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Shame


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Nothing inspires blogging like a too-close win on NCAA Football.

I was speaking with a few friends the other day and I happened to ask if they were ever ashamed to admit to being Mormon. We discussed issues for the most part and admitted to being variously ashamed of the black priesthood ban, negative stereotypes of members, and other items. I am ashamed of those things, but I'm mostly ashamed of the Atonement.

Not what others are usually ashamed of, but I guess I should try and explain.

The toughest thing about the gospel for me to accept is that we're never done. The game isn't ever over. Death doesn't finish it. There's never going to be an end. It's really eternal. There's no point at which we've done enough. So, we keep working forever and we'll always have to go to work. In short, the Mormon retirement plan sucks.

I suppose that wouldn't be bad if I could pay my bills and have some left over for TiVo and Taco Bell after I put in my ten hours at the steel mill. But we'll always be indebted to Jesus Christ. I mean, forever.

In theory, this should still be pretty great. Lots of people (myself sometimes included) find great solace in this. Despite the supposed advantages of "salvation" (whatever that ends up being in your case or mine), I'll always have obligations. Obligations to act a certain way, do a certain thing, be with a certain person, be in a certain place, et cetera. I don't want any part of those obligations.

Is that selfish, prideful, ignorant of the gospel? Yes. Quite clearly. But I want what I want. I hate being obligated to others, especially when the obligation is indeterminate. Some obligations can be very rewarding: I'll be at the desk in the jock dorms for ten hours if you'll give me my room and some food. I'll strike out ten guys if you'll score four runs for me. I'll play my hardest for three hours if you do the same. I just see the less determinate obligations as shackles that can't be cut. A long term relationship with a woman? All that means to me is that too much is never enough. A long term relationship with Jesus Christ? Unfortunately, much the same. However, it seems that the alternative might be a great deal worse.

And then there's the inadequacy. Being a believing Mormon involves a number of things:

1) Admitting that the Spirit had to tell you what's true. You couldn't figure it out on your own, at least not without a hint. Rationality is just more comforting. This is much less annoying than

2) Admitting that God is just better than you. Smarter, better, bigger, stronger, and probably knows who'll win the World Cup. You can't beat him or even draw. You lose by admitting to being religious. Hey, I think I read somewhere that the essence of pride is competitive! Can't imagine how that might apply.....

3) Never being able to be fully responsible for your own salvation. Being "beaten with a few stripes" would at least punish you to the extent that you deserve and then there would be no more claim. Anything over that would just be oppression due to power differential. That I can handle.

Sometimes I actually think that I'd rather be beaten and banished than exalted and indebted. I know this isn't too sensible, but it still holds some sway with me.

Is it just me that worries about this stuff? Maybe I just don't get it......of that I'm certain.

(Note to potentially offended readers: I'm still onboard. I still think the Church is true. I still believe in Jesus Christ and the Atonement. I just wish it were "easier" or involved some system whereby I can get what I deserve and then be left to do as I will.)


30 Responses to “Shame”

  1. Anonymous Katie 

    “There's no point at which we've done enough. So, we keep working forever and we'll always have to go to work. In short, the Mormon retirement plan sucks.”

    I have had some of the same thoughts in thinking about the eternities. I am not bothered by the Atonement, and being eternally indebted to Christ. It is just the thought of eternal work and progress that really doesn’t inspire me. I mean being eternally indebted to Christ is kind of how I thought of heaven before I converted. You spend eternity worshipping Christ and reveling in the joy of it all. This to me sounds fantastic. What really chaps my hide is when this “Christian” idea of heaven is brought up in Mormon circles the usual response is “Bleck! Wouldn’t you get bored after a little while?” (And want to get off your cloud and go bake bread and cross-stitch a cute pillow and visit teach some sisters?) I find this idea ridiculous and rather insulting to Christ. First of all, no I don’t think you would ever get sick of sitting around and praising Christ. And secondly, since time as we know it does not exist in the Celestial kingdom, then boredom is an impossibility. Boredom is directly related to time, without it you could not know you were bored. But I digress……

    I think the issue of always being obligated to think and act a certain way for eternity won’t be too big of a deal. I think once you live in God’s presence celestial behavior will just flow naturally like breathing. The reason it seems like “work” to us now is that our bodies and our spirits have different agendas and we are continually striving to unify them. This unity will be a reality in heaven, and the great angst we feel in constantly working will disappear.

