Saving Ordinances

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
User avatar
dande48
Posts: 1443
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: Saving Ordinances

Post by dande48 » 31 Mar 2019, 07:54

DarkJedi wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 05:34
I also believe God loves each of us unconditionally and wants nothing more than for us to return. I do not believe that a loving God made those people that way nor that a loving God would allow Satan such influence that they could never return to Him. Likewise, mental illness is an earthly illness just like diabetes or the flu - and I believe most of these "monsters" suffer from mental illness.
I'm not saying we shouldn't try to play our cards right... but I believe anyone would (not could) become a saint if they were dealt the right hand of cards. Likewise, anyone would (not could) become an absolute monster if they were dealt the wrong hand. There are an enormous, uncalcuble amount of influences which take an impact on our lives. Most everything we are, everything we've accomplished, all the good, all the bad, the shameful... all of it has roots in forces outside of our control.

I guess what I'm saying is, you can't judge even the very worst of people, until you've walked a mile in their shoes. I heard Christ was able to do that, through the atonement. But for the rest of us, passing judgement on the eternal salvation of others is... nonsense.
"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

SamBee
Posts: 5328
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Saving Ordinances

Post by SamBee » 31 Mar 2019, 08:56

Contrary to what a lot of people believe, I think many of those who are severely mentally ill can and do have a degree of free agency, and people can take paths by choice which lead them to very dark places. Anders Breivik in Norway knew exactly what he was doing when he committed his massacres, although I suggest he was also mentally ill.

God is going to have a lot of explaining to do if people who died in prison camps in Siberia encounter their guards or the secret police who arrested them. Or if slaves from Africa wake up to find themselves next to KKK leaders. That wouldn't be heaven, it would be hell for both lots concerned (but in different ways)
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."

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16464
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Saving Ordinances

Post by Curt Sunshine » 31 Mar 2019, 08:59

There are relatively few theologies of universal reward throughout religion. Mormon theology posits nearly universal reward, with varying degrees of reward, and with an exception for intentionally evil people. Mormon theology also posits that the final determination is made by a God who understands perfectly and allows for expansive grace, even if not all Mormons view it that way.

Ordinances simply are "official actions" that manifest intent and desire. Thus, I care less about the ordinances than the intent and desire they manifest. I love the idea of symbolic actions, but I couldn't care less about the actual form they take.

I also love the idea that ordinances represent salvific intent and desire. Lots of people need concreteness in their lives. They need observable actions that symbolize internal intent and desire. I am not about to take that from them or complain about that need. I honor their practical, organized expressions of intent and desire, even if I don't place literal salvific power in the ordinances themselves.

I don't distinguish among the various expressions of actions we call "ordinances". Prayer, meditation, offerings to ancestors through family shrines, beads and crosses, pilgrimages to holy sites, prayers facing Mecca, fasting, chants, whatever: If they manifest sincere intent and desire toward love, I honor 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

User avatar
dande48
Posts: 1443
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: Saving Ordinances

Post by dande48 » 31 Mar 2019, 10:13

SamBee wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 08:56
God is going to have a lot of explaining to do...
Lol... God explaining... :lol:
Curt Sunshine wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 08:59
There are relatively few theologies of universal reward throughout religion.
I'm having a hard time finding any religions who have not, in modern times, become "universalist" to the extent you just described. Just saying... ;)
"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

Roy
Posts: 5515
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Saving Ordinances

Post by Roy » 31 Mar 2019, 11:22

This to me is similar to the teachings on temple marriage.

(I could quibble about the term "saving ordinances" - LDS doctrine does not believe that any ordinances are required for salvation in a lesser kingdom of glory. Thus all LDS ordinances are "exalting ordinances". But that whole discussion is arguing semantics.)

I was taught as a youth that to be married in the temple and then to keep that covenant means exaltation and eternal families. To marry outside of the temple meant no exaltation and no eternal families no matter how one lived their life (unless they repent and receive the temple sealing later in mortality or in the spirit world).

Having a temple marriage with all the shared commitments, shared values, and similar visions, hopes, and dreams is a wonderful way to start a marraige. It is not a magic wand or a panacea but it can help. Now there are plenty of couples that have not been sealed in our temples that have some of the most amazingly loving, supportive, and caring families around. They seem to have managed to create "heavenly families" (families with whom they would wish to spend the eternities).

LDS doctrine teaches that the ordinance of sealing will be provided for all. Thus all that would wish to remain in their family for eternity can do so. Said another way, the only thing keeping families apart eternally is their desire not to be together (and theoretically that separation could change as soon as their desire changes).

In summary, Ordinances can be like steps and checklists for those that need steps and checklists. Those same individuals also tend to generalize their experience with the "steps, checklists, and ordinances" to everyone - believing that everyone must approach the throne of God through the same forms and methods. We belong to a faith community that believes these steps are required.
"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

SamBee
Posts: 5328
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Saving Ordinances

Post by SamBee » 31 Mar 2019, 13:30

FWIW, I tend towards near-universalism. I think only very extreme examples will get no salvation. I like to think 90%+ will though.

The Catholics are onto something with purgatory IMHO. It's a doctrine that has some merit. People can work off their sin. We have an equivalent in Spirit Prison - I see that as preferable to eternal damnation for people who are not totally warped, but have done some serious things.

There is also the idea that when we die, we get to see our lives again, but feel what all the other people felt. I find that thought very scary, especially in the cases where I hurt people and didn't know it.
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."

