The thing that started it all

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sknab
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Joined: 10 Dec 2019, 17:26

The thing that started it all

Post by sknab » 25 Mar 2020, 19:14

Fairly new here although I've lurked for a long time. I'm super thankful for the commentary I've received on posts that I've already made. Wanted to get everyone's thoughts on what really got me started researching doctrine in more depth... The Kingdoms.

I like to think I'm a good person by most accounts. I try to serve and give as often as I can. I'm a loyal husband and although I screw up often, I really try to be a good father. However, there's one thing in my life that I haven't been able to let go and it's something that, according to LDS belief, would most likely keep me out of the Celestial Kingdom.

The thought of God not allowing me to be with all of my family because of this one thing just doesn't make sense to me. The best answer I've found is basically that God wouldn't put you in a kingdom you don't feel comfortable with. I just can't accept that, I want to be with my wife and kids, my parents and siblings... It just doesn't make sense that a loving God that cares so much about the family unit would break it a part.

I know there's not a specific question here but, does anyone have thoughts on this topic?

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Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: The thing that started it all

Post by Minyan Man » 25 Mar 2020, 19:55

In my opinion, there is so much we don't understand. There is so much yet to be learned. None of us will get through
this life knowing all the answers. Again, in my opinion, it was all designed to be that way. There is more to be learned.
There will always be more to learn. Richard Carlson wrote a book: "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...It's all small stuff".

Since becoming more active, I've been doing Family History & Temple Work. In the process of doing research, indexing,
reviewing & temple ordinances, the overwhelming feeling I have is: we're all connected. Both in this life & in the life
to come. I've talked with people who know more about church doctrine than I ever will & they agree with that view.
They won't stand up in F&T meeting to declare that belief but, they will in private.

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Katzpur
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Location: Salt Lake City

Re: The thing that started it all

Post by Katzpur » 27 Mar 2020, 08:31

Hi, sknab. You know, what I zeroed in on in your post was the phrase, "there's one thing in my life that... according to LDS belief, would most likely keep me out of the Celestial Kingdom." Try to keep in mind that "LDS belief" is going to be pretty irrelevant at the end of the day. As my all-time-favorite bishop once said, "Your salvation is between you and the Lord. It's not between you and your bishop or you and your stake president or you and the Prophet. It's between you and the Lord. Period." Nobody else's opinion is going to even be taken into account. You also said that you "haven't been able to let go" of this thing. That indicates to me that you're at least trying, and that your heart's in the right place.

Have you ever read, "Believing Christ" by Stephen E. Robinson? When it came out in the early 90s, pretty much every English-speaking adult member of the Church read it. At the age of 71, I've never found another book that has given me such insights into Jesus Christ's Atonement and how it applies to the very issue you're dealing with. You can still occasionally find copies of it in Deseret Book (brick and mortar or online), and there are also copies of it to be found on Amazon. If you haven't read it, please do yourself a favor and do so. It will make you see things in an entirely different light.

One final thought... The older I get, the more I've come to trust in my own gut feelings about things. If it "just doesn't make sense that a loving God that cares so much about the family unit would break it apart," then go with your feeling that He won't. Don't just assume that certain commonly accepted beliefs among the rank and file members of the Church (or even among "the Brethren") are necessarily correct. It has only been within the last couple of years that I've been able to find peace in what my own mind and heart tell me, and to accept my own understanding as being as valid and legitimate as anybody else's. For years, I always told my husband that I wished the Holy Ghost would speak to me the way He apparently speaks to other people, confirming in their minds that certain things are "true." It's been very, very recently that I've started to think differently. If something "doesn't make sense" to me, then I no longer dwell on it. I think the peace I've found in what I actually think a loving God would do under certain circumstances comes from the Holy Ghost. Acknowledging that my own thoughts aren't always going to coincide with "LDS belief" has made me a lot happier than I was before. Trust what you believe a truly loving God would do, and don't worry about what anybody else says He'll do.
Last edited by Katzpur on 27 Mar 2020, 13:55, edited 1 time in total.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

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nibbler
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Re: The thing that started it all

Post by nibbler » 27 Mar 2020, 10:39

I'm scatterbrained, I'll try to organize thoughts.

What force drove the revelations that we have already received? What force drives revelations yet to come?

I imagine humans a long, long time ago (prehistory), first started wrestling with the belief that good people end up with the same "reward" as bad people. I imagine heaven and hell being revealed to address the question.

With time humans started wrestling with the boundary cases within that framework. What if a person is good all their lives, does something really bad, slips on a bar of soap, and dies? What if a person is bad most of their lives, repents, slips on a bar of soap and dies? Would it be fair for the good person that screwed up right before they die to go to hell while the person that repented right before they die to go to heaven? Or maybe it was a recognition that some people are really, really good; some people are really, really bad, and then there's lots of okay people in the middle. Where's the cutoff for heaven and hell? I think the three kingdoms were revealed to address those sorts of questions.

Again, with time I think we're finding that even the three kingdoms, along with the various sub-kingdoms, still isn't enough to quench people's thirst. We began exploring the boundary cases within that framework. Now we find ourselves in need of a new revelation to address those concerns.

