Boyd Matheson: Is God still interested in human beings?

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  • Silflay Katy, TX
    April 20, 2019 9:31 a.m.

    @ jeanie

    Karen R. here. I think it's likely that we'd agree on more things than not. IMO, the fundamental difference between us seems to be the framework we use to interpret what we see and experience. I think both are capable of beneficial and unintentionally harmful results. However, mine provides more safeguards against the latter because of its standards of evidence. Absent testable, falsifiable evidence, I cannot honestly justify giving myself license to begin or persist in actions that cause harm.

    Religious frameworks often don't include this constraint. Some appear to value fidelity to doctrine over avoiding harm and justify this with, "God will sort it out" or "God knows more than us. We'll understand one day." And the justification for believing this? Trust in feelings and personal experiences that religions have taught their believers to interpret in faith-promoting ways. That's circular and circular arguments don't promote anything except confirmation bias.

    In case it isn't clear, I'm not saying that I believe I'm more ethical than you or believers generally. I'm saying that I think my framework is superior in enabling me to make ethical choices.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    April 19, 2019 11:41 a.m.

    Karen R,

    First, I am not giving people licence to act on their beliefs. They have it, unless it is unlawful because society has deemed certain actions harmful.

    Second, in spite of all I don't know, I am certain there is a God and an afterlife.

    I wish we could have a conversation face to face. I'd like that. There is more than can be typed in a comment section to clarify my meaning and why I some things I am certain of. Without a full conversation on these issues I doubt we will really understand each other clearly. My suspicion is we might agree on more things than we think, although admittedly, not all.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 19, 2019 6:39 a.m.

    @ jeanie

    "Is nature brutal? Yes. Is God responsible for that? I suppose so..."

    If your god is responsible for nature, then how is it not responsible for the suffering that nature causes? You even make the distinction between nature-caused and man-caused suffering, but still fail to lay responsibility for the former with the one you suppose is responsible for it. I don't understand that.

    "...given that we all have different measuring sticks how do we proceed as a society of humans that have to live together on this planet?"

    Stop giving people license to act on a declared certainty without testable, falsifiable, repeatable evidence to back it up. We can believe whatever fanciful narratives that appeal to us, but to allow us to act on them when harm is known or likely strikes me as irresponsible and unethical.

    "...experiences outside my own wishful thinking."

    How do you know this?

    "God can sort it out when we are all dead..."

    Isn't this a sign of certainty? Because, if truly coming from a place of not knowing or uncertainty, this would amount to an abdication of responsibility. Now is the time to sort things out because we don't know/are uncertain if there's another.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    April 18, 2019 8:28 p.m.

    Karen R. -
    God may have used evolution, I don't know. Is nature brutal? Yes. Is God responsible for that? I suppose so. But is God responsible for human suffering, nature or man-caused? No. I can't parse that topic out beyond that.

    "...is this a sincere question?"

    It IS a sincere question, but not a personal one. What I mean is, given that we all have different measuring sticks how do we proceed as a society of humans that have to live together on this planet?

    And yes, you and I agree on the answer - as a collective society we don't know who's measuring stick is correct. Another commenter indirectly said, every measuring stick fails at some point.

    I don't know everything. I don't have certainty on exactly how this world came to be. I don't have certainty on a number of things. Certainty, by definition, is not faith.

    But, if I claimed that a loving God was not real I would be dishonest. There have been too many experience in my life to question that, experiences outside my own wishful thinking.

    I also believe we can have different measuring sticks and get along. IMB (In my belief) God can sort it out when we are all dead, and I believe He will.

  • Apocalypse please Bluffdale, UT
    April 18, 2019 1:55 p.m.

    @jeanie

    “By what measuring stick can we all agree to, so we can know for sure who is wrong and who is right? Who or what should be the ultimate accepted authority?”

    Although not perfect, the scientific method is probably a good starting point. A claim being testable, repeatable, falsifiable etc will help remover bias and error. Unfortunately many faith based claims are not falsifiable. However, some claims in the BOM, bible are testable and it would seem that science is not vindicating those claims. Faith in the face of contradictory evidence is misplaced IMO.

