9/17 Nelson Devotional

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DoubtingTom
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by DoubtingTom » 19 Sep 2019, 20:56

I think I’ve come to realize I just don’t really care much for Nelson’s version of the gospel. It’s a version where God’s love is conditional, obedience is of supreme importance, and prophets always tell the truth. It’s just not very applicable. Too bad because I really like him as a person, just not the way he interprets and applies the gospel in his own life and subsequently what he presents as the absolute “truth” to members. Other prophets and apostles have presented a better version.

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Heber13
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by Heber13 » 19 Sep 2019, 21:07

nibbler wrote:
17 Sep 2019, 16:01
4) God appoints prophets and apostles to communicate his love and his laws. This is where the devotional derails and reveals what I believe to be the point of the devotional. I'll slow down here:

a) "Our commission as apostles is to teach nothing but truth.
That may be their commission...it doesn't mean they always get it right (Nov Policy).

My personal experience has led me to believe I am to learn that I should not put my faith in the arm of flesh. Prophets and apostles are called to depart truth when they can, and I can appreciate their best efforts, and when taken with a grain of salt, find nuggets of truth to help me here and there in a truly buffet style.

Receiving guidance from inspired sources is always appreciated.

Sometimes fortune cookies also inspire me.
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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mom3
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by mom3 » 20 Sep 2019, 10:27

I have recently become a student of metaphysical spirituality. In that realm they talk about a Great Divine and how it is more Sourced within us than we realize. One of the points of understanding comes in the idea of wrestling with something. When you are wrestling, you are not accepting or receiving what Source/God/Divinity is giving you.

Russell Nelson, and perhaps others, are wrestling with how to love. God has sent people to share love with. Russell isn't comfortable with it. Not because he means to. But because he was taught a barrier filled love. There could be myriad reasons for this. Everything from stuff you are directly taught and chose to believe, to being in environments that deeply affect you - such as parents who drink. (Was alcoholism a part of his life experience with his parents?) Internally this war is constantly waging. On our end we get to watch him wrestle with it publicly.

For us, the double struggle comes from watching believers just take in the message, no matter what. We get to wrestle with them. Even if we walk away, we are still wrestling. Walking away is part of the wrestle. It's on our mind, we try to cover it, forget it, disengage. We may even succeed for a while - but it will come back. When and how we don't know.

Our only recourse is to learn to apply forgiveness. That is tough.

Wishing us all success.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Rumin8
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by Rumin8 » 24 Sep 2019, 13:25

DarkJedi wrote:
18 Sep 2019, 05:37
I think the most disheartening part for me was that it seemed every time he said something I liked, he immediately qualified with something I didn't necessarily agree with. [The following are not actual quotes - not what he said, but what I heard] "We are all literal sons and daughters of God!" :thumbup: "You are a chosen generation." :thumbdown: "Seek truth and to know for yourself." :thumbup: "Those who have left the church don't know the truth." :thumbdown: "God loves us all unconditionally." :thumbup: "You really only get God's love if you keep all the commandments." :thumbdown: [You get the idea.]
I have avoided most GA talks of late because of the whiplash evident within the talks themselves and between individual speakers. It is exhausting. For my own mental and spiritual health, I have elected (for now) to not listen to GA talks anymore. Where I cannot physically avoid them (by leaving the room) then I will check out mentally.

I believe these men are doing what they think is right. I believe that they truly believe they want the best for us. They believe they are spreading the "good word" and doing good things. All these things may be true, but I need a time out. I'm going to try the direct communication with God method of spirituality for a while and see how that goes.
mom3 wrote:
20 Sep 2019, 10:27
Russell Nelson, and perhaps others, are wrestling with how to love. God has sent people to share love with. Russell isn't comfortable with it. Not because he means to. But because he was taught a barrier filled love. There could be myriad reasons for this. Everything from stuff you are directly taught and chose to believe, to being in environments that deeply affect you - such as parents who drink. (Was alcoholism a part of his life experience with his parents?) Internally this war is constantly waging. On our end we get to watch him wrestle with it publicly.

For us, the double struggle comes from watching believers just take in the message, no matter what. We get to wrestle with them. Even if we walk away, we are still wrestling. Walking away is part of the wrestle. It's on our mind, we try to cover it, forget it, disengage. We may even succeed for a while - but it will come back. When and how we don't know.
I love and appreciate this more than words can express. Thank you for sharing.
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be excellent to each other." - Abraham Lincoln to Bill & Ted

Roy
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by Roy » 25 Sep 2019, 11:30

I am listening to this trying to understand the framework of President Nelson's address. he gets to the part about God's laws are motivated by love. He gives the example of parents trying to protect children by having household rules. I am confused however about the example of the heart surgery and the "laws" that govern the heart beating or not.

