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Author Topic: Crash course in LDS
Shan
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quote:
Mormons believe that people should marry and make babies - multiply, and replenish the earth.
So, one of the questions that has haunted me since I was about 12 sitting in one of my last ever Mia Maids classes, was being told that in order to get to the highest part of the celestial kingdom, you HAD to get married and have babies - no options.

Is that actually a fundamental belief, or just one of those odd belief varieties based on locale of said ward?

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Jon Boy
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To enter into the highest degree of glory, you must enter into the new and everlasting covenant, aka eternal marriage. I believe that having children (or having the desire if you are incapable) is an integral part of temple marriage (though I don't have a source on hand to back that upā€”I'll check on it).

Having children is a fundamental aspect of godhood (or, at least, the highest degree of godhood). If you don't want children, then you essentially don't want that degree of exaltation.

And of course, if you don't get married in this life, you still have a chance in the next.

[ April 06, 2005, 11:58 PM: Message edited by: Jon Boy ]

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quidscribis
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Have babies - absolutely not. Not everyone is physically capable of having children, to start with. We're going to thwart their eternal progress based on infertility? Yeesh.

As for marriage, yes, but eternal marriage, as in sealed in the temple.

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Shan
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Hmmm. Must be one of those geographical varieties' thing.

Uncle Orson? Any comments - as I believe you are perhaps the eldest of the elders around here on the 'rack?

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Susie Derkins
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I think Jon Boy addressed that concern, quid:
quote:
I believe that having children (or having the desire if you are incapable)
And there really aren't too many regional variations in LDS doctrine.
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Portabello
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quidscribis -- our teachings explicitly say that nobody will be denied any blessings because of things beyond their control. When we talk about having children, like Jon Boy did, we are referring to having children in this life and/or in the next.
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Shan
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But the question is (barring the forgiven few that are physically incapable) - is having children (when capable) a requirement of entry into the highest level of the celestial kingdom? Or just marriage sealed within the temple?
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Portabello
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There is no clear doctrinal answer to that.

However, we believe that we are commanded to multiply and replenish the earth.

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quidscribis
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Hey, I'm having connectivity problems over here, and it took a few minutes for the thing to actually post, so I wasn't arguing with Jon Boy. It was just a delay beyond my control.
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Susie Derkins
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Yeah, sure. I bet you're not even in Sri Lanka. [Razz]
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quidscribis
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[ROFL] If I'm not, I'd like to know why the stupid connection is resetting every minute!!!! Yeesh!

But at least it's not another anchor dropped on and severing the undersea telecommunications cable, rendering us without international dialling or internet for a week or more like a few months ago, all out of greed by Indians wanting us to route through them instead of Singapore. [/derail]

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Boris
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quote:
But the question is (barring the forgiven few that are physically incapable) - is having children (when capable) a requirement of entry into the highest level of the celestial kingdom? Or just marriage sealed within the temple?
Temple marriage is the only requirement. However, it is somewhat difficult to go an entire lifetime in marriage without having children unless one member of the marriage is sterile/barren. Well, unless you're actually TRYING not to have kids. While that is not specifically against our religion, it is not looked highly upon. As for regionalisms, the proper term would be "crazy leaders who think they know everthing"isms. A lot of people seem to pass off as doctrine things that are merely their own understanding of certain things. Then there are some who pass off as doctrine things that apostles/prophets/the local general authority said in a private conversation that was overheard by Sister Jenkins' counsin's twin sister. But that's just the way Mormons work sometimes [Smile]

[ April 07, 2005, 12:12 AM: Message edited by: Boris ]

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Portabello
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Having kids or not definitely falls under the umbrella of "things we have been given guidence on, but the specifics of which you need to decide for yourself, and it's none of anybody else's buisness."
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Occasional
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However, in some ways Mormonism encorages that personal idiosyncratic look at doctrine. It can be "dogmatic" without requiring a solid map of "everything" spelled out. That is the one reason non-Mormons can get so confused. There are some things that are very specific in the beliefs, while other things are whatever the individual thinks might be the answer.

