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Has Anyone Ever Thought This?


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I don't think mowing my neighbors lawn, cleaning out rain gutters, serving at the soup kitchen, giving to charity, and the like quite makes up for the pain and suffering that people go through.

Of course not, only the Atonement can do that but knowing someone cares, that someone is willing to stand with you and mourn with you can strengthen you to be more capable of bearing the pain and suffering and moving through it.

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It's hard to think how most of us could reasonably be judged at all based only on our actions. After all, what would your actions be if you were raised in a gang-filled neighborhood with abusive parents? Probably radically different. Or what if you were raised as the only child of a wealth Saudi businessman? A fisherman's son in Iceland? Each circumstance would likely radically affect your choices. 

 

What might judgement look like then? I don't think anyone could predict the results. 

Edited by Gray
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"you think I'm not or something"

I am just saying take the energy and resources you are expending on this fear and transfer it to your efforts to help others to make that even stronger.

How so? It's not as if I use up my energy worrying about it at the expense of doing for others. I can, in fact, worry about it, while fixing my neighbor's car. I know that is true because I do it all the time.

As a professional worrier, I know when such self dismissive thoughts end up creating the very obstacles one is fearing. Why not stop caring about the exact location of one's eternal destination and just envelope oneself in the excitement of getting there with others that you love or will come to love.

Then I'm left forgetting about others, and many of those others are ones whom I have loved. interesting that you had set up a dichotomy in that you can't both expend your energy doing for others and also reeling over the notion that many to most won't be exalted. Here is another. Why can't one both consider others and also do their best for those closest to him/her?

And it isn't as if there is limited space in the CK for only so many, you if you choose to be exalted will only be taking your own place, not anyone else's.

We've already been notified only some will make it. That's enough to tell me I could end up exalted, feeling exalted above many other's who came to this earth in a lesser condition. Honestly, that sounds miserable--the height of misery--worse than spending eternity in hell.

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I go through this type of thinking all the time:

I've been given a lot. Too much. It's not fair, really. I'm just me and somehow I was "sent to earth" at a time and place that seems easiest. I'm not stuck in a jungle where it's required I kill and eat someone as a rite of passage. I'm not stuck in a time and place where I'm starving on a Pacific Island, after many of the resources to sustain life have been used up. I'm not subject to a despotic ruler. I didn't come at a time and place where my race or religion caused me to be persecuted (I mean the real kind of persecuted not the kind that Mormons complain about) throughout my life. Hell I was barely even teased about anything growing up.

Since that is so, I realize I deserve nothing. I get a bit consumed with guilt. How am I considered a part of the Kingdom of God on earth when billions of people were provided less than me? Most of me wants to step aside and jump on board with the crew of the Terrestrial or Telestial people (given the general LDS attitude and understanding these two groups combined will be much larger than the exalted). If I could do that and put a person of my choosing into the Celestial world for eternity, in my place, I'd do it. I don't want an eternity of feeling exalted, if so many are not given as much. I'd rather run with the lesser crowd.

Two immediate thoughts:

First, the Parable of the Talents comes to mind, particularly the part about the fearful servant, as described here (from the link, which is an article by Elder Ronald A. Rasband):

 

Jesus told the story of a master who gave each of his three servants a sum of money. The amounts were set according to each servant’s previously demonstrated capabilities. The man then left for a long time. When he returned, he asked each of these servants to report what he had done with the money.
 
The first two servants revealed they had doubled his investment. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord,” was the master’s reply (Matt. 25:21; see also Matt. 25:23).
 
The third servant then came trembling before his master. He had already heard what the others had reported and knew that he could not give a similar report. “I was afraid,” the servant said, “and went and hid thy talent in the earth” (Matt. 25:25). The master was upset. “Thou wicked and slothful servant,” he said. Then he commanded, “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents” (Matt. 25:26, 28).
 
The Savior then gave the interpretation of the parable: Those who obtain other talents receive more talents in abundance. But those who do not obtain other talents shall lose even the talents they had initially (see Matt. 25:28–29).
 
