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Obedience

Posted: 27 Sep 2017, 20:21
by Beefster
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.

Re: Obedience

Posted: 28 Sep 2017, 09:05
by Roy
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.

Re: Obedience

Posted: 28 Sep 2017, 14:36
by DarkJedi
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.

Re: Obedience

Posted: 29 Sep 2017, 16:43
by DancingCarrot
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.

Re: Obedience

Posted: 30 Sep 2017, 10:08
by Curt Sunshine
I think obedience is foundational - to one's conscience.

Re: Obedience

Posted: 30 Sep 2017, 15:56
by Beefster
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.

Re: Obedience

Posted: 30 Sep 2017, 16:59
by Curt Sunshine
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

Re: Obedience

Posted: 01 Oct 2017, 06:40
by DarkJedi
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.

Re: Obedience

Posted: 01 Oct 2017, 21:57
by Beefster
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

Re: Obedience

Posted: 02 Oct 2017, 07:26
by nibbler
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.