    But another kind of work will still go on. And this is why the Mormon heaven has never appealed to me. Sometimes I think, “you know, I am putting in a whole lot of work down here for an after-life that I am not sure I want.” The afterlife I am referring to is one in which I am continually progressing until I become a goddess with my husband and rule a planet and have billions of spirit babies. I see moms who are stressed out with 2 kids, but a billion? Wow. Ruling a planet in general is not appealing to me. Maybe men look forward to this more than women? The funny thing is, since sitting around and worshipping Christ forever is my idea of heaven, it sometimes seems that maybe I would rather go to the terrestrial than celestial. Not a very motivating thought.

  2. Anonymous NFlanders 

    Very interesting, D-Train. I think it is important to remember that we will be our same selves after the resurrection (insert some D&C quote about same intelligence here). I think part of the problem is that you think you will be a walking, talking General Authority in the sky, desperately trying to work off your debt. I strongly disagree. You will be the same fun-loving D-Train, possibly wagering with other angels on the outcome of the World Cup. Sure, you might have to do some work, but I doubt we can even comprehend what it is. Whatever it is, I don't think it will involve the erasure of our personalities.

    God is all-merciful and all-loving. He wouldn't condemn us to an eternity of boring striving. He wants us to enjoy ourselves, and I believe we will. That's why it's heaven.

  3. Anonymous BestHair 

    I'm not ashamed to admitt that I'm Mormon. It makes me somewhat of a novelty. I don't think of myself as a typical Mormon, so when people find out that I am they are dumbfounded and tell me that they've never met a Mormon like me. Whether that's good or bad is up for debate, but I side on it being good. When it comes to the sticky issues of our church's history, I'm starting to feel more comfortable talking about with non-Mormons on account of learning more about Church history from sources other than Church mannuals. The more I learn, the more I realize that the Restoration of the gosple is a lot messier than we members say it is. Sure, I believe that God spoke through Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, but they had a 19th century world view, so that revelation has been skewed by them to fit that view. Allowing for more humanity with all of its shortcomings into the scope of church history has helped me resolve lots of issues that I've had.
    I feel you D-train about the Mormon retirement plan. I sometimes wonder if it's even worth it. I just want a break after this life. I'm not really excited about having billions of spirit children or creating plantes, etc. I wonder if doing god things is necessary in our celestialized state? I'm mean, if a agency is an eternal principle, can't I just chose not to work or create a planet? If I'll be a god, you'd think I'd have enough power to choose what I'll spend eternity doing. Or will God tell me to get off my lazy butt or he'll kick me out of the celestial kingdom like parents tell their bum kids? I don't know. I'd like to think that if we've been true and faithful here, God will let us decide how we want to spend eternity.On my mission my companions would joke about going down to terrestrial world listen to our favorite rock bands play or use eternity to fine tune our basketball game against Michael Jordan. It sounds very ancient Greek (taking part in earthly pleasure in the afterlife) but I think its plausible in the Mormon view of the afterlife. Any-hoo, that's my take.

  4. Anonymous BestHair 

    OK, my wife has brought it to my attention that my post is racked with spelling errors. I'm sorry if any of you find this distracting. I'm just to damn lazy to open up Word and run a spell check. I'll be better about it from here on out.

  5. Anonymous Dave 

    I'm not sure how any other "retirement plan" scores better than the Mormon one on these points. The Christian plan seems to envision an eternity of singing hymns and praises to Holiest God. After a couple of verses I'd be looking for the side door.

    Granted, Mormonism has a "what have you done for me lately?" theme that always manages to ask for more. But at the same time it empowers rank-and-file members by giving every man the priesthood (no separate class of clergy to defer to) and every member the right to personal revelation (which comes in different flavors, but seen from the right perspective does authorize us to actually think for ourselves).

    Hey -- I like the blue links on the black background.

  6. Anonymous Geoff J 

    Wow. What an odd theological point of view you lay out here D-Train. It seems like your two complaints don't jibe with each other.

    Complaint #1: We have to work in this life and continue the process even after this life to become like God.

    Complaint #2: We need God and can't become like him without his gracious help.

    I don't get it. I am used to hearing your #1 but it is usually followed by someone complaining that Mormons are not more like our Protestant friends with the "Free Ride Grace" plan. But you take it to the opposite extreme and complain that we need God at all... Which is it, are you bummed that you have to work or are you bummed that you don't get to do all the work yourself?

