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Praying for the dead


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7 minutes ago, nuclearfuels said:

Asked the son of my deceased friend, after a year had passed. 

Makes me wonder:

Why dont the missionaries distribute to members somthign like pass-along cards that explain blessings and proxy Temple work? 

I totally suck at explaining these to nonmembers who then understandably decline my offer

Milk before meat? I don't think they could put all the necessary information on a single card.

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Just now, JAHS said:

Milk before meat? I don't think they could put all the necessary information on a single card.

Yeah. True. 

I know they could explain it better than I could. 

Jesus laid his hands on the sick, and healed them.

Today, we follow the path he led and lay our hands on the sick.

Sometimes they are healed, sometimes they are not. 

In all cases they are blessed.

-

Maybe?

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On 6/18/2021 at 7:45 PM, The Nehor said:

That which is not expressly allowed is forbidden?

Also what does idolatry have to do with praying for God to bless and/or help someone who is dead? Do you imagine they are calling on Hecate to lead the missionaries to their dead friends?

We don't decide how to worship God. God decides how He wants to be worshipped. Invariably, departing from the prescribed way of worship leads to idolatry and superstition. Again, I cited Lev 10:1 as an example of God taking issue with a way of worship that was not the prescribed one. The sons of Aaron thought they were in the clear. After all, fire is fire, they thought. Not so when it comes to the things of God. Intent is not substitute for obedience. 1 Sam 13 is another example. Saul made a sacrifice and was rebuked by the Lord and prophet. The Lord, our God is a God of order. No room for improvisation, no matter the good intentions.

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9 hours ago, nuclearfuels said:

.........................

Why dont the missionaries distribute to members somthign like pass-along cards that explain blessings and proxy Temple work? 

.....................

Might open a lot of doors.  Do the dear departed a favor.

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On 6/19/2021 at 9:21 AM, InCognitus said:

You make the case for praying for each other every day, but somehow you think our kindred dead can't be among the "each other" group.  And there is absolutely no mention anywhere in scripture forbidding us to pray to God on behalf of those who have passed on.  

But we do have examples of praying for the dead, especially in our temple dedications.

Take the St. Louis, Missouri Temple dedication, for example:

See also similar language in the Adelaide AustraliaColumbia River Washington, and the London England Temple.

Here are some other examples, first from the Chicago Illinois Temple:

And the Houston Texas Temple:

 

That is a rather generic prayer for the work at large. It is not the same as praying for specific people as the OP described. Te line is not that fine but rather bold.

The issue here is the proverbial slippery slope into strange and unorthodox forms of worship, as it is often the case. Pretty soon, why not pray with the deceased in the coffin at Church (as the Catholics do)? Why wait until it is buried and out of sight?  There is noting new and there is long history of worship to the dead in human history. Again, I understand the sentiment but I maintain that the practice is not supported in scripture and outside of what God has revealed and ordained. Preserving the integrity of the ordinance is one of the responsibilities of the priesthood. This is why we repeat the Sacrament prayer as many times as we need to get it "right" even if ONE word is out of place. It is that important. 

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On 6/14/2021 at 10:19 PM, Islander said:

There is no scriptural support for that practice. The rituals associated with vicarious liturgy comes from historic pagan roman traditions that were incorporated (with many others) into the Roman Church.

In LDS theology the Temple work is available to us; the living, as a work of grace and mercy where we facilitate a temporal ordinance on behalf of those that no longer enjoy a temporal existence but our involvement ends there. It is a commandment received by revelation and not an act of free will (like a prayer). The ordinance plays the role of an affidavit that is presented in absentia and provide legal standing. It is not intercessory. Well-intended as it may be, those prayers you are offering are neither efficacious nor prescribed in revelation, ancient or modern but  rather superstitious. 

Spencer Macdonald provided some commentary on intercession about five years ago on this board, and his comments are worth rereading:  http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/67688-do-mormons-practice-intercession/#comment-1209631904.

Quote

This concept of "redemption of the dead" (a concept very similar to "intercession" ...........) is so central to LDS belief that it constitutes one of the four-fold missions of the Church.....

