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The Sermon on the Mount and the LofC


David Bokovoy

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Hey Wade,

I wouldn't mind discussing with you how God creates poverty. Mosiah 12:4-8 is an example of God telling people that He Himself would cause famine and pestilence. Would you believe that some people dismiss this as God lying?

I can see how you might interpret those good people in that way. However, I read them somewhat differently as saying they interpret the "God causes poverty" passages figuratively. And, I view those good people as having made a reasonable case for their point of view, and this even though at least one of them seems disinclined to return the favor and even though I tend to think like you in reading the passages more literally.

The good news, as I see it, is that in the here-and-now, and in terms of our respectively working to become like Christ and to fulfill the four-fold mission of his Church, I don't know that it matters one whit whether those passages are interpreted literally or figuratively--though I could be wrong about this.

I believe MnG is correct in suggesting that we all are working in good faith towards the same worthy goal, and that is what matters. And, I trust that down the road, when God definitively reveals his mind on the matter, that we each will conform our minds to be one with his--which transition, I suspect, will be much easier the less rigid and dogmatic we are in our current positions. We'll see.

Maybe we could go to an example of God cursing someone and then they very quickly became a poverty-stricken beggar because of the curse. Remember Korihor? He was stricken dumb and then had to go house to house begging for food. [Alma 30:56, 58] Oh but I am sure that his poverty would have happened without him being stricken dumb. All that God did was to take away his ability to speak and that, clearly, did not lead to his begging. But wait, God only withdraws from the wicked and leaves them to themselves. God would never do anything negative to anyone. I then doubt that He struck Korihor dumb. ( italics = sarcastic)

Or remember the time that God cut off the arms of certain Lamanites. [Alma 17] I am sure they went on to lead prosperous lives and never had trouble getting a job.

Or D&C 24 - Those who receive you not, will be cursed by God. Sounds positive.

D&C 104 - Those who do not keep covenants will be cursed by God and trodden down by whom He will.

Examples go on and on and on......

We should remember that just because we think something is bad that does not make it evil when God does it. Did Nephi commit evil when he slayed Laban? God is not doing evil to people by cursing them and sending famine and poverty. In fact, God's curses are often referred to as being done for our sakes.

(A)We know that "every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God." [Moroni 7:16]

(B)We also know that Alma and Amulek were excited by meeting people who were prepared to hear the gospel through their poverty. Alma viewed their being compelled to be humble as a blessing. How were they compelled to be humble? Through poverty.

©Thus poverty was a blessing from God or rather a cursing for their sake. God creates poverty.

A + B = C

When it comes to Zion, it is clear that God has no intention of having poverty in that society. If anyone in Zion tried to oppress others and create any poverty they would be cast out and/or trodden down by whom He will. In fact, those who oppress others currently find themselves under the same condemnation.

Excellent analysis and argumentation. For now, I agree.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I can see how you might interpret those good people in that way. However, I read them somewhat differently as saying they interpret the "God causes poverty" passages figuratively

In terms of my perspective, it's not simply a matter of "figurative vs. literal" analysis (though this is an important issue). The issue also involves whether God should be seen as the cause and/or maker of a punishment or whether in reality that eternal law coupled with human agency represents the true "cause."

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I can see how you might interpret those good people in that way. However, I read them somewhat differently as saying they interpret the "God causes poverty" passages figuratively. And, I view those good people as having made a reasonable case for their point of view, and this even though at least one of them seems disinclined to return the favor and even though I tend to think like you in reading the passages more literally.

The good news, as I see it, is that in the here-and-now, and in terms of our respectively working to become like Christ and to fulfill the four-fold mission of his Church, I don't know that it matters one whit whether those passages are interpreted literally or figuratively--though I could be wrong about this.

I believe MnG is correct in suggesting that we all are working in good faith towards the same worthy goal, and that is what matters. And, I trust that down the road, when God definitively reveals his mind on the matter, that we each will conform our minds to be one with his--which transition, I suspect, will be much easier the less rigid and dogmatic we are in our current positions. We'll see.

