite could be defined and comprehended as such in relation to it. How, in other words, could God create "the positive", and define it in the absence of "the negative"? To what concept would he have referenced his creation of "positive" (Yin)?

Where in the gospel is it taught that God has the power to "create" ultimate aspects of reality, such as "opposition in all things", consciousness, matter etc.?

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This all seems tangential to the thrust of David's thread but if you believe God is seeking to elevate us above our natural condition (Mos.3:19), then it makes sense that not only did he not create that condition, His intent is to teach us how to overcome it. The only instructions in the scriptures for creating poverty, despair, depravity, etc. consist in DISobeying God's explicit instructions and reverting to our natural state.

The opposition and fall of Lucifer shows that God exists in a state of opposition.

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How, with any sense of propriety or rationality, can a heart surgeon be remunerated to the same temporal degree as a High School custodian? Upon what basis?

The comparison is evidence of applying the world's standard to measuring the worth of a man and his efforts, not God's.

Perhaps the High School custodian has been a good friend to students and teachers over the years, helping them with their projects, making sure it's a safe and clean environment not only because he was paid to do so, but because he cared about those under his stewardship. This custodian puts his whole heart and body behind his work.

Perhaps that heart surgeon chose his career simply because he wanted the glory and the money that came along with it, not because he was sincerely concerned about improving other men's lives, but only his own. This surgeon certainly is committed to doing good quality work (as opposed to good work) but for the purpose of protecting his selfish interests, his heart and body are only his and he spares for others only the minimum required to achieve his own selfish desires.

Which work in these examples do you think God would value more? Which would be valued more as the greater contributor in a Zion community (especially since the fear of death wouldn't be a factor).

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I find it interesting that there is so much contention on the LOC and what it means. We are still under obligation to live it, regardless of the society we live in and it therefore is an individual responsibility. However, if we are talking about the church as a whole living under a United Order then I think we need to understand that we are even further away from that than the early saints, given the amount of contention within the church. In order to live the LOC as a body we need to be first unified as a church, and that means we are of one heart and one mind. I think we have a way to go.

And I want to add that no secular government on earth today is capable of justly administering the goods of others to support the poor. It is not something that should be coerced and certainly when unrighteous men make such decisions there will be injustice.

Thank you for that comment, Deborah. I agree with everything you said. Interesting observation - as we see the dissolution of Zion in 4 Nephi, the first symptom listed is pride Pres. Benson said that pride is enmity. If we feel enimty then we create adversaries rather than seeking understanding. Ironically, this kind of dogmatism paints a stark contrast with our national icon of conservatism, whose greatest adversary said:

To reach agreement, particularly on arms control and security, we had to overcome mistrust and the barriers of numerous problems and prejudices. I don't know whether we would have been able to agree and to insist on the implementation of our agreements with a different person at the helm of American government. True, Reagan was a man of the right. But, while adhering to his convictions, with which one could agree or disagree, he was not dogmatic; he was looking for negotiations and cooperation. And this was the most important thing to me: he had the trust of the American people. ~ Mikhail Gorbachev

I'm quite confident that the UO(ie,Zion) will easily exceed the expectations of everyone that seeks after it with purity of heart;

Indeed.

Some very intersting and enlightening points. It is one reasonable way of looking at things, though I tend to see it somewhat differently--i.e. as not drawing as mutually exclusive a distinction between the creation and the material or laws by which the creation was made. It is kind of like the debate over whether guns/bullets or people that kill people. I tend to think "both".

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

But what if the only way to survive is to walk a pathway called sniper alley and guns are firing non-stop. What if one who has already traversed the path ppromises safety if you follow His voice but danger if you don't. Do you blame Him for the gunfire?

I get your point Wade and appreciate your consistent efforts toward achieving understanding. I have a feeling that if/when we are asked to live this law fully our relatively insignificant differences of opinion won't matter to either of us. We'll be shoulder to shoulder, building Zion together, because in the end we both want the same thing.

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The opposition and fall of Lucifer shows that God exists in a state of opposition.

Yup.

See my comment from the same post you are excerpting:

Opposition exists independently being the natural state of the universe.