Elder Rasband gleans from this parable three principles:
 
Applying the teachings of the parable of the talents has been a challenge and a blessing in my life. The following principles have been a great help to me in my efforts with this process.
 
Seek earnestly to discover the talents the Lord has given you. The talents God has given us first become apparent in the interests we pursue. If you are wondering about your talents, make a list of the things you like to do. Include all the activities you enjoy from different dimensions of your life—spiritual, musical, dramatic, academic, athletic, and so on. Study and ponder your patriarchal blessing for insights and inspiration. Consult family members, trusted friends, teachers, and leaders; others often can see in us what we find difficult to see in ourselves.
...
Use your talents to build up the kingdom of God. Our first priority in helping others is our family. Parents are in a unique and powerful position to encourage and support their children in developing their talents. We also have many opportunities to help others identify their talents. I am grateful for the many people who have helped me add to my talents. The successes in life of those we assist, sponsor, mentor, and lift as they pursue their own talents can bring us great joy and satisfaction.
...
Acknowledge God’s hand in your success. We must never forget or stop acknowledging that all talents and abilities come from God. Some were given to us before our birth, while others have been acquired as we have developed. But in both cases, they are gifts from a benevolent Heavenly Father, whose gracious blessings are also the means for improving our talents and obtaining others. The Lord has said, “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things” (D&C 59:21).
 
I believe we should utilize the talents and blessings given to us as described above.  Wallowing in angst and fear wouldn't seem to help anyone.
 
Second, Joseph Smith said this regarding faith in God: 
 
Let us here observe that three things are necessary for any rational and intelligent being to exercise faith in God unto life and salvation. First, the idea that he actually exists; Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes; Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which one is pursuing is according to His will.
 
I wonder if you should spend some time with that second point (developing "a correct idea of (God's) character, perfections, and attributes").  God is just.  God will take into account individual circumstances.  See, e.g., D&C 82:3 ("For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation."), D&C 1:33 ("And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.").  Jeff Lindsay has some very good thoughts on this subject here.
 
I will close with three scriptures which I have often found to be comforting and instructive:
 
  • D&C 6:34 - "Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail."
  • D&C 35:27 - "Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come. Behold, I come quickly. Even so. Amen."
  • Luke 12:32 - "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
 
Thanks,
 
-Smac
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We all self-indulge, atleast to some extent. maybe that suggests none of us will be exalted and this discussion is all a waste as a result. We'll all be together in the lesser worlds.

Of course we all indulge ourselves to some extent. None of us are perfect. But that's what I love about the Church and the callings we get. We get pushed to leave our comfort zones, get out and meet those around us, and help each other. We often even get asked to go on missions to far off parts of the world and help people spiritually and temporally.

 

We do what we can and rely on the atonement to make up for what we can't, which is a lot. 

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I find such a thought interesting as well, and sometimes helpful. Perhaps it's a bit mistaken for us to put so much stock into our mortal life, but we do get the impression that our eternity rests on what we do here. Why would our mortal time here matter to eternity? What does mortality mean to he who lives till 6 and is maliciously murdered? Or to babies who die before they are one?

The reason why it is so important is the same reason why the experience of being a child is so to the adult...it is what we must go through to get to that point of adulthood; it is an essential part of learning who we are as individuals.

"That seems to be the exact opposite of scriptural messages--which seem to suggest we need to fear we aren't going to make it, even after we try real hard in our lives."

Depends I think on which ones you choose to emphasize and interpret other scriptures through....if you choose to read the scriptures through the knowledge that God is the perfect, loving Father and the perfect, loving Son who cared so much for his family he gave himself completely to his Father's work no matter what the cost was to him, then it is easier to find hope through the awe and desire for God instead of the fear that because one isn't good enough for them, there is no way to return...but this last is contrary to what God has promised us. What Father when asked for bread gives a stone? Truly desire eternal life for yourself and others and you will receive it as the scriptures teach.

