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, 09:33

Yes, Ray, the fact that I didn't feel the Spirit was likely due to my own attitude or just because I seem to feel it at random times anyway and not necessarily in a meeting like that (although I do sometimes and did during one other testimony). And of course I understand that just because I didn't feel the Spirit doesn't mean the person sitting next to me didn't or that the sister speaking didn't. FWIW, I'm actually not sure she said anything uplifting in her testimony - the only other parts I remember was her talking about randomly finding this distant relative, which was really a follow up to the previous month's testimony (yes, I was there for that one, too) and how much she loves the new bishop (he is a great guy). She did make a point of embellishing the idea that God guided her to the boat, it was a blessing, we need to follow the promptings of the Spirit no matter how odd they seem, etc. - she went on for quite a bit about the boat (and details like which street it was on, which store she had just been to, and so forth).

Ah, but I have found something new to obsess about today - Elder Oaks interview about homosexuality.
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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Roy
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by Roy » 06 Aug 2014, 09:38

nibbler wrote:Be an example. Don't share lost car key testimonies.
I have taken comfort in the talks of church leaders where they admit to not receiving a burning in the busom. Their testimonies are built in other ways - while being careful not to criticize those who have more traditional approaches.

I imagine a talk were someone says something like "it is sometimes confusing for me when people talk about God helping them find lost items as this has not been the God of my experience. Let me tell you about my understanding of the gospel and what has worked for me personally." Then you could launch into an explanation of opposition and the need to be "saviors on mount zion" to each other as M&G was saying. You could end by saying that there is room for multiple perspectives on this in the church. "For others that might also be bewildered in hearing reports of Gods interventions for other people there is room for you in this church. There is comfort for your pain."

If you make it a personal perspective and not about how other people are wrong in their beliefs - it might be better received.
"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: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by mom3 » 06 Aug 2014, 12:14

This conversation is one of the reasons I stay. I believe there will be more people who go through a faith transition, like Nibbler, suggested and having gone through one - it's painful and scary. A friend or understanding soul in a ward would have been so helpful.

Presently I am privy to a ward sisters painful disappointment of a God who doesn't make everything come out okay. This sister was a very "God helped me find my keys" woman. 6 months ago, an infant died at her daycare. She is not responsible. The family does not blame her, she even still watches the older sibling. But she is at loose ends. Filled with grief, confusion, anger.

I hadn't seen her in months. She had been in our RS Presidency, then released. I assumed she was in primary or YW. No she had been home. Church is painful for her. All the easy answers anger her. All the simple platitudes feel like slaps in the face. Her own father in law said, "Well clearly you didn't have a real testimony of the gospel. Because if you did this wouldn't be such a problem." She share this with me last week. She asked me to step outside during RS to tell me her pain. Right now she can't figure out what to do with the pain or her life. My answer to her was keep living the pain, you will gain deep personal answers, and when you do - you can turn around and help us grow.

It's a hard bump. I would much rather fight historicity then God.

With all things I look around and ask, "How can I help?" DJ - I think you have a platform to help. As has been mentioned it is a relief to hear Jeffrey Holland had depression, it is a relief when a GA never had a burning in the bosom. Perhaps in your position you can share gently, stories and experiences where prayers weren't answered in the way people expected. Maybe make some room for people like my friend to find a place for their hearts. And maybe God helped you find a boat to help others pass over their river of pain?
"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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SilentDawning
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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by SilentDawning » 06 Aug 2014, 13:48

I take all those kinds of testimonies with a grain of salt. Who knows if something is a prompting, or just something that occurred randomly in your mind?

I also try, lately, to not be judgmental of people who make comments like that. Judgmentalism is alive and well in the church, and I find its easy to be judgmental toward others for their TBM-like and other beliefs. Also, the D&C says we should acknowledge God's hand in all things. So, if someone wants to believe God helped them achieve some goal they found important, I'm not going to make an issue of it.

But I can see how it can bother people.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

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

Post by Roy » 06 Aug 2014, 14:41

mom3 wrote:I hadn't seen her in months. She had been in our RS Presidency, then released. I assumed she was in primary or YW. No she had been home. Church is painful for her. All the easy answers anger her. All the simple platitudes feel like slaps in the face. Her own father in law said, "Well clearly you didn't have a real testimony of the gospel. Because if you did this wouldn't be such a problem." She share this with me last week. She asked me to step outside during RS to tell me her pain. Right now she can't figure out what to do with the pain or her life. My answer to her was keep living the pain, you will gain deep personal answers, and when you do - you can turn around and help us grow.
+1 I hate when our religion is used to dismiss others pain. I believe it is slightly worse in the FIL's statement as it actually takes her pain as a sign of faithlessness and turns it into an accusation.

