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In What Ways Does God Test Our Faith?


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So in a recent thread (I think the BOA thread) a poster said something to the effect of "Does God purposefully put stumbling blocks in the way to our faith?" I think that question is worth discussing in more detail.

 

I firmly believe after the few years I have spent living and after reading a few verses of scripture in my day that the answer to that question is a solid YES.

 

Here are my basic assumptions:

 

  1. Life is meant to be a test.
  2. The blessing for passing that test is exaltation and deification.
  3. Exaltation is something we couldn't possibly comprehend, but we can say absolutely that it is wonderful and glorious.
  4. Given that the blessing is so grand the corresponding test must be brutal. Passing it has to mean something. As Elder Holland has said, Christ had to suffer, and so how can we who call ourselves Christians expect our lives to be rosey and not at least get a small taste, even if only a fraction of a fraction of silver of Gethsemane?

Faith is the first principal of the Gospel. For the most part living on faith is okay for most of us. But I think there comes a time in everybody's life where that faith is bent to the extreme; where that faith is tested. For some that might be living a life as a single man/woman, not being able to get pregnant, death of a spouse/child, same sex attraction, seeming inequality in the Church, and yes even tough Church history issues.

 

But in the world we live in people don't want to have faith because they want answers and in many cases the answers are "We don't know." The Lord gets to reveal what he wants to and when he wants to. Whatever your test of faith will be, and there will be one (or more), if you don't give room for the faith to work (even to explain what seems when viewed through a worldly perspective to be impossible or illogical) then your faith will fail. People like to throw around the term cognitive dissonance. The way the term is used, however, it would seem is to make it synonymous with faith.

 

So I believe the Lord will put stumbling blocks in our way to test our faith. Those tests are meant to be near impossible. What if a woman who would be the ideal wife and has only wanted her entire life to be loved, touched, kissed, held, and to be a mother, was physically unable to attract a spouse? Why would the Lord do that to her? What if a person who has only wanted to serve the Lord and to have a family is gay? Why would the Lord do that to him? Or what if a person who was particularly inclined to academics and was naturally a skeptic discovered the various theories and issues surrounding the Book of Abraham? Why should he be any different than the others. They have hard, terrible trials. Why shouldn't he? I have no problem with the Lord creating or at least allowing those difficult issues to try faith, but overcoming those issues all require faith. That faith will be mocked and ridiculed by many.

 

Without the necessary faith to endure such trials, our heavenly reward is in peril.

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I think he tests our faith, else it wouldn't be faith but he doesn't impede our progress. He can test us in a myriad of ways, for me it's good looks, others it's financial, health, relatives, being single, no kids, etc.

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I think God requires everything we have, and only that will generate enough faith.

 

"Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation;" Lecture on Faith 6

 

Anything we aren't willing to give up for God is a block to our eventual level of faith.  So as far as the above named "trials of faith" described, every one of them can be resolved by sacrificing something we may not want to give up but God expects us to.  Unless we are willing to give up absolutely everything for God's will we can never have faith strong enough to lay hold on eternal life.  And God will decide how these trials and sacrifice are to be applied.

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In answer to the OP...

In the Army you set the conditions and send everyone trough. For more intense conditions the Army has, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, where men and equipment are tested. All God needed to do is create a world where such conditions will insure that we be "proven".

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I am being tested mightily.  I have not lost a single ounce of my faith in God, and I have not lost an ounce of my love for the Church, but I am having a crisis of faith on the Book of Mormon and the beginnings of the Church.  I have stopped listening to John Dehlin.  Some of the issues he has discussed are issues I have considered.  I emailed him and he told me it is very common for people to lose their testimony in parts of the Church but remain members.  But I want more than that.  I do not want to be him.

 

I want everything back they way it was.  I study and pray but it seems God no longer hears my prayers.  I came here to be with members.  Not to regain anything...but to read and be uplifted.

 

If this is a test of my faith, I am failing so far, but the test is not over, yet.

