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Doctrinal Query Regarding Part-member Families


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Good afternoon, everyone.  I'm seeking guidance to a doctrine-related issue, and I seem to be stumbling over an unfortunate impasse regarding a matter of great import. My heart has been increasingly heavy regarding this matter, so I seek some clarity from those more knowledgeable than I.

As I have worked to make notable progress in my repentance process, I have been increasingly bothered by the state of my soul in regards to an eternal marriage. In my youth, I made the choice to marry outside of our faith. I did not consider a temple marriage important at that time, but I have since matured and it is now a constant weight upon my mind. Like Joseph Smith, I am "called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness" about this eternal matter, so I sought guidance from my parents and peers.

After speaking with various resources, I couldn't help but come away feeling discouraged and hopeless. I came to find, per Doctrine & Covenants 132 (as detailed in Bruce R McConkie's address about the "Seven Deadly Heresies"), that any "who had the opportunity to enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in this life and who did not do it," were subject to the following:

"Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven; which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.

"For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever."


Perhaps it seems a little ungrateful to dismiss the opportunity of being one of God's angels, but all I really see there is that I'll miss out on the opportunity to have an eternal family. Indeed, as I've asked various sources, they have seemingly confirmed that a person in my position will not be applicable for a temple marriage hereafter if I don't gain one in this life, since I had a chance and didn't take it. I had one shot, and I missed, so I've been led to believe that I'm an unfortunate "edge case" for the atonement.

I know that sentiment immediately triggers a response akin to "that's completely antithetical to the nature of the atonement", but so far as official church resources that I've seen are concerned, it appears to be correct regarding this issue. Short of my non-member wife dying before me (allowing me to re-marry), or her uncharacteristic conversion (to which she is and always has been vehemently opposed), I've been given no doctrinal support to suspect that I'll have a second shot at fixing this error (quite the opposite, per D&C 132). That is to say, I've been told I have to gamble my pursuit of an eternal family on chance, rather than an agency-driven choice, with no regard of my will to change.

The only method by which I'm not bound to chance on this matter is if I were to take direct action - that is to say, if I were to sever my ties to my wife and actively pursue a temple marriage with someone who is willing. This seems like an extreme option, but I have yet to find a resource that explains why it's not the only sensible option in my circumstances. Since I won't be granted extenuating circumstances in the next life, can I really afford to risk my desire for an eternal family on chance?

This predicament has been extremely disheartening to me, as you might imagine. The church largely preaches that the Atonement will always provide a way to return to your full estate, as Elder Renlund alluded to when he said:

"From God’s perspective, through sincere repentance and pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ, once back on the path, it will be as if we were never off. The Savior pays for our sins and frees us from the looming decrease in happiness and blessings."

Perhaps I was mistaken in assuming that "as if we were never off" and "frees us from the looming decrease in happiness and blessings" meant a full chance at progressing onward toward an eternal family, and perhaps our church leaders' "Never too late" rhetoric made me think it was always possible to change and pursue that if I was willing and penitent. Unfortunately, if things don't work out by virtue of chance, I'll miss out on the blessings of an eternal family due to a technicality. I won't be offered a second shot at this in the world to come, so I don't know what to do. It doesn't seem that the church has many resources regarding folks in this situation (though I can't be the first in this situation), and all that has been said of it suggests I have to beat the clock of my mortal existence to make something happen before I die.

This might be a bit deep, I know this is potentially-difficult to field as a random forum question, but does the church have anything official to say regarding a status such as mine? Something that might give me hope or insight that, if I take the chance and stay with my wife,  doing my best to be a good, Priesthood-worthy husband, God will provide a ram for me that I may not be locked out of heaven? 

Thanks for your time.

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Perhaps it's not my place to judge them, since I don't know them.  It does seem, however, as though you are talking to the wrong people (or at least, if they've left you without hope, that they're giving you bad advice).  Love your wife.  Don't love her in the hope that she will join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; love her for all of the reasons you married her in the first place.  Everything else will take care of itself, either in this life or in the next.  Arguably, as a long-term bachelor who has never married, I'm in at least somewhat of a similar boat.  There is no shortage of people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who would tell me that, for me, too, the die is cast once I ... uhhh, die.

[Imagine someone speaking in the voice of Seinfeld's infamous "soup Nazi"]: "Eternal ministering angelhood for you!" :angry:

Perhaps this is simply my attempt to rationalize, alibi, and justify my grim fate and or the similar fate of someone in similar circumstances, but I don't buy it.  I don't know how, exactly, God is going to sort out the complicated issue of human relationships in the hereafter, but I don't think the Omniscient, Omnipotent, All-Loving Lord of the Universe is going to have to tell any of us, if we're faithful, "I know you were expecting something more, or something better, or at least something different, and I know this means that it sucks to be you, but ... sorry. :(  This is the best I could do. :unknw:"

Love your wife.

