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If gender is eternal, what is the point


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17 minutes ago, manol said:

I think you are absolutely right.

The narrative we have been given has gaps, and I think this is intentional because it gives us individually participation in the "discovery" of higher truths like what you are describing here.  We pretty much have to rely on the Spirit (and we may get some of the details wrong!) because conclusive proof is not spelled out in the scriptures, but enough evidence to catch our attention and get us pondering and praying is sprinkled here and there. 

And in my very limited experience, these not-spelled-out, gap-filling bits and pieces of the Gospel are indeed "Good News". 

That may very well be how it works!

Once all of the links are acknowledged, we are all connected with one another in something like a great web.  And if "we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect" (D&C 128:18), then advancement as a connected group is implied.  The emphasis on individual exaltation that is presently dominant still makes sense because those who progress faster within the group end up teaching and elevating the rest.

Can you elaborate?  I'm not aware of "the early saints' resistance to 'The Vision'" (which Vision?), nor their fear of universalism. 

And keeping the truth of the fulness of His mercy and largess from unwise fallen mortals helps to keep us on our toes with a healthy dose of the fear of God. And while it may be true that those in the lower kingdoms may eventually be able to obtain the fullness of eternal life, it may also be true that it will take so long for that to happen that it may be tantamount to taking forever.

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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

I would say that, since Christ descended below all things, and ascended above all things, His mercy and grace are sufficient for all that humble themselves to finish the Father's work as designed in Abraham 3;24-26, which is: 1) first estate - 2) an earth -- 3) second estate -- 4) for ever and ever.

Remember, Doctrine and Covenants itself tells us there’s much yet to be revealed about the plan of salvation that I’m quite sure will surprise, and perhaps even deeply unsettle, the most knowledgeable among us. So it’s probably best not to settle on fixed formulas that are based on our present limited knowledge.

113 This is the end of the vision which we saw, which we were commanded to write while we were yet in the Spirit.

114 But agreat and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the bmysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;

115 Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not alawful for man to utter;

116 Neither is man acapable to make them known, for they are only to be bseen and cunderstood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who dlove him, and purify themselves before him;

117 To whom he grants this privilege of aseeing and knowing for themselves;

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53 minutes ago, echelon said:

According to our theology,  celibate angels who choose to remain in the lower degrees of the celestial kingdom are still happier that those in the lower kingdoms, even if the lower kingdoms get to enjoy intimate relationships.  Attraction just isn't a factor in the overall happiness of anyone beneath the highest degree of glory.  Imagine the happiness of the celibate angel in the celestial kingdom!  It's beyond our comprehension.  

Also, gender is more than biological, I think it is also a calling, hence the different responsibilities laid out in the proclamation as well as in church governance among the 3 kingdoms.

Rearead the Family Proclamation. It doesn’t say anything about gender being of paramount importance only to the destiny and purpose of those in the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom. 

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6 hours ago, teddyaware said:

Well at least it’s not the Hindu version of reincarnation where one has the possibility of being ‘reborn’ as a protozoa or a gnat.

I speculate in this manner because I find it hard to imagine that the God whose work and glory it is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ would so easily give up on those of his offspring who were once less valiant in the testimony of Jesus a million aeons ago in a previous phase of their existence. To me, God causing some of his beloved children to be forever stuck in a spiritual dead end is out of character with his boundless love and mercy that he extends to each of us through his infinite and eternal sacrifice.

Let me suggest that the particle of faith that we need to have and exercsie in Christ is that His atoning acts were indeed completed upon the earth ("finished", "perfected") yet infinite and eternal in scope, so that a fulness of His love, mercy, justice and grace are realized with one “go-around” -- just as He exemplified -- sufficient for Him to command us to be perfect and perfected in Him. Just one time around; He is that great. I don't see a terrestrial immortal soul falling to a telestial immortal glory to learn the lessons in faith that are required to rise to a celestial and exalted glory. By that time, all suffering has already been finished a) by the Lord (with perfect results) and/or b) by the errant soul with less-than-perfect attainments (such a person cannot suffer enough on his own to rise any further than his own intelligence permits --Abraham 3:19).

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13 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

Remember, Doctrine and Covenants itself tells us there’s much yet to be revealed about the plan of salvation that I’m quite sure will surprise, and perhaps even deeply unsettle, the most knowledgeable among us. So it’s probably best not to settle on fixed formulas that are based on our present limited knowledge.

113 This is the end of the vision which we saw, which we were commanded to write while we were yet in the Spirit.

114 But agreat and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the bmysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;

115 Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not alawful for man to utter;

116 Neither is man acapable to make them known, for they are only to be bseen and cunderstood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who dlove him, and purify themselves before him;

117 To whom he grants this privilege of aseeing and knowing for themselves;

Of course, but I'm not sure how speculation draws upon any of these "quickened" attributes for sharing in the natural frame. At best, it is a good-faith effort to try to make sense of our bias, sharing in the natural frame.

