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Are we just ‘this much better’ than the world?

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  • Stay the Course mona, ut
    April 27, 2011 6:26 p.m.

    As i have read the comments I just want to say in general how one sees the world and people in general is a reflection of how he/she is as a person

  • Rae M. Taylorsville, UT
    April 26, 2011 6:53 p.m.

    To Mormoncowboy & I M LDS 2: When I stand on a high cliff it is almost impossible to not notice it. But if I'm trying to be like my Savior, I wont brag about it.
    But those of us LDS members in tune with the Holy Ghost have been taught what we need to.do to achieve perfection. And yes, XR, it includes trying to improve on our past and engaging in self-
    reflection. And to be able to improve, we
    must love ourselves. And loving others means we.do NOT judge THEM.
    But we are tempted the same as others. Sin is so inviting, that we have to be told it is wrong. So we judge between right and wrong but we are not to judge other people.
    So, no, XR, nothing that our God wants us to do is trivial.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    April 26, 2011 10:43 a.m.

    @ IM LDS 2: "Teen sex is at an all-time low?" Really? Maybe in Utah. In California is it at an all-time high. Latter-day Saint teenagers in California are routinely ridiculed and ostricized for holding high standards of chastity. Much of what happens almost routinely in schools in Los Angeles County couldn't even be mentioned in this thread because the grossness of its nature would require censorship.

    One reason for a focus on virtue and chastity in discussions of standards, by the way, is that, in LDS theology, breaking the Law of Chastity is the third worst sin one can commit, after denial of the Holy Ghsot and murder. Once teenagers (anyone, really) have crossed the line into unchastity, the road back becomes very difficult. Even outside the Church, the results of unchastity are known to be devastating on a society, so I'm not sure why there is any criticism of this focus.

    The Church has spoken about the sin of self-righteousness, and we need to teach our children to avoid it; but for a period in their lives, it may be more important to teach them to honor chastity above all.

  • mtgregson Holladay, UT
    April 26, 2011 9:26 a.m.

    IM LDS 2- This sounds very judgemental to me.... When you used to sit on the stand did you listen to people speaking at the pulpit and think to yourself man this person is dense they just don't get it? That is what you sound like. Isn't it interesting that everyone but ourselves is wrong? These blogs if anything, help me to see how man really is so judgemental (even those that think they are far from), and prideful. There is only one source of truth, and unless we look to Him we get stuck in the whirlwind of doctrine, and we are to blind to realize that if we don't choose His way we are only choosing the way of the adversary and he is quick to makes us think that we are on the right track and no one knows but me. There is so much good in this world why do we waste our time arguing our self proclaimed standards when we could be out feeding the homeless?

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    April 26, 2011 8:49 a.m.

    nanniehu,

    I used to think like you, back when I was on the High Council. I saw so many members of the Church arrogantly proclaiming their moral superiority over others, it made me sick to my stomach. They demonized "the world" in order to create a sense of urgency, but all it did was make them hyper-judgmental of others. I saw numerous youth raised to be paranoid of everything that was not LDS or associated with the Church. They won't trust anyone but Church leaders. they don't have any respect for anything except what comes through the Church. They are completely unprepared to see the positive aspects of "the world" (anything non-LDS) and to make a valuable contribution to "the world" because they have such a horrible, judgmental, condemning outlook on "the world".

    For example, teen sex is at an all-time low. But what do YOU focus on?

    The only thing worse than someone who distorts reality in the name of a religious agenda is someone who is arrogant about it. "The world" is filled with wonderful people doing wonderful things. Only if you remove the scales from your eyes will you see it.

