Friday Minute: Choosing to follow God's laws or not

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  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    Truths are not the kind of things that are true according to our beliefs in them (faith).

    Truths are those perspectives on reality that force themselves onto us against our wills.

    They are the brute facts that are not only independent of our beliefs in them, but they defy our beliefs and doubts.

    Truth is compelling. It compels us to believe even and especially when we don't want to believe.

    As such, all those ideas that are dependent on "faith" and your belief are, by definition, not "truths". They are wishful thinking, hopes, dreams, and even delusions, but they are not truths.

  • Maryquilter Farmington, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    @ Reason: Jesus went to great lengths to teach His apostles and give them the authority needed to organize His church after His resurrection. Church gives us a place to worship, to learn, to serve others both in and outside of the church. Tithing isn't the 'church's' law, it is God's law and a way for us to show gratitude to Him as well as to help the needy. I am constantly amazed as I travel the world at the awesome organization of the Mormon church which allows me to study the same lesson on a given Sunday anywhere on earth with the same doctrines and same loving people. I wish more people could comprehend that the Lord's church may be perfect, but we as saints are not & need to uplift and help one another grow. Why would Jesus have instituted the concept of church if we don't need it?

    I am glad I understand thru MUCH experience that God's laws are simply there to enable us to have the happiest, most peaceful, and joyous life possible. Following His laws prevents us from becoming enslaved to things like drugs, alcohol, and pornography. He wants us to have joy.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    Maryquilter: lol, well I'm just happy that someone on here knows what cogent means. There are plenty who do, it often just feels like there aren't.


    In addition to my previous comment. I believe these are also relevant to Free Agency's claims and Makoto13's inquiry.

    1- We are not a religious of blind faith. 'Just walk off the cliff, God will save you'. Blind faith is a miracle seeking paradigm.

    2- Real faith is logical. We don't just baptize people, we ask them to pray and gain a testimony first. God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph and gave him an answer. Nothing is more logic or reason-based than revelation.

    3- Say God gives 3 commandments- We can certainly use reason to deduct truths from these, using intellect to grow, etc. But using 1 to deduct something contrary to another commandment is ultimately conflicting, illogical, and a false doctrine; thus the need for priesthood authority and organizes religion.

    4- Organized simply means structured, which logically and efficiently serves people best, to avoid such problems I mentioned.

    In the end, if one desires to know the truth or ignore it's plausibility is something only they can decide.

  • Maryquilter Farmington, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 8:09 a.m.

    Voice of Reason: Thank you, thank you for your cogent comments.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 6:43 p.m.


    You posed these questions:

    "If God is so powerful, why does he need an organization on Earth to represent him?"

    "If I can receive revelation from God for me as a person, why do I need a church?"

    Why don't you ask Him that?


    It's a valid point. Not only that, it's probably the best point to make in response to questions of that nature.

    'Ask and ye shall receive'.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 6:26 p.m.


    Your comments have been productive and I agree with you completely!


    To "Free agency",

    1) "force ourselves"? That's contradictory. It inherently defines choice, not force.

    2) Perfection is not a state of completion, but an eternal expanse.

    "The glory of God is intelligence."

    You do not need to experience everything to have knowledge of it. Otherwise one would have to commit murder to know it is wrong.

    3) "Nor does it exclusively mean heterosexuality."

    You provided no justification, meaning that your claim has no support whatsoever.

    You and I are not the revelator for this church. To use doctrine to contradict your priesthood authority contradicts belief. Joseph Smith faced people trying to 'reveal church doctrine' without authority all the time. It is no different today. Meanwhile, authorities have consistently refuted and condemned what you have just supported.

    We are a religion of reason and logic. But doctrine does not come from mans ability to reason, but God's. He reveals to us HIS logic. He protects us from false deductions and prophets with priesthood authority.


    Using doctrine to justify what is doctrinally and revealed false, is against doctrine.

    The best approach kneeling down and asking, "What is right?"

  • Maryquilter Farmington, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 4:48 p.m.

    @Atheist: Sorry, I was referring to a comment Makoto13 made earlier in the comment section where she had 2 specific questions she wished to have answered.

    I'm not saying an individual cannot make up their own guidelines for living. I am saying that I personally believe in God , Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. I personally wanted to know (all of my life) what God's plan was for me . I feel like when I follow God's laws and covenants I am a happier person and make fewer painful mistakes daily. Nobody was trying to cram anything down my throat, I was the one seeking answers.