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1 hour ago, teddyaware said:

Here’s what for me is the bottom line point on this question: Whatever the processes or mechanisms might be that the Lord employs to allow for his children to continue there eternal progression after the resurrection, it’s hard for me to imagine that a million eons from now there won’t some way for those in the terrestrial kingdom to finally progress until they obtain a fulness of celestial glory. I say this because if extremely imperfect fallen mortals are able progress to celestial glory after the very short timespan of this life, it’s difficult to fathom why righteous beings, who have been personally ministered to by the Lord Jesus Christ himself for millions of millennia, wouldn’t able to obtain the same. Think about it — what would be the point of having Jesus Christ personally minister to those in the terrestrial kingdom if they forever remain utterly incapable of obtaining a fulness of the same glory Jesus Christ himself represents and enjoys? What righteous purpose would it serve to hold them back forever because of something that happened billions of centuries ago?

Agreed.

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For me, the most fascinating thing in the Proclamation on the Family is the fact that by making gender a pre-mortal trait, the Proclamation creates a disconnect between gender as an eternal characteristic and biological sex as a construct of our physical mortality. People can have a physical and biological sex which is different from their eternal gender. I think that this may eventually create the space we need to discuss issues like individuals who are born into a body with a physically ambiguous biological sex, and the issue of gender dysphoria.

On the other issue, I would probably side with James Talmage. The three most important statements of that view are in my opinion:

A statement recorded by Wilford Woodruff in his journal that he attributed to Brigham Young:

Quote

None would inherit this earth when it became celestial and translated into the presence of God but those who would be crowned as Gods — all others would have to inherit another kingdom — they would eventually have the privilege of proving themselves worthy and advancing to a celestial kingdom but it would be a slow process. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, 5 Aug 1855)

President J. Reuben Clark:

Quote

I am not a strict constructionalist, believing that we seal our eternal progress by what we do here. It is my belief that God will save all of His children that he can: and while, if we live unrighteously here, we shall not go to the other side in the same status, so to speak, as those who lived righteously; nevertheless, the unrighteous will have their chance, and in the eons of the eternities that are to follow, they, too, may climb to the destinies to which they who are righteous and serve God, have climbed to those eternities that are to come. (Church News, 23 April 1960, p. 3)

Elder James E. Talmage

Quote

It is reasonable to believe, in the absence of direct revelation by which alone absolute knowledge of the matter could be acquired, that, in accordance with God’s plan of eternal progression, advancement from grade to grade within any kingdom, and from kingdom to kingdom, will be provided for. But if the recipients of a lower glory be enabled to advance, surely the intelligences of higher rank will not be stopped in their progress; and thus we may conclude, that degrees and grades will ever characterize the kingdoms of our God. Eternity is progressive; perfection is relative; the essential feature of God’s living purpose is its associated power of eternal increase. (The Articles of Faith [1899 edition] pp. 420-421)

Assuming that Woodruff's recollection of Brigham Young's statement is accurate, it helps us understand in part how these views have evolved. In 1855, the three-tiered model of the Celestial Kingdom did not exist, nor did our model of a Celestial-Terrestrial-Telestial kingdom exist. Each degree of glory was filled with countless sub-kingdoms, each divided into more sub-kingdoms - and there is the expectation in Brogham Young of a future where new kingdoms could be added infinitely to that Celestial glory. Additionally, it is hard to over-emphasize the way that historically racist doctrines and early understandings of the kingdoms of glory (nearly all of which experienced shifts and changes) helped to build the ideas of limits and restrictions. It is harder, for example, to see advancement between kingdoms when there was a predominant view that race itself was part of the determination of eventual glory, or that polygamy was a requirement for the highest degrees of celestial glory. Each of these three statements comes in a context of a view of the Celestial Kingdom that was still evolving towards what we see today. Part of the implication of this is that whatever else we might say about the model we have today, it is almost certainly incomplete and accompanied with our own set of incorrect beliefs and misunderstandings.

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I am trying hard to follow this conversation. It seems like the word "gender" is being used in a very broad sense to include sex, gender, and gender roles. In my mind the first is biological(two sexes with a tiny percentage of what are called intersexual folks). Gender is a social/psychological construct that falls into the category of identity. In the individual's mind gender may complement or supersede sex (biology). Gender and sex may be different or the same in the same individual. They are different in that sex is statistically binary, and gender is a linear distinction. The third category is that of gender roles. These are social/cultural attributes assigned by culture (society, religion, ethnicity, etc) to individuals. These attributes may be expressed in terms of sex or gender, but basically deal with expectations and roles.

