Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religion

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Forgotten_Charity
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 26 Mar 2014, 11:18

On Own Now wrote:I think 'love' is an emotion that we cannot even define in our mortal realm. As described in the scriptures, God's love is incomprehensible. I would say that we will never be able to categorize something that we can't even comprehend. Asserting that God's love is either conditional or unconditional is unprovable and unprofitable.

I prefer to think that God, as represented in the scriptures, has "unconditional patience" for us.
To wit, it is hard to describe but not impossible.
Because it encompasses so many things.
It would be better to say love is an act that produces forth good feelings and fruit in others. Something which can be observed based on that criteria.

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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Mar 2014, 11:19

I agree, On Own Now - and seeing it that way adds great power to the concept of Atonement for me.

I use 1 Corinthians 13 and its explication of charity whenever I talk about God's love. We are supposed to be / become like God, and that chapter is one of the best treatises I know (along with the Sermon on the Mount) on what that actually means.
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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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by Roy » 26 Mar 2014, 14:37

On Own Now wrote:I think 'love' is an emotion that we cannot even define in our mortal realm. As described in the scriptures, God's love is incomprehensible. I would say that we will never be able to categorize something that we can't even comprehend. Asserting that God's love is either conditional or unconditional is unprovable and unprofitable.

I prefer to think that God, as represented in the scriptures, has "unconditional patience" for us.
I agree, but yet to say that God has patience for me seems so different than to say that God loves me. I agree that the meaning behind the word love is so broad, deep, and varies based on the experiences of the individual that it can be hard to pin down exactly what is meant.

I guess what bothers me the most about this is that it seems to be saying that God only works with us based on the performance model ... and that people that feel power and comfort in other models are dangerously deluding themselves.

I do not desire a gold medal - a hug from my Father is more meaningful to me. I feel like this talk devalues my motivation.

In short – this talk is just one more example of someone standing up and effectively saying, “In case you think this unconditional love thing is compatable with Mormonism - I'm here to tell you that it is not. You do not fit in here."

I get that the church has every right to define the bounds of what is normal and accepted. But it still hurts somewhat to be on the outskirts, on the borderlands.

It hurts to be told that God doesn't love you as much as you think he does.
"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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On Own Now
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by On Own Now » 26 Mar 2014, 15:14

Roy, no argument here. The scriptures do say that God loves us, beyond that, I'm not sure that anyone, including MRNelson, is qualified to break it down further. I believe each of us is free to interpret God's love toward us however we want. But that he loves us is well attested in the scriptures, as in the case of one of my favorite scriptures:
God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 - NRSV)
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by Roy » 27 Mar 2014, 11:32

On Own Now wrote:Roy, no argument here. The scriptures do say that God loves us, beyond that, I'm not sure that anyone, including MRNelson, is qualified to break it down further. I believe each of us is free to interpret God's love toward us however we want. But that he loves us is well attested in the scriptures, as in the case of one of my favorite scriptures:
God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 - NRSV)
Thanks OON. I suppose I am more impassioned about this issue because it hits close to home. My crisis revolves around the stillbirth of my daughter. I was grappling with two issues. 1) What happens to unborn babies in a meritocracy (since they haven't achieved anything)? 2) Was I not righteous enough to merit God's intervention on behalf of my daughter?



I received a single answer that was enough for me. God loves me, God loves my daughter. His love for my daughter is equal to his love for me. He loves her in her non-achievement. He loves me in my mixed bag of accomplishments and failures. God's love is enough for me.
Elder Oaks says:
• A person rejects the doctrine that a couple must be married for eternity to enjoy family relationships in the next life, declaring, “If God really loved us, I can’t believe He would separate husbands and wives in this way.”
These persons disbelieve eternal laws which they consider contrary to their concept of the effect of God’s love. Persons who take this position do not understand the nature of God’s love or the purpose of His laws and commandments.


The answer that I believe I received seems to put much of Mormonism on its head. I don't know about the next life and how things will work out with the three degrees of glory - but I'm not worried about it. I'm not running around indulging in "sin." I live much as I did before but without guilt or much motivation to jump through religious hoops.

I feel like what is being said in these talks and by some of my other priesthood leaders is that God would love me more if I paid tithing. God would love me more if I attended the temple. If I don't do these things then my eternal family is in danger.

The problem is that I believe that my answer came from God. I felt it just as strong and clear as any spiritual experience that I’ve ever had.

I know that these guys have a church to run and that people like me sure seem to throw a wrench into the typical motivational mechanism, but it still sticks in my craw. Is my problem really that I feel God's love too much? Is it doctrinally possible that Satan could counterfeit God's love for the purpose of my deception? Is my dying with 100% unquestioning loyalty to the LDS church the only thing that matters in their perspective?

How ironic that God’s love can be a threat to the church. :crazy:
"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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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Mar 2014, 15:20

I understand and agree with that sentiment, Roy - but, the thing is, (almost) all people believe what Elder Oaks said to one degree or another; we simply draw our lines in different places and with regard to different things.

At the extreme, assuming the existence of God, I don't think anyone here thinks that God would reward / bless / endorse / whatever someone who is a serial murderer or rapist exactly like someone who does his or her best to live the most moral life s/he understands. We might believe God loves that mortal monster as much as God loves each of us, but when it comes to what that means in the eternities, most of us shudder to accept a completely non-action-based, fully universal sameness of treatment (the application of God's love that I think is the heart of Elder Nelson's talk). The only way around that dissonance is to believe in a more Buddhist concept of eternal progression that posits everyone will have as long as it takes to become godly (whether or not multiple mortal opportunities are involved) - that, eventually, the serial murderer or rapist will repent (change) and be sanctified.

That is a lovely ideal, and I lean toward it, but it absolutely is painful, gut-wrenching, soul-searing heresy to the families of the victims (the idea that they and their loved ones will have to live forever in the presence of vicious abusers who hurt them in real and deep ways) - as is evidenced by the visceral outcry when people realized someone had performed the temple work for Hitler.
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

Roy
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by Roy » 31 Mar 2014, 13:58

Ray DeGraw wrote:I understand and agree with that sentiment, Roy - but, the thing is, (almost) all people believe what Elder Oaks said to one degree or another; we simply draw our lines in different places and with regard to different things.

At the extreme, assuming the existence of God, I don't think anyone here thinks that God would reward / bless / endorse / whatever someone who is a serial murderer or rapist exactly like someone who does his or her best to live the most moral life s/he understands. We might believe God loves that mortal monster as much as God loves each of us, but when it comes to what that means in the eternities, most of us shudder to accept a completely non-action-based, fully universal sameness of treatment (the application of God's love that I think is the heart of Elder Nelson's talk). The only way around that dissonance is to believe in a more Buddhist concept of eternal progression that posits everyone will have as long as it takes to become godly (whether or not multiple mortal opportunities are involved) - that, eventually, the serial murderer or rapist will repent (change) and be sanctified.

That is a lovely ideal, and I lean toward it, but it absolutely is painful, gut-wrenching, soul-searing heresy to the families of the victims (the idea that they and their loved ones will have to live forever in the presence of vicious abusers who hurt them in real and deep ways) - as is evidenced by the visceral outcry when people realized someone had performed the temple work for Hitler.
I think I get what you are saying Ray. You seem to be saying that the vision of a God that rewards us based upon our actions (and punishes our enemies to some extent) works for most people. I agree.

With many individuals I might feel apprehension about continuing but I trust you enough to proceed – even if we ultimately disagree about some particulars

I imagine that all of us have hurt someone. There must be a mechanism to forgive the perpetrator without invalidating the hurt. I hate taking things to extremes of rapists and murderers and I hope that no-one reading this has any such personal experience. I only believe that God will not sever his relationship with even the worst of us. I read an article of a son with bouts of mental illness that killed a sibling and his mother. The article was about the father that still visits him in prison. He doesn't protest his boy's innocence. He says that he has already lost so much that is beyond his control - maintaining a relationship with his son is something that he does have some choice in.

I’m not suggesting that everyone’s heaven will be the same. Nor am I suggesting that God would allow certain individuals to be in a position in the afterlife where they will inflict more harm on others of his children.

I believe:
A) That God knows us completely and understands us even if he might disagree with some of our choices.
B) That God loves each of his children always and will seek what is best for us.

What is best for one person might not be a good fit for another. I believe that God will seek the highest good for us individually and collectively. I do not know what that will look like in the eternities and I am comfortable not knowing.
"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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opentofreedom
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by opentofreedom » 31 Mar 2014, 15:56

Beautiful thoughts Roy! I love reading your thoughts about God's love. I totally agree. I have thought about the sames things and come to very similar conclusions. My faith crisis was brought on by Gods love and "unconditional" love that seemed very conditional. I have talked to three Bishops, RS presidents, missionaries... whoever could help me find truth. No one could help me. I never found answers until I had an incredible experience that freed me of any and all fears regarding God.. which freed me from limited beliefs of the church. Ironically "God" led me "astray" from the church but towards freedom and love more than I have ever imagined. I love more than I ever have, yet I have anger and shame for being "tricked" into believing the way I did for so long. Still trying to figure out what I think about that and working on trusting Spirituality again.

PS. Have you ever read "Conversations with God". I don't take it at 100% face value, and realize that this was Neale Donald Walsh's experience with God and we each get to have our own, but I really enjoyed so much of this book. It was pretty congruent to my beliefs at the time.
Namaste: the divine light in me honors the divine light in you.

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by Curt Sunshine » 31 Mar 2014, 18:42

I agree, Roy - but I understand completely why most people (in all religions) don't. I can't complain, ridicule, dismiss or otherwise denigrate people who can't see it that way - and I know you feel the same way.
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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Ilovechrist77
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 31 Mar 2014, 19:22

I know that Stephen R. Robinson in his book Following Christ didn't like the term unconditional love because it wasn't a scriptural term and it sounded like God would give us exaltation when haven't repented. My faith crisis came about with studying church history in depth, but in 2001-2003 I was experiencing moral scrupulosity, a part of OCD. Maybe I was experiencing a faith crisis then and didn't realize it. I believe God, Jesus Christ, Heavenly Mother, the Holy Ghost love us more than we can comprehend. His blessings and the things he does for us can be incredibly unpredictable. Ev en God allowing one of Joseph Smith's non-member family member exaltation was unpredictable. So was Adam and Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit.

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