  • You can call me Ray Clearfield, UT
    April 18, 2019 12:16 p.m.

    Impartial, revelation can come from another source other than The Father, and it's not the kind of revelation you want to receive, but sadly many listen to that source.

  • Silflay Katy, TX
    April 18, 2019 12:11 p.m.

    @ jeanie

    If there's a misunderstanding, your issue appears to be with 2 bits' claim that your god chose to use evolution. Pre-mortal existence or not, he puts the choice of tools in your god's hands.

    "By what measuring stick can we all agree...?"

    Respectfully and truly with no incivility meant, is this a sincere question? I ask because it's coming from the context of a tradition that proclaims that it does know - and more accurately than all others.

    Nevertheless, here's my answer: We already know the answer to your question. Many believers will even admit to it. They'll admit that we know only a fraction of what's out there to know...and then invoke "faith" to give them the right to declare certainty anyway.

    But the factually accurate answer is we don't know who is right and who is wrong. So then the question becomes, what's the most ethical way to proceed from there? IMO, when we know that presuming to know has led many humans to actions that cause grievous harm to others, IMO it's irresponsible to grant people that authority. Particularly in the case of faith. Anything - absolutely anything can be believed on faith alone. It's a terrible measuring stick.

  • Flipphone , 00
    April 18, 2019 11:04 a.m.

    Another question is, are Human's interest in God? many are not. And because they are not God has no interest in them. So they don't feel his presents.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    April 18, 2019 10:37 a.m.

    I don't misunderstand, I have a different perspective than you.

    "Humans had no impact on this. We didn't make these choices."

    If you believe, as you seem to, that we only exist in this life, your logic makes sense.

    From an LDS perspective, the picture is much bigger. We believe we are eternal. We lived as spirits before we were born and will continue as ourselves after death. We existed before the world was created - through whatever means. The choice of the first mortals, the first embodied spirits, brought death and suffering - a temporary condition.

    "Of course being wrong doesn't matter after you die. What matters is what being wrong leads people to do (or fail to do) BEFORE they die."

    By what measuring stick can we all agree to, so we can know for sure who is wrong and who is right? Who or what should be the ultimate accepted authority?

  • Silflay Katy, TX
    April 18, 2019 9:50 a.m.

    @ jeanie

    "According to Latter Day Saint theology, no. In fact, mankind is responsible for the fallen state of this world, not God."

    You're misunderstanding. 2 bits is claiming that your god used evolution as part of its design/creation of the world. Humans had no impact on this. We didn't make these choices. Evolution is a brutal, mercilessly inexorable process. It was before we entered the scene and remains so independent of our imperfections. So if the claim is that a god chose to use it, then the responsibility for that choice is the god's.

    "If I'm wrong when I die what will it matter?"

    Of course being wrong doesn't matter after you die. What matters is what being wrong leads people to do (or fail to do) BEFORE they die.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    April 18, 2019 12:33 a.m.

    Karen R. said:
    "... If the design and/or the tools used to implement the design were the cause of negative effects like pain, suffering, agony or misery, is the designer responsible?"

    According to Latter Day Saint theology, no. In fact, mankind is responsible for the fallen state of this world, not God. But God has provided a remedy in his Son Jesus Christ who ultimately paid the price for all suffering due to nature or human choices.

    In LDS theology God is not bound by time, but we are in this life. Therefore, the suffering we experience has limits. The imperfections of this life, historical and current, are not the final state but a temporary one.

    On a personal note, I can see the logic that - believing I am an eternal being, there is a loving god supremely aware of me, and that life's suffering is temporary - could be an "opiate", a false idea to get me through.

    Given my spiritual experiences I firmly disagree with that, but should I be wrong I am more at peace with this idea than the one that says this life is it, there is nothing bigger than myself to get me through. If I'm wrong when I die what will it matter?

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 17, 2019 10:05 p.m.

    @ 2 bits

    "If evolution is guided and used as a tool to make things into what is needed..."

    Now that's an assumption.

    "...it doesn't make the user of the tool 'Amoral'."