Is there a diversity of positions or beliefs on what I have just written in the LDS community? Are the words gender and sex synonymous and interchangeable (in terms of the use of the words) and gender roles assigned by God, the Brethren, the culture, the doctrine (Scriptures)? If so, is it possible that in a church of "ongoing revelation" a leader could amend doctrine on such things? Are these three categories generally definitionally accepted in the church or are they accepted as heterodox in an LDS understanding? I think I need  some clarification on these questions before I can grasp your ongoing conversation. Thanks. 

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1 hour ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

For me, the most fascinating thing in the Proclamation on the Family is the fact that by making gender a pre-mortal trait, the Proclamation creates a disconnect between gender as an eternal characteristic and biological sex as a construct of our physical mortality. People can have a physical and biological sex which is different from their eternal gender. I think that this may eventually create the space we need to discuss issues like individuals who are born into a body with a physically ambiguous biological sex, and the issue of gender dysphoria.

On the other issue, I would probably side with James Talmage. The three most important statements of that view are in my opinion:

A statement recorded by Wilford Woodruff in his journal that he attributed to Brigham Young:

President J. Reuben Clark:

Elder James E. Talmage

Assuming that Woodruff's recollection of Brigham Young's statement is accurate, it helps us understand in part how these views have evolved. In 1855, the three-tiered model of the Celestial Kingdom did not exist, nor did our model of a Celestial-Terrestrial-Telestial kingdom exist. Each degree of glory was filled with countless sub-kingdoms, each divided into more sub-kingdoms - and there is the expectation in Brogham Young of a future where new kingdoms could be added infinitely to that Celestial glory. Additionally, it is hard to over-emphasize the way that historically racist doctrines and early understandings of the kingdoms of glory (nearly all of which experienced shifts and changes) helped to build the ideas of limits and restrictions. It is harder, for example, to see advancement between kingdoms when there was a predominant view that race itself was part of the determination of eventual glory, or that polygamy was a requirement for the highest degrees of celestial glory. Each of these three statements comes in a context of a view of the Celestial Kingdom that was still evolving towards what we see today. Part of the implication of this is that whatever else we might say about the model we have today, it is almost certainly incomplete and accompanied with our own set of incorrect beliefs and misunderstandings.

I have a couple+ responses to quotes like these: 1) it is reasonable to believe just about anything in good faith given enough thought and rationale; 2) enough thought and rationale alone are limited by the intelligence producing them (Abraha 3:19); 3) we have quotes contradicting these; 4) and given 3), councils that involve documentation seem to have proven, over time, to produce better conclusions, models and revelations than the lone ponderer or standing on the shoulders of the rare giant.

My bias is that appeals to progress from kingdom-to-kingdom stem from a lack of confidence in oneself and the Lord working together as he proposes, akin to the message we sometimes hear in conference about the Lord’s atonement not applying fully to “me” for whatever reason. Similarly, an unfortunate interpretation that the Lord is the greatest and I am less than the dust of the earth; exaltation is so beyond our understanding and reach (even with the Lord’s help) that it cannot be done according to the pattern Jesus set in a single round (granted, a lifetime that by virtue of the resurrection extends beyond the grave -- from the Lord’s view, we are one life). This is not a formula for spiritual advancement, worse than the notion of deathbed repentance! But Jesus prepared the way with His lifetime so that by His grace we can do the same with ours, given all that He gave for our advantage.

Maybe such un-celestial attitudes can be undone in the telestial kingdom where there is no less light (the light of Christ) to draw from than here.

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4 hours ago, manol said:

Can you elaborate?  I'm not aware of "the early saints' resistance to 'The Vision'" (which Vision?), nor their fear of universalism. 

My apologies for my careless assumption that everyone would be aware that "The Vision" was a common reference in Joseph Smith's day to what we know as D&C 76. @Incognitus covered it nicely from there.

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17 hours ago, CV75 said:

Let me suggest that the particle of faith that we need to have and exercsie in Christ is that His atoning acts were indeed completed upon the earth ("finished", "perfected") yet infinite and eternal in scope, so that a fulness of His love, mercy, justice and grace are realized with one “go-around” -- just as He exemplified -- sufficient for Him to command us to be perfect and perfected in Him. Just one time around; He is that great. I don't see a terrestrial immortal soul falling to a telestial immortal glory to learn the lessons in faith that are required to rise to a celestial and exalted glory. By that time, all suffering has already been finished a) by the Lord (with perfect results) and/or b) by the errant soul with less-than-perfect attainments (such a person cannot suffer enough on his own to rise any further than his own intelligence permits --Abraham 3:19).

