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Suffering From Terrible Church And Life Burnout, And Then I Read This


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After reading this I feel so much better.

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after ALL we can do.

Did you do all YOU could do today?

I am looking at it like this, if you did not put forth your BEST EFFORT, even with the Atonement, because you were just slightly lazy...YOU ARE DOOMED. You don't do your best, and who does, the atonement won't work. AM I reading this wrong?

Might as well go chop off my head and run around like a chicken, because it seems to me EVERYONE is going to HELL, and the atonement is good for nothing...

How do YOU explain this? If we are to take this at face value, I should just quit now, because I didn't DO ALL I COULD DO today, nor yesterday, nor the day before, in fact, there is NO day my entire life I have done ALL I COULD DO, and I dare say neither has anyone else.

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If we are to take this at face value, I should just quit now, because I didn't DO ALL I COULD DO today, nor yesterday, nor the day before, in fact, there is NO day my entire life I have done ALL I COULD DO, and I dare say neither has anyone else.

Of course not, therefore it makes sense does it not to think 'perhaps I am interpreting it in the wrong way'?
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I don't know you (to the best of my knowledge, we've never met face-to-face), so I know nothing about your personal struggles, and I don't mean to say that I do. But for what it's worth. I get the whole "burned-out-on-life" thing; I really do. (Personally, Church is one of the things that helps me ... even though I'm far from perfect in, e.g., my calling ... avoid saying, "To heck with it! Let's just chuck the whole thing altogether!") As for 2 Nephi 25:23, I thought this post at By Common Consent was interesting. It explores the "Grace/Works" dilemma illustrated in the verse and its implications (How much grace vs. how many works? Does it have to be all (or most) of either? How practical, given the facts that (1) we're all imperfect ... a lot and (2) God still expects us to participate ... somehow in our own salvation, notwithstanding our imperfections [we must, at least, be willing to be saved]. And so on.) Its in-the-end analysis is, "Do your best, but at the same time, don't forget to rely on Christ's grace." http://www.bycommonc...f-2-nephi-2523/ (Personally, I don't think Nephi intended us to get so discouraged that we conclude that life is simply hopeless from reading that verse; I think he'd feel really bad to know that's the case ...)

Edited by Kenngo1969
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My understanding of the scripture is that it refers to the end result once everything is wrapped up; after all we have been able to do according to our capabilities, situations, trials, afflictions, weaknesses, sins, and receiving the ordinances, in the end result it is grace through the atonement of Jesus Christ that performs the final act of salvation. The only thing we are required to do is to receive the ordinances, and even those can be done by proxy. Otherwise all we can do is to make it through this life (and sometimes that entails limping along while we struggle), by repenting and by trying to stay on the path and make whatever level of progress we can.

It doesn't have anything to do with the necessity of always doing our best. You're correct; we pretty much miss the boat on that one on a daily basis.

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After reading this I feel so much better.

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after ALL we can do.

Did you do all YOU could do today?

I am looking at it like this, if you did not put forth your BEST EFFORT, even with the Atonement, because you were just slightly lazy...YOU ARE DOOMED. You don't do your best, and who does, the atonement won't work. AM I reading this wrong?

Might as well go chop off my head and run around like a chicken, because it seems to me EVERYONE is going to HELL, and the atonement is good for nothing...

How do YOU explain this? If we are to take this at face value, I should just quit now, because I didn't DO ALL I COULD DO today, nor yesterday, nor the day before, in fact, there is NO day my entire life I have done ALL I COULD DO, and I dare say neither has anyone else.

I think what you are assuming is that we must live as perfectly as possible or we are doomed. This position lacks an understanding of a penitent life. You have completely left off the need of daily repentance. It is not how many times we fall, but how many times we get up and try to take one more step.

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Well, you could take it like some churches do ,it is by grace you are saved no matter what you do.

It is true that one can get overwhelmed and discouraged with all the things that seem to be required of us. I understand that women are particularly affected by the " do everything' syndrome .

