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Members who overdo it


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23 minutes ago, JAHS said:

How can I be wrong if I personally know people this has happened to? We don't have to be perfect now but we are supposed to be on the way to it. Some expect perfection from themselves now and from the church now. They leave no wiggle room for the occasional mistakes and disappointments.

Well let me ask you... did the people you personally know tell you this?  Or is it your interpretation of why they left?  I grew up in a Church that expected us to perfect ourselves.  It was only when i delved into the scriptures about grave and mercy that i understood I did not have to perfect myself.  I would have welcomed Elder Holland's recent conference address about being perfect but not quite yet.

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15 minutes ago, Teancum said:

But all these things are wrapped up in Church dogma...

And?

Not really seeing a problem if Church dogma teaches us to place God and family first, service third, and careers fourth generally in our lives.

(Not denying that some members suffer burnout because they don't think of Church service in these terms, but emphasize other teachings more in their minds)

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Well let me ask you... did the people you personally know tell you this?  Or is it your interpretation of why they left?  I grew up in a Church that expected us to perfect ourselves.  It was only when i delved into the scriptures about grave and mercy that i understood I did not have to perfect myself.  I would have welcomed Elder Holland's recent conference address about being perfect but not quite yet.

They did tell me. If you liked Elder Hollands recent address you would have liked President Nelson's talk 25 years ago where he said:
"Meanwhile, brothers and sisters, let us do the best we can and try to improve each day. When our imperfections appear, we can keep trying to correct them. We can be more forgiving of flaws in ourselves and among those we love. We can be comforted and forbearing. The Lord taught, “Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now … ; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.”
We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous and endless. Perfection is pending. It can come in full only after the Resurrection and only through the Lord."

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4 hours ago, let’s roll said:

I think any teaching is susceptible of being misunderstood or mismanaged without Divine guidance.  With it one is safe regardless of the teaching.  Without it one is vulnerable regardless of the teaching.

Another compelling reason to act on God’s invitation to seek the wisdom He gives us when we ask with the requisite intent.  Wisdom or confusion.  Our choice.

And to act on the Savior’s invitation to come unto Him and receive the rest only He can provide.  Rest or restlessness.  Our choice.

These are all valid points, but to focus on them when the leadership has a responsibility not only to the membership but to God to seek and follow through with the very Divine guidance you mention (even more so with their claim to special guidance/communication/revelation) and thus clearly and consistently (and immediately correcting when necessary) is without question and should by their very prominence and responsibility be held responsible in any analysis of an issue like this one. 

 

Towards you point of seeking direct personal revelation - if the leadership cannot reveal and teach clearly on a single verse so obviously prone to absurd interpretation, nor even self-monitor their own inconsistency in how they handle it and self-correct clearly, then one starts to wonder what exactly should be the relative places of official revelation and private revelation be.

Edited by Joshua Valentine
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10 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

I think that a lot of the problem lies in the fact that we have risen far above the mostly survival mode of existence that we have time for introspection and self flagellation with onlookers willing to help us by pointing out all the things we are doing wrong, and all of the things, the new moral fads that we are not doing correctly. It is easy to despair of ever "getting it right." And maybe we haven't listened to all of the lessons that that our leaders have been expounding to us over the years and have rather concentrated upon the negative aspects and have not gained a balanced perspective on the Gospel and on our own lives.

Glenn

These would be factors understandably prominent in other situations, but I would think the whole point of true prophets would be to get it done better, certainly better than this. It´s the very variety of lessons on this particular verse that lead to confusion - and the very lack of a comprehensive exposition and treatment of past statements to clarify an overall position that is strangely missing (unless you know of one that has been made official by being consistently referenced as the comprehensive corrective exposition whenever this topic has been brought up since that exposition was made). The issue of perfectionism is nothing new to this religious movement, suspicions and evidence to its detriment to membership are many, recent, and go back a long time - so why hasn´t it been clearly, officially, and permanently dealt with yet?