Well said.

In terms of my perspective, it's not simply a matter of "figurative vs. literal" analysis (though this is an important issue). The issue also involves whether God should be seen as the cause and/or maker of a punishment or whether in reality that eternal law coupled with human agency represents the true "cause."

Does eternal law have power beyond that of God's? I say no. (Mosiah 4:9) God is perfect and eternal and therefore any eternal law that he may have ever been subject to is now perfectly in Him. He would never go against such laws because He is perfect. Thus, He is the law and has all power, both in "heaven and in earth" (or the 'universe' as you have pointed out. See I pay attention :P ). God cannot pass the buck and say, "Golly guys I'm on your side, but this dang eternal law is gonna come down on you." God has all power and as a perfect being would never allow His justice to be robbed. All the scriptures that say that if God does X He would cease to be God can be better thought of as He would have never been God because he would not have been perfect and eternal if such a flaw could ever be found in Him. We could not have faith in a being that could do X.

So where you say "eternal law coupled with human agency " I say, "The justice of God coupled with human agency" represents the true "cause". (Alma 42:14) This is our big disconnect as I see it; our placement of where the power resides.

Can you see my reasoning and how I reach my conclusion?

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Does eternal law have power beyond that of God's? I say no. (Mosiah 4:9) God is perfect and eternal and therefore any eternal law that he may have ever been subject to is now perfectly in Him. He would never go against such laws because He is perfect. Thus, He is the law and has all power, both in "heaven and in earth" (or the 'universe' as you have pointed out. See I pay attention :P ). God cannot pass the buck and say, "Golly guys I'm on your side, but this dang eternal law is gonna come down on you." God has all power and as a perfect being would never allow His justice to be robbed. All the scriptures that say that if God does X He would cease to be God can be better thought of as He would have never been God because he would not have been perfect and eternal if such a flaw could ever be found in Him. We could not have faith in a being that could do X.

So where you say "eternal law coupled with human agency " I say, "The justice of God coupled with human agency" represents the true "cause". (Alma 42:14) This is our big disconnect as I see it; our placement of where the power resides.

Can you see my reasoning and how I reach my conclusion?

Mansquatch,

Have you read the King Follett Discourse? Do you think Joseph Smith was right? If God is an exalted man, then how did He become exalted? What laws governed His progression?

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Mansquatch,

Have you read the King Follett Discourse? Do you think Joseph Smith was right? If God is an exalted man, then how did He become exalted? What laws governed His progression?

That is why I said, "God is perfect and eternal and therefore any eternal law that he may have ever been subject to is now perfectly in Him"

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That is why I said, "God is perfect and eternal and therefore any eternal law that he may have ever been subject to is now perfectly in Him"

So He was subject to laws but those laws ceased to exist?

The problem I have with this concept of God is that it doesn't explain why His anger/justice demanded the infinite and eternal sacrifice of His Son. If He makes the demand that justice be satisfied, then why not accept a goat? a basket of fruit & veggies? a cash donation? This God is capricious, His every action determined only by His own whim. What parent would allow their own child to suffer an infinite and eternal torment to satisfy His own want? Certainly not "the great parent of the universe". Certainly not a parent who would never give a stone where bread is requested.

There is a beautiful resolution to this question of God's nature that does not diminish Him in the slightest and yet explains the necessity of the atonement beyond simply "God demanded it".

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In terms of my perspective, it's not simply a matter of "figurative vs. literal" analysis (though this is an important issue). The issue also involves whether God should be seen as the cause and/or maker of a punishment or whether in reality that eternal law coupled with human agency represents the true "cause."

Or, in certain respects and in the minds of some, it may be viewed as both. But, I appreciate your clarification.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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So He was subject to laws but those laws ceased to exist?

Please reread. It does not cease to exist.

The problem I have with this concept of God is that it doesn't explain why His anger/justice demanded the infinite and eternal sacrifice of His Son.

