How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
User avatar
dande48
Posts: 521
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by dande48 » 09 Feb 2018, 08:30

squarepeg wrote:
08 Feb 2018, 21:28
Do you think his definition of faith can be reconciled with the LDS definition, "if ye have faith, ye hope for things which are not seen which are true"? I feel like it can't! I also never could make sense out of that verse in Alma 32. If the things are "not seen" then how do we know they ARE true? It's like we are presupposing truths arbitrarily, not with an open mind, but based solely on what we HOPE is true.
A few thoughts. To re-frame it a little, I believe the LDS take faith to mean the decisive action you take geared towards a belief (which may or may not be true). But IF it is true, the rewards will pay off. "Faith is knowing the sun will rise...". "Faith is trusting in God above". You take actions as if those things were true, without really knowing. But just recently Televangelist Gloria Copeland encouraged said you don't need a flu shot if you "inoculate yourselves with the word of God". I remember Robert Tilton also made fantastical claims, stating that if you sent him your life's savings, God would cure you of any ailment. And there were several HUGE legal battles, where the children of the deceased sued Robert Tilton for convincing their parents to forgo life saving treatment, take out costly second mortgages, and ultimately ended up dying for their faith.

So faith only works if you act in accordance with a belief that turns out to be true. Alan Watts was referring to the Latin roots of "faith" (trust) and the old English roots of "lief", meaning "to prefer". Hence, belief is a a "knowledge preference" (confirmation bias), while faith is a trust. To have faith in God means to let go of our "knowledge preference" of Him. Does God exist? Does God have a body? Does God love us? We don't know these things. And that's alright. If there is a loving God in heaven, we'll know soon enough. If not, good is still good, life still has joy and meaning.
"Sir, it's quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable." - C-3PO

User avatar
dande48
Posts: 521
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by dande48 » 09 Feb 2018, 11:37

One more thing came to mind on my lunch break. Have you ever heard of the term "Wu Wei"? It's a Daoist term, first described by Lao Tzu in the 6th century. It translates to "not making an effort", but not in a slothful sense. Rather, it's the "intentional surrender of the will based on a wise recognition of the need, at points, to accede to, rather than protest against, the demands of reality."

Going back to faith, in term of Wu Wei, I think it might be useful to define it as "not knowing, and being okay with that".
"Sir, it's quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable." - C-3PO

squarepeg
Posts: 108
Joined: 17 Feb 2017, 12:51

Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by squarepeg » 23 Feb 2018, 09:14

nibbler wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 05:44

This is also where I see the "body of Christ" come into play. Alone, none of us can handle it all, we aren't perfect, but we can come together and when you sum up everyone's collective strengths and experiences you can say that we've suffered all that people can suffer and that means there's someone in the group that can succor us... or maybe by suffering we become that person for someone else.
I love this perspective on the "Body of Christ" concept. Thank you.

AmyJ wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 06:17

The principle that saved my sanity I learned here - I am not expected to "see" perfectly - in fact, I am expected to "see" darkly. The fact that I know see that I don't see everything clearly is a boon that was granted to me at the tender age of 28 (plus a few years). It also gives me the freedom to experiment to see what I do "see" and what works for me.
I can relate to this 100%. I sometimes feel lonely, though, when in a group of TBMs who all feel that they see perfectly and believe we have the fullness of the Gospel, while I'm alone in feeling that it's still and always will be a work in progress.

On Own Now wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 08:10

There is a thought among some modern scholars that the new testament concept of salvation which has traditionally been translated from Koine Greek into being saved by "faith in Christ" should instead have been translated to read that we are saved by the "faith OF Christ"... in other words, the way he handled it is what gives us power.
That's really interesting. I kinda like both interpretations.

dande48 wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 08:30

So faith only works if you act in accordance with a belief that turns out to be true.
Exactly. I just interpret the Book of Mormon definition to mean that if you have faith in something that isn't true, you don't actually have faith. Obviously people do have faith in untruths, or else nobody would send money to the scam artist televangelists, etc. So there is risk involved in having faith, because we don't know ahead of time whether our faith is in something true.

dande48 wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 11:37
Have you ever heard of the term "Wu Wei"? It's a Daoist term, first described by Lao Tzu in the 6th century. It translates to "not making an effort", but not in a slothful sense. Rather, it's the "intentional surrender of the will based on a wise recognition of the need, at points, to accede to, rather than protest against, the demands of reality."

