Love Wins!

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
Roy
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Re: Love Wins!

Post by Roy » 14 Mar 2011, 17:26

mercyngrace wrote:Consider the account of the woman taken in adultery. A sinless intermediary pleads for mercy on behalf of the guilty. Because this intermediary willingly bore the infinite and eternal anguish of injustice for us, we who have a right to demand justice are shamed by His gracious and merciful forgiveness into laying down our own stones. We refuse to accuse our brethren and the breach between us is healed through the pure love of Christ. We are reconciled to each other and it changes our nature such that we can become reconciled to God. This is why only the merciful can receive mercy.
The only question left is who receives (undeservedly) the intercession of our Savior and who doesn't. Your post seems to say that to be forgiven we must also forgive. Where do faith, repentance, baptism, G of HG, temple covenants, obedience to commandments, and enduring to the end come into play?
"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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mercyngrace
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Re: Love Wins!

Post by mercyngrace » 14 Mar 2011, 18:32

Here's how I see it...

Faith in the Lord is the same thing as faith in His atoning sacrifice. The exercise of faith means acting on the belief that all of us are worth saving and have the capacity to change!

Repentance means turning toward God and away from the world. Remember that when Christ forgave sins, the Pharisees thought Him blasphemous - who can forgive sins but God? Turning toward God means seeking and giving forgiveness - the one truly divine act - through His reconciling atonement. It means rejecting the selfish, recompense demanding, fear-driven ways of the world. It means not being afraid of rejection, victimization, or humilitation but seeing in each other what we often can't see in ourselves. Repentance doesn't mean punishment and it doesn't begin and end with an apology - it literally means to experience a change of mind and heart so profound that it changes your life. It is an embrace of the divine and a rejection of those things that separate us from God.

Baptism is the covenant to receive His advocacy in exchange for joining Him in His work of saving mankind - a covenant we made pre-mortally. We take His name, like a bride, and He promises to share His inheritance. As in the Hebrew wedding, after the betrothal, when the Bridegroom has gone to prepare a place for His wife in His Father's house, the bride waits for him through a period of sanctification. When the Bridegroom suddenly returns, a witness who has been entrusted with the bride testifies of her faithfulness. As part of the baptismal covenant which we renew every Sunday, Christ promises to send His Spirit to be with us. The Spirit oversees our sanctification process and ultimately bears witness of our faithfulness at the veil when we are presented to the Bridegroom.

Baptism by fire is the Lord keeping His end of the covenant in which He promises to remake us in His image through refining interactions with the Holy Ghost as we experience life and serve God. As we face trials in life, including our crises of faith and even the adversity brought about by our own sinfulness, our penitent state allows the HG to give meaning and impart understanding. This process is described as "quickening" in the scriptures and it literally means that we are changed as we spiritually progress (also as we physically progress but that comes later).

Enduring to the end is the natural behavior of those who truly experience the baptism of fire. The problem is that often times we have the faith to walk out onto the water as Peter did but the minute storms arise, we start sinking. We see the adversities in our lives as stumbling blocks rather than stepping stones. But they aren't meant to be refutations of faith. They are meant to be opportunities to mature our faith. Adversity is God's way of inviting you into His classroom. There are other gentler ways to learn, but none are more effective. And enduring well is different every day for every person. Sometimes enduring well, is just getting out of bed in the morning.

All of the covenants, obligations, ordinances, rituals, habits, and acts of service we perform are either bringing us to Christ or allowing us to emulate Christ. And all these outward tokens culminate in a covenant of consecration - the complete giving over of one's self for others just as Christ did. This is the covenant that parts the veil! Laying down our just claims, out of love, to save each other, is the height of consecration - the exalting virtue!
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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mercyngrace
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Re: Love Wins!

Post by mercyngrace » 14 Mar 2011, 18:38

I might have danced all around the question - if I did, let me clarify...

All ordinances are to bring us to the point at which we can forgive and be forgiven - and consecrate our joint-inheritance with Christ and all the sons and daughters of God.

As He concluded the beatitudes, just before He invited us to be perfect, the Savior reiterated this very message. He said love those who despitefully use you for if you love those who love you, what are you doing that's extraordinary? Even the publicans do that, He said. The call to perfection (exaltation) is based on loving all others - especially those who injure us. This is why "charity fulffilleth all the law".
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

Roy
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Re: Love Wins!

