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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Big Love to show LDS temple ceremonies (Page 7)

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Author Topic: Big Love to show LDS temple ceremonies
Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by JennaDean:
I do understand Occasional's use of the word "unclean", and in the scriptural sense it's right. I agree with Scott, though, that in modern usage it implies filthiness and sin, and does not give the right impression in this discussion.

The second question - "Isn't the whole point that temple attendees have attained a better state than people who cannot enter the temple?" Hmm ... I'd say yes.

This seems a good final take on it, I guess.
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Annie
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quote:
Katie - I do think that was the intent, actually.
For polygamy? I don't think so, personally. I think the intent was more along the lines of Jacob 2:30
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MattB
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Fair enough, Anneke - but I think I read that verse differently than you seem to. Demographics indicate that nineteenth century Mormon birth rates (that is, the child to women ratio in the Mormon population) were not significantly higher than those of American monogamous marriages at the same time.

(Though it is true that a slightly higher percentage of women seem to have been married in polygamous Utah than in the US as a whole. This boosted overall production of Mormon children by a small amount. The flip side is that the numbers of single men skyrocketed, and there were fewer families overall. The ratio's off due to the small number of polygamous men with more than two or three wives, which then deprived that number of men of any wife at all. The old story about there being a lot of widowed woman who needed husbands is mostly a myth. For all these stats, see Carmon Hardy's article "That Same Old Question: recent findings on nineteenth and early twentieth century polygamy" in the Utah Historical Quarterly, 2005; Hardy also frequently - but not exclusively - references Kathy Daynes's landmark book More Wives than One.)

Further, raising a seed was not the way Joseph explained polygamy to people in Nauvoo; rather he told people that polygamy was celestial marriage, the the final ordinance necessary to gain exaltation, which was generally how Brigham Young and other General Authorities explained it. Indeed, Joseph (and other Nauvoo-era polygamists, who really practiced a different marriage system than the one that later emerged in Utah) did not have sex with at least a significant minority of his wives, which seems counterintuitive for the purposes of the seed hypothesis.

All that given, I think polygamy turned a religion into a nation in a cultural and ideological sense, and forged a communal sense of identity on earth that dramatically illustrated sealing theology. That's a reading I think is perfectly consistent with the language of the Jacob verse.

(A final parenthetical: the historian Todd Compton argues that polygamy was a dynastic institution that created a strong central core of Mormon leadership all linked and made loyal to each other through polygamous marriages. Given the historical course of Mormon leadership and the dynastic nature of many prominent Mormon families - the Bensons, the Ballards, the Cannons, the Pratt-Romney clan, the Grants, the Whitneys, the Kimballs, and so on - there might be something to that.)

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SenojRetep
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<edit>Deleted post. Wasn't adding anything to the dialogue, just venting frustration.</edit>

[ March 19, 2009, 08:43 AM: Message edited by: SenojRetep ]

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beleaguered
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I think if everyone deleted the non-productive "just venting" posts, this thread might only be half as many pages. I think the discussion has gone in complete circles at least once with little contribution. Maybe I aught to look back at my posts . . . Hmm
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Annie
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I'd be swayed by the dynastic opinions, I think. Not necessarily producing more people overall, but producing more people in certain families. Maybe there was a reason the world needed a whole lot of Heber C. Kimballs, Jr.

Of course, this is wild, rampant speculation, and my official opinion on it is that God did it for His purposes, just like He did with Abraham and Jacob (... did Isaac have multiple wives? We only know about the one, right?) and that it's really not something we can historically deduce.

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MattB
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quote:
Of course, this is wild, rampant speculation
Surely, and I actually think we'd do better with a deeper sense of the inscrutability of God among the Mormons.

That said, it's in human nature to try making sense of God; we all do speculative theology, whether we think we do or not, and it's better to be aware of it (and thus humble about the inevitable assumptions that we make) than not. So, if we are to attempt to explain polygamy is better explained via theological reasons (the nature of salvation, unraveling what exactly sealing means, etc) than with material-historical ones (ie, demographics, widows, and so forth).