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Me neither, but if they mean something than it's different than not deserving, no? We do those things because they help make us, correct?

Sometimes but I generally prefer to do them out of love or duty instead of out of fear or self-interest.

I do not think fear and hope about the afterlife work as intended until you love God. When you do the desire to dwell with him is natural and fear of losing him is equally healthy. If you do not love God it can seem like an arbitrarily unfair gradation of reward as opposed to proximity to the object of your affection based on your actual affection.

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Sure but it doesn't stop my heart from feeling broken that so many will be lost. I deserve to be as lost.

 

That was my short answer, here's my long answer:

 

When I was a younger, a friend's loved one died suddenly.  He'd been raised in the Church but had become inactive and was living with his girlfriend at the time.  Some well-meaning members said some extremely insensitive things to his family, like how they were so sorry that their son would not be saved. That same year, one of my loved ones lay in the hospital on the brink after a suicide attempt, also raised in the Church. While this person was teetering between life and death, we said a prayer before taking the road trip to visit at the hospital.  In that prayer, I felt the witness that, whatever happened to this person in the next 24 hours, they would be okay because of Jesus Christ.

 

Years followed and I still felt the injustice (similar to the injustice you describe) of these two occurrences: that I still had my loved one around and my friend had lost hers.  Mine still had “a chance” while hers no longer had a chance in this life.  I prayed, and allowed myself to recognize the truth that had always been known: the Lord is merciful far beyond our capacity to understand, and we are accountable to what we know and what we are able to do. There are those who face physical challenges of all varieties which might make them unable to follow the prescribed path, the path that in well-planned for those of us who are able to follow it.

 

I knew that, just as my loved one would be okay because of Jesus Christ, so would the loved one of my friend.

 

Since then I’ve fully recognized that, from a doctrinal standpoint, the doctrine of the Gospel is extraordinarily inclusive. Everyone gets a chance, if not in this life, then in the next.  If we didn’t know then, we’ll be taught, we’ll have a chance.  I’ve understood that being raised in the Church, even serving a mission, is not equivalent to having the knowledge of all things to which we are accountable.

 

Every human that walks, has ever walked, and will walk the Earth (meaning everyone) will have the full chance.

 

We’re not Calvinistic, it’s not as if there’s only room for a select few in Heaven.  Our “plan” is for continued growth, when we’re ready to work on that step.  There is room for everyone in Heaven, and everyone will have the opportunity to progress once they are able to know and proceed with each given step.

 

So when I look around at people, knowing that they’re not LDS does not have much bearing on where they stand with God.  Do I know what whispers of the Spirit they’ve heeded or not heeded?  Do I know what demons they’ve fought and conquered and are still fighting?  No.  I know that there are souls much more valiant than I walking the earth, who do not know the Gospel. God knows, though, and they’ll have a chance.

 

We cannot control how we came into the world, but we can act and we can make choices.  We have to be humble before the Lord and be willing to seek Him, and whatever we think about another persons (or our own!) position on the path we’ve been shown, we are to be excellent to each other. By doing so, you and I might improve conditions for others, we might also give others a chance to help us, edification prevailing.

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The reason why it is so important is the same reason why the experience of being a child is so to the adult...it is what we must go through to get to that point of adulthood; it is an essential part of learning who we are as individuals.

Well it is what some of us must go through, right? Life can't teach much to an infant who dies.

"That seems to be the exact opposite of scriptural messages--which seem to suggest we need to fear we aren't going to make it, even after we try real hard in our lives."

Depends I think on which ones you choose to emphasize and interpret other scriptures through....if you choose to read the scriptures through the knowledge that God is the perfect, loving Father and the perfect, loving Son who cared so much for his family he gave himself completely to his Father's work no matter what the cost was to him, then it is easier to find hope through the awe and desire for God instead of the fear that because one isn't good enough for them, there is no way to return...but this last is contrary to what God has promised us. What Father when asked for bread gives a stone? Truly desire eternal life for yourself and others and you will receive it as the scriptures teach.

