The Culture of the Gospel

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SilentDawning
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by SilentDawning » 23 May 2017, 04:56

Here is where it gets murky -- what is the gospel then? Is it faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy host and endure to the end and that's it? And can you live that fully without stepping foot inside an LDS church?

And how about the phrase "endure" to the end? To endure means to put up with in my view. We endure hardship, endure pain, endure adversity. None of that sounds very happiness-inducing to me. If the fifth element of the gospel was "enjoy to the end" it might be different.

In my experience, the idea of repentance has not delivered the joy that Enos once felt. Never have I felt forgiveness or burdens lifted as I've reprented. Once I fasted for 3 solid days (I kid you not) when I was in my early twenties and I felt nothing spiritual about it - in spite of prayer and thirsting for spirituality and forgiveness. What sticks out was what I ate to break the fast -- a pita sandwich with lettuce, ham and cheese in it. With a glass of water. Best meal I ever ate in my life...

I guess I'm not even sure if I believe in Christ as a literal son of God who died for our sins either, although I love the symbolism of Justice and Mercy, and the perfect man. I accepted that idea when I was growing up out of the church, and then as a baptized Mormon. But if you don't have a deep testimony of that, then it's hard to embrace all that the gospel entails.

I do think that many of Christ's principles -- forgiveness, loving our neighbor, serving others, watching our thoughts etcetera does produce some happiness, but so much gets attached to "the gospel" that has nothing to do with the pure principles of happiness that it can drive you miserable if you follow some of those "enhancements". And you can learn those principles by taking a secular course in how to be happy.

And its also hard to know what those accessories in the LDS version of the Gospel are, and its hard to know what are the core principles. I would suspect that if you asked 10 Mormons you'd get 10 different answers.

Shoring up my case is the temple marriage thing. If you believe that is part of the Gospel, (it IS a gospel ordinance) for some people it has kept them in marriages they should have otherwise left and been happier. I'm fortunate to have learned to cope to the point I'd rather stay married, but I'll tell you, the first decade was sheer hades for me.

So, we can agree to disagree again. I do agree that living the LDS version of the gospel, with most of its trappings keeps some people out of jail (word of wisdom, for example), but it's not been a recipe for happiness for me. Boundary setting, chasing service that speaks to my passions, sharing my talents with other people, achieving meaningful goals -- those things bring me happiness. The "love God with all your heart might mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself" has helped, but those phrases don't necessarily cascade into the first principles and ordinance of the gospel directly. Nor do they flow into so much of what the LDS church says must be done for salvation or happiness. The logical connections aren't there for me.
"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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

ydeve
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by ydeve » 23 May 2017, 05:29

Heber13 wrote:
22 May 2017, 11:45
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.
Heber, I think you and SD are using different definitions of the word gospel. If you've defined the gospel to be the path that leads one to happiness, of course you're happy living the gospel. It's a tautology. However, if your definition of the gospel is the doctrine of the church, or even just what the GA would call core gospel principles it's hardly surprising if living the gospel does not lead to happiness.

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DarkJedi
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by DarkJedi » 23 May 2017, 06:07

SilentDawning wrote:
23 May 2017, 04:56
Here is where it gets murky -- what is the gospel then? Is it faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy host and endure to the end and that's it? And can you live that fully without stepping foot inside an LDS church?

And how about the phrase "endure" to the end? To endure means to put up with in my view. We endure hardship, endure pain, endure adversity. None of that sounds very happiness-inducing to me. If the fifth element of the gospel was "enjoy to the end" it might be different.
I've given some thought to this over time, and of late I have considered especially the "endure" part. I do believe the gospel is faith, repentance, and baptism. I'm not sure the GotHG as we teach it is actually a part of it, but I do believe there is a component that involves the Spirit (baptism of fire). I'm also not sure about "endure to the end," again at least in the way it's taught in the church. Frankly I think we may not really be using or understanding the word as it was meant, and the idea is more prevalent in the BoM than it is in the Bible. However, there is likely something to continuing in faith or belief in Christ and following Him. That may well be the endure part. I have considered enduring hardships as a part of what it could mean, but I am not at all sure (and doubt) it has anything to do with that. I have had other ponderings about enduring but I don't wish to write a new gospel or epistle here.

That said, yes, I do believe one can fully live the gospel outside the CoJCoLDS.