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Tatiana
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That's true, MattB, and the other thing that I think is relevant is that each person comes to their own understanding of the various doctrines, the one that works for them.

For instance, I had a huge hang up on my way to becoming Christian over the idea that I should allow Christ to suffer for my sins in my place. It was very personal to me because Christ as the innocent sufferer had several very real analogues in my life, and there is just no way I would agree to let them suffer agonies that were due to my flaws and errors. The very idea is appalling, sort of like Ursula K. LeGuin's story about those who walk away from Omelas. I just wasn't about to do that.

Then I read in C.S. Lewis that you don't have to have the same picture of the atonement that other people have. You can picture it as a debt you can't pay that Christ stepped in and paid for you. Or you can think of it in a number of other ways. All the doctrines have multiple levels of meaning, and they're quite rich and varied in their application to life, so that as you grow in wisdom and understanding through the years, you're able to see more and more than ever came to you at first.

I realized this solved my problem completely. So I accepted Christ's love and his sponsorship of me, and things got so much better for me at that point. I realize now that the most important thing is to accept. Until we agree to that relationship, until we're reconciled to that connection, Christ can't help us. His hands are tied. He can't and won't do anything to us against our wills.

So even if the doctrine taught by the church is painstakingly correlated and approved by multiple authorized witnesses and servants of the Lord, we still all have our personal view of things that holds the most meaning for us individually. That's why you can get different slants on things from different believers in the same doctrines.

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Hobbes
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I have a decent number of people tell me that the LDS Church is "too picky", or too focused on who will make it and who wont. Never in those words of course, but I feel like it's the same kind of comments that were made previous. And disposed of so I guess I'll have only myself to blame (as will you all) if this just brings up another fire, but I wanted to comment on it.

While I acknowledge that there are some serious negative consequences that could arise from taking this too far (and sometimes do unfortunately, such as the holier-than-thou attitude that can develop in ... well really any community) it's not as if it was invented in the early 1800s by Joseph Smith. If everyone, everywhere were to be saved then a whole lot of people have wasted a whole lot of time; and here I'm think of Christ, the prophets and apostles of the Bible. Not that everyone in this discussion believes in the Bible but obviously LDS do. To say we shouldn't have some method of choosing people would be akin to telling us to get rid of The Book of Mormon (or the Bible) because it separates us from the rest of the world. May seem like a great idea to those outside the faith but it pretty obviously isn't going to happen.

Just about all Christian religions I'm aware of have some criteria about making it into heaven. It ranges from the very strict (which the LDS Church certainly falls on that end of the spectrum) to the very limited, but I can't say I've run into any Christian faiths that believe in universal salvation (and here I mean, everyone whose ever lived or ever will live is saved). Another common thread is that all of the Christian religions I'm aware of the real determining factor is desire. Sometimes desire alone is enough, sometimes it has to be acted on. Sometimes, such as getting to the point where you're ready to enter the Temple it has to be acted on quite a bit!

Any community has rules about whose part of that community and who isn't. Locally it may just be if you live there or not. For the major political parties in the US you just need to declare yourself as a member of that party. Other organizations have dues and contracts to be signed. What's the use of a community, or defining a community if there's no definition of membership? I recognize most of the criticism here (or whatever it is) is directed towards allowing others in a building not overall into the Church. So my reasoning is: try to see the Temple and its ordinance as an extension of the community. It's an integral part of who we are: it's a part of what defines us. The rules that allow entrance are the same as those that allow entrance into the community itself. We all belong to many communities: some more important to us than others. It is possible to allow that community membership to become something negative even when the whole community is positive. If we allow the idea that our membership has made us intrinsically better than we are in danger, and that doesn't go just for religion. However, I would think that any decent community would say that though they hope they're able to provide tools to improve a person's life (in a way that makes sense to them) membership doesn't make one person better than another. Not all groups do and some seem to form for the express purpose of doing the opposite; but when it comes to the LDS Church that's certainly the Church's position and I've found it to be the majority opinion as well.

