Hearing the Voice of the Lord: by Gerald Lund

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Life_Journey_of_Matt
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Hearing the Voice of the Lord: by Gerald Lund

Post by Life_Journey_of_Matt » 29 Apr 2013, 13:49

My Bishop has counseled me that as I search for answers to all of the questions I have about the existence of God, that the Spirit is the only completely trustworthy litmus test for truth. "Rely on the Spirit," he says. What makes it hard is that I don't know if the Spirit exists. I believe that He MAY be there, prompting me. I believe that there MAY be unseen forces waging a war of good and evil. I can say confidently that good and evil are very real to me (though sometimes blurred by complicated circumstances), I just don't claim to know of this spiritual realm. So, when I asked a member of my Stake Presidency for reading in my quest to help me understand this theory of the Spirit, he suggested I give this book a try.

What I didn't like:
Lund's style just left me with uncomfortable feelings. This is probably because he states many things as if they are absolute truths just because they are established church doctrine. I, for one, do not view established church doctrine as infallible, so I don't see eye to eye in these instances. Then when he gets into examples of how I may be able to find and recognize the Spirit in my life, there's frequently a "This feeling may be the Spirit, but maybe not." Half the time I sat there thinking, "So am I just supposed to guess?" He basically asserts that if you get a hunch to do something, and there's a good outcome if you do it, then it was probably the Spirit giving you the hunch...but wait! Not necessarily! A good outcome doesn't rule out coincidence. (So much uncertainty! grr...)

I had been hoping to learn why the Spirit is so difficult to discern from general human thoughts and emotions, but that didn't happen for me. I know that it's difficult, and Lund just reiterated that for me. My dilemma is that there are 2 camps. One tells me my good feelings come from the Spirit, which can't be proven it seems. The other camp tells me my good feelings and promptings are nothing more than human emotion, mechanisms for self-preservation. Both are theoretical in my mind, though I tend to find more comfort in the idea of a universally-good life guide. What I've concluded thus far is that we just have to use our best judgement in life, which is what I already try to do. I try to choose love. I try to choose kindness. I try to choose understanding and sympathy and service. Maybe the Spirit's involved in influencing my decisions for good, I just don't have any way of proving it to myself.


Ok, here are a few quick bright spots for me.
What I liked:
- All of chapter 4. It's short, but as someone who tends to be skeptical of other people's spiritual experiences, it softened my stance. It also just reaffirmed to me that spirituality really is a mystery, and we don't all understand it in the same way.
- Section titled This Can't Be Right!, pg 83. I liked this as an example of someone who came across a principle that didn't make sense, but they kept their mind open, kept looking, and found clarification. And I ABSOLUTELY agree with the conclusion that they made. (the church of Christ is not limited to the LDS)
- Section titled So How Does it Work?, pg 54. This was interesting in an oh-that's-how-they-do-it kind of way, similar to when I watch How It's Made on the Science Channel. :smile: It's a little inside scoop on how a Stake Presidency is chosen.

That's all I've got for now. May update again if I skim back over more of the book and anything else jumps out.
Last edited by Life_Journey_of_Matt on 30 Apr 2013, 11:31, edited 3 times in total.
"So oft in theologic wars / The disputants, I ween, / Rail on in utter ignorance / Of what each other mean / And prate about an Elephant / Not one of them has seen." -- from "The Blind Men and the Elephant" by John Godfrey Saxe

"The faith that stands on authority is not faith. The reliance on authority measures the decline of religion, the withdrawal of the soul." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

My ongoing story: http://precariousironrod.com/

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Hearing the Voice of the Lord: by Gerald Lund

Post by Curt Sunshine » 29 Apr 2013, 15:22

Fwiw, I have no motivation whatsoever to read this - or pretty much anything else he's written. His view just doesn't do anything for me.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Ann
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Re: Hearing the Voice of the Lord: by Gerald Lund

Post by Ann » 29 Apr 2013, 18:29

I bought this after a big misunderstanding regarding spiritual promptings and hoped that I would be enlightened. For me it was money and time not well-spent. (For starters, it could have been half as long.) But it's still here on the shelf, so I can look up the things you did like.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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mom3
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Re: Hearing the Voice of the Lord: by Gerald Lund

Post by mom3 » 29 Apr 2013, 19:56

I have never been a reader of Lund - He lost my commitment the minute the Young Women I was teaching began deciding they had testimonies after reading his novels. This was a decade ago.

I don't blame anyone for trying his books, though. We are all seekers and we wouldn't be fair if we didn't try as many avenues as we can find.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Life_Journey_of_Matt
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Re: Hearing the Voice of the Lord: by Gerald Lund

Post by Life_Journey_of_Matt » 29 Apr 2013, 21:49

Updated my original post to include a couple of the things I liked ( and some other edits).
"So oft in theologic wars / The disputants, I ween, / Rail on in utter ignorance / Of what each other mean / And prate about an Elephant / Not one of them has seen." -- from "The Blind Men and the Elephant" by John Godfrey Saxe

"The faith that stands on authority is not faith. The reliance on authority measures the decline of religion, the withdrawal of the soul." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

My ongoing story: http://precariousironrod.com/

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Cadence
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Hearing the Voice of the Lord: by Gerald Lund

Post by Cadence » 01 May 2013, 21:42

I find it interesting when people say the spirit is more reliable than any other means for finding truth or getting answers. There is just no evidence of that. It is just a Mormon thing to say. It is confirmation bias. I know in my life and many others this approach proved disastrous. So I would stick with using your own judgement to make decisions. You may not always get it right but you will own the decision and not be left in turmoil when things do not go as you assumed God said they would.
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

rebeccad
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Re: Hearing the Voice of the Lord: by Gerald Lund

Post by rebeccad » 19 May 2013, 09:41

mom3 wrote: He lost my commitment the minute the Young Women I was teaching began deciding they had testimonies after reading his novels. This was a decade ago.
I try not to blame Lund for the strange effect his books have had on Mormon culture.
"The very same people who are good sometimes are the very same people who are bad sometimes, it's funny but it's true" -Fred Rogers

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mom3
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Re: Hearing the Voice of the Lord: by Gerald Lund

Post by mom3 » 19 May 2013, 21:04

'
I try not to blame Lund for the strange effect his books have had on Mormon culture.
Much more healthy response rebeccad. And a decade is a long time. I think I should let go. Thanks.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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