Talk help/suggestions

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DarkJedi
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Talk help/suggestions

Post by DarkJedi » 13 Jan 2020, 08:07

I like part of the topic and dislike part of it, but I do have the leeway to talk about it my way. Topic: "Becoming more like Jesus Christ and accessing his power by being more holy." I like the first part, dislike the idea that more holiness gets us more of his power/mercy/grace (I just plain don't believe that part).

What I've got so far (focusing on the first part): A general review of some NT stories where Christ immediately and frankly forgave everyone who asked Him; we can be similarly forgiven through prayer; partaking the sacrament is symbolic of willingness to follow Christ/be more like him; reading/studying scripture can help us know what Christ did/said so we can be more like him (particularly NT, but I may give a general plug for BoM but still emphasize that if it wasn't for the Gospels I wouldn't be here today). Some of these ideas will appease those who think we earn blessings, although I don't plan to actually say what my topic is.

Other thoughts?

(Side note, you all can't begin to imagine what it's like right now here on the eve of the 200th anniversary of the FV. I try to ignore as much possible and have been skipping second hour. It might become intolerable by GC time.)
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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AmyJ
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Re: Talk help/suggestions

Post by AmyJ » 13 Jan 2020, 09:06

Who defines "holiness"?
  • There are specific consequences (good and bad) if the community decides a person or an act is holy. This provides peer pressure to make some great choices. Some good consequences are identifying leaders and group cohesion. Bad consequences include setting up an "us vs them" mentality to a certain degree.
  • There are other specific consequences (good and bad) if a person decides a person (including themselves) or an act is holy. This can provide internal motivation to act, to bring out the best of themselves. This can also empower crazy people to do dangerous things.
There are other specific consequences (good and bad) if a person feels that God has designated a person or an act as holy. The main consequence is divine validation of a person's actions (which can act as a super powerful motivator and/or be a fertilized seedbed for shame). It can provide a sense of clarity and a different perspective. It is a source of conflict whenever conflicting divine validation messages are met in a community or individual messages not validated enough by that community.

I think that whenever a person makes a good choice, they are empowered by that choice. Whenever they make a choice that they feel is bad, they are de-powered or shamed by that choice. So I feel that becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ can allow a person to empower themselves as they make choices to walk closer to God. I don't think it gets us more of God's power/mercy/grace, I think it allows us to perceive and access more personal power to make better choices and/or be more united with our community.

Minyan Man
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Re: Talk help/suggestions

Post by Minyan Man » 13 Jan 2020, 12:27

DarkJedi wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 08:07
Topic: "Becoming more like Jesus Christ and accessing his power by being more holy." I like the first part, dislike the idea that more holiness gets us more of his power/mercy/grace (I just plain don't believe that part).

What I've got so far (focusing on the first part): A general review of some NT stories where Christ immediately and frankly forgave everyone who asked Him; we can be similarly forgiven through prayer; partaking the sacrament is symbolic of willingness to follow Christ/be more like him; reading/studying scripture can help us know what Christ did/said so we can be more like him (particularly NT, but I may give a general plug for BoM but still emphasize that if it wasn't for the Gospels I wouldn't be here today).
I think this is a great basis for the talk assigned. This will more than fill the time allotted. Always go with what inspires you first.

Roy
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Re: Talk help/suggestions

Post by Roy » 13 Jan 2020, 13:56

I suppose that I might spend my talk borrowing heavily from the book "Believing Christ" and the talk "His Grace is Sufficient" (the latter by Brad Wilcox). Essentially that once we take upon ourselves the name of Christ and covenant with him then it is His goodness and holiness that we are credited with and judged according to.

We become "like Jesus Christ" because we are made into His family, His children and co-heirs.

This does not mean that we do nothing. We remain in the covenant relationship and do not spurn it or reject it. We love one another as Jesus loved us (for thus are His disciples known). We remember Him, we take His name upon us, and we call ourselves by His name. In short, we continue on with our fellow "saints".