I feel that this muddies the waters. Are God's commandments to us the same as the laws of physics? How are the rules a family puts in place to protect children similar to the law of gravity? I really feel like we are talking about different things here and I find it unhelpful to generalize between them.
"It always works!"
This quote shook me and is a perfect illustration of my problem. What always works? the law of gravity always works? Sure, that is easy to test and replicate? Do family rules designed to keep children safe always keep children safe? No, and it is not always the fault of the parent or the child when something goes wrong? What about the rule that "if you ask God with real intent he will reveal the truth of it unto you"? Is that part of God's law? Does it always work? What about living as a dutiful lifelong Mormon? Does that always lead to happiness and exaltation in the next life? Unknown and requiring faith.

I feel that conflating God's law with natural law is incorrect and unhelpful … unless … you want to give the impression that spiritual laws are just as regular and dependable as the laws that govern electricity. Do this, get that. Quid pro quo. I understand the allure of just this sort of vending machine/formula gospel. This is personal for me because I did believe in that and I was shocked when it blew up in my face.

Question. How much responsibility or duty does the leader of an organization have to represent likely outcomes, probabilities, and risks to the best of their ability? How much does an individual leader's honest belief and optimism for a positive outcome temper that responsibility or duty? How much should puffery or hyperbole is allowed.

When President Nelson says "It always works!" is he just talking about restarting the human heart? Is he being completely honest and transparent? Should he be?
"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

Roy
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by Roy » 25 Sep 2019, 16:50

Speaking of something less than transparency. The whole POX section was an issue and how it was presented was definitely "spin".

RMN said "Consider the [POX] related to the advisability of baptism for children LGBT parents" He then says that their concern was to reduce friction between parents and children. That to me seems like a smokescreen. Consider that in order to become baptized under this policy, the now adult children of LGBT parents would have to "specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage." Are you seriously telling me that your concern was and is for the "friction" between parents and children but the only exception listed requires the then adult children to disavow the parents marriage or significant other relationship? RMN knows that there were other more pressing concerns that he is omitting. Why not just tell the truth? (incidentally, Even the Elder Christopherson clarification back in 2015 gave more weight to the recent change in US law towards same sex marriage and the desire of the church to clarify its policy towards SSM, couples, and families. This same policy that RMN is referring to required that those couples be treated as apostates with mandatory disciplinary counsels.)

President RMN continues "in 2015 the policy was made to assist children and their parents in this circumstance. Namely, that children of LGBT parents would not automatically be eligible for baptism at age 8. Exceptions to this policy would require first presidency approval."

Let's compare this to the policy found in the handbook.
A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing. A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service only as follows:
A mission president or a stake president may request approval from the Office of the First Presidency to baptize and confirm, ordain, or recommend missionary service for a child of a parent who has lived or is living in a same-gender relationship when he is satisfied by personal interviews that both of the following requirements are met:
1. The child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.
2. The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.
According to this, children living in these circumstances may not be baptized. The only exception listed is to go through a mission or stake president once the child has turned 18 and disavowed SSM.

President RMN continues "We also took note of LGBT parents who sought permission from the first presidency for their children to be baptised. In nearly every case where the LGBT parents agreed to teach their children about and be supportive of the covenant of baptism the requested exception was granted." Was there some other appeals process other than what I quoted above? How would a parent go about appealing to the office of the first presidency? Do they just ignore the words of the policy that state that appeals may be made "only" under the following conditions? I imagine that most church leaders would be highly reluctant to forward an apeal to the first presidency that condtradicted the handbook. When RMN says "In nearly every case where the LGBT parents agreed to teach their children about and be supportive of the covenant of baptism the requested exception was granted." is teaching their "children about … the covenant of baptism" and having the child disavow "the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage" synonymous? It sure sounds like these exceptions to the policy were still under age, where they required to submit to the other stated requirement of disavowal or not?

President RMN continues "we recently felt directed to adjust the policy such that the baptism of children of LGBT parents may be authorized by bishops without first presidency approval."

The policy is not rescinded, it is adjusted. The FP retained authority to baptize children of LGBT parents all along and now that authority is just extended to ward bishops.