Do the best you can to live up to the other covenants and commitments you have made.

And trust God, His Love, His Mercy, and His Atonement.

As one of the Beatles said, "It will be all right in the end.  If it's not all right, it's not the end."

I wish you well.

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I should say I don’t see it as a sin to marry a nonmember out of love. It is a good, even better practice if happily married working together to be the best you both can be.  It is “best” practice to have a spouse one can work with to fulfill eternal promises, but if you don’t have that now, you can adapt into that type of existence. 

Edited by Calm
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Glad I don't believe in the doctrines that feel like they separate families. I hope Fiveofclubs, that you don't do anything rash, but love your wife for eternity, because that's exactly where you'll be if you want to! Only about 2% of all humans on the earth will be the only people to live eternally? Because that's how many are members of the church, and even less because not all of them are married in the temple. Do you think God would do that??

Edited by Tacenda
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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

Glad I don't believe in the doctrines that feel like they separate families. I hope Fiveofclubs, that you don't do anything rash, but love your wife for eternity, because that's exactly where you'll be if you want to! Only about 2% of all humans on the earth will be the only people to live eternally? Because that's how many are members of the church, and even less because not all of them are married in the temple. Do you think God would do that??

I’m guessing the reason why you think the way you do is because you don’t understand that the work of salvation continues on in a most dynamic manner after death in the spirit world.

31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.
32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.
33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,
34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
35 And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross. (D&C 138)

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14 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Glad I don't believe in the doctrines that feel like they separate families. I hope Fiveofclubs, that you don't do anything rash, but love your wife for eternity, because that's exactly where you'll be if you want to! Only about 2% of all humans on the earth will be the only people to live eternally? Because that's how many are members of the church, and even less because not all of them are married in the temple. Do you think God would do that??

Considering that all children under the age of accountability automatically go to the Celestial Kingdom, and considering that in the past, a lot of kids died young, the percentage of those in the Celestial Kingdom is going to be a lot larger than 2%.  I, personally, think the number is closer to 50% or higher.

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Thank you all for the uplifting and encouraging responses, I really appreciate your comments on this matter.

Admittedly, my sources do strike me a bit more like Jeffrey R Holland than Elder Renlund.  The reason that my initial contacts seemed to conclude a mistake of this nature may not be amenable is the same reason they seem to believe that repentance in the post-mortal life for a fallen member may be withheld.  Alma 34 appears to indicate that the time after this life will be "darkness" in which no labor can be performed, that the devil will seal the sinner as his, and the Spirit of the Lord must withdraw from them as a result.  Sure, someone who didn't know any better may be given a chance to repent, but a member of the faith who "knew better" and chose poorly is another matter (see D&C 132: 16-17).  They reminded me that part of being held to the higher law entails being subject to higher culpability (referencing some other section in Doctrine & Covenants that suggested that notion, but I can't recall exactly which one).

Additionally, looking back at Elder McConkie's address once more, he tells us the story of a man who was a sinner that refused to join the church with his wife.  He supposedly knew the church was true, but did not want to surrender his sins to join it.  Of this situation, Elder McConkie states:

"He died and [his wife] had the work done in the temple.  We do not sit in judgment and deny vicarious ordinances to people.  But what will it profit him?

"There is no such thing as a second chance to gain salvation.  This life is the time and the day of our our probation.  After this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

"For those who do not have an opportunity to believe and obey the holy word in this life, the first chance to gain salvation will come in the spirit world.  If those who hear the word for the first time in the realms ahead are the kind of people who would have accepted the gospel here, had the opportunity been afforded them, they will accept it there.  Salvation for the dead is for those whose first chance to gain salvation is in the spirit world."

To address @Calm's first comment, this is the reasoning why my sources believe that temple ordinances may not be a ram provided to me, since I am someone who knowingly chose not to pursue a temple marriage despite the opportunity to do so.  The reason for that conclusion is predicated upon the previously-quoted section from D&C 132 that talks about the fate of "angels that did not abide [His] law" in this life (specifically in regards to eternal marriage), along with other tonal supports from D&C 137 and Alma 34.  

