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Too Much Focus On Rules And Not Enough Christ?


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Not in general certainly, though I can't remember all of my teachers well enough to claim that none of them had this tendency. Due to the extensive teaching I had on Christ and the Atonement at home, church and even BYU, it is possible that on the less common occasion where a speaker or teacher missed the boat, I basically pulled it back to the pier and allowed them to get in it at least through my interpretation of what they were saying.

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He misrepresented what Sister Smart's remarks were but perhaps he heard it secondhand. She said she felt that way immediately after being raped the first time and could understand why others felt that way and why hat might stop them from running, but in her case she remember that her parents loved her and would always want her back which gave her hope to survive. And she stated the reason why she didn't run was fear that the man who entered her home and took her would kill her family if she got away...he seemed to be able to do anything he wanted so why not that?

Where did he get the idea that Sister Smart talked about the check object lesson? The one she used was much worse. Perhaps I misunderstood what he said.

He is ignoring that the Atonement is taught in all those classes. Even in genealogy, I was taught the purpose was to allow others full access to the Atonement.

Honestly while I haven't reached the end, with his use of quotes marks with his fingers and his misrepresentations, he comes across to me as someone who is looking to complain. I missed a few minutes, but what I saw was all negative which is not a realistic picture of the culture he is claiming to try and represent. There is both good and bad in the culture surrounding the teachings of chastity...why does he feel he must present it in this way?

Okay, at the end he gets into some positive stuff and makes the point that we aren't teaching that aspect enough...and maybe that is so, my BYU religion classes were 35ish years ago and perhaps the culture has changed...but I think it should be pointed out that he believes he didn't understand the atonement prior to his studying it (I don't understand why he didn't pick it up from the scriptures, perhaps he just could more easily understand a more modern rendition) and when we don't understand something we tend to focus on what we do understand, inflating potentially those aspects'importance and appearance while diminishing those things we are not clear on. Itis much harder to remember something you don't really understand than it is something easily comprehended....such as rules.

I think if he had approached it more from a standpoint like Robinson does in the first book he picked up...from how we need to change the way we process things, both encouraging teachers to emphasize the positive but also the students themselves to work on their own perceptions.

Instead it comes across as complaining about what 'the culture' is doing to people...it is a passive stance.

Edited by calmoriah
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We are responsible for what we focus on in life. A teacher is not responsible for our focus. I have really become very tired of the need to find someone else to be responsible for my life and what is not working. When I review my life and the things that did not work for me, the only common denominator in all of those experiences is me.  If I have a problem, the problem begins and ends with me; it is not my teacher, my dad, my mom, my siblings, my country, my government, foreigners, or anyone or anything else.

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If I have a problem, the problem begins and ends with me; it is not my teacher, my dad, my mom, my siblings, my country, my government, foreigners, or anyone or anything else.

 

Not saying that we are not personally responsible of what we do or focus on, but I doubt you can claim that you fed yourself, raised yourself, taught yourself, educated yourself, had yourself only as friend, chose without any referrence to external context / influence your political alignment, your religion, and you decided in which country you were to be born...

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Not saying that we are not personally responsible of what we do or focus on, but I doubt you can claim that you fed yourself, raised yourself, taught yourself, educated yourself, had yourself only as friend, chose without any referrence to external context / influence your political alignment, your religion, and you decided in which country you were to be born...

...and this relates to the topic of alleging the Church spends too much time emphasizing rules over Jesus Christ?  I mean it is a nice little diatribe as far as diatribes go, but I don't see any confluence of thought here with what I said.

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We are responsible for what we focus on in life. A teacher is not responsible for our focus. I have really become very tired of the need to find someone else to be responsible for my life and what is not working. When I review my life and the things that did not work for me, the only common denominator in all of those experiences is me.  If I have a problem, the problem begins and ends with me; it is not my teacher, my dad, my mom, my siblings, my country, my government, foreigners, or anyone or anything else.

I think you have a good point.

 

To often people equate "I am not/was not focusing enough on Christ" to mean "It's someone else's fault that I was not/am not focusing enough on Christ." 

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He is right, not everyone will agree with him. It is difficult to understand how anyone can read the BofM and not come to know the Savior and his atonement better. I guess I had a very different upbringing. We talked about all things sexual the dinner table. Sex was not bad nor were sexual feelings. They were part of us, we just did not exercise them until marriage.

I would also say that shame has a place in our society. In fact, we could do with a lot more shame.

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While there is a necessity of praxis where rules are concerned, there must be greater focus placed on the life and teachings of Christ, Gethsemane, the empty Tomb/Resurrection and the Ascension. Resurrection confirms the Atonement of Christ as the Redeemed and Son of God and Man. The Ascension gives way to the Pentecost as narrated in Acts.

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I think these are local conditions and you get who you get for youth teachers and other leaders, some areas are better then others. I recall as a 12 yr old going to satndards night and having a class about what to expect as a teenager and hearing about "The River of Desire" and I have no clue what that means then or now, I know about rivers and I know about desire but the two make an odd combo! has anyone else heard about the River of desire?!

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He is right, not everyone will agree with him. It is difficult to understand how anyone can read the BofM and not come to know the Savior and his atonement better. I guess I had a very different upbringing. We talked about all things sexual the dinner table. Sex was not bad nor were sexual feelings. They were part of us, we just did not exercise them until marriage.

I would also say that shame has a place in our society. In fact, we could do with a lot more shame.

You are right. I believe that he, and others with the same feelings just want an excuse to complain against the church. I came from a part member inactive family, so nothing was taught at home. Had it not been for the teachings I gained from going to church with friends, I would have not understood the atonement enough to get through all of the mistakes I made as a young adult. As a mother of teens and young adults now, I have noticed even more and more emphasis on the Savior and His Atonement in lessons, talks, etc.