The necessity in the Restored Gospel for mortals to perform saving ordinances for themselves and their dead is about as "intercessionary" a thing as we flawed mortals can do.

Far from being a pagan exercise, there is historical and scriptural precedent: 

The late great non-Mormon biblical scholar, James Barr, thought that it had historical merit, and even stated unequivocally that Paul was using language in I Cor 15:29 that he had gotten from II Maccabees 12:44-45 (intercessory prayers for the dead at the Jerusalem temple).  Even the overall context of I Tim 2:1 ["intercessions"], James 5:15-16, I Peter 4:5-6 apply as well.  Barr, Holy Scripture: Canon, Authority, Criticism (Phila.: Westminster Press, 1983), 40-43 n. 19.

Compare Rabbi Akiba's tale of a son's prayer saving his dead father from punishment in Hell (Joseph H. Hertz, ed., The Authorized Daily Prayer Book, 2nd ed. [N.Y.: Bloch, 1948], 270-271); cf. also II Macc 7:9,36, 14:46, IV Macc 6:28-29;  Talmud Babli Yoma 86b.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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1 hour ago, Islander said:

We don't decide how to worship God. God decides how He wants to be worshipped. Invariably, departing from the prescribed way of worship leads to idolatry and superstition. Again, I cited Lev 10:1 as an example of God taking issue with a way of worship that was not the prescribed one. The sons of Aaron thought they were in the clear. After all, fire is fire, they thought. Not so when it comes to the things of God. Intent is not substitute for obedience. 1 Sam 13 is another example. Saul made a sacrifice and was rebuked by the Lord and prophet. The Lord, our God is a God of order. No room for improvisation, no matter the good intentions.

You remind me of a story my dad told me about his ward. They were struggling with missionary work and having very little success and in Ward Council they discussed what they could do and an overzealous missionary said they could tell them why the ward was failing. When asked to explain she said that every Sunday after the Deacons finished passing the sacrament they did not sit down before standing again and returning to sit with their families. People started laughing (including my dad) until they realized she was serious.

Intent is not a substitute for obedience but improvisation and adaptation are normal because sometimes there are no instructions to be obedient to. When Presidencies in the Church face difficult problems that aren’t covered in the manual they do the best they can. If they get revelation great. Sometimes God just expects them to do the best they can. I have worked in the temple. It was a wonderful experience but the comment of my then Temple President rang true. Temple work is like a duck on the water. Ideally all the patrons see is the duck gliding serenely over smooth water but underneath the legs are kicking like mad and frothing up the water and there is often an air of frantic activity trying to keep everything going.

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1 hour ago, Islander said:

That is a rather generic prayer for the work at large.

But they were all fine examples of praying for the dead (and there was more than one).  Praying that the dead would rejoice is also rather specific.

1 hour ago, Islander said:

It is not the same as praying for specific people as the OP described. Te line is not that fine but rather bold.

I'm not sure what "line" you see is being crossed, because nowhere in scripture is the practice forbidden.  What line are you talking about?

1 hour ago, Islander said:

The issue here is the proverbial slippery slope into strange and unorthodox forms of worship, as it is often the case. Pretty soon, why not pray with the deceased in the coffin at Church (as the Catholics do)? Why wait until it is buried and out of sight?  There is noting new and there is long history of worship to the dead in human history. Again, I understand the sentiment but I maintain that the practice is not supported in scripture and outside of what God has revealed and ordained.

It's easy to bring up strange examples and situations, but that's not what this thread is about, is it?  I honestly don't have a hard opinion on this topic, but I just don't find any evidence that supports what you are saying, and in fact there seems to be ample evidence to the contrary.  I think there is room in the church for people to hold different views on topics like this.  There is nothing to suggest that a member shouldn't be doing it.  And I have no problem with you believing that it is wrong.  But I might have a problem if you start teaching in church that it is wrong without a revelation on the matter.

1 hour ago, Islander said:

Preserving the integrity of the ordinance is one of the responsibilities of the priesthood. This is why we repeat the Sacrament prayer as many times as we need to get it "right" even if ONE word is out of place. It is that important. 

What ordinance are you talking about that says a person can't pray on behalf of the dead?   I don't understand what you are saying here or how it relates to the topic.