God works within that natural state to create order out of chaos, teaching us to master the laws by which He is governed.

But God also teaches us to rise above the impact of that opposition by living the celestial law. He conquers death and hell. He wipe ALL tears from our faces. ALL enemies are trodden under His feet. etc.

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It would appear that you are implying some kind of general claim that God does not create "natural conditions" in the universe.

The phrase from both Alma is "God would cease to be God". This clearly implies that He is subject to some laws/conditions. Of course, the answer to your question depends on what specific laws/conditions you refer to. I'm specifically referring to the laws of opposition and justice. There is also the law of invariableness (i.e. God cannot change without ceasing to be God - that one's from Mormon).

1. If he did not "create" the natural, fallen condition of the terrestrial earth, then who/what did? Is there a demiurge running around loose?

The natural behavior of intelligence and element is bound to these same laws/conditions. Hence even the earth responded to the crucifixion and a man requires a physical change to see God in His glory. All these things are tied together. God doesn't have to create the "negative" things in mortality, our fallen condition elicits a response from the very elements. The earth, which abides the celestial law (JS said that), mourns because of her inhabitants (Moses 7) inspiring Enoch to cry out on her behalf. More natural law. Sinful inhabitants cannot inhabit a celestial world - violates justice.

2. What is/are the alternatives to a "natural" condition?

Are we talking about man's fallen nature or the universal conditions that exist beyond mortality?. The alternative to the former is godliness or perdition - both having full knowledge and full accountability. The latter exists independently which is why we must choose to list to one side or the other - godliness or perdition.

But by creating the universe according to certain, specific rules and laws, and not others, did not God both foresee and accede to the Fall, and all its attendant conditions?

There is no other way nor means by which salvation cometh.

Is not the "natural" state of fallen humankind and the earth just as "natural" as conditions in a Terrestrial or Celestial world?
Interesting question. In each state, we are still subject to the universal laws. As we progress, we are increasingly segregated from opposing conditions, however. Hence God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. Those who oppose God must be cast out. Also notice the description in D&C 76 - celestial beings minister to terrestrial, terrestrial to telestial.
There would appear to be a major problem arising here in that there can be no concept of positive or negative without its opposite already existing such that the opposite could be defined and comprehended as such in relation to it. How, in other words, could God create "the positive", and define it in the absence of "the negative"? To what concept would he have referenced his creation of "positive" (Yin)?

If chaos exists, there is no order. Until there is. At which point you either have a degree of order alongside a degree of disorder OR you have diminishing disorder until there is perfect order.

Where in the gospel is it taught that God has the power to "create" ultimate aspects of reality, such as "opposition in all things", consciousness, matter etc.?

Um. I didn't say that. I said the opposite of that. In the quote you are excerpting here, I was referring to specific aspects of mortality that we presently consider to be negative. These are created by the reaction of intelligence and element to our fallen nature.

(Not sure that makes any more sense to you but as always, you are free to disregard, especially given the post began with my disclaimer that this is gospel according to me - i.e. as I understand it.)

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Perhaps the High School custodian has been a good friend to students and teachers over the years, helping them with their projects, making sure it's a safe and clean environment not only because he was paid to do so, but because he cared about those under his stewardship. This custodian puts his whole heart and body behind his work.

But most of this is completely peripheral, if not irrelevant, to what he is actually worth in a free market for the skills he has (those of a custodian). The question is what the market (those in need of custodial services) determines his skills are worth to them, given the available supply of labor in this area, and the level of competency he brings to the job they need done. Even if this custodian puts his "whole heart and body" behind his work, if the work is substandard, or not done at the level of competence necessary, how can continued employment be justified?

Perhaps that heart surgeon chose his career simply because he wanted the glory and the money that came along with it, not because he was sincerely concerned about improving other men's lives, but only his own. This surgeon certainly is committed to doing good quality work (as opposed to good work) but for the purpose of protecting his selfish interests, his heart and body are only his and he spares for others only the minimum required to achieve his own selfish desires.

If I am on the operating table under his knife, I am concerned with one primary attribute: his competence. His motives for entering the field of heart surgery are as far from my mind as any could be.

