Covenant Keeping

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AmyJ
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Covenant Keeping

Post by AmyJ » 23 May 2018, 13:27

When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us.His law is written in our hearts.
President Russell M. Nelson October 2011 "Covenants"
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... s?lang=eng

What do these 2 sentences mean to you personally?

The context of the article is connecting the covenant made to Abram/Abraham through to when the church was set up in our times. Pre-faith transition, I would have shrugged and thought it was pretty cool. I would have thought that I was entitled to being especially blessed of God as part and parcel of my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Now, I can't stomach that there is a favored people of God period. Or rather, another way of putting it for me is, that ALL children are favored of God - and we only have an incomplete record written down from mortals focused on what their life experiences had been and what they wanted from life from a few individuals.

But, maybe as we identify and write God's law "into our hearts" (Psalm 119:11). based on scripture, life experiences, intense reflection, and personal revelation - we learn who we really are and what God expects of us (as far as it is possible to do so). And maybe as those processes happen, we become "children of the covenant" in becoming the person God wants us to be (Ephesians 2:19).

AmyJ
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by AmyJ » 23 May 2018, 13:50

Tongue in cheek follow up question?

What if you no longer wanted to be a part of the Covenant of Abraham because you have enough children and no longer believed your tribe is special enough to merit preferential treatment? Or you had something against circumcision?

Does that mean you can just sit in the corner and ignore these lessons, or do you have to leave the church?

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nibbler
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by nibbler » 23 May 2018, 15:33

If we're talking tongue in cheek...

You know about the joke where you put "...in bed" at the end of fortunes in fortune cookies. I'm going to start my own. I'll put "...so clean the church bathrooms this Saturday" at the end of isolated church leader quotes like this.
When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us. His law is written in our hearts. So clean the church bathrooms this Saturday.
:angel:

It's just that I've heard umpteen times something like, "When you were baptized (and for some of us that happened at 8 years old) you promised to..." and it's almost always followed up by something the person making the statement wants you to do - which may or may not have been a 'covenant' made at baptism. Point is, I hear my fellow man's expectations of me and my expectations of myself all the time but are those necessarily god's expectations of me?

I think as church members we could use a refresher on covenant making before we talk about covenant keeping. ;)

In context, I believe this quote is a restating of the oft repeated church teaching - obey, or - you'll find comfort and peace in this life through obedience.
Sometimes, the thing you've been looking for your whole life is right there beside you all along.
-Peter Quill

AmyJ
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by AmyJ » 24 May 2018, 07:14

I have been thinking a lot about Abraham since I last posted.

I think we love Abraham so much because it is a rags-to-riches story combined with conversations with God.

It sets the stage for at least 2 formalized, specific religions on a literal level (Judaism and Islam), with specific meaning for Christians as well.

There is a certain amount of comfort to be sustained when you look at what Abram/Abraham wanted with a direct correlation to what God supplies as it is written.
  • Abram wanted to survive (instead of not be offered as a human sacrifice for a god he did not believe in). God talked to Abram and intervened - even though God hadn't intervened for those 3 righteous females, or the child-sacrifice that Abram objected to.
  • Abram wanted family. God gave promises regarding his lineage, and Sarai gave Abram her servant, who gave Abram Ishmael.
  • Abram wanted family that actually fulfilled those promises. God insisted on a name change and circumcision, clarified what the posterity of Abraham would do, and mentioned in passing that the barren Sarah (other name change) would bear a son to be named Isaac - whose children and grandchildren would fulfill those promises.
  • Abram wanted a safe place to live. God advised when to move in general, and eventually promised Abraham the land where Abraham had nearly been sacrificed to heathen alters. [Anyone else see the vengeance connection here?]
I think the mythical reason to connect Abraham's covenant with covenants we make today is to make certain that our personal desires bear fruit in our lives. We want to know for ourselves that if we do something, bad things that happen to other people around us won't happen to us.

We teach ourselves through the litany of stories around "Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph" that there are blessings to be secured if you are born into the right family (pre-Rockefeller or Carnegie), and that if bad things manage to happen to you despite your lineage (hello Joseph in Egypt) - that God will not forget you because of whom your parents were (Alma the Younger's story), and that either by your own brilliance (cue Joseph rising in ranks), and/or God's favor, everything will work out for you and your family (12 tribes family reunion in Egypt).