In another thread there are those who think the issue of the name of the church and of its members is less important than other issues - we (including myself) point out that you can deal with multiple issues at once - but why has this issue not been dealt with?  Which actually causes more damage to God´s Church - detrimental teaching or incomplete use of names?

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5 hours ago, Teancum said:

Hmmm.  So members believe, make the Church/Jesus the center of their lives, they believe the mantra of "follow the brethren" the believe the mantra "lengthen your stride" or "just do it."  They believe in "Serving with their heart, mind and strength" and their lives reflect it.  They believe the scripture that tells them to be perfect even as Jesus was or his Father.  So they are worn out and then find an excuse to leave?  I think you are wrong. Even if your post only reflects a small group. And I think Peterson's comment is simple BS.  I think he, and you, are looking for ways to confirm your own bias.

Yep

20 hours ago, JAHS said:

Dan Peterson made an interesting observation in his Patheos blog today:
"Among those who leave the Church, there are also people who do so not because they fall short of the mark in any simple and obvious way, but because, in a sense, they look “beyond the mark.”  They don’t forsake the Church because of insufficient belief or devotion but — in a certain way — because they overdo it."

I have the feeling there some less active or ex church members who fall into a category similar to one he talked about. To state it simply some of these members take the church too d..n seriously.

I can see ¨taking the church too d..n seriously¨ being relevant if it was a regular church that did not claim One Trueness and True Only Prophet and Only Church With Which God is Pleased, but... isn´t a church with such claims supposed to be taken pretty d..n seriously - isn´t that the point of the claims?

Quote

Still having trouble with breaking up quotes (thx tho Calm).

JAHS continued:
They believe everything; they get burned out trying to do everything they are told they should do; they are fanatical in their belief and activity in the church.

Given the LDS Church´s claims are you suggesting they should not ¨believe everything¨ it teaches?

Should they not ¨do everything they are told they SHOULD do¨ by God´s Church?

Ah, but it is not the church that is fanatical - it´s the member who is at fault for taking God´s Church at God´s word?

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JAHS continued:

They have worn themselves out trying to be perfect to the point where they feel guilty for not being perfect. 

The teachings of the Church, the majority in fact on this verse (I think), have been God is commanding that we ¨be perfect¨, that ¨perfect¨ means ¨perfect as God is completely perfect¨, that God does not command anything without making a way for it to be done, and thus ¨perfection is attainabe¨ (also - ¨to try is weak¨, ¨do it¨). So they don´t just try, they do all they can to fulfill this imperative, and that´s to their fault? 

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JAHS Continued:

They can't do anymore and so they give up and then find a reason to leave it. And such members would easily find reasons to leave.
Now, before I am accused of stereotyping all ex-members, I admit that this represents a fairly small but real group that I have been witness to.

Given that the Church has given a pretty clear argument that perfection is perfection, a way is possible, and it is a command - yet we all know that a way is not actually possible in this life (or if it is then ¨perfection¨ does not mean ¨perfection¨ in the strong full sense it has so long and often been taught) it should not be surprising that they give up, right?

But you go on to say that they ¨find a reason to leave it¨ - I think this qualifies as a very good reason - the LDS leadership has clearly taught this ¨perfection¨ doctrine - to realize that the LDS leadership are not what they claim and so it is quite logical to leave it.

¨And such members would easily find reasons to leave¨ - Maybe you don´t mean to sound as condescending and dismissive as I hear you JAHS but this sounds awful - they don´t need to find a reason - they found it - they did what their church clearly taught them to do and found it impossible - if a church teaches impossibilities for truth then it should be left. No need to search further.

Do you hear what you are saying? -  ¨These people tried their best to do what their church told them to do, so much so that they broke down from the sincere effort, and they blame the church for it? - silly!¨ And are you saying that members should not take God´s Church and Prophets so seriously - how much less should they take them? Enough to leave?

