Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

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Mormorrisey
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Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Mormorrisey » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:26 pm

So during EQ on Sunday, a guy in the class brings up the importance of avoiding sins of omission. Just as background, I really like this young family man - he has a few kids, and they're really nice but typical rambunctious kids. In fact, Sister M deals with one in primary. She tells me she worries about this kid, who is just a bundle of nerves and anxiety. After the Dad's remarks in EQ, I can see why. He's so concerned about his family, what they're doing and what they're not doing, that his anxiousness just shone through his comments. My heart just ached for him. I approached him afterwards to tell him not to be so hard on himself or his kids, it's just part of life - he seemed grateful for my intervention, but I'm not sure that it had much impact on his thinking, given that the church is heavily invested in the sins of omission.

And that has led me to this friggin' rant.

I hate, loathe, detest and otherwise crap on this whole notion of sins of omission. I've read Kimball's chapter on this subject in the poorly named Miracle of Forgiveness, and the only two real scriptures he uses to justify the existence of this toxic "doctrine" is the whole "don't be lukewarm or I'll spew you out of my mouth" and in James, that when we know what's right and don't do it, it's sin. With those two scriptures, Kimball feels free to guilt trip, manipulate and otherwise coerce a whole generation of Mormons into believing their souls are in eternal jeopardy by not only what sins they commit, but not going to church, not ministering, not helping old ladies across the street, baking cookies for your neighbours, etc. etc. And the list goes on, and on, and on. It leads my wife to thinking that if she misses church JUST ONCE, Satan will lead her carefully down to hell. It leads to countless people I see each Sunday, not wanting to be there, but frightened out of their minds not to miss one minute of church-approved correlation. The proliferation of this nefarious "doctrine" leads to shame culture, virtue signalling, and all around judgementalism that I have to sit through every sacrament meeting, SS and EQ class I attend. And then, I have to listen to a couple of old guys after church mourn about how our ward is shrinking, and how it's the fault of the wicked world, instead of their own harsh and pharisaical judgements when people actually do come.

Can I tell you how much I hate the doctrine of sins of omission?
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

Thoughtful
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Thoughtful » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:39 pm

I think sins of omission are real. Like people neglecting to tell people about a predator... that's a biggie with some responsibility. Missing church and the lot? No. I think my kids would be less anxious had I had my faith crisis a decade sooner.

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Mormorrisey
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Mormorrisey » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:11 am

Thoughtful wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:39 pm
I think sins of omission are real. Like people neglecting to tell people about a predator... that's a biggie with some responsibility.
That's a good point - and it seems like Kimball skipped over that one in It's a Miracle if Anyone Gets Forgiveness. But that's the rub, isn't it? And the slippery slope about sins of omission - once you start making a list, it's hard to stop thinking of exceptions and then adding to the rather long list, until you have an entire chapter devoted to how many of them there are. I think for me, the word "sin" is the off-putting part of the sentence. Knowing what's right, and not doing it is a basic failure of moral judgement, in my humble opinion, rather than sin. Maybe it's just a semantic bit of fluff that just makes me feel better, but the word "sin" is just so fraught with judgement that it makes my blood boil.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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deacon blues
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by deacon blues » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:10 am

In Mosiah 4:27-30 King Benjamin says something like- "I can't tell you all the ways you can sin." :o :cry: :? The road to salvation becomes a "Twelve labors of Hercules" or "Sisyphus and the rock" where one is always expected to do just a little bit more than they are already doing. It may be helpful for some personality types (the few, the proud) but for people who are self-critical it can lead to depression, anxiety, etc. Amen to this, Mormorrisey.
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Palerider
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Palerider » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:34 am

Doesn’t this just go hand in hand with the "doctrine" of perfectionism?

Trying to think if it was Paul who stated essentially that it was the law of the Pharisees that had created a supposed way of life that no one could possibly fulfill.

Which brought the need for Grace into such sharp focus.

It allows us to make a good faith effort and yet not ruin ourselves because we haven't achieved a level of perfection that even if we DID achieve it, it would still be insufficient compared to God's level of Holiness.

And there is the crux of Joseph's false doctrine.

Wanting to ACHIEVE or earn such recognition from God that He can't keep us outside of His presence, we're so righteous.

What leadership doesn’t realize is the self-loathing that accompanies the failure to achieve that kind of righteousness (which in reality doesn't exist!)

That righteousness only exists in the arrogant minds of those who have drunk the bitter dregs of some really bad kool-aid.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

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Corsair
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Corsair » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:53 am

There is real tragedy in Kimball's teachings of "Sins of Omission." The introspective work of transforming your own life and mindset into becoming more like Christ has no checklists. Sins of Omission piles on so many more line items with naught but guilt to make them stick. You are never done with temple work and home teaching. I can believe and accept that many people find joy and fulfillment in proxy temple ordinances. But temple service has evolved into cultural behavior control over your free time and of critical life events like weddings.

