"Obedience"

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Poppyseed
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Poppyseed » 08 Sep 2009, 08:34

I really can't type cause I busted my pinkie finger playing volleyball this weekend. I am laughing cuz typing this is rather humorous! :D

I feel like understanding the principle of obedience is important and I get frustrated with the church and parents and myself when the vision of it gives way to social implications or fears or some failure to see the big picture. For me, I try to reconcile it by trying (lots of emphasis on that last word as I recognize all my weaknesses) to focus on obedience to God rather than obedience to a rule or a common practice. Seems to me in scripture there seems to be lots of exceptions to the rule and it seems to me like God is trying to get people to not get so attached to the rule that they forget who is leading them in the first place. Like this last while....I have been struggling with the temple and asking for clarification on my hearts concerns. Instead of clarifications, I get invitations just to go anyway. Why would the spirit answer me that way? Inviting me to obey before I had answers??? And I read the temple thread on here and even became more disheartened until I remember the peace that accompanied the invitation to "just go to the temple". I haven't obeyed yet....btw....but perhaps that is beside the point. The point being that if God is directing our path and we are obedient to Him, then isn't this what teaching obedience is all about? Getting so caught up in the law, in my mind, is a trap that keeps understanding and wisdom from developing or keeping important obedience from happening.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

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jmb275
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by jmb275 » 08 Sep 2009, 12:25

@Heber13
Absolutely brilliantly said! I couldn't agree more. Indeed, this represents my feelings about obedience exactly.
I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women--all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there.
- Joseph Smith, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 304)

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Heber13
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Heber13 » 08 Sep 2009, 12:46

Poppyseed wrote:Seems to me in scripture there seems to be lots of exceptions to the rule and it seems to me like God is trying to get people to not get so attached to the rule that they forget who is leading them in the first place.
poppyseed, your comments are so positive and sensitive...I appreciate your views.

I also lean towards this line of thought...spirit of all commandments are more important than letter of any of them. Yet there is clearly the teachings in the scriptures that are also teaching "exactness". I'm an undecided if I want to jump back on the wagon and try to be more exactly obedient (which is easier when dealing with ward members to always profess accepted obedience) or to follow my current path to bravely question what the spirit of the laws are and let go of total obedience in search of obedience to deeper thoughts and meanings (which can be difficult to establish with ward members the personal meaning supercedes the common consent of standards set in our mormon culture). I think this is why I am still trying to grasp true faith in God, because I like your comments that the obedience should be to God...so that requires knowing the mind and will of God to be obedient to that and know when the exceptions to the rules are what I think God wants of me. Faith must be a part of obedience, or else it is just following the self-righteous crowd.
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."

AmyJ
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by AmyJ » 08 Feb 2018, 08:49

jmb275 wrote:
14 Aug 2009, 13:34
Yes, I see what you are saying here. And I understand that from a practical standpoint this is true. Some people will be at varying levels of capability when it comes to being obedient for the right reasons.
I think the more interesting question is "Why do expect them to be obedient"?
a) Immediate Physical Safety - There are times when person A will see something that is going to cause much harm to person B (incoming cars, etc). A person's life may depend on person B listening to person A. I think the spiritual equivalent is "suicide watch".
b) Long-term Physical Safety - When person A speaks up because of person B's choices and is a whole lot more subjective (and judgemental) - and is based on a lot of cultural standards. This can be known as "nagging" in the derogative, and what most people consult with experts for to enact life changes to improve their live. The spiritual version is even more of a loaded gun based on religion, spiritual experiences, spiritual expectations, leadership roulette, ethics teachings (inside and outside of a religious sphere), motivation(s), personality type, individual resources and interests, and life phase. It has been my experience that spiritual math (or math involving people) always ends up with 1 + 1 not equaling 2. I mean this from the sense that when you calculate the individual resources of an encounter, what you end up with (inspiration, anger, service, spiritual impressions) makes the math more like 1 + 1 = 2 + a cat + another 1/2 that came in from somewhere. A good example for me is my daughter's baptism. We kept it quiet (only involving the Primary because well it was a Primary aged child being baptized, out of state family, and we don't do crowds) - but we had quite a crowd. What I did not expect was that a sister would volunteer to bring cookies beforehand, my branch best friend would have a baptism dress she would LOVE for my daughter to borrow, or that our adopted ward grandma would decide that there were not enough treats and go and bring more. I did not expect that the branch custodian would want to stay for the event. I also did not expect the 2-3 comments from people after the fact that a) they were surprised they did not hear about it because they were not in Primary where the grapevine regarding my daughter's baptism originated from (I figured they would want to be able to dodge a church activity in good conscience), and b) they had WANTED to attend if they knew about it.
As far as I can tell there are at least 2 things going on that would cause them to say that:
1. They LIKE social activities and considered a chance to mingle with their friends and treats (that they should probably not eat). AND/OR they consider it their DUTY to participate in the shared experience of the branch so they can say they were there (and eat the treats).
2. They actually did not want to be there, but have been conditioned to say they wanted to be there so that they can sleep well at night.
jmb275 wrote:
14 Aug 2009, 13:34
But here's the problem. If our goal is to help people do what we think is important for them to gain salvation, then your argument is sound and we should prescribe the process. But, if we are in the business of encouraging personal growth then it is the very process that is important, not so much the end goal. It is the process that creates growth, not obedience to a set of rules. In a gov't, and corporate setting obedience takes on a different role according to the goals thereof. But in religion, the goals are (or at least ought to be IMHO) different. We are interested in people coming to Christ. This isn't something that obedience to rules will achieve (as is attested to by so many of us here).
I think that people tend to be practical about religion. It is a lot easier to teach if you follow process A,B,C that will get you to D (which is what you want) then it is to teach how to jump from point to point (the detour to W and back to N then life happens and you end up at M is barely tolerated as existing at all let alone talked about how to deal with on a practical level). And sometimes going from A to B to C will teach you how to jump points, but that is not the goal here. The goal is the direct line, not how you handle the journey. And it is safer to stick with the standard so that there is less room to offend, and less thought needs to be put into it. Which does not help those who don't offend easily (can you please let me know what I really want to know - taking offending me out of the equation) or those who take great joy in thinking (is there another, different, better way of doing/thinking/viewing what is going on). Most people are not good teachers (which is why we train teachers at different levels), so it is a scary leap to ask them to teach others point jumping when it is a deviation of traditional thinking (you mean you WANT me to figure out how to do this then teach it to someone else who won't understand me and get offended at it when all I WANT to do is get through it).
jmb275 wrote:
14 Aug 2009, 13:34
You're right, it does depend on the individual. I believe it is our job to help those who are young or new in the Gospel to learn to come to Christ. Their behavior will take care of itself without the need for rules. Wasn't it BKP who said something about how a study of doctrine will do more to change behavior than a study of behavior? Might I extend that to say that a study of doctrine will do more to change behavior than a set of rules (and it won't have the unintended negative consequences as well).
I can see this point of view.
One of the things I am mulling over though is that I don't think that the study of doctrine will do more to change behavior then a study of behavior anymore. At it's core, studying doctrine will train someone in the current cultural understanding of God. It MAY provide opportunities for the person to receive inspiration AND the person may change because they used it as a mechanism adaptation and personal improvement. People who have studied behavior (psychologists and related fields, school teachers, some doctors) have taken upon themselves to observe, write down, develop theories, and practical guides to influence behavior that generally work.

