The Ideology of God


christ-healingThe fundamental problem of government is “How do you produce a society that doesn’t tear itself apart eventually?”

The solution is charity, a change of nature whereby we feel no fear nor shame and seek to harm none nor build ourselves up, but take pleasure in doing good to all.

Moroni 7:45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

The behavior of charity is described succinctly: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Thus all conflicts have been resolved before they even arise.

As an aside, “is kind” means “treats you like family.” So if y’all think I deploy rough language out here, you might guess it’s even more interesting in person. And you’d be right. We reward witticisms in my house, including clever put-downs, and don’t scruple to use four-letter words. After all, do you want someone dictating to you what speech you shall and shall not be allowed to use, particularly in your own home? Me neither. And we like to laugh.

JesusTeachingMy writings on the golden rule have been, strictly speaking, having a spot of fun. Most of the interesting implications of the rule were already made explicit in the Sermon on the Mount, which, if you will notice, is chiefly about conflict resolution – always in favor of our enemies! And it is in obeying these teachings that we come to know the principle that underlies them all, which is the golden rule, or charity.

The golden rule is the ideology of God. God is charity, after all (1 John 4:8, 16).

3 Nephi 15:9 Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.

He’s asking us to be principled – to obey the law, the golden rule, without judging (i.e., without respect to outcomes – without appealing to “workability” or consequences or worthiness). To take his covenant and instructions as a “suicide pact,” for it is.

Doctrine and Covenants 98:14
14 Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.

This is in opposition to a philosophy we have been spoon-fed since our infancy: paternalism.

Paternalism

Paternalism is the interference of a state or an individual with another person, against their will, and defended or motivated by a claim that the person interfered with will be better off or protected from harm. – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

paternalism-cartoonPaternalism is, at its most basic essence, meddling with others out of fear of pain / discomfort / negative results. It is justified by a claim to be seeking after the welfare of the person whose choices or results are being meddled with. Paternalism is outcome-driven, or, in other words, goal-oriented.

Paternalism, being rooted in fear, is therefore an enemy to charity, and has natural allies in judgementalism, laziness, and cowardice.

So what pains are we avoiding by preventing others from experiencing the consequence of, or by compelling or coercing, their choices, while claiming we are acting in their best interests? It ranges from as light as not wanting to be alone in one’s beliefs, to not wanting to endure the sympathetic emotional pain we might feel in seeing another suffer, or perhaps hoping to avoid that grief which comes from separation, or perhaps the pain of having our expectations or wills thwarted, and anything else in between.

Paternalism, as I use the word, also covers our failure to execute our word by appealing to benevolent intent. For example, maybe we withhold our substance from another, justifying ourselves by thinking they need to hit rock bottom so they’ll get help and no longer be where they are, when our real fear is that the core doctrine of Babylon, “limited resources,” or “economic scarcity,” sometimes rendered TANSTAAFL, is true, and if we give to them then we would have to give to others and then we wouldn’t have enough for ourselves. So long, Zion.

nanny-stateThe point is that it is ourselves that we are protecting by acting paternalistically. That is why by making the proposal to save even those who sinned against the Holy Ghost, Lucifer marked himself as an unsuitable candidate to be the Messiah. Lucifer proposed to save those who had knowingly, with eyes open, cast the Holy Spirit out of their hearts, betrayed both God and their fellow man, covered their betrayal by turning accusers of God – traitors always justify themselves by blaming the betrayed – and sought for death as diligently as they once sought for life. Salvation is, of course, to possess charity – he would have compelled that change of nature upon those who had knowingly and competently rejected it, and thus they would be saved.

You can see this is paternalistic, and apparently benign. What’s in it for him? What’s he protecting himself from? At a minimum, the pains of separation from those who willingly choose death.

Paternalism was the original error.

And if you have eyes to see it, paternalism may be found in surprising places. Like this, which I just read recently.

Learn to Be More Wise than We Have Been

Mosiah 4:14 And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.

“Neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God.” In modern English, “You won’t allow your children to transgress the laws of God.”

That completely contradicts the point of my recent essay on Hedging the Law, and I was rather startled until it occurred to me: “what was the result?” After all, paternalism predictably generates rebellion and disunity.

That’s there, too.

Mosiah 26:1-4
1 Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers.

2 They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ.

3 And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened.

4 And they would not be baptized; neither would they join the church. And they were a separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal and sinful state; for they would not call upon the Lord their God.

king-benjaminBecause their parents followed the instructions of King Benjamin, and sought to circumscribe their choices or even compel or coerce obedience to God’s commandments, many of the children rebelled and would not believe. I’ve been there, myself, for that very reason.

King Benjamin meant well, and it speaks volumes for his integrity and righteousness that he not only tolerated, but cooperated with the prophets in establishing peace in the land (Words of Mormon 1:16-18); indeed, his integrity and righteousness were why he was sent an angel, which marks the priesthood he was a member of (D&C 107:20). So often the prophets have been persecuted and rejected by those in authority as challenging said authority.

But from the vantage of the golden rule – for “this is the law and the prophets” – we see the hidden lesson: paternalism doesn’t work, even while it drives for results.

Hence, this.

Mormon 9:31
31 Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.

If you love someone, set them free. Accept them for who and what they are. Don’t meddle with them; don’t impose upon them; if you wish to bless them, offer the blessing to them, which allows them to reject it if they wish; if they refuse the blessing, go your way. Grant their requests without judgement, and give only what they ask for, agree to, or demand (JST Matthew 5:41-43).

Thus we follow the ideology of God, becoming truly principled, acting according to the rule, regardless of the consequences to ourselves; thus we show ourselves worthy to be Gods.

(Why only what they ask for, agree to, or demand? Because if you give an enemy more unbidden, they will despise you, seeing it as you trying to curry their favor; to them you will seem to be a bootlicking, ass-kissing weakling unworthy of respect. From that vantage point, you cannot reach them to persuade them unto repentance, for everything will be perceived as an attempt at manipulation, as it would be from them if they were to do what you do.)

(To answer an objection: Those who enter into the covenant with God effectively agree to do his will in all things, after which if we are obedient he brings about circumstances essential to our becoming what he is. The covenant permits him to do things to us which would otherwise fall afoul the rule, and this is fair because we agreed to it – we asked for it. This is why God is not paternalistic – he doesn’t act against our will.)

87 Responses

  1. Beautiful, Log.

    And much to think about, and act upon.

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  2. “How do you produce a society that doesn’t tear itself apart eventually?”

    My first thought was, by producing a society that is torn apart by another society, but your answer’s ok too I guess.

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  3. “We must be principled, not outcome-driven”.
    Says it all, and says it very well.
    Thanks for the Carl Bloch.
    JRU

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  4. The pictures are pretty much always Tim’s contribution to the posts.

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  5. IMHO Carl Bloch is the Denver Snuffer of painters.
    They always lift me. I think the man met Christ face to face.
    JRU

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  6. Good points Log. I experienced the heavy paternal hand in my youth which led to rebellion and leaving the house at 15. Without any rules or guidance, living with various friends and family, I took the fast track to hell, which lasted for more than a decade. I’m not sure this could have been completely avoided as I have always been sort of a rebel anyway, but if my parents had used long suffering, patience, kindness, gentleness and persuasion instead of “tough love” (i.e. the easy way out for parents) I believe it would have been much less traumatic and I would have learned from their example how to be a better parent.

    I’m going to give King Benjamin the benefit of the doubt and say that the words he spoke from Mosiah 4:14 were the Angel’s and not his own. Those are great words of counsel and admonition. However, the implementation of that counsel is key. “Neither will ye suffer that they…” is not a mandate to compel or control. It could have been rendered, “Neither will ye cease to suffer, that seeing your example they transgress not the laws of God.”

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    • Well, Benjamin was very clear on what words were the angel’s (Mosiah 3:2-27); the stuff in chapter 4 was Benjamin’s counsel (Mosiah 4:4; “the remainder of my words….”).

      When we perceive that people have always been people, then we begin to see the lessons that the Book of Mormon was intended to communicate to our age.

      And you may, if you wish, interpret and receive Benjamin’s words as you will; what I put up was the modern English equivalent of what he actually did say.

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      • Log once asked me (rhetorically): “Why do you argue with me?”

        His comment (beginning “Well, Benjamin was very clear…”) is a perfect example. Unlike me, Log has usually thought out all the angles before he opens his mouth. We are fortunate to have such a teacher. (Though, I’m sure, he wishes we were not so lazy and “expecting” to be dealt with “paternalistically”.)

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    • Mike,

      I loved your rewording: “It could have been rendered, ‘Neither will ye cease to suffer, that seeing your example they transgress not the laws of God.'”

      Beautifully rendered.

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  7. When I talked with my family’s LDS hometeacher a few days ago and told him of my experiences (and the spiritual blessings) of obeying the Golden Rule, he explicitly asked me to give him my house.

    “I want your house; give it to me,” he said, “or you’re a hypocrite.” My failure to grant his request would be “proof”, he said, that the Sermon on the Mount is not to be taken seriously or literally.

    :o(

    He added: “I don’t think it’s even possible for you to give me your house. The bank wouldn’t let you do it.”

    For the record, my wife wouldn’t let me either. I said to her: “Let’s give him the house!” But she said, “I won’t let you. You’re not going to have us around here very much longer if you keep this up!”)

    “What would you do,” she asked, “if he asked you to give him your wife?”

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    • So choose who you want to be rewarded by: your wife, or your hypocritical home teacher. You get to choose, in the presence of conflicting requests.

      But now you see how I felt when someone asked me for money – they later said they didn’t really want any money – in an attempt to make the same point. The argumentum tu quoque is a fallacy.

