Agency?

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Five
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Agency?

Post by Five » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:15 am

I've been thinking about this, on and off for a few days, thought that I'd share.

So, the premortal council, where the plan was presented and the two shining sons offered their contradictory ideas on how to handle the big test of earthly life. I am a writer and a reader, a huge fanboy of Carl G. Jung and Joseph Campbell. So, this story of the premortal existence had this simple, mythological beauty to it, in my eyes. I never thought too hard about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon because the story of how the earth life was conceived and supposed to happen was logically sound to me and as a story, "it fit."

Hm. No it don't.

I'm realizing now that neither plan really allows much agency. At least, not if we follow it up with, "And the way God intended for His true gospel to be set up is the LDS church." Looking back at it now, I find myself challenging things like the WoW or bishop worthiness interviews or the counsel against women showing shoulders or people watching R-rated movies. Like, I heard somewhere that if everything were running exactly right then the way the missionaries live is how everyone should live. Really? With the set times for sleep, eat, study, and proselytizing? Whatever happened to not needing to be counseled on all things?

As I was making what you call the faith transition, I tried to hang onto Christianity. I read the New Testament and watched videos of Evangelists explaining for Mormons and JWs specifically what Christ's gospel really is. You know that funny feeling you get when going over grace with Mormons and their explanation of "after all we can do" makes you wonder why Christ died at all. I get the same or a similar feeling when regular Christians try to explain grace. "It's not a carte blanche to do what you want but you don't have to earn it." "By simply believing in Christ, you'll feel compelled to follow him and change who you are." You've got a bit of drool there from trying to talk out of the side of your mouth.

So, then I dropped that and tried to just simply hang onto a conception of God. A Creator being, a Heavenly Father who can see me and knows me. I had real, genuine spiritual experiences while in the church. It was why this betrayal hurt so much because my testimony was real and based on intimate ways the Lord had touched my life with His hand. But then I start to pick apart what it means to me, how specifically God talks to me. I went back to page 81 of this forum and have just been reading the discussions as an added examination of these topics. There is a thread back there from 2017 on tithing stories that are basically, "this thing that was going to happen anyway is a sign from God working miracles in my life!" And a lot of my examples of God talking to me, blessing me, or showing that he's heard me, are those kind of examples.

...so, when do I choose? Agency is the power to make choices. Believing in God takes away all of my agency because I immediately give everything over to an invisible deity. I give them credit for everything bad, everything good about me or that happens to me. I have limited choices on what I am allowed to do and it's a very general list given to everybody, so, it's not as if it takes me as an individual child of God into account. I am here to make choices and to be punished and guilted for those choices and God can't be bothered to tell me exactly what he wants with me directly. I have to search for love, I have to justify love in random coincidences, good fortune as providence, or things I earned through hard work I must hand over glory to someone else. Or else. God help me, literally, if I don't act grateful enough.

Choose the right. Follow the Prophet. The Straight and Narrow.

It's like messing around in a video game, trying to find glitches, bothering NPCs, etc. while ignoring the main quest. Sure, you have the option to not progress the story but then, are you really playing the game?

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alas
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Re: Agency?

Post by alas » Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:17 am

One of the first things that bothered me about the big plan was that the church teaches obedience, but if all we ever are is obedient to an outside authority, how do we learn the things we need to know to be Gods? We have to learn to think and learn how to learn. Children need to be obedient to survive long enough to stop being children. At some point, the parent needs to let the child make mistakes and learn to think through the consequences, to learn to think for themselves. Or the child remains dependent. If they are going to survive in the adult world, they need to know when to be obedient and when to make their own choices, and when to refuse to be obedient. But Mormonism only teaches you to be obedient to authority, not to analyze if that authority is a blooming idiot. So, Mormons love Trump because he acts like a know it all authority and they have zero skills to analyze if their chosen authority is a blooming idiot. They ignore all the evidence screaming at them that says he is dishonest, immoral, amoral, stupid, and accuses others of things he does, and on and on. They learned to do that with Joseph Smith’s “small failings” that ended up with him electing himself king of the world. Maybe good Mormons learned that narcissism makes one a prophet of God. But they are not even close to being Gods themselves, in fact they are headed to opposite direction, following an evil man because that man pretends to be a great leader. Mormonism has taught them all the wrong lessons for the plan of salvation.

