Pharisees, modern prophets, and God's will

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
Post Reply
longbottom
Posts: 23
Joined: 25 Sep 2017, 12:50

Pharisees, modern prophets, and God's will

Post by longbottom » 04 Oct 2017, 09:27

A little background here: I just recently introduced myself in this forum, and am new to this "transition of faith" concept. For me, it has opened up a new understanding about God, how He works with His children on earth, the fallibility of man (and institutions), and what being a "faithful member of the church" means. One of my current thoughts is this:

When Jesus came, Gods chosen people, the Jews, had the priesthood and authority of the church, as well as the accepted organizational church structure of the time period. Their leaders and priesthood holders were the Pharisees. Christ did not contest any of these facts. It was still God's church. Also, the gospel was not preached to anyone but the Jews, and Jesus himself observed this (mostly. The woman at the well shows that even Jesus did not always obey the churches "commandments" when there was a higher purpose). But, we also know that the Pharisees were the most wicked people in all the earth, for who else would crucify their God? They taught as commandments the philosophies of men. So, in essence, God permitted these leaders to teach a gospel, HIS gospel, which had become so far off track, that their "prophets" were some of the most wicked men on earth.

Christ then introduced a new Gospel: one of loving your enemy, teaching the Gospel to all of God's children, and associating with the downtrodden and socially unaccepted of the earth. And so forth. So my interpretation is that for those early Jews the gospel of Christ was so far off from what they had been taught by their "priesthood holding" leaders, that it was simply unacceptable. What they had worked for them. However, God permitted them to be led astray, so as to accomplish his overarching purpose, to establish the Gospel of Christ.

Fast forward to today. I do absolutely believe we have a church that is God's true church upon the earth, led by apostles and prophets. But ultimately led by men. Men who are, perhaps, permitted by God to enforce policies and emphasize doctrines that are not actually part of the true core of the Church of Jesus Christ, but ultimately accomplish much of God's ultimate purpose: leading people like you and me to seek out and actually find greater light and knowledge by the path of deep examination and even disbelief of some core teachings. It's a strange phenomenon, but my testimony has actually gotten stronger that this is indeed the true church, but that I now know my relationship with God does not have any man standing between it. I think that God has an overarching plan for His church and for each of us individually, and I wholeheartedly recognize that for some, leaving the church is entirely the right thing to do for them.

For me, I love that there are TBM's and NOM's and everyone inside and outside those classifications. I need them and they need me. I have, in the last week, found greater happiness and peace of mind with my new understanding of how God ACTUALLY works with his children than I have in 30 years in the church as a TBM (blessings of healing, anyone? anyone? Buehller?). So instead of trying to pigeonhole myself into an endless routine of conformity, deflated expectations, and self-loathing, I can see things as they actually are (while not having an issue with anyone who finds their own meaning in conformity, most TBM's do). And I think that is EXACTLY God's will for me.

LOVE reading everyone's stories, opinions, and personal journeys. I hope to be a regular contributor.

User avatar
Heber13
Posts: 7144
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Pharisees, modern prophets, and God's will

Post by Heber13 » 04 Oct 2017, 11:27

longbottom wrote:
04 Oct 2017, 09:27
It's a strange phenomenon, but my testimony has actually gotten stronger that this is indeed the true church, but that I now know my relationship with God does not have any man standing between it.
I think this validates that you are on a pretty good path if you can sense this point. I believe God wants us to grow enough to see things in this light.

The trick is not letting it get out of balance and go too far (such as...there doesn't ever need to be a "man standing between it" or a prophet or a church) and everything is just relative to however we want to live. Church and prophets have their purposes. We can revere them for what they are.

But, you can really grow closer to God by expanding thoughts and teachings you previously just took as universal truth.

One thing I have thought a lot about relating to some of your comments:
longbottom wrote:
04 Oct 2017, 09:27
When Jesus came, Gods chosen people, the Jews, had the priesthood and authority of the church, as well as the accepted organizational church structure of the time period. Their leaders and priesthood holders were the Pharisees. Christ did not contest any of these facts. It was still God's church. Also, the gospel was not preached to anyone but the Jews
I think one thing to keep in mind is that these assumptions come from teachings of the bible. The bible was written by a certain group of people to teach their doctrines. It is the story from their point of view. It is not necessarily the only story or the only truth. It is very likely gospel truths were being taught to many groups around the world, in various ways, all with the same objective: LOVE. They just have different paths to get there.

I don't think we need to limit God's love for all his children by creating Us vs Them stories that make us feel better for being the "chosen ones."

In fact, I don't see that Christ setup a church. They set one up afterwards trying to do what they thought was right...but Christ didn't. He taught everyone. He taught Pharisees what they needed to learn, Jews what they needed to learn, and others he came in contact with.
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
Posts: 5772
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Pharisees, modern prophets, and God's will

Post by Roy » 04 Oct 2017, 17:16

Interesting theories Longbottom.

One idea that I found pretty hard to argue with is that the church is slowly moving towards a more perfect form.

The benefits of this theory is that you can always dismiss the mistakes of yesterday as the "errors of men" that slowly worked their way through the system only to be cast off. The system/church still isn't perfect but it is better than it was yesterday and will likely be even better in the future.

This is similar to, but somewhat different than, the idea of the church as an olive tree that needs to be cultivated. The tree is good but sometimes it gives bad fruit. It mast be dunged, watered, pruned, and spliced before it can become what God wants it to be.

Good thoughts.
"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

User avatar
Beefster
Posts: 487
Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

Re: Pharisees, modern prophets, and God's will

Post by Beefster » 04 Oct 2017, 17:46

Thank you for your perspective. Over the last few days, I've been ruminating on the thought, "How can this be the true church when there are so many mistakes that have been made?" I think you really helped me out on that one.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

AmyJ
Posts: 918
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Pharisees, modern prophets, and God's will

Post by AmyJ » 05 Oct 2017, 05:31

Beefster wrote:
04 Oct 2017, 17:46
Thank you for your perspective. Over the last few days, I've been ruminating on the thought, "How can this be the true church when there are so many mistakes that have been made?"
I pose the question differently. My question is "Is this this one true church FOR ME, for now?" Which I can answer "Yes" to - for now.

I know you are thinking "What about our priesthood?" So, I am going to go there and talk about what I think I have figured out :D

Right now I am not sure what I believe about temples - full stop.

I believe the sacrament is important in general, and I know it is important for me, but I can't make a judgement call that the sacrament equivalents for other religions don't have the same benefits. I believe in the power of the priesthood in my home and that it helps my husband be a better father and spouse, but I don't know if it works as setting a standard for my household, or as direct power from God. I believe the ordinance of baptism is important for the individual as a commitment of his or her relationship to Christ - but I am not going to to claim other churches don't have ways to make and express their commitment to Christ as well. I believe that receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is helpful, and that it is an invitation for the Holy Ghost to have more of a presence in our lives. I think that feeling the Spirit in our lives is tied to our commitment and our desire to have a commitment to Jesus Christ. I have rarely, if ever felt the Spirit around those who aren't making keeping the 2 Great Commandments a priority, so I think they are connected somehow. The rest of the priesthood, for me, is administration stuff. I am pleased that more women are being invited to assist with the administration stuff in the church these days through going to PEC, and being invited to be on the boards of several key committees at the church level.

Post Reply