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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?
In reading some of the posts involving crimes [sexual assault], allegations, [Kavanaugh, President Russel Topic], or even controversial subjects such as Climate Change, Book of Mormon Geography, etc.. I have thought to myself there are a lot of faith based concepts juxtaposed up to scientific method and actual evidence. I'd like to discuss both and how it might affect our concept of that topic and what we take away.
Personal belief systems can take root at a very early age, sometimes as a part of our cultural or ethnic identity. As a result, they are almost impossible to remove without eroding the soil of substance that gives one both a sense of identity and purpose. However, also true, as a consequence, most will not surrender a deeply held personal belief for fear it could lead to their spiritual loss or death. There is nothing wrong with personal beliefs. I, for one, am deeply faithful and active in church. Each person finds meaning and purpose in their own way and that is how it should be. There is a difference between faith and scientific method and reason. Personal faith is not a problem unless it gets in the way of objective forensic investigation and examination.
For example; using faith based reasoning (let's say using the Bible to prove a point), the premise of an argument and the conclusion are a matter of personal belief and subsequently often considered above criticism. Those who question the premises of such beliefs, religious and otherwise dogmatic, are labeled heretics or worse. I have been called an apostate for not subscribing to a heartland theory, a racist for objecting to a safe-place policy, a climate denier for even questioning global warming (which I know there is climate change, my interests is, is it really all just man made?), a racist and a bigot for disagreeing about kneeling as a protest, a chauvinist pig for thinking men and woman are different and we should use the appropriate public bathrooms.
In faith and personal belief, there is little room for critical thinking and no place for doubt. As a consequence, the nature of faith runs contrary to knowledge building. My faith tells me men and women are both children of God and are different from each other, science also tells me there is a biological difference too. We still have debates to how we should act and even appropriate ways to speak. For example is refusing to bake a cake with a message one does not believe in compelling speech?
Questions, questions, questions... When is testify via faith and testify via science appropriate and acceptable and when is it not?
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.
I started my blog about 8 months ago, but the above article really serves as the foundation. My father in law wrote an amazing paper on the eight uses of the word "overcometh" in revelation and how they pertain to a successive ladder of rewards we traverse on the path to Godhood. The first seven are given to the seven churches of Asia in chapters 2 and 3--many christians believe these chapters are messages to the ancient christians only and pay them no heed--however, encoded in these messages are they keys to unlock an understanding of eternal progression. The eighth use of overcometh is given near the end of Revelation and is the level exclusive to the Son of God.
1. Revelation 2:7 To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 2. Revelation 2:11 He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. 3. Revelation 2:17 To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. 4. Revelation 2:26-28 And to him who overcometh, and keepeth my commandments unto the end, will I give power over many kingdoms; And he shall rule them with the word of God; and they shall be in his hands as the vessels of clay in the hands of a potter; and he shall govern them by faith, with equity and justice, even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. 5. Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6. Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 7. Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 8. Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. I have shared my articles over on ldsfreedomforum though I have felt it's time to expand my audience, so here I am. There are seven articles I've written on the seven levels of mankind, all of which are linked on the left. There are articles on the Davidic Servant as well, though I would prefer to discuss those here in a separate thread. Thank you.
I enjoy reading Catholic thought and I wanted to share. I believe the call for SSM and many other criticisms of the CoJCoLDS (primarily from those who still hold to some sense of its being “true”) is a product of lack of rigorous thought. An emotionalism where we substitute how we feel about things for sound principles derived by seeking God with faith and reason.
First two links:
Article by Archbishop of Philadelphia:
Faith and Reason by JPII:
I will admit that I have only read parts of Faith and Reason, but I hope to rectify this.
I think the Catholic Church is in crisis partially because its highest leaders have left behind sound thinking on issues for a hoped pastoral love of all. This is from First Things:
More poignantly from an interview with Bishop Chaput:
It is my opinion that there are many very concerning things coming for the Pope and the leadership around him. I fear he has forgotten (and I think it likely that many around him have forgotten) the second half of: “Truth without love is imperious self-righteousness. Love without truth is cowardly self-indulgence.” With an organization so committed to preserving the “truth once delivered,” how (with or without God’s supernatural guidance) can such a thing happen. How can it happen to the CoJCoLDS?
Somebody who wrestles with issues like advocating for or against SSM will become a general authority (not me). In my personal life, I feel the desire to embrace love without the restraining influence of truth. In the name of love sometime not just self love, I can stray from God’s path. As my attempt at my best self online, I feel the desire to embrace love without mentioning truth to those with whom I dialogue even though I do not face the same issues they do (I like to not speak of their sin or emphasize that I too am a sinner to eliminate or soften the truth). How much tougher will this be for the future bishop who can clearly see the pain in those he loves and knows that speaking truth to them will make him a lone voice in a world that has ceased to care about truth.
There are two things about the difficult and recent declaration concerning children of same sex couples. First, is that it would be somewhat cruel to ask a child to explain the reason his/her parents have embraced a way of living out of alignment with God’s teaching. The second is having not been cruel, those who likely believe that SSM is a wonderful institution that has blessed their lives will continue to grow and learn and progress in the church.
As I said in a recent thread, I think it quite possible that one day our church will embrace SSM in many and perhaps all ways. IMO today this would be the love without truth result. If this happens in the future, it will not be the end of the church, but too much of this love without truth could be (I have faith that God is in control and can steer away from this). But, one of the ways God steers away from this is by calling us to THINK correctly.
I believe that wrong thinking after Vatican II has lead to the place where the Catholic Church is today and while some of the things Pope Francis is doing may briefly increase the number of folks in the pews, I believe ultimately it will further water down truth and lead to more indifference to the things of God.
I do not think the highest leaders of the CoJCoLDS have succumbed to the thinking Pope Francis has embraced. And I believe that the highest leaders of the CoJCoLDS receive revelation and inspiration to guide God’s church. That being said, I have little doubt that Bishops and Stake Presidents struggle with these issues. Without a commitment to have both TRUTH and LOVE, I think errors can happen. As these error permeate the church AND society, there may be one day when our God (who I think is pragmatic) will recognize that it does more harm than good to continue to teach the truth in certain ways. Someday, the pain caused by the truth and the prevalence of societies tolerant arms willing to offer an ultimately cold loveless embrace, could make it better for the church to water down the gospel in certain areas (no more United Order comes to mind). Alternatively, if the gospel understanding of these issues is correct and discussion and dialogue helps folks to find ways to love in truth, perhaps pragmatic solution will not be required.
Anyway, there is great value in learning from wise folks like JPII and Arch Bishop Chaput. I believe God is in charge. I believe the CoJCoLDS passed through its first 200 years in a way far more remarkable than the years 33-233AD were for New Testament Christians and evidence God’s continuing inspiration and revelation for the whole body of the church. That being said, God’s hand is occasionally the wise and intelligent council of our brothers and sisters. The society into which President Nelson held his first press conference is hostile to God’s truths. I believe that the church is guided by God through President Nelson, but ALL of us imbibe inappropriately of the ideas evidenced in this press conference hostility (in the name of love or in the name of self-indulgence or in the name of …but we imbibe). May right reasoning and truth from God provide a counter force to societies pull!
P.S. In case it is somehow veiled by what I say above, I do not think I am superior in my thinking to all others. I offer the above because it is what seems true to me. If it didn’t seem true to me, my best self, would find something else to embrace that I think is true. I desire to align my beliefs with what God believes to be true!
This also means I want to read and discuss thoughts about the above.