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Taking a break from Church.


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3 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

It may not be fully comparable but personally my experience with it has given me greater compassion for those who may need to step away for less obvious reasons. Early on when everyone took a big step away from church, I received a small prompting from the spirit that told me we would not be going to church in person for a while. I assumed at the time it was for several weeks, maybe months. It’s been over 2 years since I’ve fully attended my meetings in person. We don’t do Sunday school and there isn’t an option to attend online in my ward, I’ve been more or less active with my calling depending the pandemic numbers, no matter what my stake/ward is currently doing. My reason is obvious so we don’t get direct pushback. I also miss fuller community beyond just the girls/leaders in YW. This break won’t last much longer past my daughter getting her shots. But I also have seen the difference between my personal worship patterns and my church version. And it’s increased my empathy to paths that look very different from my own…where God may be just fine with them taking a break. 

with luv, 

BD 

Good thoughts.  Extraordinary circumstances beyond our control can arise, but to the extent matters relative to day-to-day devotions/observances are within our control, I think it is incumbent on us to keep the commandments to the best of our ability.  To deliberately choose to disobey commandments when obedience to them is within my capacity, I cannot formulate a justification.

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, CA Steve said:

I think comparing those who are taking a break from the church to cancer and its horrible treatments might be seen as offensive to those actually taking a break. Maybe a better analogy would be someone who has commited to a certain exercise routine and finds that their body is not able to maintain it.

I think that BD explained my reasoning for using the analogy that I did pretty well.  

I was specifically speaking about people who want to maintain a testimony and activity in the church, but who for whatever reason can't continue on as they are.  I don't think the analogy with exercise actually works with that.

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55 minutes ago, BlueDreams said:

It may depend the degree of problem. For many of the ones I was thinking of (which bb was responding to) cancer would still be a fair analogy. As in the routine, perspectives, relationships they had around church were super unhealthy and needed a more extreme solution to manage it. If you stuck with the exercise or dietary habits, the would be ones that were starting/had an extremely imbalanced form of routine or beliefs around this that was at the very least out of balance (doing too much or rigidly following an elaborate plan) or veering to straight up disorder.

note: these are not all cases of people who leave or “take a break.” I’m not sure what percentage i’d consider them, since one likely wouldn’t know without being really close to their difficulties with church. I’ve just seen them enough to recognize that sometimes it’s a blessing “take a break” to stop unhealthy patterns around one’s religious practice. These would not be ones who following the analogy just decide hiking isn’t for them and swimming’s a better fit.
 

with luv, 

BD
 

 

Of course one size does not fit all, but when dealing with people who are struggling with this issue I feel like the best approach would be to maintain a positive level of discussion, so instead of telling people their problems are like having cancer, I think it would be much better to suggest they may be exercising too much. For example my mother was addicted to genealogy work. It interfered on a daily basis with her life and personal relationships. Instead of telling her she had an addiction problem or sickness, it was easier to suggest she just give herself some time off to recover like an athlete would. If you really know someone who would physically have to damage themselves to treat too much Church involvement, that person is not just just "taking a break  

 

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4 hours ago, Rain said:

I think covenants are very important to him, but I don't think he would automatically think of the covenants they are breaking when they say they are taking a break.  I think he would "sincerely rejoice with them in their successes,” “Be their friends and look for the good in them... not give up on them but preserve our relationships. Never reject or misjudge them. Just love them!”

I realize we are having a discussion here. But I think that our feelings of "just love them" have much more effect on whether they stay away or not.  

All this is fine, but secondary to the issue at hand, namely, whether I as an individual can justify deliberate disobedience to commandments where obedience is within my capacity.  

Yes, I would appreciate other members continuing in friendship with me if I "take a break," but that does not speak to the issue of whether I can justify calculated and premeditated disobedience to God.

4 hours ago, Rain said:
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As pertaining to voluntary "taking a break" situations?  I just can't get on board with that.

