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What would you do if God did something you felt contradicted the scriptures?


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13 minutes ago, pogi said:

Well...did you make it to the concert or not?

Nine Inch Nails is a guilty pleasure of mine as well. 

Yes!! If I remember correctly it was at the Boathouse in Norfolk VA, or possibly Richmond, can't remember. I've seen them 3 times in concert. I think the third time was in Charlotte North Carolina. 

   By the way, I did put the disconnects back after the scripture chase was cancelled.😁.

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30 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

If you repented though God might say he doesn’t remember.

42 Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

I am not entirely sure that is a sin though. At least I hope not. If going to every activity and scripture chase (yuck) is a requirement for exalted glory then yuck.

There is a difference between just going to the concert and trying to cause problems where the scripture chase is canceled on others.

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1 minute ago, Rain said:

There is a difference between just going to the concert and trying to cause problems where the scripture chase is canceled on others.

Perhaps...but let s/he who has not sabotaged a church building for their personal convenience cast the first stone.

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

I agree with the importance of a good-faith assessment. In fact, to me, that's the extent of it. I am not convinced that a God worthy of worship requires belief in God. I think the attributes which would make a God worthy of worship are the priority. Otherwise it's just too easy for values to be supplanted by authority. So, it is values, and at least one's best faith estimate of them--which are hopefully continually being updated as we learn--which dominate.

That's one reason I am an atheist, in good conscience. It's also one way I often feel kinship with religionists, when we share common values.

Given that you are an atheist, it must go without saying that one must believe in God to have a relationship in the first place, and it is counter-social to tell others they haven't a relationship with Him because He doesn't exist. From what I understand of relationships, most are not founded on the religious "worthiness" of either party as the #1 priority. The Gospel as taught in the Book of Mormon affirms this: the relationship (pre- and post-covenant) is built upon love of the Perfect toward the imperfect, and the love of the imperfect toward their Savior, not their mutual perfection or worthiness.

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I'd know that I either misunderstood the scriptures, and/or that the advice was different now for reason I wouldn't necessarily know, and/or that there was something about His wishes that I didn't yet understand fully or accurately.

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2 hours ago, pogi said:

You never know, if God is not the God you expect, then he may have been VERY pleased with you pulling the breaker to get out of LDS seminary scripture chase.

I have occasionally been genuinely shocked when I have prayed to do something that would seem to be the bog-standard wrong answer in Sunday School and got a clear: "Go ahead."

Then there was the time I half-jokingly asked God in prayer for $10k to help me out of some very minor financial problems back when I was young and got it that week.

And no, that doesn't work consistently. I tried it again a day later and it didn't work again. :( 

Edited by The Nehor
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I recall the story about Christ's interaction with Legion, the evil spirits. It seems the spirits knew Christ and of His power and ability to cast them out. They didn't seem to care and asked to be cast into the herd of swine, which He did, ( and made the local swine herds very upset in the process ) The spirits ' knew ' God but were going to do what they wanted anyway . Some folks are just that stubborn. Consider Laman and Lemuel And the appearance of the angel and the shocking etc. It had a minimal and very temporary effect on their behavior over time. 

As I may have written before, " a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still . " 

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12 hours ago, InCognitus said:

The Called to Share channel on Youtube shared this video yesterday, and it does a great job of contrasting a clip from The Chosen with scenes from the First Vision:

What Would You Do If God Did Something You Felt Contradicted the Bible?

Most Latter-day Saints have encountered the attitudes portrayed in the video from people of other faiths.  But I've also run into some very ridged interpretations of scripture from members of the church (and I'm not exempting myself from that assessment), which is why I altered the title of the video (from "Bible" to "Scriptures") when creating the title of this thread.

What would you do if God did something that you felt contradicted your interpretations of the scriptures?   I suppose the real question that always arises is, did God really do whatever it is that seems to be a contradiction?  And how would we know?

Any thoughts on this, or the video itself?

So... Elder Bednar actually addressed this when he visited my mission.  Basically, he talked about the very rare conditions that this happens, talking about the account where Nephi slays Laban.

He roughly said that such situations are very rare, but when they happen the Spirit will give you a very specific reason for not keeping the general commandment.  With Nephi, you'll notice the Spirit gives him one.  This is a pattern of sorts.

I think he was wise to suggest caution in these sort of situations.  It's very easy at times to misunderstand the Spirit, and so it's good to ponder and listen for a specific reason, and to pray for confirmation.  This is not a very usual experience.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, CV75 said:

Given that you are an atheist, it must go without saying that one must believe in God to have a relationship in the first place, 

One could as easily say that a person can believe in God without having a relationship with God.