I hope those thoughts weren't too cluttered or superfluous, if it doesn't make sense I'll try to clarify! [Cool]

Hobbes [Smile]

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BlackBlade
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Hobbes: I completely agree, even a cursory reading of Jesus' words shows that he had pretty tough requirements and he wasn't about apologizing for them.
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scifibum
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quote:
If everyone, everywhere were to be saved then a whole lot of people have wasted a whole lot of time; and here I'm think of Christ, the prophets and apostles of the Bible.
quote:
Just about all Christian religions I'm aware of have some criteria about making it into heaven. It ranges from the very strict (which the LDS Church certainly falls on that end of the spectrum) to the very limited, but I can't say I've run into any Christian faiths that believe in universal salvation (and here I mean, everyone whose ever lived or ever will live is saved).
I hope you don't mind me taking those two portions of your post out of context, Hobbes - hopefully the full context is close by enough for it not to matter, but I do also think these two snippets form an important point. (With which I'm about to disagree, I think.)

I honestly think there's room to look at Jesus Christ, specifically, and simply remove postmortal salvation from the picture, and still have a message and a mission that are very far from a waste of time.

Conditional salvation isn't a necessary precondition for proselytizing, or preaching, in other words. The simple fact of making earthly life better is enough of a reason.

The impassive reality, though, is that humans need either a carrot or a stick that is sweet enough or sharp enough to motivate.

When you can get people to recognize the greater good as their carrot, you don't need to promise them salvation.

I'd say that's been hard to accomplish, though, because in practice it looks like you need to appeal to selfishness. Promises of salvation, of glory, of exaltation: motivational techniques.

Edit: Or you can use the stick of shunning or condemning the disobedient, threatening with eternal torment, etc. I'm glad that several sects of Christianity don't preach hellfire so much any more, because it seems a very unworthy method of persuasion.

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Hobbes
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I agree that there are benefits to a "Christian Life" that extend beyond the salvation that can only come after we've shuffled off this mortal coil (I just wanted to say that [Smile] ). However, as Paul said: "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (1st Cor 15:19). I wasn't trying to insinuate that living teachings like "turn the other cheek" or "love your neighbor as yourself" had no value to us now; rather I was saying that the Bible (through those I listed) certainly chastised and promised a great deal. In other words, I was trying to refute the unspoken idea that just having requirements was foolish for a religion whose operating text had not a few. I understand your point of seeking the best for humanity, for humanities sake it's just not something I was trying to prove or (more to the point) disprove.

When it comes to this, I don't disagree but I would like to point out that in the context of this thread it becomes a difficult discussion to have for two reasons: a) we could never agree on general goals for humanity and b) looking at life as an incredibly short prelude to the eternities to follow creates a very different context for that discussion than viewing life as the only time we have.

Hobbes [Smile]

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I honestly think there's room to look at Jesus Christ, specifically, and simply remove postmortal salvation from the picture, and still have a message and a mission that are very far from a waste of time.
It seems to me that if you do that, you're no longer talking about Christ's message. As good a message as it might be, it's not his.
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Tatiana
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I think I disagree with Hobbes quite a bit. And it's interesting that the LDS faith is actually structured so that many diverse beliefs all fit. The way we define ourselves is more by orthopraxis than by orthodoxy.

Anyway, the LDS faith is only a tiny hairsbreadth away from universalism. We believe that through baptism for the dead and other ordinances that almost everyone eventually will attain some degree of glory. We have three heavens and no hell. There is something called outer darkness that we believe a very few, a tiny minority, will end up in. It's not punishment but rather nothingness. It's only by the person's own choice that they go there. It's actually heartbreaking, because it takes a definite act of will to want to be there, and a refusal to be open to any other interpretation of life than that. But it's definitely an extremely thin slice of humanity who will choose that in the end. We get many many chances here and in the afterlife, to choose otherwise. That's what temple ordinances by proxy are all about. We plan to do them for everyone who has ever lived, eventually, during the millennium, so that the entire human family has that option.

So I don't agree with Hobbes that only a few make it. I think we're as universal a religion as can possibly be, shy of absolute universalism, which is a religion, and many of the early LDS converts came from there.

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dkw
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quote:
Originally posted by Hobbes:
but I can't say I've run into any Christian faiths that believe in universal salvation (and here I mean, everyone whose ever lived or ever will live is saved).