  • mtgregson Holladay, UT
    April 26, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    Mormoncowboy-
    Nanniehu doesn't have to prove any of the claims that he has made. They are not his. They belong to God our creater and our Father, and all things on this earth and in the seas below, and heavens above denote that He is there and that He is aware of us. You base everything on fact.... well what are the facts then? Did asteroids collide and here we are? Please give me the scientific evidence of this. We were created, we are here for a reason. I know this and have had numerous, and obvious personal experiences and witnesses of this in my life. You would to if you looked. The LDS church has the fullness of truth and the authority to preform the necessary ordinances that each of us need in order to return to live with our Father in heaven. That is why we invite all to come and see for themselves. Truth and Light exists all around us in this world, but so does darkness, and lies. It is up to us to decide which one we will follow. For those of us in this life who truly want to know here it is!

  • Stay the Course mona, ut
    April 26, 2011 7:51 a.m.

    nanniehu
    Let me help you as mormoncowboy didn't answer if he was an LDS member.
    yes he is as he mentioned serving a mission. For the last few months it is clear he reads every article from the LDS newline making numerous comments like the ones he has made about this article.

  • nanniehu Wendover, UT
    April 26, 2011 6:32 a.m.

    Mormoncowboy?

    I don't have to prove anything, the facts speak for themselves. If one lives the commandments of God in faith, and follows in faith the doctrines of Christ as put forth by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one automatically becomes a better person. Perfect, of course not, none of us will be perfect in this life.
    So, if someone can't speak out to encourage others to be better people in thought, action and deed, then how to we support each other in doing and being better? If we don't have a true prophet on earth today, how are people to know and follow the Savior? Are we to stumble around in the dark, or follow the doctrines of men? God is a God of order and love, He wouldn't leave us to fend for ourselves without a mouthpiece here on earth. That wouldn't make sense if He wants us to come back home someday. Would you give a child tool and tell them to go fix something they've never seen done or repaired and then not show them how to do it? You are splitting hairs.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    April 25, 2011 4:07 p.m.

    Nanniehu:

    If I wanted to be rhetorical I would ask if you can then prove any of your claims. The truth is, we both know you can't. This makes your argument as to what constitutes "fact", quite problematic. Encouraging faith is fine, but when you decide to speak for God, dictate righteousness to others, etc - all while lacking even basic evidence - it can only be arrogance or ignorance. Take your pick!

    For the record, inspite of the new trend of reinterpretation and hyper word-parsing, the fact is - right in the Joseph Smith history you have an alleged decree from God that all religions and their professors are corrupt. You may wish to disagree with that, but you will have to circumnavigate nearly 150 years worth apostasy rhetoric from top-level Mormon leaders, to do so effectively.

  • nanniehu Wendover, UT
    April 25, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    Mormoncowboy - Really? Are you truly a member of the church or a person who likes to be a dissenting voice? In order to be in good standing in the LDS church you should have a testimony of the divinity of Christ, the fact that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, and yes, that there is only one true church. No where do we say that all other churches are bad, and no where is the author saying that everyone else is bad. As for the idea that God would be well pleased, that's not arrogance, just truth. It's not superiority, just fact. Does it make us as individuals "better" than everyone else? I don't think you would find a true and humble member of the church having that attitude. We have the keys to certain ordinances required to get us to the celestial kingdom. We wish that everyone would jump at the chance to have a better life by living commandments given by a loving Heavenly Father and his son. Does that make us arrogant? It's a gift we would share with all because we care.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    April 25, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    DSB:

    Regardless of "who" she was writing to, her article did reference non-LDS "young Women of the world", and drew a comparison. You will also notice, that the comparison elevated her Mia Maids, while arbitrarily denigrating the elusive "others". You can try and defend it all day long, but interestingly her article called for breaking away from relativistic standards - and then she unwittingly engages in the very relativistic benchmarking she derides only sentences earlier. She would have been better served focusing just on the Mia Maids, without drawing the comparison.

    As for Monopolies on goodness - well kind of. She didn't say that, but Mormonism does claim to hold a monopoly on religious truth. I know some disagree, but until you can extricate the Apostasy and Restoration from your faith, it's in there sorry. The D&C alleges to contain the voice of God stating that Joseph Smith's Church is the only one on the whole planet, in which God is "well pleased". So there is superiority here. The good news is that Mormons aren't unique in this regard, as most religions are this arrogant.

