Covenant Keeping

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
Curt Sunshine
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by Curt Sunshine » 25 May 2018, 08:30

I think it is important that whatever we believe be "written in our hearts" - that we find what we believe (and that for which we hope) and internalize it. I just don't believe we should engrave it so deeply that we can't modify it (slightly or extensively) as we gain "further light and knowledge".

"Creeds" are an abomination for one reason: they prevent growth and new understanding. So, my only quibble with the quote is the idea that we know more than I believe is knowable and that it is knowledge that we write on our hearts - but I also recognize how subjective the words "know" and "knowledge" are.
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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Roy
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by Roy » 27 May 2018, 12:28

My bishop when everything came crashing down seemed to rest on covenants. For him, it seemed that he was born a Mormon, The church had made investments in him and he had made promises to the organization, and he would make good on his end of the bargain come hell or high water. I do not believe that he disbelieved any of the truth claims of the church. Rather that his fallback position was even if it was not true he had given his word and his word was his bond. Had he been born a Baptist or Methodist, He would expect to live and die a loyal member of that religion.

It was an interesting perspective. Sort of a "bloom where you are planted" or "Whatsoever thou art, act well thy part."
"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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dande48
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by dande48 » 27 May 2018, 13:46

Roy wrote:
27 May 2018, 12:28
Rather that his fallback position was even if it was not true he had given his word and his word was his bond. Had he been born a Baptist or Methodist, He would expect to live and die a loyal member of that religion.

It was an interesting perspective. Sort of a "bloom where you are planted" or "Whatsoever thou art, act well thy part."
Do you think there should be circumstances where we go back on our covenants? At what point should covenants be abandoned?

Thinking back on Mormon, who made a covenant not to lead the Nephite armies because of their wickedness, and then later went back on that covenant and led them anyways. I don't think unconditional loyalty is often a very good idea.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Roy
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by Roy » 27 May 2018, 14:38

dande48 wrote:
27 May 2018, 13:46
Do you think there should be circumstances where we go back on our covenants? At what point should covenants be abandoned?
I currently believe that covenants are useful for 2 main reasons:

1) to apply lifetime behavioral standards and guardrails to help prevent poor life choices.
2) to add meaning and purpose to one's life.

Therefore, I suppose it would depend on the circumstances of costs and benefits. Rather than "go back on" my covenants, I prefer to reinterpret or repurpose my covenants. I do not need to view my covenants as wholly tied to the church in attending my meetings, paying tithing, wearing G's, abstaining from coffee and tea, etc. I can instead detach my covenants and my relationships with divinity from the church.
as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, [yes, I want to be in God's fold] and to be called his people [yes], and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light [always willing to help other people out that need helping];

9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort [yes, particularly those that have lost a loved one], and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, ...[there are many ways to "witness" for God. I choose to do it through example. I witness even until death because I will continue to live my Godly example until I no longer live]

10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, [yes, I will serve him in spirit to the best of my ability]


That is more or less how I retain the value in my covenants. I disentangle them from the church as an intermediary and rewire them in a direct path between me and my God.
"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

DancingCarrot
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by DancingCarrot » 27 May 2018, 16:02

Dande, love the questions. Roy, I also appreciate hearing your response and I like your approach of “rewiring” your covenants from the church to god. Your example from the scriptures is very illustrative.

My questions would be:
-What if I don’t think God wanted me to ever get baptized or go through the temple? In the scripture you reference it mentions “as a witness to him”, but I’m curious as to why God would need a witness. It makes more sense that we, ourselves and our communities, need witnesses more than God would.
-In the first scripture it also mentions being of God’s people. My question is when did I ever stop?

Just questions that I’d love to hear others’ input to, as I wrestle with the answers myself.


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nibbler
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by nibbler » 27 May 2018, 16:21

DancingCarrot wrote:
27 May 2018, 16:02
-What if I don’t think God wanted me to ever get baptized or go through the temple? In the scripture you reference it mentions “as a witness to him”, but I’m curious as to why God would need a witness. It makes more sense that we, ourselves and our communities, need witnesses more than God would.
That's a very interesting observation. Maybe it is the community that needs a witness. Maybe we need, and others need, to share certain behaviors and beliefs in order to feel like a part of a tribe that is principally defined by certain behaviors and beliefs.