You may not have run into them, but they exist. A minority position since Augustine, but definitly out there.

quote:

Another common thread is that all of the Christian religions I'm aware of the real determining factor is desire. [/QB]

Hobbes, meet Calvin. Calvin, Hobbes. [Razz]
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
I honestly think there's room to look at Jesus Christ, specifically, and simply remove postmortal salvation from the picture, and still have a message and a mission that are very far from a waste of time.
It seems to me that if you do that, you're no longer talking about Christ's message. As good a message as it might be, it's not his.
Fair enough. I suppose if you take Christ's motivations into account, altering his message would indeed be to invalidate the time and effort he spent.
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Hobbes
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quote:
So I don't agree with Hobbes that only a few make it.
AK, I never said that, I was referring to the doctrine of "universal salvation" meaning that all will make it. We know that this is not true and I think you'll agree. What the end number will end up being and how it will compare to the number of those who aren't I don't pretend to be able to even guess at it. Specifically within LDS theology we know at least 1/3 the host of heaven who rebelled in the beginning an followed Lucifer wont make it. Some take that number as symbolic and I suppose it could be any number: as long as it's above zero. Beyond that there's some people who we've been told specifically have come to this Earth and will not return to salvation in the fullest (or any) sense. Not many as it's rarely our business, but a few scriptural characters. There also has to be people going to those Kingdoms you brought up (or way create and then talk about them?) so we know there's going to be some people not making it. That's all I said.

quote:
You may not have run into them, but they exist. A minority position since Augustine, but definitly out there.
I'm not surprised (and I always appreciate your very informed additions to these discussion [Cool] , FYI) though I really hadn't heard of any. I have spoken to people that believed this (within the Christian faith) but I was never able to find a Church that actually taught it.

quote:
Hobbes, meet Calvin. Calvin, Hobbes. [Razz]
[Laugh] I've never cared much for Calvinist doctrine, but I'll also admit to knowing little beyond the basic "predestinationalism" (yes I can make up my own words, want to fight about it?) doctrine and from the also very little I know about the man: his drive impresses me.

Hobbes [Smile]

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
Hobbes, meet Calvin. Calvin, Hobbes. [Razz]

*giggle*
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Tatiana
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Oh, Hobbes, I think the people who make it to the other kingdoms have also made it! That may be where we differ.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
Oh, Hobbes, I think the people who make it to the other kingdoms have also made it! That may be where we differ.

I don't know how much discussion this merits, but this is one point in particular that I find very interesting/important about LDS beliefs: that all three kingdoms of heaven constitute a reward (and an improvement over mortal life). I commented to my mother that it is somewhat ironic to see this belief juxtaposed with the grief and anxiety that not living up to the highest standards often causes among LDS. (But I understand that a desire to remain eternally united with the family can be at the root of such grief and still consistent with beliefs about the afterlife.)
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JennaDean
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quote:
We have three heavens and no hell.
We do too have a hell. It's just not an eternal-punishment kind of hell. It's a "suffer for a limited time and then get out" kind of hell.

And I agree, Tatiana, that we do believe in a majority of humans being saved in a kingdom of glory.

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Tatiana
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I'm reading Bushman now, and so that Universalist strain in the early church is something I just finished reading about. Again, because I tend toward universalism, I tend to notice those parts of our beliefs more and consider them more important, perhaps, than others.

All three degrees of glory are what I would consider heaven. They're all exalted states of being. I'm aiming for the highest possible but I'll be delighted if I make any of them. [Smile]

Again, I believe what is sometimes taught, that everyone in the end will judge themselves and decide for themselves in which kingdom they are happiest. There's no bitter compulsion, unless it's the underlying reality that one can't continue to sin and also simultaneously reach the exalted state. "Save us in our sins" doesn't work, I mean. Only "Save us from our sins".

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JennaDean
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quote:
All three degrees of glory are what I would consider heaven.
Yes.
quote:
They're all exalted states of being.
No, not according to the definition of "exalted" the church uses. They're all heaven; they're all glory; they're all salvation; but they're not all exaltation.
quote:
"Save us in our sins" doesn't work, I mean. Only "Save us from our sins".
I really like this. [Smile]
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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by JennaDean:
We do too have a hell. It's just not an eternal-punishment kind of hell. It's a "suffer for a limited time and then get out" kind of hell.

