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I Want To Know The Real Christ


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I should never post things while in an emotional state, but what better place than here, where there's some anonymity.

 

I have a strong desire for a better understanding of Christ and His ways. The more I study, the more I realize how little I comprehend.

What set me off today was an unexpected, expensive home repair, which will set back more desirable uses of my funds. I had just spent yesterday fasting and attending the temple. I support children on a mission and am a very active, giving member of the church. Of course I've been through countless ups and downs, but I haven't yet lost my testimony and never will.

 

Yet as I was trying to understand the seemingly (and I'm sure I'm wrong) lack of involvement of God in this particular problem, my mind (perhaps influenced by another spirit) started pondering the true persona of the Lord. Wasn't it He that commanded Moses to slaughter women and children ?  Wasn't it Christ, who as one His first acts after dying on the cross (having had His bowels filled with mercy) again killed women and children in many of the Nephite cities that He caused to be burned or buried in the sea ? Isn't it He who today allows terrorists to kill Christians and wreck havoc among the innocent ?

 

These are things we're all aware of, but never seem to talk about in the gospel discussions of the Church. I want to know and understand the Savior, but I want it to be the real Jesus, not the one we teach about in Primary where there's only smiles and flowers. I don't want to be irreverent, but I desire reality, not fantasy. I'm not afraid of the truth because I believe it will lead me to a better place.

 

Any feedback or slaps upside the head would be appreciated !

 

 

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Is there any behavior by humans that would, in your mind, justify the Lord killing anyone? Is there any reason that you could come up with that would be good enough for God to wipe out women and children? Even I as a lowlife stupid mortal can envision situations where death is better than life. Doing good doesn't make you immune to trouble , doing bad doesn't always make you uncomfortable. Whenever I feel put upon by life, I google " freaks" and see if I would like to trade places .

I remember the story of the handcart folks who truly experienced Christ when in their ' extremities '. Strange how that happens.

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Is there any behavior by humans that would, in your mind, justify the Lord killing anyone? Is there any reason that you could come up with that would be good enough for God to wipe out women and children? Even I as a lowlife stupid mortal can envision situations where death is better than life. Doing good doesn't make you immune to trouble , doing bad doesn't always make you uncomfortable. Whenever I feel put upon by life, I google " freaks" and see if I would like to trade places .

I remember the story of the handcart folks who truly experienced Christ when in their ' extremities '. Strange how that happens.

I agree with your point of view, but I think I'm trying to understand it from the other side. You're presenting situations where we have to judge if what God did was justified and I agree that from our perspective, we can probably see that it was.

 

I'm trying to understand/comprehend the personality of Someone who (to take your last example) would subject people to physical exhaustion, starvation and freezing temperatures so they could get to know Him better. I could not envision subjecting someone I cared about to those kind of trials, in order to teach them a lesson, or plunging a sword through a child, in order to save them. 

 

I'm not saying those actions by God are not justified - I'm trying to understand and comprehend the kind of Being who could  actually carry out those actions and feel good about it, because I never could. But if I'm supposed to want to be like Him, I have to bridge that gap (among countless others). 

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Now I can understand why there are a lot of Athiests. Their hearts and souls can't comprehend a Jesus like that. Are you sure Jesus commanded that or God, or which God, right? I guess I don't believe in half the BoM or Bible because they are men authors and they could be delusional or wrong. That's how I deal.

Sorry your going through this...hope it turns out and things change for the better!

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I should never post things while in an emotional state, but what better place than here, where there's some anonymity.

 

I have a strong desire for a better understanding of Christ and His ways. The more I study, the more I realize how little I comprehend.

What set me off today was an unexpected, expensive home repair, which will set back more desirable uses of my funds. I had just spent yesterday fasting and attending the temple. I support children on a mission and am a very active, giving member of the church. Of course I've been through countless ups and downs, but I haven't yet lost my testimony and never will.

 

Yet as I was trying to understand the seemingly (and I'm sure I'm wrong) lack of involvement of God in this particular problem, my mind (perhaps influenced by another spirit) started pondering the true persona of the Lord. Wasn't it He that commanded Moses to slaughter women and children ?  Wasn't it Christ, who as one His first acts after dying on the cross (having had His bowels filled with mercy) again killed women and children in many of the Nephite cities that He caused to be burned or buried in the sea ? Isn't it He who today allows terrorists to kill Christians and wreck havoc among the innocent ?

 

These are things we're all aware of, but never seem to talk about in the gospel discussions of the Church. I want to know and understand the Savior, but I want it to be the real Jesus, not the one we teach about in Primary where there's only smiles and flowers. I don't want to be irreverent, but I desire reality, not fantasy. I'm not afraid of the truth because I believe it will lead me to a better place.