I didn´t take you as stereotyping all ex-members at all - really how many people have put forth so much effort to live the Full Gospel?  Rather it is what you say and intone about these people that you should be worried about.

 

Note- JAHS, I don´t think you are actually as heartless, blithe, and inconsistent as I take your statements to be here. So I don´t want you to think that I think ill of you. I certainly think ill of the ideas and implications of your post, but not you. I´m sure you didn´t mean to come off as you have, admittedly at least to me. But I also don´t think I am being unfair to the ideas you have expressed.  Just want to give some (admittedly passionate, but justifiably so) feedback.

Edited by Joshua Valentine
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12 minutes ago, Joshua Valentine said:

These are all valid points, but to focus on them when the leadership has a responsibility not only to the membership but to God to seek and follow through with the very Divine guidance you mention (even more so with their claim to special guidance/communication/revelation) and thus clearly and consistently (and immediately correcting when necessary) is without question and should by their very prominence and responsibility be held responsible in any analysis of an issue like this one. 

 

Towards you point of seeking direct personal revelation - if the leadership cannot reveal and teach clearly on a single verse so obviously prone to absurd interpretation, nor even self-monitor their own inconsistency in how they handle it and self-correct clearly, then one starts to wonder what exactly should be the relative places of official revelation and private revelation be.

If personal revelation protects us in all instances, and is available to all, shouldn’t that be our principle focus?  

I have no stewardship over Church leaders, and they are responsible to the Lord for their stewardship, so what would be the purpose, or efficacy, of me second guessing them?

I don’t have any experience with the lack of clarity you describe.  I invite you to seek from Deity the clarity you have yet to find.  Godspeed to you In those efforts.

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5 hours ago, let’s roll said:

I think any teaching is susceptible of being misunderstood or mismanaged without Divine guidance.  With it one is safe regardless of the teaching.  Without it one is vulnerable regardless of the teaching

This is why I think it is important to realize that what our church leaders teach is for all members in the entire world. They address all kinds of subjects at the pulpit. But there is a time and season for each member for what doctrines he concentrates on according to his needs at any given time in his life. While all the other doctrines and principles are true and important they may not all be imperative for any given church member. This is where the Holy Ghost comes in to play to tell the member what he should concentrate on right now.

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51 minutes ago, Joshua Valentine said:

Which actually causes more damage to God´s Church - detrimental teaching...?

Given human nature, it is not something that ever goes away, so I don't think it is valid to use the occasional appearance of detrimental teaching as evidence it is low priority to control or eliminate it in general.  I have seen similar stuff to what has been quoted here for as long as I can remember and quite frequently from most of my local leaders.  There is a current emphasis on the name, but imo I see a long term relatively high emphasis on not running before you can walk, proper time and season, leaders talking to the ideal with members needing to learn for themselves if it doesn't apply to them, etc.

There are personality types that is a whole talk is about personal revelation and setting reasonable goals etc., but one line about sustaining one's leaders, that talk will be interpreted as being taught to never say "no".  If there is any talk of an ideal, they see it as a necessity to be doing it perfectly immediately or they have failed or even doing more than is asked (Church behaviour version of anorexia, an obsession that can be applied to most things, hopefully few are as dangerous as when it deals with food).  Perfectionism is not uncommon either in or out of the Church.  And it won't be controlled by eliminating anything that hints at doing one's best or seeking perfection (with all the qualifications of time and season applied when taken as a whole concept and not a soundbite.

The problem is that not everyone sees things the same way, I see perfectionism as more of an individual and family dynamic and have my doubts Church culture increases it that much, it just provides a vehicle for it.  My family has a high degree of perfectionism in education and some other things.  Our version we could be atheists and it would make no difference in terms of perception of what we need to do and why.  It has been church teachings of eternal progress that has allowed me not to feel like a failure over the years and to learn it is okay not to match the deadlines and expectations of others.

