Post Reply
Page 2 of 2  •  Prev 1 2
Switch to Forum Live View Honest Question from a Non-Mormon
6 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 5:50PM #11
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,201
There's a lot of cool stuff in the Bible, stuff that gets cooler when you're not trying to argue its historicity.  Did God really rain all those plagues down on Egypt?  For that matter, was Moses even there?  Did Moses even exist?  Were the Jews ever really slaves in Egypt?  I think there's a solid argument for the idea that the whole book of Exodus was written after the Babylonian Captivity and was, in fact, a coded text against the Babylonians.  I won't go into all the arguments here, but the story plays better when you think of it in operatic terms.  This is the story of oppression, of people who feel helpless, and of the idea that oppression can end.  Was Jehovah for real, or was he just a literary device - a figure representing the power to effect change? 

I don't know and frankly I don't care. 

I get more out of the story as an allegory.  Even the greatest oppression, by the greatest oppressors, can be turned around.  And if it could work for Moses and the Children of Israel, why couldn't it work in your life and mine?

We talk about true prophets and false ones, but the conventional view of prophets - as soothsayers and foretellers of future events - is overrated.  The prophets of the Old Testament predicted the future, but only within stories we can never validate in the first place.  Did they see the future or were they merely written that way?  While the Bible has plenty of prophecies which have yet to come true, most of what it has to say belongs to the ever-present here and now.  It's always better to honor your parents, love your neighbor, keep your hands to yourself, watch your lusts and look out for others.  To me, the most beneficial parts are those which guide and direct.  It's as if some earlier generation had passed down some great wisdom: "Do this and this wil happen.  Don't do this and that will happen."

If there's a heaven, I'll be happy to stand in line for the buffet.  But my focus is on the here and now.  I'm really trying to find happiness in the only world I know anything about.  I don't necessarily believe that the heavens weep whenever a can of beer is opened, but I'm contented to avoid something that depletes paychecks, causes drunk-driving deaths and leads people to wake up in strange homes, next to strange people and say, "Did you and I, uh . . . ?"

I wish there were less emphasis on God weeping, like an Indian in the littering ads, and more emphasis on basic cause and effect.  If God really is tearing up, I hopes it's for the things we do to each other, not the rules we managed to break.  If there's any great virtue that has made itself known to me, it's the virtue of balance, what Aristotle called The Golden Mean.  The difference between medicine and poison is in the application.  Everything good is capable of being turned and twisted against us.  True wisdom is to see the folly behind every opportunity and to have the agility to walk carefully around the snake pits.  Pimps and politicians pander to our every passion, ever-ready to lead us down the primrose path.  But the safety of ascetics is not a solution, either.  We can't shut out the world and crawl back into our caves.  The trick is to balance boldness with vigilance, so that we're always seeing from more than one angle.

Whatever Mormonism was - and there are always folks at the ready to tell us - for a great many others, Mormonism is a lifestyle in which children grow up believing they're the sons and daughters of God.  They are raised by parents who feel no less burdened than Mary and Joseph were in raising the baby Jesus.  These children hopefully grow up in homes where the parents don't drink, where every Monday is Family Home Evening night, where Daddy baptized the kids and gave them blessings when they skinned their knees, where Junior learns about manhood from home-teaching with Dad while his sister learns the lessons of womanhood from someone who doesn't hang around in bars or crack houses.  By the time and LDS child reaches adulthood, he or she will have learned countless lessons in public speaking, organizational behavior, textual analysis, campfire management and politics.  At about the time he might otherwise be in college, getting drunk and laid with his fraternity pals, the average 19-year-old male is serving a mission.

What's so wrong with wanting to be married in a temple, with hoping your relationship lasts forever, with wanting to bring up clean kids in a clean environment?  What's so bad about giving of your time and talents to the community?  What's so bad about looking at the world from the perspective of something bigger than yourself?

This is, in my opinion, what the religion is really about.  And that's why I'm not so sure anybody really cares about the seer stones and other artifacts of Joseph Smith's early life in the "burned over district" of New England.
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 04, 2008 - 3:18PM #12
truthteacher
Posts: 8
Bill, I am truly saddened.  Perhaps you may live the rest of your life as content as you are now.  But what about when you die?  Will you be so happy when your wife and all four of your kids are ripped from you?  Will you keep chanting that everything is a lie when you stand before Christ with every prophet that you have ever read or heard the words of next to him?  I think not.  Bill, Satan is laughing at you.  Your life became easier because Satan successfully tore you down and he no longer cares.  You are no longer a threat to him.  Heaven weeps because you let go of the words of life.  Please do not be angry with me, I say this only because I care and because I feel impressed to write.

It is easier to fall than to climb, but falling always proves fatal.

