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If you reject the LDS message...

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Old Lady, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. Moodshadow

    Moodshadow Veteran

    +132
    Methodist
    Married
    SoftSpoken, I'm going to take both of your responses in one, here, if that's okay. Here goes (and I'm putting today's comments in green, to distinguish):

    Constant effort, under fear of being counted unworthy by those who rule my life—that is a burden. And it is not mylife in the LDS faith. This is where I get and originally got the idea. It is no distortion of your words; it is the very thing they imply. This is what you said earlier:
    What we do have a problem with is for Joseph Smith - or any other would-be prophet - to come along and change the plain and precious scriptures and change the very rules and requirements for eternal life, adding layer upon complicated layer of commandments, laws and ordinances along the way, and then tell us that oh-by-the-way, if we don't keep ALL these extraneous requirements, we are banned forever from our Father's kingdom. Um...I don't think so.
    Simple is easy. Complicated is burdensome. Are you not saying that Mormonism's "layer upon complicated layer of commandments" is a burden to bear? Are you not saying that in the LDS church it is a royal pain in the neck to get to heaven? Is that not what you're saying? If it is not, then I truly have misunderstood. And it is, as I have stated, a sincere misunderstanding, not some calculated attempt to twist your words.
    When I was LDS - as I've now repeatedly stated - I never considered it a burden at all - that word or that sentiment never would have occurred to me. Like you, it had been ingrained into me from my baptism that all of the requirements were necessary steps, and to fulfill them was just part of what it took to achieve the glorious blessing of living with Heavenly Father and the Savior and my family in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, and therefore 100% worth it. I was a bishop's wife and mother of seven children, held multitudinous callings over the years, and for all of my LDS years was happily 100% active, considering every requirement a great blessing - just part of the parcel, so to speak. "Complicated" never entered my head - until after I was all the way out of the church and learned the real Plan of Salvation, the way Jesus Christ Himself actually taught about it in the Bible. Then the night-and-day contrast hit me like TEN tons o' bricks. Since then I've read studies about depression and suicide rates inside the LDS church, and they are sobering indeed. Some people - like you and me - have no problem whatsoever "keeping up" - but there are others for whom it is very difficult indeed, and they suffer feelings of inadequacy and inferiority and slip into depression and have all kinds of problems. I'm sure you've seen these people in your own experience. I dealt with some of them when I was in leadership callings, but at the time I wasn't thinking objectively and so didn't understand clearly enough to be able to help them the way they really needed it. How I wish I could go back and talk to them now! So yes, to answer your question, I guess I am saying that it is a burden, but when you're inside you don't see it that way at all because it's called something much prettier instead. All those layers of complication Joseph Smith and his successors have added are 100% un-Biblical and 100% unnecessary, according to what Jesus Himself taught. And what Jesus Himself taught is perfect, all by itself.

    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]
    Okay. I will accept that I misunderstood your intent because of the emotion. It happens. We've all been on both sides of it, unfortunately. I hope that we have cleared up our mutual misunderstandings. If not, please feel free to continue asking questions until we have.
     
  2. SoftSpoken

    SoftSpoken Well-Known Member

    +13
    Mormon
    Married


    Thanks for clarifying. It's all good.

    From my point of view, the problem I see in your assessment is that when the Gospel is understood, there isn't anything with which to "keep up." It is not a race. There is no score to keep. If we get on the path and stay on the path, doing all things that God has asked of us in their own proper place and time, we will receive all promised blessings. Since you have shared some of your experience, let me share some of mine, which will show how differently people within the Church understand and live the doctrine.