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2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Temple work is like a duck on the water. Ideally all the patrons see is the duck gliding serenely over smooth water but underneath the legs are kicking like mad and frothing up the water and there is often an air of frantic activity trying to keep everything going.

Pretty impressive then what they accomplish.

Only time I ever get that sense is at some weddings and it is the couple or family that gives off those vibes, not the workers usually. 

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8 hours ago, Islander said:

Again, I cited Lev 10:1 as an example of God taking issue with a way of worship that was not the prescribed one. The sons of Aaron thought they were in the clear. After all, fire is fire, they thought. 

Nope. As I pointed out to you, it was an explicit violation of the law, not an assumption. 

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6 hours ago, Calm said:

Pretty impressive then what they accomplish.

Only time I ever get that sense is at some weddings and it is the couple or family that gives off those vibes, not the workers usually. 

The temple itself helps. I remember when I worked as veil coordinator and initiatory coordinator trying to make things work when people didn’t show up due to other stuff. You stay calm because that is just what you do in the temple. The idea of freaking out is there when things go off the rails is there but it is not really an option. I saw it similarly when I had to go tell a member of the Temple Presidency that something was screwed up and a bunch of ordinances were potentially not valid. Thankfully we were able to correct that one and his calm and aplomb were exemplary. I think mine was too from the outside but not on the inside.

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On 6/21/2021 at 10:29 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Spencer Macdonald provided some commentary on intercession about five years ago on this board, and his comments are worth rereading:  http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/67688-do-mormons-practice-intercession/#comment-1209631904.

Far from being a pagan exercise, there is historical and scriptural precedent: 

The late great non-Mormon biblical scholar, James Barr, thought that it had historical merit, and even stated unequivocally that Paul was using language in I Cor 15:29 that he had gotten from II Maccabees 12:44-45 (intercessory prayers for the dead at the Jerusalem temple).  Even the overall context of I Tim 2:1 ["intercessions"], James 5:15-16, I Peter 4:5-6 apply as well.  Barr, Holy Scripture: Canon, Authority, Criticism (Phila.: Westminster Press, 1983), 40-43 n. 19.

Compare Rabbi Akiba's tale of a son's prayer saving his dead father from punishment in Hell (Joseph H. Hertz, ed., The Authorized Daily Prayer Book, 2nd ed. [N.Y.: Bloch, 1948], 270-271); cf. also II Macc 7:9,36, 14:46, IV Macc 6:28-29;  Talmud Babli Yoma 86b.

The philosophies of men mingled with scriptures. Still, there is absolutely NO scriptural support for the practice

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On 6/22/2021 at 2:42 AM, Calm said:

Except that we don’t.  Instruction is to attempt the ideal, but never to embarrass the priest who is blessing and how to avoid that is left to the discretion of the bishop. Mercy and Charity are that important.


https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/general-handbook/18-priesthood-ordinances-and-blessings.title_number27-p132?lang=eng#title_number27#title_number27

One of the young men in a previous ward had difficulty speaking clearly enough to be understood, stumbled, stuttered.  He had brain damage from an accident, possibly facial damage as well (I didn’t know him before).  His speech was not the only awkward aspect of his appearance. By your standard, our bishop would never have allowed this young man to exercise his priesthood again through blessing the sacrament because he rarely got it “just right”.  Thankfully our bishop was more aware of how allowing this young man to be voice for this ordinance created a greater sacred moment for our faith community, his blessings were perfect as accepted by the Lord because of his humility and sacrifice in doing God’s work. 
 

And even the prayers are occasionally changed themselves:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/church-announces-updated-edition-of-scriptures-in-french?lang=eng

Chances are during the pandemic, there were and are and will be a lot of uncaught errors in prayers in homes around the globe.  I am certain that in no way did that make them unacceptable to the Lord.  I can’t guarantee that, but since there were no instructions that I am aware of about foregoing it when the only person there to prevent missing an error or having someone follow along to doublecheck the prayer, perfection in wording of the sacrament was not the highest priority that the Lord wanted his Saints to have each Sabbath.

You digressed. Still, there is NO scriptural support for praying for the dead.