My suggestion to those who study LDS doctrine for the first time is to ask "is that an official doctrine of the LDS Church, or a speculation built from the official teachings?"

Oh, and "we don't know" really is an answer on many subjects, and not just a dismissal. Its a by-product of a religion that believes Revelation is an ongoing process.

[ April 07, 2005, 12:19 AM: Message edited by: Occasional ]

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Ela
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quote:
Not to threadjack, but I was having a conversation with a very religious friend of mine a few months ago (she's one of those non-denominational Jesus Freak people) who was quite upset because apparently I have a nasty habit of taking The Lord's Name in Vain. I had to explain to her that God has a name, and that in the Old Testament (as it was written in Hebrew for Jews) everyone was aware of this and most people knew his name. (Nevermind the fact that as far as I know no one has any idea how to pronounce the Tetragrammaton.) As God had a name, it was viewed that using it invoked his presence. It would strike me as being an astoundingly bad idea to irritate God. I can imagine him having the Celestial equivalent of a cell phone ringing every time someone mentioned his name. Man that would suck. I'd throw down some commandments too.

She asserted that the name of God is "God" or "Jesus" or "Christ." I was kind of flabbergasted by that. The fact that Christ's name is sacred I can totally buy, but the name of God is God? I thought of it more as a title. Like saying "Professor" instead of "Bob" (given your proffesor's name is Bob).

Thoughts?

To answer your comments about Jews:

Many Jews who are observant and care about such things do not write the name of G-d. May also do not write out or say the names that have come to substitute for the name of G-d, except in prayer or for religious observance purposes. In speaking of G-d, many Jews substitute the expression "HaShem" - which means "The Name."

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Orson Scott Card
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God has many names. They are all his name, and many of us really appreciate it if you use it with respect.

Back to Mormonism ...

Let's give the word "godhood" a rest, please. We don't know what it means, and the scriptures never explain it. We know about the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom, eternal increase, etc., but whether we become "like God" only relatively or absolutely and what that would even mean is completely beyond the scope of any human alive to explain. So to assert that we can aspire to a status that sounds, to many, as if we thought we could become the EQUALS of God, is not doctrine and it's not helpful in explaining our beliefs to others.

About marriage as a necessity: Yes, it is a necessity, but NOT necessarily a necessity in this life. If you reach the end of this mortal life unmarried - as millions of people do, generation after generation - God does not limit you because of this. Everything will be sorted out in the end. No one will be deprived of their just place in God's kingdom because of a mere lack of opportunity during mortality. God doesn't play favorites. My son Charlie Ben, for example, never had a hope of marrying - he couldn't walk or speak. But he was able to live a righteous, generous, and happy life; God would not punish him or restrain him from his place just because the vicissitudes of mortal life - prebirth damage to his brain - made it impossible for him to control his body well enough to enter into fatherhood and husbandhood.

Start from the premise that God is just and he loves us all, and if we obey him to the best of our ability and understanding, our Father will help us the rest of the way home, through the guidance of the Spirit, the atonement of the Son, and his own great plan for our happiness.

In this life, we do all that we CAN do. That's Mormon doctrine. That's why we don't believe that unbaptized infants are damned, or that people who never heard the name of Christ in their lives will be forever barred from heaven. Not do we believe that only Mormons will go to heaven - in fact, we believe that everyone will have such a clear chance to choose the way, and will be judged so fairly according to their understanding of God's will during their lifetime, that in the end we will all shout for joy and give thanks to God for his justice and mercy to us.

In the meantime, we live in this world by faith, discovering who we are by seeing what we choose to do. That's worry enough for me; by and large, I let the metaphysical questions take care of themselves, trusting that it will all work out as long as I do what I can now.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
I can imagine him having the Celestial equivalent of a cell phone ringing every time someone mentioned his name. Man that would suck. I'd throw down some commandments too.

