The Culture of the Gospel

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Heber13
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Heber13 » 19 May 2017, 11:41

nibbler wrote:
19 May 2017, 11:38
I think it's church culture to believe that whether or not someone is active in the church is an indicator of whether they will be saved and it's more gospel centered culture to believe that whether or not a person is loving and good is the indicator of whether or not they will be saved, regardless of church activity. Or maybe the gospel culture is bringing out the best in everyone and to lose interest in whether or not someone is saved.
Yes...I think this is summed up nicely. And if someone didn't have the chance to be in the church, we do temple work for them so they can be active in the church in the next life.

Church activity is being saved. It is what the saved are doing...I think is the mindset.

Being a good person but not active in church is the 2nd tiered kingdom of heaven.
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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DarkJedi
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by DarkJedi » 19 May 2017, 13:43

I do see some parallels with other churches here, especially with the Catholic church.

The Catholic church for hundreds of years celebrated mass in Latin, regardless of the local language and whether or not anyone on the congregation understood Latin. While there were some renegade priests, the official change to doing mass in the local language did not come until 1965. Prior to that change I suppose it could be said the "gospel culture" of Catholicism was to do mass in Latin only. One of the reasons for the change was to encourage participation by the membership.

Relating to multi-generationalism (new word?), it was very common in my mission decades ago to hear "I am an Anglican (member of the Church of England), my father was an Anglican, and his father was an Anglican, and so on. I will always be an Anglican." Catholics would say the same thing. My own family is Catholic and even though my grandparents only darkened the door of the church for weddings and funerals, they professed to be Catholic. I think there are a growing number of Mormons who are the same, except there is also a growing number who also eschew association with the church, even if it is in name only, because of the church's stance on some subjects (e.g. gay marriage). From Oaks' point of view (and Bednar has said similar things), they see this multi-generational connection as a glue holding people in the church. I think that can be - I do know many active Catholics who have always been Catholic handed down from generation to generation - but it's not necessarily the end result. And frankly I'm not sure that's what they (Oaks, et al) want considering that in other churches with this type of "gospel culture" there really is not a gospel culture. Many are members in name only, do not practice their brand of Christianity, and in some cases openly defy church teachings/doctrine.
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: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by nibbler » 19 May 2017, 14:46

Tea. Where does that fall with respect to things a culture should be expected to give up to align with the gospel?

In the USA many members view teas of any kind as against the WoW but in other places with an established tea culture there seems to be a little more leniency. Herbals, infusions, any tea except "black" teas, yerba mate, etc.

Ordinarily I'd think it has something to do with helping the church get a foothold in a new area but that said, if the church ever relaxed rules to accommodate another culture purely to get more traction I'd think coffee would have done it long ago.

What's the gospel culture for not drinking coffee or tea?
Of course I don’t want to get knocked down. But the single and sole solution to that fear is to not go anywhere where I can be knocked down. And is that not already being knocked down?
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Heber13
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Heber13 » 19 May 2017, 20:21

DJ, I do think that is another example of culture for generations. I think one major difference for mormonism is the timing of coming to be during an era when people have more choices and options.

I think families and churches do the best they can with what they have. God can lead them along, but it is still mortals doing the best they can. Like our apostles and prophets today.

Nibbler, I wonder if tea is the tradition, that stays alive because the culture is obedience and faith in prophets. It is a talisman.
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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DarkJedi
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by DarkJedi » 19 May 2017, 20:54

nibbler wrote:
19 May 2017, 14:46
Tea. Where does that fall with respect to things a culture should be expected to give up to align with the gospel?

In the USA many members view teas of any kind as against the WoW but in other places with an established tea culture there seems to be a little more leniency. Herbals, infusions, any tea except "black" teas, yerba mate, etc.

Ordinarily I'd think it has something to do with helping the church get a foothold in a new area but that said, if the church ever relaxed rules to accommodate another culture purely to get more traction I'd think coffee would have done it long ago.

What's the gospel culture for not drinking coffee or tea?
It's a good question Nibbler. I have a son who served a mission in Chile where yerba mate is common. Members drank it, missionaries drank it, and the mission president was known to partake. There is no doubt that mate contains caffeine and could be considered a tea - but it is accepted there. I have tried it, it has a flavor different from black tea, but it is certainly palatable.

I have another son who served in Brazil where mate is consumed but to a lesser extent (at least in the part of Brazil where he served, Brazil is a big place). The WoW pamphlet they use in discussions associated with PMG specifically state black tea, inferring that other teas are acceptable. On the other hand, the area he served in seems stuck in a McConkie era version of Mormonism* where missionaries are forbidden to drink Coke - yet Coke is often safer than the water. (The pamphlet makes no mention of caffeinated soda.)

*Side note: My son also told us men with beards are denied temple recommends there.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by SilentDawning » 20 May 2017, 06:52

Heber13 wrote:
19 May 2017, 10:23
They see the church as the vehicle to get them to that destination [edit: Happiness?], and so they talk about it that way. They aren't necessarily wrong.

But I have the same frustrations you seem to be expressing...it can seem to resort to "church activity" is all that matters...as in...church activity will translate to happiness, instead of living the gospel will translate to happiness.
I don't even think fully living the gospel brings happiness. Sometimes the things they ask you to do cause untold stress and unhappiness. I know that staying in my marriage due to the temple covenant and promise I'd made was a massive source of unhappiness for many years until I learned to cope. Staying in my calling when I was burnt out caused misery. Exposure to toxic personalities in the church -- moreso than any other place in my service realms -- that plunged me into the depths of misery.