    I didn't say that it did. I suggested that it makes your god's use of the tool an immoral act because its effects can be so brutal.

    "I just know God didn't use anything super-natural in designing or building the universe. Everything he does he does by natural means. Which means he would use physics, gravity, quantum physics..."

    I would characterize these as more assumptions, but let's say you're right. If the design and/or the tools used to implement the design were the cause of negative effects like pain, suffering, agony or misery, is the designer responsible?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 17, 2019 3:20 p.m.

    @one old man
    The topic isn't Trump. But I get it. When you're obsessed everything in the world is about the thing you are obsessed with.

    To check your Assumption, the words you wrote and Assume others say (or at least secretly think)...

    Did anybody actually say, "I know that our President is a good and righteous Man"?

    Who?

    I've never seen anybody say that. And yet... that's what you are basing your opinion on (Something that was never said, and I suspect nobody actually thinks)?

    It's easy to make yourself feel smart if you run around pretending people think silly things they don't think. I could probably do that to Liberals (make up stuff I THINK they think, and pretend they actually said it, or secretly think it but just don't say it). But that's bogus. We should deal with reality. Not assumptions and political stereotypes.

    I support the President. Whether it's Trump, or Obama or Hillary. Doesn't mean I think they are "good" or "righteous". Just means they are President. I accept the winner of the election as my President. Try it. Whether the winner is a D or an R.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 17, 2019 2:55 p.m.

    @Karen
    Saying "People believe their gods are moral. Evolution is an amoral process"... is kinda goofy logic.

    If evolution is guided and used as a tool to make things into what is needed... it doesn't make the user of the tool "Amoral".

    Is a hammer amoral? Yes. It doesn't have any morals. But does that make anyone who uses a hammer to make something "amoral"? No.

    I'm saying evolution is just another tool. It's not God. It's a tool (as is all nature, science, everything in the universe, even stuff we don't understand).

    The tool is amoral. That does not make any being who uses that tool amoral.

    Picking up a hammer (an amoral tool) and using it does not make me amoral. I think God uses evolution and nature like we would use a hammer, or a saw. Just on a much larger scale (the universe).

    That's not gospel. I just know God didn't use anything super-natural in designing or building the universe. Everything he does he does by natural means. Which means he would use physics, gravity, quantum physics, etc, stuff Einstein and Hawking never imagined (which God has full understanding of).

    The universe wasn't created with a magic wand. It was created by nature (guided)

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 17, 2019 2:28 p.m.

    skeptic, I've read Moroni 7 a lot over the years and pondered it. There are only two sides, good and evil. So you do the math.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 17, 2019 2:27 p.m.

    @Flipphone
    RE: "If you question if God is with you.... Then the answer is, God isn't with you. God is with those who wants him in there life"...
    ---
    I don't believe that. I believe God is with all his children, whether they acknowledge him in their lives or not. He doesn't love any of his children more than he does another (even if they don't believe he exists).

    Now... can he communicate with you and guide you, if you don't communicate or even acknowledge his existence? No. He won't force you. It's up to you to listen to him if you want him to guide you.

    But he is with all of us. Some just ignore him, or assume everything that happens in the universe is pure chance and everything on earth is just good timing by nature, not planned.

    Assuming the earth, universe, and precise conditions needed for us and all the creations to live on this planet happened by accident/chance, is like believing the wind could blow through a junk yard and accidentally assemble a Boeing 747 by chance of every part landing in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.

    I think intelligent design and an understanding of natural laws we still don't understand was involved.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 17, 2019 2:17 p.m.

    @ 2 bits

    "What makes you Assume evolution wasn't part of the master plan."

    People believe their gods are moral. Evolution is an amoral process. It's indifferent to pain, suffering, misery, love, goodness, etc. If you or I used such a process to forward a plan of our making, we'd be considered monsters unfit for decent society.

    So I didn't assume anything. I thought it through and realized it doesn't make sense. Or, if such a god does exist, it isn't one I'd care to follow since I'm more moral than it is.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 17, 2019 1:47 p.m.

