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10 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2008 - 2:45PM #21
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,242
Luther and Calvin represent an interesting pair of twists on the theme of independence.  Luther's message, embraced by Germany and Scandinavia, was that Catholicism had added too many sacraments - to tie the individual to a controlling and parasitic franchise.  This led to national repudiations of "the Church in Rome."   Northern Europe developed independent national churches that were "Catholic Lite."  Calvin's message originated among communities that couldn't expect the nation to simply repudiate Catholicism in favor of a separate, independent, national church.  Calvin's message was more intense and narrowly focused.  It called for true believers to withdraw from a larger community that was plugged into a false Christianity.  This gospel of separatism would create smaller, more defiant, more cliquish groups.  It drew the kind of criticism and persecution that would force Calvinists to flee to protective enclaves, like Calvin's Geneva, where they could create whole new communities under their control.

That's an important point.  Calvinism started in places where dissenters were a minority.  They couldn't expect the king to repudiate a foreign church and nationalize Christianity under a home-grown flag.  Therefore, they never had the relaxing sense that they were part of a larger community that had done "the right thing" in asserting its own independence.  Calvinists had to assume that the king would remain loyal to a fallen faith, making it necessary for local churches, themselves, to withdraw from a system at work all around them.  As this would make these elites stand out, as targets for persecution, their only options were to: (a) separate themselves, even if it meant becoming expatriates; or (b) seize control of the government, where possible, to force a changing of the flags.  America's history involves the Pilgrims, who were exercising "option a" by getting out of an England whose Protestantism hadn't gone far enough to suit them.  It also involved the forced migration of Puritans, who had stayed in England, to pursue "option b" but had been slapped down by Protestant kings who preferred "Catholic Lite" to some kind of Calvinist revolution.

Not surprisingly, America's Calvinists were in favor of localized theocracy while bristling at the idea of control from above.  It was New England that drew the lion's share of royal efforts to put down insurgents.  Yet it was Virginia, that bastion of Episcopalianism, that formed the nexus of home-grown nation building.  General - and later president - George Washington came from Virginia, as did Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (respectively, the patriot who championed home rule, the chief drafter of the Declaration of Independence and the Father of the Constitution).  As the northern - or Federalist - candidate, John Adams made a good "ticket balance" as Washington's vice-president.  His next-man status gave him an edge in the Election of 1796, to make him Washington's successor.  But as the nation's issues turned from separation to expansion, Jefferson's Republicans won the next seven presidential elections.  Seven in a row!

But, as usual, I digress.

Mormons are in an interesting position when it comes to the relationship between the individual and the community of believers.  We've seen the spectrum play out.  Catholicism requires the individual to obtain the "seven sacraments" - which requires the individual to remain plugged in to a centralized system of clergy and ritual, from cradle to grave.  At the opposite end are the UUs who believe in universal salvation.  There's no right church and no saving ritual.  In-between these polar positions are a variety of tinkerings.  Lutherans adopted a "national church" model, but repudiated the need for anything beyond faith.  Anglicans adopted an episcopalian approach, repudiating the Papacy but endorsing a national church founded on the authority of bishops.  Calvinists repudiated the need for bishops, with Presbyterians placing church governance under the hands of local elders while Congregationalists left church governance in the hands of the membership itself.  But in Britain, this led to a showdown between Puritans and the king (with Parliament eventually gaining supremacy).  In America, it led to localized theocracy that was eventually overrun by diversity.  The Anglican model (reflected by the Episcopalian Church) became the new American orthodoxy.  But in a country that had formally endorsed individual conscience, what was created was a marketplace of faith.  Cue the Methodists, Baptists and Mormons.

Is salvation a general thing (Catholicism), a onetime thing (Lutheranism) or a daily affair where a person can fall from grace (Calvinism)?  Mormonism has an added dimension to it because it argues that life didn't start at birth nor does the road to salvation end at death.  Mormonism imagines an extremely generous plane of progression.  Everyone who is here is here because of choices made "before the beginning" of mortality.  Our birth into this world is, in some sense, a death from another existence - the so-called pre-earth life.  Those who are here, but not here physically - the devil and his demons - are those who rebelled during the pre-earth life.  Even in this life, there are so many conditions, privileges, stations and situations.  Looked at from only the perspective of this life, life is clearly not fair.  Some are born rich while others are dirt poor.  Some are born into loving families while others are abused from day one.  While it is an egregious oversimplification to suggest that the fortunate were more righteous while the unfortunate were somehow less so (a conclusion that has sometimes led Mormons to say, do and believe some pretty stupid things), fairness cannot be imputed to God if all you're looking at is this life.