    I also have to say that I respectfully disagree with several parts of the theology Katie outlined.
    A. I don't think God sits around and that if we become remotely like him we won't be sitting around doing anything either (including sitting around praising Christ).
    B. I think that while time might be measured differently by God, He is a temporal being and we always will remain such as well
    C. I'm not sure the Celestial Kingdom is even a place -- I suspect it is mostly a state of being
    D. I'm not sure I buy the idea that our bodies and spirits have different agendas... though I do concede that certain bodily appetites must be bridled.

  7. Anonymous Susan M 

    To be honest, I don't spend much time thinking about the afterlife. I'm too busy with the now, I guess. Which is funny, because I think I'm much more aware of our mortality than most people. Being diabetic and having two siblings die does that to you.

    I like the idea of eternal progression. I like the fact that we'll all be where we're most happiest--and it'll be where we want to be.

    But I can't see past next week, let alone eternity.

  8. Anonymous D-Train 

    Hey all, thanks for a load of good comments. I'll respond as best I can while watching Newcastle-Arsenal on TiVo.

    Katie: I usually find that you're right on point and this is no exception. You clarify a lot of what I don't know that I want about the traditional Mormon view of the CK. I will say that I agree with Geoff's argument that God exists in time to some extent, if only to relate to us. I don't really want to sit around praising Christ all day, but I also don't think that's precisely what you meant. I think, if I'm reading you correctly, that your view is that we don't have to build a bunch of planets in order to have a good time rejoicing in Christ and our deliverance. Let me know if I'm misreading.....

    Ned: This Church needs you bad.....

    I think you've hit exactly what I'm worried about. If being lazy and watching soccer is wrong, I don't want to be right. Maybe the problem is that I don't believe the promise that the CK will be worth having. Mostly, I just think "well, shoot, I don't really like living the gospel now. If our selfsame spirit doth inhabit us later, why will I like it any more when I get a gallon instead of just a pint?" Your statement that heaven must be something good for us gives me a great deal of hope.

    BestHair: I just got back from your workplace and I didn't see you there. Revelation is messy, if only because it's (at best) a game of telephone. Usually you can figure out the gist of what was said, but revelation received by a prophet involves at least three distinct perspectives: that of God, that of the prophet, and that of the hearer. Lots of chances to filter.

    So much of the problem here is that we just don't know anything about the CK. I'm talking about not really wanting it, but I don't know what "it" is. All that I know is that if our same spirit inhabits us, I'm likely to want what I want now. I won't say that my desires are unrighteous per se, but they don't correspond to being an eternal home teacher, father of worlds, or ministering angel. When we do get church leaders speculating about the afterlife, it's pretty nearly always stuff that I don't want to do. Which raises the question: what more can I do than keep the commandments? How can I be blamed for not wanting to do something, presuming that I do it anyway? Will it be that way forever?

    Dave: I agree that there isn't another competing Christian view of the afterlife that's any better. It's just that I don't really find a ton of appeal in the one that we have.

    Geoff: I was worried that I wouldn't be clear enough about this. You're right that there is a bit of a contradiction in my two claims. Here's a brief (hopefully clearer) restatement:

    If I'm going to experience the committment of being indebted to Christ, I'd like to at least be happy.

    If I'm going to have to work forever, I'd at least like to avoid an indefinite committment. Let me work enough to pay my debt and have a little for myself at the end of the day.

    I understand that this does not square well with the gospel. I understand that this is a very bitter way of looking at things. I also should note that I don't wholly feel this way, at least not all of the time. The problem is that I'm having trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. What exactly is my reward? If it's just a bunch of home teaching, I'd just as soon pass. The only comfort that I can see is that if God is just, he'll either make me want the stuff that I dread or he'll provide a few helpings of what I like, provided that I'm reasonably obedient.

    Susan: Your view is very sensible given the low level of information that we have about the afterlife. It's probably stupid for me to worry about it to begin with.

  9. Anonymous D-Train 

    One other thing, Geoff, that I didn't mention: I know that my debt is unpayable in the traditional sense. What I worry about is whether it's worth it to have the debt paid at all. Rhetorically speaking, I wonder which is preferable: indentured servitude or debtor's prison?

    (I also don't really think being indebted to Christ is like indentured servitude. I just don't especially enjoy it and this is the best analogy I could think of.)