In my experience, the idea of repentance has not delivered the joy that Enos once felt. Never have I felt forgiveness or burdens lifted as I've reprented. Once I fasted for 3 solid days (I kid you not) when I was in my early twenties and I felt nothing spiritual about it - in spite of prayer and thirsting for spirituality and forgiveness. What sticks out was what I ate to break the fast -- a pita sandwich with lettuce, ham and cheese in it. With a glass of water. Best meal I ever ate in my life...
I'm not sure repentance has much to do with sackcloth and ashes. I think it has much more to do with change or willingness to change. There was a pretty good BYU devotional in March by Elder Clayton of the Seventy (he also spoke in April GC). Rather than quote extensively from it here, I'll just link it. I really like his view of what repentance is. https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/weatherf ... -redeemer/

BTW, I don't think not eating or drinking for three days was a good idea. ;) I can see why you got no spiritual experience out of it.
I guess I'm not even sure if I believe in Christ as a literal son of God who died for our sins either, although I love the symbolism of Justice and Mercy, and the perfect man. I accepted that idea when I was growing up out of the church, and then as a baptized Mormon. But if you don't have a deep testimony of that, then it's hard to embrace all that the gospel entails.
Me either, and I also love the symbolism. I simply choose to believe there is something to it, whether or not there was a literal Son or crucifixion and resurrection. I think believing is enough.
I do think that many of Christ's principles -- forgiveness, loving our neighbor, serving others, watching our thoughts etcetera does produce some happiness, but so much gets attached to "the gospel" that has nothing to do with the pure principles of happiness that it can drive you miserable if you follow some of those "enhancements". And you can learn those principles by taking a secular course in how to be happy.
I do believe the idea of loving one another is part of the gospel, especially as separate from the church. It was a main teaching of Christ but it's also almost universally taught among all religions and belief systems. There has to be something to that, it didn't just happen.
And its also hard to know what those accessories in the LDS version of the Gospel are, and its hard to know what are the core principles. I would suspect that if you asked 10 Mormons you'd get 10 different answers.
This is related to the last one. I agree, sometimes it is hard to differentiate what's gospel and what's teachings of men or "the church." Believing the gospel is simple on purpose I choose to keep it as simple as possible. Hence, faith, repentance and baptism. (I'm not contradicting myself here, I believe loving one another is part of faith and maybe enduring.)
Shoring up my case is the temple marriage thing. If you believe that is part of the Gospel, (it IS a gospel ordinance) for some people it has kept them in marriages they should have otherwise left and been happier. I'm fortunate to have learned to cope to the point I'd rather stay married, but I'll tell you, the first decade was sheer hades for me.
I don't believe temple marriage is part of the gospel. It is a church ordinance.
So, we can agree to disagree again. I do agree that living the LDS version of the gospel, with most of its trappings keeps some people out of jail (word of wisdom, for example), but it's not been a recipe for happiness for me. Boundary setting, chasing service that speaks to my passions, sharing my talents with other people, achieving meaningful goals -- those things bring me happiness. The "love God with all your heart might mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself" has helped, but those phrases don't necessarily cascade into the first principles and ordinance of the gospel directly. Nor do they flow into so much of what the LDS church says must be done for salvation or happiness. The logical connections aren't there for me.
I do agree that living the gospel according to the CoJCoLDS can bring happiness. It's not the only way to find happiness, and living the gospel outside the CoJCoLDS can also bring happiness. I also believe other faiths and belief systems can bring happiness. Our church, like many others, tends to add to gospel and I do believe that God expects us to figure that out - but if we don't it doesn't hurt. We do not believe in killing our neighbors just because they believe differently after all.
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 » 23 May 2017, 06:32

DarkJedi wrote:
23 May 2017, 06:07
BTW, I don't think not eating or drinking for three days was a good idea. ;) I can see why you got no spiritual experience out of it.
I was 20 years old at the time. I now realize that was very extreme of me to do that. But you could argue that I might have got some kind of spiritual uplift on Day 1 or maybe part of Day 2. I only broke the fast on Day 3 when I got so weak I couldn't function very well.

But I wasn't talking about the behavior change component of repentence necessarily -- I can point to specific things in my life from which I've repented, and have experienced a full behavior change. But I have never felt that "burdens lifted" sensation and "flip of a switch" experience that Enos reported in the BoM. That was the big disappointment I was talking about. The BoM raised expectations I could have that, and I never did, even after sincerely trying. It was as if I could change my behavior without any real connection or input or validation from God.
I don't believe temple marriage is part of the gospel. It is a church ordinance.
Ask a few other people that question, and you'll get a different answer. Confusing is the BoM is supposed to contain the fullness of the gospel, but then the D&C adds Temple Marriage, without which we can't go to the highest level of the celestial kingdom.
I do agree that living the gospel according to the CoJCoLDS can bring happiness. It's not the only way to find happiness, and living the gospel outside the CoJCoLDS can also bring happiness. I also believe other faiths and belief systems can bring happiness. Our church, like many others, tends to add to gospel and I do believe that God expects us to figure that out - but if we don't it doesn't hurt. We do not believe in killing our neighbors just because they believe differently after all.
And we have seen here that some people, in cutting the church out of their life, find it helped their mental health. I never recommend a complete severing of one's relationship with the church, as I feel those are very small exceptions (the mental health thing). But I do think that one needs to decide the extent to which the LDS gospel, however defined, delivers on the happiness continuum, and make whatever adjustments are necessary to be happy when the LDS gospel fails to deliver...