The Apostle Paul tried to justify God by comparing him to a potter.  He asked his readers whether the clay had any right to judge the potter, who has every right to use some clay to make a fine bowl of pottery while throwing other clay away.  To Paul, this may have worked.  I'm not so impressed.  I've never felt the need to justify bad ideas - even when offered by good people - so I can say, with no sense of guilt or anxiety, that Paul was wrong.  His conception of God, swallowed whole by the Calvinists, is an imperfect one.  Paul was using the doctrine of predestination to explain why some Jews accepted Christ while others rejected him.  If salvation is in Christ, wouldn't that mean that most of Israel had missed the mark?  Sure.  If so, didn't that mean that bulk of the community would be damned for their failure to accept Jesus as the Christ?

Paul needed to justify God, and explain why so many of Jesus's contemporaries had rejected him, so he compared God to a potter.  That worked for Paul, who needed to at least believe that Jesus was the Christ, even if doing so meant that most of the Jews of his day were damned for their failure to believe.  But there's a big difference between understanding what Paul was struggling with and accepting his ideas as the truth.  Paul may have been a very successful missionary but his conception of God, at least in this respect, was barbaric.  Anybody who thinks that God is on par with a potter, making some pieces beautiful for his own purposes, while thoughtlessly trashing the rest of the clay, is committing a form of mental blasphemy.  To impute God with evil, even while trying to justify him as God, is to darken one's mind.  If there is a God, there's no way he can be evil and be God.

Mormonism doesn't fill in all the holes, but it offers a big-tent suggestion that God isn't evil; we just need to look at the big picture.  That big picture isn't that everybody will be saved (look at the Devil and his demons) but that everybody will have a fair opportunity to be saved, or as Mormons put it, "exalted."  True salvation/exaltation (I don't really accept the legitimacy of the distinction) is progressive.  It's not like turning a light on or off.  It's like taking a walk.  An eight-year-old, dripping from his recent baptism, may be innocent but common sense will tell you he's not perfect.  There is so much life experience to be gained just to bring that eight-year-old up to adult standards of behavior. 

Mormonism's broader view of the plane of salvation (stretching out in both directions) is also reflected in a tiered structure of worship.  We can debate the pecking order between firesides, Family Home Evening, Sunday School, Priesthood and Relief Society, and various church activities.  Less subject to debate is the status of these meetings when compared to Sacrament Meeting, where the sacrament is prepared and taken.  For Mormons, the sacrament is a weekly renewal of baptismal vows and baptismal blessings.  If one approaches it right, the taking of the sacrament is like getting baptized again.

But Mormonism's broader worship includes temple work.  This added ritual imagines eternity and the promises that stretch beyond this life.  It's an invitation to think cosmically.  In that cosmic view, there's a vast sea of time that brought us here.  There's also a continuation of things beyond this veil.  Sealing makes more sense, in terms of not getting lost in a giant airport of eternity, than one poster's threat that our children will be "ripped from" us as a punishment for lack of faith.  As Americans find themselves living across the country, and across the world, from their parents, children and grandchildren, there's an oddly new sense that you have to maintain the ties of family or the love will wax cold and a kind of curse will replace the blessing of family.  Lonely people, lost from their family connection, are this life's reflection of a very Mormon idea about the preciousness of family.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2008 - 2:46PM #22
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,242
It's within this larger, multidimensional, context that the Restored Gospel (as Mormons call it) bridges the gap between an uninspiring universalism and a panting daily or weekly crucible - where salvation is like a football game, played hard in the here and now, until the time runs out.