  10. Anonymous Geoff J 

    Regarding this debt issue -- I have recently posted my Parable of the Pianist in response to the popular Parable of the Bicycle. The conclusion that I have come to is that we often err in the church by referring to exaltation as a thing (usually it is discussed like exaltation is a ticket to the Celestial Kingdom amusement park or something). I think this perspective is just wrong. I believe that exaltation needs to be looked at as a combination of 1) a state of being and 2) our relationship with God himself. In other words, God is guiding and prompting and helping us (never compelling) to become more like him and in the process of becoming more like him our personal and loving relationship with God is growing closer and closer all the time. Exaltation is when we become one with God (and that will take more time than the several decades we are allotted here in mortality).

    So in terms of whether you'll want it or not, rest assured you'll get what you want. The point is that if growing closer to God is no longer desirable to us then He won't force the relationship on us. His hand is stretched out but how close we become with him is entirely a matter of our will.

    I think the reason many people want to become one with God, though is because their personal interaction with him has been the greatest, most peaceful, joyful, moving and desirable experiences of their lives. They want more of that. They agree with Lehi and Nephi that the love of God is the most desirable thing they can imagine.

  11. Anonymous BestHair 

    D-Train-
    I no longer work at La Luna anymore. That place was bringing me down. I'm working at Jamba Juice. It's not much of a step up, but it's a little better then that other place.

    Yeah, if the Celestial Kingdom is hometeaching all the time, you can count me out. It's like that South Park where the kids go to heaven and they see a bunch of people in white shirts and ties. They ask who they are and they say "We're the Mormons and we were right!" The kids begin to scream.

    I think it's funny how people speculate that in the Celestial Kingdom will just be doing Church stuff, because they hold the false assumption that you can only get spiritual satisfaction from doing church stuff. I remember in Sunday school back in my home ward the teacher asked the class what is the one activity that makes you feel the most alive, peaceful, and close to God. One brother answered when he was on his Harley driving down an open road with the wind in his face. I thought that was an awesome answer, but the Sunday School teacher politely shot it down and tried to redirect the discussion focusing on Church stuff as a way to experience God. Lame, lame, lame.

    I think the whole idea of work in the eternities is heavily grounded in the Utah pioneer days with Brother Brigham at the helm. Work was seen as a blessing and not a curse. I can understand why something like that would need to be preached to the pioneers. They were in the middle of a desert and it was essential to their survival that there weren't any lollygaggers. I can see how plowing a field or milking a cow would become more meaningful if I was told that these things would only prepare me for the eternities. I remember reading somewhere that the idea of work as blessing is what made the Mormon pioneer experience one of the most successful communal experiments in history. Marxism saw work as a curse and something to be free from and we've all seen how successful that idea has been.

    I agree with Geoff that the CK is more of a state than a place. How I’ll spend eternity in that state is up for question.

    This is getting long. I have alot to say about this subject, but it kind of digresses and I don't want to threadjack. Come by Jamba sometime D-train. Peace.!

  12. Anonymous Katie 

    I will now respectfully disagree with the things that Geoff respectfully disagreed with me about:
    A. I don't think God sits around and that if we become remotely like him we won't be sitting around doing anything either (including sitting around praising Christ).

    D-Train is correct that I do not mean literally sitting on our keisters. I don’t think God just stands still while we dance in joy around him. It is a figurative image….a figurative image that is often mentioned in the scriptures. Take 1 Ne. 1: 8 :
    “ And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.”
    Does God really sit on a throne? Nah, just figurative again. I am basically saying that to me an appealing heaven is one in which we find eternal rest. I can’t describe it in human words, but I don’t wish to see it as climbing a ladder of progression. Something like losing yourself in God and joy and holiness and light and being transformed into a state of pure bliss. I guess my complaint about Mormon heaven, is the same as the one I have about the Mormon God. We try so hard to put it/him in human terms, that they become unappealing. I guess I wish we emphasized the mystery more, the not knowing, the ways in which God and heaven are unfathomable. We have so many answers to so many burning theological questions that I feel we carry that confidence into knowing God and his realm.

    B. I think that while time might be measured differently by God, He is a temporal being and we always will remain such as well.