I would like to see some rigorous research (meaning not most online self selected surveys) that demonstrates church teachings increase the incidence of perfectionism, etc. as well as some stats on how often the ideal is taught by general leadership compared to teaching listening to the spirit to know one's personal path and needs.  People tend to hear and see what they are focused on and that might inflate numbers in their memory.  

Edited by Calm
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My understanding is that the standard for being exalted is essentially the standard for living temple worthy, assuming you have received the necessary ordinances.  These are not very stringent or mystical standards.  I think those who are being perfectionistic to an unhealthy level need to read the Pauline Epistles and remember we are saved by grace, not works.

Edited by Waylon
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42 minutes ago, Joshua Valentine said:

I can see ¨taking the church too d..n seriously¨ being relevant if it was a regular church that did not claim One Trueness and True Only Prophet and Only Church With Which God is Pleased, but... isn´t a church with such claims supposed to be taken pretty d..n seriously - isn´t that the point of the claims?

 

42 minutes ago, Joshua Valentine said:

Given the LDS Church´s claims are you suggesting they should not ¨believe everything¨ it teaches?

Should they not ¨do everything they are told they SHOULD do¨ by God´s Church?

Ah, but it is not the church that is fanatical - it´s the member who is at fault for taking God´s Church at God´s word?

Please see my response to Let's Roll above. I  really do feel sorry for those people who find themselves in the position where they feel like they need to quit. I have some close friends and family members who have been affected in this way.  Because the church leaders speak to all the world they have to cover all the important doctrines God wants them to proclaim. They should all be taken seriously, but in my opinion the individual member should not feel like they have to be perfect at every one of them at all times. They work on them as they can with the Holy Ghost helping them to determine which ones they should be working on.  In this life perfection is a journey and not a condition. It is something we can only obtain after we are resurrected. 

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9 minutes ago, JAHS said:

 

Please see my response to Let's Roll above. I  really do feel sorry for those people who find themselves in the position where they feel like they need to quit. I have some close friends and family members who have been affected in this way.  Because the church leaders speak to all the world they have to cover all the important doctrines God wants them to proclaim. They should all be taken seriously, but in my opinion the individual member should not feel like they have to be perfect at every one of them at all times. They work on them as they can with the Holy Ghost helping them to determine which ones they should be working on.  In this life perfection is a journey and not a condition. It is something we can only obtain after we are resurrected. 

You don't have to be remotely near perfect!  Just live worthy for your temple recommend and you will be fine.

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5 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

Agree with this. The LDS church is the most dogmatic religion I know. In matters of faith, being so dogmatic sets an organization up for eventual failure.

You might want to get a hang of other Christian churches dogma. Of course, limiting it to your knowledge without giving in indication that you know what you are talking about means we have heard your opinion stated as if it is a fact, which it is not.

 

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22 hours ago, JAHS said:

Dan Peterson made an interesting observation in his Patheos blog today:
"Among those who leave the Church, there are also people who do so not because they fall short of the mark in any simple and obvious way, but because, in a sense, they look “beyond the mark.”  They don’t forsake the Church because of insufficient belief or devotion but — in a certain way — because they overdo it."

I have the feeling there some less active or ex church members who fall into a category similar to one he talked about. To state it simply some of these members take the church too d..n seriously.
They believe everything; they get burned out trying to do everything they are told they should do; they are fanatical in their belief and activity in the church. They have worn themselves out trying to be perfect to the point where they feel guilty for not being perfect. They can't do anymore and so they give up and then find a reason to leave it. And such members would easily find reasons to leave.
Now, before I am accused of stereotyping all ex-members, I admit that this represents a fairly small but real group that I have been witness to.