Mormons believe that "now is the time to prepare to meet God."  They believe that no opportunity should be wasted, that mortality is a limited gift, that men will be accountable to God for the time they spent, but that this life is not the full picture of existence.  Mormons also believe that worship and service take place at a variety of levels, each with their own big-ticket concerns.  A non-member, struggling to make sense of the Gospel, will not be hassled the way Bruce R. McConkie was hassled when he published Mormon Doctrine, as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.  McConkie's misstatements of doctrine, in a book published to the world, got him rebuked by the President of the Church, for misleading and insulting millions of people.  That kind of attention is not likely to be visited upon the newbie who walks into church with a truckload of old ideas and mixed-up doctrine.

You can't treat an apostle and a new convert the same way.  You have to be fair to both, but the expectations of each are scaled to their situation.  David O. McKay once told a neighbor that the Church would have him, even if he puffed his last cigarette on his way down the steps of the baptismal font.  The Church would not, however, have taken it lightly if David O. McKay had been found puffing away on a cigarette of his own.  McKay's somewhat liberal attitude toward the Word of Wisdom, for that man, was based on the belief that the Holy Ghost would help him finally kick the habit.  But as the leader of the LDS Church, David O. McKay was expected to walk the walk.

Where people get into more trouble than perhaps their situation may otherwise require is when their publicized indiscretions create confusion about the standard.  That dingaling who played in the Church Orchestra and mouthed some silly banter about ecclesiastical dictators - because he was mad about Jeffrey Nielsen's firing at BYU - may have gotten more attention than he deserved, but it didn't help that he was playing in the Church Orchestra on Temple Square.  Honestly, I don't give a fig about the convictions of a tuba player, even if he plays for the Church Orchestra.  All I care about is whether he can blow the right notes at the right time.  But the fact that he's playing in the Church Orchestra on Temple Square gives this person a status that other musicians don't generally hold.  It quietly creates a connection between him and the LDS Church.  When he speaks out, and his status is discovered (particularly where he discusses it in public), he's blundered his way into some kind of endorsement.  Like it or not, he's dragged the Church into a situation where it has to distinguish between this guy's private thoughts and the official message it is trying to convey.

I, personally, thought the guy should have been brought in and told of the damage he had done and asked, in all fairness, whether he wanted to help the Church resolve the conflict so that others would not be further injured by his outbursts.  Instead, some nonsense about "enemies within" caused at least somebody in middle management to take a hard, judgmental, attitude toward him.  When he lost his place in the Church Orchestra, the guy had a conniption fit and lashed out against the Church.  Unfortunately, that will likely mean that he and his wife will be lost to the influence of the Church, because - at least for the present - the guy will think of the Church as his persecutor.  Feeling burned, he will not take any responsibility for his actions. 

Where possible, it's a good idea to avoid such debacles.

With respect to this silly woman who appeared on network TV and told an audience of millions that she was a "good Mormon" but that she had lesbian fantasies, various indiscretions and possibly had sex before she married her current husband, her appearance on this show is not, in itself, a sin.  Her performance, however, has caused damage.  It does not reflect the standards or image of a Mormon in good standing.  If she grinned through such revelations in a way to indicate that she was unrepentant, she did the faith a disservice.

Should she be excommunicated or disfellowshipped?

I would not be surprised if her bishop called her and her husband in to ask about how things are going.  I would not be surprised if the TV show came up.  I would not be suprised if other members of the ward and stake to which she belonged were more frank about their disapproval.  People at church do talk, and they are not always very diplomatic.

The more serious question would focus on whether there's an unresolved transgression that needs to be addressed.  If she said or suggested on TV that she'd been around the block, she might be frankly asked whether there was something she wanted to talk about.  If she said there wasn't, particularly if she offered some sort of explanation ("I had no idea what they were putting me up to"), she would be counseled about maintaining her dignity and protecting her reputation, but if there's no issue, there's no issue.  There have been times when members have been accused of sexual misconduct, and have denied it, where the bishop had to decide the truth.  If a bishop thinks the member is being evasive or unrepentant, he can take appropriate action anyway.

But the real issue is not whether someone has ever done something wrong, but whether someone is continuing to do something wrong.  Time, by itself, is not a purger of iniquity but almost any sin can be resolved if it's acknowledge, sincerely regretful, restitution has been made, confessed and forsaken.  Someone who committed a sexual transgression years ago but has since lived in a clean life may be called on the carpet for going so long before resolving the matter but the original issue, if forsaken, should not be treated with a scarlet letter.  It's a bigger issue that someone has lied about the transgression, in interview after interview.

