Did God really help you find a boat?

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DarkJedi
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Aug 2014, 04:37

mercyngrace wrote:As a side note - and someone else may have already mentioned this - I find it laugh out loud funny that we will attribute finding some small lost item to answered prayers to the point of building testimony around the incident but if we pray and don't find our lost bobbles, we would never consider that a validation of atheism.

I wish I had a way to reconcile all the thoughts while whirl in my head about this topic but I've learned to be content with embracing prayer as a mystery. It's all I can do.
Because there are myriad excuses for why prayers are not answered or are answered and we just don't know it. For the person who didn't find their car keys or get a boat, it could be they just didn't pray with enough faith, or didn't pray using the right language, or the answer could be no or maybe just nor right now, or maybe it just wasn't meant to be, or.... You get the idea.

I agree with you, and that is part of what bugs me - is building a testimony around these types of things really a testimony at all? There is a relationship with this way of thinking and my own faith crisis, and maybe that's why it bugs me. In my old way of believing, I did believe that God would answer all of our prayers, no matter what we ask and that He was involved intimately with our daily lives including helping us find trivial (from the perspective of the universe) things. I think that if that's a main pillar of a testimony, when something big does hit and you discover that it isn't necessarily as you thought, a crisis can hit and hit hard. Isn't a testimony based on this kind of involvement on the part of God just a set up for failure and crisis?

I have to say, and I didn't share this before, but I was very tempted to get up and point out how ridiculous a testimony like hers sounds. I'm glad I didn't and don't think I should have. But this has caused me to think about how to correct the premise. Again, I realize that some people really need that, that without that kind of faith they wouldn't have any (and again that's why I fear for failure when push comes to shove) but I also recognize there are many who have matured in their faith beyond that point while others are stuck there. I'm guessing this sister who bore testimony is mid-40s, and from the way she talked she has been a member for many years, but I know some 20 somethings who grew up in the church who have moved beyond there. How do we teach the correct principle without being negative and without damaging or demeaning the faith of another? It's clear to me the correct approach is not to stand up and say "For all of you who believe God finds your car keys, get real!"
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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DarkJedi
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Aug 2014, 04:56

Ray DeGraw wrote:
"I see the person who would be devastated at hearing about how God is all up in your trivialities while seeming to ignore their devastation."


The other example of this is the idea that God is behind the early death of someone, especially because, "God must have needed him/her in Heaven more than s/he was needed here." That is about the only expression I actively challenge - not just because I don't believe it but more because I think it is incredibly harmful to those left behind, especially in the case of children who lose a parent or sibling.

I have NO problem with someone believing it for themselves, but I do have a HUGE problem with them saying it out loud to someone who has lost someone.
I have a hard time with this one, too, Ray. As a quick aside here, I agree with you - I don't particularly care what one's individual beliefs are, but when one undertakes to teach those beliefs (including in F&TM) I do have a problem.

I recall an incident when I was in my mid 20s, and very TBM, mind you. I worked at the local hospital trauma center at the time and there was this late night horrific accident, five teens died in a drunk driving incident. Some of them did make to the hospital and into surgery, a couple of them died within the next couple days. Turns out one of those who died at the scene was the daughter of a less active member. A friend of mine in the ward called me the next morning (I had been called in to the hospital to work and had only a couple hours sleep) because he was the home teacher and had a youth companion and wanted me to come with him to visit the mother. She (single mom, only child) was devastated, but fully believed God took her sweetheart from her. As a father, I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose my child in this or any other way. But this girl chose to go to that party where there was drinking and chose to get in that car with that drunk driver (although it could be argued her choice was not fully hers). What did God have to do with that? Was that really God's plan - this girl was supposed to die a horrific death? Remember I saw some of these victims, it was bad, and none of them died instantly. This is one of those things I will always remember, and I remember how sad I was that this woman believed this was all part of the plan as she repeated over and over how "God took her little angel from her." Even then I knew God didn't do this, nor did Satan. I actually didn't say much on that visit, my friend did most of the talking, and I didn't even know the woman and if I had to do it over again I'd do the same. But that doesn't mean I have to agree.
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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mercyngrace
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by mercyngrace » 06 Aug 2014, 05:45