I said nothing about falling from a terrestrial kingdom of glory to a telestial kingdom of glory. I was suggesting the theoretical possibility that somewhere in the endlessness of eternity that those whom God has relegated to the terrestrial kingdom of glory might voluntarily choose to descend into a another fallen state in order to have another opportunity to prove themselves worthy of gaining celestial glory (the temple endowment actually suggests this possibility, but, of course, I can’t disclose where one can find it). At any rate, since the prophet Joseph Smith himself states that Doctrine and Covenants 76 is, as it were, just the tip of a vast plan of salvation ‘iceberg” of divine knowledge, I find it interesting that you nonetheless appear think you’ve got enough information to be able to set your present limited understanding of the plan of salvation in stone, as if there won’t be any earthshaking surprises that are now deliberately being kept hidden from our view by the Lord.

Questions : Do you believe when the Savior personally ministers to the inhabitants of the post-resurrection terrestrial kingdom that he will teach them things that pertain to the higher order of things in the celestial kingdom, or do you think he will deliberately keep them in the dark about the higher knowledge of the celestial kingdom because they will forever remain unworthy to know such things? 

 

 

Edited by teddyaware
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19 hours ago, teddyaware said:

I said nothing about falling from a terrestrial kingdom of glory to a telestial kingdom of glory. I was suggesting the theoretical possibility that somewhere in the endlessness of eternity that those whom God has relegated to the terrestrial kingdom of glory might voluntarily choose to descend into a another fallen state in order to have another opportunity to prove themselves worthy of gaining celestial glory (the temple endowment actually suggests this possibility, but, of course, I can’t disclose where one can find it). At any rate, since the prophet Joseph Smith himself states that Doctrine and Covenants 76 is, as it were, just the tip of a vast plan of salvation ‘iceberg” of divine knowledge, I find it interesting that you nonetheless appear think you’ve got enough information to be able to set your present limited understanding of the plan of salvation in stone, as if there won’t be any earthshaking surprises that are now deliberately being kept hidden from our view by the Lord.

Questions : Do you believe when the Savior personally ministers to the inhabitants of the post-resurrection terrestrial kingdom that he will teach them things that pertain to the higher order of things in the celestial kingdom, or do you think he will deliberately keep them in the dark about the higher knowledge of the celestial kingdom because they will forever remain unworthy to know such things?

I don't believe in either as the assumptions are faulty. The Savior always teaches the higher law(s) and order(s), relative to the receptive recipient (the repentant) and according to their current capacity until the final judgement which takes place in the resurrected estate. The unrepentant always deliberately keep themselves in the dark, by deliberately tolerating only so much light even in the resurrection and final judgement. I take the post-resurrection ministry from higher to lower kingdoms as a separate function, delivering the enjoyments/glory the unrepentant (according to their degree) are willing to receive.

God can regress from His kingdom, but He chooses not to. The unrepentant immortal likewise does not choose to advance. A regressing God is an oxymoron, and so is an advancing unrepentant, so while theoretically expressible (on a par with, "Is God so powerful that He can create a rock He cannot lift?)", is never realized.

Edited by CV75
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On 11/4/2022 at 10:40 PM, MustardSeed said:

If gender is eternal, what is the point after we die and don’t make it to the tip top? We can’t procreate anyway I believe. The answer might be obvious but I haven’t had much sleep.
 

What if the test is being the fully best you can possibly be within the limitations over which you have no control?

We all have limitations- that is the only kind of test that would be fair and equal.

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 11/6/2022 at 1:40 PM, Navidad said:

I am trying hard to follow this conversation. It seems like the word "gender" is being used in a very broad sense to include sex, gender, and gender roles. In my mind the first is biological(two sexes with a tiny percentage of what are called intersexual folks). Gender is a social/psychological construct that falls into the category of identity. In the individual's mind gender may complement or supersede sex (biology). Gender and sex may be different or the same in the same individual. They are different in that sex is statistically binary, and gender is a linear distinction. The third category is that of gender roles. These are social/cultural attributes assigned by culture (society, religion, ethnicity, etc) to individuals. These attributes may be expressed in terms of sex or gender, but basically deal with expectations and roles.

Is there a diversity of positions or beliefs on what I have just written in the LDS community? Are the words gender and sex synonymous and interchangeable (in terms of the use of the words) and gender roles assigned by God, the Brethren, the culture, the doctrine (Scriptures)? If so, is it possible that in a church of "ongoing revelation" a leader could amend doctrine on such things? Are these three categories generally definitionally accepted in the church or are they accepted as heterodox in an LDS understanding? I think I need  some clarification on these questions before I can grasp your ongoing conversation. Thanks. 

The question as I understand it, in its most basic form are we judged on the "best we can do" or being "perfect in all things"

Note that perfection is the goal of every member- yet we all have unchangeable situations like perhaps gender that may limit our concept of what "perfection" is for us.

Anyway, that is my interpretation.  It's not really about only gender. The question is can you still receive the best reward if you are incapable of perfect performance of a list of rules.

It's really about works- what gets you into the highest part of the CK- the best effort or the best list of "gold stars"

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