    A decade ago I was a relatively new husband with a lovely wife and a little boy. I had a job with a new employer and was considering pursuing a degree in graphic design, as up to that point I had not decided on a major and was still attending a community college. We weighed the options for schooling and decided that I would change schools and go to a tech college. We had previously decided that, barring absolute necessity, my wife would stay home with the children, which meant that I would need to keep working while attending school. This isn't anything special. Tons of people do it. I applied at the school I had chosen and was accepted. When classes began in a few weeks, I would work my regular job from 9 to 5, drive home for a quick something to eat, then race off to make classes, which would go from 6 to 11 on four weeknights. Add in overtime at work, homework and labs, and my entire week would be pretty much taken up in just work and school. This would go on for two years.

    At the time we were living in a condo complex in a full "famly ward," not a "student ward." At the same time that I was working on getting ready for school, I received a call to serve as the Cubmaster in the Cub Scout program. I did not doubt at any time that this call was from the Lord. And yet I had no idea at that time how I would work all these things together and still function as a husband and father. Now you might be expecting to hear how I was this superman who juggled all my responsibilities in such a way that monuments should be erected to my praise. But that's not the truth. The truth is that when all these things got rolling, I had too much on my plate. I became very aware of the scriptures that state that we should not run faster than we have strength. But there was no doubt that I was doing just that. The question was, what to do about it?

    I had chosen to go to school. I had also chosen to accept a call from the Lord. Work was a no-brainer... you gotta work to eat. I wasn't about to tell my wife and boy to put life on hold until things quieted down, so the choice came down to school or church calling. One of them had to go. Now I will be 100% honest here and say that I wanted to do both. I did not feel, like so many do (including likely yourself, if I recall some comments you have made previously) that my call was an error. I didn't think that the bishop was uninspired. Nor did I believe that I had been uninspired in selecting my school. Nor did I believe that the timing of any of this was outside of God's foreknowledge.

    So what did I do? I did what I was supposed to do... what the Gospel teaches a man to do. I laid it at the feet of the Lord. I released myself from the burden of worrying about it. How, precisely, did I do that? First, I sought the will of the Lord myself, in regards to my situation. And the guidance I received was that the Lord would bless me no matter what I chose to do. So I went to my bishop and told him the situation. I told him the truth—that I was overburdened, that something had to give, but that I also wanted to both attend school at that time and serve in my call. When I left that day I felt great. I knew in my heart that things would work out right. I had released myself from the burden by turning it over personally to the Lord, and in the church to the bishop, who is the Lord's agent.

    A few days later the bishop asked to see my wife and I. He told me that I would be released from my call as Cubmaster. He also extended another call, this time to both my wife and I—to serve in the nursery. I received both of these things joyfully. My boy was just about to turn 18 months, at which time you know toddlers are invited to come to nursery. There could have been no better situation for us all. My wife and I would be able to serve together, and we'd be spending that time with our son. My weekdays could be spent focusing on providing for my family and going to school. Things worked out great.

    This seems to differ greatly from other experiences I hear about. In those experiences, there is doubt about the inspiration of the bishop, doubt that the calls are right. You know what? All that is understandable to a point. But where I see people really fail to understand the Gospel is how to deal with those situations. Rather than lay the problem at the feet of the Lord and his called servants, they heft around this mighty weight (and the mighty grudge that attends it), imposing upon themselves with it a healthy guilt that they can't BE superpeople like all the other ward members (who have just as many problems as they do). They suffer the so-called burden of their religion in silence (and sometimes not in silence, but in complaint to everyone BUT their bishop, who ought to be made aware).

    Are there times when things don't work out rosy like what happened with me in this instance? Yes. But if a person seeks the will of the Lord and receives it, he will always know that it is right, even and especially in those times when the Lord sees fit not to remove what burdens we think he ought to. I share all this to show that the Restored Gospel, when the principles it teaches (not the policies of, or social norms within, the Church) are understood and put into action, is not any greater burden than it was for the early Christians, who veritably suffered a great deal on account of their faith. When we ask the Lord, we receive (many times the very thing we ask for). When we don't ask him, but assume that people are wrong, or that his servants are not inspired, or that we ought not be imposed upon, or that we have a right to reject him because of how we feel, we receive only whatever our own feelings and attitude provide us, because we are at that point going it alone. We have chosen not access the sources of relief that we are taught to invoke. This is a prime cause that I have observed for people finding fault with the Church, and for concluding that the Restore Gospel is not much more than a burdensome to-do list. I don't see any mention of this in the posts where negative views of the Church are put forward. That is why I consider those views inaccurate and inadvertently misleading. If we're going to consider people's negative experiences, we also need to consider people's positive experiences.