The justice of God coupled with 'free agency' demands the Atonement of Christ. Christ gives us the freedom to act and not just "be acted upon" as Satan's plan called for. We are free to choose and we all make mistakes with those choices, God knew this and didn't want to lose His children in the process of our growing to be like Him. He is perfect and eternal and for us to have any chance at being perfect and eternal an eternal sacrifice would have to be made to appease the perfect justice of God that He has because He is perfect. Without this perfect justice coming from Him, He is not perfect and thus never would have been God. (Alma 42:25)

If He makes the demand that justice be satisfied, then why not accept a goat? a basket of fruit & veggies? a cash donation?

Those do not satisfy the justice of God. Unless you can find a divine goat, banana or dollar capable of being an eternal sacrifice and bringing resurrection to mankind.

This God is capricious, His every action determined only by His own whim.

How can a perfect and eternal God that exercises perfect justice unchangingly, be considered capricious and be ruled by whims?

What parent would allow their own child to suffer an infinite and eternal torment to satisfy His own want?

A perfect One whose want is for His children to grow to be perfect like Him and still know good from bad and sorrow from joy.

There is a beautiful resolution to this question of God's nature that does not diminish Him in the slightest and yet explains the necessity of the atonement beyond simply "God demanded it".

And that is that a power higher than God demanded it?

I believe that God has all power, both "in heaven and in earth". To recognize God's perfection is not to diminish Him but quite the opposite. "...but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility." Recognizing the perfect justice of God helps one to see how much He truly loves us and how truly merciful He is.

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Well said.

Does eternal law have power beyond that of God's? I say no. (Mosiah 4:9) God is perfect and eternal and therefore any eternal law that he may have ever been subject to is now perfectly in Him. He would never go against such laws because He is perfect. Thus, He is the law and has all power, both in "heaven and in earth" (or the 'universe' as you have pointed out. See I pay attention :P ). God cannot pass the buck and say, "Golly guys I'm on your side, but this dang eternal law is gonna come down on you." God has all power and as a perfect being would never allow His justice to be robbed. All the scriptures that say that if God does X He would cease to be God can be better thought of as He would have never been God because he would not have been perfect and eternal if such a flaw could ever be found in Him. We could not have faith in a being that could do X.

So where you say "eternal law coupled with human agency " I say, "The justice of God coupled with human agency" represents the true "cause". (Alma 42:14) This is our big disconnect as I see it; our placement of where the power resides.

Can you see my reasoning and how I reach my conclusion?

I do. And, I would also add that God, in his role as Judge, pronounces punishments. So, even if his pronouncements are in line with eternal law, one may reasonably view the punishments as literally coming from him.

To me, it is not unlike an earthly judge sentencing me to pay the minimum traffic fine as proscibed by the law. While one may reasonably say that the punishment is a function of the law, and not the judge, one may also reasonably view the punishment as literally coming from the judge--and this because the punishment of the law is not enforced until it is pronounced by the judge.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Or, in certain respects and in the minds of some, it may be viewed as both. But, I appreciate your clarification.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Very true, it can be viewed as both. However what I am harping on and emphasizing is that I do not worship eternal laws, I worship God. I do not make covenants with eternal laws, I make them with God. Eternal laws are not the ultimate power in my life, God is.

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Please reread. It does not cease to exist.

Sorry worded badly.

The justice of God coupled with 'free agency' demands the Atonement of Christ. Christ gives us the freedom to act and not just "be acted upon" as Satan's plan called for. We are free to choose and we all make mistakes with those choices, God knew this and didn't want to lose His children in the process of our growing to be like Him. He is perfect and eternal and for us to have any chance at being perfect and eternal an eternal sacrifice would have to be made to appease the perfect justice of God that He has because He is perfect. Without this perfect justice coming from Him, He is not perfect and thus never would have been God. (Alma 42:25)

How does killing Christ appease Him? Why does He need to be appeased if He chooses to be just? If He is above these laws He used to be subjected to, He can change them right? What compels Him to be unchanging? What compels Him to be just? You are saying He has to be just because He's God and God is just. He's perfect and pefect means just and He can't be otherwise because that's who He is. I'm asking WHY? If there is no governing determiner to define Him other than Himself, why can's He be otherwise? Who decides that perfect means just? And who decided that unclean beings can't live in His presence and be like Him? If He truly is the creator of all the laws, then what possessed Him to create a law that would require the infinite and eternal torment of His beloved Son?