Thanks, Cal. I appreciate your patience with me. I've tried and at this point simply can't take confidence in my own salvation when so many will not be saved--most of which I don't know anything about. It makes me feel terrible, unconfident. I suppose I could just pretend the problem/concern isn't there. but it doesn't work for me.

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How so? It's not as if I use up my energy worrying about it at the expense of doing for others. I can, in fact, worry about it, while fixing my neighbor's car. I know that is true because I do it all the time.Then I'm left forgetting about others, and many of those others are ones whom I have loved. interesting that you had set up a dichotomy in that you can't both expend your energy doing for others and also reeling over the notion that many to most won't be exalted. Here is another. Why can't one both consider others and also do their best for those closest to him/her?We've already been notified only some will make it. That's enough to tell me I could end up exalted, feeling exalted above many other's who came to this earth in a lesser condition. Honestly, that sounds miserable--the height of misery--worse than spending eternity in hell.

You seem to be misreading my point. Sorry I can not communicate them more clearly. In no way am I suggesting one neglects being concerned for others, I am suggesting turning negative concerns and worries that can eventually sap away hope and desire to help others ( why bother as nothing really changes kinds of thoughts) into positive concerns and focusing on exploring what one can do for others, including praying and growing in love and understanding when one can do nothing else because of distance, lack of sufficient contact or resources to help.

As to knowing some won't make it, there are those leaders who believe there is progression between the kingdoms for those who eventually desire it (iirc Talmage and Widtsoe are two that expressed such a belief in the past). Between that and Joseph Smith teaching that there is a long, long way for all to go after death before judgment, I think we can choose to trust God that no matter how eternity turns out (save for a very few in mortality who choose with their eyes wide open after knowing the full miracle of the Atonement in their lives to turn their backs on God) it is going to be one fantastic experience for everyone to the fullest of their desires.

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Sometimes but I generally prefer to do them out of love or duty instead of out of fear or self-interest.

I think that's important, sure.

I do not think fear and hope about the afterlife work as intended until you love God. When you do the desire to dwell with him is natural and fear of losing him is equally healthy. If you do not love God it can seem like an arbitrarily unfair gradation of reward as opposed to proximity to the object of your affection based on your actual affection.

Ok. So I don't love God enough, I guess. maybe someday my love will get there.

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That was my short answer, here's my long answer:

 

When I was a younger, a friend's loved one died suddenly.  He'd been raised in the Church but had become inactive and was living with his girlfriend at the time.  Some well-meaning members said some extremely insensitive things to his family, like how they were so sorry that their son would not be saved. That same year, one of my loved ones lay in the hospital on the brink after a suicide attempt, also raised in the Church. While this person was teetering between life and death, we said a prayer before taking the road trip to visit at the hospital.  In that prayer, I felt the witness that, whatever happened to this person in the next 24 hours, they would be okay because of Jesus Christ.

 

Years followed and I still felt the injustice (similar to the injustice you describe) of these two occurrences: that I still had my loved one around and my friend had lost hers.  Mine still had “a chance” while hers no longer had a chance in this life.  I prayed, and allowed myself to recognize the truth that had always been known: the Lord is merciful far beyond our capacity to understand, and we are accountable to what we know and what we are able to do. There are those who face physical challenges of all varieties which might make them unable to follow the prescribed path, the path that in well-planned for those of us who are able to follow it.

 

I knew that, just as my loved one would be okay because of Jesus Christ, so would the loved one of my friend.

 

Since then I’ve fully recognized that, from a doctrinal standpoint, the doctrine of the Gospel is extraordinarily inclusive. Everyone gets a chance, if not in this life, then in the next.  If we didn’t know then, we’ll be taught, we’ll have a chance.  I’ve understood that being raised in the Church, even serving a mission, is not equivalent to having the knowledge of all things to which we are accountable.