Could a person legitimately "take a break" from the Word of Wisdom?  From the Law of Chastity?  From his marriage?  From his obligation to provide for his children?  If not, why not?

 

Of course they could and many do, but many don't as well.

By "of course" are you stating that a perso can "legitimately 'take a break' from the Word of Wisdom?  From the Law of Chastity?"  I'm not understanding your comment here.

4 hours ago, Rain said:

Especially on the marriage and family part.

I recognize that sometimes family relationships cannot continue.  The challenge for me, though, is the notion that someone could deliberately choose to "take a break" from his marital/parental covenants and obligations and be justified in doing so.  

I've been married to a lovely woman for many years.  I would be utterly without justification if I were to, with calculation and deliberation, choose to "take a break" from my relationship with and obligations to her.  I cannot do that and keep my covenant relationship with her and with God.   

4 hours ago, Rain said:

I think few people stay in their marriage and with their families because they were going to church.  They usually have as strong or stronger feelings about families than they do about church.

Belief in and devotion to God can be much more of an abstraction, such that it may be easier to the individual to justify violation of covenants as pertaining to building / maintaining / strengthening the Church.  

Our finite perception of things can result in some really skewed decision-making processes.  I have been practicing law in Utah County for nearly 20 years.  I have seen litigants who would never in a million years dream of stealing a candybar from a neighborhood 7-11, but then have no apparent hesitancy to engage in dishonest business practices that wrongfully deprive others of huge sums of money, property, etc. 

My "for me and my house" calculation is that I cannot deliberately and premeditatively "take a break" from my covenants with God.  I mean, I certainly have that option, and I certainly can't say that I have never done this.  I have.  What I have not done, however, is formulate a rationalization or justification for doing so.  That just does not compute for me.

4 hours ago, Rain said:
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"It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus."  (D&C 20:75)

"Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God."  (Alma 6:6)

I don't think you could sell this line of reasoning to the prophets and apostles.  Circumstances may occasionally preclude taking the Sacrament.  Illness, necessary traveling, general/stake conferences, etc.  But in the main "on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High" is the way of things, so voluntarily and arbitrarily abstaining from doing what the Lord has commanded us to do is . . . wrong.

That doesn't mean we are not obligated to be baptized if we have the opportunity.

I was talking about taking the sacrament.  A person can be baptized and die before they ever take the sacrament.  

Which, while true, does  not justify voluntarily disobeying the commandment to take the Sacrament where possible.

Yeah.  It seems like that is ad hoc rationalization.  

 

This is what I am talking about.  "It seems".  There are a lot of things that "seem" like something when people leave the church or take a break, but we really need to know the rest of the story.

I'm speaking in the abstract.  I am not addressing any specific person.

I just can't get on board with the idea that I can or ought to "take a break" from my covenants and look under every rock, in very nook and cranny, for justifications to do so.  "Hey, it's okay for me to deliberately and premeditatively, and as a matter of choice and not necessity or due to circumstances beyond my control, 'take a break' from some or all of the covenants I have made with God because {INSERT AD HOC RATIONALIZATION HERE}."  This sort of thing does not work within my perception of things. 

4 hours ago, Rain said:

And nope it wasn't a rationization at all.  I was trying to understand your position and have empathy.

I can understand a person's position, and I can empathize with it, while also finding it to be inherently problematic.

I have a beloved family member who struggled with drugs for many years.  It was not my place to judge or condemn him, or to withold love and affection and empathy.  But at the same time, I felt no obligation to condone or ratify or celebrate or endorse his desctructive and wrongful decisions and behaviors.

I can hope for understanding and charity and empathy from others if and when I break a commandment or contravene my covenants, but I sure hope I never get to a point where I want or expect others - under the pretext of "empathy" - to ratify/condone my misconduct.  

4 hours ago, Rain said:
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The solution to that is repentance, not ad hoc equivocations and justifications for disobedience, sin, etc.

You are really not reading me right if that's what you think I am doing.  

Then I happily stand corrected.

Thanks,

-Smac

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13 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

I think it depends what one interprets or takes those covenants to be.