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2bizE
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Re: Agency?

Post by 2bizE » Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:51 am

I think the only way agency works is if you exercise your agency to not tell anyone anything about your life choices. Also, if you exercise your agency to not give a F$$k.
~2bizE

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Five
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Re: Agency?

Post by Five » Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:17 am

alas wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:17 am
One of the first things that bothered me about the big plan was that the church teaches obedience, but if all we ever are is obedient to an outside authority, how do we learn the things we need to know to be Gods?
Agreed! I didn't even think about it this way. Actually, the way I always took the implication as a TBM was that the things the church tells you to do are things that Gods do. Such as laying on hands for passing power and using power, the lack of hedonistic sexual activity and thoughts, the leadership in the family unit(teaching you how to make rules as the "Father" for your spirit human children once you send them to an earth. You cannot give them everything they want; sometimes you have to let them die tragically or else they won't learn anything), the performing of binding ordinances and contracts between the two realms, etc. I always thought that the emphasis on the Atonement and repentance here were like a computer programmer or software engineer learning virus protections; like, as Gods, some day, we're going to have to give our children an out, and set up a similar sacrifice, otherwise the stubborn fools won't ever make it back.

Which sets a very cookie cutter idea of what we're supposed to want out of eternity. I don't want a planet with billions and billions and generations of kids who'll hate me, ignore me, and never call. I'm not sure what I want from an eternity but the nature of death feels like, whether you wanted it or not, suddenly you change.

For instance, I was pushed away again near the end of 2018, simply because of the pressures and demands of worthiness were getting to be too much. When I was zealous, I felt disconnected from myself and my creativity. I couldn't write when constantly censoring my thoughts(which I could be held accountable for). So, I went the route of, "I'll settle for Terrestrial." I wasn't going inactive in order to go do drugs or become a porn star. I just wanted to indulge in small secular pleasures. I still held onto my belief but I figured, if the pressure to be worthy suffocates me, if being pure and righteous made me feel hollow and disconnected from my identity as a writer and an individual, then it would be Hell going to the Celestial kingdom anyway. This is assuming that we don't all transform after death. With who I am now, I doubt that if I died today and saw that I wasn't going to go to the Celestial kingdom, all of a sudden, I'm going to mourn or regret my choices. I made choices in this life that were comfortable for me, especially when it involved truly being me.

But the church doesn't allow these alternative paths to be settled on. No cafeteria Mormons. We're all supposed to want to be with Heavenly Father and Christ again. In 2016 or 17, I remember the SPy came and gave lessons about the nature of perfection. Pushing this idea that "you'll be surprised how many people actually make it to the Celestial kingdom". They were trying to change this idea that the straight and narrow was some sort of funnel and that it actually is incredibly easy to get in. If I were to tell my Bishop or Stake President, "Hey, it's fine, I believe the church is true and all but I'm just going to do what I want to do, watch Netflix and literally chill." I guarantee he'd try to dispel this idea that such an option is even available to me and he'd push this "perfection=eternal progression" spiel that makes the Celestial kingdom so easy to accomplish.

So, that was the lack of agency mindset I was coming at this with before. But like you said, the core foundation of behavior and how the lessons of this life are taught, are not conducive for a God that will need to be the authority and the Father of an entire world of his own. So, several angles don't work for agency actually being important to the church.
2bizE wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:51 am
I think the only way agency works is if you exercise your agency to not tell anyone anything about your life choices. Also, if you exercise your agency to not give a F$$k.
Absolutely. It's why I am stepping away from any theism at all, even agnostic. I just don't want to worry about it.

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alas
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Re: Agency?

