God's multiple attempts to get stuff going

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spacious maze
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God's multiple attempts to get stuff going

Post by spacious maze » 06 May 2009, 15:33

Hola, I just joined the forum. I was wondering if anyone has ever thought or studied the notion of God's revelation and the lasting power of it. Adam and Eve didn't last too long before they were tempted and exiled from Eden. There's the fratricide of Cain and Abel in a time when faith had yet to be. God's anger wiht man's sin and attempt to start over with Noah. Moses' followers with the golden calf. Even (according to Mormon doctrine) Jesus' gospel lasted a mere generation or two before Apostasy. Then you have the LDS view of Jesus in the Americas, setting up a peaceful community until the Lamanites stopped believing. We have all the fighting and separation after Joesph Smith's death concerning the direction of the church ect.....

My point is that God's multiple attempts of revelation concerning law, ordinances and general means of living have not had the ever-lasting effect that one would think. Were His words not strong enough? were the revelations not real enough? If God is omnipotent, then certainly He knows what he's doing when he makes a decree to his creations. I think it's safe to say, in Christian thinking, that His sacrifice of Jesus is the most important event in the Biblical timeline, yet the LDS church says the truth of that great moment was lost shortly after. Does this say something about man or about God? Does the history of man's inability to accept God's word dilute the strength of His actions?

Sorry to be so long-winded, I'm just excited to have a forum like this and have been a bit troubled by this concept for a while. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

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Re: God's multiple attempts to get stuff going

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 May 2009, 16:45

Jacob 5's allegory of the olive tree is one of my favorite passages of all time, specifically because it addresses your question so directly, imo. It says quite clearly that the "pruning" of "bitter fruit" is a never-ending process - that the pure word of God gets defiled naturally and unavoidably right up until the very end.

I love something a friend said a while ago:

"God dealing with us is like a wise, loving super-genius dealing with a bunch of Sunbeam-age kids — except the gap between us and God is infinitely wider." -Bruce Webster in "God's Dilemma" (Mormon Matters)
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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Brian Johnston
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Re: God's multiple attempts to get stuff going

Post by Brian Johnston » 11 May 2009, 08:05

I like this overall viewpoint. I've dropped my own personal need for surety and concrete truth. I don't think we have it here in this existence. I have a strong sense of the existence of God, but I am no longer sure precisely what "God" is. It makes me a lot more comfortable with all the different views from people throughout history, including our own LDS developments.

Some people think this makes God a liar, unclear, or a trickster. I know some mythologies have a "trickster" character, but we don't really have one in Mormonism (or Christianity really). They say "How can God exist, be perfect, and be truthful if we don't understand Him?" I think all our religion is a metaphor that points towards this transcendent existence/being we label "God." There, way off in the distance, is God calling to us. It is more like light, love, a song, a feeling. That is the best we can do right now. He (for the need of using a language label) desires us to come to Him. We intepret that however it makes sense to us in the moment. Our "truths" are not factually correct in the ultimate sense, but that is the best we can. They are true in the directional sense, one more step closer, but not in the absolute.

So I don't think this process ever stops. What happens in the world, in religion, in belief, in faith, in history is all exactly as it must be. I have a hard time expressing this correctly, but that is of course the nature of transcendent ideas and feelings -- they are just beyond our full grasp. I sense that we are all exactly as we need to be, in the moment of of the "now" of our existence. I gives me a very positive and happy way of experiencing life. Pain and suffering are baggage to be released. We need to let go of our burdens. We are already whole, complete and perfect. We just have to let go of our baggage.

We are doing this continuously as an LDS faith tradition too.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Heber13
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Re: God's multiple attempts to get stuff going

Post by Heber13 » 12 May 2009, 16:36

Jacob 5 was the first thing that popped into my mind, but Ray beat me to the punch.

But pick any scriptural group and that is the way the story goes, the cycle taught in the book of mormon (Revelation - Disobedience - Pride/Fall/Sin - Repentance - Revelation ,etc etc etc).

IMO, spacious maze, God is a person with all eternal truth and the power to create all things. However, the plan has Him removed for some reason and He only gets involved from time to time. Most Christians believe He is all places at all times. I don't believe that. After Adam and Even left the garden, He sent an angel to check on them, and they were offering sacrifices because that was what they were told to do. Sending an Angel means He wasn't there.

Hawkgrrrl gave a post on mormonmatters.org on April 22 about the parable in D&C 88 where the Lord visited workers one at a time, which means He leaves some alone for times why He blesses some with his countenance.

In my life, I feel there are times I'm left alone and assume He'll check back with me to see how I'm doing. Instead of wondering why I'm left alone, I am trying to focus on what I should be doing with my talents and get ready to report and hopefully get an update on if I'm doing ok or if I'm off-track and it is time to repent.

I think the scriptures support this as one line of reasoning. Its not that the words of the revelations aren't strong enough, just that we are left on our own to live them and are tempted by wordly things and can get distracted. That provides the mortal testing grounds for us.
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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spacious maze
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Re: God's multiple attempts to get stuff going

Post by spacious maze » 13 May 2009, 00:38

Plenty of wisdom in these replies. I appreciate it. I guess this all stems from the notion of Jesus and the Apostasy being so close together, never really seemed right to me. Mormons, above most other Christian faiths, place more value on the words and actions of Jesus than on the atonement. Seems strange that man would loose his way so quickly after such a momentous event. How do we know that we haven't done the same with the restored church and the moments of revelation from Smith?

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Re: God's multiple attempts to get stuff going

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 May 2009, 01:00

How do we know that we haven't done the same with the restored church and the moments of revelation from Smith?
We each have to make our own decisions based on our own thoughts, feelings, impressions, experiences, etc. That sounds like a cop-out to some, but it's really the only option I see.
Mormons, above most other Christian faiths, place more value on the words and actions of Jesus than on the atonement.
I personally can't separate the words and actions of Jesus from the Atonement. I see the Atonement as beginning before the creation of the world and continuing even today. I believe Jesus' example in mortality is probably the central part of us becoming godly. After all, we talk of becoming Christ-like as the ultimate effect of the Atonement. If we divorce his words and actions from the "at-one-ment", what really is left at a practical level? Why even speak of an atonement at all?
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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