Post by Roy » 14 Mar 2011, 18:53

mercyngrace wrote:As He concluded the beatitudes, just before He invited us to be perfect, the Savior reiterated this very message. He said love those who despitefully use you for if you love those who love you, what are you doing that's extraordinary? Even the publicans do that, He said. The call to perfection (exaltation) is based on loving all others - especially those who injure us. This is why "charity fulffilleth all the law".
Thank you for that. It would seem that love truely does win. :clap: "Who am I to judge another, when I walk imperfectly?" How might I reflect the love and forgiveness that I have felt in my life towards my brothers and sisters? -Rhetorical question-
"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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mercyngrace
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Re: Love Wins!

Post by mercyngrace » 15 Mar 2011, 02:21

Roy -

I believe love wins :) In fact, that has become the sum of my philosophy. The main reason I have been able to "stay LDS" is that I have found consistent support for this within our standard works and within the writings of Joseph Smith.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

Roy
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Re: Love Wins!

Post by Roy » 11 Apr 2011, 16:20

Hi MnG, I had a hard time in church yesterday. The gospel principles lesson was on the judgment and there didn't seem to be much room left for the atonement as I understand it. I felt terrible because I don't know that I will ever be celestial material on my own and the atonement as it was seemingly applied was just "everyone will have the opportunity to accept or reject/ repent or suffer." As though when I stand condemned, I am fully alone with the blame for my squandered potential.

I think most of the class didn't have the same reaction because they assumed that to follow the crowd in Mormonism is synonymous with following the celestial law.

In grappling with how to reconcile my understanding of the atonement with the judgment of works, I remembered your post. I couldn't remember exactly what you had said but I remembered how it made me feel and so I resolved to find it and read it again.

So here is my quandary:

How does the atonement apply to the three degrees of glory?

It would seem that the inhabitants of the telestial kingdom receive a resurrection but not forgiveness as they must pay the price for their own sins?

The inhabitants of the terrestrial kingdom receive the resurrection and forgiveness but possibly not (sanctification, exaltation, etc - whatever term describes the differentiator between terrestrial and celestial inhabitants).

The inhabitants of the celestial kingdom appear to be the only persons that enjoy the full measure of the atonement. (Don't get me started on the 3 levels of the celestial kingdom as this only further complicates the reconciliation).

I am not sure my current feelings sit well with a tiered heaven. Perhaps it would be better if it was red, green, and blue heaven and that your personality type etc. would determine where you fit in. That way going to heaven would represent a fulfillment of your best self, fulfilling the measure of your creation.

Sooo, is there a way to reconcile the atonement with the judgment and the tiered degrees of glory or am I better off not taking this vision of heaven so literally? (although specifically addressed to M&G, I welcome the thoughts of others as well)
"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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mercyngrace
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Re: Love Wins!

Post by mercyngrace » 11 Apr 2011, 17:18

Roy,
Let me start by saying I'm sorry you had a rough time. For what it's worth, I think a majority of LDS are probably like I have been for much of my life - stuck in the Pharisee phase. We come to this life understanding justice, the lower law. Watch any toddlers fighting over a toy or listen to a first grader whine "That's not fair!" What we are here to learn is mercy - not just for ourselves, we all want that - but for others. When we want others to receive mercy just as badly as we want to receive it ourselves, or even moreso, then we are like Christ who descended below all things to elevate the rest of us.

It's easy to get frustrated when others get caught up in pounding the gavel and warning of hellfire but we don't need to. It's a reflection of their understanding not God's love. Remember that when we meet Christ, the D&C tells us that it won't be His judgment we are praising but His LOVING KINDNESS!
So here is my quandary:

How does the atonement apply to the three degrees of glory?
Have you been to the temple, Roy? If you have, remember that we do not pass into a single kingdom rather we pass through all of them in turn until we are prepared to enter God's presence. We have to pass through Christ (the veil according to Paul - Hebrews 10:19, I think) and we have to possess certain knowledge (D&C 131 - a man can't be saved in ignorance). All the tokens and keywords are symbols - they aren't the knowledge.
It would seem that the inhabitants of the telestial kingdom receive a resurrection but not forgiveness as they must pay the price for their own sins?
We are told in the endowment that THIS world is the telestial world. You are already in this world, right here, right now. What kind of people inhabit it? Can they go where God is? (D&C 76:112)
The inhabitants of the terrestrial kingdom receive the resurrection and forgiveness but possibly not (sanctification, exaltation, etc - whatever term describes the differentiator between terrestrial and celestial inhabitants).
Joseph Smith taught that Enoch presently exists as a being of the terrestrial order. In other words, once we master the laws of the telestial world and acquire the knowledge we need to progress, we acquire greater power and light or knowledge (as symbolized by the raising of lights).
The inhabitants of the celestial kingdom appear to be the only persons that enjoy the full measure of the atonement. (Don't get me started on the 3 levels of the celestial kingdom as this only further complicates the reconciliation).
Upon acquiring the full measure of the melchizedek priesthood, we present ourselves to Christ with a witness (the Holy Ghost who verifies that we are prepared - (sanctified) and through Christ - the narrow (only) way - we enter the presence of God.
I am not sure my current feelings sit well with a tiered heaven. Perhaps it would be better if it was red, green, and blue heaven and that your personality type etc. would determine where you fit in. That way going to heaven would represent a fulfillment of your best self, fulfilling the measure of your creation.

