Whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil

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MWallace57
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Whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil

Post by MWallace57 » 13 Jan 2010, 12:28

I have been pondering my faith in such earnest lately.

The more I pray, the more I ponder, the more my spirit moves toward the simple things of Christ. The innocence of the blessing of a newborn baby is so pure, so perfect. One can envision the Savior as he took each little infant in His arms to bless him or her. Can anyone doubt?

Then there is baptism: What could be more simple, yet more profound. At little child, barely eight years old can comprehend and understand it's meaning. The
symbolism of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ ever attests to His divinity and our covenant with Him. We, "die" to our sins and a "new" us emerges. We feel as if we are buried with Christ and brought to life in Him. The meaning only becomes sweeter and more profound as we age.

The Sacred and Holy Sacrament is a weekly ritual wherein we renew our covenants with Christ. It is an opportunity to repent each week and resolve to improve our lives. It is our striving, each day, for His Spirit to be with us. It is joy. It is life in Christ.

All see all of these small gestures, "rituals" if you will have testaments of Christ, outward actions that attest to inward feelings.

Now for my problem: My testimony was grounded in these simple, pure and perfect ordinances and blessings. They seemed to speak to my spirit and grow within my soul. They were as living covenants that become deeper and richer as the years pass. But, when I attended the temple for the very first time in 1979, just prior to my mission, some of the covenants did not appear to me to relate directly to Christ. (Some of those rituals have now been changed or eliminated altogether). I cannot speak directly of them here but some of you may know what I am referring to. Imagine yourself, a young women, carrying your very first child. Picture yourself going to the Temple and taking an oath. Suppose that that oath did not involve life, but its antithesis. You ponder that, if you were to allow your life to be taken, it would end the life of your unborn child.

Many years latter, I learned that that very oath and ritual had originated in the Masonic Temple and that JS had wanted to "restore" it. It had originally been meant only for men, not for women. I now believe that JS attempted to "restore" more than the simple principals and ordinances of the gospel. Anything less than the full restoration of the gospel ordinances such as baptism would have rendered the restoration incomplete. But, what about trying to restore more than the basic covenants?

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Jan 2010, 21:35

"what about trying to restore more than the basic covenants?"


"Restoration" can mean very different things to different people, depending on their restoration focus.

For example, if I want to restore my computer hard-drive when problems arise, there often are multiple "restore points" available to me. Some people might say that the factory settings are best, but others would rather restore to a later point after the addition of enhancements and specific programs.
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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Tom Haws
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Re: Whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil

Post by Tom Haws » 17 Jan 2010, 14:00

Obviously (to me at least) Joseph Smith didn't get everything right. Many of his innovations and restorations were amazing and inspired. Others were amazing and crazy. Others were mundane and compromised.

I think it's safe to say that the LDS religion goes farrrrrrrrr beyond the plain and precious truths of Jesus. But the fact is that many, or most, or all people at some time in their lives (see Fowler's stages) need an elaborately complicated schoolmaster to lead them to (the plain and precious) Christ. Religion goes wrong when the plain and precious truths are taken away. I guess its a matter of personal opinion whether the original or modern LDS Church has taken way the plain and precious truths or whether it is safeguarding them and teaching them mingled with the philosophies of men.

As Ray said, "There are no academic issues. EVERYTHING is emotional to somebody." Possibly the temple was an inadvised innovation. And you have been hurt deeply by that possibility. I believe the only thing you can do about it is resolve never to point anybody's faith in that direction, and to be there (in the church) to minister to those who have been hurt.
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
----
Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

MWallace57
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Re: Whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil

Post by MWallace57 » 17 Jan 2010, 21:59

Thanks Ray and Tom,

I have always loved symbolism, especially those types and shadows of Christ. "All things testify of me" and "At all times and in all places, stand as a witness of Christ" were two of my favorite scriptural passages.

There is a part of the Temple, which is not secret, but explained in the Pear of Great Price: Father Adam is asked to sacrifice the firstling of his flock, a pure, white, perfect lamb, without blemish or spot. Adam obeys, but does not comprehend why. After many days (and many sacrifices), the Lord comes to Adam to explain that "this thing is in the similitude of the Sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God. We learn so many eternal truths from this simple lesson.

1) Obedience to the Lord, even if we do not understand why the Lord has commanded us to do a thing

2) Knowledge comes from obedience. If we obey the Lord, we will, in time be taught the purpose of our obedience and the reason why the Lord gave us the
commandment.

3) Christ is the literal Son of God the Father and will come in the fullness of times. God, our Eternal Father will sacrifice His Only Begotten Son for us.

The "Alter of Faith, the Alter of Sacrifice" upon which rested the firstling lamb became the cross upon which hung the Son of God.

Anciently, Alter had a different shape, being made as raised structures. A poet once was inspired to write a poem about the alter, in the actual shape of an ancient alter. Here is the link:

http://www.thingsrevealed.net/altar1.htm

Please note the shape of the alter.

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MapleLeaf
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Re: Whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil

Post by MapleLeaf » 18 Jan 2010, 14:07

Ray Degraw wrote: Some people might say that the factory settings are best, but others would rather restore to a later point after the addition of enhancements and specific programs.
I'm not sure if the analogy makes much sense in relation to Wallace's premise. The "restoration" would have been made with the addition of things that "cometh of evil". It would be like restoring a computer to original conditions with the addition of a few new viruses, wouldn't it?
"If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind." -Chien-chih Seng-ts'an, Zen Buddhist [606 AD]

MWallace57
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Re: Whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil

Post by MWallace57 » 18 Jan 2010, 14:51

Thanks so much Mapleleaf,

I think that this is one of those issues that women understand because of the impact that it has one them. As a Sister Missionary, we baptized a young family - the mother was 7 months pregnant. One of the Sisters sewed a maternity baptismal dress for her. It was so lovely. This little expectant mother looked so fresh and pure and what a delight it was to see this young family begin a new life. The father had stopped smoking for a full month and was committed to staying healthy. Their new baby would be coming home to fresh, pure air.