I can't say what every bishop is going to tell every person or couple who come to him about an issue, but I've known enough bishops - and enough people who felt like sharing - to construct an idea of what goes on behind closed doors.  Sometimes, the atmosphere is one of love and forgiveness, with a genuine desire to help the sinner get beyond the sin.  Sometimes, in all frankness, the question is asked, "Why didn't you come to us with us sooner?  Why did you wait so long to resolve something that could have been behind you years ago?"

There's a general conception that Mormons don't drink, don't smoke and certainly don't fool around.  While this is a caricature, entertained by non-Mormons, it's also an assumption made by most Mormons.  One reason for this is the attitude, among Mormons, that such things should be kept quiet and resolved behind closed doors.  Mormons are encouraged not to talk about their indiscretions, except to a bishop or stake president.  This is done to avoid sending the message that it's okay to violate the covenants of baptism.  But some things can't be hidden, such as when someone's child comes back from school with a child but no spouse.  In my local ward, there have been a number of obvious trainwrecks, of men leaving their wives, of women sleeping around, of good people turning to drugs.  Everybody knows more than they should.  I can honestly say that such spectacles have been greatly discouraging.   But the attitude has not been one of basnishment and ostracism so much as sadness and concern.  In my ward, there have always been a few snippy people who could have passed for the Church Lady, but most people are less outraged by hypocrisy than saddened by loss.  I have met far more Mormons who have shed tears for those who have fallen away than outrage for Mormons who don't live up to their covenants.  People are more likely to rag on each other for being rude than flawed, though a bad Gospel Doctrine teacher will get scoffed at for boring his class to death.

Even before the series of scandals that rocked my ward, I knew a counselor in a bishopric who would turn to me for support.  Without revealing any confidences, he'd lean on me for a little spiritual relief, as if I were his blind bishop.  The lines on his face would tell the story.  This guy had been counseled to death.  He'd heard it all.  He'd dealt with it all.  He'd trodden over ground he wished he'd never had to cross.  One time, without going into any details, the man said to me, "There are things out there you don't want to know about.  You go to Church every day.  You pray.  You enjoy the good company and spirit of your fellow members.  But some of the stuff I have to sit in on makes me wish I'd never been born."

Because Mormons believe in working with people, excommunication is reserved for people who engage in serious sins and won't give them up, or for people who go out of their way to lead a revolt.  But because Mormons also believe in privacy - and in being a good example - there's what must be a subterraneous world of sin and confession that would make your hair curl, of people quietly trying to rise above the funk of the Jerry Springer trash culture.  What if you woke up one morning and could see every sin, spot every subterfuge, see past every false front?  I have a feeling that there are bishops out there who see far more than they want.  Maybe that's why so many of the General Conference talks are on the basics.  Nobody thinks they need to hear this stuff, but obviously somebody needs to hear it - because it never goes out of style.

Mormons are probably not as strict as Jehovah's Witnesses, which is one reason to speak of the Church as a "hospital for sinners."
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2008 - 10:30PM #23
Maurices5000
Posts: 11
Talk about the Great Digression!  Is that in the Bible? I think I just surmounted it. :-)

Nevertheless, being the sad person i am, i read all of it.

Ok... Ok again.  THere are so MANY things to talk about.

First, thanks for shedding some light on a few things.  FYI, I was raised baptist too. I became a JW at 13, although with much persecution. I live in the Bible belt and my step father was both abusive and opposed. That tells you the extent of my dedication.

So basically you said all of this to mean that a "saint is a person who falls and gets back up" as the Christendom (ebonics for Christian-dumb) song goes.  So a person who is resolved to wallow in his bad habits will be excommunicated. If this is so, I think i understand you.

For personal reasons, I'll come back to this later.

Ok. Now how much of what you said is actually official. It is one thing to be an apologist and speak on behalf of the Church yet the Church says, "WHAT???"

Does the Mormon Church really take into consideration this history of apostasy when trying to strike a balance? Or is this just a personal apologetic?

