Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

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swimordie
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Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by swimordie » 26 Aug 2009, 10:14

I guess I just figured this out.

Are we (lds) striving so hard for perfection because of trying to become like Christ/follow His example?

Where does His example of unconditional love fall in that paradigm?

In my mind, there appears to be a practical conflict: how is love, both giving and receiving, affected by our OCD drive for perfection?

Recently, my uber-orthodox TBM mom wouldn't go to her own sacrament meeting without my dad. They had gone to a sacrament meeting elsewhere for a blessing and she wanted to go to hers but she was afraid of the example of being in sacrament meeting alone. Guilt and shame ensued.

I know what the response from all you stage 5-ers is going to be but think of this in real world practical terms:

Can perfect love and perfect obedience coincide?
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

Poppyseed
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Poppyseed » 26 Aug 2009, 11:08

Can perfect love and perfect obedience coincide?
Well yes! This is what makes God GOD!

It is for us to struggle to find that magical balance, and for most of us its about being ok with the journey and allowing all the failings and inequities etc to be swallowed up in Christ. I think this is the beauty and often misunderstood part of the Atonement (grace, mercy, justice) and its relationship to obedience. Too often we miss the mark on both counts.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

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Rix
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Rix » 26 Aug 2009, 12:25

Okay...another "twisted" answer from me... ;) :)

I think that neither exists without the other. God IS love, so if we are to obey God perfectly, I submit that is done, and only done, with perfect love.

:? :?
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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Bill Atkinson
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Bill Atkinson » 26 Aug 2009, 13:57

swimordie

You finish with this:
Can perfect love and perfect obedience coincide?
The answer is YES! but the difficulty is in determining what "perfect" means. All too often and I think just about certainly in your TBM Mom there is not "perfect" love but "perfectionist" love. Now this is a bit hazy for me but it goes something like this. Perfect love is flexible, it understands human fraility and failings, it accepts less than perfect behavior because it understands that the intent is there but the flesh is weak, it strives towards a goal but doesn't beat up anyone, least of itself along the way for not quite making it and most important it is able to forgive others when they are less than generous.

A perfectionist approach to love and the gospel and obedience is to "follow the letter of the law" and try to do everything exactly right, no matter what. It is too rigid.

As we can see on this board and all over the internet and in our Wards the perfectionist, rigid stage 3 Mormons are ripe for having their faith literally broken because it is either ALL correct or it is false, no middle ground, no nuance, no individual understanding and personal relationship with Heavenly Father.

There, I will do some more thinking but Christ is our example and even He, in the last moments, when the Spirit was withdrawn and he was left entirely on his own cried out to ask where his God was. It is my opinion that even at this moment he could have asserted his priesthood, burst into flaming glory, come down off the cross, healed himself and faced his persecuters, but he didn't, he was able to be obedient and perfectly loving for all his sisters and brothers.
All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.
Ernest Ludwig Kirchner

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HiJolly
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by HiJolly » 26 Aug 2009, 15:46

swimordie wrote:In my mind, there appears to be a practical conflict: how is love, both giving and receiving, affected by our OCD drive for perfection? >snip<

Can perfect love and perfect obedience coincide?
Yes, I think so.

We first start out obeying due to either example or coersion. At least, I did. Then it was reinforced by the Church's social/cultural 'norm' of (surface) obedience.

Then I found as I obeyed at length and did so because *I* mostly wanted to, that the reasons for the commandments began to be clear to me.

Then after a while God blessed me with His Love (a mystical consciousness kinda thing) and then at last, for the first time, I knew what love really was! I also knew the significance of the statement "We love Him because He first Loved us".

Then at last, the commandments became a joy to live, as I understood "If ye love me, keep my commandments".

That was/is my journey.

HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

swimordie
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by swimordie » 26 Aug 2009, 15:55

Love and agree with all the responses!

But no one took the bait...

And, I know I'm "preaching to the choir"; if you go by the two great commandments, love and obedience are literally the same thing. Which is my thinking on the whole thing anyway. But, again, this is not how life plays out, especially not in the church. (or most other places, too)

So, I'll ask it in a different way:

What's more important, love or obedience? Why?

(btw, these are semi-rhetorical questions, but for TBM's I perceive a real dilemma, though none would be admitted, admittedly ;) )
(pss-if this is just a silly mind exercise between stage 3 and stage 5, someone just say so)
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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Rix
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Rix » 26 Aug 2009, 16:16

swimordie wrote:Love and agree with all the responses!

But no one took the bait...

And, I know I'm "preaching to the choir"; if you go by the two great commandments, love and obedience are literally the same thing. Which is my thinking on the whole thing anyway. But, again, this is not how life plays out, especially not in the church. (or most other places, too)

So, I'll ask it in a different way:

What's more important, love or obedience? Why?

(btw, these are semi-rhetorical questions, but for TBM's I perceive a real dilemma, though none would be admitted, admittedly ;) )
(pss-if this is just a silly mind exercise between stage 3 and stage 5, someone just say so)
Hey, I was close! ;) Don't I get partial credit? :cry:

Okay, am I missing something? If they are the same thing, they are equally important, right? I MUST be missing something?????

:?
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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Orson
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Orson » 26 Aug 2009, 18:01

Oh, I was too late!!

As I read the start of the thread I was all set to reply and say THEY'RE THE SAME THING! Perfect love is the ultimate fulfilment of obedience!!

I agree a lot of people probably don't see it that way, but if you really get down into it -- I believe this is what you arrive at.


...this really makes me want to find an email I sent to my family after conference.
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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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Orson
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by Orson » 26 Aug 2009, 18:20

Ah, found it. I sent this quiz to my family a few months ago:

We were reminded last conference how faith and doubt "cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other.” A similar thought occurred to me yesterday, while it is nothing new the context made me think of it in a slightly different way.

Sin and _____ cannot exist with a person at the same time, for one will dispel the other. (At least _____ when perfected will dispel sin, everything is by degrees.)


In fact _____ is so encompassing that when combined with knowledge (and of course faith) it becomes the whole of the gospel -- all ordinances and every purpose of God comes out of it. You could say faith grows out of _____, repentance and personal growth (in true form) both result from and cause an increase in _____, baptism demonstrates _____, enduring to the end is equivalent to filling this cup to overflowing.

If we try to weed sin out of our lives without growing additional _____ to displace it the sin will often come back.



The most common answer given was "obedience." My answer to that was "obedience to what?"

The real answer of course is Love, meaning a perfect or Godly love -- as in obedience to the "great" commandment, or the two great commandments. (Common sense right? Sin is acting against "God's will", Love IS God's will.)
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

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.

swimordie
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Re: Perfection vs. Love, the final battle

Post by swimordie » 26 Aug 2009, 21:29

Perfect, Orson. I see you played this game with your family before I "played" it here.

That was my exact point. I guess having the obvious as a rhetorical now, we can move on to the next logical: where does obedience end and love begin or where does love end and obedience begin?
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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