Outward witnesses become signals to others (and ourselves) about our commitment level to the tribe. It's also a way we can feel a deeper sense of belonging to the tribe.
You can't break what's broken already.
- LeAnn Rimes

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DarkJedi
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by DarkJedi » 27 May 2018, 16:33

I don't want to answer for Dande, but I do have thoughts on the "witness" of taking upon ourselves the name of Christ. I'm not saying you have to believe it, but it is core doctrine that we do so (read/listen to the sacrament prayers). This is just the gospel according to me, but I think it's important we recognize we are saved by Christ or take upon us his name. I stole this from Givens, but think about it like an adoption where the adoptee takes upon his or herself the name of the adopter. I'm not sure how literal it is, but I do think that's the meaning of the sacrament prayer - that we are part of Christ's family (thus he is the Father). I think the symbolism of baptism, taking the sacrament, the "Bread of Life" and "Living Water" etc. are more for our sakes and only really hold meaning for us.

My real thing with the covenants is that except in the temple I'm not sure it's made at all clear that we're making covenants at the time we do it. I don't recall being told any such thing before my baptism, and before receiving the priesthood the "oath and covenant" were discussed but more as "this is what you're supposed to do after getting the priesthood." I also don't see anything in scripture that says anything about renewing covenants during the sacrament or what the baptism covenants supposedly are (notwithstanding the above reference). And in the temple, it's pretty hard to decide at the point you're asked - having no foreknowledge (for some strange reason) of what the covenants were going to be - to get up and walk/run out. Seriously, has anyone ever seen that happen? (Not that it couldn't, but it must be extremely rare.)

Going back to my own core beliefs, I'm not sure we actually enter into any covenants with God nor the other way around. I'm not so sure God cares anything about such things and I believe the covenants thing is all made up by the church (just like the whole keys thing). On the other hand, there's always Pascal's wager. ;)

(Note I was typing at the same time as Nibbler.)
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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dande48
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by dande48 » 27 May 2018, 17:31

DarkJedi wrote:
27 May 2018, 16:33
Going back to my own core beliefs, I'm not sure we actually enter into any covenants with God nor the other way around. I'm not so sure God cares anything about such things and I believe the covenants thing is all made up by the church (just like the whole keys thing). On the other hand, there's always Pascal's wager. ;)
I think I agree with this. I can't see why an all powerful, all knowing being would enter into any covenants with humans at all. I think the main purpose behind religious covenants is to place our trust in the Creator, and accept whatever God/the Universe throws our way. It's meant to bring peace and acceptance, not expectations.

With Pascal's wager, it only works if all God cared about was humans belief in His existence. But most would say you have to believe the right sort of things about God and do the right things to make it. Pascal himself was Catholic, and if he was right, we are all heretics.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
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AmyJ
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by AmyJ » 29 May 2018, 05:57

I was thinking about this on Sunday, actually.

The overall theme was "The importance of the Sacrament" - and there were thoughtful talks given by all. The talks focused on the symbolism and our relationship to Jesus Christ. It made me wonder if I should stop taking the sacrament, because I am not sure of a lot of things and I don't want to be disrespectful or dishonest.

I believe in God. I am not sure about Jesus Christ or the Atonement. I believe in communities of serving God - and that since I started out as LDS, I shouldn't change that until I am certain that I need to (if then).

So I currently take the sacrament with the meaning that "I choose to belong" to this community and I am exercising faith that it matters and that I can "mourn with those that mourn" and "comfort those that stand in need of comfort" and that I advocate "standing for truth and righteousness" in making the best choice possible under the circumstances, and in "trading up" in lifestyle choices. I also take the sacrament to reinforce for my oldest that this is a ritual we do to belong to our tribe. It is a big deal to her because we are both left handed and have the hardest time remembering which hand to use and how to follow the ritual. It is also a comfort to my husband that I take the sacrament. And if there are people who have the time on their hands to watch for those who don't take the sacrament to judge, well they see the "move along, nothing to see" banner.

So am I showing great disrespect by taking the sacrament even though I don't traditionally believe right now, and does it even matter?

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DarkJedi
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Re: Covenant Keeping

Post by DarkJedi » 29 May 2018, 08:12

I don't think you're being disrespectful Amy. The sacrament is all symbolic and symbolism can mean different things to different people. That is, what the sacrament means to me is very likely not the same thing it means to anyone else. Although we do the sacrament as a group, it is an individual ordinance as we each take it (or don't take it). I think doing it for your daughter is perfectly fine partly because it does no harm. You not taking it would probably be more harmful to her own testimony/faith/faith journey especially if you have to explain why you're not taking it. When it comes to others, family, friends, or whoever, I'm a do no harm guy with church/faith things. That's why even my wife does not know the extent of my doubts and unbelief (people here know more than she does).

And I recognize this is part of your "thing" but there is no doctrine or even a policy that we take the sacrament with our right hands. I do because I'm right handed and that's the way the tray comes to my row. It's a tradition only.(Sometimes during sustainings I raise my left hand just to be different.)
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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