The Pre-Existence.

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by bridget_night » 09 Sep 2009, 04:35

Thank you, Popppyseed. I can get pretty intense about some things! Just like in the parable of the talents, it's what we do with what we have that counts. I believe that quality verses quantity is what God is concernced about since Abraham had only one son from Sariah (Isacc).

Hawkgirl...I also liked what you said...Personal responsiblity and using our brains and not having to be told in all things just makes sense. What I wonder is how people with large families make it? Maybe that's another thread.

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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by Heber13 » 09 Sep 2009, 16:21

bridget_night wrote:I believe that quality verses quantity is what God is concernced about since Abraham had only one son from Sariah (Isacc).
I agree Bridget. I love kids (especially mine). I have met some friends at work that don't want any kids and it makes me think that people are just different. Some like big families, some don't. I don't think it is right for religion to dictate which makes you a better is only one aspect of the earthly experience and everyone can't be brushed with a broad stroke of requiring lots of kids. I like that the church is family friendly and stresses how important family is, but families should be looked at as coming in all shapes and sizes. The Church should not get into dictating this to couples any more than they should get involved in politics...that's not their "thang". ;)

So this discussion leads us to thinking not just about the pre-existence and spirits needing to come to earth, but the post-existence and families successfully sealed together. How do families work in heaven? Marriages are still intact. And then my kids are sealed to us, and then they get married and their spouses are with us...and we are also with our parents, and we are also with my wife's parents...hmmm. :? That is a big family but not just me and my kids...but all the families that are all together. Does anyone have a good way to consider eternal families and how it will look in the POST-Existence?

Clearly, whether I have 1 kid, 2 kids or 12 is still going to be a huge group!!
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by swimordie » 09 Sep 2009, 23:46

hawkgrrrl wrote:I wish those who wanted the church to tell them how to live their lives in such great detail would quit asking these kinds of questions so the church would quit answering these types of questions. But that's just me.
Amen, hawk!!!

I think this is the exact dynamic that creates the "eternal cycle" of members-leaders-culture-leaders-members.

My dad was/is a good example. He literally has an answer for everything that he can reference from some church teaching past/present. Especially, the CHI.
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by LaLaLove » 10 Sep 2009, 21:38

Thank you for all of the info! Tradition, overall culture .. Quotes, talks .. Whatever it may be, there is still some type of presence around when it comes to feeling like you should have many children (which makes sense, imo if preached in the right/healthy way-which is an extremely fine line!). Perfect example, DH wants 8 ( :o ) .. simply b/c he sees large families in Church and they "Look" happy. Real Deal - Scares me a little! We hardly just had one (whom he is just getting to know after 10 months of being in Iraq) and things are very different and challenging! However, he knows and I know it is NO ONES business but our own. It is just so crazy sometimes that commandments for example Multiply and Replenish the Earth or scripture used to fight against birth control .. Turn into well .. I won't retype all of the quotes! - Heavy guilt, fear and judgment unto ourselves as well as everyone around us. I’m happy leaders aren't dwelling on it as much these Latter Days ( sorry couldn't resist) but nevertheless the "Tradition/Culture" or w/e you want to call it still lingers .. As long as mentally healthy adults want and choose to have many children or one child or none .. while all along making healthy and smart decisions (as in can I support them, can I love them) and doing it for right healthy reasons (as in my partner and I want a big family, we can support them, we can love them) .. Not so much for I want to fit in, or so and so said I should or God will damn me if I don’t. It is so personal, it really is pathetic being negatively judged based on your "Lack" of children, or even “Too many” children - Which thankfully I have not experienced.
hawkgrrrl wrote: Why do people insist on looking to others to make every decision in life for them? So we have someone to blame when it goes badly? I wish those who wanted the church to tell them how to live their lives in such great detail would quit asking these kinds of questions so the church would quit answering these types of questions. But that's just me.

Amen. Perhaps I have a little too much pride at times b/c I honestly don’t care to ask or get advice from “leaders” whatsoever at this time.(Although I must admit that there are many many “Answers” I do enjoy pondering and leaning towards in my search for truth/good in The Church) I talk with DH now and let him know I’m not afraid nor do I feel guilty about coming to my own conclusion about certain “Principles” (even when they do not go along with Church teachings) .. I like this new feeling of responsibility-just need to continue to work on the balance of all these new and exciting emotions. Thank you again for all the insight everyone!

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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by Poppyseed » 11 Sep 2009, 07:23

My brother and his wife started out marriage and family with lofty plans and ideologies. I think they wanted 12 kids. Then reality set in. They are now completely happy with four and roll their eyes at their previous position. I however wanted 1, maybe 2. But as reality would have it, I have 4 and surprise surprise, I find more happiness in a bigger family than I had thought I would. If you can believe it, I have even want 1 or 2 more (not that I will). Maybe life just mellows us all out! :D Hopefully we can feel the social pressure and learn to shake it off rather than to buy into it.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Sep 2009, 10:38

Youth tends to extremes.

I like the current stance - which I sum up as, "Have however many you can handle - whether that's one or fifteen. Just don't limit yourself for purely selfish reasons."
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.

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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by Bruce in Montana » 12 Sep 2009, 17:36

Since this thread addresses the pre-existence, here's a link that some might appreciate .... ... re=related

There are actually 4 or 5 ten-minute videos that you have to watch to get the whole thing but it's Terryl Givens in 2007.

