New Teaching: Qualification

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On Own Now
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New Teaching: Qualification

Post by On Own Now » 17 Apr 2019, 08:19

Christian theology has long had the concepts of Sanctification and Justification. Mormons needed a term. Enter Qualification.

The idea, apparently, is that we Mormons fall squarely on the Faith side of Faith vs Works, but also that we must be "qualified" to receive Grace.

It's not exactly a new idea, and it has been bantered about in GC's past, but it seems to be building steam and getting more dogmatic.

This last GC featured this concept heavily. It was best summarized by DGR:
DGR: ...you do not earn a blessing—that notion is false—but you do have to qualify for it.
But DGR wasn't the only one who used the term. Three other Apostles and the ENTIRE FP used it.

MRB highlighted that it's not a new concept:
MRB: For years the leadership purposes of the Church, as stated in Handbook 2, are outcomes that are clear and simple, from which I quote: "Leaders encourage every member to receive all essential priesthood ordinances, keep the associated covenants, and qualify for exaltation and eternal life."
GES:
Along the way you will most likely stumble and fall—perhaps many, many times. You are not perfect; falling is part of the qualifying process that allows you to refine your character and serve in a more compassionate way.
QLC referenced D&C 4, which I think has a different meaning of 'qualify'. In the context of that section, God sends out missionaries... what certificates or credentials to they have? "And faith, hope, charity, love and an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work". To me, this is addressing earthly qualification, and is different from the sense of being qualified in the eyes of God. But QLC steers it in the God direction:
QLC: Perfecting ourselves, qualifying ourselves for the blessings of covenants, and preparing to meet God are individual responsibilities.
HBE:
HBE: My purpose today is to teach what I know of how we can qualify for that [miraculous] feeling more often and invite it to last longer in our families.
HBE: I believe that he [an unnamed Apostle] would extend that happy hope to any of us in mortality who have done all we can to qualify ourselves and our family members for eternal life.
DHO, who always seems to view God through a legal lens:
DHO: Cleansed by repentance, we can qualify for eternal life
RMN... interestingly, in his Priesthood Session talk, he used the term in the negative sense, and elsewhere in the normal sense:
RMN: God has allowed us to take a vital step toward becoming more like Him. Satan understands this. He chafes at the fact that his premortal apostasy permanently disqualifies him from this privilege, leaving him in a constant state of jealousy and resentment.

RMN: So, what is required for a family to be exalted forever? We qualify for that privilege by making covenants with God, keeping those covenants, and receiving essential ordinances.

RMN: Those consummate blessings can come only by living in an exalted celestial realm with God, our Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and our wonderful, worthy, and qualified family members.

RMN: God’s objective should be our objective. He wants His children to choose to return to Him, prepared, qualified, endowed, sealed, and faithful to covenants made in holy temples.
In looking over the past several GCs, I note this from April 2016, DFU, which seems to stand in contrast to these later teachings:
DFU: [after recounting the Parable of the Lost Sheep]

Is it possible that Jesus’s purpose, first and foremost, was to teach about the work of the Good Shepherd?

Is it possible that He was testifying of God’s love for His wayward children?

Is it possible that the Savior’s message was that God is fully aware of those who are lost—and that He will find them, that He will reach out to them, and that He will rescue them?

If that is so, what must the sheep do to qualify for this divine help?

Does the sheep need to know how to use a complicated sextant to calculate its coordinates? Does it need to be able to use a GPS to define its position? Does it have to have the expertise to create an app that will call for help? Does the sheep need endorsements by a sponsor before the Good Shepherd will come to the rescue?

No. Certainly not! The sheep is worthy of divine rescue simply because it is loved by the Good Shepherd.

To me, the parable of the lost sheep is one of the most hopeful passages in all of scripture.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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DarkJedi
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Re: New Teaching: Qualification

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Apr 2019, 11:13

Interesting. Thanks for sharing, OON, especially the analysis. You've analyzed this GC far more than I have!