So, is there a way to reconcile the atonement with the judgment and the tiered degrees of glory or am I better off not taking this vision of heaven so literally? (although specifically addressed to M&G, I welcome the thoughts of others as well)
There really is no tiered heaven. Brigham Young taught, and this comes right out of D&C 88, that the earth will become a celestial sphere and all her saved inhabitants will live here. So who is saved? D&C 76 says all are saved except sons of perdition (and further explains that we simply don't know what happens to them unless we are partakers of the same fate). Now Joseph Smith taught and it was reiterated by Elder McConkie in an Ensign (1977 - I can find the quote if you'd like) that Salvation is the same thing as Exaltation and it means to inherit all God has and become the same type of being that He is!

So. Nearly all will be saved - which means exalted. All will inhabit the Celestial kingdom.

What are these 3 degrees of the Celestial Kingdom? These are not really different KINGDOMS - in fact the word kingdom only appears in the SINGULAR in D&C 76. There are however, different GLORIES. D&C 88 explains that we are quickened to the glory of the kingdom whose law we are able to keep but we live together in the Celestial kingdom. For that to happen, the degrees we teach as a "tiered heaven" must be the degrees of glory which individual beings inherit in the Celestial Kingdom. D&C 130:2 reiterates that we will have the SAME SOCIALITY in heaven that we have now only couple with eternal GLORY.

Now Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other early restoration prophets taught that resurrection is a culmination of progression. So we continue to progress in spirit until we are prepared to be resurrected - this is why D&C says that the greater knowledge a man acquires here, the more his advantage in the world to come. Not because others are lost but because those who abide higher laws are further along in the process.

Some more recent church leaders have spoken vehemently against progression between the kingdoms based on the misconception that a being can be resurrected in a telestial or terrestrial state. In other words, you can't progress from being a telestial resurrected being to a celestial resurrected being. That is true. It's true because you can't be resurrected prior to entering the celestial kingdom, at least, according to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

Now I can provide you with quotes to these ends as well as quotes by more recent church leaders who also spoke to the universal nature of salvation.

There is a judgment, a final judgment, and you will have been prepared to meet it successfully before you are presented at the veil. It is an individual presentation and you must have been taught everything that you need to know before arriving.

This is why the temple is so important. All of these things are symbolically laid out there. The message of the temple is a glorious affirmation that God is our Father and desires that ALL receive what He offers.

At the end of D&C 76, we are taught that these beautiful truths must be taught by the Spirit and can be received in no other way. I hope that is how you receive them and I hope they bring you peace. After all, this is a gospel of peace.

Now, regarding others in the church who are motivated by hellfire rather than love, let them be. Love them and be an example to them. If the gospel is true, eventually, all will come around to the highest law which is charity. Jude speaks of the fact that some are motivated by fear while others are better led by compassion. My feeling is that the group we find ourselves in reflects who we are rather than who God is.

That's a lot of rambling. I hope you make sense of it :) If not, let me know and I'll try again.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

Roy
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Re: Love Wins!

