The Culture of the Gospel

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
NightSG
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by NightSG » 23 May 2017, 11:02

DarkJedi wrote:
19 May 2017, 20:54
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.
IMO, the Church's penchant for uniformity, then the inconsistency at the local level (and by extension, the difficulty in effectively addressing it) cause a lot of unnecessary friction that needs more than the occasional side comment in Conference. I've been to a ward where each member of the bishopric had facial hair, and the bishop in particular had a carefully groomed Imperial beard reminiscent of Sean Connery in Hunt For Red October. Then I've visited other wards where facial hair was absolutely not acceptable. (Apparently, neither were my striped dress shirt and bow tie, no matter how well coordinated they were.)
There are a lot of organizations that don't have anywhere near the level of standardization the Church does, and still manage to quickly and effectively address issues of local leadership not following the overall rules or incorrectly applying guidance from the national or international governing body. Almost universally, it is done in the simple form of an explicit statement of "as it seems we weren't sufficiently clear on this point, here is how it is to be done" and as-needed followup with individual local leadership. Sometimes even with a hotline (or email equivalent) for leaders who still don't understand (or understand and choose not to comply) and the members who have to deal with them to reach out to someone with clear understanding of the issue and the ear of those in authority to force compliance. Not by a member of the leadership tossing in a passing reference to his Diet Pepsi habit during his annual speech.

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Heber13
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Heber13 » 23 May 2017, 11:40

DarkJedi wrote:
23 May 2017, 06:07
SD wrote: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.)
I agree with what you are saying DJ.

If there are many things that complicate the gospel further, or get added on as "enhancements" but they don't lead to happiness, they can be shed as part of our testimony, because we seek the gospel and truth.

I don't really believe 10 people will give 10 different views of what the LDS version of the gospel is, that is exaggerated, but variation in views...you bet...and that is the beauty. You CAN go to church and have different views of the gospel. So...we can stayLDS and go have our own view...and we won't be that different from how others are different. It can work.

But to say the hope and ideal of the gospel will not lead to happiness is not something I agree with. Gospel principles, properly understood, lead to happiness. I still hold to that idea.
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.
And...I'm not sure if it matters to determine that. Temple work can be done in this life or the next, so that removes any urgency or stress that it must be only done one way. We can determine our path, and truth and the gospel will manifest itself in the eternities. As long as we focus on becoming who we are supposed to become.

If someone else at church wants to believe we must have a temple marriage as an ordinance to see God again, great. I have no problem with that idea. Timing of that, and individual application of that will make it so that there is accommodations for all. They are teaching to the ideal state...a perfect, loving, eternal marriage. Great idea. But application and experiences of individuals in mortality will vary greatly so it gets worked out in the end.

For me...gospel principles led to divorce. It was the godly thing to do. And my family is being blessed for it. For others, that will not be their path. For some, they will not ever be married. For some, they will lose their spouse. For some they will not have children. For some they will be in love with someone they cannot take to the temple. There are so many variations we can't list them all...and the gospel covers them all up and says...."It's ok. Come as you are. God loves you and knows your heart."
D&C Section 50
40 Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.
41 Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;
42 And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.
Fear, is not part of the gospel.

Gospel principles are eternal. Mortality has variation in experience. If living any principle is leading to misery...you have 2 options:
1) Seek to properly understand the gospel principle (faith - which includes choosing to discard "enhancements" that are not really part of the gospel)
2) Change your behavior to live it properly (repentance and submission to proper gospel principles)

Both those options can be done in or out of the church. The church can just be the platform to practice them with mormons.
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, 11:50

ydeve wrote:
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. :)
Thanks for responding patiently. :)

It seems to me you are making that distinction between church and gospel. That is where we agree.

To say the gospel does not lead to happiness, which was what I heard SD express in posts, and is where I disagreed and was trying to clarify my feelings on it.

So...I think we are on the same page if we pick those words to express the ideas clearly. Gospel and church are critical distinctions. Mt Fuji is the gospel. Paths are the churches. Right? Happiness is the goal, which comes by climbing the mountain to attain it. We aren't given the reward without the climb. Therefore...the gospel leads to happiness. Many things in the church are the best efforts of mortals to help along the journey, and well worth the effort to pay attention to...but are not the same as the gospel.

I feel like you would agree with that. Yes?
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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SilentDawning
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by SilentDawning » 23 May 2017, 12:02

It sounds a bit to me like Heber13 has is defining whatever causes happiness as the gospel -- starting out with the premise that the gospel makes us happy, and then defining the gospel as whatever makes us happy. Again, for all its centrality in our lds religion, I do think you'll be hard pressed to get even a few GA's to give truly independent definitions of the gospel that are consistent with each other. Many will conflate it with the church, others will define it in a way that makes it unique to the restoration, and perhaps some will define it broadly like Heber did eventually in a previous post.