We do too have an eternal-punishment kind of hell: outer darkness. We just don't believe that an awful lot of people (aside from the devil and his angels) are going there.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
All three degrees of glory are what I would consider heaven.
I wouldn't.
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JennaDean
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
quote:
Originally posted by JennaDean:
We do too have a hell. It's just not an eternal-punishment kind of hell. It's a "suffer for a limited time and then get out" kind of hell.

We do too have an eternal-punishment kind of hell: outer darkness. We just don't believe that an awful lot of people (aside from the devil and his angels) are going there.
Yes, we have that too. But I think some people miss the fact that other than outer darkness, we also believe in an actual hell where people will suffer for sins that they don't accept Christ's suffering for. As in D&C 76:84.
quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
All three degrees of glory are what I would consider heaven.
I wouldn't.
Really? What would you consider them?
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Hobbes
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I'm with MPH here, heaven to me means the fullness of salvation. It doesn't have to, there's nothing wrong with calling all three that but that's just not what the connotations are for me. As Elder McConkie pointed out with very limited exceptions whenever the scriptures or the latter day prophets refer to salvation they mean exaltation, they mean being saved in the highest degree of glory in the Celestial kingdom (even when I'm just paraphrasing him on an Internet forum I apparently still have to use his speech patterns! [Laugh] ) and not just being saved from eternal damnation in outer darkness. I guess the conversations moved on but I would like to point out that my original point was that not every one's going to be saved making no reference to the actual number, and I think that is a proved (LDS) point no matter where you draw the Heaven/Salvation line. If that's not agreed to I guess I could provide some references but I kind of think it's almost a given...

Hobbes [Smile]

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mr_porteiro_head
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Personally, I just consider them the three degrees of glory. The words heaven and hell are imprecise enough that there's not a lot of meaning, IMO, in saying that any of the kingdoms in LDS theology fall under either of the two umbrellas.

I see the case for calling them all heaven. I think that there's also case for calling the Telestial hell, or the Telestial + Terrestrial, especially if you consider hell to be the eternal perfect knowledge of how and why you failed to live up to your potential.

There's the idea that Telestial corresponds to some concepts of the traditional Christian hell, as it's peopled with folk who were murderers, liars, adulterers, etc. (sins of commission), the Terrestrial corresponds to some concepts of the traditional Christian heaven, as it's peopled with folk who didn't commit those sins of commission, and the Celestial is something above that.

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Hobbes
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quote:
Really? What would you consider them?
I looked at this again and wanted to give it a better answer (as I didn't really answer it at all!) They are sometimes called "the three heavens" or otherwise referred to in a similar way. As such (like I said above) I'd hardly say it was wrong to refer to them as heaven, and I think I'd know what was meant by it. However, to me, Heaven implies all that God has to offer, the ultimate of salvation being both eternal and without bounds or limitations. If I say that I want to go to Heaven I have something specific in mind; or something more specific than "not damned". I mean fullness of glory, I mean eternal families, I mean eternal life. All of these exist in only one place (not that there's any confusion but I'd like to stress that I'm specifically referring to LDS doctrine, thank-you [Wink] ). I would call the others "degree of glory", or refer to them by specific name. I wouldn't call them Hell (all though there's some evidence to suggest that the Prophet Joseph Smith and occasionally the scriptures referred to the Telestial kingdom as such, but that's not a battle I'm fully behind nor do I want to engage in it).

EDIT: of course MPH beat me to the punch. [Grumble] I have to say though: I've always been bothered by the idea that if a person does not inherit eternal life they will always be pained by knowing what could've been. It contradicts with my understanding of what the judgement of God is, with His perfect attribute of mercy, and with my view of the kingdoms of glory (especially as described in the so called "poetic version" of section 76). I'm not ruling it out and I understand where it comes from, but I personally can't agree that it is correct. It just didn't fit in with my understanding of the Gospel so it goes on the shelf with the rest of the stuff I don't think is true but I can't reject out of hand either. [Smile]

Hobbes [Smile]

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scifibum
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"especially if you consider hell to be the eternal perfect knowledge of how and why you failed to live up to your potential"

I thought that the kingdoms are meant to be the place where your potential is fully expressed. If potential remains unfulfilled it seems like further development/growth is in order.