@Kenngo1969, my love and support is with you.  Thank you for sharing your story.  It sounds like you are in a difficult situation which impacts your ability to pursue an eternal family at this time, and I wish to share my sincerest regards for your positivity and faith!  Unfortunately, I don't believe I can fairly equate my inhibitions to yours.  I had the choice, free from technical inhibitions, but I chose not to.  So, I do not believe it will serve as any form of justification for me in the last days.  And to address your hypothetical conversation from the Lord, I think mine would be more like "I offered you something more, something better, something different, but you chose otherwise.  I did the best I could do.  It's going to suck to be you." 

In short, my situation is not the Lord's fault nor the result of some extenuating circumstance that cannot be helped.  It's my fault.  

@juliann, thank you for sharing your personal story.  I hope you are right about your spouse's eternal state.  However, I'm curious as to your assertion as to why the Seven Deadly Heresies address is controversial.  From what I gathered about Elder McConkie, he was an ordained Apostle of our church, so I would have thought his perspective on a spiritual matter such as this would be aptly-informed (or at least officially denounced by the First Presidency if it conveyed heretical claims).  He uses various sources from our scriptures to substantiate his assertions, whereas I have little of specific substance to turn to in refutation.  Unfortunately, if there is a Conference Talk from the prophet that reassures part-member families that D&C 132: 16-17 may not apply to them, I haven't found it yet.  

Also, you mentioned "...there is a reason why we follow living prophets and not dead ones."  Would you be able to elaborate on this a little more?  I know I've been inactive for a while, but I thought we do follow dead prophets (or at least their counsel and general precedent).  I'm supposing that I must interpret the word "follow" differently than you do, but I'm not sure exactly in what way.  In any case, I start feeling a bit uncomfortable when people assert that the public addresses of our ordained church leadership can't be trusted to be inspired truth.

@Tacenda, thank you for your comments as well.  Regarding whether or not I think God would restrict salvation to the >2% that are sealed Latter-Day Saints, I would like to think He would be more accepting, and our scriptures support this notion.  To me, that seems to go back to D&C 137, wherein the Lord only said that people who "would have received [the gospel] in this life" will be given that opportunity in the next (along with the temple ordinances of salvation).  @teddyaware's reference to D&C 138 also appears to support this interpretation, given its stated distinction: "without a knowledge of the truth".  Even if it applied to sinners with a knowledge of the truth, the only thing it qualifies them for is a resurrection and a degree of glory, not necessarily saving ordinances like sealings (unless the interpretation I've heard was incorrect).  Regrettably, I was given the opportunity in this life to hear and accept the gospel, so the mercies of those post-life redemptive doctrines do not apply to me.     

Oh, I've only been married for 4 years - been increasingly worried about this issue for about a year and a half of that time.

Lastly, @Garden Girl, thank you for sharing your story.  I sincerely hope you are correct and I wish you and your spouse the happiest of eternities.  You quoted two sources from Elder M. Russell Ballard that made comforting assertions - namely that "when we daily live the gospel righteously and faithfully and keep our covenants, the blessings of Heaven will not be withheld from us" and that "Some women do not have the privilege of marrying or rearing children in this life.  To the worthy these blessings will come later... Every righteous woman (or surely man) has a significant role to play in the onward march of the kingdom of God."  

Sadly, I am excluded from both of these statements.  I did not live the gospel righteously and faithfully, so I failed to acquire the blessing of a Heaven-recognized marriage.  Though I am working to restore good gospel standing, what's done is done in regards to the marriage thing.  And unlike the women referenced in Ballard's comments in As Women of God, I did have the privilege of marrying in this life, so the statement does not apply to me.  I'm inclined to agree with his final assertion, that "every righteous woman (or surely man) has a significant role to play in the onward march of the kingdom of God," but it appears that role may be to simply serve as a ministering angel as indicated in D&C 132.  As my sources said (in partial jest), "Someone has to do it." 

The final point of comfort that my sources offered me in my disheartened state is that I'll supposedly be happy with the outcome, even if it is not with an eternal family.  "It's called the plan of salvation, not the plan of damnation," they said.  They seem to assert that wherever we each end up in the post-earth life, we will be happy there, so it'll be okay no matter what happens so long as I live righteously.  I'd always been told that the "hell" we believe in was a state of regret we'd feel forever for not making it into the Celestial Kingdom with Heavenly Father and our eternal families, which sounds pretty unhappy to me, but maybe that's more poetry than doctrine.  At this point, I don't know how I could ever be happy with eternal separation from my family.  My family is what makes me happy more than anything else, I'd hate to lose them over this.  

