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What Does it Mean to Be 'More Blessed'


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Something I wonder about...

In 3 Nephi 12, Jesus says to the people at the temple,

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1 ...therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am.

2 And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me, and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins.

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.

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Alma 32 

14 And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?

15 Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty.

 

2. The three Nephite disciples who desired to tarry.

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3 Nephi 28:6 And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.

7 Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

However, speaking to Thomas, the Lord said,

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John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

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?

Edited by Bernard Gui
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I think Jesus considered it to be more of a blessing to receive a witness from the Holy Ghost than to just take his word for something he said.  Maybe because that would be an additional witness, and maybe evedn a more powerful witness because of how the Holy Spirit bears witness directly to our spirit rather than just through our eyes and ears.  So both quantitative and qualitative, maybe.

 

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2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

............................I understand how these people are more blessed because of their faith. What do you think the Savior meant in 3 Nephi 12?

Just as you said, they are more blessed due to their faith -- without having been witnesses -- because that faith is based on the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and not upon signs, miracles, or personal witness of the physical savior.

Matt 16:17 "Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven'."

Revelation or inspiration is always superior to forensic, objective evidence.  Doubting Thomas must see and feel the wounds to believe, but Peter believes based on the witness of the Holy Spirit.

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2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

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?

Interesting question.

Perhaps the blessing is the belief itself.   We learn from D&C 46:14 that to believe on the testimony of others is itself a gift of the spirit - a blessing.  Perhaps the passage is suggesting that it requires a greater blessing (more blessed) to believe in the testimony of others than is required when one is compelled to believe through a personal visitation of the Savior.  Faith itself is a gift of the spirit.  Someone who is required to exercise and is bestowed with greater faith could therefore be considered "more blessed" with faith. 

Edited by pogi
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Maybe it is saying that people with the ability to exercise greater faith (believing without seeing) are more blessed in general than those who struggle with that, because greater faith = more blessings than lesser faith.

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Interesting question.

Perhaps the blessing is the belief itself.   We learn from D&C 46:14 that to believe on the testimony of others is itself a gift of the spirit - a blessing.  Perhaps the passage is suggesting that it requires a greater blessing (more blessed) to believe in the testimony of others than is required when one is compelled to believe through a personal visitation of the Savior.  Faith itself is a gift of the spirit.  Someone who is required to exercise and is bestowed with greater faith could therefore be considered "more blessed" with faith. 

James 2:19, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."
 

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33 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

James 2:19, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."
 

And yet we have John 20:29, "Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed."

The hierarchy of blessing is like this, I think:

To believe after being compelled by sight - lowest level (the devils, Thomas).

To believe without seeing - middle level.

To believe without seeing, and then aligning ones behavior according to the belief - highest level.

 

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Just as you said, they are more blessed due to their faith -- without having been witnesses -- because that faith is based on the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and not upon signs, miracles, or personal witness of the physical savior.

Matt 16:17 "Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven'."

Revelation or inspiration is always superior to forensic, objective evidence.  Doubting Thomas must see and feel the wounds to believe, but Peter believes based on the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, I acknowledged that, but what is the more in the more blessed? More bricks on their mansion in heaven? A greater exaltation? Better health? More revelations? That is my question. What the Nephites experienced was far beyond examining forensic, objective evidence. 

BTW, I have made the case before that I believe Thomas gets a raw deal. He does not deserve the epithet Doubting. Peter and the rest of the disciples did not believe the reports of the Resurrection until he saw and touched the Savior in person. Thomas did what all of them did - he saw and touched and then believed. John even goes out of his way to point out that when Peter and he went into the Sepulchre, it was he, John, who believed, not Peter.

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Mark 16: 9 ¶ Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. 10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12 ¶ After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. 14 ¶ Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Luke 24: And [the women] returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. 12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

John 20: Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

 

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23 minutes ago, pogi said:

And yet we have John 20:29, "Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed."

The hierarchy of blessing is like this, I think:

To believe after being compelled by sight - lowest level (the devils, Thomas).

To believe without seeing - middle level.

To believe without seeing, and then aligning ones behavior according to the belief - highest level.

 

I can't agree that Thomas is a low-level believer. See my answer to Robert F. Smith above. Absolutely not at the level of devils. 

I noted John 20:29 in the OP. Jesus does not say those who have not seen but have believed are more blessed. Only this passage in the Book of Mormon talks about more blessed when it comes to believing.