 

I hope

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Here is part of my answer to the opening post:

 

http://greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/taking-the-long-view/

 

And Country Boy, this one’s for you ;):

 

http://greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/of-doubt-faith-questions-and-choices/

Edited by Kenngo1969
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I am being tested mightily.  I have not lost a single ounce of my faith in God, and I have not lost an ounce of my love for the Church, but I am having a crisis of faith on the Book of Mormon and the beginnings of the Church.  I have stopped listening to John Dehlin.  Some of the issues he has discussed are issues I have considered.  I emailed him and he told me it is very common for people to lose their testimony in parts of the Church but remain members.  But I want more than that.  I do not want to be him.

 

I want everything back they way it was.  I study and pray but it seems God no longer hears my prayers.  I came here to be with members.  Not to regain anything...but to read and be uplifted.

 

If this is a test of my faith, I am failing so far, but the test is not over, yet.

 

I hope

What about the Book of Mormon and the beginnings of the Church? These can be pretty tough and complicated issues, but I am interesting in understanding what is the crisis?

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I hope it's okay to add my (non-LDS) thoughts/beliefs to the mix.

As I am a "guest" on a LDS discussion board, I will do my best to be respectful and brief with my comments.

Life is not a test (If it were, IMO, we would all fail miserably!

Life is a gift - given by the Creator - to His creations.

Salvation (I'll use "salvation" instead of Exaltation/deification for the purposes of discussion without road blocks) is a free gift - provided to all - by the immense love and grace of The Almighty God.

The sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus has provided any/all of his followers the protection, comfort and peace to live without bondage. To live without having to earn salvation (we couldn't possibly earn such a thing - we are filthy rags - thus the very reason that the sacrifice was made on our behalf - by the only one that could provide such a thing.)

Walking with the Lord is not about us taking the lead, running as fast as we can to get what we think awaits us at the finish line. Walking with the lord is to walk, peacefully and slowly, with Him and in Him. He leads, we follow - and we should take great comfort in what he has already done for each of us.

Edited by name
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What about the Book of Mormon and the beginnings of the Church? These can be pretty tough and complicated issues, but I am interesting in understanding what is the crisis?

 

ok...here goes....

 

I was taught that Joseph translated the plates in a very certain way...only to find out he had his head in a hat and translated without even looking at the plates.

 

I have had a problem with the various accounts of the First Vision.  I have read the apologetic responses and they only make matters worse.  This is especially difficult because I have been in the Sacred Grove and have kneeled and prayed in the Sacred Grove.  

 

I have issues with the lack of evidence for the Book of Mormon.  I have also read the apologetics about this and am  not convinced.

 

I have issues with the constant changes over time of doctrine and teaching.  I do not believe God changes.

 

This kills me.  I LOVE the Church.  I LOVE the current teachings.  I love watching and listening to General Conference.  

 

I spend a lot of time wondering what is wrong with me.  I listen to a song sung by (I think) Hilary Weeks called "Help my Unbelief"and wish it with all my heart.

 

I pray and ray and pray.

 

Is it good enough to have a testimony of everything except Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon?  I don;t think so....but I am constantly hoping so.

 

Sorry for unloading like this.  I probably shouldn't.  Feels kinda foolish.  But it is what is on my mind and heart.

 

Thank you for listening

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Is it good enough to have a testimony of everything except Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon?  I don;t think so....but I am constantly hoping so.

There are answers for all these questions but it would take a lot of study for you to solve them intellectually- I have been where you are and studied philosophy and religion for 40 years to get to where I am.

Ultimately I had to solve - for my own self- the problem of what "truth" really is and what we can know as humans and another problem is how much "truth" can be expressed in language without the language getting in the way.

So my advice from an old guy is to hang in there, because there are no principles to live by in the entire world than the principles taught by the church. If that is all you can hang onto for awhile, hang on to that idea like it was a rope tossed to you while you are going down for the third time- because that is exactly what it is.

Through study you will find out that history is just "his-story" - a story made up after the fact to explain what someone THINKS "really happened", and that science is "just" a bunch of theories that are here today and gone tomorrow.

Scientists run some experiments and make up a story about what "really happened". Sometimes the story works and sometimes it doesn't. Read some stuff about quantum mechanics and you will see that physicists have the same problems talking about their discipline as theologians- language doesn't quite work as well as it should. Is light a particle? Is it a wave? It's "really" both. How can that be?

