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What Does it Mean to Be 'More Blessed'


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7 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

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.

That's why I think he got a bum rap. Just like I don't deserve the epithet Bumbling Bernard, well, at least I don't think I deserve it. Traditions of men oft times go astray.

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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.

Yes. Thank you. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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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.

So, how do those Nephites at the temple in Zarahemla qualify as lower-level believers? They had already been through an unparalleled trial of faith. Yet the Savior said to them, 

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O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

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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). 

Interesting comment....gift of the spirit, but isn't it earned by passing through your other two levels? That was born out after the Nephites were baptized. They got the best of both worlds.

In John, Christ does not use the qualifier more blessed. Only in 3 Nephi. To people who had incredible faith to endure what they endured.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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3 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

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?

 

According to Parry, the undefined substance of the blessing (presumably joy) falls along a hierarchy established by happenstance. If you happen to see the Lord and thus believe, you are less blessed than those who happen not to see Him and believe on the words of those who did. Is the happenstance with its attendant joy rigged?

I don’t think so: it also requires follow-through and effort (faith) by those who saw Him and believed to proclaim Him to those that did not see Him, so they are “more blessed” on that particular point. The missionary / eye-witness and the convert / hearer are more blessed than the other in different ways and by different means, and at different times in the process.

However, where the substance of the blessings are baptism with water and fire, they are the same for everyone. Seeing the Lord is only a matter of timing as all the faithful will see Him at some point eventually and have joy in His countenance (D&C 88:44-61). 3 Nephi 12:1-2 is only a moment in time when the Lord told those who saw Him to share with those who had not. His aim of course is to get “more blessed” or “more blessed people” in the fold.

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16 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

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. 

I agree that Thomas is not an exception.  They all doubted before seeing.   "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed".  It was a gentle rebuke for needing to see before believing in the testimony of the others.  He didn't say, "you are blessed, Thomas, for seeing me", (even though he was), he made it a point to highlight his disbelief (and the disbelief of the other apostles) by saying, "blessed are they..."     He had the testimony of all the apostles and Mary.  He had Christ's own testimony before his death of exactly what would happen, and he still doubted.  What if Christ never appeared to him?  Maybe eventually he would have come around, but we can't know that.  If he would have continued to disbelieve without seeing, how would he be any better than those who doubt in the resurrection today?  

Again, Christ highlighted this point in America, "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."  

It is a privilege and blessing to see Christ, no doubt, but more blessed are those who doubt not the testimony of those who have seen, and who choose to believe first before seeing.  I don't know how that can be argued against given these passages. 

Edited by pogi
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18 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

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.

We receive the greater blessing when we receive faith to believe what they said without actually experiencing what they say they experienced.  

Think about it some more.  They have told us their story, which they say are about events which actually happened, and somehow we have enough faith to believe them without experiencing what they have told us about.

For them it was much easier to believe what they actually saw and heard because they actually saw and heard it.  Including touching our Savior's body and seeing what he actually looks like.

For us it's not as easy to believe those events actually happened because we didn't see with our own eyes and ears.  And yet we, or at least some of us, know those events actually happened.  I know it beyond any doubt.

So who do you think has received the greater blessing?  Those who see with their own ideas and ears what is pretty much obvious, or those who have faith to believe without needing to actually see and hear all of that?

I would like to have actually experienced what they experienced, with my own eyes and ears, but I wouldn't trade that experience for what I know and can learn from only an assurance from God.  And by "only an assurance from God" I mean with only that as my evidence, without having seen with my own eyes and ears.  The ability to learn through faith from God is one of my greatest blessings.

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2 hours ago, Ahab said:

I would like to have actually experienced what they experienced, with my own eyes and ears, but I wouldn't trade that experience for what I know and can learn from only an assurance from God.

And yet I suppose, when you find yourself in His presence with the confirmation of your faith (and the greater faith that knowledge catalyzes, per Alma 32), you will conclude that you are more blessed than you are now.