      But it is interesting to see who the false disciples are when they abuse you so, isn’t it?

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      • “Nookie” by Limp Bizkit? Seriously, Log?

        You are one twisted brother. ;o)

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  8. Log quoted the following verse to show that paternalism is evidenced even in the scriptures:

    Mosiah 4:14: “And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.”

    For the record, I interpret this scripture somewhat differently. When King Benjamin said “ye will not suffer”, he did not mean (as Log purports): “You won’t allow your children to transgress the laws of God.” Rather, he meant: “You won’t allow your children to transgress the laws of God without doing everything in your power to help them!”, which, of course, includes teaching them the gospel, right from wrong, showing a good example, always applying the constraints and resources cited in D&C 121:41-44.

    Now, of course, I know KB didn’t have access to the D&C. But he was a righteous man, undoubtedly “of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness” (Moroni 7:30), and therefore privy to the ministration of angels. The Spirit is the same yesterday, today and forever and God’s gospel laws do not change. KB, being visited by angels and being commanded to deliver this message, as he was, was not doing or being “evil” by teaching these things. Log’s application here is, in my mind, a stretch, to say the least.

    In fact, it can be argued that those who came unto Christ that day did, in fact, let their children suffer the consequences of their own (poor) choices. Those children did, in fact, fall away, would not pray, would not be baptized, etc. And their parents let them!

    It would seem that Alma, Sr., Mosiah, and Alma, Jr., were equally “long-suffering” (and not paternalistic) with regard to their own wayward children, allowing them to go astray — but doing everything they could, in righteousness, to help them “see the light” for themselves.

    Now is this the case in the modern Mormon Church? Do active, “believing” Lattter-day Saints “neglect” to “have” their children baptized at the age of eight? No! If anything, when the leaders of the LDS Church speak, “all the thinking has been done” (no matter how strenuously those leaders now wish to claim this isn’t so). Likewise, LDS parents, for the most part, determine when (or if) their children are baptized. It’s all very “paternalistic”, “religious” (rather than truly spiritual) and, consequently, devoid of the life-changing Spirit and witness commiserate with true conversion and repentance. It’s “what we do”.

    For that reason all Latter-day Saints have been baptized. But how many have truly come unto Christ?

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  9. I made the mistake of “commenting” before finishing to read Log’s post! I withdraw my comment above. Log’s sermon makes more sense. The paternalism of the “followers” of KB is more likely to be the cause of their children’s apostasy than anything I suggested. (I don’t think I suggested anything!)

    It also answers the question as to why there is apostasy today in the Mormon Church.

    Once again, thank you, Log. You have opened for us a rich vein of insight to be mined for our good.

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  10. It is interesting that “many of the rising generation” fell into unbelief, but not all. I suppose there will always be those who despite the failings of parents will ultimately cast off the veil of unbelief caused by such traditions, repent and return – awake and arise. I am one of such.

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  11. I expected this post to be far more controversial than it has proven to be.

    But, maybe I’m the only one that would appreciate this ironic little thought experiment…

    “Do you want others to set or impose goals or expectations upon you? Then what does the Golden Rule imply about setting or imposing goals or expectations upon others?”

    And then we see just exactly why paternalism was such an attractive option in contrast to God’s proposal. No goals? No expectations? How would anything get done?

    But that’s to assume paternalism, isn’t it?

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  12. Log, you have have been quite the influence on my growth and development. That said, let it go. Let love and light guide each and every step of your path. Love has no interest in controversy.. it really doesn’t need it!

    Truth is self evident! Light is self evident!

    The words you choose, you utilize in creating the construct that it is that you wish to draw others to … let it go.

    This fallen, demonic, world … ruled by .. well the King of this fallen world demands that we use a fallen form of communication. In some ways we can rise above it. If you really are about the golden rule, then fully realize it! Release your heart. Release God through you. Release charity. Allow for a full congruence throughout the multi-dimensional individual that you are to release love, charity and all that is the light and love of God to be revealed.

    This world is defined by contention, comparing, confronting, competing, and controlling. Yes, there is more … but communion has nothing to do with this. The experience of communion elevates above this.

    Much love brother! Speak truth ..freely!

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    • There doesn’t seem to be a question in there, and what counsel there is seems not to apply. After all, expecting controversy is not quite the same thing as desiring it.

      Would you be so kind as to clarify your meaning?

      [B]y proving contraries, truth is made manifest[.] (HC 6:248)

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  13. I’ve been thinking a lot about some of these things, I’ve been praying, and I’ve even looked for feedback from some active Mormons on an LDS discussion forum I belong to.

    May I ask some questions here?

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  14. Log,

    I see my last post didn’t go into the que, but (because you once asked me not to ask you questions about the golden rule) I’d still like to know if you mind me asking you questions here?

    I mean if I have a question regarding some aspect of your teaching, or understanding of the Golden rule, may I ask it?

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    • You may ask if I may have the privilege of saying “I cannot tell you what you want men to do to you.”

      Because that is the proper response to questions about the Golden Rule.

      I cannot give you specific guidance on how you should approach every specific situation in your life. There is not, nor will there be, a comprehensive manual given, except the guidance of the Spirit. You have been given some general principles and an overarching rule – your actions are up to you to decide. As much or as little as you feel to do.

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  15. All right, “I cannot tell you what you want men to do to you.”

    Now I was re-reading “One Rule To Rule Them All,” and you said this:

    “Only God can legitimately ask us to do to someone something we would not want done to ourselves, because God’s purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, making us equal with him in all things. Sometimes, he explains his purposes beforehand, such as when he asked Nephi to slay Laban. Sometimes, he does not explain until afterwards, as when he asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. In both of these cases, it was asked with an eye towards the greater good of all. Knowing what God knows, we would agree to be the victim in such circumstances.”

    Doesn’t using some human instrument to do something to someone that they don’t want done to them, (with an eye to the greater good of all) because they would agree to be the victim if they knew all that you know fit the Stanford Encyclopedia definition of paternalism?

    You’ve said (here in this paper) “Because their parents followed the instructions of King Benjamin, and sought to circumscribe their choices or even compel or coerce obedience to God’s commandments, many of the children rebelled and would not believe. I’ve been there, myself, for that very reason,” but isn’t the only difference between your parents and God that God really knew what was best for Isaac and Abraham, and Laban and Nephi (i.e. the greater good of all), whereas your parents (being human) presumably used their best judgement?

    Some of the Rabbis say that Isaac agreed to be the sacrifice one he understood what Abraham was doing, but Genesis 22:11 (in the JST) reads “And Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.”

    If he had to be bound, it would seem Isaac wasn’t an entirely willing participant.

    Wouldn’t it be paternalistc of God to decide what was best for him and Laban and all concerned?

    And if God has, and does, and will make such decisions, isn’t it wrong of you to judge your parents, and king Benjamin, the Nephites of king Benjamine’s generation, and others today for making such decisions?

    I’m not suggesting that Isaac, or his father, or even Laban would not have gladly submitted to God’s will if they knew all that He does, but when my brother was in active addiction, he would have gladly submitted to the will of his ex-wife (who wanted him to stop drinking) if he knew all that she did (and he does now.)

    When you say “the golden rule implies that all requests should be granted, because you want all your requests granted,” it’s always seemed to me that you were overlooking the fact that sometimes we wouldn’t want a specific request granted if we had more knowledge.

    And your comments on paternalism seem to verify that, in so far as you seem to be saying that it’s always illegitimate for us to decide that someone making a request wouldn’t make it if they knew all that we know.

    Do I understand you correctly?

    And would you want someone to grant you an ill advised, poorly thought out, or ultimately harmful request (simply because you wanted it at the time you asked for it)?

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    • Mike,

      0. I will admit my understanding evolved since writing the prior essay – for example, I originally thought the problems started with the leader principle. But I now see that the leader principle is simply the direct logical consequence and practical implementation of paternalism. Sometimes, I know things in my heart before I can put them into words – I recognized the futility of paternalism within my own family and in my job a ways back, before I had a word for it – and sometimes I think I may never be able to put them into words.

      1. Laban was under covenant and in dereliction of that covenant; all Israel was under that covenant. The penalty was death. It is just to execute the penalty upon those under covenant for they agreed to it. So… he asked for it.

      2. I don’t care what the Rabbis taught, personally; Abraham was under covenant, at the very least, and it was pursuant to that covenant that the sacrifice of Isaac was commanded.

      1a + 2a: In both cases, as I have already said, covenants permit God to do things which would otherwise fall afoul of the rule; thus God is not paternalistic because he doesn’t act upon us against our will.

      3. I’m not saying paternalism is illegitimate; I’m saying it’s anti-functional for a specific purpose. Right and wrong are relative.

      4. Who cares what *I* would want except *me*? The only question that concerns *you* is what *you* would want. That’s why I grow exasperated with any “conversations” on the golden rule – it’s what *you* want that matters to *you*.

      4a. I am speaking of ideal circumstances – we are dealing with moral agents, and not incompetents. If you are competent to determine someone else’s competence, plead your case to God. I want my requests granted; that’s why I make requests in the first place; if you ask for things you don’t want, then that’s a problem maybe you should address with yourself. If you’re worried about doing wrong in your requests, then “if it be thy will” would be a good hedge on your requests. Or simply stop asking for things you really don’t want.

      5. The real question is whether I am speaking as a prophet in these things. Look, unless you see a “Thus Saith The Lord” or direct equivalent, then just take what I say as either useful stuff to think about, or trash to be dispensed with. If the Spirit doesn’t witness to your heart about anything I say, then that’s sufficient! Ignore my stuff. Honestly, if you won’t do the first thing – praying until you are cleansed by fire from heaven, confessing your sins to God and asking for forgiveness – the rest of this may be interesting, but of no real consequence to you… except insofar as your conscience guides you.