Post by alas » Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:05 pm

Five wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:17 am
alas wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:17 am
One of the first things that bothered me about the big plan was that the church teaches obedience, but if all we ever are is obedient to an outside authority, how do we learn the things we need to know to be Gods?
Agreed! I didn't even think about it this way. Actually, the way I always took the implication as a TBM was that the things the church tells you to do are things that Gods do. Such as laying on hands for passing power and using power, the lack of hedonistic sexual activity and thoughts, the leadership in the family unit(teaching you how to make rules as the "Father" for your spirit human children once you send them to an earth. You cannot give them everything they want; sometimes you have to let them die tragically or else they won't learn anything), the performing of binding ordinances and contracts between the two realms, etc. I always thought that the emphasis on the Atonement and repentance here were like a computer programmer or software engineer learning virus protections; like, as Gods, some day, we're going to have to give our children an out, and set up a similar sacrifice, otherwise the stubborn fools won't ever make it back.

Which sets a very cookie cutter idea of what we're supposed to want out of eternity. I don't want a planet with billions and billions and generations of kids who'll hate me, ignore me, and never call. I'm not sure what I want from an eternity but the nature of death feels like, whether you wanted it or not, suddenly you change.

For instance, I was pushed away again near the end of 2018, simply because of the pressures and demands of worthiness were getting to be too much. When I was zealous, I felt disconnected from myself and my creativity. I couldn't write when constantly censoring my thoughts(which I could be held accountable for). So, I went the route of, "I'll settle for Terrestrial." I wasn't going inactive in order to go do drugs or become a porn star. I just wanted to indulge in small secular pleasures. I still held onto my belief but I figured, if the pressure to be worthy suffocates me, if being pure and righteous made me feel hollow and disconnected from my identity as a writer and an individual, then it would be Hell going to the Celestial kingdom anyway. This is assuming that we don't all transform after death. With who I am now, I doubt that if I died today and saw that I wasn't going to go to the Celestial kingdom, all of a sudden, I'm going to mourn or regret my choices. I made choices in this life that were comfortable for me, especially when it involved truly being me.

But the church doesn't allow these alternative paths to be settled on. No cafeteria Mormons. We're all supposed to want to be with Heavenly Father and Christ again. In 2016 or 17, I remember the SPy came and gave lessons about the nature of perfection. Pushing this idea that "you'll be surprised how many people actually make it to the Celestial kingdom". They were trying to change this idea that the straight and narrow was some sort of funnel and that it actually is incredibly easy to get in. If I were to tell my Bishop or Stake President, "Hey, it's fine, I believe the church is true and all but I'm just going to do what I want to do, watch Netflix and literally chill." I guarantee he'd try to dispel this idea that such an option is even available to me and he'd push this "perfection=eternal progression" spiel that makes the Celestial kingdom so easy to accomplish.

So, that was the lack of agency mindset I was coming at this with before. But like you said, the core foundation of behavior and how the lessons of this life are taught, are not conducive for a God that will need to be the authority and the Father of an entire world of his own. So, several angles don't work for agency actually being important to the church.
2bizE wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:51 am
I think the only way agency works is if you exercise your agency to not tell anyone anything about your life choices. Also, if you exercise your agency to not give a F$$k.
Absolutely. It's why I am stepping away from any theism at all, even agnostic. I just don't want to worry about it.
A lot of people look at the promises of the CK, and think that it sounds like hell. You are so not alone with that. Eternal church meetings, with boring slow music, sung badly by untrained people, the same old talks for eternity, millions, no gazillions of children, most of whom rebel and hate you, or misunderstand you, or just ignore you as not relevant to daily life, yeah sounds like no fun at all.

Then there is how many women feel. Part of a harem of, oh, maybe only a million wives, eternally pregnant with children who are sent away to earth and then don’t even know you exist because you are just one of a million possible “mothers in heaven.“ Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good version of hell. Personally, I would rather burn for eternity than be pregnant for eternity. Pregnancy was the most miserable and deadly dangerous thing I have ever been through, and if that is my reward for being a good little Mormon, then gimme the old Christian version of hell instead.