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SamBee
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by SamBee » 24 May 2018, 07:27

And I have a word to say to these people...
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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nibbler
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by nibbler » 24 May 2018, 08:01

AmyJ wrote:
24 May 2018, 07:14
We teach ourselves through the litany of stories around "Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph" that there are blessings to be secured if you are born into the right family (pre-Rockefeller or Carnegie), and that if bad things manage to happen to you despite your lineage (hello Joseph in Egypt) - that God will not forget you because of whom your parents were (Alma the Younger's story), and that either by your own brilliance (cue Joseph rising in ranks), and/or God's favor, everything will work out for you and your family (12 tribes family reunion in Egypt).
Sounds like a story that is meant to give people going through a hard time some hope... and I can see how those stories help reinforce the prosperity gospel.
SamBee wrote:
24 May 2018, 07:27
And I have a word to say to these people...
Even in my most orthodox days that elicited a "Really? I mean... really?" response. Now it gets an eye roll or a chuckle. Apparently subtlety wasn't one of the things passed down from mason to mason from the time of Solomon's temple.
Sometimes, the thing you've been looking for your whole life is right there beside you all along.
-Peter Quill

Roy
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by Roy » 24 May 2018, 09:17

AmyJ wrote:
24 May 2018, 07:14
We want to know for ourselves that if we do something, bad things that happen to other people around us won't happen to us.
I believe this is one of the two great needs fulfilled by religion. Life is full of risks, uncertainty, and just plain bad luck. At the same time life is not obviously meaningful. We live for a time and then are gone. If we look forward long enough it is probable that our entire species will become extinct at some point. What will have been the purpose and meaning of our collective existence at that point?

Religion provides feelings of certainty, purpose, and meaning for us to hold on to while we set about the work of living our lives.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SilentDawning
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by SilentDawning » 24 May 2018, 19:06

One interpretation of covenants -- you get a kind of watered down version of them and then commit. Later, you get beat over the head because you aren't doing things in the name of covenants you made.
"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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SilentDawning
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by SilentDawning » 24 May 2018, 19:47

AmyJ wrote:
23 May 2018, 13:27
When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us.His law is written in our hearts.
President Russell M. Nelson October 2011 "Covenants"
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... s?lang=eng

What do these 2 sentences mean to you personally?
They don't mean much to me. I never understood he worth that comes from being a child of God. If everyone is a child of God, how does that make me special? Same with covenants -- I know what God expects of us, but as I get older, I realize its often leaders trying to motivate us who are doing the expecting, not the Lord necessarily. Knowing who I am comes from life experience and understanding my strengths and weaknesses. Not from having made a covenant. Sorry if this sounds unbelieving, but it's where my life's experiences in the church have led me.
"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

AmyJ
Posts: 608
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by AmyJ » 25 May 2018, 06:54

SilentDawning wrote:
24 May 2018, 19:47
AmyJ wrote:
23 May 2018, 13:27
When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us.His law is written in our hearts.
President Russell M. Nelson October 2011 "Covenants"
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... s?lang=eng

What do these 2 sentences mean to you personally?
They don't mean much to me. I never understood he worth that comes from being a child of God. If everyone is a child of God, how does that make me special? Same with covenants -- I know what God expects of us, but as I get older, I realize its often leaders trying to motivate us who are doing the expecting, not the Lord necessarily. Knowing who I am comes from life experience and understanding my strengths and weaknesses. Not from having made a covenant. Sorry if this sounds unbelieving, but it's where my life's experiences in the church have led me.
I can relate.

There is a line from The Invicibles that has the villian saying, "If everyone is special, than no one is special". It was very jarring to me at first because it wasn't something that I expected to hear, and well, it rings true.

I had a really hard time with our lesson on the Abrahamic Covenant because I couldn't make the leaps from the theoretical covenant that Abraham made with God, to the baptismal & temple covenants we make today granting us the spiritual lineage to those promises of Abraham. I just couldn't do it studying the topic this time around.

I have decided that I am special because the innate spark of Godliness within me is special (basically a glorified version of "because I said so"). I have also decided that everyone I have ever met, read about, or who has existed is also special for the same reason. And rather than comparing "specialness" (shades of "I've got all the truth neener neener neener"), I'm just going to celebrate it wherever I can, and do my best to use my resources to improve myself and enhance the divinity of others.

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