I am reminded here of a quote from a management/leadership author I like. He tends to make short, disjointed statements that leave you thinking -- a lot like some of the scripture you have. After a lot of thought, you come up with your own meaning and it lasts forever -- becomes part of your psyche.

He made the comment that in our careers we should be careful the kinds of organizations we decide to work for. Then he says "What's most important is what you become".

Those two statements never made sense to me side by side. There was no logical connection. Then I reflected on my participation in the LDS church. How for a time, it encouraged anti-same sex marriage ideas, judgmentalism towards others who were not TR-holders, persistence in situations that were dead ends and should have been left behind years previously, poor mental and physical health, and general unhappiness. I started looking a selfless volunteers are simple entities to staff the church. How my association with the LDS church, while producing a number of positive attributes in me, also produced a lot of bad stuff in my character.

Then I understood what he meant -- go to work for a mediocre company, and you'll emerge at the end of your life with mediocre leadership skills. You may not be inspired and just end up cynical and doing the minimum -- no joy from progression etecetera.

So, while the LDS church certainly has helped me become charitable, hardworking, a better teacher, stable in my marriage, and did give me some leadership experiences -- as I got more and more experience, it also breeded a lot of negative things in my character . So, I think we all need to look at what our church experience is helping us "become" .
For some of us, it's beautiful, for others, it's not. Each has to choose a path that helps them become who they want to be.
"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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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Heber13
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Heber13 » 23 May 2017, 07:40

ydeve wrote:
23 May 2017, 05:29
Heber, I think you and SD are using different definitions of the word gospel. If you've defined the gospel to be the path that leads one to happiness, of course you're happy living the gospel. It's a tautology. However, if your definition of the gospel is the doctrine of the church, or even just what the GA would call core gospel principles it's hardly surprising if living the gospel does not lead to happiness.
Great point, ydeve. Let's define it so it is clear what we are talking about.

This was the kind of definition I was working under...as taught by the church...
The word gospel means “good news.” The good news is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his or her works.
Bible Dictionary
The gospel is our Heavenly Father's plan of happiness. The central doctrine of the gospel is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
LDS.org Gospel Topics
President Monson wrote:Actually, love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar.
...
Dale Carnegie, a well-known American author and lecturer, believed that each person has within himself or herself the “power to increase the sum total of [the] world’s happiness … by giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged.” Said he, “Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”

May we begin now, this very day, to express love to all of God’s children, whether they be our family members, our friends, mere acquaintances, or total strangers. As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way. - TSM, April 2014
It is hard for me to understand how you can truly understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, and believe it does not lead to happiness, especially, as it is taught to us...the essence is about love. I do understand that some things in church that we think we "should" do can lead to disappointment, frustration, and suffering. To me, those negative feelings just indicate we have not yet captured the true meaning of Jesus' teachings, and we need to return to align our will to the gospel principles lost to us. Therefore, greater study and seeking leads to true gospel principles and true happiness.

If you start from square 1, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is about LOVE, then you go from there and add the teachings of the church in proper light and understanding...it does not lead to true enduring unhappiness. There may be personal circumstance and variation and timing, but eventually...it is God's plan for ultimate happiness, when it is properly understood. That's not really tautology, it is religion.

The gospel is "good news" and love at it's core. Some doctrines or principles taught by GAs may need clarification in my mind to fit into God's plan of happiness, called the gospel. Not everything said at church is something I believe leads to happiness. The gospel is greater than the church. We should separate those two things out, right? But the core of Christ's gospel is love, and that leads to happiness...for everyone, always.
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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Heber13
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Heber13 » 23 May 2017, 08:01

SilentDawning wrote:
23 May 2017, 04:56
Here is where it gets murky -- what is the gospel then?
I shared some thoughts in response to ydeve. I believe it is at the core love.
Is it faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy host and endure to the end
Yes.
and that's it?
No.
And can you live that fully without stepping foot inside an LDS church?
Absolutely!
And how about the phrase "endure" to the end? To endure means to put up with in my view. We endure hardship, endure pain, endure adversity. None of that sounds very happiness-inducing to me. If the fifth element of the gospel was "enjoy to the end" it might be different.
One of my all time favorite GC talks is from Neal A Maxwell on this topic...I recommend everyone read it ...Endure it Well

In it, this apostle writes...
Paul observed, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” (Heb. 12:11.) Such “peaceable fruit” comes only in the appointed season thereof, after the blossoms and the buds.