 

Every human that walks, has ever walked, and will walk the Earth (meaning everyone) will have the full chance.

 

We’re not Calvinistic, it’s not as if there’s only room for a select few in Heaven.  Our “plan” is for continued growth, when we’re ready to work on that step.  There is room for everyone in Heaven, and everyone will have the opportunity to progress once they are able to know and proceed with each given step.

 

So when I look around at people, knowing that they’re not LDS does not have much bearing on where they stand with God.  Do I know what whispers of the Spirit they’ve heeded or not heeded?  Do I know what demons they’ve fought and conquered and are still fighting?  No.  I know that there are souls much more valiant than I walking the earth, who do not know the Gospel. God knows, though, and they’ll have a chance.

 

We cannot control how we came into the world, but we can act and we can make choices.  We have to be humble before the Lord and be willing to seek Him, and whatever we think about another persons (or our own!) position on the path we’ve been shown, we are to be excellent to each other. By doing so, you and I might improve conditions for others, we might also give others a chance to help us, edification prevailing.

Awesome thanks for sharing. I think we can do all and still realize the pain of others and the pain of eternity. It makes me sad to think some will be exalted and others will not.

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Well it is what some of us must go through, right? Life can't teach much to an infant who dies.Thanks, Cal. I appreciate your patience with me. I've tried and at this point simply can't take confidence in my own salvation when so many will not be saved--most of which I don't know anything about. It makes me feel terrible, unconfident. I suppose I could just pretend the problem/concern isn't there. but it doesn't work for me.

My personal view is that in the spirit world we will be sharing our experiences with each other as we do here, but eventually as we learn to communicate better in much greater depth and understanding so the infant that dies can gain as much as he needs from my sharing of my experiences and I may learn much from his road as well. If I am right, we essentially will have billions of lifetimes to look upon, to learn from, to figure out what is important to us, to then go to God and express our desire of what to become...and he will provide whatever is needed to reach that point.

This is how I've come to understand how the differences in life can exist and yet God is 'no respector of people' such that male, female, slave and freemen are all the same before him.

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Awesome thanks for sharing. I think we can do all and still realize the pain of others and the pain of eternity. It makes me sad to think some will be exalted and others will not.

 

Were you the kind of kid who hoped Satan would get another chance? My son is, I was.  The thought of anyone suffering so is hard.

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I wouldn't be so hard on myself if I were you because future generations will look back at our lives and think, "Those poor, pitiful fools." My kids already think that about me and the fact that I lived most of my life without YouTube. In a hundred years, our easy lives will be considered downright drudgery to our great grandkids. I certainly think that about people who lived without indoor plumbing, washing machines, electricity, TVs, cars, etc. With the pace of technological progress increasing at an exponential rate, the difference will be even more stark.

In short, take heart, my brother. We are not that much luckier than the others who came before us. It just seems that way.

Edited by mormonnewb
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I wouldn't be so hard on myself if I were you because future generations will look back at our lives and think, "Those poor, pitiful fools." My kids already think that about me and the fact that I lived most of my life without YouTube. In a hundred years, our easy lives will be considered downright drudgery to our great grandkids. I certainly think that about people who lived without indoor plumbing, washing machines, electricity, TVs, cars, etc. With the pace of technological progress increasing at an exponential rate, the difference will be even more stark.

In short, take heart, my brother. We are not that much luckier than the others who came before us. It just seems that way.

Sure times are one thing, but circumstance adds a whole other difficulty. It's not so much that people had to wash clothes by hand that concerns me, but that people were tortured because they were born in their particular situation and that some of these might actually find themselves in a lesser eternal condition than myself. In the end, I most likely wont worry because I'll find myself sitting amongst the eternally damned anywho, but if by chance I find myself exalted, I'd feel pretty terrible knowing others have less.