Post by Roy » 12 Apr 2011, 19:27

Thank you M&G,

In reflecting on the feeling that came over me in that class, I believe that it was only partly motivated by a sense of "unworthiness." I believe the other part was a fear that I wouldn't be able to meld or reconcile the concepts that resonate for me internally to the LDS framework as I understand it. I want to build bridges but sometimes the chasm seems so wide.
mercyngrace wrote:Some more recent church leaders have spoken vehemently against progression between the kingdoms based on the misconception that a being can be resurrected in a telestial or terrestrial state. In other words, you can't progress from being a telestial resurrected being to a celestial resurrected being. That is true. It's true because you can't be resurrected prior to entering the celestial kingdom, at least, according to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
Are you saying that progression from the telestial order to the terrestrial order to the celestial order is something that can be begun in this life and continued in the next? Are you saying that this progression might even be part of the process of atonement whereby individuals are refined incrementally by the spirit as fast as they are prepared to do so? That is wonderful to fathom! For me it can mroph the concept of the 3 degrees from an eternal pcking order into a school of love.
mercyngrace wrote:Now Joseph Smith taught and it was reiterated by Elder McConkie in an Ensign (1977 - I can find the quote if you'd like) that Salvation is the same thing as Exaltation and it means to inherit all God has and become the same type of being that He is!
I believe that Elder McConkie in Mormon Doctrine qualified his definition by saying that with very few exceptions salvation as spoken of in the scriptures is synonymous with exaltation. That doesn't worry me too much because even if Elder McConkie was thinking of D&C 76 as the exception to this rule, I can stand being at odds with his personal interpretation. To use a staylds metaphor - "I seek a corner of the tent where I can find meaning and fulfillment; it is OK with me if Elder McConkie feels more comfortable in a different part of the tent."
mercyngrace wrote:Now I can provide you with quotes to these ends as well as quotes by more recent church leaders who also spoke to the universal nature of salvation.
I have noted some quotes to that effect at the opening of this thread, if there are others I would welcome them. I promise not to use them to bash, but rather to make my own footing less tenuous.
mercyngrace wrote:There is a judgment, a final judgment, and you will have been prepared to meet it successfully before you are presented at the veil. It is an individual presentation and you must have been taught everything that you need to know before arriving.
:thumbup:
"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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HiJolly
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Re: Love Wins!

Post by HiJolly » 12 Apr 2011, 19:47

Mercyngrace,

I have really enjoyed your comments in this thread. Carry On.


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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bridget_night
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Re: Love Wins!

Post by bridget_night » 13 Apr 2011, 07:57

The Nazerene church my husband and I attend show alot of the Rob Belle videos. We find them to be very good and inspiring. They are put in ways that help the youth to take interest in God as well. I do know that God inspires good people in all churches and I look forward to the day that there will be a unity of faith.

I like all the discussions and quotes given here that shed light on what God is like and what he wants for us. I really believe one of the purposes of this life is to learn how to love.

As far as the question of what is heaven and hell and who goes there; it reminded me of when I was tracting in Vienna on a missionary split with two elders. We came to a door where a woman strongly rejected listening to us and slammed the door in our faces. I was shocked when the two elders got mad and said, "Well, she had her chance." I asked them how they would feel if their only chance had been when some JW's had come to their door and they rejected them? I then told them that unless a person has heard the entire gospel of Jesus Christ and understood it, they have not had a chance.

One of the most profound moments I had was about 30 years ago, when I was working in a plush hair salon in Eugene, Oregon, I
had a customer who would fly in from San Francisco. She had become famous and was to appear on some big talk shows because of an unusual "out of body" experience. She told me to share her story whenever possible.

This woman had lived a self-centered, fairly wicked life. She had many questions
about life and feared what the next life would bring. She had been a diabetic
for 8 years on insulin. As she was taking a taxi to the airport one morning, she
realized she had forgotten to eat breakfast and had not taken her insulin. In
fact, she forgot to take insulin with her as she had felt so rushed. She began
to go into diabetic shock and quickly asked the taxi driver to go back; that she
needed her insulin. At this point she became aware that she was standing outside
the taxi and looking in at he limp body. She also noticed a man in white
appearing next to her. She was not afraid and seemed to be ready with her
questions. The first question she asked was "Is there really such a being as the
Devil"? The being in white said, "I'll let you see." Suddenly the being
disappeared and everything became very dark. So black and dark you could cut it
with a knife. She became aware of the presence of the most awful being coming
towards her which frightened her enough to say, "Ok, I don't need to know
anymore".

The darkness left and the light and heavenly being returned. Well, you'd think
she'd leave well enough alone, but she then asked her next question. "Is there
really such a place as hell"? The heavenly being said again, "Ill let you see."
She then said she experienced true hell, but it was not as she had anticipated
it to be. Her whole life began flashing before her and she re-lived every awful
thing she had done to people. She had to feel the anguish and pain others went
through because of her actions on earth. Also, she saw the ripple effect it had
on others. It was the most horrible experience. She woke up in the hospital and
the doctor knew she had gone through something traumatic and asked her if she
had an "out of body" experience. She told him about it and then said just before
she came to, the heavenly being told her that her time on earth was not up yet
and she needed to go back. She was to know that this experience was not just a
figment of her imagination, because she would no longer have diabetes or need to
be on insulin when she returned. The doctor checked her out and she did not have
diabetes and has not been on insulin since. This experience happened 3 years
prior to my meeting her.

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