Yeah Joseph Smith was nuts to describe the CK how he did. Just so not appealing.

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Agency?

Post by RubinHighlander » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:30 pm

Five wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:17 am
2bizE wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:51 am
I think the only way agency works is if you exercise your agency to not tell anyone anything about your life choices. Also, if you exercise your agency to not give a F$$k.
Absolutely. It's why I am stepping away from any theism at all, even agnostic. I just don't want to worry about it.
It's a good place to go if you can get there, the giving zero Fs zone. After the resignation, I took a couple of years off from worrying if there is a purpose, removed all angels and devils, and avoided all philosophical ramblings of the sapiens. For a while I filled all those gaps with the outdoors and science. I still do, but then I started exploring my brain with herbs and magic fungus; which experiences were so profound that I started to try and unravel the grand purpose or non-purpose of the cosmos. It appears to be a conundrum either way, one that will never be known to anyone in this reality, at least not to it's full purpose or pure probability. It's been the most interesting and profound set of experiences of my life. But every time I have these experiences I just walk away with more questions. I'm okay with that but it's not often I go there because my ego sometimes suffers a death. It can be quite uncomfortable, sometimes disturbing, but not permanently. I guess that's just part of the great cosmic joke.

So, if you want to get back into some type of profound spiritual experience or awakening, you can be your own personal Jebus! It's a hell of a lot better and more meaningful than swimming and sorting through all that dogma that the tribalistic sapiens invented!
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

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moksha
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Re: Agency?

Post by moksha » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:19 pm

Five wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:15 am
...so, when do I choose? Agency is the power to make choices. Believing in God takes away all of my agency because I immediately give everything over to an invisible deity.
Gods are an ancient concept, whereas having "agency" is a fairly modern one. It is rather sticky to judge one mythology by the precepts of another. Can Shiva really rend Zeus asunder? Will Xenu drop General Zelph into a volcano? Or are these questions but variations on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

Reuben
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Re: Agency?

Post by Reuben » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:04 am

moksha wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:19 pm
Five wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:15 am
...so, when do I choose? Agency is the power to make choices. Believing in God takes away all of my agency because I immediately give everything over to an invisible deity.
Gods are an ancient concept, whereas having "agency" is a fairly modern one. It is rather sticky to judge one mythology by the precepts of another. Can Shiva really rend Zeus asunder? Will Xenu drop General Zelph into a volcano? Or are these questions but variations on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
I would watch the hell out of that movie.

Good point, too. These beings were meant to represent some aspect(s) of the universe as it really is - typically the unexplainable, unknowable, and uncontrollable. What does it even mean to be obedient to that?
Learn to doubt the stories you tell about yourselves and your adversaries.

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Hagoth
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Re: Agency?

Post by Hagoth » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:52 am

RubinHighlander wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:30 pm
I took a couple of years off from worrying if there is a purpose, removed all angels and devils, and avoided all philosophical ramblings of the sapiens.
The cosmos is a much better place when not filled with imaginary invisible monsters.
RubinHighlander wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:30 pm
I still do, but then I started exploring my brain with herbs and magic fungus; which experiences were so profound that I started to try and unravel the grand purpose or non-purpose of the cosmos... I guess that's just part of the great cosmic joke.
The cosmos is what is it is, regardless of what we think about it or want it to be, so we might as well settle in and drink it up. What the "sacrament" has taught me more than anything is that people take themselves too seriously, especially those who try to position themselves as authority figures. Russell Nelson, Ming the Merciless, it's all the same thing. Nobody's at the center, and at the same time everyone is at the center.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: Agency?

Post by Hagoth » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:55 am

moksha wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:19 pm
Gods are an ancient concept, whereas having "agency" is a fairly modern one. It is rather sticky to judge one mythology by the precepts of another. Can Shiva really rend Zeus asunder? Will Xenu drop General Zelph into a volcano? Or are these questions but variations on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
Just as relevant: could Dr. Manhattan kick Superman's ass?
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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