Otherwise, if certain mortal experiences were cut short, it would be like pulling up a flower to see how the roots are doing. Put another way, too many anxious openings of the oven door, and the cake falls instead of rising. Moreover, enforced change usually does not last, while productive enduring can ingrain permanent change. (See Alma 32:13–16.)

Patient endurance is to be distinguished from merely being “acted upon.” Endurance is more than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance; it is not only acceptance of the things allotted to us, it is to “act for ourselves” by magnifying what is allotted to us. (See Alma 29:3, 6.)

If, for instance, we are always taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we will not be. If we are constantly comparing to see if things are fair, we are not only being unrealistic, we are being unfair to ourselves.

Therefore, true enduring represents not merely the passage of time, but the passage of the soul—and not merely from A to B, but sometimes all the way from A to Z. To endure in faith and doeth God’s will. (See D&C 63:20; D&C 101:35) therefore involves much more than putting up with a circumstance.

Rather than shoulder-shrugging, true enduring is soul-trembling. Jesus bled not at a few, but “at every pore.” (D&C 19:18.)
Enduring to the end is the "passage of the soul" through this mortal experience. We choose how we will approach the experience, and what we observe and learn from it.

It is not just "put up with it".

And as we understand that approach to mortality, we can find those hidden lessons that bring true happiness.
SilentDawning wrote:
23 May 2017, 04:56
I do agree that living the LDS version of the gospel, with most of its trappings keeps some people out of jail (word of wisdom, for example), but it's not been a recipe for happiness for me.
Then, expand your definition of the gospel as God intends it to be understood. They are not trappings. Love sets us free.

When you do find that road to love as the core of the gospel, you can return to church, the LDS church, and with a new perspective practice living it with your brothers and sisters...sharing the light you find, and seeking the light others found...not just to stay out of jail or prevent bad things from happening...but in order to experience this life with the connection of others because we were not created to be alone, we were created, as the "good news" tells us, to find love. And we don't experience full love by ourselves closed up in protection mode. The paradox is, we endure in love and happiness.

Many of you know from my posts over the years that I get in crappy moods, and I have had bad things happen, and church drives me nuts at times.

But I continue to try to center myself in the gospel, because that is the source of true happiness. I really believe in that, if we don't limit the definition too narrowly, is the plan of happiness for everyone. Some may be semantics, but how else are we to find and develop ideas without trying to use some words to express our experiences and feelings? We do the best we can with the limitations we have. But...we can find the common ground of love, and work with that as the true gospel principles...finding ways to deal with all other things we are taught at church, and aligning it to truth in our minds.
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."

Roy
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Roy » 23 May 2017, 08:18

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.
I love this definition.
"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

ydeve
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by ydeve » 23 May 2017, 09:21

Heber13 wrote:
23 May 2017, 08:01
When you do find that road to love as the core of the gospel, you can return to church, the LDS church, and with a new perspective practice living it with your brothers and sisters...sharing the light you find, and seeking the light others found.
I used to wish this was true in the universal sense, but it is not. There are many paths to the top of Mt Fuji, but not all of them are traversable by everyone. The LDS church, or even church at all for that matter, is an unhealthy path for a large number of people. But, like you said, it's important to find the common ground. We're all trying to reach the same summit - love.

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Heber13
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Heber13 » 23 May 2017, 10:31

ydeve wrote:
23 May 2017, 09:21
There are many paths to the top of Mt Fuji, but not all of them are traversable by everyone. The LDS church, or even church at all for that matter, is an unhealthy path for a large number of people.
I agree with you that it can be for some people. I would distinguish those things from the gospel. I can think of many examples of that being the case.
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."

ydeve
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Joined: 30 May 2016, 21:38

Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by ydeve » 23 May 2017, 10:44

I think I misread your comment. I understood it to mean that seeing the road to love as the core of the gospel allows one to function and be happy in the LDS church. And I responded by saying that the LDS path is, for many, antithetical to travelling towards the summit, which you have described as the gospel. I'm seeing a lot of similar sentiment in SD's posts. That the church has, in many respects, gotten in the way of living what you described as the gospel.
It feels like we're kind of talking around each other. :)

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