Here's my take on it. I do believe TCoJCoLDS has always been on the faith side of the faith vs. works debate BUT I think the message has long been clouded and perhaps even lost in the fluff of strict obedience and questions about how grace really works. As you point out, DFU seems to get it. I think others in the Q15 (and very likely the 70) also get it. I also believe many of the ideas came not from Joseph Smith, who was very likely a universalist, but from Protestant converts, and the main idea of works in the church mostly crept in after Joseph's death and due in no small part to Brigham Young. The problem now is one of reconciliation - how do we stay on the side of faith and make it seem like works are necessary (IOW, how do we make people want to keep the commandments)? My own belief is that works are demonstration of our faith, like baptism, but do not earn us anything. I think for those who don't understand the universality of grace, it is very difficult to talk the talk of faith only. I truly do not believe any of us qualify for any of the blessings of grace.

Nevertheless, it is clear the message the masses are hearing is one of works, or in this new parlance "qualification."
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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Roy
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Re: New Teaching: Qualification

Post by Roy » 17 Apr 2019, 11:39

qual·i·fy

VERB
qualified (past tense) · qualified (past participle)
be entitled to a particular benefit or privilege by fulfilling a necessary condition.
"they do not qualify for compensation payments"
synonyms:
be eligible · meet the requirements · be entitled to · be allowed · be permitted
become eligible for a competition or its final rounds, by reaching a certain standard or defeating a competitor.
"he failed to qualify for the Olympic team"
be or make properly entitled to be classed in a particular way.
"he qualifies as a genuine political refugee"
synonyms:
count · be counted · be considered · be designated · be characterizable · be eligible · meet the requirements of
It has the same root word for quality and I would think in a Mormon context "qualify" would be a synonym for "to become worthy for". Therefor "worthiness" interviews should be interchangable with "qualification" interviews.

In some sense I understand the distinction between earned and qualified. I cannot earn my relationship with my wife. Nothing I can do can entitle me to demand her love and affection - it must be given freely. In the same vein, I am sure that there are some actions that I could take that would disqualify me from continuing to be married to her. So there is a combination of me continuing to do things that make me easier to love and her consenting to give her love without compulsion.

It is an interesting doctrinal question. God and Jesus together made exaltation possible. Therefore they have the perogotive to decide who to give it to and who not to. They could decide to save everybody or one person. They can set whatever requirements or draw whatever line they please.
"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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Re: New Teaching: Qualification

Post by Roy » 17 Apr 2019, 11:49

DarkJedi wrote:
17 Apr 2019, 11:13
My own belief is that works are demonstration of our faith, like baptism, but do not earn us anything. I think for those who don't understand the universality of grace, it is very difficult to talk the talk of faith only. I truly do not believe any of us qualify for any of the blessings of grace.
A pastor friend of mine compares being saved to having a season pass to Disney Land. He says that some people act like they are just happy to get inside and sit contently on the benches by the entrance. The life abundant consists of riding the rides. Stop hugging the wall. The admission that Jesus purchased for us is all inclusive. Go out and utilize it to bring a harvest of good works and glory unto him!
"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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dande48
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Re: New Teaching: Qualification

Post by dande48 » 17 Apr 2019, 12:38

What does "being saved" actually mean? Is it having a hopeful promise of being saved in the future? Freedom from a particular sin? All sins? Feeling consistently happy? Feeling consistently at peace? I have difficulty with the phrase "I've been saved", because all definitions I can think of only apply after death, or are temporary states of our current condition.

"Qualified" feels like a politically correct synonym for "worthy".
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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Re: New Teaching: Qualification

Post by Roy » 18 Apr 2019, 09:42

I understand "being saved" in the context that most of my Christian friends use it as being inducted into team Jesus with all the trappings. For the rest of your life, any "mistake" you might make is already known and paid for as long as you do not sever yourself from the team.
"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: New Teaching: Qualification

Post by DarkJedi » 18 Apr 2019, 09:58

Roy wrote:
18 Apr 2019, 09:42
I understand "being saved" in the context that most of my Christian friends use it as being inducted into team Jesus with all the trappings. For the rest of your life, any "mistake" you might make is already known and paid for as long as you do not sever yourself from the team.
And this actually fits Latter-day Saint theology as well. We believe all of those things.

Outside our church I think it does have some varying meanings, but I think it is essentially as Roy says.