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Hobbes
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Gosh, now someone beat my edit with a post!?! I'm outraged! [Wink]

That's my thinking too, it just doesn't jive with the understanding I have of the judgment.

Hobbes [Smile]

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
It just didn't fit in with my understanding of the Gospel so it goes on the shelf with the rest of the stuff I don't think is true but I can't reject out of hand either. [Smile]
Ah yes. I have a similar shelf, but with different things on it. [Smile]
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I thought that the kingdoms are meant to be the place where your potential is fully expressed.
That's not my understanding.
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Hobbes
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I suppose it depends on what is meant by "potential", and when you take that measurement. If we didn't all have the potential to be saved in the fullest sense... it seems like a cruel joke to send us down here knowing that. On the other hand, if you say that assignment is based on what you're capable of achieving (another word with an at best iffy definition in this context) after you've gone through life and gotten to the point of being arraigned before God at the judgement seat... well that's the way I understand it. If you differ from this I'd love to know how you see it!

EDIT:
quote:
Ah yes. I have a similar shelf, but with different things on it. [Smile]
Your Skousen books? [Taunt]

Hobbes [Smile]

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
I thought that the kingdoms are meant to be the place where your potential is fully expressed.
That's not my understanding.
How do you square that with the presumable desire God has to see as many of his children exalted as possible?

In other words, what's the reasoning for a "time's up - you don't win"?

If the answer is that more time would not change things, I think that is equivalent to saying "potential met. Door #2, please."

If the answer rests on an Eternal principle that you get from 0 to Methuselah-many years of life to prove yourself, and then you're done (well, let's count purgatory time too)...it seems...arbitrary and silly.

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mr_porteiro_head
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I don't have answers to your questions. Much like Hobbes said, it doesn't all jive in my mortal mind. Nevertheless, my understanding is that that's the way it it is, even if it doesn't all make sense to me.
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scifibum
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I see. Thanks for responding. [Smile]
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Your Skousen books? [Taunt]

Those are on my shelf right next to Children of the Mind. [Razz]
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Tatiana
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Hobbes, I understand and agree that not every last one makes it, just most. And as for the 1/3rd who didn't keep their first estate, I'm not sure there aren't some ways for them to change their minds at some point, ages and ages hence, as well. Though I agree with you that most likely, many of them have chosen and will choose not to go onward and upward.

I think about eternal progression, and about the huge distance there is between me and God right now, and so I fill up the aeons of progression it will most likely take me to be ready to build my own universe and people it with spirit children, with all sorts of thoughts and speculation. I believe that part of our training will be in reaching out to otherwise lost souls and trying to see if they will change their minds. When I think of the lost souls I know, an awful lot of them didn't really experience much love in their lives. My guess is that in all that time between now and our eventual exaltation, we'll be doing a whole lot of missionary work and outreach to see if we can make a connection with some of these people. As the work comes closer to fruition in this particular universe, think about how few will be left to reach, and how many there will be trying to reach them, and I bet we end up getting through to almost everyone eventually. But I don't know for sure. I mean, it's up to them. And some will likely choose to hold out.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If everyone, everywhere were to be saved then a whole lot of people have wasted a whole lot of time; and here I'm think of Christ, the prophets and apostles of the Bible.
Let me just point out that, from my point of view, if everyone, everywhere were not to be saved, then a whole lot of people have wasted a whole lot of time; and here I'm thinking of omnipotent God.
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Hobbes
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Yeah, but honestly Tom, would you want to end up in the same room with me? [Wink] Really, I see your point on the difference in definitions of omnipotence and though I was aware that plenty of different understandings of the word existed I guess... it didn't occur to me to clarify. I suppose that happens to me, when something I believed when I was an atheist (or close to it) is the same as something I believed after I became LDS, I just assume it's a constant for everybody! [Laugh]

Hobbes [Smile]

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Fair enough. I suppose if you take Christ's motivations into account, altering his message would indeed be to invalidate the time and effort he spent.