The fact is, even broad definitions -- that Christ suffered for our sins -- doesn't really make me happy, because as I said, I never felt that forgiveness in my prayers comes from a divine source. Peace came when I dealt with it my own sin cognitively, through self-talk or the realization I have changed.

I have self-respect knowing that certain bad habits are far behind me now, but that peace comes from knowing those habits are no longer part of my character, and it has nothing to do with the sacrifice of Christ in my view. I hate to say that, beacuse it sounds unappreciative if the story of Christ is completely true, but it is how I feel.

In terms of repentance and forgiveness, I just changed, so in that sense, I've made progress and moved past the sin.

The idea of the Justice and Mercy laws makes sense if you want to believe in a just world, but none of those "justice" consequences are levied upon us permanently in this life for day to day infractions. Therefore, they appear all make believe until I see it first hand some day or get a testimony of their existence. And then, we're relying on the same unreliable evidence like "spirit" or other subjective measures.

I think if I was thrown into earthly prison the law of Justece might seem "realer", but even then, it would be man made justice and Christ's sacrifice wouldn't be the thing to get me out of it -- it would be use of the legal system and probably some luck (if wrongly convicted).

I still remember being on a mission and we were strategizing with a member about how to convert her friend. We suggested we talk to her about how the gospel makes her happy. The member, a very genius type person, indicated "that won't work because she's already happy".

If we couldn't find a reason for her to embrace the gospel, I started questioning if the gospel DID make us happy beyond keeping us out of trouble with the law. In my own case, the church's implementation of the gospel kept me delivering pizza for two years to try to serve a mission, with little success. It alienated my family from me, something to this day which keeps me isolated and feeling rather alone in my life. Thank goodness my sister grew a conscience and saw that I was no longer on the radar of the family at all anymore, and reached out. The church's implementation or attachment to "the gospel" however defined, kept me in a miserable marriage for years until age and acceptance set it and I have learned to accept it. What a huge disappointment the LDS Church's "gospel" has been, and how much more liberated I feel now that I have learned to place it in a box and let it impact me only to the extent it makes my truly happy and comfortable. And its not due to Christ, or the atonement, the first principles and ordinances, or anything a traditional MOrmon can define -- it's due to the peace it creates in my family, and happiness I feel from knowing my "calling" is improving the boring LDS experience, and the fact that it keeps my marriage together, and away from alimony, child support, and loneliness as a divorced man if I openly reject it in front of my wife and family.

Happiness comes in abundance from other sources...as indicated in this course here:

https://aarp-lifereimagined.thebigknow. ... n/be-happy

The course'ss principles are consistent with, but not exclusive to general, life advice found in the LDS gospel definition (whatever that is).
"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

Roy
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Roy » 23 May 2017, 12:24

Roy wrote:
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.
Supposing that we could agree on this definition for "the gospel", what then would be gospel culture?
"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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DarkJedi
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by DarkJedi » 23 May 2017, 12:29

Roy wrote:
23 May 2017, 12:24
Roy wrote:
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.
Supposing that we could agree on this definition for "the gospel", what then would be gospel culture?
Many of us will recognize that line as part of Ray's signature. I could agree to that somewhat broad definition, and it does seem to also fit the slightly more narrow definition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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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Heber13
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Heber13 » 23 May 2017, 12:33

SilentDawning wrote:
23 May 2017, 12:02
It sounds a bit to me like Heber13 has is defining whatever causes happiness as the gospel -- starting out with the premise that the gospel makes us happy, and then defining the gospel as whatever makes us happy.
Not exactly. More like overlaps, like a venn diagram, where I can focus on the parts of the gospel circle that lead to my happiness, and accepting there is a personal exercise to understand the gospel properly, which sometimes requires me to change my views, change my behaviors to match truths, or search if some things that are not making sense to me if they are truly part of the gospel or misunderstood as part of the gospel. Just because I hear someone at church (including GAs) call something the gospel doesn't remove the exercise for me to see if I believe that to be part of the gospel of love or not.

It's not black and white. It is overlaps, shades, context and semantics and definitions. It is the journey up the hill. I don't let others dictate it to me. I have a great need to learn and refine my understanding based on personal situation and scripture and doctrine.
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 » 23 May 2017, 12:43

Reading through this thread has reminded me of a little research I did a couple years ago. Here are some things GAs have said about simplicity and the gospel (please excuse me if it seems "preachy" because that is not my intent).