Mansquatch, I'm pushing you for the same reason you pushed me earlier. Not to just be obstinate. As I said, there is a beautfiul resolution to all these issues that does not diminish God in the slightest.

Those do not satisfy the justice of God. Unless you can find a divine goat, banana or dollar capable of being an eternal sacrifice and bringing resurrection to mankind.

But God made the rules, so why couldn't He have picked something else? That's what I'm asking, Mansquatch. WHY?

How can a perfect and eternal God that exercises perfect justice unchangingly, be considered capricious and be ruled by whims?

That's what I'm asking you :P I wannt to know why this God who is not subject to any laws, decided of His own free will and choice to make the price the life and death of His Son.

A perfect One whose want is for His children to grow to be perfect like Him and still know good from bad and sorrow from joy.

How does God choosing to sacrifice His Son to meet an arbitrary punishment that He Himself designed to appease His own need for justice propel us forward spiritually?

And that is that a power higher than God demanded it?

Au contraire!

I believe that God has all power, both "in heaven and in earth". To recognize God's perfection is not to diminish Him but quite the opposite. "...but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility." Recognizing the perfect justice of God helps one to see how much He truly loves us and how truly merciful He is.

I agree with everything you've written here because none of it is in contrast to what I have said or what I know to be true. God's perfection is not diminished by the boundaries that govern His behavior any more than your perfection is diminshed by your living the commandments. Does living the commandments diminish your power or increase it?

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1. Hwo does killing Christ appease Him?

2. Why does He need to be appeased if He chooses to be just?

3. If He is above these laws He used to be subjected to, He can change them right?

4. What compels Him to be unchanging?

5. What compels Him to be just?

1. Christ was not killed, He chose to die. And He chose to suffer for all of us through His own free will.

2. Perfect justice, which He possesses because He is perfect.

3. I didn't say He was above them I said by being perfect He is the law. Being perfect also means that He is unchangeable.(<--that sentence can keep you thinking for a long time) Since He is the law and He is unchangeable then the law is unchangeable.

4. If you are perfect and eternal then change is impossible.

5. Perfection. To be clear nothing compels Him besides Himself. He is perfect and would not want anything other than what is perfect.

You are saying He has to be just because He's God and God is just.

I am saying He is just because He is perfect.

He's perfect and pefect means just and He can't be otherwise because that's who He is. I'm asking WHY?

Are you asking why is He perfect? or Why can't He change?

If there is no governing determiner to define Him other than Himself, why can's He be otherwise?

By nature of being perfected according to the eternal laws, that He may or may not have been subject to previously, He is now the governing determiner. If He chose to change something like justice then He would not have been perfect would He? He would have never actually been God.

Who decides that perfect means just?

God, who has all power by virtue of His perfection.

And who decided that unclean beings can't live in His presence and be like Him?

Unclean things are, by definition, not like Him. However, it is not as though He says to unclean things, "Eeew get away, you are unclean". Unclean things are disobedient to the laws of God. These are the laws that He has given to us that are what we need to be perfected. Thus it is impossible for unclean things to be perfected like God and live the life God lives, AKA have eternal life.

If He truly is the creator of all the laws, then what possessed Him to create a law that would require the infinite and eternal torment of His beloved Son?

Once again, He is not above the laws, He is the law. You seem to be saying that God is below the law and that the law is a big, bad, scary thing that is mean. I tell you that because He is perfect according to eternal laws He is the law. Not above or below, but one and the same.

Mansquatch, I'm pushing you for the same reason you pushed me earlier. Not to just be obstinate. As I said, there is a beautfiul resolution to all these issues that does not diminish God in the slightest.