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  16. I’m sure you understood what I meant, but I still can’t seem to post anything without some typo or spelling error.

    “Some of the Rabbis say that Isaac agreed to be the sacrifice one he understood what Abraham was doing” should read “Some of the Rabbis say that Isaac agreed to be the sacrifice once he understood what Abraham was doing.”

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  17. ” I don’t care what the Rabbis taught, personally; Abraham was under covenant, at the very least, and it was pursuant to that covenant that the sacrifice of Isaac was commanded.”

    And if Isaac didn’t want to go along with that, would God and his father have the right to decide what was best for him and everyone else?

    “I am speaking of ideal circumstances.”

    I actually find that helpful, and I thank you.

    “…we are dealing with moral agents, and not incompetents.”

    Up until now, I’ve only seen you make two exceptions to the proposition that the golden rule implies all requests should be granted.

    One was where there was some conflicting request, and the other was where the requester was what you called “incurably incompetent.”

    But while my brother certainly had some impaired competence when he was in active addiction, he would not today thank heaven that his ex-wife had him committed, and that he hit bottom, and got help if he had been “incurably incompetent.”

    He didn’t want her to do that at the time, but now (with more knowledge, and less impaired competence) he’s grateful she did.

    We live in a less then perfect world, with a lot of suffering people, in varying degrees of competence.

    Isn’t it a little irresponsible to speak only in terms of ideal circumstances?

    My brother’s ex-wife was a Christian Scientist, but she could have been LDS, and if he were in active addiction now, and she were reading this blog, she might not have sent him where he was able to get some help.

    Even if you know you’re speaking of ideal circumstances, don’t you think you have a responsibility to clarify some of the things you say sometimes?

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    • Even if you know you’re speaking of ideal circumstances, don’t you think you have a responsibility to clarify some of the things you say sometimes?

      Nope.

      As I said, if you won’t even do the first thing, nothing I say on any other subject is of any real relevance to you – meaning you personally.

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      • “As I said, if you won’t even do the first thing, nothing I say on any other subject is of any real relevance to you.”

        If you’re talking about prayer, I pray every day.

        And if you’re talking about giving away my SSI to anyone who asks, I’m in danger of getting into dad’s income now.

        (If you want, I’ll send you Scot’s phone number, and you can call him and ask him what dad and I have done for him, but I can’t guarantee he wont hit you up for something.)

        “meaning you personally.”

        And what about everyone else who reads what you write?

        My brother’s ex-wife is (or was, I don’t know if she’s still alive) named Jeanette.

        What if some one like her (with a husband who’s drinking himself to death, and has perhaps tried to kill himself) is reading your posts and comments here on this blog?

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  18. I wonder why the question you asked me wouldn’t apply with far greater force to Jesus himself, if it were valid.

    Mike, why doesn’t your question – “don’t you think you have a responsibility to clarify some of the things you say sometimes?” – apply to Jesus with far greater force than it could ever possibly apply to me, in your head? Whence your double-standards? Why is it with you always how I am wrong, even when I merely repeat Jesus, and never how I could possibly be right, especially when I merely repeat Jesus? Why is it that you always accuse and find fault with me?

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  19. For one thing: Jesus lived in a different time and culture, where people were inclined to be less literal, and to be understood less literally.

    Do you think Jesus intended people to take Him literally when he told them to remove wooden beams from their neighbour’s eyes, or spoke of camels going thru the eyes of needles?

    Do you think anyone did?

    Do you think the authors of the Gospels intended to be taken literally when they said that all Jerusalem and Judea went out unto John, to be baptised of him?

    Do you think all the Pharisees and Sadducees were baptised by John?

    And in the sermon on the plain, when Jesus said “Blessed are the poor; for theirs is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20, JST), do you think He meant to say (or was understood to mean) that all the poor were guaranteed a ticket to heaven?

    Jesus has always been understood to have made some generalizations in the sermon on the mount.

    You live in a very literalistic age, and many of your readers (like myself) are probably inclined to take things very literally.

    When you’re teaching and commenting on Christ’s words, I think you have some responsibility to try and make yourself clear.

    In fact, if there are any ambiguities in Christ’s words, maybe one of the reasons is so teachers like yourself can exercise their agency in how responsibly they handle them.

    Here’s an interesting passage from the Apostle Paul.

    According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself may be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Cor. 3:10-15, JST.)

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    • I have asked Tim to remove your commenting privileges again because you don’t contribute, but always accuse.

      I’m going to approve this last comment because there is something I feel is beneficial to point out.

      It is this: “For one thing: Jesus lived in a different time and culture, where people were inclined to be less literal, and to be understood less literally.

      This is nothing more nor less than to say it is fine and dandy to believe in Jesus, but ludicrous to believe Jesus.

      And this: “Jesus has always been understood to have made some generalizations in the sermon on the mount.

      This is once again a statement of disbelief. At least Mike doesn’t impute this “understanding” to Jesus himself.

      Do you think Jesus intended people to take Him literally when he told them to remove wooden beams from their neighbour’s eyes, or spoke of camels going thru the eyes of needles?

      He was clear that “eye” in that instance is metaphor for the mind.

      JST Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single to the glory of God, thy whole body shall be full of light.

      And yes, he was literal about the camels going through needles; his disciples understood him so.

      JST Matthew 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

      25 When his disciples heard this, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

      26 But Jesus beheld their thoughts, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but if they will forsake all things for my sake, with God whatsoever things I speak are possible.

      I’m not here to teach the unbelieving and the fearful, nor those who are possessed of the spirit of the accuser. They cannot be helped unless they first repent and call upon God in their mights until they shall have faith in Christ and enter into his covenant, receiving a remission of their sins. If you will not do this first thing, nothing else I say is of any consequence to you.

      Disbelief is why he doesn’t answer.

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  20. All I can say, in the end, is that I too am experiencing the same negative consequences that inevitably spring from doing these things. The difference is I understand that the unpleasant consequences are the point, and embrace them, rather than turn and accuse God of lying and rending my teachers. These consequences are to teach us what it is like to be God, who I gather doesn’t exactly like being an on-call sucker for the purile purposes his grace is put to.

    From certain things Nibley wrote I note that he, too, did these things and saw the point.

    Brigham Young with his usual insight applied this situation to all of us: We have been permitted to come here, he explained, to go to school, to acquire certain knowledge and take certain basic tests—”wherefore,” says Nephi, this “state became a state of probation” (2 Nephi 2:21). While we are at school our generous parent has provided us with all the necessities of life we will need to carry us through. (“Adam, I have created for you this earth and have provided it with everything you will need—go to, enjoy yourself, take care of the Garden”—that was work. But Adam was not working for lunch: that was free—”Of every tree thou mayest freely eat!”) Now suppose toward the end of the first semester of the school year my kind patron pays a visit to the school, meets me, and asks me how I am doing—”Oh,” I say, “I am doing very well, thanks to your bounty.” “Are you learning a lot?” “Yes, I am making good progress.” “What fields are you studying in particular just now?” “Oh, I’m studying how to get lunch.” “You study that? All the time?” “Yes, that’s the important thing in life, isn’t it—how to get more lunch; there’s no free lunch, you know.” “But my dear boy, I’m providing you with that right now.” “Yes, for the time being, and I am grateful—but my purpose in life is to get more and better lunches. Room and board is nice, but I want super room and board—and other things.” “Things of this world,” says the patron. “Yes, that’s it.” The patron is disgusted, to quote Brigham Young!

    It happens to all of us if we are diligent, and no, it’s not pleasant, but rather distressing. The reward for doing them is increased understanding and enlightenment, and also an increased capacity to bear the burdens that come with discipleship.

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  21. I do think your teaching could have done my brother harm 40 years ago, could do Tim’s son harm if his parents took some of the things you say at face value and agreed with you, and could do others with loved one’s in active addiction real harm today.

    But this is to say that others cannot control themselves and must do whatever someone says; a point I dispensed with on Will’s blog where I noted you must learn to accept sole responsibility for your own actions. Others are not responsible for your actions – only you are.

    Words are not the cause of someone else’s actions, unless you are sincerely claiming Charlie Hebdo employees caused their own death while the Muslim extremists bear no fault; CH made them do it. Curious, for someone who hates Muslims so badly, to justify the principle upon which they commit so many atrocities.

    You are also advancing the principle upon which free speech is being criminalized in our country whenever the speech has contents sufficiently unpopular. It is also the principle upon which the mob sought to kill Jesus several times, and succeeded against many of his disciples.

    You are also appealing to consequences you don’t like as an argument against principle; this is also to say you are sold on paternalism. Of course you don’t agree.

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  22. An interesting article, Log.

    I will point out Benjamin’s quoting an angel does not mark his priesthood. We learn Nephi was being visited by angels daily. Angels and and do still teach those of the higher priesthood. Certainly BroJo (that’s short for Brother Joseph) passed along instruction from angels also.

    I think you’re stretching a bit to support an either/or way of parenting and dealing with others. I’m not convinced there isn’t a place for types of paternalism in righteousness.

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    • If you are claiming compelling moral agents is correct in principle, then the only difference between you and the devil is where to draw the line. How do you see D&C 121:41-46 in conjunction with your idea of “righteous” paternalism?

      And, in this case, not only is the angel – the highest manifestation Benjamin received according to our scriptures – a mark of his priesthood, so is his contradicting the golden rule, which is “the prophets.” Nevertheless, you may believe what you will.

      See, for me, interesting questions would arise here – for example, how social status limits spiritual growth, and how we might see signs of that today, especially seen through the lens of the Savior’s teachings, and how we might best avoid such limitations – but such investigations are precluded when we say “no, that just ain’t so.”