Elder Ballard:
Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, no matter how much we try to make it complicated. We should strive to keep our lives similarly simple, unencumbered by extraneous influences, focused on those things that matter most.
What are the precious, simple things of the gospel that bring clarity and purpose to our lives? What are the flecks of gospel gold whose patient accumulation over the course of our lifetime will reward us with the ultimate treasure—the precious gift of eternal life?
I believe there is one simple but profound—even sublime—principle that encompasses the entirety of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we wholeheartedly embrace this principle and make it the focus of our lives, it will purify and sanctify us so we can live once again in the presence of God.
The Savior spoke of this principle when He answered the Pharisee who asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”
Elder Gavarret (Seventy):
The invitation to “follow Him” is the most simple, direct, and powerful invitation we can receive. It comes from a clear voice that cannot be confused.
Elder Oaks:
In the concluding days of His mortal ministry, Jesus gave His disciples what He called “a new commandment” (John 13:34). Repeated three times, that commandment was simple but difficult: “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12; see also verse 17). The teaching to love one another had been a central teaching of the Savior’s ministry. The second great commandment was “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). Jesus even taught, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). But the commandment to love others as He had loved His flock was to His disciples—and is to us—a challenge that was unique. “Actually,” President Thomas S. Monson taught us last April, “love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar. His life was a legacy of love.”
Elder Kacher (Seventy, I met him once, he's an OK guy):
Still, there were many questions I could not answer. How would I address the uncertainty they created? Rather than allow them to destroy the peace and happiness that had come into my life, I chose to set them aside for a season, trusting that in the Lord’s time, He would reveal all things. I found solace in His statement to the Prophet Joseph: “Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.” I chose not to forsake what I knew to be true by following an unknown and a questionable current—a potential “riptide.” As President N. Eldon Tanner taught, I learned “how much wiser and better it is for man to accept the simple truths of the gospel … and to accept by faith those things which he … cannot understand.”
Pres. Eyring:
“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
From that simple statement it is not hard to summarize all I have learned about what choices lead to happiness in families.
Elder Cook:
Substituting the philosophies of men for gospel truth can lead us away from the simplicity of the Savior’s message. When the Apostle Paul visited Athens, he tried to teach of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of this effort we read in Acts, “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” When the crowd realized the simple religious nature of Paul’s message, which was not new, they rejected it.
Elder Ballard again:
The Savior taught that the first and great commandment is:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. …
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37, 39–40).
The Savior’s words are simple, yet their meaning is profound and deeply significant. We are to love God and to love and care for our neighbors as ourselves. Imagine what good we can do in the world if we all join together, united as followers of Christ, anxiously and busily responding to the needs of others and serving those around us—our families, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens.
And of course I can't do without my hero, Pres. Uchtdorf:
The search for the best things inevitably leads to the foundational principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ—the simple and beautiful truths revealed to us by a caring, eternal, and all-knowing Father in Heaven. These core doctrines and principles, though simple enough for a child to understand, provide the answers to the most complex questions of life.
There is a beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions.
And one more from Ballard:
Joseph Smith taught this central truth: “The fundamental principles of our religion [are] the testimony of the apostles and prophets concerning Jesus Christ, … ‘that he died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended up into heaven;’ and all other things are only appendages to these, which pertain to our religion.”
If we keep our focus on the Lord, we are promised a blessing beyond comparison: “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”
Sometimes faithful Latter-day Saints and sincere investigators begin to focus on the “appendages” instead of on the fundamental principles. That is, Satan tempts us to become distracted from the simple and clear message of the restored gospel. Those so distracted often give up partaking of the sacrament because they have become focused, even preoccupied, with less important practices or teachings.
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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Heber13
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Re: The Culture of the Gospel

Post by Heber13 » 23 May 2017, 12:50

Roy wrote:
23 May 2017, 12:24
Roy wrote:
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.
Supposing that we could agree on this definition for "the gospel", what then would be gospel culture?
It seems like, we were starting from the article SD posted, where DHO kind of defined "gospel culture" as this:
As a way to help us keep the commandments of God, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have what we call a gospel culture. It is a distinctive way of life, a set of values and expectations and practices common to all members. This gospel culture comes from the plan of salvation, the commandments of God, and the teachings of the living prophets....

When it comes to giving up false traditions and cultures, we praise our younger people for their flexibility and progress, and we appeal to our older members to put away traditions and cultural or tribal practices that lead them away from the path of growth and progress. We ask all to climb to the higher ground of the gospel culture, to practices and traditions that are rooted in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
I focus in on the part where we use the gospel to climb to higher ground, Mt Fuji, as ydeve put it.

If someone tries to talk to me about drinking coke, as an example, that one thing is not the gospel. And it can be studied personally if that is something to commit to living or not (personally, I don't know I see much at all of the WoW as part of the gospel of Jesus Christ, except what I think is important to accept in my life...which is part of my journey). We cannot be perfect to live all things all the time...so, we prioritize what is most important to living the gospel as it is taught to us, and we do our best to climb higher.

That leads to happiness.
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, 13:04

DJ...those are great quotes.

I notice none of those mention temple marriage. Is that an oversight by all of them as what the gospel is??? :D

I think the idea that there are "appendages" is an important point. That doesn't mean there aren't appendages, they just aren't the focus, and actually, those are the things that lead us astray if focused on those without the core, because there may be some variation on what appendages are.
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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