  • nanniehu Wendover, UT
    April 25, 2011 10:11 a.m.

    @xr - There's a huge difference between love and lust. The author is speaking to LDS people who should have a high standard of morals. She is pointing out that we can't just walk up to the line, but not cross it and expect the full blessings of exaltation. She isn't comparing us to those good people of other faiths or beliefs who are trying to do what they know is right. She is pointing out that we have a high standard and shouldn't be lax in our approach to obeying the commandments of God.
    @IM LDS 2 - If you're truly a member of the church you know what "the world" is that she's talking about. As for studies and research, there's a myriad of research to back both those who agree or disagree with the consequences of pre-marital sex. It depends on your purpose in conducting the study. Which would you choose? Look around you, the consequences are staggering with broken families, abuse, and fatherless children.
    Again, you are missing the point. We need to encourage each other to do better, and the author is doing just that.

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    April 25, 2011 10:07 a.m.

    @alt134

    I didn't realize that true spirituality is defined by what "most people" believe. I thought that was the definition of "worldly." Catholics don't believe in group confession, so your analogy makes no sense whatsoever. However, a sincere group of Catholic girls who made a pact to live their standards, and engage in frequent personal confession and recommitment, would certainly fit the author's description of people who are separating themselves from worldly standards. I doubt the author would argue that point.

    Did the author say that LDS people have a monopoly on goodness, or that LDS commitments are the only commitments that separate people from a morally corrupt world? Of course not. Guess what Einstein - SHE WAS TALKING TO AN LDS AUDIENCE, IN THE LDS NEWSLINE SECTION!!!! Therefore, she was encouraging LDS people to live our own standards. Had she been writing to a broader audience, I'm quite sure she would have been more inclusive. For you and others to judge her as self-righteous is truly the arrogant elitism that defined the Pharisees of old.

  • xr Bedford, WA
    April 25, 2011 8:50 a.m.

    I think the author is measuring spirituality with the wrong measure. She is grading the spirituality of people based upon trivial things such as the length of their dresses, whether they have green tea in the morning, whether they express their love through intimacy with their lover while not legally wed (a third party does not need to validate love, in my opinion) or if they can skip eating for 24 hours every now and then (and lots of people, nonreligious, actually do this, and for longer periods of time).

    If there is a God then I will be very disappointed if he actually cares about trivial things such as those that were beloved by the Pharisees. I'm sure the Pharisees thought they were exceedingly righteous because of the things they did too, and that they were better because their nonbelieving neighbours didn't do them as good or as often as they did.

    Spiritual fulfillment and perfection are found on a more solemn path: through inner reflection, learning about the self from past actions, acceptance of the self, love for both self and for others, to name a few.

    Don't judge, lest ye be judged.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    April 25, 2011 8:40 a.m.

    Who is this "the world" that every LDS person seems to compare themselves against? Saying you are "that much better" than some nebulous, undefined, group of inferior people with "low" moral standards "out there" is pretty vain and delusional. It is the epitome of "self-righteous" arrogance.

    Whatever "the world" might be, it certainly is not a unified entity about which anyone can really know anything, much less an LDS author who has done no research, surveys, or collected any data about the moral standards of "the world".

    Characterizing "the world" by reference to select magazines, television shows, movies, etc. is so naive and self-serving. "The world" is also filled with many good magazines, television shows, movies, etc. Why select only the bad ones and then judge "the world" based on that biased selection? Because it makes us look good by comparison. And it motivates more "righteousness" by giving us an "enemy" to rally against: "The world and its evils are coming! Prepare for battle! Gird your loins!"

    The sooner we stop this simple-minded demonizing of "the world", the sooner we will stop being accurately described as "self-righteous" and "holier-than-thou" (whoever "thou" is).