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      • If, for example, it is necessary to sacrifice all earthly things to obtain faith sufficient for salvation – and salvation, in Joseph’s vocabulary, meant Godhood – then it becomes obvious that being a king would preclude that sacrifice in practical terms, if the kingship is not abdicated (presuming the individual in question had always been of privileged social status). Benjamin’s son, Mosiah, however, who inaugurated the reign of the judges, might have been able to do it (whoops – guess not; Mosiah 29:11). On the other hand, Emer was able after anointing his son in his stead (Ether 9:22), so it might be possible that Benjamin did likewise after anointing Mosiah. And I will bypass modern examples of people in high positions, exhibiting paternalism, having practical difficulty in performing such a sacrifice, in favor of noting that among all that are able to perform this sacrifice, the poor are indeed ideally situated.

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  23. Only the poor or the homeless can teach the ideology of God – because if you’re not poor or homeless, you will be instantly rendered so because the wicked will ask you for all your money, your car, title, and keys, as well as your home and deed.

    Thus I identify the wicked (and the false disciples of Christ) – they make requests they will not grant if asked of them, and they do this seeking to get us to deny the teaching.

    That’s why Jesus and the disciples were homeless bums, why Paul said “having food and raiment let us therewith suffice ourselves,” and also why a great portion of the people are more interested in joining “the right team” or believing the “right doctrines” than obeying the teachings of the Lord.

    It is also why Alma made specific mention of the people tending to the needs of the priests, even while the priests were to labor with their own hands for their sustenance – because to be priests, understanding the spirit of prophesying and revelation, they are very likely to be poor, or even homeless bums, because they keep the teachings of the Lord.

    Judas wanted money. Ananias and his wife wanted to hold back a portion. It is covetousness which leads the people to betray their teachers so as to salve their consciences in withholding their temporal substance.

    The argumentum tu quoque (argument from hypocrisy, or “you, too”) remains, however, a fallacy – even if any or all teachers are hypocrites or cowards, it has no logical relationship with the teaching.

    Don’t bother asking me for my stuff, folks. All I own is my car and sundry electronics, upon which I depend to labor for my sustenance; I have a competing request which requires I keep them, and I prefer to be rewarded by the one who made the request, thus I teach his word.

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  24. I like reading others opinions of what scriptures mean like what the golden rule entails.
    This is my current understanding and of course just mine. I believe most people coming to this earth (we have to see the bigger picture to grasp greater meanings of commandments IMO) would essentially agree that they would have others do unto them what would ultimately help them the most. At least speaking for myself, that is what I certainly would want from others. I would simply want them to do unto me what would be the best thing for me in my progression. At times that might include performing surgery on me without my consent if I am knocked out due to injury or illness.
    God certainly doesn’t grant everyone’s requests, and He does act against people’s desires from day to day. Sure we agreed to come here with all of the chaos and consequences, but people get ticked at God all the time for not granting their requests or bringing about things that go against their desire in the present time.
    Jesus did not grant all requests in His life. When He was questioned He remained silent, plenty of evidence would suggest He did not heal everyone that asked, He claimed His mission was only to Israel at that time which is interesting. We are commanded to be like the Father. To be perfect. It is easy to say, well we are not God and we are not Jesus, but we are commanded to be like them. So why is it that God does not grant everyone’s requests? Well it is like mike said, God knows that granting every request is not what would ultimately help His children the most. That would bring feelings of entitlement, it would bring lazy dependence. It would bring all sorts of problems. So if we truly became like God here on this earth, we would behave like God as well, which would certainly imply denying others requests.
    When alma and amulek stood by and watched people being thrown into the fire, the power was in them to save those people. Amulek asked alma if they should not do so (certainly we would be silly to think those being thrown in the fire were not crying out for help and mercy and wanted to be saved) yet alma saw the bigger picture, and knew in Gods wisdom they were not to assist those who would have liked nothing more in the moment than to be physically saved.
    Yet the only way we can truly know what is going to ultimately help others the most (so we can truly love the golden rule) is by pure revelation. That might require shutting up the ark when others are begging for entrance and the flood waters are rising. That might require Joshua going forth to conquer their enemies man, woman and child (doesn’t sound very golden rulish) that might include joseph of Egypt not granting people’s requests when they ask for too much food, because it might save others lives in the future. It might even include not suffering your children to fight and quarrel, and rip each other’s hair out, or anything really, but it requires obtaining the mind of The Lord, and not relying on our own fallen logic and understanding.
    My opinion is that we ought to seek to grant the Spirits requests above any human beings requests, because the Spirit knows all things (alma 7:13) and humans making requests don’t. If I want to do unto those making requests what I would have them do unto me (the best thing for me/them in the big scheme of things) then I need to be able to obtain the mind of God on what is the best thing to do in the particular situation so that I can live the golden rule. That is why the phrase “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” without this also applied “receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do,” is actually dead works.
    Before someone is born again through faith in Christ, none of their works are works of righteousness, at least according to countless passages in the scriptures. The reason being is that because while you may grant everyone’s requests, you might actually be doing the exact opposite of the golden rule in doing so. If you would have others do unto you what would be of the most benefit to you, it would imply that others do what God would want them to do for you, which might include denying your requests. I hope this was written in a way that could be understood. I can’t not think of a time anyone wants to be rebuked, it seemingly would go against the golden rule unless the principles above were taken into consideration, and yet in section 121 it says to reprove betimes with sharpness, then the crux of this entire comment “when moved upon by the Holy Ghost.”
    Without the Holy Ghost people cannot live the golden rule. They can philosophize about it, they can logically attempt to ascertain how to live it in any given situation, but they will never understand it’s true meaning, which means to do what God would have us do in all things. That is my current take on it anyway. Good discussion. I believe long Benjamin was a holy man and did not teach false doctrine in his sermon, but I do believe it is good to think critically about it and the verses in question are interesting for sure.

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    • “Can’t not” ha ha double negative there. Should have been “I cannot think of a time…”

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    • The major points of Nate’s response are:

      1. God doesn’t grant everyone’s requests.

      There is a condition put on God’s granting of requests, to be sure.

      Mormon 9:21
      21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

      And if we do not ask in faith, well…

      Doctrine and Covenants 82:10
      10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

      So you take your chances if you ask without faith. In the next world, though, requests are made with knowledge, not mere faith, nor belief. Say, could this be why the demons’ requests were granted?

      2. The golden rule isn’t “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them,” but “do unto others what would ultimately help them the most” (which I will refer to hereafter as “Nate’s Rule of Golden Paternalism”).

      Well, the scriptures contradict Nate, both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, but he’s welcome to his opinion.

      3. Jesus did not grant all requests in his life, for example, by remaining silent in the face of hostile questioning by accusers.

      Those who turn and rend, challenging authority and so on, are the swine, to whom the sole message to be given is repent and ask of God (JST Matthew 7:9-13). That’s a request from God, according to Jesus, for Jesus’s doctrine was not his, but his who sent him. So Jesus’s silence in the face of hostile questioning by accusers is not evidence for Nate’s contention that Jesus did not grant all requests in his life. It is, however, consistent with requests being granted upon faith (i.e., trust, belief).

      4. Alma and Amulek acted paternalistically when they let the believers burn.

      The scriptures contradict Nate (Alma 14:11), but he’s welcome to his opinion.

      5. Log is using his own “fallen logic and understanding.”

      Nate’s welcome to his opinion.

      6. Trying to obey God without receiving the Holy Ghost “is actually dead works.”

      “Dissuade none from well-doing.” Everyone starts somewhere.

      7. Even by obeying the golden rule literally, without the Holy Ghost dictating to you in every trifling decision, you’re breaking Nate’s Rule of Golden Paternalism.

      Yup. This tells us nothing except that Nate disagrees with the golden rule, taken literally. Of course, he’s welcome to his opinion, but I feel wisdom counsels a different perspective (D&C 58:26-33).

      8. Log is philosophizing and logically attempting to ascertain how to live the golden rule in any given situation, but Log doesn’t understand that the true meaning of the golden rule is to do what God would have us do in all things, ie, having the Spirit dictate in every trifling decision.

      This is a restatement of point #2 and #5 and #7, properly understood. Nate’s just asserting his opinions about my writings. And he’s welcome to his opinions.

      9. King Benjamin did not teach false doctrine (I.E., he was right to preach paternalism, regardless of the outcome).

      Nate’s welcome to his opinion, but I find this to be interestingly self-contradictory on his part. If the outcomes were bad, then how does this not violate Nate’s Rule of Golden Paternalism?

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      • Thanks for breaking that down. I don’t agree with your interpretations of my comment in many points but that’s alright. I actually think alma 14:11 gives substantial evidence to the point I was making. Alma followed the spirit, instead of simply using the power that was in him without first obtaining the mind of The Lord. They did not do that which those being thrown into the fire would have wanted in the moment.
        Yes Gods condition for granting all of our requests is first that we become like God. A study of Helaman 10 is useful here where we see that God would grant requests of nephi because nephi would not ask anything that would be out of harmony with the lords will. Nephi wrote about not asking amiss. This is another example of the golden rule in perfect operation. If our mind is the same as the mind of God, we will only grant requests that are in harmony with our will… Which will be Gods will.
        I do not have a problem interpreting the scriptures literally. I believe that the Holy Ghost will show us ALL things what we should do, and that by the power of the Holy Ghost we may know the truth of ALL things. This may seem that I believe in too great of dependence upon God, or that I look for God to act in paternalism in showing me, and teaching me in all things. Yet the scriptures teach plainly that that is exactly how we are supposed to look to a God in all things. So when you suggest that “having the spirit dictate in every trifling decision” is not what The Lord would have us do, be careful lest you fall into this category…

        19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (New Testament, Matthew, Matthew 5)

        But how would you be falling into this category? Well only if the following verses are true, or are these verses not to be taken literally, or are they simply false doctrine in your opinion like you say King Benjamin’s words were false doctrine?

        35 O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.
        36 Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
        37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day. (Book of Mormon, Alma, Alma 37)

        What a perfect pattern here. He tells his son, and us indirectly how to keep the commandments. It is not by reading them in books of scripture, it is by counseling with The Lord in ALL things and allowing The Lord, which implies two way communication (perhaps paternalistically in your opinion) to direct us in ALL things.

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        • 1. Alma followed the spirit, instead of simply using the power that was in him without first obtaining the mind of The Lord. They did not do that which those being thrown into the fire would have wanted in the moment.

          Yes, Alma granted the request of the Spirit. We have no record of his seeking to first obtain the mind of the Lord. Since I’ve been very clear on “all requests should be granted,” I’m unclear where your confusion actually is, unless it’s “whatever Log says is wrong.”

          2. Yes Gods condition for granting all of our requests is first that we become like God.

          That’s not what the scripture said, which I pulled straight out of the Book of Mormon. Sounds like you may be philosophizing, using fallen logic, to get a different answer. Once again, “whatever Log says is wrong.” Even scriptural quotations, pre-Fanny Alger.

          3. So when you suggest that “having the spirit dictate in every trifling decision” is not what The Lord would have us do, be careful lest you fall into this category…

          I have cited D&C 58 to an interesting point which you seem unable or unwilling to apply – and it was even pre-Fanny Alger – and that’s your agency, however inconsistent and unprincipled you appear to me to be. But I find your continued veiled and unauthoritative threats interesting. “Whatever Log says is wrong.”

          If you want someone to dictate to you in every trifle – except in your posting of comments on the internet, in the which you are acting of your own accord, obviously – then you may indeed have it from God if you ask for it from him with nothing doubting. I don’t know why you left the Church, though – they offer exactly that.

          Incidentally, you lie when you say I said Benjamin’s words were “false doctrine.” But, then, why should I be surprised to see the trifecta occur in your words? Lies, self-contradiction, and lack of principle.

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        • I have never said that pre fanny alger joseph did not teach anything false. Although being commanded in all things perhaps could be interpreted differently than being instructed by The Lord in all things. Do you not believe that the Holy Ghost will show us ALL THINGS what we should do? Or that we may KNOW ALL THINGS by the Holy Ghost?
          When it comes to becoming like God before God will grant all requests I was not only talking about the scriptures you quoted, I used others. Faith can only be in something true (again according to scriptures) so to request anything in faith it has to be according to the will of God and be true. Like for instance the angel appearing to alma the younger, the only way alma the elder could have faith in that is because it was true, and going to happen. So it is easy to have all requests granted by God if we only ask as God directs us to. That is faith, not imposing our will on God but asking and praying according to how God paternalistically dictates to us what to ask and pray for. Prayer is not prayer if the Spirit is not there. Hey that rhymes!
          So if it your opinion that God would not have us counsel with Him in all things, or that the Holy Ghost will not show us all things to do, and that we don’t need their direction on mere trifles (which is a relative term that could mean almost anything) then I will simply trust what The Lord has said to me, and in the scriptures, which refutes that teaching.
          Oh and just to point out. Plenty of men of God were rich with worldly substance so I don’t get where the stuff in one of your precious comments was from. Joseph of Egypt, Job (which is one of the very few people that is said to have been perfect in the written word) and many others. Being poor is not a sign of having favor with God and being rich isn’t either. Happy Mothers Day.

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      • That’s not quite how I read or understood Nate’s words (the way you/Log did).

        If we enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show us all things that we should do. I’m sure it doesn’t mean the Spirit dictating every trifle. Nate/MoO, did I read you right?

        There are some ironies here, such as the inherent paternalism of teaching others at all. We have to presume/assume that someone else is at least somewhat incompetent or deficient to think they need to learn what we might teach. I think that’s okay and funny, too. Mortality seems full of contradictions.

        As far as paternalism goes, it seems ever-present to some degree or another. If incompetence is its prerequisite, then it is a developmental reality. We don’t let/allow small children to run into the street, i.e. we limit their freedom for their own good and safety. Driving cars, etc. There are some leashes, boundaries, conditions, prerequisites, etc., to freedoms and choices/options. Many things in mortality seem to reflect/symbolize eternity. Are we small children, eternally speaking? It seems likely. Are we somewhat captive/limited by our incompetence (lack of knowledge & ability/power, character)? It seems so. What limits agency? I want to grow up.

        I like how the post and several comments attempt to account for covenants in the Golden Rule. I believe we need to account for eternity as well. We are not just mortal human beings. We had a life (or lives) before. And just as our covenants and choices in this stage affect the next, even so the stages before have affect this present one. What covenants did we make before? What promises and blessings did we receive? They are in effect even though we cannot remember. God remembers all and is acting accordingly.

        There do seem to be other true principles at work which govern reality and how God teaches and deals with us. What is the purpose of the Holy Ghost? Is it to teach us all things (we don’t know, relieving us of incompetence) and bring all things to our remembrance (including things we learned before)? Is it to guide us in the path God would have us go, to do, say, and become/be like Him?

        I’m still learning and remembering. There seems and feels like there is more to this than what has been said.

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  25. Although being commanded in all things perhaps could be interpreted differently than being instructed by The Lord in all things.

    Sounds like rationalization on your part.

    When it comes to becoming like God before God will grant all requests I was not only talking about the scriptures you quoted, I used others.

    You cited Nephi as if he was a counterexample to the general principle Mormon taught. Helaman 10 didn’t say anything about becoming like God before God will grant all requests. That’s your fallen logic and philosophizing, there.

    So if it your opinion that God would not have us counsel with Him in all things, or that the Holy Ghost will not show us all things to do, and that we don’t need their direction on mere trifles (which is a relative term that could mean almost anything) then I will simply trust what The Lord has said to me, and in the scriptures, which refutes that teaching.

    Did I say that? Or did I say if you want that, ask for it with nothing doubting? If the latter, why do you keep bringing up crap I didn’t say? If the former, quote me.

    Oh and just to point out. Plenty of men of God were rich with worldly substance so I don’t get where the stuff in one of your precious comments was from.

    You and I are talking about different subjects. Why is it you feel it a trifle to contradict me? Why is it you don’t pray over my words as diligently as you claim to inquire of God as to whether you should honor a bum’s petition for $5 before you seek to controvert me?

    I’m kinda curious.

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  26. There are some ironies here, such as the inherent paternalism of teaching others at all. We have to presume/assume that someone else is at least somewhat incompetent or deficient to think they need to learn what we might teach. I think that’s okay and funny, too. Mortality seems full of contradictions.

    Well, that is what pisses off some people – that Tim even gives me a platform. But with me, if you don’t want to listen, it’s as easy as not reading my posts. Or comments. Or talking to me. Or about me where I can hear. Or what I said. &c.

    In other words, I do nothing to anyone against their will. Y’all volunteered for my stuff when you voluntarily read it or engaged with me.

    As far as paternalism goes, it seems ever-present to some degree or another. If incompetence is its prerequisite, then it is a developmental reality. We don’t let/allow small children to run into the street, i.e. we limit their freedom for their own good and safety. Driving cars, etc. There are some leashes, boundaries, conditions, prerequisites, etc., to freedoms and choices/options. Many things in mortality seem to reflect/symbolize eternity. Are we small children, eternally speaking? It seems likely. Are we somewhat captive/limited by our incompetence (lack of knowledge & ability/power, character)? It seems so. What limits agency? I want to grow up.

    This is awesome. No, I am not being sarcastic. THIS is the direction I hoped someone would go.

    If you want to grow up, this is how:

    17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

    18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.

    19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

    20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

    21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

    1 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?

    2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?

    3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

    4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.

    5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

    6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.

    What were those things which he said when he manifested himself to the people of Nephi in the flesh, that he says they shall (it’s a commandment) observe to do? The Sermon on the Mount, including the golden rule.

    Hence, this.

    “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

    “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.”

    “And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.”

    “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”

    That’s the entire point I’ve been driving at this whole time! Christ gave us the directions on how to grow up: be principled, not paternalistic. Just do what he said to do without substituting your own paternalistic judgement for his precepts. That’s the point of the disciple / master relationship. The disciple does what the master teaches and becomes like unto the master thereby.

    Ain’t any of y’all seen The Karate Kid?

    Incidentally, are we true followers of Jesus Christ if we stop and ask if we should do something he’s already asked us to do? “Lord, should I give this dirty stinking alcoholic bum $5 for beer like he asked me to? I know you said ‘give unto every man that asketh,’ but then he’d use the gift for something that I don’t think would be best for him, like getting that beer and enjoying it. Should I give to him? If you don’t say yes, then I won’t do it.” Is that the pattern of a maturing disciple? Or a child?

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    • Log,

      I take the golden rule literally. As stated before, I would have others do unto me what is best for my eternal progression, so that is what I should do unto them, according to the golden rule. My belief is that I cannot know what is best for others eternal progression without a constant flow of revelation. One of the scriptures you quoted started by saying “If you continue in my word, then…”

      How do we continue in the Word of The Lord without continual revelation and direction? I do not think it is wise to assume I know what The Lord would have me do in every situation only because The Lord gave general instruction to a group of people a long time ago. I believe that the Holy Ghost will show is ALL thinks what we should do. I believe that is literal. The cool thing is to learn to live in and by the Spirit so we don’t have to always ask, but we will just BE like God. This might mean we do things that don’t look like the golden rule to others at all. This might mean me leaving 50 dollars in my wallet and passing my ten bums asking because there is an eleventh bum down the road that God will direct me to give the money to instead of granting the first ten bums requests. Anyway like you said I agree that those were my words that we must become like God (otherwise we will ask amiss and not according to Gods will) when it comes to God granting all of our requests. It seems very clear but that is my perception. Thanks guys

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      • You know what, I was going to fisk your response, but I think I will instead throw you a bone.

        The cool thing is to learn to live in and by the Spirit so we don’t have to always ask, but we will just BE like God.

        Yes.

        But a word of counsel – you won’t get there by passing up 10 out of 11 bums unless you are explicitly instructed of God to pass up those 10 bums, as opposed to following your own paternalistic judgements.

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        • I agree. That is what every one of my comments is getting at. Follow the Spirit, not your own interpretation because of past counsel. Constant revelation is necessary. So it really does no good to continually interpret the law over how to follow a general counsel when it is so easy to just say to obtain and follow the spirit. Reverse your statement and it is just as true. Giving money to 10 bums in a row without having the spirit which would counsel you to do so at times, gets you absolutely nowhere either. Just saying.

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        • And I withdraw the bone. Again, I point you to D&C 58. But do as you will and see what the results are.

          There is a reason the scriptures do not solely consist of the following sentence: “Obtain and follow the spirit.”

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    • The “small child” analogy got me thinking again about my own kids. Some of the first lessons we teach in first interactions between kids is “sharing.”

      The kids really don’t have the capacity or wisdom to weight the moral consequences of letting that other kids over there play with MY truck. We don’t teach them the nuances of lending, interest, entitlement, enabling, etc. We just teach “it is nice to share with others, let them play with that toy and you play with this one.” Is this not “give to him who asketh thee”

      I think we too often consider ourselves much “older” spiritually than we actually are, and therefore above such things.

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      • Yes. When you’re a child, you think as a child, but when you are grown up, you put away childish things.

        When you’re a child, you cannot understand what it is to be an adult except in terms of having “stuff” and “privilege;” and when you’re grown up, you can see children for what they are and you understand why they are that way.

        It is the same in things spiritual, for the temporal is symbolic of the spiritual.

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  27. And there is a reason the scriptures do not only say the words “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
    The above quote only encompasses behavior, which in and of itself saves no one. On the other hand “Love God with all thy heart, might, mind and strength” contains more than the law and the prophets, it contains exaltation.

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    • And there is a reason the scriptures do not only say the words “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

      Yes, and I know why that is.

      The above quote only encompasses behavior, which in and of itself saves no one.

      Believing in Jesus Christ and being baptized saves everyone.

      On the other hand “Love God with all thy heart, might, mind and strength” contains more than the law and the prophets, it contains exaltation.

      Are you exalted already to claim knowledge of this?

      Why is it a light thing for you to controvert me, requiring no direction from the Spirit for you to leap at the opportunity, and a heavy thing for you to give $5 to a bum, requiring active direction of the Spirit before you will do it?

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      • Do I think it is a heavy thing to give five dollars to a bum? Absolutely not. Do I think the idea of granting everyone’s requests is way over the top? Absolutely. Even the idea of granting every teenagers’ request would be hell on earth.

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        • We can observe, in many ways, how and what God does, for an example. Do the things which the Lord Redeemer did. The Son could do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

          Does He grant all requests or answer all questions? Does He do so immediately? Does He do so unconditionally? Does He treat family differently than strangers?

          How can we live in/by/of the Spirit? What does it mean to have the Holy Ghost show us all things we should do?

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        • An example might be: why doesn’t God give the bum the money he needs? Does he wait for me (i.e. a passerby) do it?

          If angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost wherefore they speak the words of Christ, i.e. if speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost is speaking the words of Christ; and if the words of Christ will tell us all things we should do; and if the Holy Ghost will show us all things we should do; and “us” is those willing to enter into the way (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost); then to what degree do we need to learn to live and speak by this power? Would this not be living scripture (and I definitely DO NOT mean the cheesy cartoons)?

          How does living in/by/of the Holy Ghost work with agency?

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        • An example might be: why doesn’t God give the bum the money he needs? Does he wait for me (i.e. a passerby) do it?

          The point isn’t so much to change the world, although it does that, and there is a strategy in play; the point is to change YOU, by your going through the experiences necessary to become a God through obedience to the teachings of the Savior, he having set the example before us.

          If angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost wherefore they speak the words of Christ, i.e. if speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost is speaking the words of Christ; and if the words of Christ will tell us all things we should do; and if the Holy Ghost will show us all things we should do; and “us” is those willing to enter into the way (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost); then to what degree do we need to learn to live and speak by this power?

          It’s not a thing to be learned; you either do, because you have the power, or you do not, because you lack the power. “Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” That’s along the path of discipleship.

          Would this not be living scripture (and I definitely DO NOT mean the cheesy cartoons)?

          If “authority” is your thing, then yes, it would be.

          How does living in/by/of the Holy Ghost work with agency?

          “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one who is born of the Spirit.” You will live as a leaf on the wind, or, in other words, you will do whatever you are led to, and will speak whatever you are led to; it’s not scripted typically, however. You get to be you, with no shame and no fear. You may do what good you will.

          It doesn’t obliterate your personality; you are perfected in all your uniqueness.

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        • Does He grant all requests…

          Yes, he did, when he walked the earth.

          …or answer all questions?

          The policy on answering questions is explained in JST Matthew 7:9-13.

          Does He do so immediately?

          Yes, he did when he walked the earth.

          Does He do so unconditionally?

          Sometimes, he placed the condition of faith upon granting requests, and always for answering questions, as explained previously.

          Does He treat family differently than strangers?

          He even granted the demons’ requests immediately.

          How can we live in/by/of the Spirit?

          Like a leaf on the wind.

          What does it mean to have the Holy Ghost show us all things we should do?

          Unless you become a disciple, doing all things whatsoever he taught, you won’t know.

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        • Do I think it is a heavy thing to give five dollars to a bum? Absolutely not.

          Yet you said you pray over it and won’t do it unless the Spirit says to, if I remember correctly.

          Do I think the idea of granting everyone’s requests is way over the top? Absolutely.

          Then don’t do it. Discipleship is absolutely voluntary.

          Even the idea of granting every teenagers’ request would be hell on earth.

          I’m sure God agrees. God’s having to uphold and sustain Hitler so that Hitler could move about and execute Hitler’s purposes probably was hell on earth, for example, and having to do so with every worker of darkness and abomination probably tweaks God a bit. Adults do things that little children cannot comprehend and wouldn’t do if given the power of adults.

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        • Let’s say I have a stack of money that I don’t need, or even that I might feel that I need but I want to sacrifice, which would be the better course, carrying it with me and dispersing as people make the request for money, or praying to The Lord and asking for direction on how it should be used or who it should be given to?

          I believe someone that consecrates everything to The Lord would rarely have opportunity to give money to the poor who are always among us like the Master said.

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        • I believe someone that consecrates everything to The Lord would rarely have opportunity to give money to the poor who are always among us like the Master said.

          Spoken like one who hasn’t consecrated everything to the Lord.

          Luke 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

          1 Corinthians 7:32-33 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

          Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

          And, let’s remember – the question was why is it you pray over whether you should give $5 to a bum even though the Savior has given a standing commandment to do so (3 Nephi 12:43, and his servant Benjamin, whose doctrine you defend but don’t obey [Mosiah 4:16]), but you won’t pray before contending or disputing with me though the Lord has commanded you not to (2 Nephi 26:32; 3 Nephi 11:28)?

          You’re a hypocrite, Nathaniel.

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  28. I think we too often consider ourselves much “older” spiritually than we actually are, and therefore above such things.

    That is part of the problem I am trying to address.

    How do you reach people who, unbeknownst to them, have a learning disability, who really don’t know what they think they know, who are in classes that are far too advanced for their actual skill level, who have been passed along by incompetent teachers until there is little hope of correcting their basic misunderstandings? People who have been passed along their institutional classes until they hit college where they need to take remedial courses and they resent it because they’ve graduated high school, and why is this teacher telling them they need to go back to skill-n-drill basics from kindergarten? Screw him. They already know all this stuff, see, so why can’t the teacher just tell them what they need to know for the tests in this class so they can pass it, or just pass them on the test?

    Then you have a character telling everyone to just hold Mommy and Daddy’s hand always. Sigh sigh sigh.

    Well, if that’s what you want, go for it.

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  29. The “small child” analogy got me thinking again about my own kids. Some of the first lessons we teach in first interactions between kids is “sharing.”

    The kids really don’t have the capacity or wisdom to weight the moral consequences of letting that other kids over there play with MY truck. We don’t teach them the nuances of lending, interest, entitlement, enabling, etc. We just teach “it is nice to share with others, let them play with that toy and you play with this one.” Is this not “give to him who asketh thee”

    This is part of why the scriptures do not consist solely of the sentence “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them, for this is the law and the prophets.”

    People are at many different levels of spiritual development, and it’s intended to catch as many as will from whatever level of development they may be at, that they may be improved upon as much as possible while they are here.

    So you get the 10 commandments with the Law of Moses (and its “Two Great Commandments”), and a certain type is improved thereby, and it keeps a lot of people out of a lot more trouble than they would otherwise be in. Idolaters certainly do better to worship God as an idol rather than men.

    Then you get the Sermon on the Mount, and the path to discipleship is offered. And if you take it of your own free will and choice, and are faithful and true in all things, you find out at the end what everything’s based on; you see what you are being made into, and you choose whether to continue.

    You don’t have to grow up, if you don’t want to, but the consequences of refusing adulthood are not, to me, very pleasant.

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    • So in the scenario I gave which option would be the better one?

      Enoch walked with God, some words were once written, “be thou humble, and The Lord shall lead thee by thy hand” or something like that. Complete and utter dependence on a God and knowing our nothingness, our inability to discern truth or choose between right and wrong with our own intellect is what meekness is all about.

      We would have to get down to the basics of what the nature of God is to really get into this. It is not a human body on a throne. It is the Spirit that is within that body and within everything else. So if your leaf on the wind analogy means being directed by the Spirit (God) in all things that is beautiful. If it means being driven with the wind and tossed, taking it upon yourself to be God and choose how to interpret His words and use them how you see fit, then I say better hold mommy and daddy by the hand and trust in The Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding, and again counsel with The Lord in all thy doings. Is this not sound doctrine?

      Anyway this has reached the point of rehashing but thank you for the conversation and I always enjoy thinking on your opinions.

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      • Ah, but I would be remiss to fail to point out what the Master actually did say.

        Mark 14:7
        7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

        Apparently, opportunities to give money to the poor, rather than being rare, are as common as you want them to be, until you run out of money.

        But that would be part of the point.

        Matthew 19:21
        21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

        There is a straight and narrow path that runs through the teachings of the Lord and his servants, the prophets – and that straight and narrow path is this: “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them, for this is the law and the prophets.”

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        • Just to clarify what I meant, if we had consecrated everything to God, we would more often than not have nothing to give bums as we passed them, because it would have already been given as God directed beforehand and our pockets would be empty. Why should we ever have extra money? If it is for our own security something is wrong (unless God directs) and if it is for another reason perhaps we had not petitioned God beforehand on where to give that money or put it to use. Must we wait for people to make requests before finding a way to give or consecrate what money has come our way to The Lord? That was what I was hinting at that didn’t translate I guess. I don’t think people sought out Jesus for money, what He had to offer was of a much higher value than that.

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        • Anything above your immediate needs is “extra.”

          Hence, “take ye no thought for the morrow.”

          What people sought out Christ for was free food and health care. See John 6.

          Only his disciples, who were obeying his teachings, understood what he was really offering.

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  30. Yes I agree on what extra means. And yes people didn’t always seek out Jesus for the right reason, and they left went the heat was turned up, but it wasn’t for money, like I stated before. Anything extra in my opinion we ought to consecrate to The Lord, seeking direction on how to use it or give it, whether it is to invest, give to the poor or some “charitable” use, or whatever The Lord directs, and for that reason if we are constantly communicating with God, we will not have money to give bums from day to day, because it will have already been set to use as The Lord has directed to you by revelation.

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    • I don’t see any reason why we might not be directed to keep $5, $10 or $20 in our pocket to help the brother and sister in need that we encounter every day.

      In fact, I vastly prefer that kind of “charity,” over a faceless organization. Given all the direction in scripture to succor the beggar, I would be very surprised if any direction from the Lord left us without means to do so.

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    • I prefer to do what the Lord actually said, but your opinion is fine – for you – even if it sounds pretty much like what the Church does with its tithing, too, using the same narrative and justifications, and with the same outcome.

      Like I said, I really don’t know why you left the Church. You seem to agree with it in all but one point. Whatever spirit moves through it moves through you – for you both follow the same rules and produce the same outcomes.

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  31. I have an idea in my head, but I can’t see to form into a coherent thought.

    He’s asking us to be principled – to obey the law, the golden rule, without judging (i.e., without respect to outcomes – without appealing to “workability” or consequences or worthiness).

    It seems to me that, as a foundation principle, we try to “weasel” our way out of adherence to the Golden Rule by judgement, excuse, self-justification, etc. then we have failed. We all fall short of course, but there is a difference between a failure to live a principle we accept and attempt to follow because we are mortals and seeking to justify our non-ideal behavior.

    It seems to me that the “exceptions” to the golden rule must also arise out of adherence to principle. I don’t give my house away because I have covenanted with my wife and have responsibility to my children, who have first claim on my means and support. That principle, for me, takes priority over the request of the wicked man attempting to impoverish my children, even though I would normally seek to grant all requests on principle. The denial in that case is a choice I make based on principle.

    Maybe that is what Joseph meant that “by proving contraries, truth is made manifest.”

    We like to think that every commandment or principle lives in precise harmony with every other principle, but that can’t be a valid assumption. We live in a sea of contrary and conflicting true principles. We get to show what we really value in how we let those principles direct our actions.

    For example, does a new convert get baptized as Jesus directed, or refrain to honor their father and mother who oppose and forbid the action?

    Do Adam and Eve eat the fruit and multiply, or does he refrain and remain childless in the garden?

    Like I said, I’m not sure this is coherent yet, but it seems to me that there it is an entirely different discussion (with ourselves) when we accept and balance true and righteous principles and end up favoring one over another vs. judging others, excusing, and self-justifying our lack of adherence to principle for comfort, workability, or paternalistic reasons.

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    • When I realized that the golden rule implies granting all requests, no matter who is asking, I had to stop and consider that fully. The realization brought with it a new paradigm – I live in a universe of beings and powers, all making requests of me, and God is simply one of them. In the case of conflicting requests, “choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” I get to pick whose requests to grant, receiving my reward of whom I list to obey. If my wife asks me to not let go of the house, then the wicked home teacher doesn’t get his hypocrisy windfall. Likewise, as Peter said when commanded of the high priest to stop preaching Christ, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

      Hence, “where there is no law, there is no condemnation.” Where there are no requests, I am free to do whatever the hell I damn well please. Like saying “whatever the hell I damn well please.”

      Oh there is so much more to it. It explains literally everything. But the discovering is in the doing, and the doing requires the heart and a willing mind. And courage to act even on the merest whisper to the soul even in a course that is foreseeably ruinous. It’s not cheap. But the ride is interesting.

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      • I really appreciate this philosophy about how the golden rule works. It certainly would make life interesting. It would seem TO ME that it would require serving more than one master, and being made a slave to anyone. I personally do not believe in the least that Jesus granted everyone’s requests. His disciples on more than one occasion thought to turn people away as if they were used to it. If they knew Jesus simply granted everyone’s requests they would never think to turn anyone away.

        So log I have some questions out of curiosity. If you pass a bum asking for money, how do you decide how much money to give them from your wallet? Like if you just got a few hundred bucks out of the ATM how much would you give to the first bum you passed (since most don’t specify an amount they are asking for) and the other question is do you pick up every hitchhiker? Or rather do you believe the golden rule suggests we would pick up every hitchhiker? Would there even be a pause to pray to ask God whether it is His will to pick up the hitchhiker or is it just automatic response, no inspiration needed because you already know you will grant everyone’s requests?

        I think if this were the path to God it would actually be much easier than any kind of spiritual evolution, it would be like a movie my daughter watched a while back called Ella enchanted. You might check it out even though it is cheesy and goofy. Or the yes man with Jim Carrey. It would be interesting to say the least. Here is the beginning of the Ella enchanted movie synopsis.

        “As a baby, Ella (Anne Hathaway) receives a visit from Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox), her fairy godmother, and is bestowed with a magical talent that requires her to obey anything that she is told to do. This proves to be more of a curse than a blessing,”

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  32. Log and Tim, I express my compassion and respect for you as fellow sojourners and seekers of truth. At this point I take my leave (i.e. the blog, I’m not dying – well, we’re all dying, but you know what I mean). I didn’t want to leave without saying good-bye though. I also want to say that I could be wrong (and you right) about many things. I also acknowledge my own incompetence on many levels/degrees. So I relieve you or anyone of the need to prove it – I concede it.

    I truly hope and anticipate our paths converging in the future. Exciting things are coming. The Lord will make bare his arm in the eyes of all.

    We’ve got each other’s e-mails and I still feel welcome here if I should decide to return (Return of the Jedi) and catch up (much to learn I still have). Unless there’s a massive EMP or CME or the like, in which case I hope we end up gathering and being neighbors.

    I pray you (& all) the best, good luck, may the Force be with you, live long and prosper 🙂 , Shalom/Peace, and the blessings of the Lord God Almighty in Heaven.

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  33. I really appreciate this philosophy about how the golden rule works. It certainly would make life interesting. It would seem TO ME that it would require serving more than one master, and being made a slave to anyone.

    Yes, it would.

    Mosiah 2:17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

    18 Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?

    19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!

    20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another–

    21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another–I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

    After all,

    JST Mark 9:32 Now Jesus sat down and called the twelve, and said unto them. If any man desire to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.

    JST Mark 10:42 But Jesus called them, and said unto them, Ye know that they who are appointed to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.

    43 But it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, shall be servant of all.

    44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

    To be God is to be the willing servant – slave, if you will – of all. Many masters, indeed.

    That is, in fact, the point of the story of Alma and his people when they were enslaved by the Lamanites.

    That is the whole purpose behind the law of God, if you will be his disciple – you are asking to be made a servant of all, even as he is the servant of all. That’s the golden rule.

    If you will be God, you have to be of such a character as to be able to cut off, forever and ever, a third part of your own children from the outset. You have to sustain and support Hitler so that Hitler can live and move and do according to Hitler’s own will, killing six million Jews. You have to sustain and support all the drug addicts, murderers, thieves, child rapists, adulterers, false priests who oppress and teach lies in your name, warmongering and lying politicians dropping nuclear bombs on civilian populations, and every other work of darkness that ever occurs, while giving them the necessary gifts to do so. That is the grace of God – doing good to the evil and the just, without judgement.

    I personally do not believe in the least that Jesus granted everyone’s requests. His disciples on more than one occasion thought to turn people away as if they were used to it. If they knew Jesus simply granted everyone’s requests they would never think to turn anyone away.