Some men ,on the other hand , are susceptible to the ' do as little as possible ' syndrome . Neither approach is spiritually healthy .

Edited by strappinglad
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Elder Bednar has said that "that it is by grace that we are saved, both during and after all we can do". This was in a stake conference or general conference I can't remember.

Even the smallest act of turning to the Lord qualifies us for his grace. I look at from this point of view, we obtain the enabling power of the atonement through our repentance, daily repentence retains the gift of the Holy Ghost which, gives us the assurence our sins are forgen. A result of feeling the refreshing and sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost we performing good works. Sometimes we need to change our works to repent, this is sometimes the reason we get the grace and works thing mixed up. Its all about repentance. This may sound simplistic but it works for me.

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This little gem is used by EV's and other anti's as a sledgehammer on our theology. They use to to say that we are just like the Pharisees, that we demand perfect effort in obeying the commandments. Well, that's just silly.

If we were saved only after ALL that we can do, then repentance is impossible, and of what purpose is the atonement? Instead, we know that repenting of not always doing all that we could is the very point of the Atonement. "All that we can do" emcompasses forgiveness for all the times that we didn't do all we could, as long as we are trying and doing better.

I am curious, Mr. Pandorian, did you hear this on an old Shawn McReany broadcast? If my imperfect memory serves, that's where I first ran into this particular anti-Mormon libel.

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Well, my question is, why are you taking something quite so literally. I know God enough to know that he will forgive our little imperfections if we strive to fix them. We keep working and failing and working and failing and working. And that's what is really needed, to eventually reach success. So I don't worry so much about the word 'all'... I know what God expects of me from the Spirit, and that is much more complete than any knowledge words could give me. If you want to know what God expects you to do, ask him, and he will show you. One bit at a time. One step at a time. One blessing at a time.

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Did you do all YOU could do today?

I did many "small and simple things" today, does that count?

by small and simple things are great things brought to pass..(Book of Mormon | Alma 37:6)

How about asking the same question of God - did God do all that He could do today? Did He aleviate all of the pain and suffering in the world? Did He right all wrongs, feed all the hungry, heal everyone that is sick, fix all the holes in everyone's roofs? no? and if not, then why not? perhaps it's because part of the point of this life is to learn good and evil, to experience pain so that we can appreciate the good...

the problems in the world, and within oursleves, are sometimes overwhelming - and we are told that we are supposed to just take it one step at a time - line upon line, here a little, and there a little, through small, consistent steps. Yes, it's good to work hard and do all that we can do - but does "all that we can do" mean giving away all of our food, protesting in the streets, living in some extreme manner? no. It means serving your family, refining your outlook on life, becoming more loving, paying a fast offering, helping a friend - doing all the small and simple things.

Does solving someone else's problems for them really help them? are teachers supposed to give everyone the test answers? are parents supposed to spoil their children? no pain, no gain, for everyone.... we all have our individual battles to fight, and our weakness will be made strong through personally climbing our own mountains... that was Satan's plan - to take away all suffering and just force everyone into an easy life... God's plan involved trails/pain/suffering - the university of life. Respect the free will of others, and the strength of others, by letting them fight and win their own battles.... yes, we mourn with those who mourn - but the best help isn't always rushing out and butting our noses in and doing everything we possibly could.... you don't have to carry the world on your shoulders, you just have do the best you can in the cirle you are in - you just have to "lift where you stand".

Today was a day of rest, I took a little nap - does that mean I am lazy? I don't usually nap, but we are commanded to rest today.

Edited by changed
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From the Oxford English Dictionary's entry for 'after/after all':

b. In spite of, notwithstanding (a preceding action or event).

