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Is God knowable by other means?


Monster

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I have been wondering along with the rest of humanity throughout time if God is knowable by any means other than the traditional study and prayer. I ask this because I have found prayer to be comforting but totally unreliable as a means of understanding the nature of God or my place in the Universe. Most people can pray and if they want something as intangible as knowing Gods nature they will find what they want. Study you say. I say study what. If I stick to the scriptures I have a set of books that are not very straightforward and tend to contradict themselves. Religions love the scriptures because they can take a verse or chapter here or there and use it as a basis of belief. I think Mormons are the worst at this. We use maybe 5% of the bible. Only those verses that support our view and the rest is ignored. We do better with the BofM but practically ignore the D&C. Case in point every four years when we study the D&C 90% of the time is spent on church history and relating faith promoting stories from an era that is becoming so removed from our current experiences that they are becoming of lesser value. We rarely delve into the sections verse by verse to see what they say. If I study other sources and writing it is not much better. Although very interesting there are so many different concepts that again I am left wondering if any are near correct.

So I wonder if there is another way to know God other than the standard study and pray method, or maybe God does not want us to know him in detail.

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I have come to realize that "God" reveals through everything. What we define as positive and negative: "God" is all in all. To assume that negative is somehow a "place" where "God's Spirit is not, is fallacious logic. If all that exists originates from the Necessary Cause then there cannot be an existence that transcends that Cause. If something is asserted to transcend the Necessary Cause of Existence then that thing disproves your concept of the necessary cause, and the Necessary Cause must be something else.

I agree that scripture (all organized, controlled, religious dogma) is self-serving. But as long as it serves up all of your needs there is no problem with it. Only when the dogmatic exegesis fails to provide satisfactory answers do we get "exiled" from our comfortable reassurances: then we must go looking elsewhere.

Praying is continuous. I now define "prayer" as sapience. It is never turned off or shorted out. To assert that somehow we "drive away the Spirit" by our sinful acts and desires, begs the question: how can anything we are remove us from the presence of "God"? Impossible. (I know, it can be imagined, so it is not impossible: and I can imagine all contradictory things existing for "God" concurrently, and therefore within "God's" purview and power - which renders "out of God's presence" oxymoronic.)

What "drives away the Spirit" is describing, is our perception of intent: we intend to ignore "God" and do as we please; and while ignoring "God" we may flatter ourselves that "God" is not aware, or even that "God" does not exist, etc. The delusion is that somehow we are beyond hope of recovery: the reality is that we are never disconnected from "God", ergo our every thought and emotion is as inseparable from "God" as our thinking and feeling is inseparable from The Self.

Once I realized that I am praying constantly, my awareness of "God" never went away. My sense of humor became enlightened. I take everything seriously because it is part of reality. But nothing matters THAT much; everything is fixable, malleable and in this world, temporary. All things change: only "God" remains constant (yet continually increasing through Creation and therefore "glory"): and if I am constantly changing in what I know then that makes me responsible for what I want. Only I can learn, nobody can learn anything for me. My mistakes are mine. My victories are mine. Joy is mine. "God" is mine always....

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I have been wondering along with the rest of humanity throughout time if God is knowable by any means other than the traditional study and prayer. I ask this because I have found prayer to be comforting but totally unreliable as a means of understanding the nature of God or my place in the Universe. Most people can pray and if they want something as intangible as knowing Gods nature they will find what they want. Study you say. I say study what. If I stick to the scriptures I have a set of books that are not very straightforward and tend to contradict themselves. Religions love the scriptures because they can take a verse or chapter here or there and use it as a basis of belief. I think Mormons are the worst at this. We use maybe 5% of the bible. Only those verses that support our view and the rest is ignored. We do better with the BofM but practically ignore the D&C. Case in point every four years when we study the D&C 90% of the time is spent on church history and relating faith promoting stories from an era that is becoming so removed from our current experiences that they are becoming of lesser value. We rarely delve into the sections verse by verse to see what they say. If I study other sources and writing it is not much better. Although very interesting there are so many different concepts that again I am left wondering if any are near correct.