I think faith and knowledge are two forms of the same thing, and that each (properly used) leads to more.

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1 minute ago, CV75 said:

And yet I suppose, when you find yourself in His presence with the confirmation of your faith (and the greater faith that knowledge catalyzes, per Alma 32), you will conclude that you are more blessed than you are now.

I think faith and knowledge are two forms of the same thing, and that each (properly used) leads to more.

I agree, if I correctly understand what you mean.  The more good things I experience, and the more I learn and gain knowledge about, the more blessed I am and feel.  I am looking forward to seeing our Father again.

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On 9/30/2020 at 10:15 AM, Ahab said:

We receive the greater blessing when we receive faith to believe what they said without actually experiencing what they say they experienced.  

Think about it some more.  They have told us their story, which they say are about events which actually happened, and somehow we have enough faith to believe them without experiencing what they have told us about.

For them it was much easier to believe what they actually saw and heard because they actually saw and heard it.  Including touching our Savior's body and seeing what he actually looks like.

For us it's not as easy to believe those events actually happened because we didn't see with our own eyes and ears.  And yet we, or at least some of us, know those events actually happened.  I know it beyond any doubt.

So who do you think has received the greater blessing?  Those who see with their own ideas and ears what is pretty much obvious, or those who have faith to believe without needing to actually see and hear all of that?

I would like to have actually experienced what they experienced, with my own eyes and ears, but I wouldn't trade that experience for what I know and can learn from only an assurance from God.  And by "only an assurance from God" I mean with only that as my evidence, without having seen with my own eyes and ears.  The ability to learn through faith from God is one of my greatest blessings.

I have already acknowledged all of that. What do you think the "greater blessing" is? How much greater could be the blessings the Nephites at Zarahemla received? 300 years of righteousness, peace, and unity? Fewer than  no poor among them? More healing of the sick? Greater prosperity? A higher exaltation, whatever that may be? 

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And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God. There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land.

And then there is this....

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Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am; And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.

How blessed would this be? I, for one, have a long way to go.

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 And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.

 

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52 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

I have already acknowledged all of that. What do you think the "greater blessing" is? How much greater could be the blessings the Nephites at Zarahemla received? 300 years of righteousness, peace, and unity? Fewer than  no poor among them? More healing of the sick? Greater prosperity? A higher exaltation, whatever that may be? 

And then there is this....

How blessed would this be? I, for one, have a long way to go.

I think if it refers to quality of the blessing, it refers only to the instant or moment of the blessed experience. More of the Lord's grace is attendant for the non-eyewitness to believe, and therefore he is more blessed than the eyewitness in that regard. But further blessings are conditioned on their faithfulness to and unity of their testimonies, whether initiated through eyewitness or otherwise. And because of that, I think “more blessed are they who shall believe [on the words of the eyewitness]” refers to increased number of believers. There is greater joy in numbers (D&C 18:16, Moses 7:18).

Perhaps you are more blessed than you think!

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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

I think if it refers to quality of the blessing, it refers only to the instant or moment of the blessed experience. More of the Lord's grace is attendant for the non-eyewitness to believe, and therefore he is more blessed than the eyewitness in that regard. But further blessings are conditioned on their faithfulness to and unity of their testimonies, whether initiated through eyewitness or otherwise. And because of that, I think “more blessed are they who shall believe [on the words of the eyewitness]” refers to increased number of believers. There is greater joy in numbers (D&C 18:16, Moses 7:18).

Perhaps you are more blessed than you think!

Interesting thoughts. Could you expand on “quality of the blessing?”

As the above quote from 3 Nephi showed, even those who were eyewitnesses soon received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Perhaps the combination of both those extraordinary experiences resulted in their unshakable faithfulness. This seems to be the message of two the D&C scriptures that were quoted, except in reverse - faith first and then personal visitation.

I am more blessed than I deserve. Aren’t we all. 

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Interesting thoughts. Could you expand on “quality of the blessing?”