I have heard several times from GA's that the question "why me?" is not a helpful one, the better question is "what can I learn from this?"

Asking "why me?" is natural in the grieving process. I believe that suppressing such feelings would not really resolve them.

I believe that the question "why me" can lead to personal answers that are paradigm changing, while "what can I learn from this?" is more likely to keep one within their current paradigm.

Changing paradigms/ having a faith crisis can be incredibly destructive but it can also lead to incredible growth.

It sounds like you answered it as well as anyone could. The only other thing that I would suggest is to be available to listen as she works through the pain.
mom3 wrote:It's a hard bump. I would much rather fight historicity then God.
For me the historicity exacerbates the issue. I was brought up believing that the gospel was rigid. Learning about how our doctrines have grown organically but now are above question is frustrating.

One possibility is that after your sister finds her personal answers - the people at church won't be interested in having her share. Maybe her personal revelations won't jive too well with our dogma. Perhaps they will look down on her and treat her as defective like the FIL did. If she feels misunderstood then it will be even more important that she has you to listen and be open to her pain.
"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: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by mom3 » 06 Aug 2014, 21:04

Roy said - For me the historicity exacerbates the issue. I was brought up believing that the gospel was rigid. Learning about how our doctrines have grown organically but now are above question is frustrating.

One possibility is that after your sister finds her personal answers - the people at church won't be interested in having her share. Maybe her personal revelations won't jive too well with our dogma. Perhaps they will look down on her and treat her as defective like the FIL did. If she feels misunderstood then it will be even more important that she has you to listen and be open to her pain.
Excellent points. I hadn't thought this through to a longer conclusion, you have a more personal experience on this than I do. Historicity is often just the door you walk through before the crisis begins. This maybe her door. She will need even more support if that becomes the case. Thanks for pointing it out. I needed the perspective.
"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

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

Post by intothelight » 09 Aug 2014, 23:49

DarkJedi - thank-you for writing this. I also wonder about these things. Everyone talks about how God is involved in tiny things in our lives. But shouldn't it follow that if He cares about the small ones, that He would care so much more about the big ones? As an example, I have a terminal disease. Nothing is certain, but I doubt I have a lot of time left. I've begged and pleated, threatened, asked, prayed, hoped, for some of the pain to be removed. Not even for healing - I'm ready to go - just for less pain. Many times - even most - nothing. Radio silence. But then, a small thing comes and makes me think God hasn't really forgotten or doesn't care. Why? My honest answer is that I don't know. I don't think many people do know. I'm suspicious of anyone who says they know something absolutely. I guess I view my beliefs now as being all relative to what they've been pitted against. I believe that God is good, until something so terrible happens, or I say something is wrong until the consequences exceed a certain threshold. Like peeling back the layers of an onion. You don't see the rotten spot on the outside. Maybe there are "onions" within me that are pure all the way through, but I doubt there are many. I have some plausible explanations that I come up with as the emotional and physical wounds heal for a bit that make sense (like the things that are really important with God may not be the same things as us, He has to just let things happen in this earth), but they don't seem so reasonable again when you're in the midst of the pain. I'm going round and round in a constant circle confusing, loving, hating, and blaming God. But it's a circle (albeit lopsided), and not a spiral going further and further from Him. And I think I know it would be a spiral away from and not a lopsided circle if God weren't there correcting the path on occasion.

Does it make sense that God would ignore the prayers of a mother in Africa for $10 to buy a medicine that will save her child and yet at the same moment save thousands of dollars for a woman buying a boat? No, of course that doesn't make sense. I have a lot of questions I'm going to ask God and Jesus. But in my life, there seem to be sprinkled throughout enough feelings and occurrences that keep me coming back to Him after I've gotten mad and written Him off as an uncaring and unfair being.

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Re: Did God really help you find a boat?

