Just last october TSM and Elder Holland said the following:
The original Monson talk at the 15:15 mark
God’s love is there for you whether or not you deserve love
The original Holland talk at the 5:45 mark
God’s love is there for you whether or not you deserve it
The “transcript” from the Monson talk
God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love
The transcript from the Holland talk
God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]
So we have at least two recent examples that seem to say the opposite. Unfortunately - I agree that the main undercurrent in LDS culture is quid-pro-quo. The book "Believing Christ" does a good job of detailing scriptures from our own BoM detailing how the Atonement not only makes up for our failings but also credits us with Christ's perfection as long as we are on the right team in the end. The books author, Bro. Robinson, described his BYU college students as being "soft in the middle" and generally without a basic understanding of the atonement as our core doctrine. I was so overjoyed to have found this more loving - less transaction based depiction. I was then crestfallen when I looked these same BoM scriptures up in my institute and seminary manuals and found attempts to qualify and downplay the verses.
Maybe young 20 somethings can skate through the various church programs without such understanding, maybe they were passing notes in class or taking a nap when this subject was taught - but surely the people that speak in GC and those that put together the manuals would have a fair grasp on our core doctrine.
Instead I hear the atonement repeatedly reduced to an enabling power - like agency or air. I'm so glad I have air today that enables me to go to work and keep my job. I'm so glad that I have agency today that enables me to choose to go to work and keep my job.
[just in case you missed it, there was some sarcasm in my examples but I think you get the point]
Ray DeGraw wrote:When the whole talk is read, minus that sentence (and I mean eliminating that sentence completely), he meant that God doesn't bless everyone equally no matter what they do - that there is no foundation in the Church for the idea that we can confess the name of Christ, for example, and then do whatever we want to do and still receive the highest reward / result - that our actions have a real effect on what we can receive from God.
In other words, I think he believes that God loves us unconditionally but that he doesn't bless or reward unconditionally.
I agree. Our actions do not seem to be irrelevant. OTOH in this life God's supposed blessings seem to be all over the map. Bad things happen to good people etc. In the next life we get what we deserve, right? Except for the atonement again. It seems to me that the critical difference is in whether the power of the atonement is extended on our behalf or not. Are we justified by the perfection of Christ or are we left to our own performance. Where do we draw the line of demarcation to receive God's grace or is there a sliding scale? Is it possible that too much emphasis on personal performance actually becomes a rejection of God's grace, grieving the spirit of God, and leaving those individuals to their own devices. Is it possible that legalistic Mormons would go to the same kingdom that is inhabited by the Pharisees of old.
Interesting idea, but I don't take it too seriously. The God I believe in loves his children unconditionally and wouldn't eternally limit their progression just for being legalistic jerks.
"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