    It is interesting to note that after I finished college, got a new job, moved to a new state, and settled down into a more sane routine, the first call I received in my new ward was to serve as Cubmaster. :) The Lord knows what we need, and where he needs us. And he can work with many timetables. I have often thought, where would I be now had I blamed the bishop for what seemed to be an untimely call to serve? I have since come to know—yes, know—that the Lord called me when he did so that I would learn to trust him in all situations. Like Abraham, my test was not the call, but to see if I would obey. Praise be to God that I passed the test, at least that time.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  3. Ran77

    Ran77 Senior Contributor

    +260
    Mormon
    Married
    That was a beautiful shared experience.


    :amen:
     
  4. Moodshadow

    Moodshadow Veteran

    +132
    Methodist
    Married
    SoftSpoken, believe it or not, I can totally relate to your experience, because until seven years ago, it could have been my own life you're talking about. We see things altogether differently now for obvious reasons, but I believe that we have at least have come to understand the reasons for that, as much as is possible. I appreciate your having stuck this out with me, and I sincerely appreciate your having comported yourself in such a gentlemanly manner and can only hope that others here will take note and emulate your worthy example. Thank you!
     
  5. SoftSpoken

    SoftSpoken Well-Known Member

    +13
    Mormon
    Married
    Thanks Ran. I really appreciate your appreciation of it! :)
     
  6. SoftSpoken

    SoftSpoken Well-Known Member

    +13
    Mormon
    Married
    And I thank you for holding on in spite of my getting huffy a ways back. I think that most of us really only want to be understood. At least that's all I really ever want here. And I want my faith and Church to be understood as well—another shared setiment I'd guess. If you're agreeable, I'm going to go back through our exchange and see if we left any more on-topic material that still is worth floating to the surface.

    I really am glad that we're able to come to this point. May it endure! :)
     
  7. bbbbbbb

    bbbbbbb Guest

    +0
    I understand and appreciate your argument, but I still believe that you were in error to judge A New Dawn and conclude that her conversion was merely an intellectual change of mind and not a spiritual conversion. I do not see conclusive evidence in her post that that was the case, do you? Likewise, I have never called into question LDS testimonies, even though they are at complete odds with my own.
     
  8. SoftSpoken

    SoftSpoken Well-Known Member

    +13
    Mormon
    Married
    I agree. God speaks to all people who seek him in sincerity. We all receive from Him line upon line, precept upon precept. While any one of us may or may not agree with the testimony of another, that testimony is sacred ground. Sometimes people receive a witness that starts them out on the right path by giving them faith in Christ. Witnesses of other truths may follow later, as the person makes himself one with what he's already received. To tell a person that they did not receive a particular witness would take more knowledge and insight than we are entitled to without revelation. Again, we needn't agree with testimonies that run contrary to our own, but little is gained from telling another person their witness is wrong. God has power to show us where we err, when we err.

    (I'm not making any insinuations at all concerning A New Dawn's particular witness of truth... I'm speaking entirely in general)
     
  9. Old Lady

    Old Lady ...yet not I, but the grace of God that is with me Supporter

    +10,937
    United States
    Protestant
    Widowed
    A funny thing happened on my way to this forum. Words from a song came to me.

    "Thus on to eternal perfection, the honest and faithful will go. While those who reject this glad message, shall never such happiness know."

    Those words come from "We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet" written by William Fowler.
     
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