Jesus said that He came so that we might have life and have it abundantly. I think that means this life as well as the next.

I think that God can chose who is in and who is out. Rather, I think that God choses us all in and some chose themselves out. I do not think it is for us to do the chosing for other people or to think we can judge what God, in infinite love, has worked out for someone else.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Yeah, but honestly Tom, would you want to end up in the same room with me?
Leaving aside the obvious -- that I've been in the same room with you without too much trouble in the past [Smile] -- it's worth noting that if the alternative is an eternity of Hell, you could have a horrible gastric condition in the afterlife and it'd probably be a wash.
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Hobbes
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quote:
is an eternity of Hell, you could have a horrible gastric condition in the afterlife and it'd probably be a wash.
[Razz] If you're going to get nit picky about my defenition of "omnipotent" I'm going to have to point out that you've previously corrected me on the fact that the Mormon "Hell" (and here I assume you mean kingdoms of glory below the highest) is actually quite pleasant.

quote:
I think that God choses us all in and some chose themselves out. I do not think it is for us to do the chosing for other people or to think we can judge what God, in infinite love, has worked out for someone else.
Despite the fact that I agree with you, I'm assuming that you meant this as a response to the LDS practice of having Church leaders (Bishops and Stake Presidents) determine who can and can not enter the Temple. If that's not the case, I apologize, if it is here's my response:

What does it matter? I believe God has a plan for all of us, as well as an individual relationship with all of us that is not based in the slightest on what a leader in the Church does or does not think of us. In practice that leader should be influenced by God in their appraisals when it comes to specific issue (are they prepared to enter the Temple?) but I don't pretend that no mistake has ever been made. In any case, revelation to men and women on this Earth is central tenant of LDS theology and that's one of the ways it expresses itself. As a result what we practice does not line up with what you preach but I don't see how that makes it a problem that we are discriminating as to who joins the Church and then eventually enters the Temple to be endowed. The fact that God has delegated some authority to us here on this Earth (according to us of course [Smile] ) is just an extension of the idea that God himself is discriminating as to who gets saved.

Of course there's the whole thing of does God choose or do we in which I'd come down on the latter's side but I don't think that was the point here.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Annie
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From the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 28):

quote:
7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.


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MattP
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quote:
I don't know how much discussion this merits, but this is one point in particular that I find very interesting/important about LDS beliefs: that all three kingdoms of heaven constitute a reward (and an improvement over mortal life). I commented to my mother that it is somewhat ironic to see this belief juxtaposed with the grief and anxiety that not living up to the highest standards often causes among LDS. (But I understand that a desire to remain eternally united with the family can be at the root of such grief and still consistent with beliefs about the afterlife.)
This leads to another odd contradiction, at least in my mind. The LDS church missionary schtick includes a lot of discussion about eternal families, yet it's only in the LDS version of heaven(s) that families have the potential to be split between different kingdoms, whereas most other christians expect everyone that meets some basic requirements to end up in the same heaven. I've never met a non-LDS Christian who didn't expect to be reunited with lost family members in heaven. There may not be a doctrine of eternal marriage, but there is an intuitive expectation of something like it, it seems.
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Annie
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quote:
There may not be a doctrine of eternal marriage, but there is an intuitive expectation of something like it, it seems.
C.S. Lewis comments on this in A Grief Observed - it's the kind of thing Christians all want to believe and it's vaguely taught but there's no scriptural support for it anywhere.

Which is why I personally think the LDS missionary "schtick" is worth listening to. [Wink]

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Tatiana
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Also, there's visitation between kingdoms. Slash has already promised me that if the LDS idea of the degrees of glory is correct, he'd teach me how to play D+D in the afterlife. I think he assumed I'd make it higher than him, though I don't assume any such thing! [Big Grin]
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Occasional
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I think in discussing the degrees of Heaven and the existence of Hell in Mormon theology, we are running into two problems. The first is semantics vs. tradition. There is absolutely something to other Christians who say Mormons use words that are different than what are traditionally or commonly used by others. I think we Mormons are arguing less against each other and more against the traditional concepts of Heaven and Hell without fully realizing it. This creates confusion where none actually exist. Who goes where and even when is not an issue. The Scriptures, particularly in conjunction with the D&C, are very clear on the subject. There are minor disagreements based on what is not known, but that leads to the second problem.