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We are responsible for what we focus on in life. A teacher is not responsible for our focus. I have really become very tired of the need to find someone else to be responsible for my life and what is not working. When I review my life and the things that did not work for me, the only common denominator in all of those experiences is me.  If I have a problem, the problem begins and ends with me; it is not my teacher, my dad, my mom, my siblings, my country, my government, foreigners, or anyone or anything else.

 

 

Not saying that we are not personally responsible of what we do or focus on, but I doubt you can claim that you fed yourself, raised yourself, taught yourself, educated yourself, had yourself only as friend, chose without any referrence to external context / influence your political alignment, your religion, and you decided in which country you were to be born...

 

I think the truth is somewhere in the center - yes, our problems are not all self-generated, and we are social creatures, no one is an island - but through an attitude taking personal responsibility for solving one's own problems (rather than viewing the problem solving responsibility to lie with someone else) - and through recognizing our own short-comings, and recognizing how hard it is to actually solve some problems (which provides empathy for others who are just doing the best they know how too)...

The best view is "criticize by redesign", or don't criticize at all.  Be the change you want to see and all that.  and criticize by redesign does not mean to march into a church buldling with protest signs demanding that others do what you want them to do - it involves climbing the ladder of respect, earning the right to preside and administer, being elected to lead by your peers rather than proclaiming you should lead or you know best. 

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We should make a rule that you have to teach about the Atonement at Church.

I know it's taught, but maybe it's undertaught because people think it's just a given about Christ. But some people just need more Jesus talk then others, and maybe our church doesn't want to be like those that go all crazy for the Lord. But there is something to say about their love affair with God. Edited by Tacenda
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.  and criticize by redesign does not mean to march into a church buldling with protest signs demanding that others do what you want them to do - it involves climbing the ladder of respect, earning the right to preside and administer, being elected to lead by your peers rather than proclaiming you should lead or you know best. 

 

Is that what you heard this young man to be saying?

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Perhaps the problem isn't with too little or too much talk of the Atonement but how it relates to the commandments.

Many churches teach the soft gospel of salvation wherein little heed is given to teaching the commandments of the Father and Son. Perhaps Latter-day Saints, in their covenant people theology, focus on the commandments without mentioning their relationship to divine grace.

I believe that in teaching the commandments of God we must also teaching the role the Atonement and Grace plays in the establishment of covenants, the keeping of commandments, reconciliation for breaking those and the sanctification that comes from intertwining the divine help of Christ with obedience to His word.

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Perhaps the problem isn't with too little or too much talk of the Atonement but how it relates to the commandments.

Many churches teach the soft gospel of salvation wherein little heed is given to teaching the commandments of the Father and Son. Perhaps Latter-day Saints, in their covenant people theology, focus on the commandments without mentioning their relationship to divine grace.

I believe that in teaching the commandments of God we must also teaching the role the Atonement and Grace plays in the establishment of covenants, the keeping of commandments, reconciliation for breaking those and the sanctification that comes from intertwining the divine help of Christ with obedience to His word.

I can't think of a lesson from the manuals, or even a conference talk that doesn't back up talk of commandments and obedience with the blessing of the Atonement in our lives that make it possible for us to continue our progression and return to our Heavenly Father.

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It seems to me that there is a lot of tension between the principle of obedience and the doctrine of grace.

I think that this may be true. But then the bible is also this way. There is a fine line between obedience and grace. I think that we live at a time where people need to believe that regardless of their behavior, grace carries the day. No need for obedience or if one is disobedient, it is okay because of grace. We often hear exmembers claim that the lds church is not about christ or the atonement. It is all about obedience. What is strange about this is that in the past religion was about obedience and the atonement. Grace did not play that much of a role. Sin was frowned upon and people were taught what sin was. Now, it is different. People want the freedom to sin and be saved. There seems to be a 'don't tread on me' attitude.

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I can't think of a lesson from the manuals, or even a conference talk that doesn't back up talk of commandments and obedience with the blessing of the Atonement in our lives that make it possible for us to continue our progression and return to our Heavenly Father.

True. But it does seem that people who are dissatisfied with the church claim that the church is all about obedience and not about grace. Some even claim that christ does not exist in the lds church. It is all about Joseph Smith. And these people who claim such things do find members who when contemplating leaving the church, readily believe such things.

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I can't think of a lesson from the manuals, or even a conference talk that doesn't back up talk of commandments and obedience with the blessing of the Atonement in our lives that make it possible for us to continue our progression and return to our Heavenly Father.

I don't disagree, but in teaching from those manuals and conference talks the focus of the teacher and the listener can shift to excess in both directions. I've seen it both ways.

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Actually, I'm going to correct myself on my last post. It's not about having an excess of focus on either the Atonement or the commandments of God. We can't get too much Christ nor too much knowledge of the rules, obligations or covenants that He gives. What we can have is a misunderstanding of the relationship between commandment and grace, covenant and mercy.

There is nothing wrong with focusing on justice for a lesson, or spending a sermon on mercy. There can never be too much focus on one or the other. It is when we teach justice to the detriment of mercy, or the robbing of justice by mercy that we err. As I stated before, I've seen both of those things happen before.

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To be honest, I think the church's focus on obedience is just right.

 

And also, I have found that people in church (from the leadership down to the members) happen to be generally more forgiving than the people not in it.  So if people are having trouble with the church's focus on obedience, I can't see how they wouldn't have trouble with general society's focus on obedience to various ideas.

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