I understand John Calvin to be a predestinationist, how is it that people felt on verge of falling away. I thought it was from this concept the Baptist developed the "Once saved always saved" non-biblical phrase. In fact the save do not sin at all--some teach. Sin the claim is a manifestation that they are not indeed saved--that is according to them.

Some of what you say is insulting and arrogant. You state here: "I've never felt the need to justify bad ideas - even when offered by good people - so I can say, with no sense of guilt or anxiety, that Paul was wrong. His conception of God, swallowed whole by the Calvinists, is an imperfect one. Paul was using the doctrine of predestination to explain why some Jews accepted Christ while others rejected him....Paul may have been a very successful missionary but his conception of God, at least in this respect, was barbaric. Anybody who thinks that God is on par with a potter, making some pieces beautiful for his own purposes, while thoughtlessly trashing the rest of the clay, is committing a form of mental blasphemy. To impute God with evil, even while trying to justify him as God, is to darken one's mind. If there is a God, there's no way he can be evil and be God."

So Paul is wrong, was committing blasphemy, and ascribing evil things to God? Paul who had greater access to Jesus than you and I do?  This view of Paul's about predestination may indeed be blasphemy. Could it be what you claim Paul meant is indeed NOT what he meant? Why would an inspired apostle blaspheme?

The words of Paul are actually the words of Jeremiah the prophet found at Jeremiah 18:1-10, which  says:

"The word that occurred to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying:  “Rise up, and you must go down to the house of the potter, and there I shall cause you to hear my words.”

And I proceeded to go down to the house of the potter, and there he was doing work upon the potter’s wheels. And the vessel that he was making with the clay was spoiled by the potter’s hand, and he turned back and went making it into another vessel, just as it looked right in the eyes of the potter to make.

And the word of Jehovah continued to occur to me, saying:  “‘Am I not able to do just like this potter to YOU people, O house of Israel?’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘Look! As the clay in the hand of the potter, so YOU are in my hand, O house of Israel. At any moment that I may speak against a nation and against a kingdom to uproot [it] and to pull [it] down and to destroy [it],  and that nation actually turns back from its badness against which I spoke, I will also feel regret over the calamity that I had thought to execute upon it.  But at any moment that I may speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to build [it] up and to plant [it], and it actually does what is bad in my eyes by not obeying my voice, I will also feel regret over the good that I said [to myself] to do for its good.’"

So unless Jeremiah was a false prophet and lying, this illustration came not from Paul but Jehovah God himself. So maybe you should correct your views bro.

Now does this "blaspheme" necessitate predestination?

I have to go but I'll be back to further this discussion and ask more questions.

Hey, don't take anything personally. I just have a way with words. No offense intented.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 12:17AM #24
MMCSFOX
Posts: 1,785
“I have to go but I'll be back to further this discussion and ask more questions.”

Hmmm, there seem to be more statements in argumentation than questions.
*
“Hey, don't take anything personally. I just have a way with words. No offense intented.”

Yes we hear that a lot from people correcting us and arguing their own cause.  I believe that the ability to read whatever one wants into the scriptures was given us so that we may study and choose for ourselves which way we will go. This is a requirement of agency, which is why we tend to not argue points of doctrine. We just tend to present our case and allow the spirit to guide.

As seen in many posts here we are all at different points of progression in our understanding of Fathers will and requirements, thus our understanding of many things is also different.

I do hope that you find peace within yourself with your own beliefs.

Jesse F.
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"The religion of Christ itself is not so much a set of ideas as it is a set of activities."
--Sterling W. Sill
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 12:55AM #25
Maurices5000
Posts: 11
Thanks Jesse. Now that i have instant notification on. It is almost midnight here but I've come back to finish my post although i should be in bed.

I really appreciate your sarcasm and imputation of wrong motives. Those comments you could have kept for yourself. You are not God nor can you read minds. Please stick to your own business. thanks you.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 2:13AM #26
Maurices5000
Posts: 11
Bill, I've read the account of Pauls letter to the Romans found in the 9th chapter that you referred to. I read it from several versions--the English Standard Version, New American Standard Bible and New World's Translation. Now my question is does your Church teach that this verse is flawed or mistranslated? Does your Church offer an explanation of this Scripture aside from what you have provided?

