Perfection

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wayfarer
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Perfection

Post by wayfarer » 25 Nov 2011, 15:18

from Spencer W. Kimball, "Miracle of Forgiveness", page 209:
This progress toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through that perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us. In his Sermon on the Mount he made the command to all men: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48.) Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal.
from Russell M. Nelson, "Perfection Pending", Ensign, Nov 1995 (conference address):
In Matt. 5:48, the term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means “complete.”... Please note that the word does not imply “freedom from error”; ... In fact, when writers of the Greek New Testament wished to describe perfection of behavior—precision or excellence of human effort—they did not employ a form of teleios; instead, they chose different words.
So...the mandate of the lord to be perfect, which LDS take very seriously, is for all intents and purposes a mistranslation of the bible. The context of Matthew 5:48 was not the idea of being flawless at all, but rather, 'impartial'/complete/whole, for the behavior prior to the verse (note the conjunction 'therefore') is pointing out all sorts of partial behavior.

Lifting the verse out of context has caused lifetimes of needless guilt.

The term 'mandate' as used in English comes from the 'mandatum' in latin, first referring to the only mandate Jesus made in the scripture in John 13:34 "A new commandment [mandatum novum] I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Perfection

Post by Curt Sunshine » 25 Nov 2011, 15:59

wayfarer, you might be interested in the following post from back in 2009:

"Be Ye Therefore Perfect - a bit long" (viewtopic.php?f=6&t=798&hilit=perfect) - 5 comments

I agree with you completely. It's one of the biggest issues we face doctrinally in the LDS Church - eliminating the apostate definition of perfection onto which we've latched over the last 50 years or so. Perfection should be an exciting, motivating principle, not a confidence smashing impossibility. Understanding the correct definition would go a long way toward making that change happen.
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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Perfection

Post by Curt Sunshine » 25 Nov 2011, 16:01

On my own blog, I've written a lot about this issue - our co-opting of the wrong definition for the word "perfect" in Jesus' teachings. There are 30 posts there with the label, "Perfection".

The one I would recommend to anyone here who is interested was written almost four years ago:

"The Problem with the Popular Perception of Perfection" (http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2007 ... ns-of.html)
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

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cwald
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Re: Perfection

Post by cwald » 25 Nov 2011, 16:22

I contend that that Matt 5:48 is perhaps the most misunderstood, and hence, the most pernicious and emotional and spiritual damaging verse and doctrine ever taught in the LDS church.

And since you quote it from Miracle of Forgiveness ---- I would contend that book is the most misunderstood and the most pernicious and emotional and spiritual damaging book and doctrine ever taught in the LDS church.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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wayfarer
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Re: Perfection

Post by wayfarer » 25 Nov 2011, 16:47

cwald wrote:I contend that that Matt 5:48 is perhaps the most misunderstood, and hence, the most pernicious and emotional and spiritual damaging verse and doctrine ever taught in the LDS church.
the verse really means "be ye one", and as such, means something very important and consistent with some of the most important teachings of all.

The core message of the sermon on the mount, and perhaps of christ's entire corpus, is to love one another. To twist this into a call for flawless purity destroys the entire message.

Yet whenever I have taught the true meaning of the verse, quoting Nelson's GC address (for legitimacy of course ;) , people in the church are always grateful. There is something relieving to know that the mandate to be perfect doesn't exist.
cwald wrote:And since you quote it from Miracle of Forgiveness ---- I would contend that book is the most misunderstood and the most pernicious and emotional and spiritual damaging book and doctrine ever taught in the LDS church.
Oddly, I liked SWK, although, as an apostle, publication of MoF in 1969 had the effect of really screwing up a lot of people I knew.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

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Re: Perfection

Post by SilentDawning » 26 Nov 2011, 06:32

I think this cartoon from a sometimes cynical LDS artist describes the impact of the perfection myth on many of us:

http://honestjoncomics.blogspot.com/201 ... video.html
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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