I suppose.  But I think that pretty quickly takes us to scriptures like 1 Pet 1:20 ("no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation"), Alma 13:20 ("Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction"), D&C 10:63 ("And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them"), and so on.

This is why we have prophets and apostles.  This is why we have local leaders with the capacity to act as judges in Israel.  I find great value in having external sources to turn to regarding my understanding of things, as sometimes my personal understanding is tainted by bias, ignorance, self-interest, pride, and/or other things.

I am, of course, an agent unto myself.  And there is certainly is some discretionary interpretation available to the individual.  But like any other human exercise, that discretion can be abused.  So for me, if I were thinking about "taking a break" from the behaviors and obligations required of me via the covenants I have made at baptism and in the temple, I think I would seek out counsel from those with stewardship and/or authority pertaining to me.  And if that person (my bishop, my stake president, my father, etc.) were to pull me up short and give me a clear "reality check" as regarding the propriety of my proposed course of action, I would seriously take that into account.

Somehow, though, I think very few people who are deliberately and premeditatively choosing to "take a break" are doing this, and are instead making the decision and then, after-the-fact, announcing it to others as a fait accompli.  Of course, such a person has the agency to take this course, but the frequent secretiveness of it is, in my view, telling.

13 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

I’ve met more than my fair share of people who had very unhealthy relationships with these.

"These" being a reference to...?

13 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

When they “took a break” from this, it was in some ways better…their beliefs were more often fueling terrible patterns they couldn’t seem to shake and left them stuck in a lot of unnecessary pain. Not growth, not development, just damning pain. “Taking a break” often gave them space to fix more important things IMHO than what they’d come to see as their commitments to church.

I will think on this.

13 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

Of course I would have loved to see them find a course that means the break wasn’t needed. I’ve also met many who were able to rearrange their assumptions and beliefs around it without leaving. But for me I’d rather them be able to find some form of health and truth out of church than be stuck in a false understanding of their covenants in church. We’re here to learn and grow, enduring is supposed to be apart of that process…and in the circumstances I mentioned, they’re often doing neither. Therefore enduring is just remaining stuck in a poor understanding of self, god, and their relationship with others.  It’s setting themselves up to fail. 

So I find myself sweating less at least some of those who choose a “break” short, long, or permanent. 

I'm not sweating these, either.  I am speaking in abstractions, and mostly in a "for me and my house" kind of way.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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2 hours ago, CA Steve said:

Of course one size does not fit all, but when dealing with people who are struggling with this issue I feel like the best approach would be to maintain a positive level of discussion, so instead of telling people their problems are like having cancer, I think it would be much better to suggest they may be exercising too much. For example my mother was addicted to genealogy work. It interfered on a daily basis with her life and personal relationships. Instead of telling her she had an addiction problem or sickness, it was easier to suggest she just give herself some time off to recover like an athlete would. If you really know someone who would physically have to damage themselves to treat too much Church involvement, that person is not just just "taking a break  

 

My guess is they are not talking about that level of involvement, but the more tragic ones where abuse and other trauma is involved and what is usually supportive for people in these cases adds to the trauma, such as pushing a victim to forgive before they are ready or stay in an abusive marriage because it is seen as an eternal marriage.  What would be seen as poison to the soul in the usual case, rejecting the idea of God’s involvement in the relationship, emotionally breaking a marriage covenant in order to give themselves permission to remove themselves from an abusive marriage, or refusing to seek the Spirit because that triggers past justifications for the abuse…that may be what is needed for these because there is too much negative baggage attached to the usual religious stuff through the trauma and they don’t have the ability to see themselves as an exception or that the covenants don’t actually fit their situation (there is no covenant made that requires someone to stay in an abusive relationship).  I can see another case where someone is so obsessed with the belief that masturbation is a sin it is consuming their life and leading them to gibe up on themselves.  It may take overbalancing to the other side for a time to get a more realistic view of masturbation (I am not suggesting that anyone should be pushing porn as an acceptable temporary acceptable ‘poison’ as that only distorts reality imo, but if they are already involved with porn I can see removing some of the stigma so they don’t feel overwhelming shame could be healthier in the long run).
 