Going back to faith, in term of Wu Wei, I think it might be useful to define it as "not knowing, and being okay with that".
I love that. This is what I do with certain of US government leaders who shall remain nameless. I try to use the spirit to discern when to protest and when to just let things be, because my energies need to be preserved or used elsewhere. I have a ton of room for improvement with that kind of discernment, however.

I apologize to everyone for the delayed reply on my part. I'm having brain surgery in a few days and have been overwhelmed with preparations for that over the past two weeks, arranging help with the kids, etc... :crazy: I so greatly appreciate everyone's thoughts.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 15565
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Feb 2018, 11:37

Just to say it, faith is not believing the sun will rise. That is knowledge, since the sun has risen every day of every person's life, even if clouds obscured our view of it. Similarly, it is knowledge that says a light will go on when you flip a light switch. When it doesn't, knowledge explains why it didn't happen (the light burned out).

That is an important, even critical distinction, whenever faith is discussed. Even our youngest children in primary could grasp it if we taught it correctly.
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

squarepeg
Posts: 108
Joined: 17 Feb 2017, 12:51

Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by squarepeg » 23 Feb 2018, 11:55

Curt Sunshine wrote:
23 Feb 2018, 11:37
Just to say it, faith is not believing the sun will rise. That is knowledge, since the sun has risen every day of every person's life, even if clouds obscured our view of it. Similarly, it is knowledge that says a light will go on when you flip a light switch. When it doesn't, knowledge explains why it didn't happen (the light burned out).

That is an important, even critical distinction, whenever faith is discussed. Even our youngest children in primary could grasp it if we taught it correctly.
It seems like faith rather than knowledge to me, trusting that the sun will rise. Just because it has risen every day of my life until now doesn't mean it will do so tomorrow. The likelihood of it rising tomorrow is high but by no means known or certain. Same goes for the light switch: probability of it turning on the light is high but the outcome is not certain, so we can't know with certainty the outcome ahead of time.

I had faith all my life that a God-type being cared for me personally, because that had always seemed to be the case. Because it had always been the case, the probability of it continuing to be the case in the future seemed high and my faith seemed justified. Then I had an experience where I went for over a year of doing all that I understood was required and yet feeling no divine presence at all. So now my faith in that concept of God listening to my prayers or being "there" for me, is pretty weak, because in my mind the statistical likelihood of God being there for me tomorrow or the next day has decreased significantly.

I don't think that my faith is universally based on perceived statistical probabilities, but for certain constructs, it's hard for me not to allow my faith to be partially determined by my past experience.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 15565
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Feb 2018, 12:09

I don't want to derail this thread, so I simply will say that we both KNOW the sun will rise tomorrow. It is scientific fact. If we don't see it because of cloud coverage, we still know it rose. That might not have been true thousands of years ago, but it is true now. Also, if it doesn't rise tomorrow, we won't know it, because we will be dead.

The same goes for flipping a light switch. If the light doesn't go on, we know why - and we take action to fix the factual problem. We don't pray for the light to go on; we buy a lightbulb.

I am NOT trying to say anything other than it is important to use examples of real faith, not knowledge, when we create analogies to faith. What you shared in your last comment did exactly that - use a good example of what faith really is: belief in something experienced spiritually but not seen or provable physically.
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

AmyJ
Posts: 381
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: How to ask in faith without feeling jerked around

Post by AmyJ » 23 Feb 2018, 12:21

squarepeg wrote:
23 Feb 2018, 09:14
AmyJ wrote:
09 Feb 2018, 06:17

The principle that saved my sanity I learned here - I am not expected to "see" perfectly - in fact, I am expected to "see" darkly. The fact that I know see that I don't see everything clearly is a boon that was granted to me at the tender age of 28 (plus a few years). It also gives me the freedom to experiment to see what I do "see" and what works for me.
I can relate to this 100%. I sometimes feel lonely, though, when in a group of TBMs who all feel that they see perfectly and believe we have the fullness of the Gospel, while I'm alone in feeling that it's still and always will be a work in progress.
Yup.

I mentally tell myself with the more extreme ones that a) they are talking themselves into it and we are the audience, or b) that is a part of their faith narrative they feel like sharing. Neither of those views means that I have to adopt it as my own. It also means that I have the responsibility as a divergent thinker to choose my words carefully - both in terms of accidently setting them off into a crises of their own, but also for my social self preservation.

I have been known to mentally chant "It's not that simple." over in my head a few times while they do their thing...

Post Reply