There is no codified theology in Mormonism. Yes, there is a corpus of teachings that constitute Mormonism and revelations answering specific questions. I do believe, however, that Mormonism is more of an individually self-made theology. As has been proven here, if nowhere else, you ask a Mormon a question and you will get several answers. That is another contradiction of Mormonism, and one anti-Mormons can easily get away with (i.e., those trying to prove Mormonism wrong without honest respect). It isn't because Mormons don't know or have basics of the religion. Rather, because Mormonism is allowing for personal interpretations of doctrines. The theology is as much what we want it to be as it is what it is.

The above means that I can agree and disagree at th same time with everyone. There are parameters (and 9 times out of 10 it is related to non-belief than to belief) and sometimes people go beyond those. Essentially, I think Mormons still don't know how to talk to the world because they try to talk in the language of the world. On the other hand, if Mormons don't talk in the language of the world; those who don't understand Mormonism get easily confused.

This reminds me of what Jesus said, to paraphrase: I talk in parables and a few understand, I talk openly and many get angry because they can't take it. My ramblings also remind me of Joseph Smith who said he loves contradictions because it is in contemplating them where the truth exists.

Anyway, carry on if you want. I think you are all right together and therefore won't add much more to the discussion.

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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
I thought that the kingdoms are meant to be the place where your potential is fully expressed.
That's not my understanding.
How do you square that with the presumable desire God has to see as many of his children exalted as possible?

In other words, what's the reasoning for a "time's up - you don't win"?

If the answer is that more time would not change things, I think that is equivalent to saying "potential met. Door #2, please."

If the answer rests on an Eternal principle that you get from 0 to Methuselah-many years of life to prove yourself, and then you're done (well, let's count purgatory time too)...it seems...arbitrary and silly.

I wanted to address scifibum’s questions here with some of my own thoughts.

Like any loving parent, God would indeed like to have as many of his children succeed as possible. This mortal life is designed to start us on that path. We use our time on Earth to get our bodies, endure trials, overcome temptations, and complete specific work we need to do in order to be able to become like God and eventually live like him—things we could only do on Earth.

I think God gives us the time on Earth he knows we need to accomplish what we, personally, need to accomplish. In other words, everyone has the opportunities they need in this life. Those who are born and then die a few hours later—that was all they needed. Those who live to very old age had all the time they needed as well—and perhaps were needed to do good for others during their time. Obviously we have complete freedom to choose how we live our life and what we do with the opportunities we are presented with.

To turn the corner—how does this square with God’s desire to have his children succeed? I think he could have all of us do just that. The idea was proposed to him, in the Mormon version of what happened before this life. He rejected that idea, knowing that it would cost us our freedom to choose. Instead, he provided a way in which we could get back on the path to him whenever we inevitably strayed from it or were taken from it, through our own choices or those of others. He wants us to return to him—there are multiple places in the scriptures where he says his hand is outstretched toward us all the time—but he leaves it up to us whether to take his hand.

This is doctrine according to afr, but the universe (the realm in which we exist, comprising the observable physical universe as well) has immutable laws that God operates within. Thus our need to pass through this life and all its troubles in order to become like God, instead of just letting God do it. I think it makes sense—becoming a world-class pianist doesn’t come without grueling practice and hard-won discipline. I think we are much more than we can see of ourselves here in this life, not just physical beings with lots of potential. We are part of a grander structure than we can perceive right now.

So when we die, there is still a lot of progression to do. We can’t do all of it in this life. We do choose what state we are in in the next life through our preparation in this life. But progression never ends. I don’t think it does. There is no “time’s up” in this sense, although our path back to God may be longer. I do hope we get more perspective on this life after we pass on.

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