    @Karen R.
    RE: "Also, what we know of the evolution of the natural world and human culture looks much more like what you'd expect in the absence of a master plan"...
    ---
    What makes you Assume evolution wasn't part of the master plan. That God doesn't use evolution as a tool to create/change things?

    I think he knew the earth would evolve, and creatures on it would evolve. He probably even used evolution as a tool.

    God uses and obeys natural laws (physics, chemistry, biology, evolution, etc) when he's creating.

    If he exists and created the earth and the universe... he did it using the same tools laws humans who don't believe in him attribute to chance.

    There's nothing in Science God doesn't already understand and use. Including evolution.

    ===

    RE: "History also tells us that we can do this with or without a belief in gods"...
    ---
    It doesn't matter to God if we believe or not.

    God either exists or doesn't exist, regardless of our belief. Our belief isn't required for him or any of his creations to exist. The earth and many other things exist, whether we believe in God or not.

    God either created them or didn't... whether we believe or not.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    April 17, 2019 11:10 a.m.

    @flasback
    Read and implement Moroni 7 and understand it classifies over three fourths of the world's population (your brothers and sisters) as belonging to the devil and destined to darkness. yet they ,like you, are all supposed good children of god. Please read with an open mind and report back. I have used my limited posts, but perhaps someone else can solve the Moroni's contrition. Is there only one good apple on the tree. And the church is the sole possessor. It is like Adam and Eve all over again.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 17, 2019 9:42 a.m.

    Thomas Jefferson and others, go read Moroni 7 and report back.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 17, 2019 9:35 a.m.

    Another skeptic, Mica McGriggs, a psychologist and community activist in New York City, said, "There's this middle ground where less orthodox members are living. And it's like the church is drawing a line in the sand; you're either on the Lord's side or you are not."

    Mica hit the nail right on the head, inadvertently.

  • Flipphone , 00
    April 17, 2019 8:29 a.m.

    If you question if God is with you.... Then the answer is, God isn't with you. God is with those who wants him in there life.

  • F Alger Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2019 10:23 p.m.

    He/She/It is apparently interested in certain human beings.

    I think history is one massive example of those who God apparently favors and those who he does not.

    Or maybe God just made the laws and let's the universe govern itself on those laws.

  • Semi-PRO Brigham City, UT
    April 16, 2019 7:01 p.m.

    I think I would believe more if we had more prophesy and less policy from religious leaders. 😀

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    April 16, 2019 6:00 p.m.

    It depends, do you think Moses law is still in effect. Or do ya think Jesus paid the price. Ya think your in the last days of do ya think that it was 3000 years ago.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 16, 2019 3:53 p.m.

    I don't know how you distinguish between self and a god when you can't prove that the latter exists. It's like telling the difference between an empty glass and one containing invisible water.

    Also, what we know of the evolution of the natural world and human culture looks much more like what you'd expect in the absence of a master plan. Unless the master plan is to look like there's no plan. And like humans aren't the object of it all.

    I think what Matheson describes makes a case for the benefits of mindfulness and intentionality. Human history shows that we really are capable of transcending our animal instincts when we apply these with ethics and service to others in mind. History also tells us that we can do this with or without a belief in gods.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 16, 2019 2:14 p.m.

    @NoNames;

    "What about when that bias drives a person to dislike and disparage others?"

    -- What do you call it when you discriminate against someone for being gay if not 'dislike and disparagement"?

    "With rare exception, religion teaches people to live better than they otherwise might be inclinded to do. "

    -- Incorrect. Even your holy book teaches the opposite. "Kill thy neighbor in the name of thy god" can be found throughout the book. Consider that many churches (including the Mormons) signed a brief supporting discrimination in public places - Not very "better life" IMHO.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    April 16, 2019 1:20 p.m.

    The Earth was here long before man or any religion he created. The Earth will be here when man and his God have departed.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    April 16, 2019 11:28 a.m.

    NoNames

    Let's tally up the countless numbers who died in Inquisition, Holy Wars, Crusades and Wars between countries of differing religions. Lets toss in numbers of people killed by Religionists to justify their mystical claims to absolute truth. And never forget that the Pope for centuries was both a religious and a secular leader whose minions plied death on others. Shall I go on?