As the above quote from 3 Nephi showed, even those who were eyewitnesses soon received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Perhaps the combination of both those extraordinary experiences resulted in their unshakable faithfulness. This seems to be the message of two the D&C scriptures that were quoted, except in reverse - faith first and then personal visitation.

I am more blessed than I deserve. Aren’t we all. 

I am suggesting that the Lord is referring to the instant or moment where belief is quickened, not a guaranteed lifetime endowment or general aura of blessedness. Given that, the quality of the blessing in the instant or moment of the experience of quickened belief may be measured by the relative amount of grace the Lord pours out upon a person to enable him to believe.

All things being equal, it takes less grace to believe after seeing the Lord than after hearing the Word. Thus, the eyewitness is less blessed, and the hearer more blessed as measured by the grace involved in order to believe. Another way of looking at all things being equal is to consider yourself in the two scenarios of seeing the Lord and of hearing the witness. Which scenario would require more grace for you to believe and be baptized? All things being equal, no one is more blessed because of the circumstance of hearing an eyewitness instead of seeing firsthand, but because of the greater grace. All things being equal, no one is more blessed because of their response to hearing vs. seeing, but because of the greater grace they are given in order to believe.

I am also suggesting that because He is referring to the moment of quickening one’s belief, the phrase “more blessed are they” refers to the numbers of converted souls, since far more are those who believe by hearing than by seeing, or who receive greater grace. Grace maximizes both efficiency (the Lord does not have to appear to everyone before they will believe) and effectiveness (grace brings us closer to the Lord than doing something ourselves).

Edited by CV75
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On 10/3/2020 at 11:54 AM, Bernard Gui said:

I have already acknowledged all of that. What do you think the "greater blessing" is?

Put more simply, to learn through faith by receiving a personal spiritual witness rather than learning only from our other senses.

On 10/3/2020 at 11:54 AM, Bernard Gui said:

How much greater could be the blessings the Nephites at Zarahemla received? 300 years of righteousness, peace, and unity? Fewer than  no poor among them? More healing of the sick? Greater prosperity? A higher exaltation, whatever that may be? 

And then there is this....

How blessed would this be? I, for one, have a long way to go.

 

All of those things that happened to them were things they personally experienced in the natural course of their lives.  They physically saw our Savior with their physical senses. And then they lived through all of that.

We can only read about what they wrote and even then the most we can receive is a personal spiritual witness that what they wrote about actually happened.  That it is a true story.

Therefore, we receive the greater blessing by receiving that greater personal spiritual witness and by that we know the truth of those things.  For them it was easy.  Jesus appeared to them, so they saw him. They couldn't have received a more obvious witness than to actually see him, while in contrast we receive a greater witness, and therefore a greater blessing, when we receive a personal spiritual witness from the Holy Ghost sent by our Father in heaven.

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Perhaps the exercise metaphor is relevant here.

Different types of exercise build different muscles and types of fitness/strength. Unsighted belief must build some sort of spiritual fitness that is more encompassing/enduring etc. It is thereby of greater worth on the journey of overall spiritual/eternal progression.

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38 minutes ago, gav said:

Perhaps the exercise metaphor is relevant here.

Different types of exercise build different muscles and types of fitness/strength. Unsighted belief must build some sort of spiritual fitness that is more encompassing/enduring etc. It is thereby of greater worth on the journey of overall spiritual/eternal progression.

I think you're on the right track but I wouldn't characterize the benefit as "unsighted belief". 

The real benefit is a personal spiritual witness from God.  Much better than only being able to sense with our other physical senses.

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4 hours ago, Ahab said:

Put more simply, to learn through faith by receiving a personal spiritual witness rather than learning only from our other senses.

All of those things that happened to them were things they personally experienced in the natural course of their lives.  They physically saw our Savior with their physical senses. And then they lived through all of that.

We can only read about what they wrote and even then the most we can receive is a personal spiritual witness that what they wrote about actually happened.  That it is a true story.