  • a1500 (▸1422) J. Yonge tr. Secreta Secret. (Rawl.) (1898) 153 Aftyr all this glorie, hym befell the fowle dethe.
  • a1500 (▸?1425) Speculum Sacerdotale 129 (MED), After all this þe seynt was hole and semyd as a man vnhurtyd.
  • 1578 J. Lyly Euphues f. 30v, After all his strife he [sc. Menelaus] wan but a Strumpet.
  • a1616 Shakespeare Measure for Measure (1623) v. i. 339 Harke how the villaine would close now, After his treasonable abuses.
  • 1674 N. Fairfax Treat. Bulk & Selvedge 24 After all this wheeling about, we are not a step further than we were.

...

c. after all (also U.S. afterall): in spite of any indications or expectations to the contrary; when all is said and done, nevertheless.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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I just recently posted about a description of grace posted on the LDS Newsroom (listed specifically for the whole world to see) that makes use of 2 Nephi 25:23 in a very different way than you describe in the OP.

Without grace, or Christ’s divine gift, mankind could not be resurrected from death or overcome the inevitable effects of sin. However, Mormons believe that individuals also have an important part to play. According to Latter-day Saint beliefs, God desires not only to save His children from death, but also to help them grow and become like Him. To be true “partakers of the divine nature,” then, individuals must choose to access Christ’s grace and be changed by its influence. Or in the Apostle James’ formulation, they show their faith in Christ’s grace “by [their] works.” The Book of Mormon, in conjunction with Christ’s call to faithful action in Matthew 7:21, further teaches that that each individual’s own efforts are necessary, though not sufficient, for salvation; for even “after all we can do,” it is only “by grace that we are saved” (1 Nephi 25:23). (bold mine)

Bingo!

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My first thought on something like this is to seek for greater understanding of the context in which those words were offered. I don't think that Nephi is writing a straight-up doctrinal treatise in this chapter. He is in a reflective mood, both backward and forward. He is assessing what he has been through, what he believes, what he understands to be coming. He is talking on Christ in this chapter, particularly in foil to the law of Moses ("all we can do"). So to emphasize that phrase as some final-ish doctrine in the first place, I think for me anyway, would be a misunderstanding of Nephi's tone and purpose of what he is writing.

Second of all, assuming that that phrase does represent some actual doctrine--here is something that a mentor of mine taught me and you can take it or leave it. I had thought over the years I might end up discarding it, but really the more I see and the more I ponder, I have just ended up confirming it. It is this:

We are all doing our best. At any given moment.

It may seem like we are not doing our best. But this cannot be--because by definition of being at any given moment we are doing our best, because if not, we would be doing something else (which would then be our best).

If your dishes are undone, that's your best. If you are fighting with your spouse, that's your best. etc. Because if you could (at that moment) get your dishes done or stop fighting with your spouse--then you would.

But we are all where we are "at". We are "at" our best. And of course, our best is pretty weak sometimes. We have more journey ahead of us. And there is also Christ with us.

Anyway. Just a couple of thoughts that came to me on the matter.

Edited by Maidservant
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I like that description Maidservant, though I think there is a small qualifier of 'direction' or attitude. If we are actively rebelling against God, choosing to flout all that we know, then we are no being our best. But if we even have the desire to do what is right then we are pointed in the right direction and our actions, however weak they may be, represent the best we have for where we are at. We have high hopes that our 'best' will improve as the Atonement works in our lives.

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I like that description Maidservant, though I think there is a small qualifier of 'direction' or attitude. If we are actively rebelling against God, choosing to flout all that we know, then we are no being our best. But if we even have the desire to do what is right then we are pointed in the right direction and our actions, however weak they may be, represent the best we have for where we are at. We have high hopes that our 'best' will improve as the Atonement works in our lives.

Well, I do see what you mean, although for me I do tend to think that even those in rebellion are where they are "at" also--they are doing what they know. Also I would be hard pressed not to examine myself and find rebellion, so I don't feel safe as categorizing that as some other people not myself, lol.

