The wrong sort of testimony!

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DarkJedi
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Re: The wrong sort of testimony!

Post by DarkJedi » 02 Mar 2017, 14:17

squarepeg wrote:The Sacrament Prayer says that we will always have His spirit to be with us if we take His name upon us, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. Maybe that's an easy one to write off as impossible since I definitely don't remember Him always. Sometimes I'm just thinking about something else and not of Him, because if I thought of Him all the time, I couldn't focus to help my kids with their math, couldn't get through the grocery checkout, couldn't make phone calls to the health insurance company about confusing bills, etc. And I break commandments all the time, every day, in spite of my best efforts to keep them. I also developed an allergy to wheat and can't take the Sacrament bread at all anymore. But I actually don't know of anyone who can keep the promises we make when we take the Sacrament, so maybe none of us is entitled to the attached blessings, either?
Is that really what the prayers say? Are there "ifs" in there? I read it like this (emphasis added):

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it,
-that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father,
-that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son,
-(that they) always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them;
-that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

I don't see that we make promises in there or that the priest saying the blessings makes any promises. I do see that the priest asks God to bless the bread (or water as the case may be, recognizing the wording is slightly different but essentially the same) to ALL THOSE who partake of it (no worthiness standard implied) that four things will happen:
1) we eat in remembrance of the body (or blood) of the Son;
2) we are willing to take the name of the Son
3) we always remember him;
4) we they may have the Spirit to be with us.

Nowhere do I see that those partaking agree to do anything, rather it appears to me to be we get blessings by partaking the sacrament as the priest is asking the Father.

I know that's a little bit out there and definitely not the view of the mainstream and countless parrots who talk about baptismal covenants (which don't exist IMO), but it is a literal interpretation. Take it for what it's worth.
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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Roy
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Re: The wrong sort of testimony!

Post by Roy » 02 Mar 2017, 15:39

I do not believe the scriptures to be perfect. I believe them to be the words of mostly Godly men as they attempted to express what the religious experience was to them.

So in that vein these three scriptures that you referenced say 1) That God will comfort you, 2) The you can feel God's spirit, and 3) That Jesus in some way sacrificed himself for your benefit. I do not see any problem with those three thoughts. But what if, in your experience, God does not comfort and His spirit is never felt and even the Jesus story leaves you feeling flat? Well, I would answer that these scriptures are from the religious experience of the writers and should not be taken as proscriptive for everyone.
"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

squarepeg
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Joined: 17 Feb 2017, 12:51

Re: The wrong sort of testimony!

Post by squarepeg » 03 Mar 2017, 19:39

DarkJedi wrote: Nowhere do I see that those partaking agree to do anything, rather it appears to me to be we get blessings by partaking the sacrament as the priest is asking the Father.
That's genius. I'm going to adopt your interpretation. Thank you for pointing that out. I guess I had it in my head that the only possible interpretation was the one where we're renewing baptismal covenants. Come to think of it, I don't think there's anything in the Bible, at least, to indicate that the Last Supper (aka First Sacrament) was for the purpose of renewing baptismal covenants. But I could be wrong.
Roy wrote:I do not believe the scriptures to be perfect. I believe them to be the words of mostly Godly men as they attempted to express what the religious experience was to them.

[...]But what if, in your experience, God does not comfort and His spirit is never felt and even the Jesus story leaves you feeling flat? Well, I would answer that these scriptures are from the religious experience of the writers and should not be taken as proscriptive for everyone.
Thank you, Roy. I'm with you on interpretation of scripture. I guess I still just like to try and make things "fit" what the majority of the church believes, where possible, if you know what I mean. I think it's true that sometimes it can't be done.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The wrong sort of testimony!

Post by Curt Sunshine » 03 Mar 2017, 21:26

Fwiw, I interpret the Sacrament prayer almost exactly as DJ described - because I like to parse words for what they say, first, and then look at them from different angles that might appeal to me. In this case, the literal reading is the one I like the best.

My only additional comment is that the prayer asks for ALL to be blessed for what they are willing to do - NOT what they are able to do. This means the priest asks that God's grace truly cover the difference between our hopes and our actual abilities - pointing to the belief that we really are blessed for the desires of our hearts, not for the works of our hands, so to speak.
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

squarepeg
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Joined: 17 Feb 2017, 12:51

Re: The wrong sort of testimony!

Post by squarepeg » 06 Mar 2017, 11:36

Ray DeGraw wrote: My only additional comment is that the prayer asks for ALL to be blessed for what they are willing to do - NOT what they are able to do. This means the priest asks that God's grace truly cover the difference between our hopes and our actual abilities - pointing to the belief that we really are blessed for the desires of our hearts, not for the works of our hands, so to speak.
That's a really good point, Ray, I appreciate that. It's more on the "grace" side of things than the "works" side, which ok by me. I think "works" happen naturally when one's "grace" side is well tended.

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