As a result, it is possible to fulfill every single line item of LDS religious practice and still be a capital rat bastard of a person. Jesus's condemnation of the Pharisees and Saducees is taught without a hint of cultural irony. The BYU Honor Code is the culmination of such behavior control.

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Red Ryder
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:10 am

This should probably be a separate post but the sins of omission concept is an infinite loop.

ETA: ( Palerider above says it more simply and eloquently!)

I've had to rewire my thinking on this stuff. The short version of how I've done this is to separate the key components of the religious concept, match them to the key characters in the narrative, then isolate each one separately to see if it is co-dependent on the other. Once you identify the co-dependencies it's easier to redefine your thinking and eliminate the negative belief.

Let's look at the concept of sin.

Key components:
God vs. Satan
Redefined as Good vs. Evil
Further redefined as good things vs. bad things.

Key concept:
Sin therefore is a set of arbitrary rules that define what thoughts or behaviors are acceptable.

Relationship connection:
Behavior that keeps the member connected to God (inherently the church organization) is good. Behavior that pulls the member away from God/Church is not good.

This good vs evil dynamic only works when they both conflict with each other and create resistance. How does the dynamic create a natural resistance? By inserting an eternal reward which in this case is returning to live again with God.

Every believer wants to return and live again with God, right? So we bind ourselves to this reward and follow the rules. Now, of you think about it avoiding the big sins is inherently easy right? Thou shalt not kill! Thou shalt not sleep around. Thou shalt not drink, smoke, or do drugs. Thou shalt not steal, etc, etc.

So now what? If all the believers are not sinning then what keeps the bind to the church tight?

The religious dynamic must continue to maintain resistance therefore "Sins of omissions" are introduced to make obtaining the eternal reward unobtainable! The system is designed to keep the member in the God/church relationship indefinitely. We can't live with God again because we sin. If we don't sin, then we still can't live with God again because we didn't do enough! Our sins of omission prevent us from returning to God. How can we overcome this dilemma?

Well, there's a way! For a limited time only, the next 100 callers will receive the way. But wait! There's more! A loving God will provide a way. He will send his Son!

Now the only way back to God is through his Son Jesus Christ! Follow him! His gospel will help you learn how not to sin and to avoid all sins of omission.

The infinite loop is now complete!
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Rob4Hope » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:38 am

After reading Miracle of Forgiveness, I went into the worst depression of my life. Emotionally it prepared me for the shelf to finally crack and fall.

If Jesus exists, then great. But I'm not gunna drive myself to hell over a man who believed himself an emissary for God, while protecting the lies of the church.

The greatest thing I can do is this: SWK...I forgive you. I don't believe you were a prophet of God, and I think you were doing the best you could with your own beliefs. But, your book hurt me. And I forgive you.

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GoodBoy
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by GoodBoy » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:40 am

Supposed sins of omission is why most, very good members of the church, still hate themselves. I agree. Soul crushing.
Always been the good kid, but I wanted to know more, and to find and test truth.

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blazerb
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by blazerb » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:05 pm

Palerider wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:34 am
Doesn’t this just go hand in hand with the "doctrine" of perfectionism?

Trying to think if it was Paul who stated essentially that it was the law of the Pharisees that had created a supposed way of life that no one could possibly fulfill.

Which brought the need for Grace into such sharp focus.

It allows us to make a good faith effort and yet not ruin ourselves because we haven't achieved a level of perfection that even if we DID achieve it, it would still be insufficient compared to God's level of Holiness.

And there is the crux of Joseph's false doctrine.

Wanting to ACHIEVE or earn such recognition from God that He can't keep us outside of His presence, we're so righteous.

What leadership doesn’t realize is the self-loathing that accompanies the failure to achieve that kind of righteousness (which in reality doesn't exist!)

That righteousness only exists in the arrogant minds of those who have drunk the bitter dregs of some really bad kool-aid.
Even smaller failures are so frustrating. I remember being so miserable on my mission reading about Ammon's reaction upon meeting Alma. He collapsed because he was so happy. I was never that happy on my mission. I was rarely happy at all. I believed I just lacked righteousness. I was convinced that if I had worked a little longer each day or said something a little more clearly, I would have had more investigators. I could not imagine any way to repent for not converting the people I was meant to convert. It was crushing.

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achilles
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by achilles » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:18 pm

I think "soul-crushing" is exactly the right word.

As much as is made of grace in the Atonement, let's be honest--Mormonism is a church of salvation by works. You are saved after all you can do, which is basically interpreted to mean everything. Guilt about failures is highly encouraged and considered to be soul-making. Does it matter that you aren't a licentious whoremonger/murderer? Nope, you didn't do your home or visiting teaching last month.

The whole setup takes conscientious young men and women and just grinds them up. The less conscientious? Well, they just skate by, happy as a clam. Does it matter to them that they broke such and such rule? Nope. Does it bother them that they didn't do X, Y, and Z like they were supposed to? Not at all. Because Mormonism is also a church of appearances. The appearance of perfection is highly rewarded with callings, status, ego-stroking, etc. The less conscientious game-players know this, and they milk it for all its worth. Meanwhile these poor conscientious young men and women are put through a spiritual meat grinder.

This is my major beef with my mission experience. From day one in the MTC anxiety about sins of any kind is cultivated to a high degree, and after they've come for your sins of commission, the sins of omission are a gravy train of guilt-inducing manipulation. I was a good kid. I tried to do it all. And I paid the price for it, while less anxious posers got all the kudos. Am I pissed about it? You bet your sweet bippy.
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blazerb
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by blazerb » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:42 pm

achilles wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:18 pm
This is my major beef with my mission experience. From day one in the MTC anxiety about sins of any kind is cultivated to a high degree, and after they've come for your sins of commission, the sins of omission are a gravy train of guilt-inducing manipulation. I was a good kid. I tried to do it all. And I paid the price for it, while less anxious posers got all the kudos. Am I pissed about it? You bet your sweet bippy.
My bippy is a little bitter about my mission experience.

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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by RubinHighlander » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:15 pm

Damn! I can't add much to the posts already here. Haven't we just hit one of the major nerves and the crux of so much that is Fd up with fundamentalist religions, driving their members faith with fear and guilt!? I think back to all the guilt and fear I experienced over 40+ years in that pile of $hit dogma and it just makes me feel so many ugly emotions!

Now that I'm out of it, sometimes I feel guilt for not making an effort to try and help my TBM friends out of it, especially when I see them suffering from it. It's so hard and sometimes it feels like I might bite off my tongue, holding back my thoughts when they come to work Monday so tired from a church duty filled weekend. Especially my close friends that are bishops or other high demand positions that just seem to be literally killing them at times; all that extra BS work they do on top of their already busy lives. It's such a waste. :(
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nehor90210
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by nehor90210 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:36 pm

Growing up in the church, I think I actually had a pretty healthy view of sins of omission, though probably despite the church's teachings rather than because of them. I knew there were a million good things I could be doing , but I couldn't possibly do good every moment of every day, so I figured the sins of omission were just one of those "grace after all we can do" sort of things. So I never sweat it if I didn't get 100% home teaching, or if I didn't baptize a lot on my mission, or hardly ever did any member-missionary work later. I guess I missed out on a lot of the trauma of being a faithful member.

Not that I was happy. It was the sins of commission that got me. I could never feel the Spirit, and had plenty of impure thoughts and deeds to pin the blame on, which I could never magically whisk away with grace or repentance. So who had time to worry about lil' old sins of omission?
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Hagoth » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:20 pm

Rob4Hope wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:38 am
The greatest thing I can do is this: SWK...I forgive you.
I haven't been able to do that, so I guess it's one of my sins of omission.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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Hagoth
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Hagoth » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:21 pm

RubinHighlander wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:15 pm
...sometimes I feel guilt for not making an effort to try and help my TBM friends out of it, especially when I see them suffering from it.
So, you're saying that this sins of omission thing is a two-edged sword?
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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Hagoth
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Hagoth » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:26 pm

nehor90210 wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:36 pm
...so I figured the sins of omission were just one of those "grace after all we can do" sort of things.
Which throws you into an infinite spiral, since the very nature of sins o' omission is that you aren't doing enough to achieve the status of "all we can do." In Mormonism Jesus saves us after we have done everything ourselves. But we can never do enough, so maybe Jesus should have just settled down with Mary and Martha, avoided getting nailed to things, and had a nice rest-of-his-life.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Palerider » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:28 pm

Corsair wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:53 am
The introspective work of transforming your own life and mindset into becoming more like Christ has no checklists.
Well put.

Furthermore what is a temple recommend interview if not a checklist of questions to determine righteousness?

Then yet another list of questions occurs after the temple is entered.

But none of these actually tell you what is in a person's heart.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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Mormorrisey
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Mormorrisey » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:03 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:26 pm
nehor90210 wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:36 pm
...so I figured the sins of omission were just one of those "grace after all we can do" sort of things.
Which throws you into an infinite spiral, since the very nature of sins o' omission is that you aren't doing enough to achieve the status of "all we can do." In Mormonism Jesus saves us after we have done everything ourselves.
Yeah, we got into that too during the class, and to the teacher's credit, he tried to use the old Stephen Robinson line of having Jesus along every step of the way in grace to "do all we can do," but the rest of the class was having none of it. No wonder people are miserable going to church, it's just a reminder of how worthless we are - ramping up the (self) righteousness just doesn't seem to be working for the vast majority of members in my area, and the leaders just can't figure out the correlation between making everyone feel like crap and the large-scale level of inactivity. It boggles my mind.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

Reuben
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Re: Soul-Crushing Sins of Omission

Post by Reuben » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:26 pm

Mormorrisey wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:03 pm
No wonder people are miserable going to church, it's just a reminder of how worthless we are - ramping up the (self) righteousness just doesn't seem to be working for the vast majority of members in my area, and the leaders just can't figure out the correlation between making everyone feel like crap and the large-scale level of inactivity. It boggles my mind.
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