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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

God's Love Is Conditional

Russel M. Nelson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, one of the top leaders of the church, says that God's love cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional. So apparently God's love is conditional. I will let you read the article for yourself so that you can see I am not taking anything out of context. This article is found in the February 2003 Ensign, an LDS church magazine publication.

12 comments:

Elder Joseph said...

Zelph

It doesn't surprise me .. all I've heard in the last 20 months as an investigator is that we must obey the commandments and LDS Ordainances ie Do our Temple work and obey our leaders , bishop , prophet etc ... They are all called of God and not to criticize them even if they are wrong .

Well I criticised the whole church for collectively conspiring to get me baptised ..... and the result ? I was welcomed to continue to attend without any pressure to baptise and was allowed to go into the Adult Sunday School to learn some meat after the milk !

I do appreciate the reminders to follow Christ and the moral lessons are fine with me , but many times they just seem obsessed with commending themselves and for being in the only true church on the face of the earth and praising Joseph Smith for effectively dragging The Father and The Son out of their 1800 year vacation from religion ? Hard to believe Jesus spent his life organising a church in Palestine and it folded and he organised one in America and that folded too . So now we are told this is the third one he's organised but it won't fold this time ?

I never heard this kind of thing in all the other denominations I attended , they were preoccupied with gratitude to Jesus Christ and what it means for us , his life and death ... except Jw's of course who were busy labelling all other churches as 'Satanic' lol

The 1 Truth said...

Did you read the entire article? It is obvious to anyone with half a brain that he was talking about God's blessings being conditional. Man, your site just pisses me off because you take the truth and you twist it to make it sound terrible. I am 18 and preparing to go on a mission. I don't care if your faith has been shaken, if that is how you feel, nobody is putting a gun to your head. The church would be much better off without people like you.

NateDredge said...

This is an odd article. Elder Nelson spends some time citing scripture to indicate that God’s love is ‘conditional’. He stresses that the doctrine of God’s unconditional love is a false one inspired by the devil. Elder Nelson then references a few verses indicating the God’s love is, in fact, unconditional, or in his own parlance that ‘God loves the sinner’. He then sums the thing up stating : “The full flower of divine love and our greatest blessings from that love are conditional—predicated upon our obedience to eternal law.” So why doesn’t he just say in the text of the article (and in its title) what the summation seems to indicate, that the full blessings of God’s love are contingent upon obedience, not that God only loves the obedient? My guess is that Elder Nelson, like many other members of the church, is more concerned theologically with getting to a desired end result ( i.e. personal righteousness (read obedience + grace*) and exaltation for church members)), then complete intellectual honesty/openness and respect for the process. In other words, better to motivate through fear if it works, classifying any possible ‘slight misdirection in the details’ as of little importance. I needless to say, am not a big fan of this approach. However I do recognize its effectiveness.

On my mission I served in a stake that was notoriously strict, it went above on beyond church policy in terms of its stances on the drinking of caffeine, what constituted appropriate activates for the youth, ect. However compared to the boarding stakes it had higher temple attendance, conversion rate, ect, ect. I think the perceived effectiveness of hard-line stances, and motivation through fear, such as I perceive Elder Nelsons comments to be endorsing, makes it very difficult to convince ’bottom line’ motivated proponents of such that these stances and polices could be destructive to individual members. Member thusly hurt might be considered a sort of ’collateral damage’ if they are even thought about or recognized at all. However it might be pointed out that the Church’s ’higher standard’ also serves as one its greatest sources of attraction for both life long members and converts.

*Though not necceary in the same way most protestants understand it.

Elder Joseph said...

The 1 Truth

You mean the church is better off with people like you who are going out to Lie and Deceive people into joining your cult because you want to please your parents , look good for the girls .

You'll tell investigators how much you love them if it will get them to join the cult.

You will tell them you wanted to come and help them . You will tell them how great they are , how amazing they are , how awsome they are , just to get a baptism ..

We are better off without you and your false plastic love .

The only converts you'll get are either vulnerable , lonely , mentally unstable or asylum seekers mostly ,people who mistake your company and attention for the Holy Spirit after you've have to tell them its the Spirit , its the Spirit !!

I hope you come across some black africans who will tell you a thing or two about the priesthood ban .

Or The intelligent who will soon put you right about the Urim and Thummim fairy tale which was actually HIS HEAD IN HIS HAT and PEEP STONE !

Or the morally honest people whio will remind you how Joseph Smith pressured and threatened young teens to marry him for salvation ..and how Brigham Young screwed and conceived with a 15 year old in his sixties because he was God's Prophet .

Stay at Home and do something usefull.

E J

still firm said...