But maybe I went down another path, the blues can correct me if I am off base.

Edited by Calm
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37 minutes ago, Rain said:

for some people after pouring out hearts to Heavenly Father who loves us He may advise them to take a break from church. I suspect what that means is going to vary. I definitely believe that some people do look for justification, but I also believe that God knows best and sometimes he can advise us in a different way.

Well said.

Where is the kingdom of God? Is it the Church? “The kingdom of God is within you.”

Really? 

Yes.  “Ye are the temple of God and the spirit of God dwells in you."

Edited by manol
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12 hours ago, CA Steve said:

Of course one size does not fit all, but when dealing with people who are struggling with this issue I feel like the best approach would be to maintain a positive level of discussion, so instead of telling people their problems are like having cancer, I think it would be much better to suggest they may be exercising too much. For example my mother was addicted to genealogy work. It interfered on a daily basis with her life and personal relationships. Instead of telling her she had an addiction problem or sickness, it was easier to suggest she just give herself some time off to recover like an athlete would. If you really know someone who would physically have to damage themselves to treat too much Church involvement, that person is not just just "taking a break  

 

I didn't take her analogy so literally. I had a professor who used contemplating a divorce like contemplating an amputation...there may be circumstances that it's necessary but it shouldn't be your go to for a broken leg. I don't take this or BB's analogy to mean there will be physical damage from separating.

I also am not picturing something like too much genealogy work. That would better suit your analogy. I'm picturing some of the messier experiences. Severe scrupulosity, certain forms of trauma that at points had religious implications or concerns, toxic community cultures where they've lost sight of what they actually believe in the expectations of a rigid local community, a system of rigid/maladaptive beliefs about their faith, experiences of depression, anxiety, or other things are skewing religious experiences to be extremely difficult, Family ruptures that leave church painful for a while. Etc. In these cases it's not just that a part of a religious experience has gone a little too far or run a muck, but that large swaths of a church experience has become sources of pain, disorder, and grief that may be simply intolerable for a time. Until other parts start to heal, a break sincerely may be a needed step to something healthier than what they currently are in. For some that break may need to be long term. 

Obviously I don't think all or even a majority of cases are like that. But I think people would be surprised by how common these experiences can be. And it's impossible to tell if theirs is more the type of your mothers or more the type of something seriously out of step. Not until you're closer and can dive more into their story. I can picture and have seen people assume a position that they're "taking a break" from church in these circumstances more than once. 

 

 

With luv,

BD

Edited by BlueDreams
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11 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

I'm linking these together because they both tie to the purpose of what one is doing. Why do you personally keep the commandments?

It is said there are generally three types of motives: 1) Fear of Punishment; 2) Hope of Reward; and 3) Love.

Fear is the most base and least noble motive, but it clearly has a role to play.  Hope has its focus on the benefit of self, but it too has a role.  The third, obedience out of love for God and each other, is the ideal and pinnacle.

11 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

What's the point of the covenants?  What is the purpose in them? 

This ties back to the foregoing motives.  Punishment (avoiding it), Reward (receiving it) and Love (expressing it).

Covenants bind us to our duties and obligations, particularly at times when we are least inclined to stick with them.  In other words, they are there to strengthen us during moments of weakness, anger, forgetfulness, selfishness, and so on.

From the Church:

Quote

A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and a person or group of people. God sets specific conditions, and He promises to bless us as we obey those conditions. When we choose not to keep covenants, we cannot receive the blessings, and in some instances we suffer a penalty as a consequence of our disobedience.

All the saving ordinances of the priesthood are accompanied by covenants. For example, we make a covenant when we are baptized, and we renew that covenant each time we partake of the sacrament (see Mosiah 18:8–10; Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, 77, 79). Those who have received the Melchizedek Priesthood have entered into the oath and covenant of the priesthood (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–44). The temple endowment and the sealing (marriage) ordinance also include sacred covenants.