    War, death are not the exclusive purview of atheistic countries (well they did worship their leaders as "gods", but I'd leave that out of the rebuttal for now). Painting a tarbaby on atheists for war and death is disingenuous at best.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    April 16, 2019 11:28 a.m.

    @nonames,
    Religion dosn't make the world a better place anymore than other superstitions, folktales, fiction and literature. It does provide a platform for deceit for the pretentious to boast of their superior knowledge and kinship to an unknown and non provable god. It is an easy money maker and life style for many, and no one can prove them wrong because it is an intangible and in material concept without prove. What makes the world a better place is good people doing good things in the light of reality.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 16, 2019 10:54 a.m.

    @Thomas Jefferson: "Because I think religion makes the world a worse place."

    What do we call a bias that runs contrary to all available evidence? What about when that bias drives a person to dislike and disparage others?

    Ignore for a moment whether there is a god, let's look at religion vs a society without religion.

    With rare exception, religion teaches people to live better than they otherwise might be inclinded to do. It also provides community and infrastructure such that needs can be made known and resources marshalled to meet those needs.

    Consider on the work of Mother Teresa, the Catholic Relief Society, the LDS Welfare and Humanitarian Services. Consider on the Boy Scout Troops and other worthy youth groups supported and operated by churches. Remember the countless hospitals, universities, orphanages, and adoption agencies started or operated by churches.

    In contrast, anti-religious societies such as Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist China, North Korea, Cuba, Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam murdered 100 million of their own citizens while starving, torturing and degrading countless more, all justified by "science" including Eugenics.

    Religion does much good.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 16, 2019 9:12 a.m.

    Begs the question: If there wereno believers, does "god" even exist?

  • Flipphone , 00
    April 16, 2019 9:00 a.m.

    God has not given up on Man kind, Man kind has given up on God and God will not live where he is not welcomed.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2019 8:44 a.m.

    joe5:
    "Jefferson: Why is this so important to you?"
    Because I think religion makes the world a worse place.

    "Why would you waste your time trying to destroy my faith?"
    Your church sends missionaries all over the world but I should just be quiet? Pfftt

    "What gives you the right to challenge them?"
    The first amendment.

    "Why do you think my relationship with God is any of your business?"
    You posted here in public. You made it public business.

    "I'll openly share...frankly, I have the right to do so."
    So do I.

    david:
    "So someone will tell me...eyes that see. Impossible to happen without God."
    This is known as an 'argument from ignorance' logical fallacy.

    "Science, rational thought and reason absolutely support the reality and existence of God."
    If you had evidence you would post it. Instead you post fallacies. Religion makes anti-scientific claims. The virgin birth, walk on water, resurection, etc.

    IJ:
    "We are here to walk by faith."
    Faith is the worst way to find truth. You can believe anything and use faith as the reason.
    The 9/11 terrorists had LOTS of faith. Does that make the right?
    Faith is confirmation bias writ large.

  • IJ Hyrum, Ut
    April 16, 2019 7:03 a.m.

    "May logic and reason help you rid your mind of confirmation bias." This is the problem with those who do not know. They tried using logic and reason (wanted a sign) to "prove" God exists - and that will never work. We are here to walk by faith. Those who do know the sweetness of the Spirit that confirms truth. Try trusting the Spirit, let go of proof by sight, and you, too, can know Him.

  • MatthewD Oregon City, OR
    April 16, 2019 6:41 a.m.

    Mr. Matheson, as always, I appreciate your thoughtful article. President Nelson has been a remarkably inspired prophet and a real blessing to millions. As have his predecessors, he has moved the needle of the world for good. I love and sustain him as a prophet of God.

    My life has already been significantly improved by following his counsel and direction. It is my witness as well that God is interested in mankind, be they of whatever religious background, nation, culture, race, color, or gender. God cares for all mankind, for he created us all.

    What an incredible contrast President Nelson’s leadership style is from many in Washington D.C. and in other areas political or otherwise. Whether you hold him a prophet of God or a mere man, it would be hard to argue that we wouldn’t want many more like him leading our communities, nations, and the world. He leads with humility and love. He teaches truths, which if followed, will significantly improve our communities, nations, and world.