What is the meaning of the more in more blessed? Quantitative? Qualitative? 

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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

Maybe it is saying that people with the ability to exercise greater faith (believing without seeing) are more blessed in general than those who struggle with that, because greater faith = more blessings than lesser faith.

Thanks. This is along the line of Sister Gui's comments. What do you think the greater blessings are?

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5 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Something I wonder about...

It seems to me that the "more blessed" is a quantitative phrase  in relation to the numbers of believers, and not a qualitative phrase  in relation to the magnitude of blessing or faith.

In verse 1, Jesus and the twelve disciples are ministering to a certain number of people (some 2,500), but many, many more (verse 2) would be reached by those blessed people who would subsequently minister to more (many others) not then present. At a ratio of 13:2500, 1,000 adults would reach 192,000 more blessed people.

In that case, the reference to "after that ye have seen me and know that I am" refers to timing, nothing more. Those present are blessed, the more blessed come later after they receive the word from them.

ETA: It also means the blessings refer to baptism (with water and with fire and with the Holy Ghost).

Edited by CV75
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Then we should consider this remarkable passage in 3 Nephi 19 when the Holy Ghost fell on the Nephites after they were baptized. So, these people had the double blessing....they saw and touched the risen Savior plus they received this inexpressible witness of the Holy Spirit. Even more blessed events were to follow shortly. It is no wonder they never fell away. Remarkably, this spirit persisted in their culture for two hundred after they were gone. This far surpasses the glory of the Day of Pentecost in which the Jerusalem disciples received the Holy Ghost. Perhaps they experienced something like this in the 40 day ministry. I honestly cannot conceive greater blessings than these (in this mortal world). And yet those who believe their words are more blessed? How is that?

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And when they had ministered those same words which Jesus had spoken—nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken—behold, they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus.

And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.

10 And when they had thus prayed they went down unto the water’s edge, and the multitude followed them.

11 And it came to pass that Nephi went down into the water and was baptized.

12 And he came up out of the water and began to baptize. And he baptized all those whom Jesus had chosen.

13 And it came to pass when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

14 And behold, they were encircled about as if it were by fire; and it came down from heaven, and the multitude did witness it, and did bear record; and angels did come down out of heaven and did minister unto them.

15 And it came to pass that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples, behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them.

16 And it came to pass that he spake unto the multitude, and commanded them that they should kneel down again upon the earth, and also that his disciples should kneel down upon the earth.

17 And it came to pass that when they had all knelt down upon the earth, he commanded his disciples that they should pray.

18 And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God.

19 And it came to pass that Jesus departed out of the midst of them, and went a little way off from them and bowed himself to the earth, and he said:

20 Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world.

21 Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words.

22 Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them.

23 And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.

 

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13 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

I can't agree that Thomas is a low-level believer. See my answer to Robert F. Smith above. Absolutely not at the level of devils. 

As an overall believer, I agree.  But Christ made a clear distinction between those who believe because they saw (lower-level believer) and those who believe without being compelled by sight.   He did so again in the Americas.  I am not comparing Thomas' overall belief to that of the devils.

20 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

I noted John 20:29 in the OP. Jesus does not say those who have not seen but have believed are more blessed. Only this passage in the Book of Mormon talks about more blessed when it comes to believing.

These two passages are both distinguishing between lower level belief and higher level belief. 

22 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

What is the meaning of the more in more blessed? Quantitative? Qualitative? 

I tried to answer that in my first response.  I the "more blessed" is in reference to the level of belief (which is a gift of the spirit). 

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43 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Thanks. This is along the line of Sister Gui's comments. What do you think the greater blessings are?

I think that is largely individualistic and depends on the specific behaviors/acts that the belief inspires and compels one to do.  Every blessing is predicated upon obedience to a specific principle.  Each blessing is unique to the individual, but greater faith naturally leads to greater obedience, which leads to "more" blessings. 

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

It seems to me that the "more blessed" is a quantitative phrase  in relation to the numbers of believers, and not a qualitative phrase  in relation to the magnitude of blessing or faith.

In verse 1, Jesus and the twelve disciples are ministering to a certain number of people (some 2,500), but many, many more (verse 2) would be reached by those blessed people who would subsequently minister to more (many others) not then present. At a ratio of 13:2500, 1,000 adults would reach 192,000 more blessed people.