I ask because many people do upon looking at the Scripture come to the conclusion that it supports predestination. However these are some verses that i noticed. (Now I'm not really interested in delving into predestination. it is just not a subject I'm interested it. However, i just wanted to provide an alternative view.)

22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

Notice he concludes:

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Upon reading these scriptures it does suggest that they had a choice. Now it could be the Paul used obscure wording. Or maybe he did say just what he meant. Kind of like when we are explaining a hard subject we hope or  assume that people don't think we "Really mean we want to KILL the boy."  So some scriptures may be interpreted as supporting predestination but it may not necessarily be what he is saying.

It is obvious that Paul was not trying to explain that God was somehow INJUST. But rather that he was just. He was further trying to show how it is that the Jews, his brothers, lost the hope to Gentiles.

Now the Jehovah's Witness take on this is that God did not literally harden anyone. He allowed them to become obstinate (or harden themselves). It could be said that he hardened them meaning that he allowed situations or circumstances to come upon them that will test their faith. As the potter, Jehovah allows people to be molded for an honorable use or a dishonorable use. If they allow themselves to be molded by his laws and principles, then he has molded them by means of his Word, his teachings, and principles into an honorable vessel. But if they reject his teachings then they are molded into a dishonorable vessel. He hardens them or allows them to become so hard that they break. Look at how he constantly put Pharaoh to the test. Pharaoh was extremely mad at the end. God did harden him, but it was not God but results of their own hard heartedness.

It reminds me of a child, "You thank you are mad?" "Let me give you something to get mad about!" So the parent made the child mad. But it really wasn't the parent, it was the child's bad attitude.

Now look at the Jews, the Jews were not being rejected because of their hard work. Here it is they were working so hard and then God changed the rules in the middle of the game. He said, "They think they will get saved by working so hard. Well I'm going to show them this. It is by faith not works." that is not the case. The Jews were thinking that by works they will be saved. But IT WASN'T THAT THEY WERE WORKING HARD It was that they WEREN"T REALLY WORKING AT ALL!  My point, they were only half hearted. The Jews were really just doing enough to get by. If they had really appreciated the Law, they would have reconciled the principles such as love and would have lived by those principles rather than legalistic loopholes.

Now to discredit myself none of this is official JW interpretation. But we do not view God as causing the hardening but only indirectly rather than directly. The rest is my example and my interpretation.

My personal belief (however unorthodox) in the matter is that God causes things to happen according to him purpose. That does not mean that the individual involved had no choice. However, he has fore knowledge to ensure that what things happen just as they needs to. In other words he makes sure that the cards fall into place. He allowed Pharaoh to rise, or he raise Pharaoh up at teh appointed time for his destruction so that his name would be made known. Jesus was destined to die. He still had free will however. He could have died at his birth or not long afterwards. Satan wanted the Child dead. But he could only do it at God's appointed time.

Jehovah's Witnesses also take the stance that foreknowledge does not equal predestination.  Just because God forekknows something doesn't mean that he caused it to be that way. it just means he knows.

The bible also says that he anointed Cyrus and calls him his servant. This Servant was not a true worshiper of Jehovah. It is what we would call today "sloppy language" or figurative speak, coded, or obscure. So things aren't to be taken literally. He used Cyrus to accomplish his purpose when that time came. Now Cyrus could have destroyed Babylon before the 70 years were up or afterwards. But he allowed events to take shape based on his time table. (My point his that these people were going to be the people they turned out to be. He just adjusted the circumstances a little to accommodate his purpose.) Remember these are my person views mixed with my JW indoctrination.

So rather than Paul being wrong, maybe we just misunderstand Paul. Nevertheless, it is Jehovah that originated this illustration about the Potter not Paul.

If the Jews had been paying attention to the Law, loving the law with all their hearts, they would have been able to identify the Messiah and become Christians. They did not so they were rejected. Why because they were fleshly. They lacked genuine faith. So God hardened them, or allowed circumstance to come upon them so that they revealed their true colors.

James 1:13-17 says:

"When under trial, let no one say: “I am being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone. But each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.

Do not be misled, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, for it comes down from the Father of the [celestial] lights, and with him there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow. "


1 Co 13:13 says:
"No temptation has taken YOU except what is common to men. But God is faithful, and he will not let YOU be tempted beyond what YOU can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out in order for YOU to be able to endure it."