    I thank God for men and women like President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy Watson Nelson!

  • David Centerville, UT
    April 15, 2019 11:04 p.m.

    Science, rational thought and reason absolutely support the reality and existence of God. True and pure religion is the science of learning of God's attributes and characteristics in a manner that shapes us into proper discipleship. So in the New Testament we read that pure religion, undefiled is visiting and caring for the sick, the afflicted, the widow--this because we are practicing the attributes of God: love, selflessness, sacrifice our own wants in behalf of others, etc.

    Remove faith and religion, and society devolves into baseless, meandering, shifting values. We see this more and more in society today.

    I know some will complain of the seeming disciple who is revealed to be a hypocrite. My response--we all fall far short of Godly attributes. Faith and discipleship requires concerted focus and lifelong effort in pursuit of becoming better.

    Is God still interested in human beings, the writer asks? The evidence is all around us.

  • John Brown 1000 Laketown, UT
    April 15, 2019 11:02 p.m.

    Thanks, DN, for this article.

    I think Thomas Jefferson and others here state valid concerns and difficulties. There are all sorts of ideas in the world about how we obtain revelation and what it's like to receive it. In the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ there were all sorts of confusions among the Saints. And I'm sure there still are.

    If you look at the scriptures, there are different modes with different levels of clarity recorded.

    -Talking face to face with God, Jesus, or angels.
    -Talking with or hearing the voice of God or angels, but not seeing them.
    -Being shown things in vision.
    -Receiving thoughts, strokes of intelligence, impressions, nudges, and feelings.

    There are accounts of these things happening while awake and dreaming. Finally, there are accounts of instructions appearing on or being written on walls, tablets, and objects.

    The problem is that the clearest of the modes above don't happen often. And it's sometimes difficult to know when the latter is from the Lord or something else. It's not always easy. Nelson recognizes that, stating last week that the Lord needs those "who intentionally work to hear the voice of the Spirit with clarity."

  • sashabill , CA
    April 15, 2019 9:46 p.m.

    The Church will go forward "boldly, nobly, and independent," and God is able to do his work.

  • David Centerville, UT
    April 15, 2019 7:52 p.m.

    I find it very difficult to disbelieve in God--the Creator. Think about a foundational law of science: that a system tends towards disorder unless energy is put into maintaining order (Law of Entropy). So someone will tell me humans evolved spontaneously from a system that was in disorder. Somehow, DNA and the helix formed independent of any outside influences, in such a way as to create proteins, and to create differentiated organ systems. Those proteins differentiated into the central nervous system, nerves with complexity/ion pumps, membranes, etc; and a brain, muscles, skeletal, the pumping heart, eyes that see.

    Impossible to happen without God. Simply impossible. And then to consider the complexity of the animal kingdom. I understand there are not enough atoms in the universe to account for the number of computer simulations required for a random start to creation. It is mathematically and scientifically impossible to have started without a Creator.

    I believe in God, and I believe God did not create us for no purpose at all. God has purpose in the creation. Religion helps to reveal that purpose, and our purpose.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 15, 2019 7:46 p.m.

    I attended end of the world parties on two separate occasions on dates predicted by a self professed prophet of god. He bilked thousands out of their lives to support him.

    No one is offering any proof that a healthy dose of skepticism is a bad thing.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 15, 2019 7:43 p.m.

    Kind of ironic and sad that from among the quarters of society most likely to speak about a person's individual truth--as if truth varied from one person to another--we are also most likely to see absolute declarations that since they have not (or will not admit to or remember) experiencing revelation or other evidence of the divine, then certainly nobody else has ever done so.

    Well, here is my truth:

    God lives. He is our father and He loves us. He cares about us and wants the best for us.

    Like a toddler, not understanding why her dad lets her fall rather than just carrying her everywhere, we humans frequently are incapable of comprehending why God must let us struggle and suffer in order to grow, rather than just making life a paradise.

    There is much I don't understand.

    But I've personally felt God's presence, received of His revelation, and cannot deny His existance nor personal interest in me and the rest of humanity.

