Total Blasphemy

April 17, 2012

In my exit packet given to me by the mission president he included a talk  by a general authority about how nothing comes for free in this life and we must work hard if we wish to inherit the celestial glory. I cant find my exit packet or else I would reference the talk directly. This isnt a talk that he includes for every missionary, It was placed in mine because of my blasphemous preaching and teaching the idea that we attribute nothing of ourselves separate of gods grace. I still remember my friend telling me in his exit interview that the mission president exclaimed to him that my ideas were “Blasphemy!  and totally heretical views for a latter day saint to hold!”. I was sent home. no exit interview just a phone call telling me i’m out. Im not bitter about the whole situation, I only bring this up because the ideas in this post are what were my undoing.

I have been back from my mission for about two months now. To be honest I was glad to leave the mission field, and i received personal conformation that Ihad done the lords work. The last two months have been pretty good to me, and I feel that i have been blessed by the lord with an abundance of happiness. By Babylons standards  I have been a “lazy freeloader” for the past two months. Being jobless and living on futon probably wouldn’t be my mission presidents definition of success. But I have found such joy in my experiences lately that i cant see why we force ourselves to live the way we do. Constantly building and bettering ourselves in pursuit of some sort of lofty goal which more often than not is centered around competition, attempting to be better than our neighbor. While those who arent caught up in the competition are confused into thinking that they have to play the game in order to be happy. It probably sounds like im talking about money, and in a sense I am, but that’s not the only place this anti competition way of life can apply.

Rockwaterman put it well when he said  the following in a recent post

“Buying into this idea that “I’ll do this for God, then He’ll do this for me” can be devastating for people when they get hit with the double whammies of life.  If you live long enough you may learn that even though you do everything you’re supposed to do, God can make no guarantees.  Jobs are still lost, illness intrudes, careers evaporate, divorces occur, fortunes disappear, children go astray. Sometimes our children even die.  When we’ve done everything we knew we were supposed to do, yet life becomes one disaster after another, we wonder why God let us down.  Why did he fail to hold up his end of the bargain?”

Rarely do we ask ourselves “What bargain?”

We were raised in Babylon, and wether we like it or not it plays a huge roll in placing manacles on our brain to cajole us into thinking we need to do this or that in order to get something in return. Gotta work to get paid. Sadly this same thought process is applied to our religious devotions.  Seeing blessings as currency will keep god just about as close an an employer. For me that’s not very close. We can work our butts off our whole lives just trying to keep our noses clean, being at every meeting, wearing the nice suit and combing our hair just right; but ultimately the standard that the lord holds us to is one that will never gratify our own pride.

Our standards become a problem when they cause us to feel as though we have held up our end of the bargain, as if we have been the catalyst to our salvation. This puts us ourselves up as a god for ourselves rather than Christ being our salvation. I remember sitting in a priesthood meeting and hearing a missionary recount a story of how before he left on his mission he was in deep financial trouble and how he prayed to the lord and informed the lord that he had payed his tithing, and then proceeded to ask for monetary blessings.  His testimony was that he received his blessings, so that meant that god always held up his end of the bargin. Now 8 months later im strongly compelled to ask what bargin? where in the scriptures does the lord say if you give the church ten percent of your earnings, you will be blessed with more money?

 Malachi 3:10 does say

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if Iwill not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

I don’t read any sort of bargain out of this, its not a specific deal that the lord is making with you. comparing it to an investment makes me want to hurl. the lord says he will pour out huge blessings on you if you pay your tithing. thats all he says. Its a deal. but not the kind of deal we think of. Its kind of like when you buy those mystery bags of candy on Halloween, except for the fact that whatever god puts in the bag of blessings is always the best thing for you at the time.  The lord doesn’t have to give you anything at all in this situation, maybe the blessing that you have not room enough to receive is loosing your job to help you to learn some lesson or another.

It takes a truly wicked man to come up with the idea that heaven can be purchased by our supposedly good deeds. But yet that has become the center point of the religious exercises of most Latter Day Saints, the idea that if we just do certain things and attend certain meetings, we will be righteous. Many are led by this philosophy to exlaim in thier hearts,”o righteous man that I am, I’m good enough to hold a temple recommend! I have earned it!”

While the prophets Paul and Nephi are led to exclaim.

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 7:24-25

and

“O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorrowethbecause of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. My God hath been my support” 2 Nephi 4: 17-20

Paul and Nephi both Exclaim their filth, and looks for a deliverer, a savior someone to lighten the load, they find that in Jesus our god and our support.  The problem comes when we exclaim our filth but then look to ourselves at the savior, as if we could fix what we did. unless there have been some advances in time travel that I don’t know of then that is literally impossible! You have sinned and you need a savior! there really is no way around it you will never earn heaven because you ruined it from the get go. Traveling back in time is impossible so there must be an atonement made.  And only when you can be led to exclaim your own folly and worthlessness will the lord be able to raise you up, until then your pride will hold you in the abyss of your ego.

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14 Responses to “Total Blasphemy”

  1. rockwaterman1 said

    Joseph,
    It is an honor to be quoted on your excellent blog. Kudos to you for understanding the true gospel as taught in the Book of Mormon, that it really is by God’s grace that we are saved. It took me decades AFTER my own mission to realize that this teaching had been twisted, and that I had been teaching and believing that it is by works we are saved.

    I find it appalling that you had a mission president who actually sent you home for teaching Mormon doctrine. Looks to me like the wrong guy went home.

    • Rock its an honor to have you commenting on my blog! You and your blog played a big role in the life of a man and his family in the last area of my mission, you might remember him his name is Alfred he commented on your piss poor excuse for a Mormon post. There are several reasons I feel that I was supposed to go on a mission, and most of them were not for the converts to the church. And don’t worry I’m not bitter about being sent home I was definitely supposed to, the lord informed me i would be leaving long before the mission president did:)

      • rockwaterman1 said

        I do indeed remember Alfred! So I guess you are the missionary who he tells helped him through his struggles. He indicated in his comment that he plans to come to America this month and hopes to see me while he’s here. I haven’t heard from him yet, so if you have any contact with him I hope you’ll ask him to get in touch through my email: RockWaterman@gmail.com

  2. We tend to throw around Malachi 3:8-10 a lot in order to encourage obedience to certain “rules” on tithing and fast offerings, but we quote it without much thought, taking it superficially and not thinking critically about its meaning.

    I can’t claim to be some magisterially authorized interpreter of the scriptures, of course, especially when I present an idea that goes a little beyond our traditions, but I’ll just leave these thoughts for whatever they’re worth.

    First, and most importantly (not least because it touches on the actual context in which you used the scripture), what blessings come from the windows of heaven? Definitely not money or treasure of any babylonian sort. Treasure comes out of the ground, which is why Hades was considered the god of wealth (as well as the underworld with all its captive dead). Might I suggest that the hinted-at blessings are not financial at all, but consist of revelation — something that does come out of the windows of heaven? It may complicate verse 11, which might indicate the blessing from heaven would be rain — one would have to ask how metaphorically Malachi was speaking (perhaps rather than revelation, use your resources to feed the poor and the Lord will continue to provide more resources for that purpose, or perhaps both meanings were meant).

    Second, should we really be looking at the scripture outside of the context of the entire book of Malachi? Looking at it in context, we notice that although Malachi was talking to the Jewish people at large, he was directing his words more particularly to the priests, the religious leaders of the people. In such a context, the scripture would not be a rebuke against the membership of the church for not paying their tithing, nor a promise of blessings individually to them. It would be a rebuke of the leadership for mismanaging the money placed in their charge. In this case, if the leaders shaped up, the blessings would return to them and the church at large — either a return of ostensibly lost revelation (Malachi is the last recorded Jewish prophet in our accepted canon before John the Baptist), or the Lord providing the means to help the poor among us (taking a more literal view — e.g., we won’t need investments like malls to keep afloat)…

    • rockwaterman1 said

      Jeremiah, that is a very astute comment about Malachi in context, and one I had not previously entertained. Definitely food for thought; thank you.

      • Rob said

        That is awesome. I hadn’t looked at it that way. I can’t wait to share it with others. Context is so important.

  3. Toni said

    Joseph, I found your site through Rock’s site. I see nothing in your post that is against the teachings of the gospel, so I wonder what your mp thought you were teaching. (We all view life through filtered glasses; I just wonder what his filters were.)

    Perhaps you may already know about him, but you might be interested in Denver Snuffer. He has written several books and this is the address of his blog: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/ There is a lot of total meat in his words.

  4. AV said

    I agree with you, even the best among us can’t earn our eternal blessings. They are all a complete gift from Christ, which he was willing to earn for us because of his great unconditional love for us, despite that fact that very few of us even listened to him or followed him or loved him on this earth, but most were his enemies.

    He still could not be happy in heaven without us, even the worst among us, so he made sure we could all get there. He was willing to suffer unspeakable torture that we might not have to.

    But he has asked us to do this same thing for our loved ones, to have unconditional love for them, and suffer to save them, no matter what, even if they do not deserve our love and service. Could we really be happy in heaven without them? Especially if we knew they were in eternal torment, being single in a lower kingdom forever? I do not believe we could.

    Those who have Christ’s unconditional love can save their loved ones to the Celestial Kingdom, just as Christ saved us.

  5. LDSDPer said

    I came here via Waterman’s Pure Mormonism, and I found Pure Mormonism on DailyPaul.

    A young friend of ours (has sometimes dated our daughter) was sent home early for doing the right thing. It was a watershed moment for him, and he never recovered from it. He is now just a ‘going to church’ Mormon who will never question authority or try to follow the Spirit again–or so it seems. Though we always hope he may come back to the spiritual awakening he experienced on his mission when he was away from his controlling, over-achieving parents. What he did was not immoral or amoral. What he did was seek the guidance of the Spirit with regards to a difficult companion, and when he followed the Spirit and the mission president found out about it, he was out. He ended up going back and finishing his mission, but his parents (not very nice people) humiliated him publicly over and over again for what he did and refused to listen to his reasons. He told us about it, but he didn’t tell anyone else. And he has stopped praying, though he goes to every possible church meeting, sort of a robotic ‘saint’. 😦 It’s very sad. Interesting thing is, “out of the blue”, I received a prompting or warning a year before this happened to this very fine young man–that it would happen. I was praying about something entirely different, though the young man must have been on my mind somehow, because he had asked my daughter to write to him. His parents were so shocked when this happened, but again I was told exactly when the MP called him, and I had to be very quiet when his mother told me about it later, not to expose my prior knowledge; the parents had no warning. Odd, since he’s not in our family and not likely to become a member of our family. Life is strange.
    Thank you . . . and God bless you. Both my husband and I had very bizarre experiences with mission presidents almost 4 decades ago. Mission presidents can be very fine individuals, or they can be truly scary people. They can be a blessing or a trial or both. Ah well.
    I appreciate your ideas about grace. Very much.

  6. Alfred said

    Hey Joe, great post…. You are becoming a super blogger and you know when Rock is commenting on your blog you have arrived. Dude I hope things are going great for you, you have a special calling in this life so don’t forget it,

    I can’t believe you have been home for so long already…, I have not been back to church since that fateful day when you were called by your mission pres and me by the BP…. I know you don’t blame me for not going to “the church of JEan Pierre of latter day saints”. I really hoped I will see you on this trip it’s just you are far far away, man the US is a big place WOW.

  7. yogalife24 said

    You might appreciate this: http://scripturalsecrets.blogspot.com/

    Opening the windows of heaven…….now!
    Enjoy!

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