We reach perfection together - as a community - not through our own efforts but through the blood of He who Saves and Redeems his people.
"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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mom3
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Re: Talk help/suggestions

Post by mom3 » 13 Jan 2020, 16:14

(Side note, you all can't begin to imagine what it's like right now here on the eve of the 200th anniversary of the FV. I try to ignore as much possible and have been skipping second hour. It might become intolerable by GC time.)
I can not imagine it. I am hiding from it over here, on the other side of the country. Over there has to be nightmarish. I am lucky that my family is disconnected enough that I will miss most of it. For everyone who has to sit through the various pre-firesides, etc, my heart goes out to you.

Ironically, I don't think Joseph would have wanted this. I know we have painted a portrait of him as being a bit of a glory seeker, charismatic, etc. But I think he wasn't as much as our myopic view likes to do it. Did he believe in what he was doing? Yes. So did the 5 or 6 other churches that sprung up in upstate New York during the time. Did we acquire a huge swath of people in a very short time? Yes. Would this be distressing to any community? Yes. Just look at immigration now. Did Joseph want a party - likely not. He didn't even tell the FV story for 3 years. Even after that, that wasn't the drawing card people came from. His first written version didn't happen until after the little Whitmer family meet up. When the BoM was finished, he tried to sell it in Canada to get money to recoup the printing costs. It became "our" book when he couldn't unload it and sent it out with missionaries. He barely, ever quoted from it. He was a Paul-ite, if ever there was one.

He will die all over again as this proceeds.

The other irony - is why make a massive "We are Jesus" people change, then grandstand this event. Let is go. Mention it in a couple of GC talks. Show one nice honorary video. Then move on. We don't even give Christmas or Easter this much celebration, ever.
"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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DarkJedi
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Re: Talk help/suggestions

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Jan 2020, 06:02

Thanks for your inputs.

I own and reference both of those books Roy, and my talks tend to lean heavily on the grace side. Our SP leans more toward grace than most, so that's helpful.

That's probably a whole thread on its own, Mom, I threw it out there in this post because it has started to annoy me. The area presidency sent out a letter this past weekend pounding on the subject and the BoM and following the prophet in getting ready for this great event. I agree with you Mom, I have read quite a bit about Joseph and I don't think he would have wanted this. He really was focused on the Savior. He rarely talked about the FV and most early members knew nothing about it or even that it happened. He considered it a personal experience and not what made him a prophet. And he rarely quoted the BoM. That could be attributed to it not being divided into chapter and verse like it is now, but I'm also not sure he saw it in quote the same light we do. I mentioned in SS on 1/4 (as we were having a BoM love fest) the idea that early members of the church used it differently and that was in part because it was in a different format and in part because not all of them even owned one - and you'd have thought I had two heads.
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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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Talk help/suggestions

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 Jan 2020, 18:25

I would focus on "holy" meaning more like God, using Jesus' ministry as the example.

In that light, "holy" can mean "consecrated" - but the focus is more on whom we serve as disciples of Jesus - based on how he served them.
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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nibbler
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Re: Talk help/suggestions

Post by nibbler » 15 Jan 2020, 07:38

DarkJedi wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 08:07
(Side note, you all can't begin to imagine what it's like right now here on the eve of the 200th anniversary of the FV. I try to ignore as much possible and have been skipping second hour. It might become intolerable by GC time.)
I'm hearing some of that but it hasn't worked up to a fever pitch yet. I've been able to tune most of it out but one thing I have noticed is that every time the subject has come up locally it is referred to specifically as a "visitation." The "first visitation," which is distinct from a "first vision" but I think that's how most people view it, an actual in-person visit.
DarkJedi wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 08:07
I like part of the topic and dislike part of it, but I do have the leeway to talk about it my way. Topic: "Becoming more like Jesus Christ and accessing his power by being more holy." I like the first part, dislike the idea that more holiness gets us more of his power/mercy/grace (I just plain don't believe that part).
I'd definitely drop the last part. We don't really need to hear another variant of being obedient in order to receive a blessing or to have a prayer answered because that idea permeates most topics at church.

I imagine most people in the congregation don't know your actual assigned topic so you can change it to whatever. I'd be tempted to change the topic to "Becoming more like Jesus Christ through feeling his grace." If the other assigned speaker sticks with the "qualify for" angle of the assignment together you'd cover both the justice and mercy bases.