    I am confused on how God in both temporal and eternal. But then I have always been confused about how he is “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” but was once a man. But I suppose we humans are too, and it is just a mystery. Time seems to me to be measured much differently by God, I think it is in Abraham that it says that to God one day is a thousand years. In such a time frame, I think boredom would not be an issue.

    C. I'm not sure the Celestial Kingdom is even a place -- I suspect it is mostly a state of being.
    I agree with you here Geoff. I really like your ideas on this issue. And because of this, the whole sitting and praising thing can’t be literal.

    D. I'm not sure I buy the idea that our bodies and spirits have different agendas... though I do concede that certain bodily appetites must be bridled.

    I actually stole this idea from Stephen Robinson. He said that our bodies and our spirits have two different gages with which they function. The spirit’s gage is attracted to whatever is pure and holy and light. The body’s gage wants whatever is pleasurable and sensual. Sometimes what the body wants is a good thing (like a delicious apple), but sometimes it is not (a margarita). So many times the body and the spirit want different things. They are not operating with the same gage, and this is what makes life difficult. Granted, you did not care much for Robinson’s parable for the bicycle, so perhaps you will not like this analogy of his either.

  13. Anonymous Susan M 

    One thing I rarely heard mentioned in discussions about the afterlife is the pre-existence. We've had our whole pre-existence wiped out from our memory. But it won't be forgotten once we're on the other side. I think who we were, who we knew, what we did in the pre-existence, what we thought we'd do on earth, and what we actually did on earth--so many things will shape our view of ourselves, each other, and eternity. Things we currently have no memory of.

    Also, we'll have a perfect recollection of our lives. And I really believe it's even more than that--I think we'll have an understanding of how our choices and actions truly affected those around us.

    Ned mentions we will be our same selves after the ressurrection, and I believe that. I've almost died before, and one of the things I remember most about it was that I was still just me. An almost-dead me, and the veil was very thin, but still just me. But our knowledge and understanding will be so much fuller than it is here.

    To use an analogy, I like to think of it as similar to our vision. You look straight ahead, and you can see what's in front of you. If you concentrate, you can pick up things in your peripheral vision. But there's all that stuff off to the side and behind you that you cannot see. That's sort of how I view our experience on earth in relation to the spirit world or eternity.

    But maybe I'm not expressing myself well. Stupid cold medicine.

  14. Anonymous Mike 

    "If I'm going to experience the committment of being indebted to Christ, I'd like to at least be happy."

    - From being one of the ones in the discussion D-Train mentioned, I have to say D-Train: It seems more like your outlook on this (when you feel this way, which isn't really that often) is that you don't want to be indebted at all. Almost that you'd rather be miserable than indebted because you can't see being anything but miserable when you feel indebted to someone. Because- hey, if you're miserable it might as well be legit. Why be miserable in the midst of beauty and joy. Wouldn't that be worse. You hate yourself and in turn flip that hate around towards everything else.


    As for the whole "am I ashamed" I think I'm pretty much with BestHair here. (I just tyeped your name and had to go back and change it since no one would know who I was talking about.) I don't feel that I am ashamed to be Mormon, or ashamed of the Gospel. I think that I am mostly ashamed of the perception we have for things that are false- and then more ashamed for the members and some of the perception we have for things that are true. I am uncomfortable with the Priesthood ban. I would say at times ashamed. But mostly I'm just ashamed at the way members acted around the whole thing- the way many of them act now, and the thoughts or ideas they hold.

    I'm ashamed that we know so much yet do so little.

    I'm ashamed that we create stumbling blocks for others.

  15. Anonymous Mike 

    Oh- and as for the feelings of discontent, or hating to feel indebted. I have thought about this a bit in conjunction with simply testimony or how we feel. I know that D-Train hates the feeling of indebtedness more than nearly any one I know. I know that I hate it but in a different way. But I also know both of us have felt gratitude without bitterness or shame. I know both of us have felt joy in the atonement. I know that both of us have been in places where the concept of feeling bad for putting some one out or feeling ashamed for being weak weren't really there.

    And lately I've been wondering why I sometimes don't feel that the way I should. I think of Alma in Alma 5 and the questions he posed. And obviously a lot of them aren't answered well when I'm doing the personal accounting. But there seems to be more of that- yeah I still feel it. When I contemplate I feel grateful, I do feel the spirit- but I don't know that I feel like my life is defined by feeling to sing the song of redeeming love.

