Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mormonese or Mormon Ease?

So I have a theory - Mormons have it easier than non Mormons.

A Mormon couple with names that rhyme with Mteven and Sindy Nickelson think this is one of my more ludicrous ideas, but they will have to deal. They think it is so ridiculous that they rolled their eyes until their head ached. On a different note, and also kind of ironic, their eldest daughter is quite the eye roller. I digress.

To be fair, Mormon could equal any religious believer but as faithful "mainstream" religious practitioners go, to me Mormons have more to do and abide by than the others.

So here is the theory. Tell me what you think.

As an non-Mormon outsider, Mormons have a tremendous amount of things they must do in order to abide by their religious tenants. So much so that I don't think I could do them for a week. For example, tithing, reading scripture, praying, family home evenings, Sunday "don't do anything that would cause others to work because it is a day of rest," teachings, callings, being reverent during sacrament meeting, keeping your kids reverent during sacrament meeting, being responsible for 16 thousand other books besides the bible, going on missions and oh by the way, paying for them. And all of this before you are awake for 1 hour on any given day.

I know that all of these take strength, patience, help from God, etc. So why do Mormons have it easier? Because, if you do these things faithfully, you will have eternal life in heaven numero uno. Are you kidding me? Eternal life with your God in apparently the best place ever. Your 70 - 90 year life is merely a hiccup to eternity. You are upset because your kids are XYZ or because you have to tithe? Those are merely hiccups on hiccups to eternity. Mormons have it easier than everyone else because God has an answer to things that one might complain about or struggle with.

The Mormon argument is that it IS difficult to do everything their religion requires daily because after all they are human. However, I don't understand why it would be difficult if you believe that you will have eternal life in the best place you could imagine if you do abide by your religious tenants. I mean you may think, gosh it would be nice if I could go to the grocery store this Sunday but I can't. But if you think about it, hello, if you abide = eternal life with eternal bliss.

Now if you were a "practicing Mormon" who didn't fully believe, then I could imagine that those Mormons (yes, how can you be a Mormon without fully believing??? but) have a very hard time and do not have it easy.

So when Mormons talk about struggling with abiding by all of their religious tenants (which granted, they do rarely) I don't understand their struggle. After all, you are doing it for eternal life with eternal bliss. However, I do understand why I would struggle with abiding by all of the religious tenants.

So, do you think it is ludicrous?

21 comments:

LeahNicole said...

Question: If you have to work every day of the week--7 days a week--but you get a guaranteed HUGE ranch with millions upon millions of dollars in fifteen years (I'm trying to pick things near and dear to your heart plus you are ALREADY 30 so i have to make it 15 years so you still have some good life left :-)) does that mean every day for the next 15 years you will go to work BLISSFULLY happy because of your guaranteed awesome future? I doubt it. Why? Because you are human. Part of our nature is instant gratification. You will do it, to get the ranch, but it wont necessarily be easy for you. No matter the goal/prize, the process is difficult.

John said...

I think if I get a guaranteed ranch then I would work blissfully. I may complain that I am tired or things are not going well, but I would not complain about having to work every day, seven days a week for fifteen years.
I think my issue is that the ranch is NOT guaranteed.
I understand what you are saying about instant gratification but it seems like the issue is that consciously or subconsciously, people have doubts/questions whether there is a guaranteed ranch/heaven/heaven as you believe it to be or as you were taught that it would be.

LeahNicole said...

I dont think you can make that blanket statement. As a believer I cant rightfully say "it seems the issue is consciously or subconsciously, people believe regardless of the way they were taught etc." and you, as a skeptic, cant say as "it seems that people doubt subconsciously or consciously...etc" Your own personal inclination is clouding that statement.

John said...

What do you mean my own personal inclination is clouding that statement? Because I have doubts, I think others have doubts?

LeahNicole said...

yes. you have hit the nail on the head there with your interpretation of that comment :-)

Brian said...

Love the post! John, look at you! All the Mormon words and phrases...you're coming right along.

So...I think the word is "hope". Scripturally, "hope" seems to keep people doing things they maybe wouldn't normally do. God has always required a lot of His children. Not so they can "earn" anything, but because He wants them to "become" something. Sustained, faithful effort + God' grace = growth and progession and blessings. I'm sure that is oversimplifying...

