The Lord's Name

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
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felixfabulous
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The Lord's Name

Post by felixfabulous » 12 Jul 2018, 14:27

Out of respect to Orthodox believers and because of the way I was raised, I am pretty careful not to take the Lord's name in vain. However, this is a doctrinal idea that I think is deeply misunderstood and we are probably taking a lot of offense where it is not needed. Based on my understanding of the Old Testament, the word "God" in the English translation was a placeholder for the name "Elohim" in Hebrew. "Lord" was a placeholder for "Yaweh" in Hebrew. The biblical prohibitions against taking the Lord's name in vain seem to be against using those proper names in vain and not the titles of "God" and "Lord" the translators assigned. This became blatantly obvious to me when I was watching Studio C skits with my kids and there was a parody on Greek gods and they got extremely silly with the god of toilet paper, etc. How in the world is that OK but we shy away from any phrase that even resembles irreverence for God's name? (Mormons rarely say things like "God willing", "God only knows" or even "God bless").

On another note, this seems to be a relic of the way people viewed gods in ancient times, where they were to be feared and revered. People offered sacrifices and tried to appease gods not to incur their wrath. The Old Testament is all about introducing a new idea of God to the people of Israel in terms they could understand and made sense to them. This new god, Yaweh, was to be feared and revered (you didn't take his name in vain, just like worshipers of Bael were not disrespectful to him or his name). But, Israel introduced new ideas about God that were radically progressive. I think we have just held on to the old idea that God will get really mad if we use his name disrespectfully.

I recognize that it's one of the ten commandments and an important commitment in the temple, but I think we are misunderstanding the original intent. Furthermore, I'm not sure the God I believe in would really care how people used a title assigned to him (much like father, creator, etc.). I think he's got bigger fish to fry. While I think it's important to be respectful of believers and diety, we might want to take a little less offense when non-Mormons use the word "God" in every day speech.

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SamBee
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Re: The Lord's Name

Post by SamBee » 12 Jul 2018, 16:09

I have a friend who blasphemes pretty frequently. I've actually told him that I'd prefer he uses the F or S words to doing that in front of me.

On the other hand, some Jews go overboard and even write 'G*d' which as I have told them makes it look like a dirty word. The important thing here is that God and a god are differentiated in written English and can be worked out from context in speech. However, the constant use of "OMG" and "Oh my God!" by morons - usually young, and yes, I'm afraid female - is irritating.

YHWH is actually a profound name and concerns the nature of God's existence.
Mormons rarely say things like "God willing", "God only knows" or even "God bless"
They will say "Goodbye" though which is a corruption of "God be with you".
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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nibbler
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Re: The Lord's Name

Post by nibbler » 12 Jul 2018, 16:34

There's also the theory that taking the name of the lord in vain has more to do with professing to speak for and in behalf of god when you (knowingly) are not.
You can't break what's broken already.
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dande48
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Re: The Lord's Name

Post by dande48 » 12 Jul 2018, 18:28

Saying God's name (as held by the Abrahamic religions) out of context is pretty rare. I think "OMG" and the like came about from people wanting to shock, or be impolite. And I believe impoliteness to be a sin, so I try to avoid it. Same reason I don't swear.
felixfabulous wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 14:27
This became blatantly obvious to me when I was watching Studio C skits with my kids and there was a parody on Greek gods and they got extremely silly with the god of toilet paper, etc.
This is because, when we see religion in others, we realize how ridiculous it is. Objectively, ALL religion is pretty silly. But our own personal religious convictions we take very seriously. TOO seriously, I think. If there is a God, I can't see Him being petty enough to get offended by humans pointing out how ridiculous all of existance is. I like to think God has a sense of humor, and laughs even at Himself on a regular basis.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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Heber13
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Re: The Lord's Name

Post by Heber13 » 13 Jul 2018, 03:09

nibbler wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 16:34
There's also the theory that taking the name of the lord in vain has more to do with professing to speak for and in behalf of god when you (knowingly) are not.
I'd go with this.

As a story...on my mission I got scolded by one of the AP's because when I got frustrated I would say...
"Oh, cheese and crackers!"

Because that sounded too much like "Jesus Christ"

And also, they explained if you are just substituting words but meaning the same thing...you are taking the name of God in vain in your heart...so it's just as bad.
:wtf:

...because religious folks like rules to be righteous, and also one ups-manship on being even more righteous by hedging against rules, and hedging against hedges...and on and on. :angel:
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."