See also D&C 130:

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20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

The Lord is not a tyrant.  He is not arbitrary.  His commandments all have purpose, which is to help us.  He wants us to succeed.  But He also recognizes that eternal progression can only arise through agency.  Volitional choice.  The Plan of Salvation, the Atonement of Christ, faith, repentance, saving ordinances, behavioral requirements, and so on are all intended to facilitate these things:

  • “My work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.” - 2 Nephi 29:9.
  • “Men are, that they might have joy.” - 2 Nephi 2:25.
  • “Eternal life … is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” - D&C 14:7.
  • "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." - Moses 1:39
  • “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” - John 17:3.
11 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

for me, most of my covenants I firmly believe and see a purpose in them. Even the ones I'm not the best at (looking at you fasting). At varying points in my life they've become valuable and foster my spiritual growth and development. They make me a better person. More like my Savior. The people I'm thinking of often don't have the same purpose and understanding of the covenants they made as I do.

I think, then, that it is better to help them remember the purposes of covenants, and improve their understanding of those covenants.

11 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

Some people have no answer to this and just tell me it's what they're supposed to do.

That can be a starting point, I suppose. 

"And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me." - Moses 5:6

11 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

Some have a really warped belief around their purpose. Some have lost a sense of meaning due the negative experiences they've had that piled up on them. To me, if the covenant is not working to bring one to a greater wholeness through Christ, it's lost its savor and is good for nothing....it just becomes meaningless ritual.

I'm not sure about that.  Obedience to God, save for improper motives, will never be "good for nothing" or "meaningless."

To be sure, we should obey with real and genuine intent.  Consider Moroni 7:

Quote

4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.
5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.
6 For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.
7 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
8 For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.
9 And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.
10 Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.

I don't view blinkered/finite obedience, obedience without fully remembering or comprehending its purpose, as bad.  There must be a reason why the "Law of Obedience" is in the temple:

Quote

During the endowment ordinance, you will be invited to make certain covenants with God. These covenants include:

  • Law of Obedience, which includes striving to keep God’s commandments.

  • Law of Sacrifice, which means doing all we can to support the Lord’s work and repenting with a broken heart and contrite spirit.

  • Law of the Gospel, which is the higher law that He taught while He was on the earth.

  • Law of Chastity, which means that we have sexual relations only with the person to whom we are legally and lawfully wedded according to God’s law.

  • Law of Consecration, which means dedicating our time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed us to building up Jesus Christ’s Church on the earth.

When you keep your covenants, your relationship with the Savior becomes closer and more powerful. God promises that those who keep their covenants will receive blessings in this life and the opportunity to return to live with Him forever.

As Elder Stapley put it back in 1977:

Quote

My brothers and sisters and friends, one goal that most of us share in this life is the desire to achieve true joy and lasting happiness. There is only one way to do this, and that is by being obedient to all the commandments of God. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have voluntarily entered into holy covenants, promising to obey the Lord’s commandments. Willing, righteous obedience leads to celestial life; indeed, there is no eternal progress without it. Yet obedience to the commandments of God seems to be one of man’s most difficult challenges.

Obedience is better than disobedience.  I cannot invert this.

11 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

And until other more basic things have realigned in a healthier manner it's going to continue to be at best worthless. At worse it can actually be fairly harmful as they expend energy on things like what I call "checklist jesus" and not on the needed healing

Okay.  I can't get on board with the idea that premeditated and calculated disobedience to what are fairly basic commandments is preferable to obedience, even if it is more out of a sense of obligation than love.  I've been a father for 24 years now.  I can't imagine "taking a {premeditated and deliberate} break" from my obligations to my children.  If I need "healing," I need to find it in ways other than abandoning obligations to them.

11 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

From what you describe I assume you also find deeper purpose to the commands you follow or strive to live by. That's wonderful. In that circumstance it makes sense that it would be unjustifiable to deliberately break them. But for those I've come to know, that is not their context. 