I don't see 'being saved' as one final magic wand--it's a constant journey, and as soon as we figure out how to be clean, be at peace, be loving, be Christlike--then that's when the saving begins and continues, over our lifetime. Those who are rebellious have that some opportunity we all do--to turn around. We may not be turning around from rebellion, ours may be more ignorance or some other category. But it's all the same repentance and forgiveness.

I agree that they are lovely thoughts, but the scripture passage in question never actually mentions doing one's best.

I agree that the scripture does not. Right on. :) But the OP seemed worried about it, that was the OP's meaning given to the scripture. And heaven knows I've been there. It has taken me decades to defuse my own reaction to myself based on condemning myself for what I can't do and tying that in with some failure of getting 'saved'. I have a lot different understanding of how Christ and 'saving' works in my life, plus I hope a healthier understanding of 'what I can do', so I hope the OP can find some peace, too.

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After reading this I feel so much better.

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after ALL we can do.

Did you do all YOU could do today?

I am looking at it like this, if you did not put forth your BEST EFFORT, even with the Atonement, because you were just slightly lazy...YOU ARE DOOMED. You don't do your best, and who does, the atonement won't work. AM I reading this wrong?

Might as well go chop off my head and run around like a chicken, because it seems to me EVERYONE is going to HELL, and the atonement is good for nothing...

How do YOU explain this? If we are to take this at face value, I should just quit now, because I didn't DO ALL I COULD DO today, nor yesterday, nor the day before, in fact, there is NO day my entire life I have done ALL I COULD DO, and I dare say neither has anyone else.

The "all you can do" factors in mortal weaknesses like laziness, struggles, the need for recreation and rest, etc. Otherwise it would be "all you can do" if you were living in a perfected tireless body without weaknesses and desires that God put there in the first place. Sometimes we are more then a little arrogant imagining that we can do much more then we actually can.

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I hope the OP can find some peace, too.

As do I, which in one more reason it's important to realise that the the phrase 'after all' is not some kind of chronology. As indicated very clearly in the OED (and the Church's statement quoted by JDave), the meaning is 'in spite of', 'notwithstanding'.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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Elder Bednar has said that "that it is by grace that we are saved, both during and after all we can do". This was in a stake conference or general conference I can't remember.

Even the smallest act of turning to the Lord qualifies us for his grace. I look at from this point of view, we obtain the enabling power of the atonement through our repentance, daily repentence retains the gift of the Holy Ghost which, gives us the assurence our sins are forgen. A result of feeling the refreshing and sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost we performing good works. Sometimes we need to change our works to repent, this is sometimes the reason we get the grace and works thing mixed up. Its all about repentance. This may sound simplistic but it works for me. [Emphasis added by Kenngo1969.]

Simplistic, yet profound, I'd say! ;):)
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After reading this I feel so much better.

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after ALL we can do.

Did you do all YOU could do today?

I am looking at it like this, if you did not put forth your BEST EFFORT, even with the Atonement, because you were just slightly lazy...YOU ARE DOOMED. You don't do your best, and who does, the atonement won't work. AM I reading this wrong?

Might as well go chop off my head and run around like a chicken, because it seems to me EVERYONE is going to HELL, and the atonement is good for nothing...

How do YOU explain this? If we are to take this at face value, I should just quit now, because I didn't DO ALL I COULD DO today, nor yesterday, nor the day before, in fact, there is NO day my entire life I have done ALL I COULD DO, and I dare say neither has anyone else.

Don't forget those occassions, however rare and exceptional they may be, where you did do all you could do despite your limitations. A particle of faith goes very far and avails the power of the Atonement, which includes allowance for full repentance and progress over a lifetime and beyond.

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We are all doing our best. At any given moment.

Our family therapist told me the same thing (we were going to help us deal with our daughter's diabetes). He added "who thinks to him or herself 'today I am going to do my second best'". We might not be able to do our best ever every day, but in general people do what they are capable of doing in that moment, they don't intentionally hold back just to hold back...they might be holding back because they need to, in other words, not out of desire.
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