In the meantime, I've taken to heart the advice to be on my best behavior.  As some of you stated above, the best thing I can do right now is to simply work toward being more Christlike.  Rather than let this issue halt the whole of my eternal progression, there's a lot I can do to improve myself outside the scope of sealing, so I've chosen to focus on that for the time being.  I appreciate the insights and perspectives shared here, as well as the messages of hope and encouragement that were given.  It was a good counter-balance to my original perspective.

Thank you all.       

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1 hour ago, Fiveofclubs said:

Alma 34 appears to indicate that the time after this life will be "darkness" in which no labor can be performed, that the devil will seal the sinner as his, and the Spirit of the Lord must withdraw from them as a result.

Couple of ways to look at this...

One is like how D&C teaches out eternal punishment being more a title for what is God’s punishment than a description as men usually see is as lasting forever with God allowing the misunderstandings to move mankind to seek him more. What if the same thing happened with “life” where we misunderstand it to mean mortality when it means that section of life until we are judged and resurrected.  Thus repentance of choices that were less than ideal can be made up until judgment. 
 

In my view if it is true the Atonement is infinite, then it needs to work that way.  We are taught once we truly repent, God remembers our sins no more. We are taught about Spirit Prison and Paradise and how learning takes place long after death, a belief that a choice in mortality is locked in stone, unable to be changed would contradict all of that.  
 

Another way to look at it is we don’t believe each prophet had the same things revealed to them to be taught.  There is no inherent need to assume imo that Alma’s understanding of the afterlife was superior to what Christ and prophets have taught at other times.  Nor do we believe scripture is infallible and those writing it never make a mistake.   Or those interpreting them never make mistakes. 
 

Knowing what I know about how we are influenced and all the things that impact us that we have no control over, I disagree with Elder McKonkie that this life is it for the few that are members of the Church.  Mortality is about learning to control our body in certain ways, but it is impossible to control it in all ways. We can’t just be living righteously prevent our hormones from setting us up for depression, which may block access to the Spirit. If we can’t claim to have full control over our bodies which means we lack full control over our thoughts, how can anyone actually be said to have had a fair chance to make choices fully informed by the Spirit and knowledge of the gospel?

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, Fiveofclubs said:

Unfortunately, I don't believe I can fairly equate my inhibitions to yours.  I had the choice, free from technical inhibitions, but I chose not to. 

You don’t know this though, you are only guessing. You are too limited in your ability to understand your own thought processes which are impacted in ways that at times leaves us with less choice because we are not capable of seeing all the options, whether because of false teachings we have learned, ways we developed from our youth molding the way we reason, what is affecting our bodies at the time of our decisions which may affect things like anxiety levels, concentration, memory. 
 

I had the experience due to a sleep disorder leading to long term sleep deprivation causing hypoglycemia, which in turn left me with feelings of anger every day in the evening. If I was angry, it is reasonable that there is something to be angry about, correct?  And I found valid reasons daily in the behaviour of my husband. He wasn’t contributing his fair share to the home, he treated 5 PM as off work not only for his studying and job, but for home activity.  So we would have intense arguments when he would get home and he would leave and go to his parents’ home because he was taught to avoid conflict with loved ones in this way b

Was I accountable for my anger when I was only interpreting what my body was telling me was happening? Was he accountable for not talking things out with me so things could change when he chose the best approach based on what he saw his parents doing?

Eventually I went to the doctor due to stuff and was diagnosed as hypoglycemic and went off sugar. The anger disappeared and so I stopped seeing his attitude about 5 PM as wrong and saw it instead as something we both could work with. And a few years later we moved away from his parents and he didn’t have anywhere to retreat to when conflict came up and we learned better how to resolve conflict for our family style.

Both of us during the time of conflict thought we were fully aware of what was influencing us in the moment to be angry and to avoid anger. Only in looking back after learning more things about ourselves did we learn we didn’t have full control over ourselves, we weren’t fully informed when we were making our choices which lead us to make poor choices even if they were the best choices we were capable of at the time. 
 

The more I learn about people, pay attention to how they describe their choices, the assumptions that they make, the more I learn about how the body impacts thinking, how childhood shapes our patterns of thought, how certain ideas can prevent us from seeing other options as even possible, etc etc etc....I just don’t see mortal beings as capable of true, full moral choice. God will hold us accountable for the level of law we comprehend and are capable of dealing with.  But then he will mercifully give us opportunities after death to fill the gaps so that when judgment time comes it is a just decision. Only in this way can God be both godly in his justice and in his mercy.

Edited by Calm
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Remember Peter was taught the Gospel by Jesus for years and taught who Jesus was and went through many tribulations with him. If anyone ever born should have had sufficient knowledge to be judged by his choices then and there, no take backs, it should have been him. 
 