Which work in these examples do you think God would value more? Which would be valued more as the greater contributor in a Zion community (especially since the fear of death wouldn't be a factor).

1. In pitting competence against internal motives for entering a certain field of profession, I think you may be posing a false dichotomy. A competent auto mechanic who values my business because of his greed is more useful to me, when I need work done on my car, then a righteous, non-greedy mechanic who lacks knowledge and perception.

A heart surgeon who operates on me needs to be really, really good at what he does. His motives and incentives for his high degree of competence are of no particular interest to me (one member of the market for his particular services).

2. You have not engaged the points or argument I'm making here. A free market values a skilled electrician or computer programmer more than it does a janitor, a car wash attendant, or a restaurant bus boy, and rewards him/her monetarily commensurate with that valuation. The reasons for this are completely natural and mundane, and have nothing to do with righteousness/unrighteousness. A heart surgeon's skills are rare, exceedingly difficult to attain, and competence critical. A High School custodian's skills are common, easy to attain, and he may be easily replaced if job performance is substandard.

There is no right or wrong here, and no great morality play involved in the understanding of the basic laws of economics.

This is not to say that economic choices do not reflect moral and spiritual realities, for they most certainly do. The popularity of pornography, vulgar, base forms of entertainment, illegal drug use, and trivial pop culture are all indicative of economic choices that reflect internal spiritual states.

But even here, the market for Madonna doesn't reflect her motives for becoming a pop star. All it reflects is the value placed on what she does on stage and in the recording studio, and that value is reflected as a money price.

There's nothing good or evil about money, prices, or the free agency based environment (free market) for them, though we may agree that Madonna herself has had deleterious effects on society and would rather those in the free market make other choices.

That, however, is another question.

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Thank you for that comment, Deborah. I agree with everything you said. Interesting observation - as we see the dissolution of Zion in 4 Nephi, the first symptom listed is pride Pres. Benson said that pride is enmity. If we feel enimty then we create adversaries rather than seeking understanding.

The Saints, if they are living the gospel, are in a state of utter enmity with the world. Indeed, according to the scriptures, the world cannot even understand the Saints or their values, so "foolish" do they appear.

What I really think you fear here, M&C, is a strong, firm position on anything.

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The Saints, if they are living the gospel, are in a state of utter enmity with the world. Indeed, according to the scriptures, the world cannot even understand the Saints or their values, so "foolish" do they appear.

What I really think you fear here, M&G, is a strong, firm position on anything.

Au Contraire.

I have long since abandoned fear in favor of a perfect love. :P

edit: How is this for a strong opinion? It's from the Ensign April 1975 article Atonement: The Only Wholeness

Worse than the sins that we recognize to be sins are those we do not recognize to be sins in our false atonement with this world
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The phrase from both Alma is "God would cease to be God". This clearly implies that He is subject to some laws/conditions. Of course, the answer to your question depends on what specific laws/conditions you refer to. I'm specifically referring to the laws of opposition and justice. There is also the law of invariableness (i.e. God cannot change without ceasing to be God - that one's from Mormon).

So you believe that at one point, the cosmos was a monistic cosmos in which only good, and not evil, was present, and then at some point God "created" or brought about its opposite?

The natural behavior of intelligence and element is bound to these same laws/conditions. Hence even the earth responded to the crucifixion and a man requires a physical change to see God in His glory. All these things are tied together. God doesn't have to create the "negative" things in mortality, our fallen condition elicits a response from the very elements. The earth, which abides the celestial law (JS said that), mourns because of her inhabitants (Moses 7) inspiring Enoch to cry out on her behalf. More natural law. Sinful inhabitants cannot inhabit a celestial world - violates justice.

If God creates a cosmos capable and, indeed, inexorably committed to the development of certain states and conditions, is not God then, in a very strong sense, the "creator" of those states and conditions?

But again, the idea of God "creating" one of the opposites in isolation from the other would seem to raise a very high wall to be scaled.

Are we talking about man's fallen nature or the universal conditions that exist beyond mortality?.