In that case, the reference to "after that ye have seen me and know that I am" refers to timing, nothing more. Those present are blessed, the more blessed come later after they receive the word from them.

ETA: It also means the blessings refer to baptism (with water and with fire and with the Holy Ghost).

Interesting thoughts. In Poetic Parallelisms in The Book of Mormon, The Complete Text Reformatted, Donald Parry  shows this passage to be a parallelism (extended alternate). To me, this juxtaposition suggests a hierarchy of blessings based on witness/blessing/faith/blessing rather than timing. Why would those who come later be more blessed? What is the substance of the increased blessing?

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a1. therefore, blessed are ye

b1. if ye shall believe in me and be baptized,

c1. after ye have seen me

d1. and know that I am.

 

a2. And again, more blessed are they

b2. who shall believe in your words

c2. because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me,

d2. and that ye know that I am.

 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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21 minutes ago, pogi said:

I think that is largely individualistic and depends on the specific behaviors/acts that the belief inspires and compelled one to do.  Every blessing is predicated upon obedience to a specific principle.  Each blessing is unique to the individual, but greater faith naturally leads to greater obedience, which leads to "more" blessings. 

Thank you. I understand what you are saying. The Nephites received both the witness of the body and the witness of the Spirit. Perhaps it is the combination of both that resulted in their extraordinary faith and obedience...none of them fell away, nor did any Nephite for 200 years. That is both an individual and a collective blessing. The only comparable event in history may be the City of Enoch, but that even took place within one generation. Perhaps the Nephites should have been carried away too. :)

On the other hand, while many who have seen signs and either do not believe or fall away, the same is true of those who receive the witness of the Spirit. They can choose to believe or to fall away. I suppose that is where "enduring to the end" comes in. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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4 hours ago, Ahab said:

I think Jesus considered it to be more of a blessing to receive a witness from the Holy Ghost than to just take his word for something he said.  Maybe because that would be an additional witness, and maybe evedn a more powerful witness because of how the Holy Spirit bears witness directly to our spirit rather than just through our eyes and ears.  So both quantitative and qualitative, maybe.

They did receive a more powerful witness after they were baptized. I have difficulty understanding how those who believe on their words are more blessed than they because I can't think of anything in the scriptures or in history comparable to this experience. I can't imagine a blessing that could be greater than what they received.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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23 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

They did receive a more powerful witness after they were baptized. I have a hard time understanding how those who believe on their words are more blessed than they because I can't think of anything in the scriptures or in history comparable to this experience. I can't imagine a blessing that could be greater than what they received.

The blessing of believing without seeing is a greater blessing, according to Christ. Any other blessing that may be tied to that is a matter of speculation, and may not be experienced until the post-mortal world.  Who knows?

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19 minutes ago, pogi said:

The blessing of believing without seeing is a greater blessing, according to Christ. Any other blessing that may be tied to that is a matter of speculation, and may not be experienced until the post-mortal world.  Who knows?

Yes, who knows? I'm curious, though. Can you imagine a greater blessing than what the Nephites received? All those remarkable visions and words followed by 200 years of peace.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Thanks. This is along the line of Sister Gui's comments. What do you think the greater blessings are?

That's a good question.  Salvation of course, and access to the Holy Ghost.  But those come to those who must see to believe as well.  

So in context of this issue, I think the greater blessings are the peace that comes from great faith, access to those miracles that require great faith, and the guidance that comes to those whom God knows will have the faith to follow it.

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39 minutes ago, bluebell said:

That's a good question.  Salvation of course, and access to the Holy Ghost.  But those come to those who must see to believe as well.  

So in context of this issue, I think the greater blessings are the peace that comes from great faith, access to those miracles that require great faith, and the guidance that comes to those whom God knows will have the faith to follow it.

Thanks. You and Sister Gui think a lot alike....and that is a really good thing!