    @ Makoto: Very sorry about your experience in temple. To me it comes down to this: I believe the Bible and I also believe the BOM to be true and the church's Prophet to be giving me current revelation and guidance. Sometimes decisions about what age a single person gets a temple recommend, etc. are based on tradition, not on scriptural doctrine. Does that change my testimony in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? No. I pray, serve, and seek personal revelation and knowledge. To me prayer is not a cop out.

    Aug. 8, 2011 4:19 p.m.


    The thing that bothered me was the "never married" part. If I had been divorced it wouldn't have be a problem. Another question: What is the Church's hangout with 30? Single adults get kicked out the singles ward when they turn 30. Never married males can't work in the temple once they turn 30. Did the Church read "Logan's Run"?

    I find it hard to believe that a true god would have such arbitrary rules.

    @The Atheist,

    I'm not a lifer. I joined LDS when I was 38. Prior to that I was Lutheran (Missouri).
    That faith was a huge bust. So many questions, so few answers.

    I married a beautiful LDS woman, best decision of my life. We sometimes have spirited discussions about the church, commandments, etc. She drank the Kool-aid.

    I have to admit, your statements are the most logical, too bad religion and logic are mutually exclusive.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 2:33 p.m.


    Did you read carefully? Makoto13 IS LDS already.


    Do you see the pattern? The implicit message to you is this:

    You can't figure things out on your own. You are too weak, sinful, and flawed to know what is right and what is wrong. You need help from religious leaders to tell you what to believe and how to behave.

    And if you don't get the same answers they believe, and you don't behave in the same ways they proscribe, YOU are wrong, insincere, misguided, sinful, proud, and gone astray.

    Do you really yearn to be treated like that?

  • Maryquilter Farmington, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 1:48 p.m.

    @Makoto13: Not enough words allotted here to answer those questions for you. If you would really like a detailed answer to those questions, which are excellent questions by the way, contact local members of the LDS faith or the LDS missionaries. I grew up in other Christian churches and studied the Bible in detail, but had some doctrinal questions which my pastors and leaders could not answer for me so I turned to the LDS missionaries and friends who were long-time members of the LDS faith and received the answers to those questions. Good luck to you.

  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 9:16 a.m.


    I understand your concerns. Rather than dismiss them and subtly attack your worthiness and devotion, as CJay does, however, I would encourage you to consider what real, practical difference God and the LDS religion make in life.

    Consider the LDS doctrines about the purpose of mortal life: "to gain an experience". Supposedly, God created you so that you could "learn for yourself" the difference between good and evil.

    If you always have God (or his Prophets) telling you what is good and what is evil, how are you to learn for yourself? If a child has his father constantly looking over his shoulder, telling him what to do, and correcting him, will that child ever truly come into his own?

    Does it matter whether you say "the devil/or/god made me do it"?

    Mortal experience makes sense (on the LDS view) by living as if YOU are the only one who can decide what is good or evil... to live as if there is no god, and be a genuine good person in your own right.

    When it comes down to brass tacks, God makes no difference. Atheists are actually more genuinely moral people than believers.

  • CJay Logan, UT
    Aug. 7, 2011 11:15 p.m.

    @ Makoto13

    So...have you?

    Maybe you should consider seeking to know why God would care how old you are and whether you you are married or not. I have a son that at that point would not attend the temple, not because some person had told him anything, but because he KNEW for himself that he was not striving to follow the Lord's plan for him.

    Forcing our beliefs on others because people of the LDS faith funded a fight against what they believe is wrong? Get real!!! You try to make it what you want it to be and you sound ridiculous. Anytime anyone donates to any cause or candidate, they are funding something ythey believe in- not forcing anyone to believe as you do.

    Aug. 7, 2011 8:20 p.m.

    @The Atheist

    You hit the nail on the head! I'm an "active" Mormon. I go to church most Sundays and I have multiple callings. I keep wondering "why do I do this?". Granted, I like the people in the ward and the socializing. I don't have a problem with most of the Church's teachings in theory, it's the implementation that's wrong.

    I was a temple worker when I was younger. I was very gung-ho. Then one day the temple president released me because he found out that I was over 30 years old and never married. I asked him why and he told me, "First Presidency rules". From that point forward the Church just became another human run organization and not divinely inspired. Why would God care how old I am and whether I married? No one has not been able to answer that question. My bishop tells me to "pray about it", the classic cop-out.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Aug. 7, 2011 6:31 p.m.

    I believe in strict obedience to God's commandments, every last one of them, without exception or excuse.

    And as soon as God shows up to give a commandment, I will follow it absolutely.