AmyJ
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Re: The Lord's Name

Post by AmyJ » 13 Jul 2018, 05:54

Random Thoughts:

I don't swear, but my husband does. I used to get on his case sometimes, but eventually I just settled into not being in the same room if he needed to swear at computers (not for the words themselves, but for the anger and loud expression of feeling that I found uncomfortable to be around). I would bring up periodically that our daughters were going to use the language he taught them... and pointedly did not say anything the few times the oldest has tried out some of those words... I'd like to think it was out of tolerance, but not really.

[SOAPBOX] I just refuse to bow into the female stereotype that I am responsible for improving my husband. I think that it is a HUGE stereotype that hurts everyone involved - females don't need that executive functioning pressure, and males don't need to think that "they are off the hook" and have the expectation that their wife will tame them. In my heart of hearts, it's because I barely have a grasp on my own self improvement path, and don't have the resources to police his choices as well as mine. I do encourage him to be his best self, and he finds motivation in being a better spouse to me. So the self-improvement is there, but it is a side benefit of personal enlightenment, not the cause of it. I also strive to thoughtfully and meaningfully connect and counsel with him as a partner in our family for our survival - not to look good or one-up-man-ship anyone.
My in-laws made the mistake of encouraging me to police their son's behavior once (not in a bad way) about 2 years into our marriage - but after the wonderful, polite, and very direct conversation we had, they understood that I was never going to deliberately try to "improve", manipulate, or corral their son's behavior deliberately in those traditional female domains. I was happy to set up a good environment for us, and counsel with him regarding the consequences of choices as I see it, but that was as far as it goes. They did not expect that type of thinking and understanding, so it took some getting used to on their behalf. However, the consensus from what they tell me is that it was the best practice to implement in family life for their son. [END SOAPBOX].

Since my faith transition, I no longer even give lip service to caring about swear words in general. I don't use them mostly because I don't find them precise enough to mean what I want to say - and I don't want to start my girls using those words until they are old enough to understand some of the connotations of the words (if ever). I request my husband avoid sexual-type swearing in my presence because I feel it defiles something we are trying to make and keep sacred. But currently, I no longer care about other types of words because it doesn't matter anymore. If there is swearing regarding computers or something else not going well for my husband, I recognize that it is a way for him to vent some of the emotions he is feeling in a relatively neutral way - and if there is a lot of it or at a louder volume I still head out of the room.

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Re: The Lord's Name

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Jul 2018, 19:40

I try to use all proper names as proper nouns only. It never made sense to use them any other way.

I truly don't have any issues with using names for deity in context of talking about deity. I highly doubt they are so sensitive they can't handle it.
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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felixfabulous
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Re: The Lord's Name

Post by felixfabulous » 18 Jul 2018, 11:17

I came across this excellent post which makes some great points https://credohouse.org/blog/taking-the- ... eally-mean.

God is not God's name. It's a placeholder or title, like calling someone a person. This commandment is about more than just the proper name for God as a swear word.
nibbler wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 16:34
There's also the theory that taking the name of the lord in vain has more to do with professing to speak for and in behalf of god when you (knowingly) are not.
.

This seems to be a pretty solid theory. Look at the state of religion at the time of the Old Testament, nations invoked the name of God for all kinds of things, saying different things were God's will or that their God would help them prevail in battle. Is God telling people not to do this? Are they turning right around and violating this commandment when they invoked his name in telling exaggerated battle stories about defeating their enemies and conquering the land of Canaan?

Should we be really careful about invoking God's name and attributing his hand to different natural or human events? What about presuming to know the mind and will of the Lord and saying as much when we're not really sure?

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Heber13
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Re: The Lord's Name

Post by Heber13 » 18 Jul 2018, 18:46

felixfabulous wrote:
18 Jul 2018, 11:17
Should we be really careful about invoking God's name and attributing his hand to different natural or human events?
oh, god...no! ;)
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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dande48
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Re: The Lord's Name

Post by dande48 » 19 Jul 2018, 06:45

Heber13 wrote:
18 Jul 2018, 18:46
felixfabulous wrote:
18 Jul 2018, 11:17
Should we be really careful about invoking God's name and attributing his hand to different natural or human events?
oh, god...no! ;)
This opens up a WHOLE can of worms. Because, even if there is one "true" religion, just about ALL Abrahamic religions lay claims to revelation, and they all contradict one another. So ALL religious leaders, except maybe a select few (which ones, does anybody know?), are guilty of taking the Lord's name in vain. They might even be guilty of giving God a name in the first place, or attributing anything to Him.

In fact, God and our views on God have changed DRASTICALLY over the centuries. If there is any consistent attributes which can be applied to God, who can honestly say what they are?
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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