That's one of the explainations I give Primary kids who just aren't satisfied with standard answers when I sub in their classes. I also used it when I worked at a Catholic school. Works wonders when they realize there might be a reason behind some of these rules, and even if that one's not it, there might be a better one, and maybe they should think about obeying them. [Smile]
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Occasional
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The below is basic reading material for understanding LDS Doctrine on the subjects we have been touching upon.

There is Everlasting Covenant Mentioned

Everlasting Covenant Explained

Laws of Kingdoms

Kingdoms Defined

[ April 07, 2005, 12:55 AM: Message edited by: Occasional ]

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Shan
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Thank you, sir, for clearing that up.
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imogen
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quote:
In the meantime, we live in this world by faith, discovering who we are by seeing what we choose to do. That's worry enough for me; by and large, I let the metaphysical questions take care of themselves, trusting that it will all work out as long as I do what I can now.
[Smile]

This is something that I think is applicable to everyone, no matter what their particular faith is.

My faith is not that of the LDS church, or any other church for that matter. It's more of a faith in doing good to others and for others, working to improve myself and helping to make a difference. I try and live by that (although sometimes I get a little distracted), and if I succeed, I think I will have lived a good life. What happens after that is out of my control, so there's not too much point fretting about it.

[ April 07, 2005, 12:59 AM: Message edited by: imogen ]

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dread pirate romany
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I really, really hope I did not offend anyone with my question. I apologise if I did.
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Hobbes
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(((((DPR)))))

Hobbes [Smile]

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Verily the Younger
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For my part, I wish to apologize to anyone who may have seen my joke in the brief period between the time I posted it and the time I took it down. I swear that it was meant to be purely light-hearted, and it was never my intention to mock anyone's beliefs. But it didn't take me long to look at it again and realize that it looked very mocking, and that it would offend more people than it would amuse.

I don't know if any of the anger in this thread was directed specifically at me--I removed the post before any anger was expressed--but in the end it doesn't matter. I really should have known better, and if I had given it a moment's thought before I hit the reply button, I'd have never said anything at all. I am ashamed that I did, and I sincerely and humbly apologize for it. I hope that anyone who may have read it will understand that I did not intend to mock, and will be able to forgive me for my lapse in judgment.

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advice for robots
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Javert, now I'm curious about what the section about the LDS covers. Do you read any of the Book of Mormon? How does the course differentiate the various religions it covers? What are the defining characteristics it highlights?
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Javert
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The problem with this course is that it is RELIGION and Human Sexuality, which gives a lot of room for generality. We only meet two times a week, so the trend has been that the first meeting we get a general overview of the religion, and the next meeting we go into detail about one specific "sexual issue" that relates to that religion in some way.

We just finished Islam, where we discussed the whole practice of female veiling. When we did Catholicism we discussed birth control. For LDS, we're going to discuss polygamy.

And, please, understand that neither I nor my professors mean any disrespect to the LDS Church by studying polygamy in reference to them. The reasoning for it, as was explained to me, is that it was practiced at one time by Mormons and by looking at that it will help us understand their beliefs in relation to their religion and sexuality.
Also, it unfortunately IS a stereotype among people who know nothing about LDS that they practice polygamy. So, by studying why that stereotype is there, perhaps we can help remove it.

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quidscribis
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As a total derail are you aware that Muslims, in some parts of the world, still practice polygamy? Fahim's uncle has two wives, completely legal in Sri Lanka and many other countries.

And now I"m curious to know what you learned about veiling practices among Muslim women. Curious to know if it's the truth or outdated prejudices or biased opinion. [Dont Know]

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Kama
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as a total derail of derail, do you know that there is an honorary consulate of Sri Lanka in the building I work in?
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Bokonon
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As a derail of a derail of a derail, did you know that friend and co-worker of mine who sits in the cube next to me is Sri Lankan?

-Bok

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Hammer
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First, thanks to OSC for taking the high road.

Next, here are some truths from the Bible and from the Book of Mormon.

