Obedience

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
User avatar
Beefster
Posts: 479
Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

Obedience

Post by Beefster » 27 Sep 2017, 20:21

Some blessings are conditional upon living certain principles. I follow that. If something comes from God, it makes sense to follow it. Obedience, in and of itself, is a simple concept.

Then there's this overarching narrative that puts obedience on this massive pedestal. Sometimes it seems as if obedience is the end all be all because of the way it's taught/emphasized and the way it's paraded around in missionary cultures. Sometimes, obedience is conflated to mean following leaders without question.

I think both notions are wrong. Jesus is the end all be all, not obedience. The only thing in the gospel (i.e. what is actually necessary for salvation) that could be taken to imply obedience is the conditions for repentance. Thing is, repentance is often looked at as an event or process, when it really should be seen as a way of life in a never-ending quest for self-improvement. Obedience should never be blind. Ever. While you don't necessarily need to know everything about why a commandment exists, you do need to know whether it comes from God or not. If it does not come from God, it may still be a good idea; and even in some cases when it comes from God, it's advice and not commandment (*cough* WoW *cough*). Learning to tease apart which is which is one of the great challenges in life.

And I feel that's all that really can be said about obedience. And yet the church feels a need to have entire lessons and talks dedicated to the subject on a somewhat regular basis... I even gave one such talk for my mission farewell. It was basically the same stuff you always hear, regurgitated.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

Roy
Posts: 4723
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Obedience

Post by Roy » 28 Sep 2017, 09:05

I felt sorry for Mission presidents that needed to enforce behavior standards on hormonal young people in disparate locations almost exclusively through their powers of inspiring or guilt tripping others. I suppose that applies in some form to the broader church leaders as well.
"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

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 5655
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Obedience

Post by DarkJedi » 28 Sep 2017, 14:36

I agree with what you say Beefster. I think we way overplay the obedience card (and it's accompanying fear and guilt cards) way too much. In some ways it is very akin to the works and grace debate. Strict obedience denies the power of Christ's atonement because none of can be strictly obedient in all ways all the time. I think it was Uchtdorf who said something like none of us are doing all that we can do. And of course one of the biggest problems with the strict obedience mantra is when the "promised" blessings don't come as expected and those who expected those blessings are thrown into a tailspin. The idea of strict obedience is one of our worst cultural aspects IMO.
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."

My Introduction

DancingCarrot
Posts: 160
Joined: 23 May 2014, 18:24

Re: Obedience

Post by DancingCarrot » 29 Sep 2017, 16:43

I just posted this in the porn addiction forum, but I think it bears repeating. As humans, I think we unnecessarily create a lot of the consequences that we see as naturally following certain choices. I think it has many origins: wanting to see "justice" served, needing to feel a sense of control, maintaining the tribe's boundaries (because I think we still tend to operate in tribal terms, even if our notions of tribes has expanded). Obedience is the easiest principle to stick this tendency onto.

Personally, I think there are nuanced levels of obedience. Each situation dictates whether I need to be obedient to what someone with more experience and knowledge informs me of, or whether I need to listen to myself. Then there are the fun times where no one has a clue what they're talking about and it's exploring time! :smile:

Also, I take issue with the way obedience is typically taught in church because I don't believe in the Prosperity Gospel, nor a God of Transactions.
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

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 15720
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Obedience

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Sep 2017, 10:08

I think obedience is foundational - to one's conscience.
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

User avatar
Beefster
Posts: 479
Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

Re: Obedience

Post by Beefster » 30 Sep 2017, 15:56

DancingCarrot wrote:
29 Sep 2017, 16:43
Also, I take issue with the way obedience is typically taught in church because I don't believe in the Prosperity Gospel, nor a God of Transactions.
I wonder if the Prosperity Gospel is part of why we don't see many poor active members in the US. They were told the gospel would bring them wealth, it didn't, and they felt the church was false as a result. Or they're told tithing will bring prosperity, they pay their tithing and can't afford to live, and then they feel lied to.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 15720
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Obedience

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Sep 2017, 16:59

Fwiw, there have been quite a lot of poor, active members in the wards I have attended throughout the US - enough that some of the upper-middle class members complained about how much it took to help them.

That is a whole 'nother conversation. :P
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

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 5655
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Obedience

Post by DarkJedi » 01 Oct 2017, 06:40

Curt Sunshine wrote:
30 Sep 2017, 16:59
Fwiw, there have been quite a lot of poor, active members in the wards I have attended throughout the US - enough that some of the upper-middle class members complained about how much it took to help them.

That is a whole 'nother conversation. :P
Yes, my experience has been quite similar. The very few converts we have here tend to be those who are more needy as opposed to doctors, lawyers or engineers. We do have the latter in our ward, but they were either raised in the church or converted before they were doctors, lawyers, and engineers. But as you say, that's another conversation.

I have real issues with blind obedience or obedience because of promised blessings (including the prosperity gospel which is alive and well in the church, even alluded to in yesterday's GC). I think obedience only matters when we're obeying because we want to obey, and even then no matter how obedient (or disobedient) we are has no bearing on the atonement of Christ - we cannot buy our way into heaven no matter how hard we try.
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."

My Introduction

User avatar
Beefster
Posts: 479
Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

Re: Obedience

Post by Beefster » 01 Oct 2017, 21:57

DarkJedi wrote:
01 Oct 2017, 06:40
we cannot buy our way into heaven no matter how hard we try.
Aw man! I was hoping 11% tithing on gross would get me salvation.... :P
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

User avatar
nibbler
Posts: 3438
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Obedience

Post by nibbler » 02 Oct 2017, 07:26

During this most recent general conference (Oct 2017) there were two talks that I remember that addressed scrupulosity, which I feel is one of the fruits of Mormonism's obsession with obedience and perfection. I'm pretty sure there was a third talk as well.

I like that the subject is being addressed. I feel that obedience is one of the golden calfs of Mormonism.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.
― Rumi

Post Reply