I think it is.  The "context" is . . . the covenant.  Covenants are, by design, intended to bind us to obedience when wee are in our weakest moments, when we are the least likely to want to obey.

I love my children, but there have been times when all the duties I have as a father have been a big burden.  It is precisely in that context when I rely on my covenants the most.  When my sense of duty and obligation compensates for a temporarily-waning sense of willing and loving fulfillment of my obligations.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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4 hours ago, smac97 said:

It is said there are generally three types of motives: 1) Fear of Punishment; 2) Hope of Reward; and 3) Love.

Fear is the most base and least noble motive, but it clearly has a role to play.  Hope has its focus on the benefit of self, but it too has a role.  The third, obedience out of love for God and each other, is the ideal and pinnacle.

This ties back to the foregoing motives.  Punishment (avoiding it), Reward (receiving it) and Love (expressing it).

Covenants bind us to our duties and obligations, particularly at times when we are least inclined to stick with them.  In other words, they are there to strengthen us during moments of weakness, anger, forgetfulness, selfishness, and so on.

From the Church:

See also D&C 130:

The Lord is not a tyrant.  He is not arbitrary.  His commandments all have purpose, which is to help us.  He wants us to succeed.  But He also recognizes that eternal progression can only arise through agency.  Volitional choice.  The Plan of Salvation, the Atonement of Christ, faith, repentance, saving ordinances, behavioral requirements, and so on are all intended to facilitate these things:

  • “My work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.” - 2 Nephi 29:9.
  • “Men are, that they might have joy.” - 2 Nephi 2:25.
  • “Eternal life … is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” - D&C 14:7.
  • "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." - Moses 1:39
  • “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” - John 17:3.

I think, then, that it is better to help them remember the purposes of covenants, and improve their understanding of those covenants.

That can be a starting point, I suppose. 

"And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me." - Moses 5:6

I'm not sure about that.  Obedience to God, save for improper motives, will never be "good for nothing" or "meaningless."

To be sure, we should obey with real and genuine intent.  Consider Moroni 7:

I don't view blinkered/finite obedience, obedience without fully remembering or comprehending its purpose, as bad.  There must be a reason why the "Law of Obedience" is in the temple:

As Elder Stapley put it back in 1977:

Obedience is better than disobedience.  I cannot invert this.

Okay.  I can't get on board with the idea that premeditated and calculated disobedience to what are fairly basic commandments is preferable to obedience, even if it is more out of a sense of obligation than love.  I've been a father for 24 years now.  I can't imagine "taking a {premeditated and deliberate} break" from my obligations to my children.  If I need "healing," I need to find it in ways other than abandoning obligations to them.

I think it is.  The "context" is . . . the covenant.  Covenants are, by design, intended to bind us to obedience when wee are in our weakest moments, when we are the least likely to want to obey.

I love my children, but there have been times when all the duties I have as a father have been a big burden.  It is precisely in that context when I rely on my covenants the most.  When my sense of duty and obligation compensates for a temporarily-waning sense of willing and loving fulfillment of my obligations.

Thanks,

-Smac

Maybe this is where we differ a lot?  It seems you are looking at it from a parental view more and I'm looking at it from the child's view more. 

Because I think it is very different for a mother to abandon obligations to children than for her children to her.

I do think we have to be careful with the idea of how we speak about abandoning children especially where single parents are adopting out a baby or a parents physical or mental health require a hospital or center visit, but abandoning children without those kind of considerations is very different than a child saying, "hey mom, dad, I need a break. There were some rough spots in childhood and I need to work through those."

Obviously that may cause the parent some worry and I have seen this kind of thing so often in the last few years that I feel that sometimes there are justifications and excuses, but as a parent I can get it especially if the kids were to tell me up front.

