LDS World: The gospel is eminently practical

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  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Dec. 17, 2013 6:19 a.m.

    gcrobmd wrote:

    "No one ever says, “Gee, I wished I hadn’t obeyed this or that commandment!”

    Among the two thirds of "inactive" people on the Church's rosters, I hear a version of this all the time. Perhaps you need to get out more.

  • gcrobmd GADSDEN, AL
    Dec. 16, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    Living a sufficiently long time to experience enough personal and witnessed history, I have seen in very pragmatic ways how living the commandments is living after the manner of happiness. No one ever says, “Gee, I wished I hadn’t obeyed this or that commandment!” Rather, we usually wish we had followed the teachings of the scriptures and prophets. As Jesus said, by their fruits you shall know them.

    Yes, gospel principles at times seem contrary to pragmatism, but that’s because we can’t see sufficiently far ahead. That’s where present and past seers and prophets help guide us when we are young (and old). The gospel of Christ teaches us to be healthy, to honor parents, to cherish life, to get educated, to be useful to society, to love spouse and children and care and nurture and provide for them, and to contribute positively to community, nation, and the world. The word of God (correct principles) teaches people to govern themselves responsibly. I think it is in the character of God to confirm our sacred whisperings of the Spirit by the fruits of happiness they produce.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 16, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    Very interesting approach to use pragmatism, even citing the philosophers who invented it, as a bulwark for religion - best to avoid Peirce in this effort though… he would not approve.

    But for the guy who is said to have invented Pragmatism as a defense of religion, James is your man. His Varieties of Religious Experience especially is a masterpiece and can make even the most staunch agnostic (may be a stretch to include atheists here) sympathetic to the cause.

    That said, James’ theory of truth – to paraphrase, “if it works for you and does not contravene known facts” – and James himself would likely support any religion or belief system where the effects of those beliefs or practices produced real (beneficial) results for the member/practitioner.

    I doubt this notion is truth would ultimately satisfy many religious believers who often belief they possess the Truth (with a capital T).

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 16, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    RE: timpClimberAn excellent base on which to build a conversation. True,

    When pragmatism is used to make judgments about right and wrong, or when it becomes a guiding philosophy of life and ministry, it inevitably clashes with Scripture.
    Spiritual and biblical truth is not determined by testing what "works" and what doesn't. We know from Scripture, for example, that the gospel often does not produce a positive response (1 Cor. 1:22, 23; 2:14).

    On the other hand, Satanic lies and deception can be quite effective (Matt. 24:23, 24; 2 Cor. 4:3, 4). Majority reaction is no test of validity (cf. Matt. 7:13, 14), and prosperity is no measure of truthfulness (cf. Job 12:6). Pragmatism as a guiding philosophy of ministry is inherently flawed.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Dec. 15, 2013 9:48 p.m.

    This is no surprise. Think of the social problems that would be greatly reduced if not eliminated if we would love our neighbor as ourselves; if people didn't covet, lie or steal; if people lived chaste lives and respected human life? This way of life is the opposite of the appeal of the natural man. Mormons and other real Christians are mocked and ridiculed by natural men as being impractical when they encourage a high behavioral standard.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 15, 2013 3:23 p.m.

    Interesting. I'm not sure if they consider themselves among the 'social elites' or 'intellectual snobs', but it appears that some of these items, especially 4, 5 and 6 (Caring little, violence, and selfishness) are also heartily encouraged by todays' modern conservative. And while these behaviours listed are, or can be, destructive and therefore should be avoided by practical, pragmatic people, pragmatism and practicality are by no means exclusive to christian gospels. In fact, a practical evaluation of the gospels can simply leave you wondering, trying to wade through vague language, contradictions and just plain weird dailogues, wondering how this all is given by so many to be irrefutable 'truth'. In the end, recognising and avoiding destructive behaviours is part of our innate sense of morality; we're born with it otherwise we wouldn't be here as a species. The only thing different now is we're better at mitigating consequences of bad behaviour. Plenty of religious people, and leaders, are among those that know how to do this.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    Dec. 15, 2013 6:49 a.m.

    An excellent base on which to build a conversation about values, especially teens. Thanks for writing such a useful article.