To determine whether I agree with you, I would have to have a clearer understanding of your meaning, perhaps explained through illustrations and examples. Dan Peterson explained what he meant as follows:

“The departure of extremely faithful Latter-day Saints from the Church in order to enter into fundamentalist or polygamous splinter sects, or following after the likes of Denver Snuffer — deserting those who actually hold the keys, those who have actually been called by the Lord to serve as prophets and apostles — because they imagine themselves to have found the true doctrine, the real Kingdom, strikes me as deeply sad in a very specific way.” 

But I’m not precisely sure whether that’s what you have in mind. Following after splinter groups and Denver Snuffer type fanatics does not strike me as taking the Church too seriously. Rather, it seems more to me like falling into the clutches of a kook who will not be governed by priesthood keys and revelation and whose pronouncements transcend the doctrines and principles espoused by the Church. When it comes to obeying all the commandments of God and heeding the inspired warnings of prophets and apostles, I don’t believe there is such a thing as “taking the Church too seriously.”

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2 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

To determine whether I agree with you, I would have to have a clearer understanding of your meaning, perhaps explained through illustrations and examples. Dan Peterson explained what he meant as follows:

“The departure of extremely faithful Latter-day Saints from the Church in order to enter into fundamentalist or polygamous splinter sects, or following after the likes of Denver Snuffer — deserting those who actually hold the keys, those who have actually been called by the Lord to serve as prophets and apostles — because they imagine themselves to have found the true doctrine, the real Kingdom, strikes me as deeply sad in a very specific way.” 

But I’m not precisely sure whether that’s what you have in mind. Following after splinter groups and Denver Snuffer type fanatics does not strike me as taking the Church too seriously. Rather, it seems more to me like falling into the clutches of a kook who will not be governed by priesthood keys and revelation and whose pronouncements transcend the doctrines and principles espoused by the Church. When it comes to obeying all the commandments of God and heeding the inspired warnings of prophets and apostles, I don’t believe there is such a thing as “taking the Church too seriously.”

What Dan said is not exactly what I had in mind but it reminded me of what I had in mind. There are people with perfectionist personalities.  As Wikipedia puts it:
"It is a personality trait characterized by a person's striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others' evaluations. In its maladaptive form, perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve unattainable ideals or unrealistic goals, often leading to depression and low self-esteem."

I have seen this form of depression and low self-esteem cause such members to give up and leave the church because they can't do everything the church leaders tell them they should be doing.  When I say taking it too seriously I mean they leave no wiggle room to allow for moments of failure to live a certain doctrine or to allow the situation where they simply don't have the means or time to do something they feel they should be doing.  

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11 hours ago, JAHS said:

What Dan said is not exactly what I had in mind but it reminded me of what I had in mind. There are people with perfectionist personalities.  As Wikipedia puts it:
"It is a personality trait characterized by a person's striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others' evaluations. In its maladaptive form, perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve unattainable ideals or unrealistic goals, often leading to depression and low self-esteem."

I have seen this form of depression and low self-esteem cause such members to give up and leave the church because they can't do everything the church leaders tell them they should be doing.  When I say taking it too seriously I mean they leave no wiggle room to allow for moments of failure to live a certain doctrine or to allow the situation where they simply don't have the means or time to do something they feel they should be doing.  

Then, assuming I’m comprehending your meaning correctly, I’d say “taking the Church too seriously” is a poor choice of words for what you do have in mind, which seems to be trying — and failing — to run faster than one has strength. As far as I know, the Church does not, even ostensibly, teach anyone to do that. In fact, there is an explicit scriptural injunction against it. 

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12 hours ago, JAHS said:

What Dan said is not exactly what I had in mind but it reminded me of what I had in mind. There are people with perfectionist personalities.  As Wikipedia puts it:
"It is a personality trait characterized by a person's striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others' evaluations. In its maladaptive form, perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve unattainable ideals or unrealistic goals, often leading to depression and low self-esteem."

