In sacrament I'll be giving a talk on obedience

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Ilovechrist77
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In sacrament I'll be giving a talk on obedience

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 20 Apr 2017, 03:35

Okay, my bishop, who is real good friend of mine since childhood, asked me if I would give on talk in sacrament on obedience on the 30th of this month. I completely believe in obeying the Lord. While I believe in obeying the brethren and local leaders, I don't believe everything that is taught or done in the church by the leaders is how Christ would want it. I would like to give a little nuance in the talk, but I don't want to give too much, I don't want to shock people. I will use some scriptures and a quote from a talk by President Monson. What would guys suggest?

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DarkJedi
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Re: In sacrament I'll be giving a talk on obedience

Post by DarkJedi » 20 Apr 2017, 07:13

I feel the same about obeying men. Were it me assigned this topic I'd probably just steer clear of that aspect and focus on obedience to commandments.
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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Heber13
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Re: In sacrament I'll be giving a talk on obedience

Post by Heber13 » 20 Apr 2017, 09:30

Ilovechrist77 wrote:
20 Apr 2017, 03:35
While I believe in obeying the brethren and local leaders, I don't believe everything that is taught or done in the church by the leaders is how Christ would want it.
It would be wonderful if you could find a way to say this very thing, with an explanation of how that struggle is what strengthens your faith.

In the last General Conference session, to the sisters of the church, President Eyring said:
Those who do not see their weaknesses do not progress. Your awareness of your weakness is a blessing as it helps you remain humble and keeps you turning to the Savior. The Spirit not only comforts you, but He is also the agent by which the Atonement works a change in your very nature. Then weak things become strong.

You will at times have your faith challenged by Satan; it happens to all disciples of Jesus Christ. Your defense against these attacks is to keep the Holy Ghost as your companion. The Spirit will speak peace to your soul. He will urge you forward in faith. And He will bring back the memory of those times when you felt the light and the love of Jesus Christ.
I find it very uplifting to hear speakers acknowledge their struggles, in a humble way say that everything is not all peachy and keen in their world...that some things are actually really hard to obey because they are "my test" or something that to me does not make sense. I like those messages much better than "All is well in Zion...I just pray and my car keys magically appear...I'm so obedient I don't even have to think...I just jump off a bridge when they ask me to." I think others in the congregation also identify more with the idea that we struggle with our faith.

I think uplifting talks are about "HOW" to do it in a meaningful and positive way...not if we doubt, or if we disagree with leaders...but more about what we do to stay spiritual and seek God despite those times.

President Eyring goes on to say:
The unity we seek in our families and in the Church will come as we allow the Holy Ghost to affect what we see when we look at one another—and even when we think of each other. The Spirit sees with the pure love of Christ. Listen to the words Mormon used to describe charity. Think of times you have felt it:

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren [and I add sisters], if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

“But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren [and sisters], pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Moroni 7:45–48).
The idea that I like about this approach is that you acknowledge problems and questions. There are things that the brethren say that make it hard for you to follow. You want to follow God, that is your desire, that is your faith. But what the brethren sometimes say about specific things is not easily digested...and so you work through it and you give it time, and you are patient with yourself.

But...although you doubt...as Pres Eyring taught...the unity we seek as families and a ward is to try to see each other with charity and the kind of Love that God has for us. That is more important than abstaining from a sip of tea, or a visiting teaching assignment, or a fast offering.

While we work through the things that are difficult to obey, we can love each other and support each other. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to allow ourselves to have weaknesses, and allow others to have theirs, as we work through it in faith with an eye single to the Glory of God.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: In sacrament I'll be giving a talk on obedience

Post by SilentDawning » 20 Apr 2017, 11:25

Put a different spin on it. I would start with a TBM obedience statement that doesn't point to obeying men, perhaps "obedience is the first law of heaven" scripture....sound TBM and get off on the right foot with the leaders, before you launch into a nuanced talk that is meant to encourage people to obey their conscience.

Then I would go further and talk about what we should obey,

1. Our conscience -- make obeying your conscience your thesis.

Talk about the Light of Christ, and quote the article of faith that says we believe in worshipping God according to the dictates of our own conscience. That it applies to both members and non-members alike. WE need to obey our conscience when we feel it speak loudly to us.

Make the rest of your talk about how to educate, sharpen, and obey your conscience -=- even in the face of risk and uncertainty. Steer clear of comments about obeying leaders....focus on training the group to obey their conscience.

2. Quote DHO in his talk here:

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2006/06/dati ... t?lang=eng

Here is a great quote from this talk.
If you feel you are a special case, so that the strong counsel I have given doesn’t apply to you, please don’t write me a letter. Why would I make this request? I have learned that the kind of direct counsel I have given results in a large number of letters from members who feel they are an exception, and they want me to confirm that the things I have said just don’t apply to them in their special circumstance.