Post by Minyan Man » 10 Aug 2014, 21:37

intothelight, I like what you said:
I've begged and pleated, threatened, asked, prayed, hoped, for some of the pain to be removed. Not even for healing - I'm ready to go - just for less pain. Many times - even most - nothing. Radio silence. But then, a small thing comes and makes me think God hasn't really forgotten or doesn't care. Why? My honest answer is that I don't know. I don't think many people do know. I'm suspicious of anyone who says they know something absolutely. I guess I view my beliefs now as being all relative to what they've been pitted against. I believe that God is good, until something so terrible happens, or I say something is wrong until the consequences exceed a certain threshold. Like peeling back the layers of an onion.
When I was going through my FC, I wanted answers to my prayers & I wanted comfort. All I seemed to get was BLACK silence. Then the only emotion I seemed to have was anger. Now, as I look back today, I reacted like a spoiled 2 year old child who, when things didn't go the way I expected, I cried, stomped my feet, held my breath until my face turned blue. Then blamed God. Pain can be physical, emotional, & spiritual. Or a combination of things. My little understanding is, how long the recovery is depends more on us than it does on God's will to open the heavens & give us peace.

You seem to be handling your situation reasonably well. I wish I could take some of your pain for even a moment. I wish you all the best.

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

Post by intothelight » 10 Aug 2014, 23:54

Mike wrote:intothelight, I like what you said:
I've begged and pleated, threatened, asked, prayed, hoped, for some of the pain to be removed. Not even for healing - I'm ready to go - just for less pain. Many times - even most - nothing. Radio silence. But then, a small thing comes and makes me think God hasn't really forgotten or doesn't care. Why? My honest answer is that I don't know. I don't think many people do know. I'm suspicious of anyone who says they know something absolutely. I guess I view my beliefs now as being all relative to what they've been pitted against. I believe that God is good, until something so terrible happens, or I say something is wrong until the consequences exceed a certain threshold. Like peeling back the layers of an onion.
When I was going through my FC, I wanted answers to my prayers & I wanted comfort. All I seemed to get was BLACK silence. Then the only emotion I seemed to have was anger. Now, as I look back today, I reacted like a spoiled 2 year old child who, when things didn't go the way I expected, I cried, stomped my feet, held my breath until my face turned blue. Then blamed God. Pain can be physical, emotional, & spiritual. Or a combination of things. My little understanding is, how long the recovery is depends more on us than it does on God's will to open the heavens & give us peace.

You seem to be handling your situation reasonably well. I wish I could take some of your pain for even a moment. I wish you all the best.
Certainly kind of you. But, God definitely gives relief. I guess the childish would-be heroic martyr part of me wants Him to be more consistent. Like, "If you are not going to help me all the time, then I NEVER want your help." No doubt, we all act just like 2 year olds when we are adults. Just the objects of our childish behavior are either hidden or tolerated by the public at large.

I also share your feeling that the limiting factor in this and the next life will not be God, but will be us. It won't be God passing a judgment on us that limits our ability to be happy, but our ability to accept happiness.

I always have loved CS Lewis, and one of his quotes,

"There is always something they insist on keeping, even at the price of misery. There is always something they prefer to joy – that is, to reality.”

But it's odd. When I see a small child crying now over the loss of a toy, I don't dismiss their pain quite as summarily as I used to. I wonder how much pain they are really feeling in the moment. Perhaps it is as great as the pain we feel as adults and as you say, they are just better at getting past it quickly and letting go of it's effects than we are.

And not to digress too far from the original thread, I've been thinking. I know I many times have the feeling that God's love for us is somehow in a lockstep linear progression to the same way I place value on things. For example, God's love for the person to whom he gives $2000 must be twice as much as the love He feels for the person that He only gives $1000 to. I am constantly comparing my life with others and then calling God into a courtroom and asking Him why what I view as evidences of His love are not equal on a worldly level. But perhaps God doesn't think that way. Perhaps God doesn't care whether he uses a $0.50 coupon on the store floor, a favorite song on a radio program, or a $2000 delta on a boat price to give the feeling to His children that He hasn't forgotten them and is concerned. I imagine the only thing that has significance to Him is the effect of the tool, and not the tool itself. Though again, the reason for what appears an absence of any action at all in the things most critically important to us - I don't understand. I have a great deal I need to learn from those who can experience pain of such a magnitude and yet remain as anchored in their trust and love of God as if there were no pain.

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

Post by Cadence » 30 Aug 2014, 03:46

This kind of blather supports the atheist view. When the only thing that god seems to do could just as easily be a coincidence, we need to pick the most plausible. Thus the need for god becomes moot. Did an all powerful being intervene in my nautical adventures or did I happen upon a vessel that meet my desires. Seems rather obvious.
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

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