In my spiritual exploration of late, I’ve come to realize and take understanding of an agnostic/atheist perspective: you feel more in control when there is no god; when there isn’t a puppet master, you work harder, and take ownership of your actions. The Christian adage goes, “Pray as if everything depended on Him, but work as if everything depended on you.” I’ve liked that since I heard it in high school, but not till now did I understand it. God, should be an afterthought—and I don’t mean that in a disrespectful or heretical sense—I mean that you should put as much effort as you can will, as much sweat and blood that can be mustered, and then consider in what God can have a hand. Of course, prayer should be done in anticipation of an event, and grace can be requested during; but I’ve yet to understand that for myself as much as prayer after [And I do mean for myself. In no way are these exhortations for anyone else. I philosophize and muse for my own benefit, and publish them for the same].
I have found that in my life I give credit to God enough for it to be a fault (again, here me out). When things go right, He, of course, is due; when things go wrong, He also, improperly, is due; I could have boosted my own effort instead of calling the circumstances His design. Instead of working half-heartedly, and expecting His intervention for my benefit, I could work as if He’s not there at all, and it is up to me to make the best out of the materials I have as well as their consequences. Some would call the first credo faith, but I find that a weak and crutch-like definition. Faith should embolden you, and give you cause to embark further, not go half mass. Possibly. I don’t know. I’m still exploring.
None of this is concrete. I’m confident that a god exists and that He is parental in nature. I feel so because I’ve felt cared for so. I’ve felt—what I can agree is God’s messenger—the Holy Ghost, testify of Joseph Smith’s role in the restoring of the true gospel of Christ. I can say I’ve felt a significance when I talk about repentance and Heavenly Father’s forgiveness. Those are a few things I feel concrete about. And I’m still exploring what traditional Mormonism means for me.
2 thoughts on “On prayer”
Very well-written! It is difficult to describe, but Mormon theology is dependent on a pattern wherein we should be better thinkers and more independent of God. It is what pleases God and it is what he knows will make us happy. Yet, as you carefully point out and are considerate of, people think that is a heretical statement. But at the same time, the fundamental teaching of Mormonism is that this life is quintessentially structured on this exact premise.
Further, this life and our learning to rely on our own wit and wisdom (with a perfect plan of forgiveness in play), is to teach us to become like God. . . Not just be subject to one. His commandments that he gives are to help us navigate that. The two ideas are difficult to articulate–being “independent” of Diety, yet relying on his commandments to get us there.
Two things that strike me in reading this post as well as another on this same blog, https://nevittdrew.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/304/: (1) the membership of the Church should be more educated about why the Church is what it is today. Such homework has been done in crafting this post, for example.
I mention it because the members that are willing to undertake such an endeavor are either pleading for change or being castigated and eventually thrown out. These are the members we need to keep, and in fact, we need more! That is part of my own research into the issues: why are we allowing members to leave? The only surviving members will be the ones who are unwilling to do hard homework. The so-called “correlated” members.
I am struck by the fact that this dialogue in either of these is in no way faith-diminishing, even the “Inadequacy” (see link above) statement that pointedly states the Church went off the rails in the 50s as an effort to truly globalize and retain control of the doctrine (which, I will add, is a noble goal and within the purview of the Church). So why is it that I cannot mention it in Sunday School without being labeled an “anti” or even the softer term: “disaffected.” I am neither (at least, I don’t see myself as such). But there are questions with no answers. If the Church is asking us to follow them, some of these matters need cleared up, otherwise, I and you, and Tanner will never see them as credible leaders.
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