    I respect (and mourn) that others have not experienced or recognized the same. But I will not allow your lack of experience to detract from what I have experienced.

    Do not attempt to attack my truth. By your own admission you've not experienced what I have.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 15, 2019 7:38 p.m.

    @Thomas Jefferson"
    "Questions: Do you think the pope gets personal revelation?
    "How about the Mullahs in Iran?"

    Yes. I believe God speaks to all decent people trying to live good lives. I believe that includes the Pope, Mullahs trying to live good and peaceful lives, and millions of regular believers. God is no respector of persons and loves all of His children. And so He reveals His will to those of sincere heart who will ask and listen.

    I believe the Prophet and President of the CoJCoLDS holds a special position as God's mouthpiece on the earth. I respect that others do not so believe.

    "How do you distinguish between your thoughts and this personal revelation."

    I don't try very hard to make that distinction. I look to the outcome and fruits. That which will bring good, I try to do. That which is unworthy, I try to avoid. As I grow toward the kind of person God wants me to be, my own thoughts should more closely match His inspiration in more cases.

    There are times when it is clear to me that I have been inspired from outside my own being.

    If you've never experienced that, I'm sorry. It is an amazing and humbling experience; Hard to explain, easy to explain away.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    April 15, 2019 7:36 p.m.

    Boyd Matheson: Is God still interested in human beings? Undoubtedly. Evidence? We're still alive. Earth still rotates & revolves with life saving regularity.

    Real question is, are humans still interested in God? Do they pay much (if any) attention to him; his doings; commandments?

    That's what is at question.

    Among members of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, over the years, I have ardently, earnestly, yes, even diligently, tried to understand the scriptures. Even often hard to understand Isaiah, & other challenging passages, supposing they are important to me, to us.

    When I feel I have uncovered meanings & get glimpses, & attempt to share these, I find few, if any, interested—not only in my understanding, but in the scriptures themselves. Like Nephi, "...I am left to mourn because of the unbelief,....,of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be. 2 Nephi 32:7

    They are waiting for scriptures to be expounded only by GA's. In this regard, they don't appear to believe in "personal revelation", as Nephi did, following Lehi's example of seeking God's help

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    April 15, 2019 6:44 p.m.

    Sorry but the religious right forfitted any credibility when they refer to others as relativist long ago.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    April 15, 2019 6:34 p.m.

    It is interesting how people can not demonstrate distinguishable talents or material characteristics of a physical nature, but they can entertain others with their tales of phenomenal powers of communicating with god and insights to a great spiritual unknown spiritual wold that all these amazing spiritualist from all the many different religions and fantasies can not agree on what is god or what is a common experience. For the most part there is probably more reality in the game of thrones than there is in the minds of would be god makers.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    April 15, 2019 4:47 p.m.

    I appreciate this man's religious perspective; political viewpoint, never!

  • water rocket , 00
    April 15, 2019 4:04 p.m.

    Personal revelation and revelation concerning all mankind are two different things. I can (and have) received personal revelation concerning myself and my family, however, I do not, and have not received revelation about what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or any other members of society should do. In fact, were that to happen it would be proof that God was not God, since He said "My house is a house of order" and "Surely I will do nothing save I first reveal my secrets unto my servants, the prophets".

    Of greater concern to me is the prophesies about the last days, and how the hearts of the children would turn from their parents, and the hearts of the parents from their children with this bold statement that in the last days "Were it possible, even the very elect will be deceived". If God revealed himself to all of us, our very agency would be threatened. Joseph Smith spoke about how people tried to get him to deny his revelations, but he said "I knew it and I knew God knew it, and I dared not to deny it." I feel the same way about the things that have been revealed to me.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    April 15, 2019 3:48 p.m.

    Jefferson: Why is this so important to you? Why would you waste your time trying to destroy my faith? I'm not trying to convert you but it seems very important to you that I have no faith. Why is that?

    Your experiences are not mine. What gives you the right to challenge them? Why do you think my relationship with God is any of your business?