But, hope...it goes with faith. We have faith in certain doctrines and principles, we feel hope. That encourages us to work hard and make appropriate sacrifices. But with all of that...there is a "leap". A leap of faith, so to speak. I am striving to do what God wants me to do because I have faith that, and hope that, He will bless me in this life and in the next. So far, I haven't been let down.

That was a lot of typing... I gotta go sit down..

John said...

Brian,

You said, "But with all of that... there is a "leap".

How does one make that leap? At the lowest level, you are asking me to believe in something I don't know is true or there.

That seems the same as standing on one side of a busy highway and believing that if I walk across the street I won't get hit by a car. So therefor, I should start walking.

You can't just have faith, or believe in something just to have faith or believe in something.

If one "leaps," they might not land smoothly. Right?

And . . . that was totally not too much to write. But I appreciate your efforts. Now do the same on your blog.

John said...

leahnicole,

I am going to hit you in the head with a nail. Or better yet, I feel a wiener dog roast party coming up this Saturday!

The potential presence of any doubts does not cloud my judgment with making that statement.

Your argument would be all believers never doubt. I don't think you believe that.

I still stand by my previous statement although your objection to my statement due to undue influence is duly noted. ;)

LeahNicole said...

No my argument would be that all people subconsciously or consciously tend to believe... which is a very different thing than all believers never doubt. I would think your legal education would help you in this area :-).

Jodie Haney said...

I agree with Brian!
As for your "leap of faith" question, my faith grows with experience.
I experimented upon the word, it worked for me, I was happier (didn't think that was possible) and THEN I joined the church.

Alma 32:
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than adesire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a aseed. Now, if ye give place, that a bseed may be planted in your cheart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your dunbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to eenlighten my funderstanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own alikeness.
32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
34 And now, behold, is your aknowledge bperfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your cfaith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your dmind doth begin to expand.
35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is alight; and whatsoever is light, is bgood, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
36 Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.

Sorry for the book, but this explains it pretty well. After we have that spout, we are encouraged to feed it with prayer, reading scripture and such so it will have "good soil" in which to grow.

John said...

I like how Jodie brings it. Thank you.
Too bad for the rest of you that you can't depend on her to write down your thoughts. Meaning, you should write something yourself.

Mindy said...

Here we go.

A while back you asked our life goals. No one had "life" goals because we have ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE. It's kind of nice.

This DOES make it easier for us. We don't have to worry about all those little hiccups.

I hope you're sensing some of the sarcasm.

If you were told you'd live a happier, healthier, more-productive life if you lost 50 lbs, wouldn't you do it? There's no leap of faith there. Science and medicine gives you tangible proof!

What I'm getting at, is it's hard either way. But if you've spent time as that fit person (we are happy when we're "obeying"), it makes it a little easier to not cheat at Coldstone's (cheat on our tithing) on the weekends. Is my analogy working? I liked Leah's better, but it didn't click with you.

Brian said...

There is no faith involved in just walking across a busy street. But, if Heavenly Father taught you that striving to do what He asks will bring blessings, you can have faith in that. Faith in Him. Not the striving. The striving just becomes proof of your faith in Him. James 2, where it says "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."

The sriving is the "works"...but your faith is in Heavenly Father!

Michelle Pyne said...

John, you are getting some great instruction here! And you are very good at thinking things through! I really enjoyed reading your questions and everyone's answers. Could I put in my two cent's worth? (I'm sure I heard a "Sure, I'd love to hear from you!) You are right on with your analogy about walking across the road. Would having "faith" that you could walk across a busy freeway without being hit by a car enable you to do it? That would depend on where your "faith" was from. Was it from a source that had knowledge about that sort of thing? Was it from a source who wanted to destroy you? It is important to know what is the source of that faith, before you head out across the freeway.