1.1 Cor 15:40-41 speaks of the different degrees of glory of heaven aka telestial, terrestial and celestial.

2. Heavenly Father has a glorified body as does Jesus Christ. They both appeared to Joseph Smith thus answering the debate as to what God is. In Genesis it says we are created in His image. I don't think a spirit without body, parts or passion would look like this but then I personally haven't seen Him.

3. Spirit children. "We are His offspring" Acts 17:28; "The spirit shall return to God who gave it" Eccl 12:7; "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee: Jer 1:4-5; "We are to be in subjection to the Father of our Spirits" Heb 12:9; "God chose us before the foundation of the world" Eph 1: 3-4. These are just some of the concepts that lead us to the truth that we had a premortal existence as spirit children of God.

4. KoM: no, there is no exact count of spirits to bodies created by us. In Revelations it tells us of the war in heaven where Lucifer adn 1/3 of the "hosts" of heaven, or Lucifer and his "angels" were cast out. If you consider that there are over 6 billion people living on earth now, and from the begining of time there have been potentially 10 billion, and of course we do not know how many more there are to be born but lets assume another 6 billion, that's 22 billion spirits or angles that STAYED in heaven. That applies to the reference in the paragraph above where it says God chose us from the begining. Rather, we chose to follow God and Jesus Christ. As to if more spirit childrean are being created I do not know, nobody does but God.

5. While these dialogues are good, you simply cannot learn the foundations, tenets, beliefs and doctrinal principles from a chat room simply becasue individuals relate principles to their own paradigms.

All I can say is there is a right and wrong way to live life. If you truely want to know what God wants, all you need to do is ask Him--sincerley.

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Altįriėl of Dorthonion
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Just by reading this thread, I thank God I was born Catholic.
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rivka
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Javert, I'm curious what "specific sexual issue" you discussed related to Judaism.
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TomDavidson
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"All I can say is there is a right and wrong way to live life. If you truely want to know what God wants, all you need to do is ask Him--sincerley."

Wrong. But thanks for playing. [Smile]

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Farmgirl
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only because you choose to not listen to His answer, Tom...
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TomDavidson
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I understand it's necessary for you to believe that, Farmgirl. But consider, as you cling to that opinion, that the answer you believe you've gotten from God is quite different from the answer Hammer says he's gotten.

This may indeed be part of some higher purpose. If so, I can only assume that not answering some people is part of the same purpose.

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KarlEd
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I'm with Tom on this one. I firmly believe that I have listened to any and all answers that God has given me. I'm the only one in a position to judge my own sincerity on this. If God has answered, but not in a manner in which I am able to recognize the answer, whose fault is that? The omnipotent/omniscient being who theoretically wants to impart some information, or the limited, lowly human who desperately wanted to receive said information?
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Portabello
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While I can understand where you are coming from guys, how appropriate is it for this thread?

How appropriate would it be for someone to come into the Kansas Vote thread, plop down, and say "Nope. That initiative was a great idea. Try again"?

[ April 07, 2005, 11:39 AM: Message edited by: Portabello ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:

How appropriate would it be for someone to come into the Kansas Vote thread, plop down, and say "Nope. That initiative was a great idea. Try again"?

Pretty appropriate, I'd imagine. In fact, I practically invited it by asking how people in Kansas voted; I wouldn't expect anyone to lie about it.

Actually, I'd be interested in hearing how anyone would defend their "yes" vote to that amendment, so I really hope that if someone voted that way, that they'd realize it's not inappropriate to say so.

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KarlEd
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More to the point, I don't think its any less appropriate to the thread than the quote Tom was originally responding to, though Tom's response could perhaps have been less blunt.
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Altįriėl of Dorthonion
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So then where is this thread going to?
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katharina
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quote:
"All I can say is there is a right and wrong way to live life. If you truely want to know what God wants, all you need to do is ask Him--sincerley."

Wrong. But thanks for playing.

I believe that you may not have gotten one yet. Yet, though. Sometimes it takes a very long while, and the answer doesn't always come while you're on your knees.

