Do Ye Also to Them Likewise, Part 2


SunsetClouds“Abuse,” in these discussions, covers the general concept of departure from the golden rule (along with “evil,” “wickedness,” “iniquity,” and so on). “Good” is that intent which adheres to the golden rule. An abuser is one who does not keep the golden rule. “Faith” is trust, or belief coupled with acting on that belief – putting someone in a position from which they can abuse you.

The golden rule analysis is as simple as “is that what I would want done to me?”

Do you want to be sold to or do you want to be given to?

Given.

Do you want to be given to with expectations of reciprocity or given to freely without expectations of reciprocity?

Given to freely without expectation of reciprocity.

Therefore, do not sell, but rather give without expectation of reciprocity.

And if one sees a need, and is able to assist in meeting it, then one should do so.

One may make a request of another, according to the golden rule, when it is a request one would want to grant, if one were in the circumstances of the other. After all, the golden rule implies all requests should be granted, and one would not want a burdensome request made of oneself.

We want exchanges, if they must occur, to result in an increase in value to us compared to our status before the exchange. Therefore if we perform an exchange of stuff for stuff it should be of greater value to the other person; all our deals must be “good” deals to the other person, which means we should take a loss in our own eyes.

A problem is that not everyone necessarily may assess value equally due to experiential variance, so money for stuff is generally not an exchange certain to produce the requisite imbalance of value towards the other person’s favor. And the same analysis holds for bartering or trading, so the golden rule seems to preclude exchanging stuff for stuff. (Money is “the most marketable stuff” anyways.)

So the golden rule seems to be the end of economics, and is the foundation of Zion and universal harmony. The golden rule seems to imply gift giving, without reciprocity, is the rule, with I believe one obvious exception – when it is possible to assure a perfectly equitable exchange, the only type of exchange possible where both parties follow the golden rule, since both would be seeking the other’s benefit.

How can there be an assuredly perfectly equitable exchange between parties?

When it’s all-for-all. And this typically can’t be an exchange of limited resources, since party A will have resources X, and party B will have resources Y, and it’s pretty well assured X does not equal Y and / or A values X differently than B values Y (why “stuff for stuff” doesn’t come up to snuff). Therefore, such an exchange seems to necessarily be of unlimited resources on both parties’ parts, the totality of all they are and have.

And that is exactly the exchange God offers us.

If we will give him ourselves and all we have, withholding nothing, he will give us himself and all he has, withholding nothing. The exchange is perfectly equitable. And he will make us equal to him in all things. (Secret combinations as seen in the Book of Mormon are an obvious counterfeit of this exchange.) This is the root of the Atonement, how it works, and what it does. Since nobody wants to enter into an all-for-all exchange with an abuser – one who will withhold something, seeking their own advantage – it must be shown that both parties are trustworthy, or faithful, in all things. And God, through Christ, has proven his faithfulness by demonstrating he will / does / can keep the golden rule in all circumstances and in every possible extremity.

And if you will give him all you have and are, he will write his law into your heart that you, too, are able to keep the golden rule in all circumstances and in every possible extremity. And once this is written into your heart by fire, light, and unspeakable joy, he will test you, giving you every incentive to act as an abuser, putting you in every situation to both abuse or be abused, that you may learn to distinguish abuse from good and show you will choose the good in all circumstances and in every possible extremity.

Do you now see a little better exactly what you witnessed to God, angels, and those sitting next to you when you took the sacrament?

9 Responses

  1. Log: I know you won’t add a comment but I have to ask. You and I work in a Babylonian-based society. I’m going to make the assumption you shared this with the intention we apply this in real-world situations. In other words, we should allow others to abuse us because they will. That’s the rule of Babylonian economics. So what?
    What I get from your excellent essay is, I am obligated to allow myself to be abused or taken advantage of, because it is the golden rule. Never mind that my partners in this Babylonian enterprise do not live the golden rule. That is not my concern. In the end, God will justify and reward me according to my obedience to the golden rule.
    Never mind that I may suffer both economic and even physical loss in the transactions we engage in together. And never mind that my family may suffer as a result of my obedience to the golden rule which results in my abyss. They share in that abuse – not in giving but in receiving.
    Bottom line, we willingly agree to suffer at the hands of our abusers when we engage in Babylonian economics because we do not yet live in Zion. We live in Babylon. In the meantime, the abusers in our commerce transactions not only abuse us, they also abuse our families and will receive their reward eventually. Although most likely not in this life.
    I would love to know your thoughts, Log even if you share them privately. Thank you again for this excellent, thoughtful essay.

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  2. tmalonemcse I have an answer for you, Tim. You can apply the golden rule without allowing people to run all over you. Remember that Jesus didn’t always stay silent in the midst of maltreatment. There was a time and a place for everything. A time to allow the rulers to misjudge him and a time to whip the money changers in the temple. He always did what people needed the most.

    The thing is, abusers do not see themselves as abusers. Because they are not the ones feeling the sting of their actions, they are not likely to see a problem in their actions. But people do want to do the right thing. It is in our nature which is why we try so hard to justify our bad behavior. That is why the Lord gave us the laws of justification and of forgiveness in Doctrine and Covenants 98. It is a way to treat abusers fairly.

    If someone is perpetuating abuse of any kind, they deserve a fair trial. In other words, you cannot judge them without waiting for two or three witnesses to be provided. Each time a person offends you and you bear it patiently, this acts as a testimony against them. Once you have three testimonies against them, as is outlined in section 98, you can be reasonably sure you are understanding the situation correctly. This is when you are justified in acting against them. At this point, you are justified in doing whatever is necessary to shut down the abusive behavior, whether it is to take legal action, stop supporting them, or other uses of force.

    So yes, we are obligated to suffer abuses, but only to a certain extent. The Lord does not want his righteous followers extinguished completely, which is what would happen if they never defended themselves at all. The Nephites were not required to do so and neither are we.

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  3. Log and Tim


    I hope I have misunderstood your thesis. I fear
    that it is this kind of interpretation that keeps women in abusive
    relationships…. sometimes for years…. at the expense of themselves
    and their children.  

Did you know that the average multiple stays for
    women and their children, who have to hide out in crisis shelters, is 12
    before the woman has the courage, or guts, or comes out of  “Woo Woo
    Land,” to leave the jerk?
     
    She may have stayed in the
    relationship for many reasons but some of those women tip toe around…
    living the “Golden Rule” (or what they think it is) and treating the
    jerk with Christ like attributes, praying and hoping things change. They
    put their physical and emotional life on the line as well as the lives
    of their children…both physically and emotionally, while remaining the
    “Victim.”  Are you saying… they should take the abuse?
      

    As
    you can see… you hit a hot button with me.  I disagree that you have
    put up with abuse to prove you are a Saint. I think the “Golden Rule”
    can be grossly misunderstood and we need to be careful how it is taught!


    Yes…
    I do want to be sold to.  I don’t agree with the “Give me, Give me”
    attitude.  Why should I expect anything without fair exchange even it
    the exchange is not equal.  What every the exchange, I want to be
    treated kindly and not scammed.  A wise person always over delivers….
    and in Babylon that is considered good business.  (On the other hand…
    the taker can always perceived that what ever the exchange… it will
    never be good enough.)  Which seems to be typical with the “Entitlement”
    generation.  We are not in Zion yet!


    Personally, I believe,
    once a gift is given… it is no longer mine.  Making demands on how the
    gift is used or treated is not appropriate. What they do with the gift
    is none of my business.  I want to give gifts freely, with no attachment
    or reciprocity.
    

However…there are some gifts which are not
    free…. Resurrection is free… but Eternal life is not “Freely given
    without expectations,” as it seems you insinuate in your thesis.  The
    only thing that is free is the OPPORTUNITY to climb Jacobs latter…
    starting in this life or the life to come.  Repentance, baptism, and
    keeping the commandments is the the exchange for the blessing of Eternal
    Life.  And, only He is the judge of the exchange.  


    I’m
    curious… if the definition of The Golden Rule “is that what I would
    want done to me,” does it include: “I want to be handcuffed to the bed
    to have sex and cut with knives, and I will treat you the same what
    because I judge what you want…. by want I desire?” Hmmmm…  Things
    can get real spooky.


    Personally, I’m not sure we can really put
    a clear definition on “The Golden Rule because of the complexities. 
    It’s a little like… What is the definition of Love.  What is the
    definition of Forgiveness.  These are concepts that are deep and broad
    and we probably only learn them through experience, trial and error and
    through inspiration.
     In the meantime… We need to do the best
    we can to be kind, considerate, give when and where we can and be guided
    by the spirit.  I don’t think we can ever live the Golden Rule
    completely until we reach Zion.  Even Enoch separated his people from
    Babylon to put on the finishing touches on a Celestial society.
       
    I’m interested in how others interpret “The Golden Rule” based on this thesis.

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  4. I thought this was a thought provoking post. I may be wrong and I know log will not comment but I took this as more of an economics based paper than anything else. I took “abuse” to refer to perhaps the abuse in different exchanges when those exchanges are not equitable.
    Perhaps the types of abuse that Kathryn mentioned were not the types that log was referring to since this seemed to be from part one to part two an economics based paper about “buying and selling”.
    One thing I would like to see, and I know that log and I already had a long discussion on this in a previous post, is a definition of the golden rule when it is presented. This would bring a little clarification because the golden rule usually is stated “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
    Whereas I feel like some Christians think of the golden rule as the first two commandments, and I believe there are a lot of differences between the two definitions and what they imply for us.
    In one way it can be looked at like log said that I give everything to God, and therefore God gives everything to me, sounds equitable enough. On the other hand what I can offer God He does not need, I can do nothing of myself, and He does not gain anything at all in the exchange, save the joy of a returning soul, and yet we are benefitted to an infinite degree. This can sound very inequitable.
    This is the beauty of capitalism. If two consenting and capable people agree upon an exchange, it it just. Period. As long is there is no duress or coercion. Mercy is just only because of this principle. We do not earn eternal life by merit, only because of the merit of another. It is just because all parties agree, although it can be perceived as completely inequitable.
    Great post log it was very thought provoking. We must also be equitable and loving and just towards ourselves! We can abuse and diminish ourselves if we do not have love for ourselves. So many different variables to this.

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  5. Minorityofone 
    You said, “[God] does not gain anything at all in the exchange, save the joy of a returning soul, and yet we are benefited to an infinite degree. This can sound very inequitable.” 
    Not at all. The “joy of a returning soul” IS everything, the great work of Elohim, the family of Elohim. Thus, Elohim give all.

    “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

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  6. Kathryn, I’d like to share something with you that makes many people uncomfortable but that I believe is true. The Lord taught me that men are supposed to be the spiritual leaders but that women often take on this role instead and in doing so make it difficult for the men to do it. Let me explain what I mean.
    The scriptures teach us a lot about turning the other cheek and patiently enduring wrongs. These are instructions mainly for leaders. As a perfect example for how we should follow, the Lord gave us little children.
    Little children emulate their leaders. They do what they see their parents do, not what their parents say. Women are supposed to follow men this way, reflecting back to the men what they see them doing, not just following the things they say.
    When women turn the other cheek, the men don’t suffer the consequences for their actions and so they tend to be blinded and simply feel that they aren’t doing anything wrong. When was the last time you saw a little kid turn the other cheek? If they are the perfect example of the kind of person welcome in the kingdom of heaven, maybe we should be treating our leaders, inside and outside of the home, just like they do. Maybe if we did, fewer men would feel okay about abusing women, emotionally or physically.