    Until then, I have to sort through all the lowly human beings who claim to speak on behalf of God, but who always seem to tell us that God gave us a commandment that benefits them (tithing for example).

    Obedience to God is a fundamental principle of all theology.

    Obedience to men who claim to speak for God is a fundamental principle of all deception and fraud.

    God's absence and silence proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he does not exist. Obeying the commands of a non-existent God is considerably like making moral decisions using one's own intellect, sensibilities, and principles. And that works for me just fine.

    Aug. 7, 2011 3:56 p.m.

    Two questions that have been bothering me is: If God is so powerful, why does he need an organization on Earth to represent him? and If I can receive revelation from God for me as a person, why do I need a church (any church for that matter)?

  • Wayde Miller Stephenville, TX
    Aug. 6, 2011 8:23 p.m.

    ! ! ! ! !

  • byu rugby Crystal Lake, IL
    Aug. 6, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    "Jans & welcomethemail" thanks for your insights. Unfortunately they don't hold water. My kid's constantly use the old "They did it first" justification. Furthermore, I am referring to those who come into the country illegally, w/o documentation. I am not referring to "overstays" and those with beaucratic issues. Thirdly, Laws are laws, deciding which we live by should have consequences. Also, we are not discussing parking tickets or minor lapses of judgement.

    We are talking about "well intentioned" folks who who come into this country w/o documentation (federal offence), and make themselve's at home. They have no respect for our soveignty and are a major drain on our economy. The brothern by their willingness to extend full fellowship to federal law breakers are aiding and abbetting criminals. This is wrong. I DO NOT espouse treating them inhumainly or w/o dignity. I completely understand that they are trying escape poverty but, they are breaking the law. We should not support them while they break our laws.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 6, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    "Neither I, nor my church, are trying to force anyone to do anything. We seriously don't feel that we are. However, there is an ancient human tradition of living within a social contract - all parties to it have a voice in the wording of said contract."

    For the record, the most ancient form of Marriage is actually polygamy. Interestingly though, now that this model is no longer popular, your Church has dropped its defense of the oldest model and allegedly God inspired forms. Furthermore, the relative variance in this "social contract" is quite wide, if one is going to make an anthropological argument by hearkening to "ancient human tradition". So yes, you can spin it how you like but the Church is trying to force "things" onto society. Denying consenting adults the rights to marry is an act of force that imposes itself against the free-will (or "agency" for the sake of Mormon theology) of others. Conversely, allowing gay marriage does nothing to impose against the will of heterosexuals. It is well documented that the campaign funds which supported Prop 8 came largely from Mormons. So it is untrue to say that Mormons do not force their will!

    Aug. 6, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    Sooo, Why does God make no demands? I believe in God, the Father in heaven and His Only Begotten Son - Jesus of Nazareth. Free agency means that we can say anything to prove something true to ourself and even our likeminded neighbors.

    Under these circumstances even, Jesus, Christ, should He make any demands, would violate His Father's will. He was born to teach us His Father's commandments and that would allow us to receive immortality and everlasting life.

    If you want to know what Jesus "demands" are -- prepare for a Temple recommend interview with your Bishop. You will have His ears in His House.

  • Free Agency Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 6, 2011 8:38 a.m.

    One size does *not* fit all when it comes to living creatively, rather than by a religion's self-proclaimed "God's laws." And if God is the Creator rather than someone working a photocopy machine and tossing any copies that don't come out as faithful reproductions, then God means us to explore life, not force ourselves into any religion's box. Certainly we're meant to do that exploration lovingly, never destructively. But, as Creation wishes, we're always seeking new wisdom and new territory.

    As for "God's law of chastity," it's so obvious that the sexual drive was meant for much more than procreation, otherwise it wouldn't be so strong within us. Our challenge is to always use this powerhouse lovingly too, for the expansion of the Life within us--which doesn't exclusively mean more procreations. Nor does it exclusively mean heterosexuality. And really, how many more "procreations" can our planet handle?

    How did I reach these conclusions? Not by being "rebellious against God's word," but through one of Mormonism's greatest dictums: "The glory of God is intelligence."

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2011 3:07 p.m.

    "gay and lesbian people *should* share in the basic human rights I enjoy"

    And yet there are states that ban civil unions like Utah and I assume Idaho. DOMA prevents civil unions from having those "basic human rights" at the federal level and yet I just don't see the people against gay marriage who support DOMA repeal.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Aug. 5, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    @ Ranch Hand;

    Want some salsa for that chip on your shoulder?

  • NightTrader Colonia, Yap, FSM
    Aug. 5, 2011 2:49 p.m.