I've had only a small fraction of prayers defnitively answered, and of those maybe 1-5% was during or immediately after a prayer. There are other ways. [Smile]

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KarlEd
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Perhaps there are. In my own case, however, my present course in life was chosen in direct response to very prolonged, sincere prayer. What kind of god says "Knock and it shall be opened to you", hides behind the curtain until you go away, then opens the door only after you're gone?
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katharina
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Maybe that's the reasoning behind "endure to the end."
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Javert
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quidscribis: We did indeed discuss that some in Islam still practice polygamy, as did Judaism very early in its history.
As far as veiling, we had in depth discussions of the Western perception of why Islamic women veil (or women of any religion veil, for that matter), versus their own reasons for it. I'm at school right now, so I can't go in depth about it, but I know what you're getting at. We try in our class to look at everything from an unbiased point of view, and failing that, look at the positive and negative reasons for everything.

rivka- Unfortunately my notes are at home, and I have a bad memory, but I believe we focused on gender issues, which was appropriate because my professor is both female and a rabbi (or used to be a rabbi, she mentioned it the first day...once again bad memory [Smile] ). I can get into more detail when I get home tonight.

Oh, but I do remember that for Judaism the class watched "A Price Above Rubies". So, if you've seen it, we've dealt with some of the issues addressed in that film.

Allright, back to class!

[ April 07, 2005, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Javert ]

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Jenny Gardener
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I've had much the same experience as KarlEd...sincere seeking, and the answers coming back different from my upbringing or not at all. I felt abandoned, left to make my own sense of the world. Yet I've come to a place of peace and balance, doing the best I can with what I've got. I am content.

Irrelevant, at any rate. It is important to respect the paths our friends walk. Perhaps we just speak different languages when we refer to spiritual concepts. It's interesting to talk about doctrines and tenets, but what really matters (at least to me) is the way people choose to live their lives...

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Eaquae Legit
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One of my favourite musicians ever is a man who writes and sings Islamic educational songs. He did a song called "The Veil" which really made me understand why so many women choose to go veiled. And it's catchy and fun to sing, but I sometimes get weird looks when I'm caught singing his songs under my breath.

On the off chance anyone is curious: Dawud Wharnsby-Ali is the singer's name.

[ April 07, 2005, 02:19 PM: Message edited by: Eaquae Legit ]

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Hammer
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Tom said: "This may indeed be part of some higher purpose. If so, I can only assume that not answering some people is part of the same purpose. "

Hammer says, no answer is an answer. Sometimes the answer you get in contrary to what you asked. Not understanding this doesn't preclude the fact that there was an answer.

Regardless, I am thankful for Tom to have the right to state his opinion openly and exhange viewpoints with everyone participating.

Maybe someday I will share with you how God answered my prayers. For right now, it is too personal.

Besides, after a bowl of split pea soup it's time to crawl back under my bridge.

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TomDavidson
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"Hammer says, no answer is an answer. Sometimes the answer you get in contrary to what you asked."

How do you reconcile that with your earlier statement, Hammer?

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Puppy
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Here's another reason why it's a good idea to keep spiritual manifestations personal ā€” they are so subjective that it is pointless and silly to try to judge one another's experiences. Tom's relationship with God is for him to work out. I can't offer him explanations. The most I can do is tell him what I've found and hope he finds something useful in it. If not, I've reached the limit of what I can do, and the rest is up to him.

I think it's usually a good idea to assume that other people have been sincere in their personal search, and that if they found something different from you, that isn't a threat to the legitimacy of your experience. You don't have to explain it or dismiss it. Just realize that we're all here to go on different journeys, whatever those journeys may entail.

This applies equally to the religious people who try to explain away someone's lack of an answer, and to the non-religious people who try to explain away others' spiritual experiences.

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TomDavidson
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"I think it's usually a good idea to assume that other people have been sincere in their personal search, and that if they found something different from you, that isn't a threat to the legitimacy of your experience."

Unless of course you have a remarkably scientific mind, and the mere fact that your experience doesn't seem replicable is a threat to belief. [Frown]

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Portabello
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Do you think that's a good idea Tom?
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