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    April 25, 2011 6:40 a.m.

    As ha been told the time will come when the world only has two religions. The followers of Christ and the followers of Satan. This is becoming more and more true everyday. What used to be morally wrong is now the accepted norm. Christ himself said that we needed to be part of the world but not of the world. If our standards sets us apart from the rest of the world, then so be it. That is the way the Lord would want us to be. It isn't a holier than thou attitude but being disciples of Christ. That is what is meant by taking the name of Christ upon us. That is why we take the sacrament every Sunday to remind us of the covenants we made when we were baptized, to always remember him (JESUS CHRIST) that we may have his spirit (HOLY GHOST) with us continuously. We must set ourselves apart from the rest of the world as the world declines into what was transpiring at Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Indeed as others have stated we are in the last days, the Gospel has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and we have prophets today.

  • Rynn Las Vegas, NV
    April 25, 2011 5:13 a.m.

    There are many non-members out there that have good morals. Just as members who can be immoral.
    The point being that every group has it's good members and it's not so good members.
    If a group wants to be proud of it's good attributes, there is nothing wrong with that. But you can be proud of your good attributes without comparing yourself to others. It's like politicians. It's so refreshing to have a political candidate try to win by simply talking about the good things he/she could do, without having to belittle his opponent in the process.
    It also sounds very sheltered to suggest that everyone outside of your group holds themselves to a lower standard.

  • nanniehu Wendover, UT
    April 24, 2011 10:09 p.m.

    Wonderful article! The author's ideas were very well stated. I do see and have heard those who will say, "Well, at least I don't do that!" and think because they aren't doing "that" they are doing okay. The idea here is that we keep our sights set on the right goal. We read the scriptures, and follow our prophets and the Savior's example, we treat others as we would be treated, and we strive to a higher standard. Somehow that has become the wrong, nerdy, uncool, or self righteous thing to do in this day, to have a higher standard. That's only because others are uncomfortable with the idea that there is a true right and wrong. They mock and make fun of those who are trying to do the right thing. They say there is no real right or wrong. Life's experiences and the consequences of our actions will show that this is not true. It's sad to see so many who refuse to face that until the consequences of their actions come back to haunt them.
    Thank you for being a champion of better choices and higher standards!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2011 9:52 p.m.

    @DSB

    "do you really dispute that you would be hard-pressed to find a group of young women who would engage in a mid-week fast and end with a testimony meeting? Let's hear all your examples of young women in the world who would do such a thing. "

    Most people have no belief in there being a reason to fast therefore they won't do it because that's not how they would go about spiritual activity anyway. It'd be like a Catholic group of young women going to confession together and then having some observer take a smug attitude and say that you'd be hard-pressed to find a group of young women who would go do that.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2011 9:46 p.m.

    Why is it always considered a worst society than before? 200 years ago slavery was legal in the US, 100 years ago women couldn't vote, 50 years ago segregation was in force. Yeah you can point to things that are worse now but there are things that are better now too. It's like older generations always want to assume they're better than the younger ones. Are we worse? I don't know but what I do know is that there isn't a clear-cut answer to that.

  • mtgregson Holladay, UT
    April 24, 2011 9:13 p.m.

    There are only two choices to choose from in this world. The Lords way, truth and light or the adversaries way, which leads to darkness. We do not create our own special third way, and man is not here on this earth to come up with the best way. Jesus Christ is the only way and has been since the beginning and will always be. We pick one or the other. Light or dark. True disciples of Jesus Christ that seek Him are not holier than thou, but see the difference clearly between the two different influences in the world. Families, and societies are falling apart... Crazy that prophets that Christ has called Himself have been warning us of these things for a very long time. Yet as a society we dont listen because we don't feel the need to, we are to smart to fall. We are here on this earth to prove ourselves to Him and to make our choice. Don't get the voice of the majority confused with the voice and will of God.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    April 24, 2011 7:55 p.m.