Yet when he denied God three times and instantly knew he had done wrong when confronted, he was not told he had enough technical knowledge that his choice to deny Christ was going to lock him out of the Celestial Kingdom, but rather he was forgiven, mercifully given additional knowledge and able to move on, including using his remembrance of his choices that day to strengthen himself to make better future choices.

Alma the Younger was brought up by the prophet at that time and yet he choose to go about trying to destroy the Church and was rather successful in causing others to lose faith.  Nothing is said about everyone he misled rejoining the church or somehow his repentance removing all the consequences of his sinful choices.  Yet he is forgiven and allowed to recognize and repent and move in from his error even though he must have caused immense pain to many, many of God’s children.  Why would your much less harmful choice damn you to an exclusion from the Celestial Kingdom when those actions of Alma’s did not once he repented.

Whatever reasons you have learned why you chose to marry your wife, take the good reasons and build upon them and take the poor ones and learn from them how to make better choices. That way you will progress in your knowledge of the Gospel as the Lord wishes you to do. He does not desire you to be hopeless because of your past mistakes. God is a God of Love and Reason. His work is to bring men to Joy.  He can only do that if we trust him in his promises and love. 
 

Embrace the Atonement. Don’t put limits on it that God does not. Believe it is truly infinite and we can truly be healed. 
 

And btw, as long as you look on your marriage as a wrong, limiting choice, you are harming yourself and your spouse. Instead embrace your relationship as the best you have, not second best and work to make it better. Punishing yourself and your wife for a decision in the past you cannot change won’t accomplish anything  save to hamper you developing a celestial love for your wife and providing her with an opportunity to do the same for you. 

Edited by Calm
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Thanks for your reply.  Very insightful.  I've frequently been confused by the semantics used in scriptures, and I sometimes feel I can't really know what's actually being said to me when I read them.  When "eternal" doesn't mean "eternal", and "life" doesn't mean "life", I'm left to worry what other things I've made mistaken interpretations of.  Per D&C 131 - "It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance."  McConkie's interpretation of that verse was that doctrinal misinterpretations (even innocent, well-meaning ones) will not be granted as justifications for false beliefs (which inform belief-based actions).  If one is not careful, one might become "pacif[ied] and lull[ed] into a carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well - and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell."  

You also touch upon a very fascinating thing I've wondered about in your second paragraph - the Infinite Atonement.  I want to agree with your generous interpretation of the Atonement's infinite nature, perhaps even one step further.  However, I'm left to suppose that "Infinite" in this regard doesn't really mean "infinite", much like how "eternal" doesn't mean "eternal", since the Atonement's redemptive powers expire after judgment day.  Perhaps my understanding is skewed through the lens of my earthly father, whom I could never envision restricting a pathway back into his love if I desired to return to him.  I seem to be a testament to the fact that people can change, yet I've been told there will not be a way for a Telestial/Terrestiral spirit to work his way into a theoretical Celestial GED after judgment day (D&C 131).  Supposedly, Telestial/Terrestrial spirits will be "incompatible" with Celestial Glory on a physical/transcendent level wherein they will be incapable of change, but I think that might be speculation.  In any case, that line of thinking is reportedly a Deadly Heresy without doctrinal support, so I'm left to assume that this life is all I can count on regarding my chances.

I think you're right about different prophets at different times focusing their teachings on different facets of revelation.  That much certainly makes sense to me.  

"We can’t just be living righteously prevent our hormones from setting us up for depression"

If there was one thing I wish I could help my wife understand, it's this.  Even if I can't help her understand why I hold my beliefs, I wish she understood this.  While my wife is religious herself, she is very much against the church, and is antagonistic of my membership in it.  She was, admittedly, one of the primary factors that drew me out of the faith in the first place.  I struggle with severe depression and anxiety frequently as a biological inheritance of my genetic lineage (though I've made notable progress in learning how best to manage it), but my wife doesn't seem to view it like you do.  In her well-meaning attempts to help, she instead reminds me of Bible verses that rebuke people from having negative thoughts and feelings.  Though I try to consider it attempts at being helpful, I have yet to experience a moment where a panic attack has been soothed by recitations of Joshua 1:9 or 1 John 4:18.  She believes that my struggles with these issues are evidence of the devil's influence in my path to return to our faith (per 2 Timothy 1:7).  Despite her medical degree, she doesn't believe that my (or anyone's) depression or anxiety can be "real" medical conditions, even though I've been clinically-diagnosed with them.  They're feelings, and since feelings are the vector for spiritual communication, negative feelings mean that the devil has a hold of you because those feelings are not the fruits of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5.  It's...difficult to explain oneself against a wall of out-of-context scriptures. 