Good stuff IMHO.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
-William S.

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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by AmyJ » 12 Sep 2017, 11:59

Curt Sunshine wrote:
11 Sep 2009, 10:38
I like the current stance - which I sum up as, "Have how ever many you can handle - whether that's one or fifteen. Just don't limit yourself for purely selfish reasons."
I agree with this. I am the oldest of 9. Both of my parents were only children, so our large family was overwhelming regularly. I wound up being a quasi-parent at around 15 or so to help out. I always figured on around 6... but waited to marry until I was 26. 2 years in, and we felt nudged to start our family... the cards played out that I went to work and my husband stayed at home with our daughter. 2-3 years past that, and I didn't feel we were done. When our daughter was 4, my husband started to realize we might not be done. Now we have a 1 year old baby, and my husband is quite sure we are done. I came closer to death than anyone would like delivering our last baby, so I understand his position. I am pretty ambivalent about being done.

For me, I see children in the same light as the parable of the talents. 1 of the men was given stewardship over 10, another only 5. I do not hear in the scripture any censure for those stewards who worked so hard to handle their responsibility. We hear a stern rebuke for the man with 1 talent who did nothing with it. Some of our families might be big with lots of kids and that might be their pathway. Other families are going to be smaller. I prefer to think that God will judge on what I did with my relationships within my family rather than the number of kids I had.

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Re: The Pre-Existence.

Post by Roy » 12 Sep 2017, 14:43

HiJolly wrote:
08 Sep 2009, 12:19
LaLaLove wrote:Hello all. I have a few questions about the pre-existence.
First this has come about b/c DH and I have realized that many friends/family have asked us if we believe "Having more children = Higher degree of Heaven".
I would like to know if anyone has insight into how this "Rumor" or "Theory" has gotten into peoples minds over the years. Was it a theory implied by a leader? Or have non-members and members alike put "Mormons have big families" and "Mormons believe in levels of Heaven" together to eventually come up with "Having more children = Higher degree of Heaven." :?:

Yes, the theory is implied by Joseph Smith's teachings concerning Polygamy, Polyandry, temple work for the dead, patriarchy and doctrine of adoption.

I think Joseph was trying to make the adage "As above, so below" literal by tying together familial, patriarchal relationships through priesthood sealings, in an effort to duplicate what he saw in Heaven. He explained that the networks of sealed people into linked families increased our power and dominion, etc. in heaven, much like the European royalty did it in the middle ages.

Obviously, if that were worth pursuit, what would make more sense than having a lot of kids with your own wife/wives in the first place? Why adopt if you can have a bajillion kids yourself? So, I think it's all tied together. Saturday's Warrior is simply a sociological outgrowth of this kind of thinking, IMO.
This is where my study has brought me. Why do we no longer understand polygamy? Because we no longer teach that our personal exaltation is linked to the size of the personal familial kingdom we build. It was only about a century ago that men stopped adding wives to their families in an effort to secure the blessings of eternal life.

But the idea of large family size = righteousness has persisted in our doctrine and in the stereotypically large Mormon families.

I also believe that it continues in the church policy towards Vasectomy
Surgical Sterilization (Including Vasectomy)

The Church strongly discourages surgical sterilization as an elective form of birth control. Surgical sterilization should be considered only if (1) medical conditions seriously jeopardize life or health or (2) birth defects or serious trauma have rendered a person mentally incompetent and not responsible for his or her actions. Such conditions must be determined by competent medical judgment and in accordance with law. Even then, the persons responsible for this decision should consult with each other and with their bishop and should receive divine confirmation of their decision through prayer.
Sounds like the church takes a very dim view on vasectomy as a method to limit family size. This was brought to my attention by an SP on a single's ward retreat. He said that any man that would so permanently limit his increase in this life would find himself without increase in the hereafter. Sounds pretty extreme, I know but if you read the policy it says that there are only ever 2 situations were the procedure should even be considered.
"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: The Pre-Existence.

Post by DancingCarrot » 13 Sep 2017, 11:16

Roy, it seems that quote is aimed at both vasectomies and hysterectomies, most likely including tubal ligation as well since it cites Surgical Sterilization (including vasectomies). Growing up, I never thought of nor heard of any couples in the ward consulting the bishop regarding surgical sterilization. Sometimes I heard people discounting the procedures altogether because they saw it as foiling God's plans. Listen, if you're having sex at all, can't God just make those sperm and eggs jump when they need to? Why limit it to the woman's menstrual cycle? If that baby needs to come, isn't it in God's power to override biology? If surgical sterilization is down the line on your path, and theoretically God would know about it, wouldn't he be sure to get all the right eggs and sperms together? Where do God's power and our agency meet in this scenario? This is part of where the CHI loses me on this issue. If me and my husband both acknowledged that we were done making babies, then it would definitely be on the table for one (most likely him) or both of us to become surgically sterilized, and it would not even be a thought to make sure our bishop was on board as well.

Also, I think most people who are in this discussion are fertile people/couples. What about infertile couples that choose not to adopt, use surrogacy, or foster? Are they not selfish, especially if they had such a strong desire to be parents before they found out of their infertility? I think there are many ways to be selfish and selfless regarding parenthood, and some of those include being a parent. However, because single people are both without a marriage and without kids, we are often touted as the most selfish.

Thought experiment: If I believe that I am not emotionally capable to raise children despite relative life success, and therefore choose not to have kids, am I being selfish or selfless?
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

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