The problem is that at a certain point of abstraction, the words get in the way rather than clarifying. We end up arguing semantics.

When you get to become a full on complete skeptic you will find that NOTHING is quite as "true" as you thought it was as a child.

But we must give up childish ways.

You could even talk yourself into believing that right now you are dreaming while reading this if you get far enough out there. Maybe that is actually a good thing- because when you do, you will find that the only thing you can really hang your hat on is what works for you in your life to give you a good life.

The bottom line, is that if you can pass a temple recommend interview and honestly say that you have a "testimony of the restoration"- whatever that means to you- AND that Joseph was, and today we have "prophets" - whatever that means to you, you are and will remain a member of this church in good standing- just as "good" standing as anyone else in this crazy world.

I have come full circle from a believing Catholic as a child, to a student radical communist atheist in the 60's, now to a former LDS bishop and other leadership callings.

It's all "real", it's all "true"- it's all about understanding what all that means. THAT is the tough part. You can figure it out for yourself or just skip the middle part and decide to let yourself go with what you already know in your heart, and trust it, because eventually you will get back to that place anyway.

I like you because you are an honest soul in a "place" we all have been, and you don't mind sharing your journey in a simple and direct way. You have no guile.

Hang in there. PM me anytime you like if you want to!

Mark

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I hope it's okay to add my (non-LDS) thoughts/beliefs to the mix.

As I am a "guest" on a LDS discussion board, I will do my best to be respectful and brief with my comments.

Life is not a test (If it were, IMO, we would all fail miserably!

How so? By what standards do people fail miserably?

Life is a gift - given by the Creator - to His creations.

Test and gift are not mutually exclusive. Life can both be a test and a gift.

Salvation (I'll use "salvation" instead of Exaltation/deification for the purposes of discussion without road blocks) is a free gift - provided to all - by the immense love and grace of The Almighty God.

So everyone's saved? That's more LDS than the rest of this post.

The sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus has provided any/all of his followers the protection, comfort and peace to live without bondage. To live without having to earn salvation (we couldn't possibly earn such a thing - we are filthy rags - thus the very reason that the sacrifice was made on our behalf - by the only one that could provide such a thing.)

Working doesn't not constitute that we earn. It is faith, following commandments given.

Walking with the Lord is not about us taking the lead, running as fast as we can to get what we think awaits us at the finish line. Walking with the lord is to walk, peacefully and slowly, with Him and in Him. He leads, we follow - and we should take great comfort in what he has already done for each of us.

We can take great comfort and run in a race, as Paul tells us.

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ok...here goes....

 

I was taught that Joseph translated the plates in a very certain way...only to find out he had his head in a hat and translated without even looking at the plates.

So why is this an issue? I can imagine it's no fun to learn something you didn't know about, feeling perhaps you were misled?

 

I have had a problem with the various accounts of the First Vision.  I have read the apologetic responses and they only make matters worse.  This is especially difficult because I have been in the Sacred Grove and have kneeled and prayed in the Sacred Grove.

I was speaking with my sister yesterday and she related a story about something I have heard from her before. As it was, and I told her, the renditions of the story contradicted on a point or two. She had plainly forgotten that she told met he story before and that the previous telling was different.  

 

I have issues with the lack of evidence for the Book of Mormon.  I have also read the apologetics about this and am  not convinced.

Makes sense. There is a lack of evidence. Not much but some. So you've read it all, huh? Not much I can add. But I find some of the material intriguing, mostly from Sorenson at this point. For me, largely after reading about this, I've kinda come to a different idea of what is scripture. After all, the Bible itself begs many questions and concerns.

 

I have issues with the constant changes over time of doctrine and teaching.  I do not believe God changes.

I believe He can change. I don't know that He does change, but I accept the we're building on the past and perhaps have made mistakes. That while God is sometimes quick to correct other times, He waits and perhaps lets us figure it out.

 

This kills me.  I LOVE the Church.  I LOVE the current teachings.  I love watching and listening to General Conference.

Then stick with that.  

 

I spend a lot of time wondering what is wrong with me.  I listen to a song sung by (I think) Hilary Weeks called "Help my Unbelief"and wish it with all my heart.

 

I pray and ray and pray.

