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Total Depravity Of Man


smac97

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I participated in a missionary discussion last night. The investigators are nice young couple of the southern baptist persuation. Both are well versed in the scriptures, and are interested in Learning more about LDS beliefs.

During the discussion last night we discussed 2 Nephi 2. The husband expressed some questions about how do you verses address the nature of man. He quoted scriptures on Romans to support his belief that man is innately evil.

Are there any lds treatments of the topic of the nature of man?

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I have always looked towards Moroni chapter 7 for a better understanding. From what I understand the fall makes us innately evil, but grace offers to each of us the ability to choose to sin or to choose good through the grace of Christ. Without the atonement there is no escape from depravity but that offers us an escape although that escape is resistible.

I think prevenient grace sums it up quite well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevenient_grace

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I don't accept that we are innately evil, but rather that the point is that we can all degenerate, and that nobody, save for Jesus Christ, was or will be able to increase in knowlege and light without having to fight their own degeneration.

What I mean by that is that a little child is pure and perfect, but can have experiences that will have a negative impact on them. Unfortunately, not many children are capable of ignoring those bad experiences, thus little by little they will start having degenerate thoughts that were inherited by their family. We see this in cycle of abuse and in other places where kids just pick up bad habits without knowing that they will one day hurt them or even kill them.

But the entire purpose of the Gospel is the anticipation of such degeneration of a man's spirit, and to set in place a way that not only can a man be healed from spiritual faults, but that they can then add to that and become more like Christ.

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I participated in a missionary discussion last night. The investigators are nice young couple of the southern baptist persuation. Both are well versed in the scriptures, and are interested in Learning more about LDS beliefs.

During the discussion last night we discussed 2 Nephi 2. The husband expressed some questions about how do you verses address the nature of man. He quoted scriptures on Romans to support his belief that man is innately evil.

Are there any lds treatments of the topic of the nature of man?

Mosiah 3:19

Putting Off The Natural Man....

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I'm actually working on an essay on that topic, though I'm kind of stuck right now.

Knowye not that ye are gods?

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we arepowerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented, andfabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playingsmall does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking sothat other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifestthe glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, aswe let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to dothe same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automaticallyliberates others.—Marianne Williamson (sometimes misattributed to NelsonMandela)

If the above quote is true, then I think it is one of the mostfundamental problems in the world today. Actually, as an LDS Druid, I’m a bit of a panentheist. I see the numinous in virtually everything.Today, though, I want to focus on humanity, what we are capable of, what wereally are.

In The Druidry Handbook,John Michael Greer uses the legend of King Arthur to represent the potentialwithin each human soul. He writes thatour words King and Queen derive from the Anglo-Saxon cyning (he of the kin) and cwen(woman). Hence, the king and queen hadthe responsibility of embodying the full measure of what it means to be a manor a woman.

Moses famously said, “Would God all the Lord’s people wereProphets.” (Numbers 11:29) Joseph Smith taught that everything he knew would berevealed to the Saints “as fast as [theyare] able to bear them.” Finally, Jesustaught that his faithful would do even greater things than he did. So, we learn that our potential is evengreater than mere royalty. The reasonfor this is simple, as St. Paul writes, we are the offspring of the God of theUniverse. (Acts 17-28-9)

So what does it mean to be the offspring of God? From two ancient Near East temple hymns, weget the following:

For thou hast made [man] a little lower than the gods(elohim) and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (Psalms 8:5)

Ye are gods and all of you are children of the mosthigh (Psalms 82:6)

Shakespeare’s Prospero provides a beautiful example of a humanfulfilling his mortal potential. Whenthe play begins, he is well on his way, but it isn’t until the climax that hefinds the final transformation into pure gold.

Speaking of pure gold brings us to the art of alchemy and HermesTrismegistus’ aphorism, “Know ye not that ye are gods?” The goal of alchemy is the spiritual,psychological and emotional development of the practitioner.