I have seen this form of depression and low self-esteem cause such members to give up and leave the church because they can't do everything the church leaders tell them they should be doing.  When I say taking it too seriously I mean they leave no wiggle room to allow for moments of failure to live a certain doctrine or to allow the situation where they simply don't have the means or time to do something they feel they should be doing.  

this isn't just a church issue, you see this in the workplace

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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Then, assuming I’m comprehending your meaning correctly, I’d say “taking the Church too seriously” is a poor choice of words for what you do have in mind, which seems to be trying — and failing — to run faster than one has strength. As far as I know, the Church does not, even ostensibly, teach anyone to do that. In fact, there is an explicit scriptural injunction against it. 

I agree, yet there are people with perfectionist personalities who do it anyway.

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18 hours ago, Joshua Valentine said:

These would be factors understandably prominent in other situations, but I would think the whole point of true prophets would be to get it done better, certainly better than this. It´s the very variety of lessons on this particular verse that lead to confusion - and the very lack of a comprehensive exposition and treatment of past statements to clarify an overall position that is strangely missing (unless you know of one that has been made official by being consistently referenced as the comprehensive corrective exposition whenever this topic has been brought up since that exposition was made). The issue of perfectionism is nothing new to this religious movement, suspicions and evidence to its detriment to membership are many, recent, and go back a long time - so why hasn´t it been clearly, officially, and permanently dealt with yet?

In another thread there are those who think the issue of the name of the church and of its members is less important than other issues - we (including myself) point out that you can deal with multiple issues at once - but why has this issue not been dealt with?  Which actually causes more damage to God´s Church - detrimental teaching or incomplete use of names?

The prophets have been preaching but they are still dealing with the vagaries of human nature. That has been the problem all along. Nothing can be permanently dealt with when people do not listen, as in hear and heed, when people take two steps forward, a step to the right or left, and a step back, or maybe even turn around and run back a few steps or more.

The Church is not a one issue church. It's doctrines and policies are not just on one issue. Fear not, President Nelson will identify even more areas of concern for us to work on in addition to the ones already on tap, and members that supposedly sustained him who will continue on just the way that they were while complaining that the prophet does not run the church the way they think it should be run.

Glenn

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23 hours ago, JAHS said:

They did tell me. If you liked Elder Hollands recent address you would have liked President Nelson's talk 25 years ago where he said:
"Meanwhile, brothers and sisters, let us do the best we can and try to improve each day. When our imperfections appear, we can keep trying to correct them. We can be more forgiving of flaws in ourselves and among those we love. We can be comforted and forbearing. The Lord taught, “Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now … ; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.”
We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous and endless. Perfection is pending. It can come in full only after the Resurrection and only through the Lord."

Well my experience is certainly different than yours. But I will take your word for it. Thanks for the talk reference.

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21 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

You might want to get a hang of other Christian churches dogma. Of course, limiting it to your knowledge without giving in indication that you know what you are talking about means we have heard your opinion stated as if it is a fact, which it is not.

 

You’re a hoot. Defending against nothing that is being attacked.

How in the world do you take my clearly stating my personal experience as a statement of fact?

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On 3/30/2019 at 6:33 AM, Glenn101 said:

I think that a lot of the problem lies in the fact that we have risen far above the mostly survival mode of existence that we have time for introspection and self flagellation with onlookers willing to help us by pointing out all the things we are doing wrong, and all of the things, the new moral fads that we are not doing correctly. It is easy to despair of ever "getting it right." And maybe we haven't listened to all of the lessons that that our leaders have been expounding to us over the years and have rather concentrated upon the negative aspects and have not gained a balanced perspective on the Gospel and on our own lives.

Glenn

Thank you. I was going to say something similar. I’ve wondered if saints in dispensations past have struggled as much as this generation does with our perceived difficulties with the journey back to God, with the struggle toward perfection. I say perceived because I think some of it is self-inflicted, some is society-inflicted, and much of it may just be the strait and narrow journey.

I admit I’ve wondered from time to time, where is the promised peace, when I feel so very imperfect so often.

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