I am a lover of the gospel and of others who question... but I have to say, the 1 truth, if you are going to make comments such as yours... you are not ready to go on a mission... you are far too angry and if you are not going to love everyone, regardless of their religious commitment or conviction then you need to keep preparing. To follow Christ's admonishions, we are to allow other to have their view-points and opinions without criticizing them, that is what it truly means to be a Christian... we should all agree that we can disagree without involving hatred and anger. What is the greatest gift our Heavenly Father gave us? "AGENCY!" Even though Satan, the son of the morning, would have brought back all Heavenly Fathers children to him (through his plan), his great sin was attempting to take our agency away from us-and place the glory of our return on himself...

We are to love everyone... and if we don't question then we will be lost. We are NEVER to follow blindly. And regardless of one's choices, the Lord continues to love... should we not offer the same love?

Zelph said...

The 1 Truth- Speaking of God's love...Sheesh!

I know you are young and idealistic. Right now the church and life in general is black and white. Believe me, I understand that. It is better for you to realize now before your mission that life is not black and white. Life is full of all sorts of shades of yellows, reds, purples, blues greens, teals, etc.
You will know what I mean once you leave your parents house and get out into the real world.

Zelph said...

The 1 Truth-

you get the impression that it is talking about God's blessings for us being conditional. However, if that is the case, it is poorly worded at best.

Zelph said...

Elder Joseph-

"many times they just seem obsessed with commending themselves and for being in the only true church on the face of the earth and praising Joseph Smith"

That is one thing that I think Mormons in general need to work on. I have seen that we are so preocupied in patting ourselfs on the back for making it into the one true church that we forget about things like...oh...I don't know....teachings of Jesus, you know, somewhat important things for members of a Christian congregation.

Sister Cynical said...

I found this article by Elder Nelson and it upset me so much that I blogged about it. Well, unbeknownst to me my Bishop was reading my blog and he called me in and told me that I couldn't publicly disagree with an Apostle without getting into trouble.

That was the beginning of the major crack in my testimony....

Zelph said...

Sister Cynical-

Thank you for your comments. Ah yes, the old it is wrong to disagree with church leaders publicly just like Dallin H. Oaks statement on the PBS Frontline documentary.

Anonymous said...

dear zelph, i found the city-matchup-google-earth very compelling, which to me makes a very strong case that joseph smith used an 1820s-era map or gazetteer [sic] while writing the b.o.m. and slightly modified some but not all of the place names. so my only remaining question is, has anybody gone back to make sure those city's were so named in 1830 that you know of? let me know, thanks. ed.

Zelph said...

Anonymous-

I know that some of them were so named in 1830 on maps, but I also know that some of them were only known by word-of-mouth until their official names changed. I do not believe that Joseph Smith used maps, because I have looked at maps that pre-date 1830, and only a few of the cities can be found on them, Lehigh County and Kishkiminetas. The other problem is that some of the cities were not officially incorporated until later dates. However, according to Vernal Holley, almost every city that is now officially named and incorporated can be found in gazetteers published prior to the Book of Mormon.

One example is Angola, NY. It was officially called "Evans Station", until 1873. However, according to a site dedicated to the history of Angola, it says "In 1820 a mail route was established between Buffalo and Olean, and a post office was opened at Springville. Two years later a post office designated "Angola" was opened at Taylor Hollow near Gowanda. The name may be related to the fact that a majority of the residents in Taylor Hollow were Quakers who being missionary-minded helped to support Angola, Africa, as one of their projects."

So the name "Angola" appeared in New York in 1822 in Gwanda, NY, which is literally right next to where present-day Angola exists. and the name was given by local Quakers named after their missionary efforts.

Another example is Shiloh, NJ. On early maps of NJ, I have not located the name "Shiloh", however, Shiloh, NJ also has a religious historical story. A man by the name of Robert Ayares purchased what is now officially known as Shiloh, NJ in 1705 as a place for 7th day adventists to worship without persecution from the Puritans.

It says "In 1771...Rev. Jonathan Davis said, "in Biblical times the Ark of God rested on the Sabbath day at Shiloh," and likewise the old church could not go any further until after the Seventh day. From that time on the village has been known as Shiloh."

So here we have the town called "Shiloh" by local 7th day adventists as early as 1771.

Another Example is that Tecumseh, ON was officially called "Ryegate" until 1912. However, the name was changed to honor the great Shawnee Indian chief "Tecumsen", who fought and died as a military commander under the British in the War of 1812, while helping their forces contain the Americans, who were trying to gain access to British territory in Canada.

You can see that the names certainly existed even if the cities were not officially incorporated until later dates. What is even more interesting is that there is a common theme among city names-they either have a religious or war history tied to the names. Keep in mind that the reason the names of the cites are now called that way is because that is what the locals were calling it.

I hope this helps.

For more information, I would suggest reading Vernal Holley's book Book of Mormon Authorship