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By Bernard Gui
Something I wonder about...
In 3 Nephi 12, Jesus says to the people at the temple,
How are they more blessed if they believe the words of the eyewitnesses? Those who witnessed, believed, and were baptized also received forgiveness and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. I understand the implication that greater faith is required, but in what way are they “more blessed”? Is this a quantitative or qualitative increase?
Those who were at the temple already had their faith sorely tried. They survived persecution, threats of death because of their faith, cataclysmic destruction, and days of darkness. They were allowed to see and touch the risen Savior. That in itself is an incomparable blessing reserved for very few mortals. Their obligation then was to be His witnesses. Without them, we would not know of the Resurrection.
I understand that signs do not necessarily lead to faith. Many who see signs never believe or fall away, but none of these Nephites nor the disciples in Jerusalem who saw and touched the risen Lord fell away. Sister Gui suggested it means those who hear the testimony of the witnesses and believe are more blessed than those who hear the testimony and don’t believe. It seems to me, though, that the Savior is comparing two groups - the witnesses and those who believe the witnesses - and the latter are the more blessed.
On two other occasions, some people are declared more blessed.
1. Those who humble themselves without compulsion.
2. The three Nephite disciples who desired to tarry.
However, speaking to Thomas, the Lord said,
In this instance, those who believe without seeing are not more blessed.
I understand how these people are more blessed because of their faith. What do you think the Savior meant in 3 Nephi 12?
Looking for some insight into Alma 29:3 -
But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.
Seems like if Alma's faith grew he would naturally pray for not only his people but the Lamanites, and then others (people in Jerusalem and Middle East, Lost Tribes, etc.).
But then he chides himself for wanting to do that.
What's the problem here?
Should he trust God to have called Prophets to cry repentance to all those other people so Alma should just "stay in his lane?"
When you pray and you're really feeling the Spirit, what would be incorrect about praying for your family, ward, stake, the whole church, the whole world - to be blessed with health, prosperity, a greater acceptance of the restored gospel?
I guess we should focus on the jurisdiction of our own callings but honestly I pray for things I'm quite sure God laughs out loud at, not to mention when I pray for others outside of my stake, church, etc.
Heaven & Earth
Mormonism and the Challenges of Science, Revelation and Faith
February 22nd - 23rd, 2018
Classroom Building, Room 511
Utah Valley University
click here for a pdf version of the program
The relationship between science and religion has been among the most fiercely debated issues since the Copernican revolution displaced traditional wisdom regarding the nature of the cosmos. Some have argued for a sharp division of labor while others have sought to harmonize spiritual and empirical truths. From its beginnings, Mormonism has wrestled with the implications of modern science and has produced a variety of theological responses. This conference will explore the landscape of Mormon thought as it relates to the relationships between science, theology, scriptural narratives, and LDS authoritative discourse. It will also examine abiding questions of faith, reason, and doubt and the reactions against the intellectualizing forces that bear on the truth claims of Mormonism.
Assistant Professor of History
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
author of Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism Eugene England Lecture
Steven L. Peck
Associate Professor of Biology
Brigham Young University
author of Science the Key to Theology Conference Participants
Philip L. Barlow
Leonard J. Arrington Chair in Mormon Studies & Culture
Utah State University
author of Mormons and the Bible: The Place of Latter-day Saints in American Religion
Brian D. Birch
Brian D. Birch, Director, Religious Studies Program
Utah Valley University
series co-editor, Perspectives on Mormon Theology
Online Professor of Bible and Jewish Studies
Utah State University
author of Reading the Old Testament: Genesis - Deuteronomy
Matthew Bowman, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Henderson State University
author of The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith
Deidre Nicole Green
Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship
author of "Becoming Equal Partners: Latter-day Saint Women as Theologians”
Jamie L. Jensen
Associate Professor of Biology, Brigham Young University, author of “Influencing highly religious undergraduate perceptions of evolution: Mormons as a case study”
Boyd Jay Petersen
Program Coordinator for Mormon Studies
Utah Valley University
author of “One Soul Shall Not Be Lost': The War in Heaven in Mormon Thought"
Jana K. Riess
Religion News Service
author of The Next Mormons
David W. Scott
Professor of Communication
Utah Valley University
author of “Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?"
History of Christianity & Religions of North America Program
Claremont Graduate University
author of “Truth, Scripture, and Interpretation: Some Precursors to Reading Genesis”
Co-Sponsors & Partners
Religious Studies Program, Utah Valley University College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Utah Valley University
As an orthodox Mormon, when I have questions and critiques on topics that I hear at church or read about, I'm frequently told that it all boils down to just having faith, especially when people don't have good answers to my questions. Terryl Given and Fiona Given's even articulate this idea in their book, The Crucible of Doubt, about how when presented with information on both sides of an issue, that this is precisely the point of God's plan so that we are able to choose and exercise faith.
Here is my question, what are we supposed to have faith in exactly? Should I have faith in the historicity of an event described in the BoM? Should I have faith that a talk given in conference by a church leader is an inspired talk that accurately reflects the mind of God? Should I have faith that the words written in the Sunday school manual are inspired by God? Should I have faith that the interpretation of scripture espoused by my high council representative is the one true interpretation? What exactly should I have faith in?
From my reading of scripture, particularly the Bible and the BoM there is a repeating theme that humans continue to mess things up. In the bible, some of the worst offenders are often the prophets. They are constantly falling short of the divine will and making big mistakes and getting chastised by God. Many passages warn against trusting in the arm of the flesh.
So this brings me back to the question of faith, and I wonder if all the times that my fellow Mormons encourage me to just have faith, if they aren't actually are giving me really bad advice. I'm thinking from the experiences I've had and the examples throughout history, that the thing I need to put my faith in is God directly, and not in humans or scriptural interpretations. Maybe having faith in a church leader is not the purpose of faith at all. Maybe having faith in a traditional church truth claim is also not the point of faith. Faith in God, directly is not the same thing as faith in the church or faith in scripture or faith in authorities. Faith in God seems like the only kind of faith that really can work.
So if you were called over a period of 8 years in let us say a certain calling which you had reservations about but accepted anyway, at what point would you say no to future callings in the same certain calling area? If you said no to such a calling and then received a similar calling a few months later, what would you think? Not enough adults to call or inspiration coming back again? In all honesty when Auxiliary leaders make recommendations for certain callings in ward council/correlation mtg, is there further prayer/consideration/Spiritual guidance by Ward Leaders? I believe so and I hope so; just seems strange to get a calling quite similar to one I said no to a few months earlier.
I've heard that Sunbeams coteacher in a former ward I was in received seven no's in response to callings and I can't judge anyone who turned it down as I wasn't part of those callings' issuance. A friend of mine in college turned down a Primary call since she was a homemaker with three boys and said she needed a break.
The non-linear part makes sense; we all don't progress in the same order of callings...BUT it seems odd to me to have received such a similar calling in multiple wards over many years, in a chartered organization that I do not support.