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I'm not sure I have an answer to your question, Don Bernardo (apropos of nothing, completely by accident, I discovered the source for your screen name ... interesting. :D).  I'm just thinking out loud here, so perhaps I don't have anything of particular value to add ... if not, forgive me. :huh::unknw:  Does the Lord consider where we've come from when it comes to deciding what rewards we might receive, both from time to time and in the end?  I believe, that, perhaps, He does.  For example, if you were to take a little clandestine nip of algo prohibido por la palabra de sabiduria (Translation: something prohibited by the Word of Wisdom, to avoid the mods' wrath :D), would you be judged differently than a reformed alcoholic who found the Restored Gospel would be if he were to do the same thing?  I think you would be.  If I'm not sufficiently familiar with your background, and you happen to be a reformed alcoholic, feel free to plug yourself into the second part of my example, and someone else into the first part of my example. :D

P.S.:  To make my point better, a little more explicitly, in the end, might you and the reformed alcoholic receive essentially the same blessing (provided he repents for taking that little nip ;))?  Yes; you'll both be exalted, but it's a "greater" blessing for him than it is for you, because you came from different places to get it.  Does that make sense?

Edited by Kenngo1969
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2 hours ago, pogi said:

As an overall believer, I agree.  But Christ made a clear distinction between those who believe because they saw (lower-level believer) and those who believe without being compelled by sight.   He did so again in the Americas.  I am not comparing Thomas' overall belief to that of the devils.

These two passages are both distinguishing between lower level belief and higher level belief. 

I tried to answer that in my first response.  I the "more blessed" is in reference to the level of belief (which is a gift of the spirit). 

Thanks. What you think of Thomas seems unclear to me. He did nothing the other disciples and those in Zarahemla did not do. They saw, touched, believed. He saw, touched, believed, just at a later time. I don't think he deserves the Doubter label. 

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2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Yes, I acknowledged that, but what is the more in the more blessed? More bricks on their mansion in heaven? A greater exaltation? Better health? More revelations? That is my question. What the Nephites experienced was far beyond examining forensic, objective evidence. 

BTW, I have made the case before that I believe Thomas gets a raw deal. He does not deserve the epithet Doubting. Peter and the rest of the disciples did not believe the reports of the Resurrection until he saw and touched the Savior in person. Thomas did what all of them did - he saw and touched and then believed. John even goes out of his way to point out that when Peter and he went into the Sepulchre, it was he, John, who believed, not Peter.

We call him Doubting Thomas, but not because the Savior called him that, but because he did what so many others did -- depended upon flesh and blood evidence, the evidence which you yourself mention is characteristic of the other disciples.  It is unfair to single him out, but that is only a tradition, not Scripture.

The "more" comes from the contrast which the Savior himself brings to bear in contrasting the testimony of others (based on flesh and blood evidence) with that of Peter in one particular instance (Matt 16:17).  Not because Peter always, adheres to that standard (Matt 16:17), but as an object lesson.  Cf. Jn 20:29.

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14 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I'm not sure I have an answer to your question, Don Bernardo (apropos of nothing, completely by accident, I discovered the source for your screen name ... interesting. :D).

Uh oh! Please keep it between you and me! No one expects the Mormon Inquisition.

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I'm just thinking out loud here, so perhaps I don't have anything of particular value to add ... if not, forgive me. :huh::unknw:  Does the Lord consider where we've come from when it comes to deciding what rewards we might receive, both from time to time and in the end?  I believe, that, perhaps, He does.  For example, if you were to take a little clandestine nip of algo prohibido por la palabra de sabiduria (Translation: something prohibited by the Word of Wisdom, to avoid the mods' wrath :D), would you be judged differently than a reformed alcoholic who found the Restored Gospel would be if he were to do the same thing?  I think you would be.  If I'm not sufficiently familiar with your background, and you happen to be a reformed alcoholic, feel free to plug yourself into the second part of my example, and someone else into the first part of my example. :D

I'm in big trouble....there was that one night in high school....... :pardon:

I get your point....where much is given, much is required. The Nephites were surely given until they could maybe get no more, but to their great credit, they never fell away. I think that is remarkable. I'm sure we here have received great blessings from the Spirit, but like Nephi said,

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Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have received such a witness that you would behave is such a way as to live in peace your whole life, one with God, with no contention, etc.? That's the blessing the Nephites received! I can't conceive of a blessing in mortal life greater than that.