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16464
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Saving Ordinances

Post by Curt Sunshine » 31 Mar 2019, 13:57

I worded my earlier coment's opening sentence sloppily. I realized that when I re-read it.

There are relatively few religions that are unanimous internally with regard to universal reward. As to which religions and Christian denominations are universalist (or even close to it), in the sense that every human has a chance at salvation/exaltation/reward of some kind regardless of their observable actions, expression of faith, and formal religious affiliation and activity - or lack thereof:

Many Eastern religions comes to mind immediately. Universalism is spelled out in much clearer terms and accepted more universally within much of Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, the Baha'i Faith, etc. than in Western religions. That reflects their communitarian beliefs as opposed to the Western focus on individualism. Pockets of Judaism fit, but certainly not all Judaism. The United Universalists are an example within Christianity. General Protestantism, even much of liberal Protestantism, certainly does not. Catholicism's core theology is universalist to a great degree, but the Catholic Church membership has widely varying views about universality. Islam has the foundation, especially for "people of the book", but universality is not embraced by many Muslims. The Greek Orthodox Church is fascinating in regard to this topic, especially with its embrace of theosis (becoming like God).

My main point is that Mormonism is not unique in its general view of universalism and its use of "ordinances" (sacred acts) to symbolize faith, desire, and intent - nor is it unique in that not all its adherents embrace universality of some kind. Most of the exceptions throughout religion to this general view are conservative pockets / denominations /sects of various religions, which vary in size within religions and denominations. Mormonism is an interesting mixture of so many aspects of everyone else - and it is a fascinating example (to me) of a religion that has see-sawed doctrinally back and forth on this issue over time.
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

SamBee
Posts: 5328
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Saving Ordinances

Post by SamBee » 31 Mar 2019, 14:12

I think LDS' theology's elements are often not unique but the way they are mixed together are - a bit like a recipe.

The near universalism happens to fit my views pretty well. I also feel the degrees of glory make more sense to me than a neat dividing line between heaven and hell.
Islam has the foundation, especially for "people of the book", but universality is not embraced by many Muslims
The Koran is extremely contradictory on this matter. For every verse for them, there is one against, which means each side can quote away to their heart's content.

I'm not so sure about Hinduism and Buddhism as universalist because their views of afterlife are so different. Buddhism has heaven and hell realms but they are temporary, and the end game isn't salvation but annihilation. (Which isn't as bad as it sounds.)
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."

User avatar
dande48
Posts: 1443
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: Saving Ordinances

Post by dande48 » 31 Mar 2019, 18:47

SamBee wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 14:12
I think LDS' theology's elements are often not unique but the way they are mixed together are - a bit like a recipe.
I belive this is very true. It's also fascinating how religions, ALL religions, change overtime, while trying to remain "consistant". Right now, our societies heavily focus on aspects like equality, fairness, universal love, feminism, racial equality, freedom, etc. We value these things, and therefore attribute them to our perfect God. But in order to maintain universal consistancy in our religion, we end up redefining prior doctrines. Hence, God did not curse Cain with dark skin, like Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and most of their era believed. The curse of "dark skin" was symbolic only, because God loves all races equally, and dark skin is beautiful.

Catholicism is one of those religions which has historically been very un-universal, but has since become very universal. In the past several decades, they even published the "Catechism of the Catholic Church", which in effect made universalism Catholic doctrine (including conversion and joining the Church post-mortem). I'd even say most Protestantism has become universalist; God loves everyone, has a perfect plan, and will grant everyone every opportunity to come unto Him and be saved. But of course, there are plenty of doctrinal contradictions to this stemming from God's perfect word, the scriptures. The ability of a religion to be molded by the society it is in, really helps it to last much longer than it might've otherwise.
Curt Sunshine wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 13:57
General Protestantism, even much of liberal Protestantism, certainly does not. Catholicism's core theology is universalist to a great degree, but the Catholic Church membership has widely varying views about universality.
I'd say most protestantism is universalist, maybe even more than the LDS. Most would say final judgement is up to God, and don't believe in any particular ordinances required for salvation. Some are not, but views will vary. It's not cut and dry what is doctrine and what is not. Plus, all Christian religions (especially LDS), have a strong focus on "correctness of belief", and will seek to convert all others to the "truth", regardless of their belief in universalism. Where anyone purely "universalist", there would be much less bickering between the sects, or "worry" over those on a "different path to God".
Last edited by dande48 on 01 Apr 2019, 06:48, edited 1 time in total.
"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

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 6529
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Saving Ordinances

Post by DarkJedi » 01 Apr 2019, 05:36

dande48 wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 10:13
SamBee wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 08:56
God is going to have a lot of explaining to do...
Lol... God explaining... :lol:
I got a chuckle out that as well. On the one hand, God doesn't have to explain anything - He's God and can do what he wants. I'm going to need more than two hands here. On the other hand, is it God who will have to explain or us? That is, if God forgives them why aren't we forgiving them especially in light of God asking us to forgive them? Third hand, is it God who sees some sins are more grievous than others or is that man made? God said He couldn't look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. Therefore, is the sinner who steals or lies worse than the sinner who murders? Last hand, and probably most relevant to Sam's original statement: God may have already explained. I think there are many examples in scripture, I will use just two (which are both personal favorites). Christians love to quote John 3:16, and some of us quote verse 17 along with it.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
LDS theology is that at some point every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is the Christ. That sounds like believing to me. But even better is the parable of the prodigal son. I believe that we are sometimes the prodigal son, sometimes his brother, and less often the father (because I think the father is mostly representative of God).
25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
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

Post Reply