Sounds like a heavy dose of PR spin going on. (all underlining are mine for emphasis of particularly interesting word choices)
"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

Roy
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by Roy » 25 Sep 2019, 17:09

nibbler wrote:
17 Sep 2019, 16:01
d) Nelson makes it sound like big, bad, old meanie god laid down his law/truth, it hurt people, but Nelson interceded on behalf of all of us and pled with god to show us some mercy. tommy_lee_jones_newspaper.jpg
Yes, this is another observation. President RMN said that they cannot change God's laws but ... "We can adjust policy when the Lord directs us to do so." He repeatedly refers to their "seeking", "pleading" and "supplications" and the "direction" of the Lord.

It is weird because it makes it sound like the Q15 are powerless to change a simple policy without the Lord's direction. This is at least consistent with President RMN's past statements that both the POX and its removal was the product of revelation. But it is also weird. If it takes revelation to adjust policy then isn't all policy de facto revelation?

It sets up a view of the continuing restoration (which I love as a concept) where everything in the church today is exactly the way that God wants it for today. Tomorrow God will want it to be slightly different, will direct some minor changes, and then the church will be exactly the way that God wants it to be for tomorrow. And so on and so on.

What a fascinating approach to perhaps claim both perfection and continuing revelation/improvement at the same time!
"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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Sep 2019, 14:39

I respect his view for what it is: his view, based on his personality and life experiences.

I disagree with his view about things being absolute. He isn't alone in that. Concrete, absolute thinking is all too common. "Everyone can experience ___________," and, "I promise _____________," just don't work universally. I get his view; I just disagree.

Does that mean I think he isn't a prophet? Not, necessarily, since I have no illusion that anyone sees everything accurately. My definition of prophets is very different than the orthodox view. We all see through a glass darkly, as another apostle said so long ago. He claimed to have seen the Celestial Kingdom (3rd heaven), but he still didn't understand everything clearly.

President Nelson is who he is, and I still appreciate his willingness to change things. It gives me a degree of hope for more changes in the future.
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

Roy
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by Roy » 27 Sep 2019, 09:24

I have had a few days to consider my response/rant above and I have cooled off.

1) Religion is an area where you can use generalities, platitudes, hyperbole, and other imprecise descriptions. That is just the nature of religion.

2) Promises and "It always works!". It is Pres. RMN's job to give a sense of confidence to people on subjects that are pretty impossible to know through scientific channels. I think that I sometimes expect his history as a medical doctor to deliver more precise and evidence based language and I did not like that he used an example from his experience as a medical doctor to support his point. Perhaps this is asking too much and I can give him a break. Perhaps I would have been less upset by this if President RMN had had a different occupation... like that of a pilot perhaps. ;)

3) The POX and the reversal of the POX being put to some serious PR treatment. Yeah, President RMN is in a bit of a pickle there. The POX was an awful PR nightmare for the church and then Elder Nelson was on record as having said that it was the result of revelation. Four years later it was pretty apparent that this policy is hurting the church and the church members. The leadership removed the POX. But then the church is criticized for the quick flip-flop. Did God change his mind?
I believe that Pres. RMN is trying to make the best of a bad situation. He is giving a fairly plausible and faithful explanation to those that are confused by the whole ordeal but are really eager to have a faithful explanation that they can latch onto. The audience may be important. RMN was speaking to the youth of the church. They are simultaneously the future leadership of the church and the group that the church is struggling to retain. Considering this, it might have been negligence if President RMN didn't attempt to address this controversy in some fashion in the minds of the young people of the church. In this same speech President RMN says that he has the charge to "build up the church" and regulate it's affairs. Perhaps he is just doing his level best under the circumstances.
"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

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SamBee
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Re: 9/17 Nelson Devotional

Post by SamBee » 01 Oct 2019, 06:13

DoubtingTom wrote:
19 Sep 2019, 20:56
I think I’ve come to realize I just don’t really care much for Nelson’s version of the gospel. It’s a version where God’s love is conditional, obedience is of supreme importance, and prophets always tell the truth. It’s just not very applicable. Too bad because I really like him as a person, just not the way he interprets and applies the gospel in his own life and subsequently what he presents as the absolute “truth” to members. Other prophets and apostles have presented a better version.
I think I prefer Monson's interpretation, even though that horrible child policy was under his watch.

Is this correlation mark 2? I can't tell yet.
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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