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  7. MeiliTurnblomTark 
    I agree with your premise in your first paragraph.
    From my previous comment, you may think that I believe men are jerks and abusers.  I do not… in fact, I believe since the 70’s push for women’s lib… men get a bum rap.  I don’t think they know where they stand some times and are often confused.
    For instance… Let’s say a man asks a woman for a date.  Does he open the car door for her… or does he not?  If he opens the car door for one date… she may think it is condescending because “she is perfectly capable of getting in the car without all the hoopla… thank you very much.” On the other hand… if he does not open the door for the next date… She may think his is a louse without manners. The poor guy can’t win.
    

In the 70’s and since then, I have seen so many ads on TV that are condescending to men.  For instance, I saw a Tide soap ad where a wife was trying to teach her husband how to do the wash.  Her tone and attitude was very condescending and she rolled her eyes as if to say… “The poor thing is not capable doing the wash.”  In fact, I will not buy Tide today, simply because of that stupid ad.  If women were treated like that in ads… oh boy… there would be an up roar.
    I am also so annoyed when comments are made in the Church as such:  “Women have children… and so God had to give men something to do, so God gave them the the Priesthood.” As if Priesthood was the “Booby Prize” Excuse Me?


    I dislike the fact that Mother’s day is over done… even in our LDS meetings, while Father’s get a token of appreciation on Fathers day.  In fact, I’m so annoyed, I usually boycott the Mother’s day meeting.
     
    The other thing that bothers me is the concept or tradition that men are not sensitive and have compassion, and are less spiritual etc.  Women are the heart and men are the head.  Nonsense!  Christ was the example of all traits.
    “Roles” we place gender in are rediculous.  Men can be just as spiritual as women… as witnessed on this blog… and Woman can be just as smart and capable as men. 
    I think both men and women have all the traits to become Gods. They simple choose to take roles for the purpose of ease and convenience and compatibility.  Roles are strengthened through use… but any role can rise to the surface when needed.
    

I think men are wonderful, especially those who recognized and express their own powerful spirituality, sensitivity and compassion.  I would love to be a companion to such a man.  And I think men generally appreciate a “low maintenance woman” who can made decisions, stand on her own two feet and don’t whine all the time or make unreasonable demands.
     
    With all that being said,  I don’t think men are honored enough in a healthy manner.  And like you said… perhaps if they were… we would not see so much abuse.  

On the other hand…. an unrighteous man can be dangerous to women and children, simply because of their physical strength and “macho” training through years of false education…and tradition. 
    
Here is the key.  D&C 121:41-46.  I know they have what it takes to be this  kind of man…. it is inherent in their spiritual nature…some just may not recognize it and some women may not acknowledge it.  I say… “Yea… for the guys who really know who they are and women who salute their greatness.

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  8. I agree, Kathryn, except I would say that men and women do have different roles, just not necessarily the ones generally accepted.
    When I had been married about 7or 8 years I realized that my marriage had gone dead. I had very little desire to be around my husband. One of the things the Lord pointed out to me was that when a man and woman are dating, the pressure is on the man to please the woman. That’s when the two fall in love. But then when they get married, the expectations are turned on their head and the woman is expected to please the man. That’s when things go stale.
    That is just one example of the true roles of men and women. If we really understood them, we would avoid many of the mistakes that cause unhappiness in marriage and we could even cut down on abuse. It’s not a case of “bad man” and “victim woman” (or vice versa in some cases) as we tend to think.

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  9. As I note in part 3, we are permitted to defend ourselves after the first offense if we have neither revenged nor reviled. We can forgive those who have abused us and yet depart from their presences permanently because of the well-founded expectation that we will be abused yet again, such as when the offending parties continue to offend, do not fully confess, neither repent. Partial confession is insufficient, and continued offenses, including pestering, despite direct requests to stop indicates abusive intent.

    That is why I ignore certain requesters.

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