Dark Jedi,

I'm not convinced "some people really need that" when it comes to immature and possibly very incorrect interpretations of God and the gospel. I think building any kind of testimony on "the God of lost car keys" is like pouring the foundation for a house over a sinkhole. When things don't get found, as you rightly pointed out, people are left devastated thinking that either they failed God (prayers weren't faithful enough, they weren't deserving, etc) or God failed them (He doesn't hear me after all, He doesn't care, etc). Possibly even worse, when God helps you find the used boat of your dreams and doesn't help others, some will compare themselves and make sweeping interpretations (that end up as benevolent bigotry) of why God showed up for them and not others leading to the often unintentional pride of The Chosen.God helped me because I'm Mormon, temple attending, keeping the commandments, having FHE, etc and God didn't help that guy because he's not doing or being whatever I am.

This kind of thinking inevitably leads to heartbreak. And the real tragedy in my mind is that Mormon theology actually allows an out. We don't have to accept an interceding God. The ideas of opposition and mortality as a progressive state allow for God to take a step back so that we can experience the full range of this life's offerings and learn to "be god" to one another by serving, showing mercy and compassion, and living the life Christ exemplified. For a people who believe in theosis, this life is easily presented as on-the-job training. Again, Christ is the example, He also plead for God to intercede and yet, for His benefit and for ours, God 'turned His face away'.

These days, I pray harder than I ever did when I spent hours on my knees but I don't pray for God to do things for me. Instead. I pray that God will give me the strength to answer my own prayers and to answer the prayers of others as I try to live out my flawed but earnest discipleship.
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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DarkJedi
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Aug 2014, 06:09

As usual, well put MnG, and I agree with you. What I'm trying to convey here is that I understand some people think they need these little "faith promoting" things to happen in their lives all the time in order to have any faith at all. If they don't come up with these things their faith may fail (and frankly it's pretty easy to find them - you can attribute almost anything to God, as in "Look, I prayed to get home safely and I did"). I think sisters like the one who bore her testimony (there was another actual found car keys one Sunday as well) have to validate their faith by these kinds of things. I totally agree with you - the foundation of this kind of faith is built on a sinkhole. At some point, easy as they are to find, they will find no validation of that type to justify the faith and great is the fall thereof. I know this because I have been there and I have seen it. That's why I asked the question - how do we politely, diplomatically, kindly and lovingly correct this pattern of thought without demeaning the individual or damaging the faith of others? Doesn't allowing this type of teaching to persist help build other foundations in sandy sinkholes? Shouldn't we who understand (and I really think the majority of active members do understand at least to some extent) try to correct falsities?
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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nibbler
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by nibbler » 06 Aug 2014, 07:03

Be an example. Don't share lost car key testimonies.

Beyond that...
DarkJedi wrote: If they don't come up with these things their faith may fail
DarkJedi wrote: they will find no validation of that type to justify the faith and great is the fall thereof
Let it fall. True lessons learned in life never come easy. They'll rebuild with something else that works for them. Let it be their journey.

If their testimony is never challenged they die comfortable in that belief. If they lose faith in their testimony they will progress to something else. If that something else brings them closer to god, all the better - the cycle continues. If that something else brings them further from god then they're at some other "lost keys" stage of faith development, the cycle continues.

I'm sure I'll die at some stage in faith development that appears to be an infantile lost keys stage to someone further along the path than me. I'm okay with that. We've got eternity to progress from stage to stage.

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Meh Mormon
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by Meh Mormon » 06 Aug 2014, 07:52

DarkJedi wrote:It's clear to me the correct approach is not to stand up and say "For all of you who believe God finds your car keys, get real!"
While this is true, it's very hard to stay focused on what is being said when all you want to do is slap the person upside the head. The spirit departs pretty quickly then!!