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On 6/21/2021 at 11:56 PM, InCognitus said:

But they were all fine examples of praying for the dead (and there was more than one).  Praying that the dead would rejoice is also rather specific.

I'm not sure what "line" you see is being crossed, because nowhere in scripture is the practice forbidden.  What line are you talking about?

It's easy to bring up strange examples and situations, but that's not what this thread is about, is it?  I honestly don't have a hard opinion on this topic, but I just don't find any evidence that supports what you are saying, and in fact there seems to be ample evidence to the contrary.  I think there is room in the church for people to hold different views on topics like this.  There is nothing to suggest that a member shouldn't be doing it.  And I have no problem with you believing that it is wrong.  But I might have a problem if you start teaching in church that it is wrong without a revelation on the matter.

What ordinance are you talking about that says a person can't pray on behalf of the dead?   I don't understand what you are saying here or how it relates to the topic.

One thing I've noted in this forum is that everyone seems quite set in their ways and no matter what the point argued is there is no true intent or ability to actually discuss the subject in a cogent way.

If we can all do whatever we like based on preference or feeling, just because it is not explicitly prohibited in the scriptures, we all soon will be rolling around on the floor "slayed in the spirit" handling snakes or speaking gibberish languages like charismatics down the streets. How about drinking oil from the Temple? It is consecrated and ought to purify us internally and promote health and well being? 

The reason why a person has to be COMPLETELY immersed during the ordinance of baptism, for example, is because the LORD has said so. No matter how many times it HAS to be repeated, it will be so because the LORD has commanded and prescribed how it HAS to be performed. When an ordinance is not observed with precision, over time small changes are introduced and eventually it will no longer resemble the original. You can see that in the apocope that occurs in language over time.

There are some 600 prayers in the bible and none of them are in reference to the dead. Prayer being the primary means of communication with our Heavenly Father, if prayer for the dead was important or necessary, God would have said so. I guess some of you believe improvement in that area is needed when the Lord did not deemed it necessary. The traditions of men are irrelevant when it comes to worship. God decides how He wants to be worshiped and thus anything not prescribed by Him is outside of His approval and blessing. I quoted scripture on the previous post that point to the displeasure of God with strange practices outside of His revelation. But EVERYBODY, conveniently, avoided discussing it and digressed in favor of human commentary and historical anecdotes.

But, have at it. 

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46 minutes ago, Islander said:

You digressed. Still, there is NO scriptural support for praying for the dead.

So you can use examples to support your point, but anyone challenging them is the digressor....right.

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15 minutes ago, Islander said:

One thing I've noted in this forum is that everyone seems quite set in their ways and no matter what the point argued is there is no true intent or ability to actually discuss the subject in a cogent way.

That you are the one saying this....

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1 hour ago, Islander said:

The philosophies of men mingled with scriptures. Still, there is absolutely NO scriptural support for the practice

 

1 hour ago, Islander said:

You digressed. Still, there is NO scriptural support for praying for the dead.

These are religious rites and practices which are certainly not pagan, nor secular philosophies, but carry their own particular pragmatic meaning.  The LDS take on it may be different than the Roman Catholic, but it is a very real and substantial form of intercession.  We can call it orthopraxis, because that is what the LDS tradition entails.  You may ignore the LDS liturgy, but it is effective intercession just the same.

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On 6/22/2021 at 12:31 AM, The Nehor said:

You remind me of a story my dad told me about his ward. They were struggling with missionary work and having very little success and in Ward Council they discussed what they could do and an overzealous missionary said they could tell them why the ward was failing. When asked to explain she said that every Sunday after the Deacons finished passing the sacrament they did not sit down before standing again and returning to sit with their families. People started laughing (including my dad) until they realized she was serious.

Intent is not a substitute for obedience but improvisation and adaptation are normal because sometimes there are no instructions to be obedient to. When Presidencies in the Church face difficult problems that aren’t covered in the manual they do the best they can. If they get revelation great. Sometimes God just expects them to do the best they can. I have worked in the temple. It was a wonderful experience but the comment of my then Temple President rang true. Temple work is like a duck on the water. Ideally all the patrons see is the duck gliding serenely over smooth water but underneath the legs are kicking like mad and frothing up the water and there is often an air of frantic activity trying to keep everything going.