    RanchHand: "What it doesn't do is guarantee YOU the right to force ME to follow YOUR god's rules."

    Let me see. You, have have chosen to read an "LDS Church News" component, of the "Faith" section of a church owned newspaper, who's primary target audience is LDS members. You live in a predominantly LDS area of a country that is predominantly (like it or not) still Christian.

    Just what part of that is being forced upon you?

    On the other hand, as part of DN's target audience, I bring up an article that is of interest to me, only to have to sift through your daily derision of everything I believe in. Who is forcing is views upon who here?

    MormonCowboy: "And that is why articles like these are so useless."

    Similar to my comments above, they are not useless to me! It is articles like these that keep me coming back.

    William Monahan (author): Thanks for the article.

  • jans Pickerington, OH
    Aug. 5, 2011 2:30 p.m.

    Byu rugby, look at church history - we have been at outs with "the laws of the land." Joseph Smith served jail time. How many polygamists kept full fellowship while serving jail time? We have also often challenged laws that we felt were bad laws - current immigration laws included.

    Try to understand the differences between criminal and civil law, and also what constitutes making someone "illegal" in the US. This is a civil violation, not a criminal one, which is why deportation is the primary penalty.

    There are a lot of active LDS people who commit civil violations - speeding and causing a car wreck is a civil violation. Should a person loose full fellowship for speeding? What about underage drinking? I think it is best left up to the individual and his or her Bishop, don't you?

    40% of immigrants come legally then "overstay" - and if our laws were clearer and more manageable, 40% or more of our immigration problems would disappear because visas would not be the huge headache they are now.

  • welcomethemall Nampa, ID
    Aug. 5, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    Rugby -

    Sorry this bothers you. The Brethren are very consistent in their application of principles here... One may declare bankruptcy without fear of church discipline. However if one were to be convicted of bankruptcy fraud, there is a possibility of sanction.

    The nuance here is there are laws of convenience, and moral laws (I use these distinctions for the benefit of RanchHand). It is convenient to organize our terretories with boundaries, but they are arbitrarily defined. (One could note here that the caucasian community is here illegally from the perspective of the Native American, or from the perspective of the Mexican people because the US stole the Southwest in an illegally prosecuted war.)

    Church fellowship is based on the effort to live according to moral laws. Illegal immigration, while by definition is illegal, is not a moral issue in nature. Suppose we denied illegal aliens temple recommends, and then the law was changed. Do we suddenly reissue recommends? Nothing has changed except the law. We differentiate the gradation of law-breaking all the time. What it really comes to is you feel immigration laws are more moral, or sacred than do the Brethren.

  • welcomethemall Nampa, ID
    Aug. 5, 2011 12:49 p.m.


    Your point is well-taken, and for the sake of discussion I will happily stipulate that God is my fevered invention (since I can't prove to you He exists and you can't prove a negative).

    Neither I, nor my church, are trying to force anyone to do anything. We seriously don't feel that we are. However, there is an ancient human tradition of living within a social contract - all parties to it have a voice in the wording of said contract.

    It is just as correct for me to say your "side" is trying to force me to accept your beliefs and your manufactured worship of self by your logic. Please live happily as you choose (gay and lesbian people *should* share in the basic human rights I enjoy), but as soon as you ask to codify your choices into the contract, then I get a say whether you like it or not. Let the debate continue in peace.

    And frankly, it perplexes me how upset you all are anyway. You know you will ultimately win, just like we lost the debate on gambling, etc. And, we'll both disagree as to why my side will have lost. Chuckle.

  • byu rugby Crystal Lake, IL
    Aug. 5, 2011 10:30 a.m.

    How can the church profess to be in concert with the will of the lord when the brothern blatently disregard the laws of this country? I am an active convert who is troubled by the fact that we are told through the scriptures, articles of faith, and teachings of modern-day prophets that actions have consequences, love the sinner-hate the sin, and "will mercy rob justice?", while they have actively provided illegal aliens blessings of full fellowship.

    It is a blatent double standard. When I have a temple recommend interview with my priesthood leadership, I am specifically asked about my honesty, integrity, etc. What is the reason for providing illegals with a pass on this?

    I have asked all of my local and stake leaders about this. Many of them wonder the same thing, while some others question my ability to love these folks. I do not avocate anything not in keeping with the spirit. I just think the brothern need to provide an honest answer for this break with our teachings. It should be broadcast to general membership, not limited to local and stake leaders. I still go to church weekly but, this is problematic.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 5, 2011 10:08 a.m.


    Actually, God is an invention of man. You choose to follow this invention because it fulfills some need you have.