Galatians 6:7, 8
"Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap;  because he who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit."

I must admit some of these scripture are hard to explain every facet. I need to review certain parts more closely. The one about Esau and Jacob have always been the hardest for me. But i do believe that there is substantial proof that the Bible teaches free will and not presdestination adn that the Bible has to be read from that perspective.

Again it was not Paul but Jehovah who used the illustration. And rather than boldly say Paul was wrong i think it is better to just say we might not understand his jargon.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 2:46AM #27
Maurices5000
Posts: 11
"Less subject to debate is the status of these meetings when compared to Sacrament Meeting, where the sacrament is prepared and taken. For Mormons, the sacrament is a weekly renewal of baptismal vows and baptismal blessings. If one approaches it right, the taking of the sacrament is like getting baptized again."

While I've been baptist, i've never been Catholic so what is a Sacrament?

"With respect to this silly woman who appeared on network TV and told an audience of millions that she was a "good Mormon" but that she had lesbian fantasies, various indiscretions and possibly had sex before she married her current husband, her appearance on this show is not, in itself, a sin."

Not negating your explanation, or ignoring it. It does seem she meant that she had an affair during the marriage. it is just unclear whether this had been publicized or not. She also accused him of cheating and made it seem as if she had strong proof that he had cheated on her.  Indeed it was a mess leaving many questions unanswered. that is why i wondered how this would play out in your Church.

"Mormons are probably not as strict as Jehovah's Witnesses, which is one reason to speak of the Church as a "hospital for sinners.""

This is a real eye opener. I really appeciated much of what you say. The only thing i do notice is that Mormons seem to attack the bible a lot to justify a stance they make. Not that i feel you did but you kinda gave his words less then inspired status.

As for the Saint being a person who falls down. I thought that was interested considering you call yourselves Latter-day Saints. I said i would come back to this.

I'm an exgay as they are called. Now I've never been gay. I'm a virgin. Believe that people can change their orientation. There is a Mormon organization called Evergreen if you've ever heard of it.

Well, our elders can be so intolerant that i've been charged with "justifying homosexuality".     When that is clearly not the case. All i ws doing was quoting the Watchtower itself. I do wish our Organization was more open like a "hospital for the sick." Because their lack of tolerance sometimes makes it impossible for some.  True worship is changing though and i hope that more attention will be given to these issues. I wonder sometimes how often people are disfellowshiped prematurely just because of the impatience of the elders. I mean how many times does a person sin before he is unrepentant? Just once can be teetering on being disfellowshipped. You can also be disfellowshipped for numerous lesser crimes even while seeking help.

Thus JWs with same-sex attraction find that even in seeking help they are walking a thin rope.  Some elders say it is all just of the devil and forget about it rather than trying to learn how they can be of assistance. Instead of listening they are quick to take offense.

There are reasons for this.
Heb 12:15-17 says:
"that no poisonous root may spring up and cause trouble and that many may not be defiled by it; that there may be no fornicator nor anyone not appreciating sacred things, like E′sau, who in exchange for one meal gave away his rights as firstborn. For YOU know that afterward also when he wanted to inherit the blessing he was rejected, for, although he earnestly sought a change of mind with tears, he found no place for it."

I just think they go overboard and in areas of conscience don't always give people thier just due but judge based on their own limitations.

Now, Bill, if you can find an ultra motive or some agenda please point it out because i see none as Jesse was so eager to point out.

I've appreciated your frank discussion. Finding that balance is quite hard. I don't think JWs should swing as wide as Mormons have, but they do need to loosen up a bit.  In some places 3 times, not much more and maybe less will be given for a person to correct his problem. We all know that in the real world a person with a drug problem such as smoking or who is trying to find their way through therapy like a gay person, or any other problem that will not be resolved over night will likely need more time than just 2, 3, or 4 chances. Indeed, if they have 4, they have some patient elders indeed.

But things are changing and maybe elders will be given counsel on how to be more sensitive to the needs of their flock rather than quickly discarding them as wicked and unrepentant.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2008 - 5:19PM #28
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,242
Maurices5000, I've had some trouble accessing this site, so I missed an earlier opportunity to read your words, and I don't time at the moment to reply, but here's the quick word: I like the way you think.