    I'll openly share my experiences with anybody who is interested and, frankly, I have the right to do so. It's ironic that one post asks if I will challenge his revelation that Joseph Smith is not a prophet and the very next message challenges mine. Why is it that you expect me to respect your experiences when you are completely disrespectful of mine?

    I have my ideas why you respond this way but I'm not going to waste any time worrying about it because you have to live with whatever attitudes and behaviors you choose just as I get to live with the choices I make.

    I just can't figure out the motivation of someone who spends his time trying to destroy something that give a person happiness, comfort, confidence, and has proven itself to be successful for many decades.

    I'm sure you can find a better use of your time.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    April 15, 2019 3:32 p.m.

    Impartial: Is that what you think revelation is for? That question was answered for me half a century ago. Have I gained knowledge of divine truths in my life? Yes, now and then. But that is, by far, the vast minority of the revelations I have received.

    The real sweetness in revelation is the guidance I've received and the confidence to proceed even when the end was not in sight. It has been the little pushes to be in the right place at the right time to affect a person's life, often someone else's instead of mine. It is the assurance that I am living my life in accordance with the will of God which helps me overcome despair, discouragement, frustration, anger, loneliness, and a host of other defeating emotions. It is the knowledge of who I am and what is in store for me after I die. It is the wisdom to know how to deal with a wayward child or an angry wife or an uncomfortable work situation. It is the ability to make better decisions instead of just relying on my own limited understanding.

    Hey, if you feel like you had a revelation about Joseph Smith, who am I to argue? It has absolutely nothing to do with whatever has been revealed to me.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2019 3:12 p.m.

    @ joe.

    Yeah, I thought I got personal revelation when I was a believer too. In short I dont believe you get personal revelation but at least we share one thing in common. I feel sorry for you too.

    Questions: Do you think the pope gets personal revelation?
    How about the Mullahs in Iran?
    How do you distinguish between your thoughts and this personal revelation. Can you hear an audible sound?

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    April 15, 2019 3:07 p.m.

    @joe5 - South Jordan, UT
    April 15, 2019 2:47 p.m.
    I am always amazed that skeptics seem to think that, because they have not received revelation from God, nobody has. Nothing can be further from the truth. And revelation is not limited to President Nelson. Millions of people have experienced it."

    So, if I told you I had a revelation that Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet, you'll take that as gospel? How can you say I'm wrong? See the issue most people have with people that claim to be prophets?

  • Left Field Cocoa Beach, FL
    April 15, 2019 2:56 p.m.

    On Day One, man created God. On Day Two (and every day after), man created excuses for God.

    @Thomas Jefferson has it exactly right.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    April 15, 2019 2:47 p.m.

    I am always amazed that skeptics seem to think that, because they have not received revelation from God, nobody has. Nothing can be further from the truth. And revelation is not limited to President Nelson. Millions of people have experienced it.

    Detractors and skeptics can challenge that all they want but all they do is so their personal lack of revelatory experience. Their skepticism can not take my experiences away from me.

    Actually, I feel sorry for such people. They are missing out on the sweetest parts of our mortal experience. I say that speaking as one who has received personal revelation many times. It is real.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2019 2:44 p.m.

    IJ said:
    "To the skeptic, to those who don't know - go to your own sacred grove. Pray with a sincere heart and with real intent, the intent to follow what you will find to be right, and he will hear you and answer your prayer. "

    Making the assumption that we didnt try everything before we came to the conclusion that the prophet was just a man who outlived the others. A man who has feelings and has been conditioned to think those feelings are divine revelation.

    You assume I just didnt try hard enough so I didnt come to the conclusions you did. Well I did. I tried everything.
    But once I came to the conclusion that Joseph Smith made it all up based on stuff mostly made up by Saul/Paul which was based on stuff made up by ancient Jews then finally everything made perfect sense.

    May logic and reason help you rid your mind of confirmation bias.

  • IJ Hyrum, Ut
    April 15, 2019 2:10 p.m.

    To the skeptic, to those who don't know - go to your own sacred grove. Pray with a sincere heart and with real intent, the intent to follow what you will find to be right, and he will hear you and answer your prayer. No one can give you the knowledge you will seek except He who is the author of truth. God bless you in your search.