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From what I understand the fall makes us innately evil

Rather than "innately evil" I would say "innately neutral" or "innately natural" where if we accept it, the light of Christ can cause us to leave behind and rise above those negative aspects of our natural existence while enhancing the positive aspects.

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Rather than "innately evil" I would say "innately neutral" or "innately natural" where if we accept it, the light of Christ can cause us to leave behind and rise above those negative aspects of our natural existence while enhancing the positive aspects.

Any chance we could see this as "the flesh" aspect of our being, being innately evil and "our spirit body" as being innately good (or divine) and receptive to the Spirit. Doesn't this set up the "war" between the flesh and the spirit body?

Thus as we attempt through Christ and the Spirit to overcome "the flesh" we become sanctified through His Grace? Just thinkin' here........

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Palerider:

LDS Theology is that God the Father, and his Son have bodies of flesh and bone. We are promised with the Resurrection to get our bodies back. So I don't see the body as innately evil.

Those are incorruptible bodies as opposed to the corruptible flesh we presently inhabit.

I think the scriptures support the idea of a mortal state that is fallen by nature, or in other words, innately at odds with God (evil).

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Those are incorruptible bodies as opposed to the corruptible flesh we presently inhabit.

I think the scriptures support the idea of a mortal state that is fallen by nature, or in other words, innately at odds with God (evil).

Thanks MnG! You beat me to it.........:air_kiss:

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Palerider:

LDS Theology is that God the Father, and his Son have bodies of flesh and bone. We are promised with the Resurrection to get our bodies back. So I don't see the body as innately evil.

Having been a member of the LDS faith for over 57 years I am quite familiar with LDS doctrine.......See MnG's comment.........

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No one is deprived.

We have the ability to know good from evil.

Moroni 7:12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for 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.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.

We are free to choose.

2 Ne. 2:27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

Unlike Christ, though, we at some point choose to sin.

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Palerider:

I still don't believe the body to be inherently evil. It is what we do with this body that is either good or evil.

The flesh is what draws us towards sin. It is temporary (temporal) therefore it is corrupt and corruptible by it's nature. If we give in to it, (as we all do to one degree or another) it will corrupt our spirits as well.

Matthew 26:41

41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Galatians 5:17

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Galatians 6:8

8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Romans 8:3

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Ephesians 2:3

3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

<LI>

1 John 2:16

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Galatians 5:16

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

<LI>

Galatians 5:24

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

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So isn't the LDS version, "The natural man is an enemy to God". Seems to me that the LDS version of the discussion would reiterate that we came to earth to get a body because we had progressed as far as we could without one, and to learn to control that body, each indeividual part, its desires and appetitites in conformity with the laws of God and in submission to His will. And that means wrestling the natural man into submission.

ETA and I would argue that the natural man needs wrestling partly because it is not the refined matter that makes up the spirit.

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Romans chapter 9 seems to make it clear that we are sinners

Chapter 5:12 Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men for all have sinned.

5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Now I guess it depends on what we define as evil.

Also add in Mosiah 3:19 the natural man is an enemy to God

It seems sin and the natural man are both part of our nature and if that doesn't make us evil I don't know what does. I do agree though we have the choice to choose good or evil now for ourselves due to the atonement. I just think that in the normal state we are natural men and sinners. Free will through grace is what offers us a way out.

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And yet we can choose to repent, overcome sin, yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and become a saint. A "totally depraved" person wouldn't/couldn't do that.

Thats why I think that prevenient grace is the most accurate description of what we believe. Without Christ we are totally depraved, with Christ we are given a gift that allows us to escape that.

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Thats why I think that prevenient grace is the most accurate description of what we believe. Without Christ we are totally depraved, with Christ we are given a gift that allows us to escape that.

Without Christ we would not have a world to live on in the first place.

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Re OP: Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.

Call it what you want. Unconverted, man is not inherently good, according to the univocal declaration of the scriptures.

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