I will explain why I can’t offer much comfort in response to that kind of letter by telling you an experience I had with another person who was troubled by a general rule. I gave a talk in which I mentioned the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20:13). Afterward a man came up to me in tears saying that what I had said showed there was no hope for him. “What do you mean?” I asked him.

He explained that he had been a machine gunner during the Korean War. During a frontal assault, his machine gun mowed down scores of enemy infantry. Their bodies were piled so high in front of his gun that he and his men had to push them away in order to maintain their field of fire. He had killed a hundred, he said, and now he must be going to hell because I had spoken of the Lord’s commandment “Thou shalt not kill.”

The explanation I gave that man is the same explanation I give to you if you feel you are an exception to what I have said. As a General Authority, I have the responsibility to preach general principles. When I do, I don’t try to define all the exceptions. There are exceptions to some rules. For example, we believe the commandment is not violated by killing pursuant to a lawful order in an armed conflict. But don’t ask me to give an opinion on your exception. I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord.
Encourage the people to follow their conscience on matters that seem extraordinary or exceptional. Comment on how you start out black and white, but that many life situations quickly turn gray.

3. To encourage a sharp conscience, encourage people to study out issues in their mind. I wouldn't be afraid to give them some questions to ask themselves, borrowed from normative ethics..."How will I feel after I do this? Would I want this broadcast on social media? Is this fair to everyone involved? Who could be hurt by this decision, and can I live with that? Is it legal? Even if it's legal, is it ethical? Is this something Jesus would do?

4. Also, encourage them to be careful about to whom they turn to advice. I might even comment on the need to find people who are knowledgeable in the area where you must make a decision, who have ethics you respect, and also have technical knowledge. [Notice I didn't say run to your Bishop, I said find people with the right morals, perspective and skills to help you make a decision. That could mean StayLDS people, although I wouldn't say that]

5. Talk about our personal filters. How ultimately, we need to run everything through our conscience. [I am secretly thinking that even historical tales and weak explanations about objectionable parts of our religion, but I wouldn't say that]

6. Comment on how sometimes, gospel principles conflict with each other, making it hard to give black and white credence to principles in that situation. Quote Eve's conundrum bout whether to obey the commandment to replenish the earth, or abstain from the fruit of the tree of knowledge. there was no guidance given -- she had to appeal to her conscience and consult with Adam. So to must we forge out own path when he gpospel places conflicting principles in front of us that can't exist at the same time.

7. Talk about the risks of unquestioning obedience -- that like most things, obedience is best when it is tempered with judgment. Look up Milgram obedience experiment, and that people ignored their conscience to the point they were willing to push buttons that inflicted fake pain on actors who assumed the parts of participants in a study. Comment on the role of conscience in this situation, the need to obey it, and the courage it often takes to obey it.

TBMS will think you are talking about obeying the gospel in the face of worldly commands, but in my heart, i would know I 'm even talking about ignoring church leader advice. In my mind, I'm cautioning against the obedience that led to the Mountain Meadows Massacre where good church members shot non-members in the head at the likely command of church leader. But again, I would not say that.

8. Comment on how followign conscience can prevent bitterness. People who follow their own conscience have no one to hold accountable but themself, and can't blame leaders, or anyone else if it doesn't work out -- which sometimes happens.

Guess what -- if your experience is like mine, people will complement you, sincerely, on a good talk that made them think. You don't often hear obedience from this angle. And now, you are preaching in a way that is unique based on your own, unorthodox LDS experience.... Notice how every point can be interpreted as elevating your conscience even above church teachings. But you don't say that. At the same time, it sounds harmonious with the gospel of obedience. Yet you didn't go into a churchumony or a leader-mony -- you encouraged people to listen and obey the light given them from God .. god to Man..

I would then sit down feeling authentic, yet safe at the same time. Christ spoke in double meanings a lot "let he who is without sin cast the first stone". Speaking of both the people about to assault the woman taken in adultery, and himself at the same time. Only the wise knew what he was really saying.

Revel in that....
Last edited by SilentDawning on 20 Apr 2017, 15:10, edited 1 time in total.
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nibbler
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Re: In sacrament I'll be giving a talk on obedience

Post by nibbler » 20 Apr 2017, 11:41

That's a tough draw.

I think all the focus we place on obedience erodes what is supposed to be a powerful message of Christ's atonement. We place so much emphasis on obedience at church that it begins to feel like we're trying to relegate Jesus to the sidelines, it's as if we believe that we can successfully transcend the need for a savior if we could only obey a little better. There's more to life than obedience. Let Jesus fill in that gap so we don't spend a lifetime obsessing over our faults.

We can strive for perfection but none of us will get there. We're not meant to. At what point do we give up chasing our tails and accept Christ's grace?

Tough draw.

I'm guessing most people attending church are dealing with shortcomings, not serious "that dude is evil" stuff. What does obedience really mean? It might be helpful to hear a talk that frames obedience as something other than falling short on doing home teaching, falling short on giving up smoking, falling short on magnifying a calling, etc. All of us fall short.

Thou shalt love the lord thy god with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

That I can obey. The rest of the details will work themselves out.