For me, personally, I focus on my conscience and the best of what I know. In my theism days, I would have associated that with God. LDS missionaries will often say that I would be hearkening to the "Spirit of Christ given to every man." If that is so and God exists, then my adherence to my conscience is in itself a relationship with God. So I think your statement above is mistaken, even according to LDS doctrine. It's something I realized about atheists as a young believing Mormon: there could be some who are effectively closer to God than self-described believers because they have more attributes in common with God.

Essentially, though, if there is a God who cares about us and communicates to us through our minds and hearts, then everyone has a relationship with God, whether they know it or not.

I figure that if at the end of my days of trying to do my best with what I know, I find that a good God is also there, cool. But I don't depend on that when I make my choices.

9 hours ago, CV75 said:

and it is counter-social to tell others they haven't a relationship with Him because He doesn't exist. 

Not sure why you are saying that.

9 hours ago, CV75 said:

From what I understand of relationships, most are not founded on the religious "worthiness" of either party as the #1 priority.

A relationship with a person is one thing. A relationship between a worshipper and worshipped being is entirely another thing. I would hope that everyone who worships something would only worship a Being worthy of worship. Pretty much all scripture attempts to convince us of how and why God is worthy of worship. Anyways, for me, the character and attributes of a God I decide to worship would definitely matter.

Edited by Meadowchik
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5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

One could as easily say that a person can believe in God without having a relationship with God.

For me, personally, I focus on my conscience and the best of what I know. In my theism days, I would have associated that with God. LDS missionaries will often say that I would be hearkening to the "Spirit of Christ given to every man." If that is so and God exists, then my adherence to my conscience is in itself a relationship with God. So I think your statement above is mistaken, even according to LDS doctrine. It's something I realized about atheists as a young believing Mormon: there could be some who are effectively closer to God than self-described believers because they have more attributes in common with God.

Essentially, though, if there is a God who cares about us and communicates to us through our minds and hearts, then everyone has a relationship with God, whether they know it or not.

I figure that if at the end of my days of trying to do my best with what I know, I find that a good God is also there, cool. But I don't depend on that when I make my choices.

Not sure why you are saying that.

A relationship with a person is one thing. A relationship between a worshipper and worshipped being is entirely another thing. I would hope that everyone who worships something would only worship a Being worthy of worship. Pretty much all scripture attempts to convince us of how and why God is worthy of worship. Anyways, for me, the character and attributes of a God I decide to worship would definitely matter.

Yes, it’s easy to say just about anything! 😊

You are talking about the natural tendency to assess others’ relationships and worthiness. You are telling me that you do not recognize your conscience as your relationship with God and that you do not claim having a regard for or ways of behaving toward each other. I accept that at face value. I might tell you that I consider you to be a daughter of God (for whatever that might be worth), but you would simply disagree. If I pressed it enough, it would negatively affect our relationship, and that would be counter-social.

If you were judging atheists by such a standard, and not taking them at their word, I don’t think you understood LDS doctrine: being perfect (having godly attributes) has nothing to do with maintaining a personal / interpersonal relationship with God.

You sound (“if there is a God…”) more agnostic than atheist, anyway, but that is just a label. It seems you maintain or might entertain an “iffy” relationship with Him.

I see God as a Person, and more like a child-Father relationship than a worshipper-worshipped. I see love and kinship as the basis, not worthiness. That is my take on the scriptures (and more importantly my life experience), on the whole, and the relationship has been very beneficial.

Edited by CV75
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Incog-Neat-O: But I've also run into some very ridged interpretations of scripture from members of the church ... [sic]

Really? :huh: :unknw:  How many ridges do they have? [Cue rimshot!]

Thanks!  I'll be here all week!  You're a great crowd!  Try the chicken!  It's delicious!

What? :huh:

Oh. :unknw:

Sorry! :unknw:

Couldn't resist! ;) :D

Carry on!

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47 minutes ago, CV75 said:

You are talking about the natural tendency to assess others’ relationships and worthiness.

I am talking about my relationships. And when I was answering the OP questions, I am asking about how one can approach the subject in general. And when asking Pogi questions, delving into that process not to assess Pogi's relationships, per se, but to discuss the issue of the OP.