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DarkJedi
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Aug 2014, 08:02

nibbler wrote:Be an example. Don't share lost car key testimonies.

Beyond that...
DarkJedi wrote: If they don't come up with these things their faith may fail
DarkJedi wrote: they will find no validation of that type to justify the faith and great is the fall thereof
Let it fall. True lessons learned in life never come easy. They'll rebuild with something else that works for them. Let it be their journey.

If their testimony is never challenged they die comfortable in that belief. If they lose faith in their testimony they will progress to something else. If that something else brings them closer to god, all the better - the cycle continues. If that something else brings them further from god then they're at some other "lost keys" stage of faith development, the cycle continues.

I'm sure I'll die at some stage in faith development that appears to be an infantile lost keys stage to someone further along the path than me. I'm okay with that. We've got eternity to progress from stage to stage.
You do make a good point, Nibbler, as usual. The case can be made that in some cases faith will be lost altogether, as can be evidenced on this and other forums. Still, as you say, we do apparently have all eternity to work things out.

FWIW, I never share anything close to lost keys stories.
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."

My Introduction

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DarkJedi
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Aug 2014, 08:05

Meh Mormon wrote:
DarkJedi wrote:It's clear to me the correct approach is not to stand up and say "For all of you who believe God finds your car keys, get real!"
While this is true, it's very hard to stay focused on what is being said when all you want to do is slap the person upside the head. The spirit departs pretty quickly then!!
I had alluded to that idea before - I know this lady said other things, she was up there a full ten minutes and this was near the middle, but I have no idea what else said because I became fully involved in my own thoughts and outrage. If there was any Spirit there (it wasn't an especially good F&TM anyway), I was in no position to feel it after that.
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."

My Introduction

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Aug 2014, 08:23

I think you imply this in your last comment, DJ, but a loss of the Spirit in that sort of situation is not her fault - especially if she said other uplifting things in her testimony. I don't like using the word "fault" in this situation, due to the really negative connotations, but I think it's fair to say that what happens to me as a result of something like you describe is up to me - at the very least, over time as I work on how I react.

One of the problems with a faith crisis is that it tends to lead people to obsess about and criticize something and ignore so many things that are good, lovely, praiseworthy, inspiring, uplifting, etc. Don't get me wrong: Some things ought to be criticized. However, letting a relatively simple thing keep us from appreciating multiple simple things (and, sometimes, a really profound thing) is not productive. More importantly, it is a great example of treating others in a way we do NOT want to be treated ourselves.

All of us (every one of us) say something occasionally over which someone else could obsess if they so chose - and, often, we do so in the middle of saying other things that would cause no obsession and might even be helpful to the person doing the obsessing. I can picture most of us, if we knew someone had obsessed over something we said and missed everything else we said, saying:
Seriously?! That's what you remember from what I said? Unbelievable.


In situations like what you described, especially, I try really hard to remember the Golden Rule and just let it go. I've been working at it nearly all my life, and, at this point, I generally can do so almost immediately. Again, there are some things I feel need to be challenged if the forum is appropriate for that, but your example simply isn't one of 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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Orson
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by Orson » 06 Aug 2014, 08:26

I am both in and out with this idea. I don't see God as an active consciousness that will pick and choose who gets help and who gets passed over. On the other hand if "God" could be seen as "what is", "what will be" etc. along with charity, grace, and all the other admirable traits we may call Godly... if we consider all the truth of the universe as something that is out there that possibly may be "tapped into" in our best moments through simply opening ourselves up in the right way then I may be able to follow the idea. If it is our job to "tune in" to the knowledge of the universe I don't think we can reliably or predictably get it right, but at times maybe the port holes can align to allow us a short glimpse of the divine. Maybe if our prayers calm us in the right way our knowledge of where the car keys are can surface. Maybe this woman was able to "tap in" at the right moment to be drawn toward something she desired.

I don't know, but I am open to possibilities.
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I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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