As I said, "I believe that God has all power, both "in heaven and in earth". To recognize God's perfection is not to diminish Him but quite the opposite. "...but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility." Recognizing the perfect justice of God helps one to see how much He truly loves us and how truly merciful He is."

But God made the rules, so why couldn't He have picked something else?

He is the rules. He governs His behavior and He is perfect. If He strayed from justice He was not actually perfect was He?

That's what I'm asking you :P I wannt to know why this God who is not subject to any laws, decided of His own free will and choice to make the price the life and death of His Son.

How does God choosing to sacrifice His Son to meet an arbitrary punishment that He Himself designed to appease His own need for justice propel us forward spiritually?

Arbitrary? I don't think so.

Justice is required to achieve and maintain perfection. To achieve the perfect nature of God and still learn what God knows about opposition, we require mercy. Christ chose of His own free will to be the means of that mercy. He could have given us all bodies and had us return directly to Him, but then we would know nothing of having faith in things past, present and future which we need to be eternal beings with eternal life and to have perfect faith like Him. We would know nothing of freedom and choosing to follow God's laws. And we would not truly understand His love for us and thus could not share it with other children.

Au contraire!

You were not saying that God was under the law?

I agree with everything you've written here because none of it is in contrast to what I have said or what I know to be true. God's perfection is not diminished by the boundaries that govern His behavior any more than your perfection is diminshed by your living the commandments. Does living the commandments diminish your power or increase it?

As I said before, God governs His behavior. These "boundaries that govern His behavior" that you speak of, that is Him because He is perfect. He doesn't make up rules as He goes because He is perfect and His laws are already perfect, no change necessary or possible. God does not wake up everyday and decide to be obedient to some laws or commandments that He has been given. God is perfect and eternal. Nothing is above Him.

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Mansquatch,

Respectfully, (and I really mean that!) you aren't answering any of my questions. You are just repeating the same thing over and over. Maybe I'm asking the questions badly.

Your basic answer to the big question "WHY?" is because that's what God said/does/is. That doesn't really answer the questions I'm asking, it's just begging them.

1. God demands justice.

2. How do you know?

3. He demands an atonement for sin.

4. Why does God demand an atonement for sin?

5. Because God is perfectly just.

So let's start with your presumption: "God is the rules."

If God is the rules, why did He propose the plan that required the life of His sinless Son to satisfy His own demand for justice?

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Mansquatch,

Respectfully, (and I really mean that!) you aren't answering any of my questions. You are just repeating the same thing over and over. Maybe I'm asking the questions badly.

Your basic answer to the big question "WHY?" is because that's what God said/does/is. That doesn't really answer the questions I'm asking, it's just begging them.

1. God demands justice.

2. How do you know?

3. He demands an atonement for sin.

4. Why does God demand an atonement for sin?

5. Because God is perfectly just.

So let's start with your presumption: "God is the rules."

If God is the rules, why did He propose the plan that required the life of His sinless Son to satisfy His own demand for justice?

If He allowed His mercy to rob His justice He would not be or have ever actually been God and we would not exist (at least not in any form I can imagine).

God will not change the rules, because they are perfect and so is He.

The atonement for the imperfections of His children could not come from something that wasn't one of His children, that is not just. "How is it just that Christ suffered for everyone else?" one might ask. It is just because He did it voluntarily and chose that He would do it for all of us. Christ was/is the greatest among us and was the only one who could have properly carried out any of the roles He has.

I will try this too:

1. God demands justice.

2. How do you know?

3. He demands an atonement for sin. Justice is a perfect eternal law, thus God, being perfect, lives it perfectly

4. Why does God demand an atonement for sin?

5. Because God is perfectly just.

God is perfect and the laws are perfect = tied - no one is above the other (although God has an advantage as an actual conscious being and can thus carry out the laws)

I hope one of the above is more clear. Thanks for your patience with me and thanks for making an attempt to understand what I am talking about.