The baptismal ceremony was so lovely that the woman's mother was baptized just one week later!! I was told that this little area in Pennsylvania had more baptisms that month than they had had in ten years. It was great.

But. . . as always, those converts would attend the Temple about 1 year later. It was then that converts (almost always women) would begin to confess to me that the Temple had "challenged them". There use to be secret covenants and even blood oats which pregnant women would have to take. Of course, had any of those oaths been taken literally, an unborn baby would have died. I thought of the Book of Mormon which expressly forbids the making of secret oaths and covenants. The B of M was actually considered by many to be "Anti-Masonic". I later learned that those troubling oaths (now removed) had originated as part of the Masonic Temple Initiation Process. JS was quoted as saying, "the secret of Masonry is to keep a secret". Those oaths were never administered to women as Masons only admitted men into the fraternal organization.

Ok, I am soo long winded, but this is exactly what I mean about restoring more than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some things are of God, they witness to our Spirits and to others. Other things are not of God. They give us doubt and disturb us. They confuse us. It is that "Spirit of Confusion" that God warns us about. When we feel that Spirit, we should know that a thing is not of God. God will never send us a Spirit that we cannot understand.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Jan 2010, 15:03

Yes, MapleLeaf - if my comment was meant to echo MWallace's title.

I'm all for a restoration philosophy, but I have said many times that I don't believe in a restoration of all things at the beginning - or at once - or in Joseph's lifetime - or in any way other than on an on-going basis. I also don't think Joseph believed the restoration was complete with him, and I think the BokM is crystal clear that the restoration is an on-going event that continues until the very end. Thus, my analogy of software upgrades.

My first computer was a MacSE - a glorified word processor. I loved it, since it was MUCH better than using a typewriter or a pen - my only alternatives up to then. However, I'll take the computer on which I'm typing right now any day over that first one - and I'll take the current church over the church as it existed in Joseph's day. I mean that totally and sincerely. As much as there is to admire in the free-for-all that was the early Restoration Church, there is just as much to admire in the much more even-keel later Restoration Church. I'll take not being killed or driven from my home over the alternative, even if I have to accept a "safer, less bold" approach, for example.

I think we tend to romanticize the past naturally and believe things were better just because they were different. (For example, in the 1800's, there was a very popular trend to write novels about the "noble savage" - and how industrialization was evil because it removed people from nature. It was easy for the authors to overlook the FACT that the very industrialization they were lamenting actually provided readers for their novels.) The explorers and questioners might have fared better in the earlier church - or they might have gotten cross-wise of someone and been excommunicated or tarred and feathered - or died crossing the plains.

I'm grateful for the life I have in the here and now, and I simply disagree with one of the possible interpretations of the title of this post. On one hand, I agree that complications are necessary evils; otoh, I believe that complications just are unavoidable - part of the necessary "opposition in ALL things". On the third hand (lol), I believe complications are actually improvements - so I interpret the quote in the title very selectively and carefully.
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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Jan 2010, 15:04

I probably will do a post about the "blood oaths" of the temple. It is SUCH a misunderstood concept. Until then, let's stick to a discussion of the actual title and not fixate on the temple oaths.
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

MWallace57
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Re: Whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil

Post by MWallace57 » 18 Jan 2010, 15:48

|I'm sorry Ray,

but I used the Oaths as an example, I didn't mean to derail the topic. I could have chosen another example, but that one is profound for me.

I have come to believe, through reading the B of M and the New Testament, that the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ is actually very simple else why would Christ point to the little children and pronounce, "of such is the Kingdom of God". I never felt the Spirit of the Lord so strongly as when I was a teacher in the Nursery. That Nursery Manual could almost serve to teach each class in the Church. Those little Primary Children who are preparing for baptism can tell you what it means by the time they are 7 1/2.

The faith of a child is perfect. That faith is in all of us. Christ said so. We just lose it somewhere along the way. We complicate things and we confuse ourselves. We can't become children again, but our faith can be come like unto that of a little child, a whole faith, a pure faith, untarnished by all of the precepts of man that led our hearts to sorrow and doubt.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Jan 2010, 18:00

I agree totally with your last comment, MWallace - totally. However, the instant Jesus died and the apostles had to form an actual Jewish denomination, purity was lost - and, in reality, it never existed even when He was alive and teaching it. After all, he had to rebuke his disciples in order for them to suffer the children to come unto him.

Fwiw, as the resident parser, I see the injunction in the title as applying to things that are related to how that phrase actually was used - and NONE of them are about ordinances or the temple. (There are TWO verses that use that exact phrase and one more that uses the first part.)

1) Matthew 5:37 = This verse is about making promises by mentioning things that aren't ours to use as credit for our oaths. (Swear not all . . . by the heavens . . . by the earth . . . by the head . . .)

2) D&C 98:7 = This verse is about unconstitutional laws.

3) D&C 93:25 = This verse is about knowing things that actually were, are and are to come.

So, to be totally frank, my main issue is that you are quoting a phrase out of context, imo, and applying it to things to which it wasn't meant to be applied. With that foundation, there are all kinds of conclusion that could be drawn - but none of them would be appropriate conclusions, even if they happened to be correct.
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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