Questioning D&C 9:7-9

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SilentDawning
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Questioning D&C 9:7-9

Post by SilentDawning » 09 Jun 2017, 07:52

7 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.
I have been prayer for answers or the rightness of decisions for years. I don't find prayer is a big help a lot of the time. Yes, there are times when i feel at peace with a decision, but often it's because the variables weigh favorably and my judgment tells me I'm about to make a good decision. Sensing feelings during prayer, almost like an experiment, has not been useful or revealing.

And the stupor of thought. I find that my mind wanders in all kinds of contexts -- not just in prayer, but sometimes in conversation, in meetings that get off track now and then, and when meditating.

I read a book on self-discipline a few months ago, and the author recommended meditation as a way to develop self-descipline. Try to keep your mind blank, or fixed on a certain thought for a few minutes. Most people's minds will wander anyway. This, I equate with the stupor of thought that causes you to forget the thing that is wrong.

What is your experience with the scripture above? Have you experienced the stupor of though as a means of telling you, from God, that a proposed course of action is wrong? How do you distinguish this "stupor" from simple mind wandering?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

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Heber13
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Re: Questioning D&C 9:7-9

Post by Heber13 » 09 Jun 2017, 10:58

My experience with that scripture is that whether it be answers, or stupor...or as Elder Scott taught in Oct 1989 "Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayers" that sometimes you get no answer so you can learn...

...alll those things are the stories or the meaning we choose to place on the prayer experience.

I like meditation. I like to allow things to happen, let it flow and accept what comes or not. Then choose to take what is valuable from it, and discard the non-valuable.

I'm sometimes surprised by the results. For sure...they are not repeatable or reproducable experiences, which makes them non-scientific. I accept that too.

My mind wanders, I might even have ADD that makes it hard to focus...IDK. But...I've learned to meditate, allow for time to let it wander and be ok with it...and gently bring back to the matter when possible.

What I've tried to stop doing is telling myself: "I need God's intervention NOW"
"FOCUS! I need an answer NOW"
"Was that an answer...was the fact I'm wondering about it an answer...because I am thinking about it is that an answer???"
"I don't feel anything....what's wrong with me? Why does God ignore me? When will God place that feeling into me?"

I have tried to stop forcing things, and embrace the idea "God helps those that help themselves"...so I let the prayer and meditation happen as it will, let the electrical stuff course through the brain and run it's course as it should unimpeded...and later if I'm in a good mood I will decide what that all means and what experience I am having.

I place no distinction between thoughts in my own brain by me and inspiration in my thoughts from an outside force of any kind. It just is what it is. More important is what I stand and go do about it.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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dande48
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Re: Questioning D&C 9:7-9

Post by dande48 » 09 Jun 2017, 11:45

Well, this is directed at a man who was praised the chapter before, for his gifts with a divining rod...

I was suprised several times over the course of my life, when I was given priesthood blessings by the best of men (worthy in every sense), who promised me specific blessings, and I had full faith that by God's power those blessings would be realized... only they didn't. In my experience, the feelings we often attribute to the Spirit are not 100% accurate indications of truth, or the best course of action. Don't get me wrong, they certainly can be! But it's definitely not a perfect system.

At the same time, even though I'm not sure God hears them, I find prayer to be invaluble. There is benifit in conversing and counselling with an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly empathic being, even IF he isn't really there. And the feelings of absolute confidence talked about in D&C 9 are a pretty good indication that the decision we've made is the correct one. On the other hand, if we're uneasy about the situation, it is a very good idea to think things through a little more.

I, too, and a HUGE fan of meditation. Meditation for me encompasses a willingness to surrender to the flow of the universe, and to gain greater perspective. Prayer, in many ways is the exact opposite, where we seek control and comfort in an often cold and unforgiving universe. I think both are essential for a healthy spiritual wellbeing.
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DarkJedi
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Re: Questioning D&C 9:7-9

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Jun 2017, 12:11

I look at this from a few points of view. The "most orthodox" (although not very orthodox) of my views sees this as a revelation to someone else - not me. I can't say I have ever experienced a burning in the bosom or a stupor of thought. Perhaps that was God's way of communicating with Oliver Cowdery, but it is apparently not the way God communicates with me. I'm OK with that. Talmadge's slimmed down version of the D&C (called Latter Day Revelation) omitted this section as well as all others that were deemed personal revelations to individuals (and some others, including section 132).

That said, I do see the value of studying things out, pondering, and meditating.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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LookingHard
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Re: Questioning D&C 9:7-9

Post by LookingHard » 09 Jun 2017, 13:25

I would have to say that my thoughts parallel Dark Jedi's fairly close. The precursor to my faith crisis was feeling like I could never get an prayer answered when I had a decision that I wanted to bring to the Lord and also that when I prayed for several things of significant need (and I prayed for decades) it felt (and still feels) like I got NADA. I was doing everything right and it just wasn't working.