    As a Church I think that we do have a greater understanding of the Atonement than any other group of people in the world.
    But I also think we often don’t appreciate it as others seem to do. (and sure, spending time with some of my friends who seem to very openly appreciate- I do start to feel that some of the show seems disingenuous.)
    I guess that was part of my other feeling ashamed. I feel like if we are going to do less of the – “We’re just here to praise and to sing about how our God is an awesome God” and more discussion of “we have obligation to act” why do we seem to do so little. Mormons are so busy doing work- and we certainly put in the time. But it seems so much of it is inwardly focused. We do all our service at Church. And yes- I realize adults with families are busy. And there is a lot of stuff that does in fact need to be done within the Church. And we do contribute a lot. But it just seems like we don’t really give outwardly commensurate with what we know or claim to know- and how it doctrinally fits together.

    And I’m guilty of that too. And maybe that’s part of why I’m ashamed. Because it’s my shame. I’m not ashamed of the Church in the sense that D-Train mentioned. I’m ashamed that we don’t live up to it.

  16. Anonymous BestHair 

    Amen Brother Mike!
    I really feel our action as members is deficient for the amount of knowledge we have. I think we miss the point that all our striving to perfect ourselves is to be able to go out and serve others with more power. I sometimes cringe when people say "Salvation is personal." I know what they're trying to say is that the decision to repent, be baptized, and obey the commandments is a very personal one, but I honestly think after that point salvation becomes a very collective endeavor. I think by constantly hearing that salvation is a personal effort makes people think falsely that the gospel is an inward looking way of life.

    I know their are members who realize that obeying the commandments is to help them serve, but I think they limit that to service in the church and serving members. One thing that comes up when I tell people I'm Mormon is how they're impressed how we take care of our own. I'm not sure, if we should take that as praise or criticism. On the one hand I agree that our church's ability and willingness to reach out to it's members in time of distress is amazing, but it saddens me that we as a church aren't known for serving others even if they aren't Mormon. I don't think the lack of reaching out is because we don't want to, but we're just so damn busy going to Elder's quorum meetings, institute, firesides, enrichment, etc, that we don't have time to or we're just to tired to. I wish leaders would encourage serving the least of these in our communities over the pulpit and by easing up on the amount of activities spent doing church stuff.

    The Atonement should be empowering not debilitating. We should feel confident enough that we're saved that we spend less time worrying about our own salvation and start looking out for our fellow brothers and sisters.

  17. Anonymous D-Train 

    Good discussion, all. Some more shots across the bow:

    Geoff: Great comments. I don't agree with all of what you're saying, but it's well thought out and respectfully articulated. Well done.

    My biggest frustration has simply been in worrying that the struggles of the earthly church will be repeated in the eternities for me. I don't know that I actually think this will happen; nevertheless, the outward church is so tied in with eternal experiences in our religion that it's tough to avoid that trap. I like the parable of the pianist, but think that Robinson is much more useful than you're allowing him credit for. It seems to me that his parable is meant simply to illuminate the way in which the Atonement allows our works to be powerful, which is a lot of what you were getting at in the parable of the pianist. I don't think it's a complete theological model and to see it as such can be less than enlightening.

    BestHair: I will come by Jamba this week. What was so bad about La Luna? I like the food....

    Spot on, good fellow. I need to remember better all of the successful spiritual experiences that I've had outside of the Church and not allow the Church to get in the way of the gospel. If it's true that Satan will use anything to trip us up, it's probably the case that the Church is the best weapon he's got against me. Still looking for a good shield.....

    My most poignant spiritual experiences have often been on a bike as well (although the kind you work with your feet). Sometimes, I think the need to be a fake person at Church gets in the way of the ability to really allow the Spirit and your heart to speak with one another. If I'm always pretending to be someone else, I'm never going to be touched by the Spirit as fully as if I'm more comfortable. That said, if I'm not fake, I'll just be horrible and ruin everything for everyone else.....

    Katie: I'm with you. As our hearts and minds are more in tune with God, we can find peace, and this seems most applicable in an eternal sense. I think you and Geoff mostly agree, actually. It's mostly a matter of terminology I think. I especially agree with your sentiments regarding a temporal God. It's obvious to me that he operates in a world of time, but it's equally obvious that he sees time much differently than we do. The question is whether this difference is sufficient to make discussing God in our temporal sense unprofitable.