 

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I think there are different repercussions depending on where individuals are on their spiritual journey within the CoJC. Those that have only been baptized have only covenanted that they are "willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins" (D&C 20:37)

Breaking temple covenants will have different repercussions, the first two in specifically: To live the Law of Obedience and to live the Law of Sacrifice. Those deciding to take a break are actively choosing to be disobedient to many of the commandments that they have covenanted to keep. That is totally up to them. And they may perceive to themselves to have valid reasons. This leads directly to the second temple covenant that is broken; the Law of Sacrifice.

We are asked to sacrifice our own intentions for those of God. We must bring a broken heart and a contrite spirit. This means more than just tithing, or keeping the Sabbath day holy, or living a monthly fast. This actually means offering up our will to God. Those taking a break, for whatever reason (and I can think of some pretty egregious reasons that members of the CoJC have done to other members), are putting their own will over that of God.

Am I going to judge people for taking a break. No. I have family, friends and acquaintances who have taken breaks, left completely, and some that are even actively trying to lead members away from the CoJC. But I do hope they have contemplated what they are doing.

"There is a law... upon which all blessings are predicated- and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is upon obedience to that law..." (D&C 130:20-21)

"For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory" (D&C 88:22)

I don't want to sound overbearing, but this is the doctrine that we teach in the CoJC.

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1 hour ago, filovirus said:

I think there are different repercussions depending on where individuals are on their spiritual journey within the CoJC. Those that have only been baptized have only covenanted that they are "willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins" (D&C 20:37)

Breaking temple covenants will have different repercussions, the first two in specifically: To live the Law of Obedience and to live the Law of Sacrifice. Those deciding to take a break are actively choosing to be disobedient to many of the commandments that they have covenanted to keep. That is totally up to them. And they may perceive to themselves to have valid reasons. This leads directly to the second temple covenant that is broken; the Law of Sacrifice.

 

1 hour ago, filovirus said:

We are asked to sacrifice our own intentions for those of God. We must bring a broken heart and a contrite spirit. This means more than just tithing, or keeping the Sabbath day holy, or living a monthly fast. This actually means offering up our will to God.

 

Yes.

 

1 hour ago, filovirus said:

Those taking a break, for whatever reason (and I can think of some pretty egregious reasons that members of the CoJC have done to other members), are putting their own will over that of God.

Not necessarily.

1 hour ago, filovirus said:

Am I going to judge people for taking a break. No. I have family, friends and acquaintances who have taken breaks, left completely, and some that are even actively trying to lead members away from the CoJC. But I do hope they have contemplated what they are doing.

"There is a law... upon which all blessings are predicated- and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is upon obedience to that law..." (D&C 130:20-21)

"For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory" (D&C 88:22)

I don't want to sound overbearing, but this is the doctrine that we teach in the CoJC.

 

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3 hours ago, Rain said:

“Those taking a break, for whatever reason (and I can think of some pretty egregious reasons that members of the CoJC have done to other members), are putting their own will over that of God.“

Not necessarily.

 

Can you point me to somewhere where God asked someone to break their covenants? Scripture or modern day prophets and apostles? I don’t think that is ever God’s will. It always seems to be us that break the covenants we make jointly with God. It’s our will, not His when covenants are broken.

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2 hours ago, filovirus said:

Can you point me to somewhere where God asked someone to break their covenants? Scripture or modern day prophets and apostles? I don’t think that is ever God’s will. It always seems to be us that break the covenants we make jointly with God. It’s our will, not His when covenants are broken.

If you are talking about my reply to you I wasn't talking about breaking covenants. 

"Those taking a break", for whatever reason (and I can think of some pretty egregious reasons that members of the CoJC have done to other members), are putting their own will over that of God."

I was saying that the bold is an assumption. Some may be putting their will over God's.  Some may not be. 

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2 hours ago, Rain said:

I was saying that the bold is an assumption. Some may be putting their will over God's.  Some may not be. 

Exceptions prove the rule.  So the fact that there are those for whom the "standard" Gospel plan doesn't "work", proves the general rule that adherence to covenants and working to resolve internal or external conflicts is generally the most appropriate and effective response.  But exceptions exist.  There are others who our Heavenly Father may have a different path. 

