Regarding Tests of Loyalty

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Roy
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Re: Regarding Tests of Loyalty

Post by Roy » 18 Dec 2011, 13:24

On a slightly different take:
Curt Sunshine wrote:I probably will do whatever I personally believe God is telling me to do - but if it's illegal or something that goes totally against my deep convictions, I'll probably need a vision or more to believe it's coming from God. [snip & splice] Yes, there is a strong "follow the Prophet" meme in the LDS Church, but there also is a strong "seek personal revelation" meme, as well.
I think what Curt is saying is very similar to what I had once written here:
I am reminded of an Interfaith Gospel Study Group discussion that had some similarities. The subject was Romans 13:1-7 where it says that the government is ordained of God and you should obey it or face God's wrath.

I expressed how I would feel more comfortable with the phrase "the authorities that exist are permitted by God" rather than "the authorities that exist are appointed by God." That did not go over well with the Bible inerrancy crowd :o :shock: :?

What followed was a pretty good discussion where I did not get burned at the stake.

The meat of it was that if you personally disagree with some government action then you should appeal. This appeal can take many forms but the most productive involve voting, writing congress, starting petition, file a lawsuit, etc. If you get no satisfaction at one level you can usually appeal to the next. Your disagreement however, does not justify you in open rebellion and defiance of law.

That is all well and good for people who live under a democratic government with avenues for appeal, but what about dictatorships and others that oppress the citizenry. Think Nazi Germany!

If there are no avenues of appeal and your conscience goes against the establishment, there remains one last appeal- one that can never be stripped of you. Appeal to God. This is what I think some few Christians did in refused to become accomplices to the holocaust, some of which even lost their lives in helping their Jewish brothers and sisters.

So to bring it full circle...

If your priesthood leader (or anyone else) instructs you to do something that goes against the whisperings of the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ within you, Appeal!

And if that fails... Go with the Light of Christ!
In the event that personal revelation confirms the instruction of the priesthood leader, a choice will still need to be made. But at that point whatever the individual decides (even if it is to go along with the group), it can no longer be classified as “blind obedience.” It was a very personal and possibly soul wrenching decision.

And Curt ... Your street cred is always good with me... but on the street we refer to you as Big Pappa D! :D
"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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SilentDawning
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Re: Regarding Tests of Loyalty

Post by SilentDawning » 18 Dec 2011, 17:57

But when I hear of Nephi's "test" -- [if it was one] -- a quotation from Spencer W. Kimball comes to mind from the Miracle of Forgiveness. He mentions that although a person can be forgiven, someone guilty of "hienous sin" can't serve as a Bishop or Stake President. So, how can Nephi become a Prophet after being guilty of murder -- assuming he was acting on the basis of his own juddgment and conscience as Ray suggests?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Re: Regarding Tests of Loyalty

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Dec 2011, 20:23

He was the family leader at that point, so he could be whatever he wanted to be. As the saying goes, "It's good to be king." :shh:

Also, there was no church, so he didn't have to worry about the standards to be called as a Bishop. Prophets did all sorts of things back in the day that Bishops can't do now. :silent:
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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Re: Regarding Tests of Loyalty

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Aug 2020, 14:46

I am bumping up this post due to its inclusion of an extensive discussion about Nephi killing Laban - and because I said I would in another current post. :D
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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SilentDawning
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Re: Regarding Tests of Loyalty

Post by SilentDawning » 19 Aug 2020, 17:54

Since this thread has been made available in the queue, I want to ask a question.

I find it interesting to interpret the test as one that Abraham has failed. But what I don't get is this. If Abraham failed the test, then why did the Lord bless Abraham with the Abrahamic Covenant afterwards? Could someone help me understand how the blessings that flowed from the Abraham/Isaac experience came to be if you believe Abraham failed the test?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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nibbler
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Re: Regarding Tests of Loyalty

Post by nibbler » 19 Aug 2020, 18:02

Did Adam and Eve pass or fail their test?
Was what happened as a result a blessing or a curse?

We're all sinners, failing a test of sorts, yet we have been blessed with the atonement.

Another take...

If Abraham was good enough to pass the test, why would he need a blessing? The blessing could have been to make up for Abraham's shortcomings.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
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SilentDawning
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Re: Regarding Tests of Loyalty

Post by SilentDawning » 19 Aug 2020, 18:30

nibbler wrote:
19 Aug 2020, 18:02
Did Adam and Eve pass or fail their test?
Was what happened as a result a blessing or a curse?

We're all sinners, failing a test of sorts, yet we have been blessed with the atonement.

Another take...

If Abraham was good enough to pass the test, why would he need a blessing? The blessing could have been to make up for Abraham's shortcomings.
My understanding is that Abraham was given the test. He was about to follow through and sacrifice his only son. God intervened by providing a goat for the sacrifice. Then, God congratulated Abraham and gave him the blessing of descendents as numerous as the sands of the sea and many other blessings.