Do you want to be with your family? Does your family want to be with you? I believe that's more relevant than any kingdom assignment. Kingdoms, boundaries, and qualifications feel too... human. Something that helps us conceptualize something spiritual, not something meant to define or limit something spiritual.
To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.
― Mark Twain

sknab
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Joined: 10 Dec 2019, 17:26

Re: The thing that started it all

Post by sknab » 27 Mar 2020, 10:54

Really great thoughts so far - I know my topic/question was ambiguous but, I sincerely appreciate the feedback thus far. I will read both of the books mentioned (thank you greatly for that) and I definitely agree with that new perspective... humans trying to explain celestial things that can't be explained. I love that and it opens up some interpretation for me to be able to operate within the confines of the LDS beliefs.

Lastly, I really appreciate that perspective from Katzpur in that my "salvation is between me and the lord". It reminded me of something my mission president said in my exit interview before I went home. How true this is! I think we forget that a lot in the church. Religion in general is so that we can have a celestial relationship for our own minds and for our own guidance. I need to chase that theology more than I have been, especially right now where things seem so complicated within my current belief system. I need to study and understand and learn what gospel topics mean to me, and work on that personal relationship with deity rather than worry about what others will think about my beliefs. Thank you!!

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: The thing that started it all

Post by Roy » 30 Mar 2020, 08:20

Almost 10 years ago I found myself in a similar quandary. I wrote:
How does the atonement apply to the three degrees of glory?

It would seem that the inhabitants of the telestial kingdom receive a resurrection but not forgiveness as they must pay the price for their own sins?

The inhabitants of the terrestrial kingdom receive the resurrection and forgiveness but possibly not (sanctification, exaltation, etc - whatever term describes the differentiator between terrestrial and celestial inhabitants).

The inhabitants of the celestial kingdom appear to be the only persons that enjoy the full measure of the atonement. (Don't get me started on the 3 levels of the celestial kingdom as this only further complicates the reconciliation).

I am not sure my current feelings sit well with a tiered heaven. Perhaps it would be better if it was red, green, and blue heaven and that your personality type etc. would determine where you fit in. That way going to heaven would represent a fulfillment of your best self, fulfilling the measure of your creation.

Sooo, is there a way to reconcile the atonement with the judgment and the tiered degrees of glory or am I better off not taking this vision of heaven so literally?
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2288&hilit=love+win ... l&start=20

It seemed to me that the only full recipients of the atonement (according to the theology of a tiered heaven) were those least in need of it.

I encourage you to read the response from StayLDS user mercyngrace found with the link above.

You are not alone. I have been where you are and it gets better.
"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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Katzpur
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Re: The thing that started it all

Post by Katzpur » 30 Mar 2020, 09:43

I'm fine with a tiered heaven -- in fact it makes sense to me -- provided there is the opportunity for upward movement. I've always been taught that there isn't, but I am not aware that the scriptures actually say that is to be the case. As with most of my beliefs, I go with what makes sense to me in light of what I believe a loving Father in Heaven would do.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

sknab
Posts: 9
Joined: 10 Dec 2019, 17:26

Re: The thing that started it all

Post by sknab » 30 Mar 2020, 11:02

I encourage you to read the response from StayLDS user mercyngrace found with the link above.

You are not alone. I have been where you are and it gets better.
Well, I've utterly neglected my work for the entire morning - and I have to say I've learned a lot. I read the whole thread and was able to identify some really helpful items as well as many more items that I need to study. Thanks for pointing me in this direction. After reading the thread, I have to say this is the first time in a long time that I see some glimmer of hope in "Staying LDS".

I have such a long way to go, my mind and heart are so far from knowing what to do that it almost seems pointless to try sometimes. This has helped me greatly and given me some more tools and resources to continue on. Thanks.

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LookingHard
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Re: The thing that started it all

Post by LookingHard » 30 Mar 2020, 15:45

I used to have some of those feelings. Since transitioning I don't feel that at all.

Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: The thing that started it all

Post by Roy » 01 Apr 2020, 15:52

sknab wrote:
30 Mar 2020, 11:02
Thanks for pointing me in this direction. After reading the thread, I have to say this is the first time in a long time that I see some glimmer of hope in "Staying LDS".
No problem. I felt similarly after I read those thoughts from mercyngrace 10 years ago.

I visualize the traditional LDS beliefs as a design for a building that represents a worldview. I experienced an earthquake that brought my personal traditionally LDS building and worldview to the ground. After my building collapsed (assumptive world collapse) I had to rebuild but i could not build an exact replica of what I had before. It would be considered foolish to rebuild with the same brittle materials that had left me vulnerable to the earthquake in the beginning. My inner sense of well being firmly rejected the idea. However, my building/worldview does not exist in isolation. Many of the people that form my social support groups are fluent in the LDS worldview and they would find it jarring for me to flagrantly reject those principles. In addition, the LDS world is my history and my heritage. I would wish to retain many LDS concepts for this reason alone. Therefore, I build my house as an amalgamation of current LDS teachings, some less well known LDS teachings from historical LDS leaders or LDS individuals that inspire my soul, and then a healthy sprinkling of ideas that I have picked up from non-LDS sources. I have ensured the my current building is flexible enough to endure a potential future earthquake but is LDS enough for me to meaningfully interact in the LDS world.

As you may have deduced, I am less focused on building my structure with ideas that might be "true" in an eternal and unchanging sort of way. My personal experience has demonstrated that sometimes accepting uncritically those things said to be "truths" can weaken my structure. I build with what is useful and practical and I trust in God to worry about the eternities.

It is a work in progress and I am continually open to new ideas in building.
"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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