"If we can’t claim to have full control over our bodies which means we lack full control over our thoughts, how can anyone actually be said to have had a fair chance to make choices fully informed by the Spirit and knowledge of the gospel?"

That's where I'm unsure if I can agree, though perhaps my hesitation is due to my own misunderstanding.  I thought that was the point of faith - we don't know.  We don't have fully-informed knowledge of the gospel.  If we were meant to make fully-informed choices regarding those issues, we wouldn't need the Veil, right?  I was under the impression that the way we prove our faith is specifically because we can't have that fully-informed knowledge of the gospel.  I've been told that when we say "I know the church is true," many of us are really only expressing a great level of confidence in that statement - not true knowledge.  I only bothered to question the point because wanting a definitive, irrefutable, fully-informed knowledge about the gospel is the other means by which I was originally drawn-away from our faith.  I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this topic, if you care to share.

Thanks for your time, @Calm.  

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No problem. I spend a lot of time thinking about these kinds of things and it helps me to have a chance to verbalize my thoughts and to see how they fit in others’ situations. 
 

I have to take a break, will likely come back to the conversation tonight.  I hope you stick around for several days at least. I think this is a fundamental concern of the Gospel and how we interpret it definitely impacts our lives and relationships.   And it is very complicated because everyone brings so many assumptions to the conversation, often unrecognized. We need to understand our assumptions before we can resolve conflicts and come to a solid conclusion. 
 

It sounds as if your relationship with your wife had some extra complications...having significantly different views than your spouse can be very painful.  If you can resolve this issue for yourself it may help in other areas even if your wife doesn’t see things in the same way. 

Edited by Calm
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2 hours ago, Fiveofclubs said:

McConkie's interpretation of that verse was that doctrinal misinterpretations (even innocent, well-meaning ones) will not be granted as justifications for false beliefs (which inform belief-based actions).

This just triggered this thought of my favorite scripture.

Remember in this life:

Quote

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Would a just God judge us as knowledgeable when he has structured our current existence so that we can never know fully, but just in part?

The full chapter is a discourse on charity, charity we should have for ourselves as much as for others.

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13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

We are children in terms of eternal progress in this lifetime, we will need to put away childish things when God tells us to, but a loving God isn't going to punish his children for being children in the playpen he constructed for them to experiment in.

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I figure there are only a few of ways to deal with this:

1. You're doomed to not have eternal life so you beat yourself up over it for the rest of your life and still don't get eternal life

2. You are doomed, but since you are doomed then you enjoy life with your wife and be the best husband you can to her because it makes no sense to be sad in this life when you know you will be in the next. 

3. You are doomed if you stay with your wife so you divorce and maybe find another wife that will help you have eternal life. But if you leave her  for that reason that may doom you by going against Christ's teachings.

4.  You are not doomed, you believe that Christ atoned not just for everyone else's sins, but yours too.  You "love your (wife), just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her".  

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19 minutes ago, Rain said:

I figure there are only a few of ways to deal with this:

1. You're doomed to not have eternal life so you beat yourself up over it for the rest of your life and still don't get eternal life

2. You are doomed, but since you are doomed then you enjoy life with your wife and be the best husband you can to her because it makes no sense to be sad in this life when you know you will be in the next. 

3. You are doomed if you stay with your wife so you divorce and maybe find another wife that will help you have eternal life. But if you leave her  for that reason that may doom you by going against Christ's teachings.

4.  You are not doomed, you believe that Christ atoned not just for everyone else's sins, but yours too.  You "love your (wife), just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her".  

Sure wish you and Calm could tie all you've told Fiveofclubs into a sermon at general conference! Past leaders sometimes harm in their statements. Now hopefully it becomes clear that past teachings seem to divide families, not unite for eternity like what has been the popular teaching in the church, but in reality comes with caveats that so many forget sometimes. So many problems too, with divorce and sealings and who will end up with whom, nothing cut and dry, all so willy nilly. Poor people like Fiveofclubs and others have to figure out how to sort it all out.

Edited by Tacenda
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No problem.  Thank you for your thoughtful comments.  