So Abraham didn't NEED a blessing, he was GIVEN additional blessings for his apparent loyalty in carrying out God's will. If you accept the interpretation that God tested Abraham's loyalty, and Abraham passed, it makes sense that God would then reward Abraham with the Abrahamic Covenant. If you accept the interpretation that Abraham failed the test, then it makes no sense that God would follow up with the Abrahamic covenent and reap blessings on Abraham for failing a test. We don't reward failure to pass tests, we reward the passing of tests.

The fact that God bestowed a big blessing on Abraham for being willing to sacrifice his Son seems to make the interetation that Abraham failed the test a non-starter. Perhaps Curt can clarify how the failed test interpretation and the subsequent blessing of Abraham with benefits of the Abrahamic Covenant can co-exist.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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DarkJedi
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Re: Regarding Tests of Loyalty

Post by DarkJedi » 20 Aug 2020, 07:36

SilentDawning wrote:
19 Aug 2020, 18:30
So Abraham didn't NEED a blessing, he was GIVEN additional blessings for his apparent loyalty in carrying out God's will. If you accept the interpretation that God tested Abraham's loyalty, and Abraham passed, it makes sense that God would then reward Abraham with the Abrahamic Covenant. If you accept the interpretation that Abraham failed the test, then it makes no sense that God would follow up with the Abrahamic covenent and reap blessings on Abraham for failing a test. We don't reward failure to pass tests, we reward the passing of tests.

The fact that God bestowed a big blessing on Abraham for being willing to sacrifice his Son seems to make the interetation that Abraham failed the test a non-starter. Perhaps Curt can clarify how the failed test interpretation and the subsequent blessing of Abraham with benefits of the Abrahamic Covenant can co-exist.
Like most things, I don't think it's quite so black and white. It's quite possible the story has been altered and things didn't happen the way they are depicted in the story. It is possible that Abraham could have "regressed" to some local traditions of the day (human sacrifice) and was about to participate in that ritual when God stopped him. Or perhaps God didn't stop him, perhaps he came to his senses and realized what a stupid idea it was. Maybe none of it happened and Abraham (the only primary source) made it all up or someone else made it all up. With the ambiguity of most scripture I don't think we can take the story at face value. How do we even know there is a covenant?

As to blessings/obedience/sin, if sinners weren't ever given blessings no one would ever get blessings. Joseph Smith had many faults - but was still blessed in many ways, including being a prophet.
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: Regarding Tests of Loyalty

Post by Roy » 23 Aug 2020, 09:23

You are correct that this is traditionally presented as a test of loyalty. I understand that God knows everything and does not need to test our loyalty. He can see what is in our heart. But the narrative is what it is and has been for at least the last 1000 years.
DarkJedi wrote:
20 Aug 2020, 07:36
Like most things, I don't think it's quite so black and white. It's quite possible the story has been altered and things didn't happen the way they are depicted in the story. It is possible that Abraham could have "regressed" to some local traditions of the day (human sacrifice) and was about to participate in that ritual when God stopped him. Or perhaps God didn't stop him, perhaps he came to his senses and realized what a stupid idea it was. Maybe none of it happened and Abraham (the only primary source) made it all up or someone else made it all up. With the ambiguity of most scripture I don't think we can take the story at face value. How do we even know there is a covenant?
I look at the story of Jacob (Abraham's grandson) and how he and his mother decided to trick his father into giving him the birthright over his brother Esau. That story is full of moral ambiguities, and that's the version that Jacob and his descendants went with. How would the story be different from the side of Esau and his family?

For me personally I desire to remain LDS. There are certain aspects of LDS interpretation that do not sit well with me. If I were to take it as an "all or nothing" "Take it or leave it" proposition then I would likely leave it behind. It has been helpful to me to give myself the freedom to reframe and reinterpret those things I disagree with. This allows me to create a version of Mormonism in my mind which I can support. This is a perfect example. I do not believe that God would ask his servant to murder his son. Period. End of Story. The beauty of it is that I do not have to. I can change the narrative to fit my conscience.

This will not sit well with some people. They take the approach that it is all true or none of it is. Therefore, they need it to all be true. I see this as a shaky position to be in (if anything is proven false, their whole world collapses). They tend to maintain that position with what might be called mental gymnastics. I do not begrudge them holding their position. I did the same once.

It is ok. We all build our assumptive worlds. My assumptive world is not quite reality. Neither is yours or anyone else's. That is ok.
"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: Regarding Tests of Loyalty

Post by DarkJedi » 23 Aug 2020, 10:13

I agree, Roy. The only way I've been able to "reconcile" and stay a member is through my recognition it's not all or nothing a there are many paradoxes and "ands" as opposed to "or." This also fits with another current thread, but paraphrasing Steinbeck, now that I don't have to be perfect I can be good.
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."

My Introduction

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