 

Is it good enough to have a testimony of everything except Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon?  I don;t think so....but I am constantly hoping so.

 

Sorry for unloading like this.  I probably shouldn't.  Feels kinda foolish.  But it is what is on my mind and heart.

 

Thank you for listening

No problem. I don't know that I'm far from where you are anyway. I've come to some resolution in some ways and in others I'm very unsettled. For me the concern is far less about historic teachings, people or scripture, and more about defining truth, our role in life, weird things like the problem of evil, and anxiety of how this all plays out.

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How so? By what standards do people fail miserably?

Test and gift are not mutually exclusive. Life can both be a test and a gift.

So everyone's saved? That's more LDS than the rest of this post.

Working doesn't not constitute that we earn. It is faith, following commandments given.

We can take great comfort and run in a race, as Paul tells us.

Right on the money.
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Wow, MF, if I didn't know better I would think you're a NOM.  ;)

 

Country Boy, I would almost say you and me are really alike.  But there is a big difference, I always believed the church was true and on the outside appeared stalwart, but really just enjoyed the culture and the community.  I read the church magazines, enjoyed them.  But scripturally and spiritually I lacked.  It's a miracle I believed so well without really searching.  I think you can do it, and you and I can maybe do as MF suggests.  And what Name said, walk with Jesus slowly, I love that!  How peaceful that feels. 

 

I hope you stick around.  A lot of people like us go right to other boards that don't have the balance this board has, it's helped me I believe, I think it can with you too. 

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So why is this an issue? I can imagine it's no fun to learn something you didn't know about, feeling perhaps you were misled?

 

I was speaking with my sister yesterday and she related a story about something I have heard from her before. As it was, and I told her, the renditions of the story contradicted on a point or two. She had plainly forgotten that she told met he story before and that the previous telling was different.  

 

Makes sense. There is a lack of evidence. Not much but some. So you've read it all, huh? Not much I can add. But I find some of the material intriguing, mostly from Sorenson at this point. For me, largely after reading about this, I've kinda come to a different idea of what is scripture. After all, the Bible itself begs many questions and concerns.

 

I believe He can change. I don't know that He does change, but I accept the we're building on the past and perhaps have made mistakes. That while God is sometimes quick to correct other times, He waits and perhaps lets us figure it out.

 

Then stick with that.  

 

No problem. I don't know that I'm far from where you are anyway. I've come to some resolution in some ways and in others I'm very unsettled. For me the concern is far less about historic teachings, people or scripture, and more about defining truth, our role in life, weird things like the problem of evil, and anxiety of how this all plays out.

it is part feeling like I was misled and part feeling that someone is not being honest with me, or that the prophet was not honest.

 

as to the versions......I imagine that seeing God is a little more memorable than whatever your sister went through. And the differences in Joseph's versions are alarming.

 

Reading Rough Stone Rolling was not a great idea for me.  I just pray my full testimony comes back.  and I hope others are praying for me, too

 

I want to thank you for answering.  I am sincerely grateful

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Wow, MF, if I didn't know better I would think you're a NOM.  ;)

 

Country Boy, I would almost say you and me are really alike.  But there is a big difference, I always believed the church was true and on the outside appeared stalwart, but really just enjoyed the culture and the community.  I read the church magazines, enjoyed them.  But scripturally and spiritually I lacked.  It's a miracle I believed so well without really searching.  I think you can do it, and you and I can maybe do as MF suggests.  And what Name said, walk with Jesus slowly, I love that!  How peaceful that feels. 

 

I hope you stick around.  A lot of people like us go right to other boards that don't have the balance this board has, it's helped me I believe, I think it can with you too. 

 

I hope so.  I fervently hope so.  Thank you

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Hi Stem!

How so? By what standards do people fail miserably?

We all fail miserably. We are all broken sinners.

Have you followed all of God's commands?

Test and gift are not mutually exclusive. Life can both be a test and a gift.

Yes, they are not mutually exclusive, but they are different.

A test is something presented to another (in this case - God presenting this test test to his creations) and a test is graded. There is a "score" attached to it. Do you feel that you can (or will) pass such a test?

A gift is something that is freely given (out of love with no strings attached). A gift is not earned - it is given.

