Families are Forever/Letter to Myself

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Roy
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Families are Forever/Letter to Myself

Post by Roy » 14 Mar 2022, 13:10

I recently saw a testimonial on an LDS Facebook group.

It read, "In Mosiah we are told that we need to be diligent to win the prize. Among my most sought after "prizes" is to be with my family for eternity. One of the ways that I have tried to be very diligent is through my temple attendance.... I know that if we are faithful and diligent that we will have many blessings."

It just made me sad. I feel that we tend to paint other religions with a "till death do we part" brush. The BoM came out strong against the teaching that unbaptized infants might end up in hell. Similarly, we position our temple work as a perfect solution to churches that might teach that people that grew to adulthood but never had the opportunity to be baptized or accept the gospel. This was incredibly inclusive and merciful for the time period.

This brings me back to the Facebook post. I am just having a hard time seeing this woman working hard to be diligent and faithful enough to win the prize of being able to be with her family as faith promoting. Maybe this is all just a commentary of where I am in my faith journey. I just feel that the eternal nature and significance of my relationships with my family are an assumed given.

I think I see too much of myself in this person. I remember testifying about tithing as a form of insurance. I could not be everywhere present to protect my family, but If I paid my tithing and was faithful, I could enlist God to do the job on my behalf. In a way it was a demonstration of my love for my family and my deep seated need to feel like I had control over things that I did not have control over.

I am having a bit of an epiphany in the act of writing this post. "Hello younger version of me. You are so earnest and determined and also deluded and completely unaware of your limits. Hello boundless optimism of youth. I respect your efforts to care for those around you. You make some important contributions that, looking back from the perspective of history, will yield good fruits. Know that you make a difference. I forgive you for the things that you do not yet know and for the mistakes that you can't help but make. I love you."
"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: Families are Forever/Letter to Myself

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Mar 2022, 05:30

This is one of the great Paradoxes in the church (which reminds me to recommend Terryl Givens' People of Paradox, one of his more academic and lesser known works that I think is well worth the read). On the one hand we believe that grace and mercy are universal and there is no way to "earn" our way into heaven, yet people all around us are trying to do just that by "following the prophet" and "keeping the commandments" (among other things).

I've had a few conversations with an active friend of late about church attendance (or lack thereof) post-COVID*. My point of view is that some people realized after being away from church that long that they didn't really need the church and/or they don't get that much out of it. However, that was true for some people even pre-COVID. Some of us had already matured in our faith enough to recognize the paradoxes and pick a side. For others COVID was a maturing event. Still others are not yet there.

I currently see my whole faith crisis and transition as a maturing sequence/event/process. My personal faith is way different than it was similar to the younger version of you that you describe. In some ways it's also way stronger.


*For the record I don't believe we are yet post-COVID.
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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AmyJ
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Re: Families are Forever/Letter to Myself

Post by AmyJ » 15 Mar 2022, 11:47

Roy wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 13:10
I am having a bit of an epiphany in the act of writing this post. "Hello younger version of me. You are so earnest and determined and also deluded and completely unaware of your limits. Hello boundless optimism of youth. I respect your efforts to care for those around you. You make some important contributions that, looking back from the perspective of history, will yield good fruits. Know that you make a difference. I forgive you for the things that you do not yet know and for the mistakes that you can't help but make. I love you."
This resonated with me. I have a very active younger sister that I relate to the most in our family. She is "good" about not really preaching to me, and values my faith boundaries appropriately. I tell myself something like what you are saying above whenever I want to make a mean/faith diminishing comment to her.

Conversely, I have a quasi-running conversation with an atheist sister who is very bitter about the church and our parents' involvement in it while we were all growing up. I am first to admit that the church teachings and church doctrine did my sister no favors whatsoever. I think that our family would have broken apart and fragmented in worse ways (more abuse, isolationism, alcoholism/substance abuse issues, etc.) without the church members and some of the church teachings. It's really hard to unpack trauma that the church brings vs trauma that would have happened otherwise to have a more nuanced perspective.

For me, the concept of "Families are Forever" brings more questions then it does answers. This past summer, I was more involved in online stuff with my parents - and it drove my husband absolutely nuts (there was other stuff going on too) - but it begs the question, "How close are these eternal families?" With my current understanding of all relationships, my husband and I do best with several hours distance between us and our parents or siblings. It gets awkward talking to my mom more then about 1x a week on the phone because I don't have anything to say.
I am one of the "lucky" ones in that I have decent, boundaried relations with my in-laws and parents. My mother hasn't seen her father alive since she was 2, and doesn't really want to be in a "forever family" with him right now (if ever) because she doesn't know him and has no desire/opportunity to get to know him further (he is dead and family lore says he was quite a character).

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nibbler
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Re: Families are Forever/Letter to Myself

Post by nibbler » 16 Mar 2022, 06:13

This comic is from a public facebook page. It's by Samantha Richardson. I chanced across this recently and I hope they don't mind me sharing their art here, I think it relates.
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You can’t run from all your problems, but it will help you lose weight.

Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
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Re: Families are Forever/Letter to Myself

Post by Roy » 16 Mar 2022, 08:27

That was really cool nibbler. Thanks for sharing it.
"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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LDS_Scoutmaster
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Re: Families are Forever/Letter to Myself

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 24 Apr 2022, 20:23

Roy wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 13:10
"Hello younger version of me. You are so earnest and determined and also deluded and completely unaware of your limits. Hello boundless optimism of youth. I respect your efforts to care for those around you. You make some important contributions that, looking back from the perspective of history, will yield good fruits. Know that you make a difference. I forgive you for the things that you do not yet know and for the mistakes that you can't help but make. I love you."
This is so true. Well said.

And the cartoon was spot on.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.

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