I am trying to work on meditating more. I have learned more to just sit and be in the moment, but I think there is more to gain.

I do think those that pray, then sit and wait quietly for an answer are essentially mediating.

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SamBee
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Re: Questioning D&C 9:7-9

Post by SamBee » 09 Jun 2017, 16:28

Prayer doesn't tell you what you want to know, it tells you what you need to know - at least some of the time.

I have been praying about my career and relationships etc for years - nada. I am lucky in that some of my material needs are sorted, but my emotional needs are not.

However, before my endowment I got an extremely strong impression I should write to a relative who I had not spoken to in fifteen years or more. We had fallen out years ago and I hadn't given it much thought. Well, I did and got a nice reply back. A year or two later he died. While it was not some fairy story, and I only met him in person (accidentally) once after that, I am glad it happened because if I had never done it over that year or two then it would have been never.

Now this wasn't like meditating - I've done that from time to time. Quite different.

Prayer also got me back into the church. I really didn't want to come back, it just seemed weird and I didn't consider myself Mormon at all... and yet in doing so I have reaped a number of benefits I did not expect. I think it has genuinely improved my life, but to be honest I would have steered clear otherwise (I tried out other churches and they didn't work for me, although I wanted them too, and I just had this memory that the LDS was weird, oppressive and boring. It hasn't quite worked out that way. Yes it can be weird sometimes in terms of doctrine and occasionally boring but not all the time.)
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: Questioning D&C 9:7-9

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Jun 2017, 20:03

It was a personal statement to one person. Period.

We take WAY too much in the Church that is personal and try to make it universal.

Fwiw, I pointed out this exact same thing to the sister missionaries this week and told them we set up investigators for failure when we try to tell them exactly how they will feel the Spirit, instead of just letting them feel God however they do. I also told them we say everyone can know things, when our own scriptures say some are not given that gift - so we need to accept it when people simply believe. They appreciated the insight, since they both said they had done it in the past.

If I could preach one doctrinal thing to all of the missionaries in the world, it probably would be that.

It was a personal statement to one person. Period.
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.

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Heber13
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Re: Questioning D&C 9:7-9

Post by Heber13 » 09 Jun 2017, 22:02

SamBee wrote:
09 Jun 2017, 16:28
Prayer doesn't tell you what you want to know, it tells you what you need to know - at least some of the time.
Well said. Sometimes what I need to know has nothing to do with the topic I'm thinking about, but more spiritual things.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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SilentDawning
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Re: Questioning D&C 9:7-9

Post by SilentDawning » 10 Jun 2017, 06:54

Ray DeGraw wrote:
09 Jun 2017, 20:03
It was a personal statement to one person. Period.

We take WAY too much in the Church that is personal and try to make it universal.
Good interpretation - that was how Oliver Cowdrey was apparently supposed to have felt inspiration.

But as you say we preach it as if it's the way everyone should feel it.
I was surprised several times over the course of my life, when I was given priesthood blessings by the best of men (worthy in every sense), who promised me specific blessings, and I had full faith that by God's power those blessings would be realized... only they didn't. In my experience, the feelings we often attribute to the Spirit are not 100% accurate indications of truth, or the best course of action. Don't get me wrong, they certainly can be! But it's definitely not a perfect system.
I remember a sacrament meeting on fast offerings. All three speakers talked about fasting and a blessing they had received or given. None of the blessings came to pass!! It made me wonder about the efficacy of the whole prayer and fasting thing. And it was actually a frustrating sacrament meeting for me.

Sure fasting and prayer makes you feel closer to God, but I found the lack of results disheartening.

Also, we've had many priesthood meetings on priesthood blessings. People mention how things don't come to pass, yet everyone keeps doing it. Maybe the intermittent reinforcement they get from hearing others miraculous stories have something to do with it. Or maybe once they gave a blessing and it appeared to have worked, so they keep trying.

I'm amazed at how many people keep moving forward spiritually even though they get a blessing and it doesn't work. I know I did for years.

I'm on the "comfort" model now. Brian Johnson mentioned that blessings comfort people, so even if they don't come to pass, the experience is a way you can help people ease suffering. I also think they are of value because they provide an opportunity to give advice to someone in a formal setting that they might not otherwise get, or ask for.

But anyway, back to the passage from D&C, I think you can probably find a GA's talk where he mentions this passage and implies or states it's a universal approach to receiving revelation....
Last edited by SilentDawning on 10 Jun 2017, 07:19, edited 1 time in total.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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DarkJedi
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Re: Questioning D&C 9:7-9

Post by DarkJedi » 10 Jun 2017, 07:14

SilentDawning wrote:
10 Jun 2017, 06:54
But anyway, back to the passage from D&C, I think you can probably find a GA's talk where he mentions this passage and implies or states it's a universal approach to receiving revelation....
Just because a GA said doesn't make it scripture or even true. Most of what they say is their own interpretation or opinion, it is not binding on us.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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