Tough draw (did I mention that?).
Of course I don’t want to get knocked down. But the single and sole solution to that fear is to not go anywhere where I can be knocked down. And is that not already being knocked down?
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On Own Now
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Re: In sacrament I'll be giving a talk on obedience

Post by On Own Now » 20 Apr 2017, 12:34

If I had to give a talk on obedience, I'd probably take the approach of saying that we usually think of 'obedience' in a negative way. Yet, in LDS theology, our purpose is not to 'obey' but rather to align ourselves with God and become like him. So, rather than thinking of obedience as grin-and-bear-it drudgery, it can be helpful to think of being a "Disciple of Christ" as DFU said in GC a couple years ago or to "be conformed to the image of" Jesus, as Paul said a couple of millennia ago. Our goal can then be thought of not as being more obedient but working toward aligning our thoughts, minds, spirits more closely with God's so that we can find peace love and joy.
"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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DarkJedi
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Re: In sacrament I'll be giving a talk on obedience

Post by DarkJedi » 20 Apr 2017, 13:31

On Own Now wrote:
20 Apr 2017, 12:34
If I had to give a talk on obedience, I'd probably take the approach of saying that we usually think of 'obedience' in a negative way. Yet, in LDS theology, our purpose is not to 'obey' but rather to align ourselves with God and become like him. So, rather than thinking of obedience as grin-and-bear-it drudgery, it can be helpful to think of being a "Disciple of Christ" as DFU said in GC a couple years ago or to "be conformed to the image of" Jesus, as Paul said a couple of millennia ago. Our goal can then be thought of not as being more obedient but working toward aligning our thoughts, minds, spirits more closely with God's so that we can find peace love and joy.
I really do like what DFU had to say about obedience in his talk on grace.
If grace is a gift of God, why then is obedience to God’s commandments so important? Why bother with God’s commandments—or repentance, for that matter? Why not just admit we’re sinful and let God save us?
Or, to put the question in Paul’s words, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” Paul’s answer is simple and clear: “God forbid.”
Brothers and sisters, we obey the commandments of God—out of love for Him!
Trying to understand God’s gift of grace with all our heart and mind gives us all the more reasons to love and obey our Heavenly Father with meekness and gratitude. As we walk the path of discipleship, it refines us, it improves us, it helps us to become more like Him, and it leads us back to His presence. “The Spirit of the Lord [our God]” brings about such “a mighty change in us, … that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”
Therefore, our obedience to God’s commandments comes as a natural outgrowth of our endless love and gratitude for the goodness of God. This form of genuine love and gratitude will miraculously merge our works with God’s grace. Virtue will garnish our thoughts unceasingly, and our confidence will wax strong in the presence of God.
Full talk: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... e?lang=eng
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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Ilovechrist77
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Re: In sacrament I'll be giving a talk on obedience

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 20 Apr 2017, 13:51

Thanks so much for the comments so far and for the quotes from Eyering, Oaks, and Uchtdorf. I think they'll definitely come in handy. I was thinking of trying to say similar things, but do it in a way that wouldn't shock anybody. I know someone here just said obedience to God isn't meant to something we're perfect at. I would agree with that. Even with me being a perfectionist, due to my OCD, I'm not going to bring up our goal for perfection. I'll bring up Christ's perfection.

ydeve
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Re: In sacrament I'll be giving a talk on obedience

Post by ydeve » 20 Apr 2017, 14:38

I'd like to re-echo what SD said. I couldn't give a talk on obedience to commandments. There are church commandments that run contrary to my conscience, and I'd be disregarding very sacred experiences if I were to follow them the rest of my life. But integrity, authentic living, and following your conscience is close enough to the topic of obedience that you could talk about that instead and no one, including the person who assigned you to speak, would raise an eyebrow.
Last edited by ydeve on 20 Apr 2017, 15:06, edited 1 time in total.

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Heber13
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Re: In sacrament I'll be giving a talk on obedience

Post by Heber13 » 20 Apr 2017, 14:51

going along with what Ilovechrist77 said about avoiding perfection...don't you think if there are some commandments at church that would bother you, you don't have to talk about those and talk about perfect obedience? You could talk about the ones nibble mentioned that you CAN obey, because that is what you CAN do. Right?

For me, I agree with about 80-90% of everything I hear at church. I'm obedient to that good stuff. The 10-20% I struggle with...that's part of my journey...I don't have to act as if I don't obey all that other stuff just because I struggle with some of it.
Mark 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
We have believe and unbelief in us, we are all imperfect. We can embrace that and look to the Lord to help us overcome our weaknesses.

Obedience can be an important principle of the gospel. It is where the rubber meets the road. We choose to do something with faith, or we don't. It is not just typing on some website a bunch of ideas...it is the doing part of the gospel.

That baby can't be thrown out with the bathwater of some dumb things Mormons think they need to do because some leader said it once. It's not all black and white with obedience...it is choices on what we do to exercise faith. We need obedience.
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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