As soon as I hit reply last time I realized that I did just say the same thing over and over again. :P

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As soon as I hit reply last time I realized that I did just say the same thing over and over again. ;)

That's okay, I was asking the same questions over and over again. LOL.

In fairness (and I think I said this very early in the discussion) I don't like the term "law" because I think it is misleading. We tend to think of laws written on stone being brought down from the mountaintop when we hear that word and I believe the law that binds God is more accurately described as (1) an understanding of the nature of lesser intelligences and (2) a covenant that respects both our will and our nature.

We covenant with God that we will be His people and that He will be our God.

I don't believe that covenant began in mortality. It seems reasonable to me that it began when we accepted the plan and kept the first estate (at least).

So at the very least, God is bound (says so Himself in D&C 82) by covenant.

I'm way too tired to get into the atonement theory tonight and we've totally derailed David's thread, about which he has been very gracious, but if you want to continue discussing tomorrow, I'll be happy to tell you why I believe the atonement was the only path to salvation and even exaltation and how it all relates to consecration - the covenant that parts the veil.

Sleep well, Mansquatch :P

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A brief sidenote:

Capitalism is often talked of as if it was an Enlightenment era idea or perhaps a slightly early Protestant one i.e. Weber's theory. This simply isn't true. Modern capitalist theory has its roots in Scholastic theology and natural law philosophy.

For those interested, see the following:

Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (Random House, 2005)

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., "The Church and Economics" in his How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2005)

Alejandro A. Chafuen, Faith and Liberty: The Economic Thought of the Late Scholastics (Lexington Books, 2003)

Murray N. Rothbard, An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, Vol. 1: Economic Thought Before Adam Smith (Edward Elgar, 1995)

This isn't meant to add to the current debate. Just straightening out some historical misconceptions and providing resources for those who care.

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In terms of my perspective, it's not simply a matter of "figurative vs. literal" analysis (though this is an important issue). The issue also involves whether God should be seen as the cause and/or maker of a punishment or whether in reality that eternal law coupled with human agency represents the true "cause."

The "cause" is the initial conditions - all of them. The initial conditions of the exercise of free agency involve the existence of an organized, coherent universe predicated upon a body of laws governing the structure and conditions under which that universe will exist, and the manner in which cause and effect relationships will proceed within that universe.

The structure and calibration of the universe is important to what phenomena will be able to manifest themselves within in it and in what manner.

Hence, while the idea of God "causing" poverty, or wealth, or sin, or good, or any of the phenomena with which mortals deal is quite an oversimplification, it is no oversimplification to say that God, as the creator (organizer, architect) of the universe, is responsibility for both the initial conditions as well as their fine structure.

This doesn't make God "responsible" of things like poverty or the suffering and punishment attendant to sin, in any direct manner, and cannot, as it is only individual agency that can decide its own response to the universe as created (and the options are quite varied).

It does make poverty, war, crime, sin, and suffering for sin possible, and indeed, inevitable, given the existence of agency and its overriding freedom of application within the gospel plan, and in this, God must certainly, as creator and sustainer, be responsible for creating the critical conditions under which "the veil of tears" exists and has its unique characteristics.

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Can we look at another group of converts?

Alma 24:18 And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man

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Can we look at another group of converts?

Alma 24:18 And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man

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I just want to add here that one of the fundamental problems with government "entitlement" programs is that those who fund them resent it and those who benefit temporally from them don't benefit in an exalting way.

Agreed!!!

When it was forced/confiscated from the "giver" and when the receiver receives it from a non-human, faceless, heartless bureaucracy then neither is edified. The "giver" becomes resentful and the receiver grows an entitled mentality. Entitled to the fruits of the labor of others. (Is out-right theft far behind?)

The reason consecration is effective is that the one who receives knows that he is blessed because other want him to be saved. This love begets love. The distribution of goods is an act of love, not compulsion or resentment. It is personal. It is individual. It is Christ-like. Giving money without love isn't exalting - it's demeaning.

