Proselytizing without Eternal Family mention

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amateurparent
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Proselytizing without Eternal Family mention

Post by amateurparent » 10 Dec 2017, 08:44

Background:

I came across a story of an adult woman who had a child on her own. Father unknown. She later joined the church. She went through the temple and when her daughter also went through the temple as an adult, they looked into being sealed. They found out that sealing could not happen because there was no father.

This story led into various replies, discussions and exchange of stories: One woman was married/sealed in the temple, her husband died and she married a non-member for her second marriage. All her children are from her second marriage. According to the church, all her children are sealed to her FIRST husband. Another woman had a similar situation with an adopted child who due to past dealings, could not be sealed to her family. There were lots of complicated stories of messy family dynamics and temple dealings not being able to happen.

My question: If the church was to quit emphasizing the importance of Eternal Families during missionary work, what else do you see as an excellent point for focus?

Ideas?
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

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mom3
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Re: Proselytizing without Eternal Family mention

Post by mom3 » 10 Dec 2017, 11:30

Jesus Christ.

I wish our message was individual discipleship. Everything else is appendages.

Nobody ever listens to me though.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

NightSG
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Re: Proselytizing without Eternal Family mention

Post by NightSG » 10 Dec 2017, 13:04

mom3 wrote:
10 Dec 2017, 11:30
Jesus Christ.
HERETIC!

With that attitude, you'll be expecting the Church to celebrate Easter next.

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LookingHard
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Re: Proselytizing without Eternal Family mention

Post by LookingHard » 10 Dec 2017, 19:43

IMHO - I don't think most 18 an 19 year old missionaries even think of the complexity of the case nor even know the "policies"/beliefs of the church. They only think of the "normal" two people married with a few kids.

I have always found it hard to figure out the day to day afterlife relationships with being both sealed to my parents, my siblings, my wife, and my kids. To me it makes more sense that I would be sealed to my wife, and get to visit often with all the others. Otherwise it gets too complicated.

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mom3
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Re: Proselytizing without Eternal Family mention

Post by mom3 » 10 Dec 2017, 20:08

HERETIC!

With that attitude, you'll be expecting the Church to celebrate Easter next.
SHHH. Don't tell anyone. I want it to be a surprise.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

nibbler
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Re: Proselytizing without Eternal Family mention

Post by nibbler » 11 Dec 2017, 06:59

To quote Stephen Fry:
And then she (sister giving a tour of temple square) said how in the afterlife all families will be reunited and you'll be with your families forever. So I put my hand up and said, "But what happens if you've been good?"
Humor is the good natured side of a truth. ;)

But thoughts...

The church sees itself as the authority on defining what it means to be a "family" (hint: nuclear only). Meanwhile the definition of family in the real world is much more fluid. Family has evolved to be the people you care about, regardless of relation. People define what a "family" means to them and the church is kinda stuck with its model of mom, dad, and their children; I say stuck because they attached saving ordinances to those relationships and so much of the purpose they've assigned to eternal life revolves around procreation.

As already mentioned in the thread, have we really though this eternal family thing through? What does being an eternal family really mean? You gotta live in the same mansion above? Hard pass. I've said it many times here, if being in each other's presence 24/7 were so desirable then we'd all want to live with our parents even as adults, but society (at least American society) is such that we try to gain and maintain our independence. So take away sickness and no longer needing material wealth, like what supposedly exists in heaven, and everyone would be in a position where they could be independent.

Another factor. At best there's a 6 or 7 generation window for relationships. I may know a few great grandparents, my grandparents, my parents, my siblings, my children, my grandchildren, and great grand children, but that's about it. Slide up the scale and my great grandparents may have a relationship with their grandparents but I surely don't. Those relationships will be much more meaningful to my great grandparents than they are to me. So is it really important for me to be sealed to my 50th generation family or is it more important for my 49th generation family? It's their relationship, not mine.

I think what the eternal family concept really tries to get at is this fear that we'll lose the people we care about in the afterlife. Specifically, we don't want to permanently lose our spouse to death. We don't want to lose our children to death. We don't want to lose our parents to death. In general, people are afraid they will, and the concept of sealings that make the relationships eternal serve as a security blanket. Then we invent rules surrounding the use of sealings, then exceptions to the rules crop up and we start worrying about things again.

#1: First get to an afterlife.
#2: Then worry about it.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Edited to add: I do like how the concept of sealing everyone can lead people towards the conclusion that everyone that you meet in life is family.

Roadrunner
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Re: Proselytizing without Eternal Family mention

Post by Roadrunner » 11 Dec 2017, 09:17

This is an oversimplification, but for me what is unique and what "sells" the church is two things: 1) Eternal families 2) unique authority to create eternal families.

This is a double edged sword and is a very "feel good" doctrine that works until you acknowledge the messiness of real life. It's made worse when our leaders don't announce new revelations to explain the messiness. There was a video in the 80's and 90's that missionaries often used, I think it was called "What is Real" but I might be wrong about the title. In this video a married couple was interested in the discussions until the missionaries taught about eternal families. Turned out that the family didn't want to be together forever. The missionary answer was to heal the marriage so the investigators desired to be together. However, that doesn't work in myriad circumstances as the original post expressed.

I think the answer is different that most have expressed here. We have to emphasize eternal families and authority to seal - but we have to accompany that with better answers than "it will all be figured out in the next life." That answer rings hollow when we brag about living prophets and we're no different than other churches. As Nibbler pointed out at some point the answer becomes "it will be sorted out later" but at a minimum it has to be more fair.

Just last week an older couple who was married civilly two years ago asked me if they could get sealed and I told the wife that she had to get her 1st sealing to her first husband, who is still alive, canceled. She was appalled and said she hadn't seen her first husband for 30 years and he doesn't have anything to do with the church and isn't even a good man. However, the new husband is a widower and has no issues since he can be sealed to multiple women. Utterly unfair.

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SamBee
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Re: Proselytizing without Eternal Family mention

Post by SamBee » 11 Dec 2017, 10:11

For me, it's NOT the sealing that is the nice part of temple work but that we believe the dead have a chance too.
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."

Roy
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Re: Proselytizing without Eternal Family mention

Post by Roy » 11 Dec 2017, 10:13

I love the principle of family centeredness and working to promote security, love, refuge, safety, support, and harmony within the home.

For some there needs to be a literal interpretation in order to get and stay motivated. Exclusivity also helps - you can only have an eternal family IF you jump through these hoops. Then it can be used as both a carrot and a stick which I am not a big fan of.

I believe that the relationships that we form with those closest to us DO matter and will continue to matter in the eternities
"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

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DarkJedi
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Re: Proselytizing without Eternal Family mention

Post by DarkJedi » 11 Dec 2017, 10:36

mom3 wrote:
10 Dec 2017, 11:30
Jesus Christ.

I wish our message was individual discipleship. Everything else is appendages.

Nobody ever listens to me though.
:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

I feel the same. Trouble is, that doesn't set us apart from everyone else. My take on it is why do we need to be so different from everyone else? If God already directs people to find us, as many in the church believe, then wouldn't he lead people to find us anyway?
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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