What super righteous thing did Saul of Tarsus do to qualify for a vision of Jesus? If someone has the attitude of qualifying for a blessing or qualifying to receive an answer to a prayer maybe the more scripturally sound approach would be to persecute the church until it happens. :twisted: I kid. It's what I do.

So how could be become more like Jesus through feeling his grace? Maybe we have to experience feeling that grace before we can be in a position to extend that same grace to others.
To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.
― Mark Twain

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mom3
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Re: Talk help/suggestions

Post by mom3 » 15 Jan 2020, 12:15

What super righteous thing did Saul of Tarsus do to qualify for a vision of Jesus?
Or Alma the Younger for the BoM crowd.

Neither was "prepared", "holy", "qualified".

Moses? He was borderline.

Joseph Coat of Many Colors was supremely arrogant.

I actually struggle with this. We set up the idea that only the Nephi's can receive. As I go through life, the strugglers/bad guys/un-holy often have a unique direct connection that "the good guys don't".

I have had very deep spiritual experiences. I am also incredibly blessed. I have chosen to live a very "holy" life. But I am not sure I am closer to Christ than someone who has no religious training or to someone who cries out in their darkest hour or someone who gets a miracle for free, then from there see's the world differently.

As I am typing this, and remembering your responsibility on the HC (the unspoken responsibility), would it be helpful to share the scripture stories of the unholy who too were made whole through Christ or carried out a God Designed Mission in their unholy state. We are a highly judgmental church. We cut people out of the flock all the time. To my way of thinking, there is nothing Christ or God centered in that method. If someone is unholy - no matter the reasons, it isn't ours to judge, shun, bear our testimony against, and so on. Maybe this talk is a good place to gently present that idea.

No pressure.

Just my ramblings. They are free to take or leave.
"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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nibbler
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Re: Talk help/suggestions

Post by nibbler » 15 Jan 2020, 15:10

mom3 wrote:
15 Jan 2020, 12:15
Or Alma the Younger for the BoM crowd.
I had that one listed too but deleted it before submitting. That story has lots of baggage that I feel can feed into the prosperity gospel. Now that this is a separate post I can talk about my reasons.

Alma Jr. was actively trying to destroy the church and lead people away from god when the angel appeared. It's safe to say that Alma Jr. didn't qualify for a heavenly appearance through strict obedience but I worry that his father Alma Sr. provides an out. The angel says that he appeared as a result of the prayers of the people and more specifically his father. Alma Jr. may not have "earned" an appearance by an angel but the strength of the faith of the people and Alma Sr. may have "earned" him that visitation, so we're right back to grunting, groaning, and agonizing over our personal righteousness when a hoped for blessing doesn't occur... and what I feel is worse, it provides an example for parents that may be prone to unhealthily fixate on being unrighteous should one of their children fail to tick all the cultural Mormon check-boxes.
mom3 wrote:
15 Jan 2020, 12:15
I actually struggle with this. We set up the idea that only the Nephi's can receive.
I think it's the fact that the overwhelming majority of people that have ever lived don't receive like Nephi received or like the embellished church historical narratives claim people received. When the common non-receiver compares themselves to those examples it's hard to come away with anything other than, "I must not be good enough to receive." Receiving appears to have more to do with believing you've received than anything to do with obedience or whether an observer would say that you've received.
mom3 wrote:
15 Jan 2020, 12:15
...or someone who gets a miracle for free, then from there see's the world differently.
I think a large part of it is that we're very much caught up in earning things. Earning blessings. Earning salvation. Earning a calling. Earning praise. We want to make a formula out of it; have the confidence that if I do X then Y will be my reward. That and it really starts to strain our concept of fairness when we see someone obtaining Y without putting in the effort to do X. It's only human to immediately think, "But what about me? I did what I was supposed to and I didn't get Y. That's not fair."

for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust

...and someone in an area experiencing a drought may welcome the rain while someone in an area experiencing floods may view more rain as a curse.
To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.
― Mark Twain

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