47 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I might tell you that I consider you to be a daughter of God (for whatever that might be worth), but you would simply disagree. If I pressed it enough, it would negatively affect our relationship, and that would be counter-social.

Sure, because it is just your belief, and it not information that you can transmit to me. In my opinion, it would negatively affect our relationship because it would show a disregard to mutual boundaries, particular how people can know things, and--if you pressed to an extreme--it would essentially prioritize your unverifiable beliefs over my beliefs.

47 minutes ago, CV75 said:

If you were judging atheists by such a standard, and not taking them at their word, I don’t think you understood LDS doctrine: being perfect (having godly attributes) has nothing to do with maintaining a personal / interpersonal relationship with God.

I think I get your line of conversation, it seems like you are on the defensive, specifically about me participating in the thread, expressing my own questions on the topic, and then engaging Pogi who engaged with me.

Correct me if I have it wrong, but it seems like you are subtly implying that I have no place in this conversation?

1 hour ago, CV75 said:

You sound (“if there is a God…”) more agnostic than atheist, anyway, but that is just a label. It seems you maintain or might entertain an “iffy” relationship with Him.

No, I am just capable of reasoning through if's and then's of the hypothesis.  Perhaps some atheists never go through that, because they've never been convinced in the first place. I believed in God for such a long time that it is pretty second nature for me to be familiar with these concepts.

1 hour ago, CV75 said:

I see God as a Person, and more like a child-Father relationship than a worshipper-worshipped. I see love and kinship as the basis, not worthiness. 

I'm not sure what the point of this is? Are you trying to avoid the issue of the attributes of God? Are the attributes of God important to you or not? 

Personally, I don't think there is any way around it, I think it must be faced: is God good? Is that why I want to nurture a relationship with God, or do I want that relationship regardless of whether God is good or not.

1 hour ago, CV75 said:

That is my take on the scriptures (and more importantly my life experience), on the whole, and the relationship has been very beneficial.

You do end up by describing your relationship with God as beneficial. Is that something after the fact or did you first believe God was good when you began your relationship with God?

 I did indeed to that. I identified the attributes of God with Good, Truth, and Love, as a small child. For me there had to be meaning in the relationship. Furthermore I think it is important to be clear in our minds what the experiment is when we "experiment on the word," whether it be we are testing the principle of Christlike charity, or righteous judgment, or something else. By identifying the parameters of our test, we can say "Ah, I was testing that principle based on this information." That can help the process immensely.

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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

I am talking about my relationships. And when I was answering the OP questions, I am asking about how one can approach the subject in general. And when asking Pogi questions, delving into that process not to assess Pogi's relationships, per se, but to discuss the issue of the OP.

Sure, because it is just your belief, and it not information that you can transmit to me. In my opinion, it would negatively affect our relationship because it would show a disregard to mutual boundaries, particular how people can know things, and--if you pressed to an extreme--it would essentially prioritize your unverifiable beliefs over my beliefs.

I think I get your line of conversation, it seems like you are on the defensive, specifically about me participating in the thread, expressing my own questions on the topic, and then engaging Pogi who engaged with me.

Correct me if I have it wrong, but it seems like you are subtly implying that I have no place in this conversation? No.

No, I am just capable of reasoning through if's and then's of the hypothesis.  Perhaps some atheists never go through that, because they've never been convinced in the first place. I believed in God for such a long time that it is pretty second nature for me to be familiar with these concepts.

I'm not sure what the point of this is? Are you trying to avoid the issue of the attributes of God? No. Are the attributes of God important to you or not?  The attributes I have discovered of Him are important to me and foster our relationship. I have also learned that I love Him (and try to show that love) because He first loved me (and showed it). I try to emulate Him, and in doing so, begin to develop the same attributes.

Personally, I don't think there is any way around it, I think it must be faced: is God good? Is that why I want to nurture a relationship with God, or do I want that relationship regardless of whether God is good or not. Good question. I think various personalities approach this differently and the relationship evolves. I think initially, as with parents, we want to nurture a relationship because they are all we know. As we mature, good relationships (mutually beneficial regard and behavior) continue to grow.

You do end up by describing your relationship with God as beneficial. Is that something after the fact or did you first believe God was good when you began your relationship with God? Another good question. As I recall, I had a general acceptance / assumption that He is good and that His ways are best to follow, but this was more of a working model for developing faith than it was in developing a relationship. As my faith grew with practice, I realized He was reaching out to me more than I to Him, and the relationship grew.