    DSB:

    Any place you can find religion, you will generally find an ethusiastic body of youth eagerly trying "please God". I'm not convinced however that this is the standard that ought to be encouraged - because as the sectarian divide clearly demonstrates, know one really know's what it means to "please God". Still, the author may have been speaking to the people "OF HER FAITH", as you put it, but she did so by dichotomizing her Mia Maids against the "young women of the world". A bit disingenous I think, and really her compliment does anything more than advance a sense of religious arrogance. Which is okay I suppose you would say, so long as she is just witnessing her faith. I personally am persuaded however, that such an argument is a valid defense. However you spin it, religious arrogance is still arrogance. Your stoning metaphor is quite interesting, as I could just as easily cite this article as the first stone cast against the non-Mormon "young women of the world".

    Enough said, as you have already noted - I don't share your faith, so you'll understand why I am not enthusiastic for this bit of cheerleading.

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    April 24, 2011 6:44 p.m.

    @Instereo - what are you talking about? Of the 10 comments, only 2 focused primarily on sexual standards.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    April 24, 2011 6:03 p.m.

    Interesting, this article and most of the comments about "standards" or "morality" or even "holier then thou" attitudes all revolve around sex. As if sex is the only standard that seperates LDS from the world.

    I think LDS, who say they are followers of the Savior should look at all the standards He talked about and see if we really set ourselves apart from the world. He talked about how we treat our fellow man, our enemies, those that are different then us. He gave parables of conducts about the Good Samaritian, the woman at the well (he didn't condemn her either), and a city on a hill.

    The point I want to make is there are many standards that should set us apart like like our views and actions on immigration issues, health care, welfare, and war. Of course we should also treat the opposite sex with respect and not flaunt our sexuality but we should also not be racist.

    I think the standard that should set us apart should be much broader then just our views on sex. That is the real challenge we have in setting ourselves apart.

  • megen Truth or Consequences, NM
    April 24, 2011 5:42 p.m.

    "As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one." Romans 3:10

    We should never compare our righteousness to any other person or groups righteousness. We need to compare our righteousness to that of God's. God will not judge us based on how our righteousness stacks up against non-Mormon righteousness, or how our righteousness stacks up against any other person's righteousness. He will judge us based on how our righteousness stacks up against His righteousness.

    I'm sure we all admit that compared to the perfect holiness of God we fail miserably. God views our righteousness as "filthy rags" (IS 64:6). It is only through Christ's perfect sacrifice on the cross that we can be declared righteous (Rom. 4). We need to trust in His righteousness, not our own (Acts 16:31)!

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    April 24, 2011 5:08 p.m.

    Mormoncowboy - so, do you really dispute that you would be hard-pressed to find a group of young women who would engage in a mid-week fast and end with a testimony meeting? Let's hear all your examples of young women in the world who would do such a thing.

    Maybe it's that you don't believe fasting and sharing testimonies increases spirituality or brings one closer to Heavenly Father. If so, you clearly do not believe one of the standard tenets of LDS faith, which, of course, is your right. I just don't recall the author making any claims that girls who wear off-the-shoulder attire are sluts. But, I'm not inclined to make such harsh judgments of people making simple encouragements - TO PEOPLE OF THEIR OWN FAITH - to live higher standards than the world at large. This same message has been given by our own prophets, and they are figuratively stoned by people just like you as being self righteous.

    Methinks thou dost protest too much.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 24, 2011 4:57 p.m.

    Generally people call others "self righteous" because they are uncomfortable with someone who lives a higher standard. The article is excellent and reminds us that we need to live the gospel standards regardless of how far away they continue to grow from the rest of the world. We are in the last days and we need to realize that and do our best to live the commandments no matter what the rest of the world thinks or does.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    April 24, 2011 4:20 p.m.