So how are you going to "know" the source of your faith, if you can't see before hand that God is there and he wants you to cross the freeway? Faith in God is a spiritual principle (emphasis on spiritual). We know that we are made up of a more refined 'spirit' inhabiting a physical body. You gain knowledge through your intellect, but you can also gain knowledge through your spirit. "Faith in God" comes to you through that channel - the spiritual part of you. Your spirit can feel the truth of what God says because it can receive communication through another Spirit - the Holy Ghost. It feels good, it feels right, it feels warm. NOW, you have the opportunity to act upon that feeling that something is true. Faith is a principle of action - you don't just 'believe' somethings is true, you do something. You go to Church, you pray, you pay your tithing, and then the Holy Spirit confirms what you have done is right and true. You receive 'spiritual knowledge'. That's how you learn about God. You receive a particle of faith (see scripture quoted in above blog), something tells you that it might be true, so you choose to ACT. The Spirit of Christ tells your spirit that what you have exercised faith in is TRUE. Now you can choose to do other things that feel true, and the cycle begins again. This cycle continues all your life, until you have received so much spiritual knowledge that God knows you will always choose His way. Then you are assured of this eternal life, this eternal bliss being able to live with Him. But that process continues for everyone, and everyone has to 'exercise faith' to do what they think God wants them to do, every day. So the pull you are feeling about believing if what the Mormons are telling you is true or not, we feel that pull too, even though we have received 'spiritual knowledge' and know that God lives. But the more you exercise faith and receive the confirmation from the Holy Spirit, the easier it is to choose the right. And then we have the great principle of repentance when we don't exactly get it right. We can admit our wrong, have it wiped out, and we can begin the process again.

Did you read my blog about my stuggle to teach seminary? That is an example of my feeling the pull of avoiding the work, worry, and responsibility, even though I know it is the right thing to do. There is always the struggle.

You are very intelligent and you rely on your intellect to gain knowledge. That is entirely right and good. However, there is an additional way to gain knowledge, and it is through the process we have all tried to explain to you.
So go ahead and continue to use your intellect to ponder and think about things, but don't be afraid to try the experiment and learn something through your spirit. It is what we have all done. We know God lives, we know Jesus is his Son, and we know that They restored their Church back to the earth. Try it. It works.

Steven said...

why doesn't anyone state the obvious. John is dumb. I do say that with love in my heart.

Audra said...

So let me get this right. You are saying that Mormons have it harder because they have all these things they need to do and all these commandments they need to follow. But they have it easier because they know they will be blessed because of their faithfullness?

Yes, I agree.

In my own life, I follow the commandments the best I can because I know there is a purpose to it. Even though it may be challenging to read my scriptures every day, pay my tithing, have family home evening, say my prayers, do my calling, I do it because I know I will be blessed. I know that is the way of happiness and peace in this life and in the life to come. Try doing these things and you will feel it also.

p.s. I think my mom is a good Seminary teacher.:)

Brian said...

Hey...it is practically Christmas. Post.

steven said...

i have been sacrificing too much time coming back to this blog. tell me when to expect the next post and i'll come back at that time.

Bro. Mickelson said...

Don't mind Steven...I have faith in you John. But you had better post, and quick, or I'm with Steven. And trust me, I'm rarely with Steven.

anonamous(steven) said...

the only thing brian does "rarely" is THINK.
I wrote a little hip-hops for you guys

(picture john in the background layin' a smooth beat)

get the bloggin' on
please get it goin'
sharin' funky feelin's
is what we got showin'
a little group of brotha's
has turned this all around
words from testosterone
are much more profound
so don't keep me hangin'
don't keep me on the line
bloggin's a phenomenon
reserved for the divine
i ain't bloggin' on my own
and you can see why
what i gots to say
just ain't so fly
been around the world
from london to the bay
it's go hammer, yo hammer
and the rest can go and play
can't touch this
dum dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum
can't touch this
dum dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum
can't touch this
(at this point i am moving my feet so fast you can't see them and my pants are really puffy but tight at the ankles... if you get my drift)
i keep comin' back
cause my life's a waste
but if you don't unleash
what word's will i taste
that girl is poison
she's drivin' me outta my mind
that girl is poison
bel biv devoe...a ha ha... now you know

Thats just how i feel about the whole guy-blog thing. Keep it real, from one blogga' to anotha'.

Jennifer said...

Yes Mormons have it easier even though it may seem they have more daily responsibilities. The blessings received far out weigh the sacrifices made. Although, even if you had every Mormons testimony on this it will not replace your own experience. The leaders and prophet are speaking this weekend, Sat and Sun at 11am and again at 3pm. Please check it out online at LDS.org. I encourage you to write down one or two questions you would like answered, pray that God will give you the inspiration you are seeking, then listen closely with your heart and mind. Good Luck. My prayers are with you.