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        David Bokovoy
      Online Professor of Bible and Jewish Studies
      Utah State University
      author of Reading the Old Testament: Genesis - Deuteronomy 
        Matthew Bowman
      Matthew Bowman, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
      Henderson State University
      author of The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith
        Deidre Nicole Green
      Postdoctoral Fellow
      Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship
      author of "Becoming Equal Partners: Latter-day Saint Women as Theologians” 
        Jamie L. Jensen
      Associate Professor of Biology, Brigham Young University, author of “Influencing highly religious undergraduate perceptions of evolution:  Mormons as a case study” 
        Boyd Jay Petersen
      Program Coordinator for Mormon Studies
      Utah Valley University
      author of “One Soul Shall Not Be Lost': The War in Heaven in Mormon Thought" 
        Jana K. Riess
      Senior Columnist
      Religion News Service
      author of The Next Mormons
        David W. Scott
      Professor of Communication
      Utah Valley University
      author of “Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?"  
      Ben Spackman
      History of Christianity & Religions of North America Program
      Claremont Graduate University
      author of “Truth, Scripture, and Interpretation: Some Precursors to Reading Genesis”  
      Co-Sponsors & Partners
      Religious Studies Program, Utah Valley University College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Utah Valley University
    • By hope_for_things
      As an orthodox Mormon, when I have questions and critiques on topics that I hear at church or read about, I'm frequently told that it all boils down to just having faith, especially when people don't have good answers to my questions.  Terryl Given and Fiona Given's even articulate this idea in their book, The Crucible of Doubt, about how when presented with information on both sides of an issue, that this is precisely the point of God's plan so that we are able to choose and exercise faith.  
      Here is my question, what are we supposed to have faith in exactly?  Should I have faith in the historicity of an event described in the BoM?  Should I have faith that a talk given in conference by a church leader is an inspired talk that accurately reflects the mind of God?  Should I have faith that the words written in the Sunday school manual are inspired by God?  Should I have faith that the interpretation of scripture espoused by my high council representative is the one true interpretation?  What exactly should I have faith in?  
      From my reading of scripture, particularly the Bible and the BoM there is a repeating theme that humans continue to mess things up. In the bible, some of the worst offenders are often the prophets.  They are constantly falling short of the divine will and making big mistakes and getting chastised by God.  Many passages warn against trusting in the arm of the flesh. 
      So this brings me back to the question of faith, and I wonder if all the times that my fellow Mormons encourage me to just have faith, if they aren't actually are giving me really bad advice.  I'm thinking from the experiences I've had and the examples throughout history, that the thing I need to put my faith in is God directly, and not in humans or scriptural interpretations.  Maybe having faith in a church leader is not the purpose of faith at all.  Maybe having faith in a traditional church truth claim is also not the point of faith.   Faith in God, directly is not the same thing as faith in the church or faith in scripture or faith in authorities.  Faith in God seems like the only kind of faith that really can work. 
      Thoughts? 
    • By nuclearfuels
      So if you were called over a period of 8 years in let us say a certain calling which you had reservations about but accepted anyway, at what point would you say no to future callings in the same certain calling area?  If you said no to such a calling and then received a similar calling a few months later, what would you think? Not enough adults to call or inspiration coming back again?  In all honesty when Auxiliary leaders make recommendations for certain callings in ward council/correlation mtg, is there further prayer/consideration/Spiritual guidance by Ward Leaders?  I believe so and I hope so; just seems strange to get a calling quite similar to one I said no to a few months earlier.
      I've heard that Sunbeams coteacher in a former ward I was in received seven no's in response to callings and I can't judge anyone who turned it down as I wasn't part of those callings' issuance.  A friend of mine in college turned down a Primary call since she was a homemaker with three boys and said she needed a break.
      The non-linear part makes sense; we all don't progress in the same order of callings...BUT it seems odd to me to have received such a similar calling in multiple wards over many years, in a chartered organization that I do not support.
       
    • By hope_for_things
      I recently attended the Spirit of Dialogue conference at UVU and they are celebrating their 50th anniversary. https://www.dialoguejournal.com/50th-anniversary/spirit-of-dialogue-conference/
      It was a great meeting with wonderful guests.  One of the highlights for me was the last session, a discussion between Marlin Jensen (former church historian and emeritus status GA) and Gregory Prince.  The audio is posted at the above link.  He said something that I've been pondering about ever since the meeting.  In talking about the essays and the challenges that the information age presents to members he said:
      The part in bold is what I've been struggling to understand.  He mentioned meeting with many people over the years who're struggling with their membership.  Why is belief so important to him, and why is it a choice?  Why is it more important than who you choose as your spouse?  Why is belief the most important choice we will ever make in this life?  I don't get it.
      I have some thoughts, but I wanted to ask to the group.  Thanks
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