So I wonder if there is another way to know God other than the standard study and pray method, or maybe God does not want us to know him in detail.

Yes, there are ways other than study and prayer. But you have to find them out yourself - and generally, I find study and prayer can be rather useful at times... they lead you to the thoughts that prove inspiring (the words of the books are the cause, not the inspiration them self in a way =D ).

What to study, you ask? Study what you are concerned with, what you want to know more about... read some verses in relation about it, and just sit back and think for a bit... talk to God for a bit... try and figure out what he wants you to know. God will lead you to the scriptures you need if you trust him - you shouldn't worry so much about which scriptures or what not - perhaps just open the book to a page, and read it, and find something useful about it. Or if you are truly concerned about a topic, do a search on LDS.org. Also important... stop worrying about what others would be arguing while you are searching - what others say doesn't concern you in the least in those moments... it's just you and God, and how they interpret the verse doesn't matter in the least - only how God interprets it for you matters. Keep it personal.

As for using less of the Bible and D&C, yes we are guilty of that... but I think I know why. Have you ever noticed that the BoM is a much more emotionally-linked book then the Bible or the D&C? I feel that the BoM can connect to us in ways the Bible and D&C cannot... and so we study that well because it is the thing that will help build faith the most. The Bible sometimes rambles on, or is just a sermon, or whatnot, but certain (not all, that's for sure) verses in the BoM I can personally relate to, which makes me like it better, and want to study it more. We do need to study more in the Bible - but I don't think we need to use the interpretations the world gives us. People have all sorts of thoughts about it, I'd rather when I come across a confusing verse, ask God what he meant by it.

A good note about D&C though.... my seminary teacher does go somewhat into verse-by-verse. We don't have the time to do it all, but she does go into it sometimes =). But there are certain very cool verses in the D&C that I love... like this one

D&C 88:49-50

The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not; nevertheless, the day shall come when you shall comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him.

Then shall ye know that ye have seen me, that I am and that I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me; otherwise ye could not abound.

Hope this helps =).

Best Wishes,

TAO

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I see God when I look at a newborn. Such a miracle of life and intelligence wrapped up in that helpless little body can come from nowhere else but God.

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I have been wondering along with the rest of humanity throughout time if God is knowable by any means other than the traditional study and prayer.

Non-traditional study and prayer, as long as it is with real intent to respond to the Light of Christ and whatever promptings follow.

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I have been wondering along with the rest of humanity throughout time if God is knowable by any means other than the traditional study and prayer.

I think God is knowable by study and prayer. Most people, though certainly not all, who seek to know God through study and prayer seem to actually be looking for a deeper understanding of God. So there would seem to be at least a superficial understanding of God that typically precedes this sort of thing.

I do think those are great ways of knowing God better.

I think God is knowable through nature/creation, the general order in which all things seem to go or providence you might say. These two methods don't seem to be passive modes of knowing God as far as effort on the part of God though. However, at least to me, they are extremely powerful.

I think if you want to know God better, try connecting with nature for bit. Maybe a night out with telescope, raft a river, run with the bulls in Pamplona, plant a garden... for me surfing (and I am overdue for an opportunity to go surfing) seems to help me know God. It's something about how a guy, a piece of plastic covered foam, and the ocean can come together in some unique harmonious thing... that sends me reeling on a spiritual level.

Proactively interacting with nature and/or providence seem to be good ways of knowing God better.

Direct revelation is a pretty powerful way of knowing God, Theophany likely even more so, though I have never had one. However those two require proactive measures on God's part.

I think the very best way to know God is to do your best to emulate Christ. Help someone that needs it. Be the guy that gives the homeless guy a few bucks and take the time to engage with him about his situation, stop and help someone change a tire, volunteer work.. and so forth. Opportunities for such action are abundant.

Better yet, help someone that doesn't like you at all.. maybe a coworker, relative or acquaintance you are on the outs with.

I think when we do our best to follow Christ we sort of make room in ourselves for God to fill.

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