In particular, I found your story regarding your discovered medical condition to be enlightening.  It sounds as though you are able to be considerate of the sociological, psychological, and physiological factors that inform one's character - which I work to be cognizant of myself.  This seems to make you considerate and charitable when evaluating the actions/words/thoughts of another (at least from the context of this conversation), which I also try my best to do!  On a fundamental level, every action and decision is the algorithmic result of conscious and subconscious considerations and predispositions.  I myself related quite well to your description of your husband, in that I engage similar conflict-avoidance strategies that I observed from my parents (reinforced by our shared anxiety dysfunctions).  

I'm quick to defend or justify perceived wrongs from others through deference to these types of factors - "They were having a bad day"/"They've been really stressed lately"/"It must have been something I said or did to trigger that"/etc.  While I'm more than happy to ascribe this charity to others, I suppose I'm unsure if God will be as lenient.  If actions are a culmination of physical/psychological/sociological factors, exacerbated by our unsure knowledge of God and the devil's potent temptations, I guess I'm unsure where accountability exists.  Many people who commit "evil" acts have some means of rationalizing factors that inform their decisions, often even perceiving those acts as good.  

So, to answer your question of whether or not you were accountable for your anger that was brought on by your condition...it depends on what you mean.  I guess it depends on what you did when you were angry during those times.  I'd grant that your anger response was an understandable result the medical circumstances.  So far as I know, the emotion of anger itself is not a sin, but anger can be a catalyst for sins.  I guess the deeper question is - are you accountable for the things you might have done/said/thought during your period of anger?  Given our narrative on "agency", I have to assume the answer is yes, right?  Even if your anger was medically-induced, I'm not sure if the nature of your anger's true origins is enough to dismiss culpability from a person who acts poorly pursuant to their anger (and this is by no means meant as a judging or condemning statement regarding your condition or its side-effects, I'm just trying to articulate the rationale for my position).  I might be wrong about that, there may be deeper nuance that can be doctrinally-supported, but I'm not sure.  The most I can think of that suggests otherwise would be the fact that the Lord looks upon the heart, wherein He should theoretically be able to discern the degree of culpability behind someone's emotion-driven transgression. 

To grant the intellectual concession, I may be somewhat predisposed toward the notion that I'm accountable for my actions when under emotional duress due to my own socialization.  Given my own medically-induced emotional shifts, I know a thing or two about feeling emotional reactions to things that are not objectively-warranted by the situation.  Mind you, I don't say this in any way to equate your experience with mine, but simply to explain my experience with some manner of relativity.  Despite my influxes of anxiety and depression, I most certainly consider myself accountable for what I do in those states (and am held accountable for it by others).  I'm aware of these tendencies, and though I'm occasionally powerless to curb them, I think I would personally be held accountable for acting upon their influences.  

"Would a just God judge us as knowledgeable when he has structured our current existence so that we can never know fully, but just in part?"

That depends on what we mean by "just", I suppose.  By my ignorant, mortal estimation, a "just" God would not impose infinite punishments for finite crimes, so I'm led to believe I have an inaccurate measure of God's justice.  Regarding the second part of the question, does God judge us as knowledgeable?  I thought He was judging us as faithful despite lack of knowledge, but I might be misinformed.  I certainly agree that our current existence is structured so as to obscure rational verification of the gospel truth, but I've been told that was the whole point.  God supposedly wants to test us to see how we behave in a Veiled setting, without a sure knowledge.  Some speculate the our removed position from true knowledge is the primary factor that allows us to learn and grow, which seems to make a margin of sense.  We'll have the chance to know fully someday, but it may serve as our condemnation.

And, I conclude by seconding your assertions regarding the assignment of charity to others!  This one piece of advice has brought me to love and respect many who would have otherwise seemed my enemy.  It has granted me the opportunity to see such people, despite their flaws, as spirits with families, passions, hopes, and humanity.  Sound advice, to be sure!

"We are children in terms of eternal progress in this lifetime, we will need to put away childish things when God tells us to, but a loving God isn't going to punish his children for being children in the playpen he constructed for them to experiment in."

That's an intriguing description, I've never heard it phrased as "the playpen he constructed for [us] to experiment in" before.  Perhaps I'm misinterpreting your meaning.  I don't think God is going to punish us for being children in the playpen, but won't He hold us accountable for the bad things we do in the playpen?  Surely we have to repent of our wrongdoings, even if they seemed to be influenced by other factors in the moment?  Maybe I've been operating off of an incorrect premise - is true knowledge required for accountability?  I had always assumed that true knowledge was not required for accountability, since we were not provided true knowledge in this life yet are expected to follow God's laws.  I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this, @Calm, I imagine I'm just missing some context.