I do think the gospel helps with happiness to the extent it keeps you out of jail, out of doing stupid things that get you disabled or injured, from being saddled with child support due to out-of-wedlock children, etcetera. It helped my daughter emerge with strong values, and of course the presence of BYU as a low cost, wholesome place for the average traditional believing Mormon young adult has been a great boon.

But in terms of day to day service -- I see the church as simply a place to put in -- and not to "take out". You know my story. When I've tried to "take out" on basic things like serving a mission, adopting a child, or reclaiming my personal service time due to physical and mental healthy issues, the leaders didn't give a hoot. But as a place to serve with all your might, expecting nothing in return, it's a good place to be. And when you assert yourself on those issues, and put yourself first, it's not well received by the existing leaders. But want to put it with no expectation of accountability or reciprocity, it's a great place to serve.

The problem is that the world at large is like that. The entire WORLD needs your service hours, and in my view, the church no longer provides an edge to make it the preferred place to dedicate those hours. Casual service -- I'm all for it! Service in ways I enjoy! I'm in! But ask me to make sacrifices for the time being, and I'm not so sure.
"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

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

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SamBee
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by SamBee » 20 May 2017, 13:10

Maté is strong stuff possibly more so than black tea.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 May 2017, 17:56

Having a multi-generational family with whom you share certain traditions and characteristics is absolutely wonderful - except when it isn't. I am sure Elder Oaks is happy and content with his own MGF - and so are most people he know in the Church. It also fits perfectly the Malachi / Elijah references. There should be no surprise in that part of what he said.

There also are terrible cultural aspects outside the Church. He just appears not to be able to see the ones within it - and that isn't surprising, either.

Finally, in theory, there is a Gospel culture - but I am not aware of any point in history when people were able to live it (except for examples I see as allegorical) It is described in the scriptures as "Zion".
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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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Roy » 21 May 2017, 09:05

SilentDawning wrote:
18 May 2017, 06:05

Second, his last sentence...
Make plans that will strengthen—not weaken—your future Church activity.
This bothers me. It's not about your church activity -- it's about the happiness of your life. This means your family life, your personal life, your leisure time, your mental health, your professional life, your comfort level when financial calamity strikes, etcetera. Why does it have to be about the church all the time?????? Happiness is the object and design of our whole EXISTENCE, not church activity as the epicenter of happiness.
I went to LDS employment services after my mission to help me get a job. I remember being told to plan my career trajectory in a field where I would be assured of work free Sundays and that I could step away from to serve senior missions in my twilight years. Perhaps something in law or banking would fit the bill.

At the time I was already a few years into a hotel management degree and just looking for an after school job but I had to sit through the presentation before I could apply for their open listings.
"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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Heber13
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Heber13 » 22 May 2017, 11:45

SilentDawning wrote:
20 May 2017, 06:52
Heber13 wrote:
19 May 2017, 10:23
They see the church as the vehicle to get them to that destination [edit: Happiness?], and so they talk about it that way. They aren't necessarily wrong.

But I have the same frustrations you seem to be expressing...it can seem to resort to "church activity" is all that matters...as in...church activity will translate to happiness, instead of living the gospel will translate to happiness.
I don't even think fully living the gospel brings happiness. [Emphasis added by H13] Sometimes the things they ask you to do cause untold stress and unhappiness. I know that staying in my marriage due to the temple covenant and promise I'd made was a massive source of unhappiness for many years until I learned to cope. Staying in my calling when I was burnt out caused misery. Exposure to toxic personalities in the church -- moreso than any other place in my service realms -- that plunged me into the depths of misery.
I just cannot disagree enough with the underlined statement above. I think it is because this point has become the center of MY journey, although I realize it does not makes sense or is not meaningful to other people, and I sound like an idiot to others.

Based on your experiences you've shared SD...you are not wrong in your view of how the church and church service shape your feelings. I just want to try to make that as clear as possible...you are completely 100% valid in feeling like you do...and so many others reading your posts identify with the feelings your express so well...and I learn a lot from your posts, so thanks for sharing your view.

But I think we both agree it is not the only valid view of things. From my own personal experiences, I do not see it that way at all, and actually see that living the gospel fully, the Gospel of Jesus Christ (if we can find out what that is separate and apart from church itself) is exactly the very thing that leads to complete and total happiness. It is the only way. Jesus is the only way. It is the very thing that gives us the strength and perspectives to know how to deal with pain and suffering that sometimes comes with church service, or our personal situations. It is the difference between Pharisees handling a situation, and Jesus Christ showing a better way to handle it. It is the difference between stress, and love. It is the paradox that I will suffer and have stress by doing the things asked of me at church while also at the same time have capacity to love. That is the gospel to me.

The root cause of my pain and suffering was NOT the gospel. While I had many frustrations and pains come from things at church, including burn out and how church people treated me or judged me...the GOSPEL or the gospel culture was not the source of any of that. At some point when I needed to be released from callings...I asked for it. Church culture may discourage that...or give me stress or give me pressures to try harder to take more on...but the gospel teaches me to handle those stresses and pressures in the most healthy and spiritual way. And I had loving church leaders who also understood the gospel enough to support me. And some didn't. But some did.

I think it is important for me to share that, so that readers on this forum can know that there are multiple experiences. Even if mine differ from yours. That is OK. StayingLDS is not about tolerating the church so we don't offend our families. StayingLDS (according to Heber13) is that I embrace the paradox and find meaning and value in the mormonism that has so many flaws but is pointing many people towards truth and the gospel of Jesus Christ. And that makes it worth it to stay and engage in it and have faith in it.

The Gospel may even help you stay long enough you are surprised at how well the church does in so many situations, despite itself.
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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