Therefore, we receive the greater blessing by receiving that greater personal spiritual witness and by that we know the truth of those things.  For them it was easy.  Jesus appeared to them, so they saw him. They couldn't have received a more obvious witness than to actually see him, while in contrast we receive a greater witness, and therefore a greater blessing, when we receive a personal spiritual witness from the Holy Ghost sent by our Father in heaven.

Yes, I have already noted all that. The question is, what is the greater blessing? Can you quantify or qualify that? 

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19 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Yes, I have already noted all that. The question is, what is the greater blessing? Can you quantify or qualify that? 

I already did that.  Twice.  What we have here is a failure of your understanding of what I said.

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8 hours ago, Ahab said:

I already did that.  Twice.  What we have here is a failure of your understanding of what I said.

You may be right. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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On 9/29/2020 at 3:45 PM, Bernard Gui said:

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

"Blessed" as translated from the Greek means "happy" or "blissful". An emotional and spiritual state in which circumstances do not matter. Happiness that is not dependent on what is happening to us or taking place in our environment. In general we (in the Church) have come to make an attribution to "blessings" that is outside of the biblical meaning and context.

Blessed is an attribute of God Himself. The blessed are like God. "Blessed" is a word used to describe the character of God. Psalm 68:35-- "Blessed be God." Psalm 72:18--"Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel." Psalm 119:12-- "Blessed art thou, O Lord." 1 Timothy 1:11--Paul called the Almighty "the blessed God." The blessed are like Christ The New Testament also uses "blessed" to describe Christ: He is "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15). The blessed are God's people. The only people who will ever experience blessedness are those who belong to God and Christ. Them for whom hunger, thirst, injury, persecution or death do not alter their state of being, faith, trust and belief in Christ.

The Lord promises a stronger witness, faith and spiritual fortitude that leads to blessedness (happiness, peace) under fire, for those that now, like us, although have not seen yet believe in Him.

Edited by Islander
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7 hours ago, Islander said:

"Blessed" as translated from the Greek means "happy" or "blissful". An emotional and spiritual state in which circumstances do not matter. Happiness that is not dependent on what is happening to us or taking place in our environment. In general we (in the Church) have come to make an attribution to "blessings" that is outside of the biblical meaning and context.

Blessed is an attribute of God Himself. The blessed are like God. "Blessed" is a word used to describe the character of God. Psalm 68:35-- "Blessed be God." Psalm 72:18--"Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel." Psalm 119:12-- "Blessed art thou, O Lord." 1 Timothy 1:11--Paul called the Almighty "the blessed God." The blessed are like Christ The New Testament also uses "blessed" to describe Christ: He is "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15). The blessed are God's people. The only people who will ever experience blessedness are those who belong to God and Christ. Them for whom hunger, thirst, injury, persecution or death do not alter their state of being, faith, trust and belief in Christ.

The Lord promises a stronger witness, faith and spiritual fortitude that leads to blessedness (happiness, peace) under fire, for those that now, like us, although have not seen yet believe in Him.

Thanks. 

Stronger witness and happier people than the Nephites after Christ visited them at the temple in Zarahemla? How is that possible? What does it mean?

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And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God. There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land.

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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On 10/12/2020 at 3:27 PM, Bernard Gui said:

Thanks. 

Stronger witness and happier people than the Nephites after Christ visited them at the temple in Zarahemla? How is that possible? What does it mean?

 

That is the goal, we are to disregard and detach ourselves from the cares and lusts of this world and fix our eyes on Him, His kingdom and the reward of exaltation. The Lord said, again and again: "... do not worry..." We are to seek His kingdom, to love Him, His word and His work above all other things. Then we would enjoy that state of blessedness that the scriptures speak of in that passage. But we are ALL, broken, sinful and lustful people; distracted (constantly) with the enticements, the lies and trappings of the evil one. Thus we neglect what should be our first love in pursue of the things that satisfy the flesh. And with that comes the anxiety, the stress, the envy and the dissipation that is the enemy of the peace that the Lord offers. But the pursue of blessedness; the peace that He desires on us, should be our only concern.

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    • 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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