With incomprehensible love,
truthteacher
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 05, 2008 - 3:14AM #13
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,201
"Bill, I am truly saddened. Perhaps you may live the rest of your life as content as you are now. But what about when you die? Will you be so happy when your wife and all four of your kids are ripped from you? Will you keep chanting that everything is a lie when you stand before Christ with every prophet that you have ever read or heard the words of next to him? I think not. "

Well, thanks for the warning but I'm not sure we're reading from the same page.  The point of my last post was not that "everything is a lie."  It's that the true measure of a religion is in how well it works, particularly in helping a person make good decisions in the here and now.  I've said lots of things in lots of posts but I think my point was that EVEN IF IT WERE A LIE (what's sometimes called a contrary-to-fact clause), it would be worth it to live a good Mormon life.

"Bill, Satan is laughing at you. Your life became easier because Satan successfully tore you down and he no longer cares. You are no longer a threat to him. Heaven weeps because you let go of the words of life."

That's one way to look at it.  Another is to say I've stopped stubbing my big toe on doctrinal minutiae.  I know people who think they are doing the world a huge service by showing up to church every Sunday and by not questioning anything written anywhere in the scriptures, but I keep thinking about Jesus's comment, that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.

Which do you think is more important, in terms of Gospel living?  Whether or not Noah's boat was big enough to carry representative samples of every mammal, bird, insect, microbe and vegetation - from seven continents - or whether it's important to pay your taxes and obey the law?  I'm not saying that these are mutually exclusive, just that some issues have a direct bearing on the quality of your life - and the lives of others - while others are tantamount to trivia.

"Please do not be angry with me, I say this only because I care and because I feel impressed to write."

I appreciate your good intentions and I am not angry with you for reaching out to me.  If you think I'm going to Hell, how can I be angry with you for saying so?

"It is easier to fall than to climb, but falling always proves fatal."

Sure, but it's also easier to be a literalist and claim you believe whatever it says in a book or manual, rather than struggle with the question for yourself.  One rendering of the name "Israel" is "he who struggles with God."   I think it's more honest, and more productive, to put the issues out there and chew on them, rather than sublimate them and pretend they don't exist.

I'm not saying this is you, but I can honestly say, it has been me - and I was never happy that way.
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 4:38PM #14
LDSLinda
Posts: 4
If you want a pagaent that has the Book of Mormon events, you need to see the Hill Cumorah pageant.
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2008 - 10:58AM #15
ProfitOfGod
Posts: 1,020
[QUOTE=Yzzazz;384823]On the other hand if you don't accept my premise and you think that Christianity (LDS flavor or otherwise) is all about income used for lesiure...



I did not imply that it was all about leisurely pursuits for those collecting the money.  Religious institutions like to collect money, period.  Money = power and control...the more money you have, the more power and control you can have. 

If there is no the difference, how do you explain the growth success?

I submit that they are somehow related.[/QUOTE]

I don't begrudge anyone's commercial success, but as I've stated before here, what we're seeing now are the fruits of a carefully scripted PR campaign. 

It's somewhat interesting to talk to Protestant, Catholic, Muslim and Jewish friends who say that their kids are being taught the same church lessons as they learned growing up (religion is rarely discussed with my Asian and Indian friends).  While a lot of the core "I know this church is true...follow the prophet" stuff happens in the LDS church, a LOT has changed in Primary since the 1970s. 

And it's been changed for business reasons, plain and simple.

Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2008 - 2:17PM #16
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,201
"Bill, I am truly saddened. Perhaps you may live the rest of your life as content as you are now. But what about when you die? Will you be so happy when your wife and all four of your kids are ripped from you?"

Any God who would "rip" my wife and kids from me because I don't parrot a bunch of simplistic nonsense isn't worth worshipping in the first place.  Such a god is more of a projection of somebody's psychotic revenge fantasies.  Have fun at church.
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2008 - 3:30PM #17
Gaia-j
Posts: 636
[QUOTE=truthteacher;408502]

Will you be so happy when your wife and all four of your kids are ripped from you?  Will you keep chanting that everything is a lie when you stand before Christ with every prophet that you have ever read or heard the words of next to him?
truthteacher[/QUOTE]



GAIA:

I have to tell you that I certainly agree with Bill:

Any "god" who is so obsessed with that sort of minutiae is not  only a poor imitation / stand-in of the Jesus who praised a Pagan because of his faith (Matthew 8:7-14)  , and condemned the pharisees because of their spiritual pride and arrogance (Matthew 6, 14, 15, 22)  and their obsession with  minutiae at the expense of the "weightier matters" like faith and mercy,  (Matthew 23:23) ; -- - But is also no "god" worth worshipping.

We recognize that a judgemental, vindictive, jealous and angry mortal is nobody to be admired --

Why would we worship anybody with all the spiritual and emotional maturity of a bratty eight-year-old???


The "god" whom many (even Mormons) envision is nobody i could respect, let alone worship. 


Blessings --
~Gaia
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2008 - 4:25PM #18
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,201
Thanks, Gaia!
Quick Reply
Cancel
Page 2 of 2  •  Prev 1 2
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook