Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

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Orson
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Orson » 03 Sep 2009, 09:15

So is LOVE when obedience comes from deep inside...

and OBEDIENCE (negative connotation) when rules are followed because of some level of fear?
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Poppyseed » 03 Sep 2009, 16:14

[
quote="Orson"]So is LOVE when obedience comes from deep inside...
I think this is the fruit of real conversion.
and OBEDIENCE (negative connotation) when rules are followed because of some level of fear?
[/quote]

Yeah. I think fear is involved but hopefully faith too. Even Adam obeyed without knowing why he was doing it. I think sometimes we get stuck in obedience ruts. It makes us feel safe and sometimes we make the mistake of defining our righteousness by our doings. Or maybe we get fettered or stagnant by all of it and need rebell, which in my mind would be the absense of testimony or conversion.

But maybe there should be stages with obedience like we have here with faith. Maybe it is the rule that teaches or stretches. If God's blessings truly are tied to obedience, then perhaps these are opportunities for God to lead people by the hand to more inner change. Perhaps commandments are simply tools to help us become more loving. Other times they have eternal significance and understanding the principle becomes important which makes me want to fight for the spirit over the letter of the law sometimes. But then I remember that obedience is the first law of heaven and that God would cease to be God without perfect obedience to eternal law. So I would think learning obedience here in this life is just as important as love. Whether we like it or not, obedience is part of the deal/the parameters for all of us. If there wasn't an eternal law....there would have been no punishment for us and no need for a Savior. I mean, his whole sacrifice is absolutely the opitimy (sp?) of love and obedience.

I don't know. I think getting both love and obedience into our hearts is crucial.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

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Orson
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Orson » 03 Sep 2009, 17:25

Yes, ultimately I think obedience is designed (in it’s purely divine form) to teach love. The way I see it Love IS the eternal law, and Christ’s sacrifice was designed to teach us how to love (and accept love). “Punishment” (in the book of Orson) is not understanding love, and how dreadful must be the state of those souls.
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I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by swimordie » 04 Sep 2009, 00:03

Poppyseed wrote:Maybe it is the rule that teaches or stretches. If God's blessings truly are tied to obedience, then perhaps these are opportunities for God to lead people by the hand to more inner change. Perhaps commandments are simply tools to help us become more loving.
Poppy, you hit that nerve again... :oops:

I love the above quote and, really, your whole post. Except that part that I bolded.

I do think this is one of the more damaging concepts of mormonism. I'm not sure how much this concept is taught or believed in other religions but the teaching that "all blessings are predicated on the law..." I can't even remember the scripture correctly. Everyone knows what it is.

In my heart, I fundamentally reject that concept. We are blessed when we recognize the blessings that God has given us.

It's the converse to this concept that does all the damage in the church/culture. The idea that by being disobedient we are somehow unworthy of blessings. I simply cannot fathom in any way, shape or form, a loving Heavenly Father that would set this paradigm up for His children. It's odious, imho.

This is the heart of my OP. We are not here on earth, experiencing mortality, to be perfect. We are here to learn and progress. By making mistakes. By being heartbroken. By feeling abandoned. By finding joy. By being empathetic. By discovering the power of unconditional love.

Personal disaster, financial ruin, death of a loved one, birth of a child, kissing your sweetheart, watching the sunrise. These are all blessings. Because they are teaching us what it is to be divine. If we're willing to learn what we are being taught.

It's a hard concept because all of western civilization is built on the mythology of being cursed by God for wrong-doing or blessed by God for being good.

In my reality, life is the blessing. The ultimate blessing. The good, the bad, the tragic, the joyful, the pain, the serene. This is why we're here.

We're not here to be perfect so that we get the biggest mansion in the highest level of the celestial kingdom. We can live today in the celestial kingdom by embracing the good that is this life.

This is the journey, in my extremely humbled opinion.
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Curt Sunshine » 04 Sep 2009, 06:00

swim, fwiw, what you just described actually is the definition of becoming perfect that is laid out in the Sermon on the Mount. "Perfect" is defined in Matthew 5:48 as "complete, whole, fully developed" - NOT mistake-less. That's a critical point that too often is missed. Given that definition, becoming perfect is EXACTLY about experiencing opposition in all things (including the stupidity and mistakes and trials and heartache and even sin that fill mortality) and letting it change us to be more "complete, whole, fully developed".

I think I will post something I wrote on my blog long ago as a separate post about perfection.
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: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Poppyseed » 04 Sep 2009, 08:05

I hear you Swim! I would absolutely agree with one slight change. I think what you describe is one of the more damaging concepts of MISUNDERSTOOD doctrine and sometimes entrenched notions of mormon culture. This is NOT what our scriptures are trying to teach us.

To me obedience is tied to my relationship with God.....my trust in my Father in Heaven. It doesn't really have anything to do with the church or earning anything. If I trust Him, then I will follow where he leads. Period. If He teaches me of love, pain, atonement and empathy and if it is thru some earthly ritual in order to do it, then I follow and submit because I trust. This isn't at all about the biggest mansion or being better than someone else or proving to ourselves that we are good. Obedience isn't perfectionism. Perfectionism is Satans twist on all of this and a wedge he places between us and God in his efforts to teach us not to obey or to miss the mark! IMO, perfectionism is the meanest oppression upon ones spirit!

Obedience, on the other hand, is more about excellence and faith and humility and childlike devotion and reaching ones potential. And because a being more powerful and wise than me knows the way to real happiness in this life and the next, I know I can trust him above cultrue, church dogma, and faulty thinking. It isn't for me to understand all of it or to see around all the corners. I don't have to. What a relief! We understand when we look back over the course of an obedient life. It isn't for me to decide what the laws should be either or try them on to see if they fit. It is for me to appeal to the Spirit for understanding and for a broken heart and conversion so that I develop the humility to submit to His will. Imo, this kind of trusting obedient devotion is all about love. My love....and His love. A God that leads thru the institution of obedience is absolutely and perfectly loving. There is love in boundaries and saying no and letting consequences/pain teach......even when I am suffering and argue and want life's circumstances to be different. It is God that guides me through it all and it is obedience that keeps me safe. After these last few struggling years, I am sure that God is less concerned with suffering and more concerned with what we learn and how our hearts are and why we obey.

I am not threatened at all by the doctrine that blessings are predicated upon certain obedience. This well known scripture doesn't mean that God won't bless according to his will and pleasure. He most certainly does. It just means that obedience secures those blessings. If I need the HG to guide me in a crisis, but I haven't done my spiritual preparations, I am at the mercy of God.. and Satan for that matter. But if I have done my part, He will be on my right hand and left hand and there to bear me up. And I can count on that with absolute assurance because God becomes bound! And knowing that .....trusting that I am doing my part and that God is bound to do his is much more comforting than knowing that I have no promise or that I am at the mercy and whimsy of some detached deity and the harsh reality of earth life.

God is the parent. We are the children. He won't spoil us. He can't give exaltation just because he loves us. He had to meet the demands of Justice by sending a Savior. How painful for a father to have to sacrifice a son! But... He couldn't pass by it. There was no other way. We can't either. We have to meet the demands of justice OR work inside the Atonement. That is just the way it is. Obedience is the way we do it and repentance is the way we do it when our rebellion happens. Understanding this truth is NOT damaging. Rather it is humbling....and in the end a very powerful, liberating thing.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by swimordie » 04 Sep 2009, 09:31

Poppyseed wrote: We have to meet the demands of justice OR work inside the Atonement.
I guess this is where we differ slightly. I see life as the executor of justice. If I do something that I know I shouldn't, there are always consequences. Whether they're external or internal, there's consequences. And the consequence is the lesson to be learned. Rather, the lesson being taught, that we either learn or don't learn.

The concept of "meet the demands of justice" feels like a coercive statement to scare the individual into "work inside the Atonement".

I guess I'm trying to say that the paradigm of "obey or else", using justice system or penal system terminology, doesn't work for me in the views that I have about life and God and love. I feel that the only motivation to obey is love. If fear, or uncertainty, or shame, or guilt, or reward are the motivation, then it's a lesson unlearned. An opportunity passed.
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Curt Sunshine » 04 Sep 2009, 10:04

or a stepping-stone

The problem is when the stepping-stone becomes the path itself.
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

Poppyseed
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Poppyseed » 04 Sep 2009, 11:05

The concept of "meet the demands of justice" feels like a coercive statement to scare the individual into "work inside the Atonement".
The demands of justice to me are very similar to physical laws of gravity or motion. It's just the way things are. Justice has its demands here on earth and it has its demands in the life after this one. The only thing coercive I can see is how a preacher or parent might present this information. Perhaps this is what you feel so strongly against. If so, then I am completely behind you.
I guess I'm trying to say that the paradigm of "obey or else", using justice system or penal system terminology, doesn't work for me in the views that I have about life and God and love. I feel that the only motivation to obey is love. If fear, or uncertainty, or shame, or guilt, or reward are the motivation, then it's a lesson unlearned. An opportunity passed.
Well, all I can say to this is that sometimes God does give obey or else utimatums. We can find them all over scripture. It sounds like what you are saying is that these conditions are not loving. I am arguing that in the hands of a perfect all knowing God, that they are very loving. And sometimes fear is a very healthy thing. We want our own children to have healthy fear about stuff like fire and guns and late homework. Our Father wants us to have healthy fear of sin. And if that is the only thing that gets us to the line, it is at least something. Hopefully the child learns in time to obey for higher reasons. Doesn't change the fact that obedience for whatever reason keeps the fire from burning someone.

The rest though, the shame, guilt, reward, wants of the natural man, etc etc......the adversary and the flesh are the author of these and all of us have come to terms with them. They are not part of the gospel. You are absolutely right on that count. I guess what I read in scripture is that God understands all these things and is trying to help us overcome them thru obeying his higher way. But I can see that if one sees the process as coersive or presented in a way that would deny ones agency, then that would be a huge turn off. All the more reason for the one to understand first hand the truth about how things really are with regards to eternal law, the gospel of Christ, and the will of God. Which I think is the core of what mormonism is all about. I am having a hard time seeing how mormonism itsself is coersive. Mormon culture...the warped attitudes of a few of the ones who misunderstand.....well that is something else.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Rix » 04 Sep 2009, 11:21

Poppyseed wrote: Well, all I can say to this is that sometimes God does give obey or else utimatums. We can find them all over scripture. It sounds like what you are saying is that these conditions are not loving. I am arguing that in the hands of a perfect all knowing God, that they are very loving.
I'll throw in my 1 1/2 cents here (and apologize for beating a dead horse in advance). Yes, I agree that "God" works with consistency (I don't like the term ultimatum, but I understand the concept). I mean, I think it's easy for most of us to see that the "ban" on the priesthood was not "God's" word. It was man's. Now, if you lived in 1950, and were LDS, you would probably believe that the ban was "scripture." Today, you wouldn't.

So my point is, why would you (or anybody) give some words written in books absolute credence as being "God's inerrant word?" IOW, if I read a "scripture, and it is not consistent with love as I feel the spirit has taught me, I'm just fine to accept that the scripture, or the interpretation of it, could be wrong. I think it is quite consistent to find answers based in love, not fear, are from "God."

But again, I'm not normal....

;) :)
Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the
truth.] - Friedrich Nietzsche

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that. -- Joseph Campbell

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