Having said that, I think faith brings all of us back to the same point eventually.  Agreement on intangible doctrine is likely impossible, but it also isn't necessary.  I think a good rule of thumb is for all of us to treat struggling members with great compassion and let God work out the rest.  There is no reason for us to assume a "judgemental" role.  Only God is omnipotent and only God is capable of judging path and behavior.

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6 hours ago, filovirus said:

Can you point me to somewhere where God asked someone to break their covenants? Scripture or modern day prophets and apostles? I don’t think that is ever God’s will. It always seems to be us that break the covenants we make jointly with God. It’s our will, not His when covenants are broken.

That does rely on the assumption that what we deem covenants indeed are the correct ones. It's not invalid to question whether we're on the wrong path and misidentified God's will and covenants.

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5 hours ago, Ipod Touch said:

Exceptions prove the rule.  So the fact that there are those for whom the "standard" Gospel plan doesn't "work", proves the general rule that adherence to covenants and working to resolve internal or external conflicts is generally the most appropriate and effective response.  But exceptions exist.  There are others who our Heavenly Father may have a different path. 

Having said that, I think faith brings all of us back to the same point eventually.  Agreement on intangible doctrine is likely impossible, but it also isn't necessary.  I think a good rule of thumb is for all of us to treat struggling members with great compassion and let God work out the rest.  There is no reason for us to assume a "judgemental" role.  Only God is omnipotent and only God is capable of judging path and behavior.

This post reminded me of a quote from Elder Christofferson's GC talk from last April.  In it he said:

"Our Father is willing to guide each of us along His covenant path with steps designed to our individual need and tailored to His plan for our ultimate happiness with Him."

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On 6/15/2022 at 11:09 PM, BlueDreams said:

I didn't take her analogy so literally. I had a professor who used contemplating a divorce like contemplating an amputation...there may be circumstances that it's necessary but it shouldn't be your go to for a broken leg. I don't take this or BB's analogy to mean there will be physical damage from separating.

I also am not picturing something like too much genealogy work. That would better suit your analogy. I'm picturing some of the messier experiences. Severe scrupulosity, certain forms of trauma that at points had religious implications or concerns, toxic community cultures where they've lost sight of what they actually believe in the expectations of a rigid local community, a system of rigid/maladaptive beliefs about their faith, experiences of depression, anxiety, or other things are skewing religious experiences to be extremely difficult, Family ruptures that leave church painful for a while. Etc. In these cases it's not just that a part of a religious experience has gone a little too far or run a muck, but that large swaths of a church experience has become sources of pain, disorder, and grief that may be simply intolerable for a time. Until other parts start to heal, a break sincerely may be a needed step to something healthier than what they currently are in. For some that break may need to be long term. 

Obviously I don't think all or even a majority of cases are like that. But I think people would be surprised by how common these experiences can be. And it's impossible to tell if theirs is more the type of your mothers or more the type of something seriously out of step. Not until you're closer and can dive more into their story. I can picture and have seen people assume a position that they're "taking a break" from church in these circumstances more than once. 

 

 

With luv,

BD

100%! 

I wonder if many need to take a break to find their beliefs and not just rely on others each Sunday. Also, some say LDS are on a constant hamster wheel. And need to stop and take a breather

And then those same 10 people that are fulfilling the ward's needs for leadership callings, over and over, might need a break. 

And when Gen Conf rolls around, aren't so many LDS so happy for that break? 

And when the pandemic closed churches, and so many loved, absolutely loved having home church. 

Church was nice throughout the years I guess. But it was stressful too. For those that find it difficult to perform for others and play the part of a good LDS. When they have to fit a particular mold, where deep down they longed to be themselves which was not the orthodox way.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

For those that find it difficult to perform for others and play the part of a good LDS

If you are playing at it, performing for others, you are looking at it in the wrong way.  Of course that would be difficult, like driving down a one way street the wrong way.

Edited by Calm
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