    Susan: Maybe it's just me, but I simply don't understand the veil. I know what it is in LDS theology, I just don't get why it was necessary.

    Maybe I'll remember later..... :)

    I agree wholeheartedly that the afterlife MUST involve some engagement with what happened then. If not, why was it there at all? Astute observation.

    Mike: Well, you don't pull any punches there, now do you? You're right that I don't feel I can enjoy myself when I'm obligated. What I should have said is that if I'm going to be indebted, it should at least be an easy life. Miserable, perhaps, but not difficult. It may simply be that I don't understand the eternal nature of my debt and the way that it was paid. Nevertheless, from where I sit, it's just difficult to see how I can get from wanting what I want now to wanting what I'm supposed to want later (or now).

    Best Hair redux: You've got a point, but I should note that I was a selfish pig before I joined the Church too. I just wonder sometimes how the Church would work if we really were more of a Wednesday/Sunday institution in both when we attended and how we see the obligations of the institution. All I can see are benefits, but then I'm not one of the people that was converted by the social aspect of the gospel either. It may simply be that some people need a Bishop Lumbergh and an IniTech institution to keep them happy and engaged.

  18. Anonymous BestHair 

    It may simply be that some people need a Bishop Lumbergh and an IniTech institution to keep them happy and engaged.

    Hehe... Celestial Office Space.

  19. Anonymous Mike 

    I didn't mean to be that harsh- or imply that you feel that way now- but that you perceive that is how you would feel in the midst of eternal indebtedness. And I feel that way too sometimes. I think I would turn the self hatred around- but can also see feeling contempt towards others just for their not feeling bad about the indebtedness.

    But as for the something to do- I don't think that it is going to be like we are always home teaching. But I think it will be kind of like the good home teaching visits, the good temple trips, etc.
    I thought about an Elder Eyring talk I've listened to a fair bit lately. It's related to how when you are in a certain state you pray without forcing yourself to because it comes naturally. You share the gospel naturally because you want others to have it. It isn't really work. Same way as helping your little siblings or nieces or nephews. It can be annoying sometimes. But a lot of times you don't look at playing with them or doing stuff for them as work. You like doing it more than the other stuff you would be doing.

    I guess I suppose the big CK will be a lot like that. You can spend eons glorying in Jesus. You can have rest. And you can do whatever you want. You'll just have lots of times when you want to go do good stuff. Progression will happen because you've got all the time and all the ability to do whatever you want. And I think that you can't help but eventually grow if that's the case. You might spend 99% of your time goofing off- and %1 of your time being productive- but if you've got infinite time that is infinate productivity and growth. right?

  20. Anonymous Dave 

    Now that you're into double digit comment territory, time to do something about your comment numbering (I assume I'm not the only one seeing "12" as ".2" and so on. Go read Kaimi's T&S pleas for a guide on how to bleg with honor. I'm sure someone in the B'nacle audience can help.

  21. Anonymous Mike 

    Dave- I've never had any problems seeing the numbers as anything but what they are intended. Are you using some strange browser other than firefox? (I'll have to check it out in IE)

  22. Anonymous Mike 

    wow. this blog does look worse in IE. and the numbers are broken.

    uhm- I suppose we could fix it.

    or we could leave it with this strange system. :1. is clearly 21 while .1. is 11

    (I do wonder what 31 would look like)

  23. Anonymous Pris 

    Hmm...I noticed that too. I wonder why IE is so messed up.

    Perhaps we should try to get to 31, just to see. Though I don't have IE on my machine anymore.

  24. Anonymous Mike 

    I seriously didn't think any one actually used it unless they had to. I guess for some things it loads thing faster, but...

    any way- here's 24 only 6 more to go

  25. Anonymous 9gqU3NwFId 

    BbLegDIbkj7w jUWihZzfHRDix uaARnONQU0

  26. Anonymous wagering 

    wagering wagering

  27. Anonymous kON0B9MQJA 

    721g6ARENns tPX94CCKlSb 5NTnysd9i5xM

  28. Anonymous VtVszlRYHX 

    BzddbnPxSN m5OgyIXqUEj oO489TRIPw

  29. Anonymous Mo4kbopfMi 

    UsqiCx60hqNg7 Z9XzToEYGJ IvdpIn7DRJCa

  30. Anonymous jyJrsuhEx9 

    zFNRk9zjRl 6bg8xDnfBLWfVU 6r1E10JufLpIW9

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