@Rain, thanks for your input.  Haha, indeed those are a few of the potential options.  Options 1 and 2, while dour, both seem to make logical sense.  Option 3 confuses me a little bit.  In order to receive Celestial Glory, I have to gain my saving ordinances, and a temple sealing is required to even qualify for Celestial Glory.  God taught (through D&C's revelations to Joseph Smith on eternal marriage) that this is an essential ordinance for exaltation.  So, by that metric, I'm not sure how one can doom himself by sincerely trying to follow the pursuit of temple ordinances that God requires for exaltation.  Even if an infraction against Christ's teachings were to have occurred in this process, any supposed infractions against Christ's teachings on the subject can surely be amended through the very same Atonement referenced as the point of hope in Option 4.  At least if that person tried to get that temple marriage, he can argue the case of effort in hopes of qualifying as someone "who did not have a chance in this life."  Option 4 confirms that the Atonement can redeem me from my sins, which is amazing!  Though, as noted earlier in the forum, my non-member marriage is not considered a sin, so the Atonement is inapplicable to atone for it.  That's what makes the situation sticky - it's not technically a sin, so I can't technically repent of it through traditional methods.  

Hahaha, and please don't shake me @Garden Girl, it's a surefire way to trigger my anxiety!  I appreciate your considerate comments as well.  You're exactly right, I don't have any idea of what might happen.  I was just hoping to find an affirmation of peace that reassures me that this matter is not left to chance and that the rigidity of the words in D&C 132 will not necessarily bind me if I live worthily.  I agree that it would be nice to have a conference talk to turn to so I can tell my internal apprehensions "According to the October 2020 conference talk by President Nelson, God has promised that I will have the opportunity for a temple marriage regardless of my spouse's spiritual path, so long as I live a temple-worthy life to qualify for that blessing."  But, as I've been told by others, living with such uncertainty is a feature of faith.  To them, I'd argue that "Uncertainty is one thing - but having revelatory precedent suggesting the opposite is much more troubling."  I just don't want to get up there and find out "Yeah, it turns out that I meant what I said when I gave Joseph Smith that revelation about 'angels who did not abide my law,' you should have hearkened to the words of the scriptures instead of believing in counter-textual doctrines."  Hopefully some measure of my ramblings here has helped highlight the emotional underpinnings of my perspective on this matter.

Thank you all for your comments.  

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"Even if an infraction against Christ's teachings were to have occurred in this process, any supposed infractions against Christ's teachings on the subject can surely be amended through the very same Atonement referenced as the point of hope in Option 4.  At least if that person tried to get that temple marriage, he can argue the case of effort in hopes of qualifying as someone "who did not have a chance in this life.""

If one divorced his wife ONLY to pursue a relationship with a woman who could be sealed to him then I think the Savior would not look positively on that.  

The first commandment is to love God.  The second is to love neighbor.  Also without charity the rest means nothing.

So my feeling is a person would need to do a whole lot more repenting for the divorce than for marrying in the first place.  

And no, I don't think that the marriage was a sin, but I think divorce only to get the chance of eternal life very well could be. With all this In NOT saying I think you are thinking about it.

In the scriptures over and over you find his hand is stretched forth still.  It is there till He finds that the people will no longer repent.  

If one makes a mistake in choosing a spouse who is not a member and continues to repent and improve I can't imagine God snatching back his hand and saying, "only 1 chance for you!"

And if the atonement is there to cover sins then why can it not cover mistakes as well?  

So while I put up 4 possible ways to deal with it I can feel that #4 is not only the best, most joyful way, but also the most righteous, selfless and loving way, because anything else puts the innocent nonmember in a bad position.  

 

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2 hours ago, Fiveofclubs said:

a "just" God would not impose infinite punishments for finite crimes, so I'm led to believe I have an inaccurate measure of God's justice

What infinite punishments for finite crimes do you believe God is imposing?

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Quick comment:  we can still repent (which means learn and change) for things we are held accountable for. 

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@Fiveofclubs Your posts are concentrating on  section 132 of the D&C. Do you know the history, I know that members on the board might disagree but I believe the section was added in order to get Emma to accept Joseph's polygamy. https://mormonpolygamydocuments.org/provenance-dc-132-documented/

This A.M, I wrote a Revelation consisting of 10 pages on the order of the priesthood, showing the designs in Moses, Abraham, David and Solomon having many wives and concubines &c. After it was wrote Presidents Joseph and Hyrum presented it and read it to E[mma] who said she did not believe a word of it and appeared very rebellious.[1]

ETA: Here's another article:

https://gregkofford.com/blogs/news/a-very-brief-history-of-d-c-section-132-the-plural-marriage-revelation

Edited by Tacenda
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