I'll be back with more, but hopefully less as well.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2008 - 11:52PM #29
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,242
"Ok. Now how much of what you said is actually official. It is one thing to be an apologist and speak on behalf of the Church yet the Church says, 'WHAT???'"

I'll try to be clear where the LDS Church speaks and where I speak.

"Does the Mormon Church really take into consideration this history of apostasy when trying to strike a balance? Or is this just a personal apologetic?"

No.  I didn't offer that bit of history to suggest, in any sense, that the LDS Church takes into account "this history of apostasy when trying to strike a balance."  You misunderstood my point but that's my fault.  I should have been clearer.

I only brought up the differences between Mormons, Catholics and various types of Protestants to point out how Mormonism's perspective is different.  In Catholicism, salvation has traditionally had to do with receiving "the Seven Sacraments" which spanned the lifetime of the believer.  Luther's Protestantism based salvation on faith, which means that you don't need seven sacraments.  This opens the door to more immediate moments of salvation - either when you first professed faith in Christ, or were baptized, or were "born again."  In some faiths, you can fall from grace, in others you can't, in still others, your fall merely proves that you weren't among the elect to begin with.

The only reason I brought up these diverging views about salvation was to show the difference in the Mormon perspective.  Catholics take a fairly long view (salvation as a final judgment on the totality of your life).  Protestants tend to take a short view. (Were you saved or not?  Did you stay saved?)   In terms of how they view salvation, Mormons are more like Catholics (salvation doesn't happen in a moment) but for Mormons it's even longer (a path that began before this life and continues beyond the grave).  For Mormons, it's also vertical as well as horizontal.  Whether Catholics and Protestants focus on the chapel as the locus of worship, Mormons also worship in the temple.  In fact, in a faith where the functions of a professional clergy are largely performed by lay members, there are different degrees of commitment and different expectations of members depending on their level of maturity and/or their responsibilities toward other members.

Long story short, there are churches that don't care how you act as long as you show up and throw some money in the plate.  There are churches where you can't fall from grace.  There are churches where you can, some of whom take seriously the job of making sure every member is toeing the line.  The Mormon Church is one where standards are definitely set and where people can, indeed, be kicked out for serious transgressions.  But, because it is a Church based on the idea of eternal progression, as long as a person is meeting the minimum standards for membership, it's pretty hard to get kicked out.  And even if someone has fallen from grace, there are procedures through which people can resolve their issues.

"I understand John Calvin to be a predestinationist, how is it that people felt on verge of falling away. I thought it was from this concept the Baptist developed the "Once saved always saved" non-biblical phrase. In fact the save do not sin at all--some teach. Sin the claim is a manifestation that they are not indeed saved--that is according to them."

When I was a Baptist, the "once saved, always saved" doctrine was based on Christ's saying in John 10:28-30: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

Protestants who believe in salvation by faith are more inclined to hold to this doctrine on the belief that salvation is not of works, which, to them means that you can't lose salvation for failing to have the requisite degree of works.  Since Mormons don't hold to this view, I'm merely discussing it because it has come up.  Mormons believe you must endure to the end, a doctrine consistent with eternal progression.  To Mormons, it's a bigger mistake to quit than it is to fall down and get back up.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 22, 2008 - 12:12AM #30
MMCSFOX
Posts: 1,785
“I really appreciate your sarcasm and imputation of wrong motives. Those comments you could have kept for yourself. You are not God nor can you read minds. Please stick to your own business. thanks you.”
*
Wow, Maurice5000  did you now just tell me that I can not post on this Mormon forum?

Sounds more like a little guilt there and the use of one of the standard tricks to silence anyone with a question one doesn’t want to answer. I wonder who taught you that trick?

But forgetting all else I would like to know just why you feel you have the right to tell anyone, especially LDS, to not post here on an LDS forum. It seems that you are the one that is out of place yet we have allowed you to express your opinions in our Mormon forum.

I guess that you are just so much smarter than us simple LDS and we need to have you save us in our sins of ignorance.

Or not.

Jesse F.
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The divine test of a man's worth is not his theology but his life.
- Morris Joseph, "Judaism as Creed and Life"
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