It appeared to me that you were saying that the "opposition in all things" that is an inherent feature of reality itself is not God's creation but a side effect of fallen mortality that humans have brought about through their own conduct here. You also appeared to be saying that God had created one principle (positive - Yin) and that human sin had somehow brought the other (negative - Yang) into existence.

The alternative to the former is godliness or perdition - both having full knowledge and full accountability. The latter exists independently which is why we must choose to list to one side or the other - godliness or perdition.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but are you saying that the positive is dependent while the negative is independent?

Um. I didn't say that. I said the opposite of that. In the quote you are excerpting here, I was referring to specific aspects of mortality that we presently consider to be negative. These are created by the reaction of intelligence and element to our fallen nature.

What do you mean by "we presently consider to be negative"?

Is negativity only a shadow, or surface phenomena created by our contact with matter, or is it an eternal principle in eternal dynamic interaction with positivity?

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Au Contraire. I have long since abandoned fear in favor of a perfect love. :P

Good for you. I've got a ways to go on the "perfect" part yet, and I want to continue, and expand, my enmity with the Great and Spacious Building.

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So you believe that at one point, the cosmos was a monistic cosmos in which only good, and not evil, was present, and then at some point God "created" or brought about its opposite?

No. You can't have one without the other ever but you can order the opposition.

If God creates a cosmos capable and, indeed, inexorably committed to the development of certain states and conditions, is not God then, in a very strong sense, the "creator" of those states and conditions?

If we live in a completely tepid environment and suddenly I make all the water molecules on the earth boil, I have created heat but also defined the cold. Did I create the cold or just define it by creating its opposite?

But again, the idea of God "creating" one of the opposites in isolation from the other would seem to raise a very high wall to be scaled.

Perhaps. Check out Changed's thread on the word "create".

It appeared to me that you were saying that the "opposition in all things" that is an inherent feature of reality itself is not God's creation but a side effect of fallen mortality that humans have brought about through their own conduct here. You also appeared to be saying that God had created one principle (positive - Yin) and that human sin had somehow brought the other (negative - Yang) into existence.

Yes on opposition being inherent.

Yes on God creating good, which by the mere creation defines evil.

Yes on man (and all intelligence and element) actualizing the creation of evil by disobeying God.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but are you saying that the positive is dependent while the negative is independent?

Hmmm. I haven't thought of in those terms. Look at my last answer - if I understand your question I think that answers it.

What do you mean by "we presently consider to be negative"?

In mortality. For example, most people probably consider death a negative. Poverty a negative. Illness a negative.

Is negativity only a shadow, or surface phenomena created by our contact with matter, or is it an eternal principle in eternal dynamic interaction with positivity?

There is opposition eternally. Exaltation and Perdition. But we become increasingly segregated as God makes order out of the chaos and elements and intelligences that abide the celestial law are perfected. So, for the righteous, we inherit good while the sons of perdition gnash and wail. So even while opposition exists, we live separately from it. The sons of God live in peace while the Sons of perdition live in anguish. etc.

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Droopy,

You said I didn't have a strong opinion. I expressed one:

It's from the Ensign April 1975 article Atonement: The Only Wholeness

Worse than the sins that we recognize to be sins are those we do not recognize to be sins in our false atonement with this world
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Droopy,

You said I didn't have a strong opinion. I expressed one:

It's from the Ensign April 1975 article Atonement: The Only Wholeness

Care to comment?

MnG

Yes:

Arthur Henry King, professor of English at Brigham Young University, serves as high councilor in the Orem Utah South Stake.

I have used in my posts the D&C Institute manual, statements of Prophets and Apostles of the Lord published in official Church source materials who's comments form a consistent body of teaching on this subject, and secondarily, the statements of distinguished LDS scholars, such as Sperry, Ludlow etc.

I don't know what "neither capitalism or communism" means, and I highly doubt Professor King knows either.

Let's go over it all again, from an earlier post:

(L-4) The Fundamentals of Stewardship

Receiving a stewardship. Once consecration of all things was made to the Church, the individual was ready to receive a stewardship and accept complete accountability for it. President Romney described this process:

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