 

Any feedback or slaps upside the head would be appreciated !

 

You are asking questions which have bothered me much more than anything I have read about Joseph Smith's polygamy. There are some who flat out reject the notion that God ever ended anyone's life or ordered that it be done and that those scriptures are efforts by the prophets in those days to rationalize their crimes by saying that "the Lord told me to do it." But in doing so, one would have to reject those people as prophets and much of Bible scripture also.

 

These are things which I have to reserve in a place for things which I do not yet understand, but will one day. Otherwise I would have to reject my belief in that God, which I cannot do because my testimony will not let me do so. It has been won by too much struggle in my life and by some experiences that I cannot, will not, and do not want to deny.

 

So, I have to remember that we all see "through a glass, darkly" and it will be some time before we can see clearly now. In the mean time, I will just have to live by faith.

 

Glenn

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I'm trying to understand/comprehend the personality of Someone who (to take your last example) would subject people to physical exhaustion, starvation and freezing temperatures so they could get to know Him better. I could not envision subjecting someone I cared about to those kind of trials, in order to teach them a lesson, or plunging a sword through a child, in order to save them.

Here I think we give God a bad rap. I'm not sure God " subjected " the pioneers to all those trials. Those were trials that they faced as a result of being on this planet and making choices etc. As a parent I can be tempted to prevent every harm that might come to my child, yet I know that I would be doing a great disservice over the long run if I wrapped him in bubble wrap . I tell my child not to touch a hot stove. He does it anyway. What do I do then? Well, I might give him a stern look of disapproval and disappointment, but I go get the first aid kit and help dress his wounds. Both the warning and the wound dressing are acts of love.

Edited by strappinglad
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Trying to understand why Christ would allow or cause such things to happen to people is a difficult question to answer. Athiests often ask the question, "If there is a God why would he allow such terrible things to happen?" They ask this because in their minds they have their own deffinition of what a God should be and if he doesn't fit their description, there must not be any God.

But who are they to decide who or what God should be? Shouldn't we let God Himself tell us that? The only place we can get answers to this are in the scriptures and what the prophets have told us, although we may not like some of the things we are told. 

 

I think we have to remember that God sees things from an eternal perspective, and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8–9). The apostle Paul tells us that God is both kind and severe (Romans 11:22) and that, "we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God"(Acts 14:22).

 

Christ is following eternal attributes of what a God should be; both a judge and a Savior and sometimes his judgment on mankind seems harsh, but while such judgment may cause our physical lives to suffer and be taken, the salvation He offers all of us for our eternal lives is ultimately more merciful and loving than we all deserve.

 

You asked: "Isn't it He who today allows terrorists to kill Christians and wreck havoc among the innocent?"

God would never force anyone to obey his commandments. That was Satan's plan. God has given all men their agency so that they can choose for themselves to do right or wrong. God allows bad things happen to innocent people when someone chooses to do something wrong that is harmful to others. He allows this so that the actions of that person and the victim of the action can stand as witnesses against the perpetrator. God will then be able to pass righteous judgment on the unrepentant sinner and his punishment will be justified:

 

"And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames. 

But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day." (Alma 14:10-11)

 

Ultimately all those whose lives God does take from this life end up in a far better place than this earth. This life is but for a small moment in the eternal scheme of things. The Lord told Joseph Smith, "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then if thou endure it well, God shall exhalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes" (D&C 121:7)

 

If we believe the scriptures then we must have faith in what we are told:

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths (Pro. 3:5-6)

Edited by JAHS
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The more we study anything the more the questions. Too often when we discover how large the topic, we shut down..."don't". You do not have to know all that there is to know enough. On great King in the Book of Mormon said; "I will give away all my sins to know him". He is knowable, he is loving, he is accepting of our imperfections, until through him we are made perfect.

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Great responses and I appreciate the insights and suggested scriptures. I'm  glad I'm not the only one who struggles to understand God's ways. 

I think that oft times in the Church, we teach heavily about some attributes of God/Christ - His love and mercy- but don't talk much about his other attributes such as justice and vengeance. I think it's important to try to understand the complete Christ, to the extent possible, so we know Who it is that we worship and to make understanding this life a little easier.

 

I will re-read and ponder all the feedback. Very helpful !

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These are things we're all aware of, but never seem to talk about in the gospel discussions of the Church. I want to know and understand the Savior, but I want it to be the real Jesus, not the one we teach about in Primary where there's only smiles and flowers. I don't want to be irreverent, but I desire reality, not fantasy. I'm not afraid of the truth because I believe it will lead me to a better place.