If a person picks up on principles (Charity, WoW as a concept of personal health, Tithing as a concept to start to organize finances), it is then that the study of doctrine will shine. And there are practical reasons to start at practical points for new converts. But the key takeaway always comes down to "What does the principle mean to you" and "what do you intend to do about the principle in your life" and "how are you going to practice this principle in your life" - which is not that far off from the study of individual behavior.
jmb275 wrote:
14 Aug 2009, 13:34
I'm not saying that rules aren't necessary in a church. But I think we put way way too much emphasis on it to the point where many lose sight of the process of learning to come to Christ. They simply parrot what the Brethren have said, the right answers, and obey because they are told. Whether they are SJs or not, this doesn't produce personal growth or a relationship with Christ (unless their relationship with Christ is simply defined by the level of their obedience to rules).
Exactly.

Roy
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by Roy » 08 Feb 2018, 11:48

AmyJ wrote:
08 Feb 2018, 08:49
One of the things I am mulling over though is that I don't think that the study of doctrine will do more to change behavior then a study of behavior anymore. At it's core, studying doctrine will train someone in the current cultural understanding of God. It MAY provide opportunities for the person to receive inspiration AND the person may change because they used it as a mechanism adaptation and personal improvement. People who have studied behavior (psychologists and related fields, school teachers, some doctors) have taken upon themselves to observe, write down, develop theories, and practical guides to influence behavior that generally work.
I agree Amy. I now see that quote in the light of "to a hammer, every problem is a nail." If I am a church leader, I do not want to have the issues confused or challenged by psychologist studies. Just let me hammer this nail out of the park.

"Feel better? ... Okay then, thanks for stopping by". :mrgreen:
"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

AmyJ
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by AmyJ » 08 Feb 2018, 11:59

Roy wrote:
08 Feb 2018, 11:48
"Feel better? ... Okay then, thanks for stopping by". :mrgreen:
This just begs for a "it's not simple" quote :P

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nibbler
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by nibbler » 08 Feb 2018, 12:04

Any outside voices of authority, like those of studied psychologists, can represent a threat to authority. More so if those voices are saying something different.

Also, I'd fully expect someone who is sold on feeling dependent on the church doctrines to sell dependence on the church doctrines.
The night stared me in the face, amorphous, blind, infinite, without frontiers. Not a single star relieved the darkness behind the glass.
― Stanisław Lem

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dande48
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Re: "Obedience"

Post by dande48 » 08 Feb 2018, 14:46

AmyJ wrote:
08 Feb 2018, 08:49
One of the things I am mulling over though is that I don't think that the study of doctrine will do more to change behavior then a study of behavior anymore.
I can honestly say that studying behavior has done more to change my behavior, than studying doctrine. Studying doctrine at best tells me "what to do". Psychology tells me "why I do what I do, and how I might change it".
"Sir, it's quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable." - C-3PO

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