    "I love you, but love does not imply condoning the breaking of God's commandments."

    The funny thing about that is that since your god is an invention, his commandments are also inventions. You can't condone me breaking silly conventions. Who cares what you condone? I certainly don't. You are not my judge nor I yours. You follow your beliefs and I'll follow mine.

    The point of my previous comment is that YOU are responsible for what YOU do about YOUR beliefs in YOUR god. It is between YOU and YOUR god. You do not have the right to force anyone else to follow those beliefs. The 1st Amendment guarantees that I can worship, who, what or what I choose; just as it guarantees you the same privilege.

    What it doesn't do is guarantee YOU the right to force ME to follow YOUR god's rules. Period.

  • TDuval Elk Grove, CA
    Aug. 5, 2011 9:27 a.m.

    Mr Monahan is right on. It's a struggle we believers have -- follow the ways of the world or follow the laws of God. Sometimes we want to fit in or revert to old habits temporarily to help relieve stress or be a part of the group or avoid criticism - but acting contrary to what we believe takes away the blessings we would receive and in the end weakens us and can even make us bitter and angry. We can pretend that God doesn't care what we do, but it won't make us happy because we know that He does.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 5, 2011 9:19 a.m.


    "Your post illustrated perfectly the author's point. You have invented a god that is convenient to your desires."

    Beyond bald assertion that your Mormon leaders are called of God, you have no means of demonstrating that your Mormon God is anthing more than a contrived illusion "that is convenient to your desires". And that is why articles like these are so useless. They prove nothing, but use fear to try and rally loyalty to Mormon leaders who pretend to speak for God.

  • Bountiful Boy ALEXANDRIA, VA
    Aug. 5, 2011 9:06 a.m.

    Although the expression "procreative power" sounds good and makes sense in one context, it is a "power" that is actually rarely used for procreation, even among the most devout Latter-day Saints. You have to admit that if sex, even among the most faithful of Mormons, were used exclusively for procreation, it would not get used all that much. There has to be a better expression for sex than "procreative power" even though we all agree that it can be procreative on occasion. But in a healthy marriage, procreation is certainly not the main or even central purpose of sexual relations.

    Could we maybe call sex something like "Advanced Relationship-Building Power?" For most people, that's what it is, even if they don't use it carefully or wisely.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Aug. 5, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    Ranch Hand;

    Your post illustrated perfectly the author's point. You have invented a god that is convenient to your desires.

    BTW, you are mistaken. The "Golden Rule" you cite is a cultural axiom. The two great commandments, on which hang all the Law and the Prophets are:

    1) Love the Lord thy God with all heart, might, mind and strength.
    2) Love thy neighbor as thyself.

    I love you, but love does not imply condoning the breaking of God's commandments. To do so, I would have to follow your lead, and invent a god which is convenient to my desires. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

  • MarieDevine Divine-Way Kansas City, MO
    Aug. 5, 2011 8:38 a.m.

    In Doctrines and Covenants God told Brigham Young he could not behold His glory until He follows all His words from Adam to Joseph Smith, Jun. whom He called. (D&C 136:37)

    In 2 Nephi 29 God said He gave same message to all nations. The evidence is available.

    Jesus said, man shall live by every word out mouth of God, as Moses said. Genesis in the Bible is our first mention of God speaking, directing and judging. Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3, 4:2

    Muhammad was told, "Say O People of the Scriptures, you stand on nothing till you observe Torah and Gospel and all God sent down to you." Qur'an: 5.68, 69

    Bahai speak of establishing Mosaic dispensation and Jesus.
    Gita says do all things according to scriptural injunction and performance brings rain for good crops, like Leviticus 26, rain in due season.
    In D&C 76 and 88 Jesus gives laws and details of resurrection and rewards in the celestial, terrestrial and telestial kingdoms. Each has a law; your end will be according to the laws you were WILLING to follow. The Apostle Paul mentioned the kingdoms, but gave no details.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 5, 2011 6:44 a.m.

    I guess it matters which God one chooses to follow.

    Your god says that YOU shall have no other god before him. That is between You and Your god.

    I have a problem when you try to force your god's rules on the rest of us. Yes, perhaps many of them are useful to society. But many of them apply to your own god only (no Idols, for instance).

    What is my god has no objection to "redefining marriage"? What then?

    Please follow what is probably the most important of your god's rules: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    This rule means, quite clearly, that if you want to strip civil equality from your neighbors, then they have the right to strip civil equality from you (As you WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU).

    Why not follow your God's rules and leave everyone else alone?