So everyone's saved? That's more LDS than the rest of this post.

I make no comment on who is saved or who is not. This is way outside of my mere authority (and IMO, it is way outside of the authority of any man, organization, or religious group to be suggesting such)

Working doesn't not constitute that we earn. It is faith, following commandments given.

What must you do to be saved, Stem?

Must you follow certain commandments to live with God for eternity? What are they?

Have you followed every one of them?

We can take great comfort and run in a race, as Paul tells us.

You can run as long and as far as you like (IMO, it creates a life full of stress, feeling unworthy, discomfort, and its exhausting) it will have no impact on what Almighty God has already done on your (or my) behalf.

These are just my opinions!

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it is part feeling like I was misled and part feeling that someone is not being honest with me, or that the prophet was not honest.

I get that. I've been there and sometimes feel like I'm back there. I'm truly hoping more and more the Church just let's us and promotes laying it all out on the table and letting the chips fall where they may. I think there are signs that that's happening.

 

as to the versions......I imagine that seeing God is a little more memorable than whatever your sister went through. And the differences in Joseph's versions are alarming.

We each have our memorable personal events. While to others one person's memorable events are more important than another's, it hardly means that the individual treats them that way. The point is we all, every single one of us, will tell conflicting accounts of the same story at some point. Whether Joseph felt justified in it or not, is really immaterial. It just so happens that's part of human nature. So with that, I don't consider it a big deal like others do, and like you do.

 

Reading Rough Stone Rolling was not a great idea for me.  I just pray my full testimony comes back.  and I hope others are praying for me, too

 

I want to thank you for answering.  I am sincerely grateful

No problem. I guess we all see things differently.

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Hi Stem!

hah...You say that like you know me from somewhere. Possible?

We all fail miserably. We are all broken sinners.

So to sin is to fail miserably? make it tough to make sense of since we all sin.

Have you followed all of God's commands?

Who me? Not even close.

Yes, they are not mutually exclusive, but they are different.

A test is something presented to another (in this case - God presenting this test test to his creations) and a test is graded. There is a "score" attached to it. Do you feel that you can (or will) pass such a test?

I don't look at it in the big picture. I take it small, in parts, days at a time, kinda thing. I can't compare myself to 20 years ago very well, only generally, after all. It's an interesting test, this life. Each day we try to do something, want to get somewhere, whether physically or spiritually, or emotionally (that's less me). To not see our lives as a test seems absolutely foreign to me. I've never met a person who doesn't see themselves as developments going along, testing their metal, type of stuff. But if there's a better way I'm all ears.

A gift is something that is freely given (out of love with no strings attached). A gift is not earned - it is given.

In nearly all cases gifts I've given are to people who have earned some sort of love or respect from me, as it turns out. Only in the abstract, as in God gives salvation freely to everyone even though no one deserves it, can a gift be seen as given without earning. If such, in a vast sense, the normal use of the term gift is something given because of love, either mutual or whatever, and at the very least given out of respect.

I make no comment on who is saved or who is not. This is way outside of my mere authority (and IMO, it is way outside of the authority of any man, organization, or religious group to be suggesting such)

What authority do you claim?

What must you do to be saved, Stem?

Get born, breath, stink, eat, argue with a neighbor/sibling/work-mate, die.

Must you follow certain commandments to live with God for eternity? What are they?

Have you followed every one of them?

Repentance is the overall key to salvation. In all things we need to repent. God will sort out what He deems as different levels of salvation and I leave that to Him. He's given us ideas though. Love is incredibly important it seems. We must learn to love and not embrace things like enmity and hate. For some reason this message of love is paramount in keeping commandments (I wonder where we get such a silly notion?). So yes, its important to learn discipline and seek to condition ourselves to do what He wants us to do. No doubt in my mind on that.

You can run as long and as far as you like (IMO, it creates a life full of stress, feeling unworthy, discomfort, and its exhausting) it will have no impact on what Almighty God has already done on your (or my) behalf.

These are just my opinions!

Terribly unreflective of a Christian!(; Why treat running in a race as filling your life with stress, and feeling unworthy, discomfort, and exhausting? It doesn't seem like Paul sees it that way. Although, I do like to have some stresses and feel humble, and indeed if I don't get exhausted regularly I don't feel like I'm putting my shoulder to any wheels in life.