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PS: in case you haven't noticed my signature...one of the reasons I see mortality as just the barest of beginnings (or rather the short physical interlude between two extremely extensive spiritual learning periods) and not the ultimate part of becoming who we will be:

"When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world." Joseph Smith

I see mortality as the first few rungs or maybe a few rungs partway up as the first were climbed in premortality....as long as we get on the ladder and keep moving up, it doesn't matter how high we've gotten in this life as we will have all that time required not only to comprehend that Joseph talks about, but to make that comprehension part of our being through the Atonement.

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I go through this type of thinking all the time:

I think the sense of obligation to deny or refuse oneself a blessing out of a sense of guilt and injustice dissipates when he liberally reaches out with all he has to invite his brothers and sisters to share, obtain and enjoy what he has. This way goodness in this world and the next expands rather than contracts. Mosiah 4 is a great resource for sharing both temporally and spiritually.

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Sure but it doesn't stop my heart from feeling broken that so many will be lost. I deserve to be as lost.

Isn't it glorious that you don't need to be lost nor anyone else though no matter how much we deserve it? God calls all of us home, it will be our choice how embraced by him we choose to be....a choice IMO that we won't make until we get a full chance to process all the experiences of premortality, mortality and postmortality. Otherwise why would there need be such a long wait for the Final Judgment? Why not have judgment first and then just however long it takes to prepare each person to make the fullest of their experiences in their chosen/assigned Kingdom?

Edited by calmoriah
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Just some thoughts. I'm not saying that these reflect an accurate understanding of what you are saying Stemelbow, but these are my thoughts based on what it sounds like you are saying to me.

 

First thought-you don't trust that who get's exalted and who doesn't will be fair to everyone.

 

Second thought-you think it's more noble to reject exaltation and give it to someone else, because, again, God is not capable (or maybe willing) of making sure that everyone will end up exactly where they have chosen to be.  You must sacrifice in order to save someone else.  Christ's sacrifice is not enough to save them.

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Were you the kind of kid who hoped Satan would get another chance? My son is, I was. The thought of anyone suffering so is hard.

I feel the same way. How could anyone want to settle for being less than they could be? And if it is less than, won't it cause pain and suffering to be in that state? How can misery be truly desired?

But the older I get, the more I see that different people want different things than I do in their lives, that some even prefer mediocrity and boredom over putting effort into having growth and excitement in life. Comfort is their first priority each and every time.

But there is even hope IMO for them. I don't see it taking that much, just a willingness to push oneself on occasion...God will give us all the time we need as I think part of being no respector of persons is not differentiating in judgment between the spiritually gifted and the spiritually challenged as long as both are trying to use in some good way what has been given them.

"but that people were tortured because they were born in their particular situation and that some of these might actually find themselves in a lesser eternal condition than myself"

It won't be the experience of torture that will keep someone from exaltation if that is the crippling experience that it appears to be to us, IMO. We will be judged by what we are given (the advantages whatever those may be) and the Lord will provide healing for those who were disadvantaged (well, we all are in some ways) so that those disadvantages become in some miraculous fashion blessings bringing us to God (see in the D&C where God tells Joseph about being able to turn all things to His and Joseph's and everyone's good if we let him). If someone is currently in this life incapable of letting God do that, healing and teaching will come in the next life so that all will have a fair choice at some time in their existence to accept the blessing of the Atonement God offers us.

Edited by calmoriah
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Just some thoughts. I'm not saying that these reflect an accurate understanding of what you are saying Stemelbow, but these are my thoughts based on what it sounds like you are saying to me.

 

First thought-you don't trust that who get's exalted and who doesn't will be fair to everyone.

how can we? No one deserves it. Fairness seems silly if anyone who doesn't deserves it gets it.

 

Second thought-you think it's more noble to reject exaltation and give it to someone else, because, again, God is not capable (or maybe willing) of making sure that everyone will end up exactly where they have chosen to be.  You must sacrifice in order to save someone else.  Christ's sacrifice is not enough to save them.

nobility doesn't play any factors in this for me. I'm just thinking of my own ability to stay sane.

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