:P

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Vance,

I want to clarify that I do think all people are deserving of our care, love, concern, and temporal succor. I think the entitlement mentality you refer to grows out of something else. I think it is born of a degraded sense of self that comes from being resented for being a burden, whether or not one contributed to that circumstance. When people feel marginalized, they feel justified in their anger, covetous, and 'entitled'. What ends up happening is that a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle creates classes of people who feel almost innate enmity for one another. This is not from God and it ends with people enslaved - led carefully away into captivity.

True compassion changes both the giver and the receiver. Begrudging giving and greed degrade. Rationalized covetousness and angry class envy degrade. Someone has to be willing to stop the cycle and the only way to do so was illustrated perfectly by Christ who, being rich, became impoverished for us. It can be motivated by nothing less than Christlike love and it can require nothing less personal sacrifice. And it must be done freely. This is why the government can never create Zion.

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Mercy,

I don't pretend to know the causes of the entitlement mentality, I only know that it exists. I agree that it is very destructive.

The problem is that a change of heart is needed for the "entitled" to break the cycle. I think we both know that continuing the government dole is not a productive way to accomplish it.

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The problem is that a change of heart is needed for the "entitled" to break the cycle. I think we both know that continuing the government dole is not a productive way to accomplish it.

That is correct. In fact, "the dole" is in opposition LDS doctrine and the whole idea of the LoC is to move us away from it. From the official LDS doctrine that I link to in my signature:

As this program is followed, the Saints will continue to develop those characteristics which will enable them again to build Zion all over the world. Elder Bruce R. McConkie showed how these principles will move the Church toward the redemption of Zion:
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Mercy,

I don't pretend to know the causes of the entitlement mentality, I only know that it exists. I agree that it is very destructive.

You don't have to guess. You just have to apply the same principles Christ did towards the salvation of men. We must make allowances for those who know no better just as Christ did when He died for us while we were yet enemies.

The problem is that a change of heart is needed for the "entitled" to break the cycle. I think we both know that continuing the government dole is not a productive way to accomplish it.

I think the change of heart is needed on both sides.

We have to be "cheerful givers" because that shows we recognize where our blessings truly come from. Otherwise, when we think our blessings are a result of merely our own labors, we offend God with our ingratitude. (I'm not linking all the scripture refs here but I know you know the scriptures well enough to recognize the genesis of my thoughts.)

Furthermore, I think both sides are being pitted against each other by the adversary of us all and those who do his bidding here on earth.

Consider this though: If a poor man does all he can to subsist and still cannot provide, if he never has an entitlement attitude and labors with all his might, and those who can share choose not to, - a good man and his family perish. So no change in attitude among the impoverished will provide a full belly.

I realize that to some on this board, I must come off as a "bleeding heart" but the reality is I have long since left the left/right dichotomy behind. My only desire is the salvation and exaltation of God's children.

Just for fun:

Here's a little experiment you can try the next time you see someone in true need. Give them what they need with a cheerful heart, begrudging nothing and demonstrating the pure love of Christ. When they thank you, put your arm around them and say "You would do the same for me." See what happens. For many people, just realizing that you see the potential good in them is enough to bring tears to their eyes. Most people look at me with surprise and say "Yes! Yes I would!" And when I've been in a position to need help of any kind and I call on some of those same people, they say things like "I am honored that you allowed me to help." or "Is there anything else you need? I have more to give."

Being on the receiving end makes people feel powerless. You give them that power and dignity back when you recognize that were roles reversed they are capable of being charitable. It creates a whole new dynamic between giver and receiver - places both on equal footing - and creates a bond of brotherhood.

I learned this principle first from Sister Mary Ellen Edmonds of the Gen RS board years ago and then again years later in a professional capacity. It has never once failed me.

I said this already but if you try this experiment, perhaps you will see what I do. This distinctly personal interaction is radically different than what we see happening through state entitlements. The impersonal nature of government programs does not create this bond and the dehumanizing nature of being herded through social programs (or forced to pay for them without reaping the tangible and personal satisfaction of charitable relationships) breeds contempt.

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