God said what to do but not how to do it.

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: God said what to do but not how to do it.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Apr 2017, 13:17

[Admin Note]: We have hashed and rehashed and re-rehashed polygamy here over the years, and it always ends up in the same general spot - so let me summarize that spot in order to focus the conversation more broadly on the idea of commandments being given without an instruction manual. Here is the summary:

Almost nobody here believes polygamy was commanded, especially as it came to be structured under Brigham Young in Utah. Quite a few here loathe it. Some feel something stronger than loathing. That hasn't changed since the site began and probably won't change in the future. So . . .

Let's not make this one more post about polygamy. The issue of commands without directions is an excellent one, so let's talk about that and what it means with regard to staying LDS.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: God said what to do but not how to do it.

Post by SilentDawning » 13 Apr 2017, 13:21

I just want to say that I feel liberated now. The conversation here seems to underscore the idea that God is not necessarily at the helm. My personal experience shows that yes, the leaders tend to care more for their organization than for the people they depend upon to make it exist and grow. I feel free of the expectations that I had to do the laundry list for salvation. I don't know exactly what is expected, but think living a good life -- being a good worker, a good parent, a good husband, a good citizen CAN'T hurt you in the long run. And it's SO MUCH easier than white knuckling your way through your life in hopes that everything you hear at church is true.

I think the fact that God lets man fall so far down the pole in his own church, begs the question of whether he's really in control of it, or that it's his.

And that, quite frankly, is liberating.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

Roy
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Re: God said what to do but not how to do it.

Post by Roy » 13 Apr 2017, 14:43

Roadrunner wrote:
13 Apr 2017, 12:30
Another point is that God didn't seem to mind giving JS detailed instructions in many mundane matters. There's even a whole section of the D&C that is a Q&A with the Almighty. I tell you if I had a Q&A with the creator of the universe I'd ask something besides what the eyes and wings are of the beasts in Revelations represent.
For the theory to work, we would need to understand all or virtually all of the D&C revelations to be man made. According to the theory JS would have felt authorized as a prophet to speak in the name of God or put words into the mouths of Moses and Abraham. Almost like a Vicar of Christ or authorized earthly representative - Joseph is making decisions on matters and he fully expects God to ratify those decisions. Even if they turn out to be in error, God can make them work for the ultimate good.

My DW believes something similar. For her everything comes down to the priesthood. If the church has it then they hold the keys to the ordinances of Salvation. It does not matter if BY was racist or sexist as long as he had and passed on the priesthood keys in an unbroken chain. It does not matter if the BoM is historical as long as the priesthood exists. It would not strictly matter WW had secretly authorized plural marriage even after the manifesto, Nor would it matter in the grand scheme of things if tithing monies were used to finance the City Creek Center Mall.

If a priest blesses the sacrament or performs a baptism unworthily then that priest is under condemnation but the ordinance is still valid.

In our church we place heavy emphasis on receipt of priesthood authority by the laying on of hands and this trumps personal worthiness.

Maybe Joseph felt that his divine commission trumped everything else.
4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.

5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.
Maybe these verses are autobiographical. Maybe Joseph felt that because he was on a divine mission from God that everything that he had to do in order to complete that mission (like invent and produce new scripture) would also have divine sanction. Maybe he felt that all these "things shall be done unto thee according to [his own] word."
"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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SilentDawning
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Re: God said what to do but not how to do it.

Post by SilentDawning » 13 Apr 2017, 19:39

No more licenses to kill....authority and power, with no accountability is a recipe for misery. I have felt at times, that the church claims this license to kill by avoiding accountability, taking credit for the good things that happen as the result if divine intervention and revelation, while writing off the bad stuff as the frailties of men...you can't have it both ways.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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Gerald
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Re: God said what to do but not how to do it.