I'm starting to get suspicious of who it is I'm talking to.

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There are answers for all these questions but it would take a lot of study for you to solve them intellectually- I have been where you are and studied philosophy and religion for 40 years to get to where I am.

Ultimately I had to solve - for my own self- the problem of what "truth" really is and what we can know as humans and another problem is how much "truth" can be expressed in language without the language getting in the way.

So my advice from an old guy is to hang in there, because there are no principles to live by in the entire world than the principles taught by the church. If that is all you can hang onto for awhile, hang on to that idea like it was a rope tossed to you while you are going down for the third time- because that is exactly what it is.

Through study you will find out that history is just "his-story" - a story made up after the fact to explain what someone THINKS "really happened", and that science is "just" a bunch of theories that are here today and gone tomorrow.

Scientists run some experiments and make up a story about what "really happened". Sometimes the story works and sometimes it doesn't. Read some stuff about quantum mechanics and you will see that physicists have the same problems talking about their discipline as theologians- language doesn't quite work as well as it should. Is light a particle? Is it a wave? It's "really" both. How can that be?

The problem is that at a certain point of abstraction, the words get in the way rather than clarifying. We end up arguing semantics.

When you get to become a full on complete skeptic you will find that NOTHING is quite as "true" as you thought it was as a child.

But we must give up childish ways.

You could even talk yourself into believing that right now you are dreaming while reading this if you get far enough out there. Maybe that is actually a good thing- because when you do, you will find that the only thing you can really hang your hat on is what works for you in your life to give you a good life.

The bottom line, is that if you can pass a temple recommend interview and honestly say that you have a "testimony of the restoration"- whatever that means to you- AND that Joseph was, and today we have "prophets" - whatever that means to you, you are and will remain a member of this church in good standing- just as "good" standing as anyone else in this crazy world.

I have come full circle from a believing Catholic as a child, to a student radical communist atheist in the 60's, now to a former LDS bishop and other leadership callings.

It's all "real", it's all "true"- it's all about understanding what all that means. THAT is the tough part. You can figure it out for yourself or just skip the middle part and decide to let yourself go with what you already know in your heart, and trust it, because eventually you will get back to that place anyway.

I like you because you are an honest soul in a "place" we all have been, and you don't mind sharing your journey in a simple and direct way. You have no guile.

Hang in there. PM me anytime you like if you want to!

Mark

 

thank you!

 

I will, if you are sue you do not mind.

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hah...You say that like you know me from somewhere. Possible?

Quite possible! :)

In nearly all cases gifts I've given are to people who have earned some sort of love or respect from me,

You've never given a homeless person a hamburger?

Have you ever been kind to a total stranger?

Ever helped an elderly person with their lawn?

Never bought one of your kid's friends an ice cream cone?

the normal use of the term gift is something given because of love, either mutual or whatever, and at the very least given out of respect.

For human beings, I would agree - in most cases.

For God Almighty, this gift is given from and by His Grace. Alone - and has nothing to do with us earning it.

What authority do you claim?

Absolutely none!

I am a weak, broken, sinning, mortal creation.

Get born, breath, stink, eat, argue with a neighbor/sibling/work-mate, die.

I think you're avoiding the question.

As a Mormon, there are things that you must do to be saved (live with God for eternity)

You must earn this - and I'm simply suggesting to you that you can't earn such a thing. The sooner you stop trying, you can take a huge breathe, be at peace, at find enormous comfort in The One that provides said peace and comfort.

Love is incredibly important it seems.

Amen, Brother! :)

So are things like compassion, humility, humbleness, kindness (It's what the Lord taught to us and exampled to us all over the NT. The Good News!)

For some reason this message of love is paramount in keeping commandments

It's not paramount in keeping commandments (None of us keep them, friend.)

It's paramount in how we try to follow him (even as we continue to fail.) It is His Love that we try to follow. His Love that we try (often struggle) to extend to others.

And when we fail to do all these things that he commanded us to do, then what?

Terribly unreflective of a Christian!

If you find it terribly unreflective, then perhaps you should keep running, and running, and running.