I agree Dande, I think the qualification thing is just trying to be more politically correct, if that's the right term. There's a hymn that bugs me. I actually love the hymn except for one line (and I better love it because our lame pianist plays it at least once a month). The line is "then when we have proven worthy of that sacrifice divine..." Our theology is that we are all worthy of that sacrifice - that's the grace part we get right, the atonement of Christ applies to everybody, we will all be resurrected, etc. If they keep that hymn I hope they change those words - but meanwhile I think using qualification instead of worthiness makes a distinction in a case like that. (FWIW, I don't know how they would change that line "then when we have qualified for the Celestial kingdom" doesn't have the same ring or meaning related to the sacrament.)
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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dande48
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Re: New Teaching: Qualification

Post by dande48 » 18 Apr 2019, 10:55

Roy wrote:
18 Apr 2019, 09:42
I understand "being saved" in the context that most of my Christian friends use it as being inducted into team Jesus with all the trappings. For the rest of your life, any "mistake" you might make is already known and paid for as long as you do not sever yourself from the team.
Does that mean according to LDS doctrine, everyone is on "team Jesus" by default? It all still feels like a grey area to me.
DarkJedi wrote:
18 Apr 2019, 09:58
Our theology is that we are all worthy of that sacrifice - that's the grace part we get right, the atonement of Christ applies to everybody, we will all be resurrected, etc. If they keep that hymn I hope they change those words - but meanwhile I think using qualification instead of worthiness makes a distinction in a case like that.
It's interesting to me the distinction we often find in Church between "worth" and "worthy", as if someone could have one but not the other. As if the Bishop could say, "You're not worthy to enter the temple", but would never say, "You don't have enough worth to enter the temple", despite the fact they mean the same thing. It's a funny distinction. Maybe that's why they're using the word "qualification", but it still feels just as discriminatory.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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DarkJedi
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Re: New Teaching: Qualification

Post by DarkJedi » 18 Apr 2019, 11:34

dande48 wrote:
18 Apr 2019, 10:55
Roy wrote:
18 Apr 2019, 09:42
I understand "being saved" in the context that most of my Christian friends use it as being inducted into team Jesus with all the trappings. For the rest of your life, any "mistake" you might make is already known and paid for as long as you do not sever yourself from the team.
Does that mean according to LDS doctrine, everyone is on "team Jesus" by default? It all still feels like a grey area to me.
DarkJedi wrote:
18 Apr 2019, 09:58
Our theology is that we are all worthy of that sacrifice - that's the grace part we get right, the atonement of Christ applies to everybody, we will all be resurrected, etc. If they keep that hymn I hope they change those words - but meanwhile I think using qualification instead of worthiness makes a distinction in a case like that.
It's interesting to me the distinction we often find in Church between "worth" and "worthy", as if someone could have one but not the other. As if the Bishop could say, "You're not worthy to enter the temple", but would never say, "You don't have enough worth to enter the temple", despite the fact they mean the same thing. It's a funny distinction. Maybe that's why they're using the word "qualification", but it still feels just as discriminatory.
I don't think in their minds worth and worthy mean the same thing. Just saying.

I think the theology (I won't call it doctrine because it is cloudy) is that we are all "saved" (resurrected, will be assigned a glory, etc.) through the atonement of Christ and that while we may not all necessarily be on "Team Jesus" right now, eventually "every knee will bow and every tongue will confess." The qualification/worthiness then is which of those kingdoms is each individual worthy of/qualified for?

Personally I don't believe in the whole three kingdoms stuff and I believe the atonement of Christ extends far beyond resurrection, judgement, etc. I believe we are all saved through Christ. Period. That's why I say I am a universalist. I know just a bit ago I said I was a unitarian. I'm both of those and a deist as well, but I am not a Unitarian Universalist, which is a somewhat different animal. With my beliefs I'd fit in at the Unitarian Universalists, but almost anyone would even if they're not unitarian or universalist.
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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Re: New Teaching: Qualification

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Apr 2019, 12:11

And then there is the concept that "whom the Lord calls, he qualifies". I see qualifying as becoming able - which fits both eternal progression and grace quite well

Words are amorphous and squishy. It is fascinating to watch how they are changed occasionally to mean the exact same thing AND different things. It is one of my favorites parts of social studies.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

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.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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