    The behavior of Jesus’s disciples, or even those who have claimed throughout the ages, or claim today, to follow Jesus, spreading darkness, bloodshed, and horror on the earth, is no indication of Jesus’s own behavior. Jesus’s disciples, to a man, were carnal, sensual, devilish men during his lifetime, therefore they could not understand, and their behavior during his ministry demonstrates this.

    Let us see some of these episodes where Jesus’s disciples turned any away.

    JST Mark 10:11 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them; and the disciples rebuked those that brought them.

    12 But when Jesus saw and heard them, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.

    JST Luke 19:39 And they who went before, rebuked him, telling him that he should hold his peace; but he cried so much the more, saying, Son of David, have mercy on me.

    40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him; and when he was come near, he asked him,

    41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? and he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.

    42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight; thy faith hath saved thee.

    JST Matthew 19:13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them, saying, There is no need, for Jesus hath said, Such shall be saved.

    14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

    15 And he laid hands on them, and departed thence.

    Etc. Your belief is one thing; the record we have says another.

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  34. I apologize for asking for Nate to be barred from commenting on my posts. I have asked that he be able to comment on this post and any previous ones.

    However, going forward, my new posts will not be open for comment.

    The reason is simple. “Amen, bruh!” and “You’re totally wrong, dude!” are not constructive contributions.

    Responses that are critical but do not address the argument of the posts are not constructive contributions.

    Responses that are critical of the posts but take the form of “Your position X entails negative outcome Y, therefore X is problematic or false!” are not valid arguments, but are a simple appeal to paternalism (ie, the appeal to unpleasant consequences, or “slippery slope”), and are thus not constructive contributions.

    Responses of the form “I’m giving you an opportunity to clarify your words, comrade” or “justify yourself to me” or “defend yourself from my accusations” are simply arguments ad hominem, and I dismiss them as such.

    And responses of the form “Unless you declare Thus Saith The Lord, your crap ain’t worth reading, you idolater who trusts in men!” are simply expressions of differing values and as such are meaningless in any relevant sense, even if revealing of the heart of the accuser.

    Basically, if you’re making emotional arguments FOR or AGAINST me or against what I say, you’re not helping.

    And the MOST functional criticism did come from Nate when he observed that God doesn’t grant all requests. The problem with Nate’s observation was that, to him, this is an objection, not a puzzle to solve, because he rejects the idea that the Golden Rule implies all requests should be granted – not on logical grounds, but on emotional grounds. That’s why his criticism was intended as a show-stopper, not a puzzle to solve, and why, even as the MOST functional criticism, it still was not constructive.

    So no more comments.

    God requires the condition of believing with nothing doubting – or, in other words, faith – before he will guarantee performance of requests.

    When would I want conditions put on the granting of my requests? When the conditions are strictly for my benefit. As God follows the rule…

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  35. Log,

    No need for apology the Lord’s hand was in it. I have done some critical thinking and introspection, and while I personally believe that the highest laws of God given to us are to 1. Love God with all our hearts, minds, etc and 2. Love thy neighbor as thyself, and I believe those are not the lower law of Moses but the only laws that truly matter, I also believe that spending time discussing the intricacies of the golden rule is simply not the best thing I could be doing. The very fact that you are seeking to share and teach the golden rule is beautiful, and points people’s minds toward a true principle so thank you for being willing to share what is in your soul.
    While my intention was not to dissuade from temporally helping anyone, it could definitely come across that way, and that is the last thing I want to do. The stories of Mother Theresa, Dokka Sittama, and others like them have been tools for the Lord to change my heart. They are inspiring examples of giving themselves completely to others and living the golden rule. A person with a new heart, born of God will love to do these works. It will become natural to them. The spiritual reality of giving of ourselves, our light, our spiritual substance is the same way. We can either give light as God directs, or we can seek to take it from others, or give it in error in my opinion. Our actions are only symbols and bi-products of our spiritual condition.
    My personal understanding is that if people cry out to God for GRACE, knowing of their fallen and natural state, desiring more than anything else to receive grace and have their hearts changed, that is when a new spirit will be born and the works of God (which you have taught by means of the golden rule) will flow from them. If people seek to do good works, no matter what their spiritual condition is, no matter what their motive is, even if it is to seek a reward or a place in heaven which will never work, then I have decided the best thing for me to do is encourage it or say nothing, so that is what I will aim to do. The Lord’s plan is going forth in every individual’s life, and I thank you for the part you have played in my life over recent months. I have been a butt head at times and I ask your forgiveness and just know that those who oppose particular points in what you share, may be thinking more of your words than others who agree with you without critical thought. Keep on keeping on bro. Quoting some memorable words from the tv series Lost, in a British accent “see you in another life brother.”

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  36. And I will apologize also for calling your belief a heresy.

    You get to believe what you want and teach it and persuade others to believe it likewise.

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    • That’s ok. From your belief set it is heresy by definition. I get that. I believe joseph taught a true principle when he taught (or The Lord taught, whichever sounds better) that both our body, and our spirit, meaning the spirit body that you were bringing up in the brother of Jared encounter, are temples. It is either section 93 or 95 I can’t recall. So if both the physical body, and the spirit body are temples of God, then I believe what you have inside of those temples is what God truly is. I think some mormons have called it “intelligence.” The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words light and truth. I take that very literally. Or when Jesus said I am the Light, or taught that He was the Truth, I believe that was also literally. And light as we all know is not simply contained within the body of Jesus, but His light is in and through all things. Therefore if He is the light, then He is literally in and through all things.
      That is why if why, in my opinion, if we see the majesty of the planets in motion, or the sun, or the sea, or even like when Buddha held up a flower and marveled at it and how miraculous it was if we could even understand one flower, than we have seen the God. I know I am not quoting the doctrine and covenants right but it says something to that effect. So if that is heresy according to brigham young then that is heresy from his viewpoint. That is ok. Everyone is a heretic to some other people it seems.

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      • I apologize for saying you were not of God, and have taken the liberty of removing the offending comment and follow-ups.

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        • Please no more apologies I am blushing:) No seriously though all is forgiven and I hope you can forgive all of my past comments that were/came off as paternalistic, snobbish, condescending, contentious or just plain ridiculous. A few recent experiences have changed my viewpoint and I hope to avoid frivolous disagreements. My mind is headed in a direction that previously was unknown to me, and I am a different human being than I was a week ago. I certainly hope that each year I can look back and see how much change has taken place from the previous year and that it will be change in the right direction. Life is just weird sometimes and the more experience I have the more questions I have and the less I realize I know. Thanks bro.

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    • Well, I’m not missing this group hug, so thanks to Log for reaching out to me and pointing me back here. I repent of my oath/farewell.

      I am grateful for what I’ve learned here, one of those being that I don’t have to be right all the time. I am blessed by the fellowship and association with those whose goals are similar (e.g. Finding and Knowing and becoming like our Lord God Redeemer) but whose perspectives and understandings are somewhat different. We can be looking at the same picture and notice different things that are all true and, in the end, integrated and compatible.

      For example, Log helped me ponder the significance and relationships of the Golden Rule, Charity, and paternalism. Nate helped me notice God does not grant all requests and the importance of seeking truth through the power of the Holy Ghost. Then the Lord helped me learn how these true principles span beyond mortality into eternity, past and future. And Log helped me ponder how covenants, including eternal (and premortal), affect how God interacts with us yet keeps the eternal laws too. All of this contributed to enlightening my understanding and appreciation of certain truths, all the while seeing things from a slightly different angle than Log or Nate.

      Although it can be difficult to avoid contention when we see things differently, I think the interaction and discussion are worthwhile. There is some science to this and working as a team is better than working alone. And with that I’ll ask Log and Tim to consider not deactivating comments. It still might be the right thing to do. If the purpose is to just communicate a message or teaching from the Lord, for example – or if we were overrun here by naysayers and contenders (DS had to deactivate because he just had too many self-styled enemies). But if it is to learn and experiment, multiple angles is better (3D vs 2D). Can we do it in utter peace, love, devoid of contention? I bet we can. What we probably can’t avoid is the unprepared and miscommunications and misunderstandings.

      What do you all think?

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      • I agree.

        What Log has shared has opened my eyes to what I believe is a better way of communicating. There is no reason to claim revelation (even if revelation has been given) unless directed to. So I have sought to change the way I present what I am writing. Even if we know something, saying we know it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow for someone else, so I appreciate log pointing this out.
        Sometimes we get caught up in the differences in belief instead of focusing on the similarities, at least I have too often. I am sure that we can agree that a man or woman of God will be doing the works of God. Clothing the naked, feeding the hungry etc. that is something I believe we could all find edification with. That is something that whether you break down what James or Paul or Jesus said, no matter how we each interpret it as individuals, we could all agree they taught in their own ways.

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  37. I would like to offer a public apology to Log, and Nate, and Tim, and all here.

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  38. I would also like to ask anyone I’ve offended to forgive me.

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    • Hey brother I just saw this. Why you would include me in this I don’t know you have never done anything to offend me or that would need you to ask forgiveness but just to be clear we are great man. Perhaps God has the power to unify people despite all of our weaknesses if we will but focus on God and continually look past each other’s shortcomings and only see other members of the family down here. I am certainly a weakling. Peace

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      • Thank you MOO (or “Nate,” if I may call you that.)

        I had made some comments you seemed to agree with before the misunderstanding between you and Log, and maybe my comments somehow encouraged contention that night (even though I thought I was asking valid questions at the time.)

        I thank Tim for accepting my apologies, and I hope Log does too.

        I’m an over the hill sinner and fool, and I’m trying to learn what I can in what time I have left here.

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