    DSB:

    From the article:

    "Recently our Mia Maid class chose to have a 24-hour fast as the mid-week activity, which we all concluded with a testimony meeting and a meal to break the fast together. The world would be hard-pressed to find a group of young women who would choose to fast in order to grow closer to their Heavenly Father as an activity. They are definitely not just "this much" better than the young women in the world."

    her Mia Maid class was compared generically to "the young women in the world", and ranked as being spiritually superior. It is in fact strictly an article expressing holier-than-though sentiments. A great much of what is emphasized to the young women as "modesty" is actually quite idiosyncratic. Bearing ones shoulders, for example, can yield a Mormon qualification of "immodest". "Immodest" is Mormon talk for "slut". Just because Mormons insist on stressing personal worth (particularly to the females) on the basis of "purity", doesn't change the fact that women are still judged based on their sexuality. It's still sexuality that defines a woman for Mormons, they just call it "modesty"!

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    April 24, 2011 1:49 p.m.

    Just wondering, who is more self righteous - the person who calls for living high standards of holiness, as Christ and every church leader has done, or the person who tries to club that person down with shouts of "stop the holier-than-thou attitude!"

    I didn't read where the author said anything about a person with high standards being better than their neighbors. Seems to me she was saying that if you live higher standards today than you lived yesterday, you have improved YOURSELF, and removed yourself further from the stains of this world. Further, it seems she's saying all is NOT well in Zion because we often don't separate ourselves enough from the world. If you don't think the world is in moral decline, and that our standards should be significantly higher than the those of the world, well you just don't believe our prophets.

    I just really don't understand the need of some people - especially people of faith - to demean decent people who call for good living. To me, the first commenter seems considerably more self-righteous and judgmental than the author of the opinion piece.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    April 24, 2011 1:24 p.m.

    Maybe I'm reading Robert's posting wrong, but just to point out, if "'questionable movie content' and semi-revealing prom dresses" were our only concerns, we'd be lucky. However, that is not the case. We deal with very weighty moral issues these days, including extramarital sex, which is almost universally accepted as OK, despite the spiritual, physical, familial, and societal consequences of extramatital sex. There are serious issues here. To name a few more, divorce and it attendant affects, dishonesty and it's consequenses, child exploitation of any kind, teen pregnancy, etc. All these things are serious issues of our current day.

  • Robert Jolley Newport Beach, CA
    April 24, 2011 11:32 a.m.

    The author of this article touched on some valid points regarding the differences of standards within and outside of the church. Measuring church members' level of righteousness or ones own level of dedication to the gospel against that of what the world appears to deem good or evil, is really a waste of energy. Those comparisons will always come up short and constantly elicit the holier than thou attitude as was expressed in this editorial. I'm not sure where the belief that the 1950/1960's era was a terrestrial state of existence? One only needs to do a little research into what was happening in world affairs outside of Utah and the inter mountain west to realize that this planet and it's inhabitants have been dwelling in what the author refers to as a telestial world since as early as recorded history, and most likely long before that as well. If "questionable movie content" and semi-revealing prom dresses are the most significant stumbling blocks to our progress, then we have this thing called life totally beat. It's all good.

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    April 24, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    One thing to point out is standards never change. just like a basketball rim will always be 10 feet off the ground no matter what leauge you play in. The world has no standards thats why its always shifting and moving. we have a standard and we stand fast in it as the world pulls away we look as if we are moving but were not its the world that does.

  • deibu Roseburg, OR
    April 24, 2011 7:38 a.m.

    Is our goal to live certain standards, or to be "better than the world". What is with this "better than", or should I say "holier than thou" attitude. The Lord was very specific that those who follow Him, and not those who belong to a certain group, ie. the church, will inherit the kingdom. Yet the attitude seems to prevail within the church that "because I am Mormon" or "because I have higher standards" that I am somehow superior to my neighbor. This is what President Benson was talking about in the Pride speech. "Beware of pride"..."wo to those who say all is well in Zion"...words to live by. By the way, Happy Easter!