Same thing was said when I worked in the temple but I’m not sure I always looked like I was gliding, lol. 

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3 hours ago, Islander said:

.......................... How about drinking oil from the Temple? It is consecrated and ought to purify us internally and promote health and well being? 

There you go:  Someone will read that and start a new cult practice based on it.  :pirate:

3 hours ago, Islander said:

The reason why a person has to be COMPLETELY immersed during the ordinance of baptism, for example, is because the LORD has said so. ...........

Those who convert to Judaism must also be completely immersed, and witnesses must confirm it.   However, there are types of baptism which do not require complete immersion:  When Israel walked dryshod through the Reed Sea at the beginning of the Exodus -- the New Testament claims this as a baptism.

3 hours ago, Islander said:

There are some 600 prayers in the bible and none of them are in reference to the dead. Prayer being the primary means of communication with our Heavenly Father, if prayer for the dead was important or necessary, God would have said so. I guess some of you believe improvement in that area is needed when the Lord did not deemed it necessary. The traditions of men are irrelevant when it comes to worship. God decides how He wants to be worshiped and thus anything not prescribed by Him is outside of His approval and blessing. I quoted scripture on the previous post that point to the displeasure of God with strange practices outside of His revelation. But EVERYBODY, conveniently, avoided discussing it and digressed in favor of human commentary and historical anecdotes.

But, have at it. 

The LDS faith includes free-form prayers as well as set liturgical prayers.  One is every bit as good as the other, and I am frequently amazed at the creative ability of an ordinary Latter-day Saint acting as voice for the congregation to say something fresh and meaningful.

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On 6/25/2021 at 9:57 PM, Calm said:

So you can use examples to support your point, but anyone challenging them is the digressor....right.

You did not offer ANY scriptural support for your argument.

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On 6/25/2021 at 11:01 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

 

These are religious rites and practices which are certainly not pagan, nor secular philosophies, but carry their own particular pragmatic meaning.  The LDS take on it may be different than the Roman Catholic, but it is a very real and substantial form of intercession.  We can call it orthopraxis, because that is what the LDS tradition entails.  You may ignore the LDS liturgy, but it is effective intercession just the same.

Again, you are skirting the argument. Religion frequently degrades over time, and often ends up in corrupted practices rejected by the Lord again and again. I sustain that ANY practice not explicitly revealed by the Lord (like missa pro defunctis) is outside revelation and thus a human invention. When it comes to the worship of God man does not decide and since there is no prescription for such prayers in revelation (ancient or modern), I suggest it finds itself outside of the will of God and thus useless.

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2 hours ago, Islander said:

Again, you are skirting the argument. Religion frequently degrades over time, and often ends up in corrupted practices rejected by the Lord again and again. I sustain that ANY practice not explicitly revealed by the Lord (like missa pro defunctis) is outside revelation and thus a human invention. When it comes to the worship of God man does not decide and since there is no prescription for such prayers in revelation (ancient or modern), I suggest it finds itself outside of the will of God and thus useless.

I try to be respectful and tolerant of the rites practiced by other religious groups, and I expect them to be respectful and tolerant of LDS practices.  It is all too easy for us to point fingers at them for not doing things the way we do, or for them to point fingers at us (they often term us a "cult") for what they regard as heresy.  We do have a great deal in common with the traditional rites of other parts of Christianity, even if we may do things somewhat differently.  For example, the words and techniques used in communion/eucharist in mainstream Christianity do differ from the LDS, but all are celebrating the body and blood of Jesus during his Atonement.  We can choose to be positive rather than negative about those similar rites.  We need not accuse those others of being "pagan" or of being insincere.  The Brethren have set a good example for us by not attacking those other groups, but rather seeking comity with them.

One might even want to ask what is the actual purpose of a Requiem  (since you allude to it), and whether it is proper to say Requiescat in Pace (RIP, "may he rest in peace") at graveside.  LDS people do have formal funerals and grave dedications, and I have done some myself.  No purpose is served by being unkind to or inconsiderate of those who have just lost loved ones.

The central question should not be what those rites are (God allows them to take many forms), but rather by what authority they are practiced.

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