 

Any feedback or slaps upside the head would be appreciated !

 

I would suggest reading the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke,and John.

 

Regards,

Jim

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Great responses and I appreciate the insights and suggested scriptures. I'm  glad I'm not the only one who struggles to understand God's ways. 

I think that oft times in the Church, we teach heavily about some attributes of God/Christ - His love and mercy- but don't talk much about his other attributes such as justice and vengeance. I think it's important to try to understand the complete Christ, to the extent possible, so we know Who it is that we worship and to make understanding this life a little easier.

 

I will re-read and ponder all the feedback. Very helpful !

 

Wonderful topic! One of the things that has really helped me as I pondered these same questions, particularly as a mother of a child who had a very painful and difficult life for 15 of his 17 years on earth, was when I began to really seek the "why". The answer was simple, and made me realize often "why" is the wrong question. From my personal impressions on why my baby child suffered so much, the answer was that earth life is very short in the eternal picture, and that the circumstances and "pain" of life is really not terribly important. The important thing is always our response to such pain. My own impression was an analogy: When one of my other children were small, she hurt her fingers in a bicycle chain, breaking one and requiring stitches. Though it hurt a lot, and required several weeks of healing, I knew, as she did not because of her age, that this was temporary and that the pain would soon be over and she would live many more years and never even remember this injury. So it was with my son--he is now in another state of eternal existence, will be resurrected whole one day, and the time of pain and hurt would be a distant memory, if it was recalled at all. His response of patient, loving willingness in this life, however, was the critical piece. 

 

I learned that we are given many, many chances to respond appropriately to God's love and mercy, and then if we do not, His love can come in the form of ending life, ending civilizations or cultures that are only adding to the burden on children being born, taking away testimony from those who are living, or other means. I understand why the handcart pioneers came to know Christ in those circumstances--they had no one else to turn to or rely on. He didn't necessarily "give" them the troubles, but He was there while they were in them. At the same time, it didn't change those who didn't want it. My husband has a handcart pioneer ancestor who joined the church reluctantly in England, was in the Martin Company, but after a few years in "Zion" decided it wasn't what he really believed, and took his wife and younger children who were not yet grown back to England to become Methodists again. His daughter, who was 9 at the time of the trek, wrote that she had experiences that left her in no doubt that the Savior had given them the power to endure, and that she had known His presence in some very hard situations. She was faithful all her life. 

 

Life is short--Eternity is not. 

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Paradox_58 wrote:

"From my personal impressions on why my baby child suffered so much, the answer was that earth life is very short in the eternal picture, and that the circumstances and "pain" of life is really not terribly important."

 

You know, as I've been pondering more upon this subject, from a more eternal perspective, I came to the same conclusion. I attach far too much importance to the ups and downs of this life. Looking for satisfaction in this life is somewhat futile. It's a brief, transitory existence between two greater and far more important realities.

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In my life I have found both the wrath of God and the mercy of God.

 

What is key in the atrocities that God overtly admits to committing is how his wrath differs from ours. His is empty of malice. Even the best of us here cannot find such "pure" anger. Even in his wrath he is merciful. Although we are commanded strongly against choosing to end lives here whether our own or someone else's God has no such compunctions. All will die and he reserves to himself that power. When the wicked are taken he weeps and continues to offer what mercies he can. I believe that God caused the destruction to the Nephites as a blessing to all.

 

I am doubtful about the authenticity of the commandments in the Torah and other early Old Testament books where God had his people kill. I suspect if God needed people to leave this life he would do it himself. Mostly because that kind of killing is very....off. Compare how Captain Moroni waged his war against the enemy which he always called his "brethren" and how quick he was to stop the fighting at every opportunity to the commands in the Old Testament that basically command genocide. Why would God start his holy nation with such bloodshed. How could it avoid hardening the hearts of those committing it. I suspect the full story is very different.

 

I have had God angry with me but that anger was restricted to when I was swallowed up in pride or defiant or rationalizing. When I come in repentance I have never found anger.

 

I still do not understand why this world is so cruel, why human bodies are so susceptible to disease and pain, and why human bodies are built to so quickly corrupt the spirit within them. It still seems like overkill for a test to me but I know God knows what he is doing so the price that is paid in blood, anguish, and tears must be worth it and the atonement has the ability to heal it all.

 

Then there is the best part about the pains and struggles of mortality:

 

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Man has been blaming the evil they do on God for a long time now.

 

Sometimes it seems like he made the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil just a little bit too potent. While I do not blame God for my sins I accept that I volunteered to be in a corrupt environment he created and neither he nor I should be surprised that I sin.

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