Post by Gerald » 14 Apr 2017, 04:23

Maybe these verses are autobiographical. Maybe Joseph felt that because he was on a divine mission from God that everything that he had to do in order to complete that mission (like invent and produce new scripture) would also have divine sanction. Maybe he felt that all these "things shall be done unto thee according to [his own] word."
Roy,

Your ideas reflect some of my own thinking. I believe that we often construct God in some image of ourselves. If you are an individual who wants and desires justice in an unjust world, God becomes a judge visiting His wrath on the unrighteous. If you tend towards a more compassionate view of the world, you might conceptualize God as a loving Father, warm and caring. I'm no historian but what little I have read and heard does indicate to me that the Church under Joseph Smith was different than the Church under Brigham Young. That MAY have been partially due to the different natures of the men involved. God provides an outline and we fill in the gaps. What do we fill the gaps with? Ourselves (meaning our predispositions, biases, and beliefs.)

My current perspective on the Church is that organizationally it desires to maintain control over its subsidiaries (wards and stakes) and desires limited input from those subsidiaries. It's a very top-down structure. Ergo, God becomes a micro-manager for many; He oversees every little detail that takes place in each ward, stake, and organization. But that may simply be a reflection of the personalities of those who run the Church.

I have a hard time believing that God dictates every step we take and every decision we make. I believe that God has given us principles to live by and leaves it up to us to figure things out. (Title of this discussion: God said what to do but not how to do it). But of course, that conceptualization may be nothing more than a reflection of who I am. :?
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

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DarkJedi
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Re: God said what to do but not how to do it.

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Apr 2017, 09:48

Supposing God did say to establish a church (and I'm not sure He did), it does make sense to me that He didn't give step by step or even general instructions as to how. My deist view would hold that God might just let us develop whatever works for us. In truth, I think that's what happened. Joseph was dissatisfied with the existing churches, so he made one that fit what he wanted. Just my opinion, of course. I recognize the purposes of the church (pretty much per Givens in Crucible) but I still wonder if God needs or wants a church. People probably need it more than God.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Roadrunner
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Re: God said what to do but not how to do it.

Post by Roadrunner » 14 Apr 2017, 09:49

Roy wrote:
13 Apr 2017, 14:43
For the theory to work, we would need to understand all or virtually all of the D&C revelations to be man made.
Thank you for the additional explanation. It helps me understand your working theory. You present an interesting framework and it makes a lot of sense.

Roadrunner
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Re: God said what to do but not how to do it.

Post by Roadrunner » 14 Apr 2017, 09:53

SilentDawning wrote:
13 Apr 2017, 19:39
No more licenses to kill....authority and power, with no accountability is a recipe for misery. I have felt at times, that the church claims this license to kill by avoiding accountability, taking credit for the good things that happen as the result if divine intervention and revelation, while writing off the bad stuff as the frailties of men...you can't have it both ways.
Insightful, thanks SD.

All: this has been a helpful thread for me... thank you, and Happy Easter. :smile:

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nibbler
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Re: God said what to do but not how to do it.

Post by nibbler » 15 Apr 2017, 10:25

Gerald wrote:
14 Apr 2017, 04:23
... I believe that we often construct God in some image of ourselves. If you are an individual who wants and desires justice in an unjust world, God becomes a judge visiting His wrath on the unrighteous. If you tend towards a more compassionate view of the world, you might conceptualize God as a loving Father, warm and caring. I'm no historian but what little I have read and heard does indicate to me that the Church under Joseph Smith was different than the Church under Brigham Young. That MAY have been partially due to the different natures of the men involved. God provides an outline and we fill in the gaps. What do we fill the gaps with? Ourselves (meaning our predispositions, biases, and beliefs.) ...
That's pretty much where I've landed. I'll channel Heber13 too. God didn't solve the brother of Jared's issue of dark boats. He left the brother of Jared to his own devices and god later blessed his mortal efforts.

Oh yeah. I'm taking that in the thread we're making the assumption that god knows what god is doing. For all we know god could be making it up as god goes. Me, filling gaps.
“We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.”
― Patrick Rothfuss


“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

Curt Sunshine
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Re: God said what to do but not how to do it.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Apr 2017, 12:13

Let me use my favorite example of God telling us what to do but not every way to do it:
"Love (God and neighbor) as thyself. On this hang all the law and the prophets."
Notice "law" is singular, not plural - and that he distinguished between the law (basically the Ten Commandments) and the prophets (all the rules and statements that get added to the law). We miss that important distinction too often in our modern culture, just like they did back when Jesus said this.
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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