But I still encourage you to at least consider a calm and peaceful jog - with random stops along the way to rest, reflect, pause, consider, and smell the roses.

I'm starting to get suspicious of who it is I'm talking to.

Who? :)

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Quite possible! :)

Alright I got you figured out. Get back to the trailer park before we go all berserk on your caboose.

You've never given a homeless person a hamburger?

apropos to my example indeed.

 

 

Have you ever been kind to a total stranger?

Don't know about you, ceebs, but strangers have my respect for the most part.

 

Ever helped an elderly person with their lawn?

Elderly people earned my respect long ago.

 

Never bought one of your kid's friends an ice cream cone?

In spite of what I've said I love all of my kid's friends and their parents. You've nailed some perfect examples to illustrate my point, thanks.

 

For human beings, I would agree - in most cases.

For God Almighty, this gift is given from and by His Grace. Alone - and has nothing to do with us earning it.

Then He should never have commanded us to do anything. Telling us how to get saved and all that. he should have just created us out of nothing, set us on this planet and dropped all forms of communication with us, leaving us to live 80 some years to do whatever we wanted, because afterall, it wouldn't have mattered to Him. He would just save us all and happily anywho.

 

Absolutely none!

I am a weak, broken, sinning, mortal creation.

Good. I hope your children understand the truth and don't get fooled by cleaning their room, or walking the dog as their daddy tells them. He holds no authority over them.

 

I think you're avoiding the question.

As a Mormon, there are things that you must do to be saved (live with God for eternity)

You must earn this - and I'm simply suggesting to you that you can't earn such a thing. The sooner you stop trying, you can take a huge breathe, be at peace, at find enormous comfort in The One that provides said peace and comfort.

your concept of what it is to be a Mormon is pretty foreign to me. I don't earn my salvation mostly because I can't earn it. My efforts aren't to earn so much as learn to love. I'll let Him deal with what salvation He grants. I might be saved into the Telestial realm, but I am I'll happily reside there because I trust He knows what's up moreso than I.

 

Amen, Brother! :)

So are things like compassion, humility, humbleness, kindness (It's what the Lord taught to us and exampled to us all over the NT. The Good News!)

This doesn't sound like the ceeboo I once knew (-;

 

It's not paramount in keeping commandments (None of us keep them, friend.)

It's paramount in how we try to follow him (even as we continue to fail.) It is His Love that we try to follow. His Love that we try (often struggle) to extend to others.

"If ye love me, keep my commandments"? Seems like it's important to keep them if we love Him. You seem to suggest that is not so. You can't fool me with this tricky "mainstream" bait and switch language (-:

 

And when we fail to do all these things that he commanded us to do, then what?

What do you mean? What do you do when you fail to love your neighbor? Give up? Or try again? I try again. You?

 

If you find it terribly unreflective, then perhaps you should keep running, and running, and running.

But I still encourage you to at least consider a calm and peaceful jog - with random stops along the way to rest, reflect, pause, consider, and smell the roses.

Who? :)

I didn't say I run 24-7. But running is important--an apostle tells me so.

Edited by stemelbow
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Let me share another example.

 

I have said in the past that I struggled with an addiction to pornography. When I quit, like any other addiction I went through withdrawals. The first few weeks/months are terrible. You can feel your brain screaming at you. Now, everything that could go wrong in my life during that time did in fact go wrong. Educationally, physically, financially, etc. It made quitting that much harder. The addiction craved the drug even more. It wanted the comfort and bliss the porn brought more than ever.

 

I don't believe and I am confident that it was no coincidence that aspects of my life went to crap when I was trying to make a hard change. I think the Lord aloud it to be so intentionally because he wanted it to be HARD. He wanted it to test my metal. I think issues with church history are no different. There were times where I thought God should have taken all of those other complications out of my life because quitting porn was going to be hard enough on its own, but he didn't. My faith was tested, but ultimately it was rewarded.

 

I think the Lord has at the very least created a world where anything that could go wrong and challenge our faith, will go wrong and challenge our faith. Intentionally. Even in ways that in the short term seem cruel or unfair. Or even illogical. Faith is a choice. Bottom line. You can choose not to have faith, but it is a choice.

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