Job

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
Post Reply
Old-Timer
Site Admin
Posts: 17060
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Job

Post by Old-Timer »

I like the story of Job as a reminder that material possessions have absolutely NOTHING to do with righteousness and as a refutation of the Prosperity Gospel - that God loves the richest and poorest (and everyone between the extremes) exactly alike, with no regard whatsoever for their economic situation - that one's economic situation has NOTHING to do with righteousness or "blessedness".

I loath the story of Job being used in any way that detracts from or denies those conclusions.

I also read the story as a grand, epic, allegorical poem - not as historically accurate. I see absolutely no reason to read it literally and important reasons not to do so.

In Sunday School today, we had input from the class members that turned what looked like might have been a literal, righteousness-focused lesson into what I summarized above - with historicity left to each person to decide.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ being lived and taught at the local level can be a balm that overrides broader issues for a lot of members who would struggle otherwise.
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
Roy
Posts: 6724
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Job

Post by Roy »

I have trouble with the happy ending. That he endured his test well and was compensated with double of everything that he lost (except for his kids, he later had an equal number of new kids to the children that he had lost).

I do like the lessons that can be drawn from his friends and comforters which are insistent that he must have done something to deserve his poor luck. I wish we could focus on that part of the lesson more.
"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
User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 7773
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Job

Post by DarkJedi »

The Jews see Job as allegorical, a sort of story with a moral. I agree that it's fine when used in the way Old Timer suggests, but my experience has (sadly) generally been different. I very much dislike using Job as an example of how one should act/react. I am not Job, I am me. I am also not Noah, Abraham, Peter, Paul - all who had different individual relationships with God - or anyone else depicted in stories. I have my own relationship with God.

Scholars believe there was no actual Job (or at least not one who individually suffered all of these things) but Job is an amalgamation of several stories into one "Job." That seems to make some sense and account for some of the more far out parts of the story.
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
Old-Timer
Site Admin
Posts: 17060
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Job

Post by Old-Timer »

Job also is the beginning of the poetry section of the Old Testament that later includes Jonah - another one I see as an epic allegory.
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
User avatar
nibbler
Posts: 4821
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Job

Post by nibbler »

Roy wrote: 07 Aug 2022, 15:07 I have trouble with the happy ending. That he endured his test well and was compensated with double of everything that he lost (except for his kids, he later had an equal number of new kids to the children that he had lost).
Yes, I've long felt that the ending undermines the moral of the beginning of the story. His hardships weren't related to his righteousness (or assumed lack thereof) but he bore the hardships faithfully and was prosperous in the end. Maybe there's a this life/the next life dynamic that people use to reconcile?

My head scratcher is that conceptually people at church know that bad things happen to good people, they know the moral from the beginning of the story of Job, they know that the Father makes the sun shine on the good and evil and sends rain on the just and unjust, etc. but in the very next sentence they can invoke the prosperity gospel.

I can imagine scenarios where we'll close a lesson on Job with a testimony about being more obedient to get an answer to a prayer.

The prosperity gospel is the background radiation that's ever-present in our cultural application of the gospel. I think most people at church would recognize that the prosperity gospel isn't right but they don't recognize how the prosperity gospel is manifest in what we say and believe.

I've been tempted to make a "That's the prosperity gospel" flag and raise it whenever I hear variants of it at church but I'm afraid my arm would get tired and fall off from holding it up for 2 hours. :twisted:
Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.
— Douglas Adams
AmyJ
Posts: 1084
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Job

Post by AmyJ »

Roy wrote: 07 Aug 2022, 15:07 I have trouble with the happy ending. That he endured his test well and was compensated with double of everything that he lost (except for his kids, he later had an equal number of new kids to the children that he had lost).

I do like the lessons that can be drawn from his friends and comforters which are insistent that he must have done something to deserve his poor luck. I wish we could focus on that part of the lesson more.
I admire the story of Job as a values examination to think about.

The biggest drawback to the story of Job is "what about his wife/wives"?
THEY lost children. Those woman have no place in the narrative - they aren't even mentioned in the background as mourning.

Job's decision as to "the best choices" (in the story) is to go hang out someplace FOR DAYS with his former best buddies.
Maybe he got cast out of the household by his wife/wives who wanted some empathy (maybe not).
Maybe there were cultural things at play (maybe not).

Maybe Job is OK with having children replacements as symbols of the loss and return of his property.

But I am not comfortable with the biggest untold story within Job's story being the story of how current generation dealt with that loss and raised the next generation - and there is nothing but numbers from that story in Job's narrative.
Watcher
Posts: 50
Joined: 12 Jul 2022, 08:39

Re: Job

Post by Watcher »

Old-Timer wrote: 07 Aug 2022, 10:16 I like the story of Job as a reminder that material possessions have absolutely NOTHING to do with righteousness and as a refutation of the Prosperity Gospel - that God loves the richest and poorest (and everyone between the extremes) exactly alike, with no regard whatsoever for their economic situation - that one's economic situation has NOTHING to do with righteousness or "blessedness".

I loath the story of Job being used in any way that detracts from or denies those conclusions.

I also read the story as a grand, epic, allegorical poem - not as historically accurate. I see absolutely no reason to read it literally and important reasons not to do so.

In Sunday School today, we had input from the class members that turned what looked like might have been a literal, righteousness-focused lesson into what I summarized above - with historicity left to each person to decide.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ being lived and taught at the local level can be a balm that overrides broader issues for a lot of members who would struggle otherwise.
Not to disagree but to offer a possible different view. Jesus taught many truths in parables. When asked why he used such references, he instructed his disciples that deep spiritual truths are “hidden” that can only be understood by those that are inspired by the Holy Spirit. I would suggest the possibility that Job is not as useful as history as it is given as revelation and prophesy concerning the righteous.

I would add at this point that the ancient understanding of the righteous are those that obey the law, participate in the sacred ordinances and keep the everlasting covenant (a reference from the ancient poetic format of Isaiah) which addresses wickedness (apostasy) as transgressing the law, changing the ordinances and breaking the everlasting covenant.

I also believe that Job makes a startling reference to Christ as servant vassal acting in behalf of the supreme Suzerain of heaven to oversee mankind and Satan’s effort to corrupt all of mankind. I see Job as a prophetic templet of the trial of the righteous endure through Satan’s temptations. I see the friends of Job as those that succumb to the discerptions of Satan and abandon the teachings of the Holy Spirit.
Roy
Posts: 6724
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Job

Post by Roy »

Yeah, if we have the freedom to not take Job literally then that opens the door to a whole world of interpretations. I particularly love that multiple competing and even contradictory interpretations can exist at the same time.
"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
User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 7773
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Job

Post by DarkJedi »

Roy wrote: 16 Aug 2022, 07:34 Yeah, if we have the freedom to not take Job literally then that opens the door to a whole world of interpretations. I particularly love that multiple competing and even contradictory interpretations can exist at the same time.
I too love this and it applies to most other scripture as well (including much of Isaiah). I believe such diversity of understanding is part of the plan. The path is different for each of us.
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
Post Reply