 I did indeed to that. I identified the attributes of God with Good, Truth, and Love, as a small child. For me there had to be meaning in the relationship. Furthermore I think it is important to be clear in our minds what the experiment is when we "experiment on the word," whether it be we are testing the principle of Christlike charity, or righteous judgment, or something else. By identifying the parameters of our test, we can say "Ah, I was testing that principle based on this information." That can help the process immensely. I believe we all start somewhere, and take different approaches according to our personality (referencing Meyers-Briggs) and and other preferences (referencing moral foundations theory).

See above in red bold.

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14 hours ago, TAO_2 said:

So... Elder Bednar actually addressed this when he visited my mission.  Basically, he talked about the very rare conditions that this happens, talking about the account where Nephi slays Laban.

He roughly said that such situations are very rare, but when they happen the Spirit will give you a very specific reason for not keeping the general commandment.  With Nephi, you'll notice the Spirit gives him one.  This is a pattern of sorts.

I think he was wise to suggest caution in these sort of situations.  It's very easy at times to misunderstand the Spirit, and so it's good to ponder and listen for a specific reason, and to pray for confirmation.  This is not a very usual experience.

Your example of Nephi being commanded to slay Laban is something that may directly appear to be a contradiction to scripture, so that is a good example.

But in the video, the issue was not so much that God was actually contradicting scripture, but rather it was contradicting how the person was interpreting the scriptures.  The person was stubbornly defending a particular interpretation of scripture without considering other possibilities.  I think God will do a lot of things in the future that may surprise us in how it all plays out.  

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On 6/30/2021 at 11:02 AM, InCognitus said:

The Called to Share channel on Youtube shared this video yesterday, and it does a great job of contrasting a clip from The Chosen with scenes from the First Vision:

What Would You Do If God Did Something You Felt Contradicted the Bible?

Most Latter-day Saints have encountered the attitudes portrayed in the video from people of other faiths.  But I've also run into some very ridged interpretations of scripture from members of the church (and I'm not exempting myself from that assessment), which is why I altered the title of the video (from "Bible" to "Scriptures") when creating the title of this thread.

What would you do if God did something that you felt contradicted your interpretations of the scriptures?   I suppose the real question that always arises is, did God really do whatever it is that seems to be a contradiction?  And how would we know?

Any thoughts on this, or the video itself?

Well I'd make sure he repented! He'd geta piece of my mind, I can tell you that!

 

;)

 

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On 7/1/2021 at 2:16 PM, InCognitus said:

Your example of Nephi being commanded to slay Laban is something that may directly appear to be a contradiction to scripture, so that is a good example.

But in the video, the issue was not so much that God was actually contradicting scripture, but rather it was contradicting how the person was interpreting the scriptures.  The person was stubbornly defending a particular interpretation of scripture without considering other possibilities.  I think God will do a lot of things in the future that may surprise us in how it all plays out.  

You are a patient and charitable person

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One of the things I had in mind when I started this thread was the reaction that Brigham Young had when he first heard about "The Vision" as described in Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  Coincidentally, that section happens to be in our lesson plan for this week in Come Follow Me.  The following quote from the Sunday School lesson is relevant:   

Quote

God’s mysteries can only be “understood by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

It might be interesting for members of your class to know that not all members of the Church easily accepted the revelation in section 76. For example, Brigham Young said: “My traditions were such, that when the Vision came first to me, it was directly contrary and opposed to my former education. I said, Wait a little. I did not reject it; but I could not understand it.” He explained that he had to “think and pray, to read and think, until I knew and fully understood it for myself” (in “The Vision,” Revelations in Context, 150). What do we learn from his experience that can help us when God reveals things that are different from our current understanding? What does Doctrine and Covenants 76:5–10, 113–18, teach us about how we can receive “the secrets of [God’s] will”? (verse 10).

Brigham Young was presented with a view that contradicted his traditional interpretation of scripture.  His approach is noteworthy, and I think the full context of the Journal of Discourses quote deserves some attention:

Quote

You can understand, from the few remarks I make with regard to the Gospel, that many things which were revealed through Joseph came in contact with our own prejudices:  we did not know how to understand them.  I refer to myself for an instance:  I never could be persuaded that God would send every person to a lake of fire and brimstone, to be tormented by the Devil, to all eternity, for any little sin he might commit,--which was the doctrine handed down.  After all, my traditions were such, that when the Vision came first to me, it was directly contrary and opposed to my former education.  I said, Wait a little.  I did not reject it; but I could not understand it.  I then could feel what incorrect tradition had done for me.  Suppose all that I have ever heard from my priest and parents--the way they taught me to read the Bible--had been true, my understanding would be diametrically opposed to the doctrine revealed in the Vision.  I used to think and pray, to read and think, until I knew and fully understood it for myself, by the visions of the Holy Spirit.  At first it actually came in contact with my own feelings, though I never could believe like the mass of the Christian world around me; but I did not know how nigh I believed, as they did.  I found, however, that I was so nigh, I could shake hands with them any time I wished.  (Journal of Discourses, Vol.6, p.280 - p.281, Brigham Young, August 29, 1952)

I like that he mentions how it impacted his own "feelings" at first.  Sometimes our first reaction to an idea that shakes our personal interpretation of scripture is an emotional one.  And if we are the stubborn type, it often stops right there.  But the key to understanding seems to be reading, thinking, and prayer, and that requires patience. 

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On 6/30/2021 at 2:57 PM, Meadowchik said:

I like the pragmatic approach, too. But I don't think it has an answer for identifying God. How would you envision that moment when you are able to pragmatically decide someone is God?

For me it always comes with a palpable increase in love for others. 

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@InCognitus That is an interesting line of thought. The thing that I think would make the discussion more complete would be to not only analyze the process where D&C 76 was accepted, but find examples where fallible prophets or errant scripture claim revelation that is really not revelation. This is a topic I don't think we deal with very well in the Church. A couple of examples that come to my mind:

I know there are multiple possible explanations, but what if Nephi was just plain wrong to claim that God made the Lamanite's skin dark as a sign of a curse?
The orthodox position in the Church is that the priesthood and temple ban was a revelation from God that did not include explanations (people made those up later). What if Pres. Young was mistaken to claim that such a revelation came from God?
Elder Bednar in Apr 2014 GC claimed that we know by revelation that 6 Apr (Gregorian) is Christ's birthdate. What if Elder Bednar is mistaken about this revelation?

You point to Pres. Young talking about "sitting with" an alleged revelation until the confirmation comes ("put it on a shelf" to put it in the words of today's faith crises). How long should we sit with an alleged revelation before we conclude that something really isn't revelation?

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13 hours ago, MrShorty said:

@InCognitus That is an interesting line of thought. The thing that I think would make the discussion more complete would be to not only analyze the process where D&C 76 was accepted, but find examples where fallible prophets or errant scripture claim revelation that is really not revelation. This is a topic I don't think we deal with very well in the Church. A couple of examples that come to my mind:

I know there are multiple possible explanations, but what if Nephi was just plain wrong to claim that God made the Lamanite's skin dark as a sign of a curse?
The orthodox position in the Church is that the priesthood and temple ban was a revelation from God that did not include explanations (people made those up later). What if Pres. Young was mistaken to claim that such a revelation came from God?
Elder Bednar in Apr 2014 GC claimed that we know by revelation that 6 Apr (Gregorian) is Christ's birthdate. What if Elder Bednar is mistaken about this revelation?

You point to Pres. Young talking about "sitting with" an alleged revelation until the confirmation comes ("put it on a shelf" to put it in the words of today's faith crises). How long should we sit with an alleged revelation before we conclude that something really isn't revelation?

I think every single example you bring up shows where people have taken revelations (or events) and have supplied their own interpretations to them.  And even the examples you provide are subject to interpretation, as you also acknowledge.  For example, you note that there are multiple possible explanations for the Lamanite curse (see Kevin Christensen's thread:  Skins as Garments in the Book of Mormon, as one example worth consideration), but it's also quite possible that the Nephites were simply a racist group of people.  But we all approach what is described in the text differently, or in the case of the Nephites, how they interpreted the events as they viewed them in their time. 

The revelations (scriptures or otherwise) contain truth, but what we need to understand is that someone's interpretation of a revelation is not the revelation itself.  And how people interpret the revelations often change over time, as more or different relevant information becomes available, or as was the case for Brigham Young and his exposure to Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants, as we begin to separate our own traditional interpretations from the revelations themselves.  

Joseph Smith was opposed to Christian creeds because, even though they contained some truth, they also set up limits that prohibited the believer from seeking truth beyond them.  I believe some of our very own interpretations can become the kinds of personal "creeds" to which Joseph would be opposed.  And yes, some of these interpretations have come to us through church traditions.  I'm not saying we should reject them, but we should certainly be willing to see beyond those traditions if more truths become known to us.

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