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Friday, March 22, 2019

Life is Unfair, But You Knew That

Note:  Tim Malone was kind enough to post this on his blog for me some years ago here:

https://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/08/21/life-is-unfair-but-you-knew-that/

I just wanted to repost it here in my blog.

***

Why is there suffering? And why is life so unfair? Why do some have bigger burdens than others? Why do so many people live in poor wartorn countries?

One possibility is that the abused deserve their abuse—that perhaps they were an abuser in a previous life.  This kind of thinking, even if true, can enable abusers—“You totally deserve my abuse, who am I not to fulfill God’s will?"  This is the dark side of Hindusim--"we have a caste system because God wills it--we brahmins are on top because of our exceeding righteousness in the past life and you losers are living in squalor because you weren't as righteous in the last life.”  Even modern prophets seers and/or revelators can fall victim to this kind of thinking:


"This privilege of obtaining a mortal body on this earth is seemingly so priceless that those in the spirit world, even though unfaithful or not valient, were undoubtedly permitted to take mortal bodies although under penalty of racial or physical or nationalistic limitations…."  Harold B. Lee

On the other hand, was Jesus abused because He was an abuser?  What about Abinadi, Paul, Peter, and Joseph?

There is another possible explanation why people endure horrible things in life:  Before the earth is created, God says, "I have to respect free will, and some jerk is going to be an abuser.  Who will volunteer to take this douche's abuse?  Who will volunteer to starve in Africa? Under the volunteerism explanation, it really flips around the question of who the elect really is, and all of us might be found wanting.  


[Never mind, we're totally the elect, not those other guys who are suffering.]

Either explanation is possible, maybe some are abused as punishment and others volunteered for abuse.   We can't judge.

I suggest a third possibility: some of the abused neither deserved it nor volunteered for it.  Life isn't fair, and that might be part of the test--can we love and accept a God who set up a rigged game?

Look at the 9th parable in Dave's 10 parables. My interpretation of it is, basically, that those who followed Lucifer in the premortal life are invited back into the kingdom. Many who were righteous were upset by this and walked out on God. The test is not what we think it is.



From the 9th_Parable:
After the days of the competition ended, a great feast was called. For the feast, the King invited not only those citizens who participated in the games, but also those who had fled the city rather than participate. Those who had remained loyal and participated in the games were troubled by this.
“Why are those who rejected your plan allowed to be among us?” they inquired. 
“For a wise purpose,” said the King. 
Many of those who participated resented the presence of those who had fled. Some who fled returned in anger, urging those who stayed to join them in their anger at the King. Some who did not do well were persuaded by the arguments of the returning dissidents.
The great feast turned into a great argument among the residents who stayed and those who had fled. Eventually the people divided themselves into two groups. In one, the King was beloved and his plan was held in esteem. In the other, the King was resented, or worse, hated. They found fault with the King, with his plan, and with the uproar caused among the citizens by the King’s great folly. 
When the body was divided, the King addressed them all with these words, “I have been working for some time to determine who I can trust among our people and who I cannot trust. Using wise counsel I have adopted this great plan to decide the matter. 
“I knew when the competition was devised it would divide the people. I knew, too, that some would flee rather than participate. I also knew if I invited back to a feast all of the citizens, both those who stayed and those who fled, that it would result in a great division. This was my purpose all along. 
“We are faced with many challenges. Some are in forms which you do not understand. 
They will test all of us. I must know before we confront the coming challenges who I can trust to remain loyal in my kingdom. Today I know.



The game is rigged. On purpose. And not because God is incompetent. Or evil. God wants to see who will not be upset if He rewards people unfairly.  Consider Jesus' parable of the laborers:



Matthew 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.




But why? Why is the test about enduring unfairness rather than testing who will obey the commandments the most?

When we perceive that we are treated unfairly, we seek compensation to make up for our unfair treatment. We think it will be just if something is taken from the person who has more and given to the person who has less. Well, maybe we only think it is unjust if we are the person who has less. (When we have more, we pat ourselves on the back and assume that we totally earned it.) This motivation is at the heart of those who seek revenge for mistreatments, either real or perceived.

In the eternities, God offers us everything. He wants to share His glory and power with us. But what if that isn't fair? Why should someone who didn't do the same awesome righteous works as I did get the same reward? Why should a laborer who showed up at the 11th hour get the same pay as I did for working all day?

And more importantly, what can I do to stop this slacker from getting a reward he doesn't deserve? Well, God did give me His power, right? So I can use that to make his eternal reward less than mine. Although it might be hard, since he also has God's power, so if I break any of his stuff he can fix it. But I could probably find ways to make his eternal reward less rewarding. One way (maybe the only way) I could do him harm would be to tempt his children into doing wickedness.

At this point I have become a devil.

This might be why only the best of feelings (charity) can prevail between people if they will enter into a true order of prayer—prayer doesn’t become a true order just because the person praying repeats signs and tokens while wearing symbolic clothing. A true order of prayer means that a person has received the power to ask any blessing they want from God. People will only get this power if they have the best of feelings toward their neighbor (charity). People without the best of feelings might ask God to curse their neighbor as compensation for unfairness.

So life is unfair because God cannot save people who are upset by unfairness, or those who will not forgive their neighbor. 


Here’s the 9th parable in it’s entirety:

There was a King who loved his people. He also loved the competition of games. He called his advisory council together and asked them how he might improve the health and vigor of his people. They considered the matter and decided upon a great plan.

The King called his city together and told them of a great competition he and his council had devised. “All the city would compete,” he announced. They would proceed in turns to go into the coliseum and compete on the field. All were welcome to watch before or after they participated, but all would have to compete. The competition would test the citizen’s loyalty, while also improving the lives of the citizens.

“I haven’t the strength to compete. I am old and past my day and cannot hope to win in competition with younger men,” said one.

The King responded, “Not all the competition will be of strength, some will be of intellect, some of patience, some of music. It will develop the skill of each individual from my kingdom and will improve every citizen.”

“I refuse,” said the one. He and those who agreed with him departed in anger.

The day arrived and the competition began. Men, women and children all entered in turns into the coliseum. Some sang, some threw spears, some lifted heavy weights, and some recited poetic works of beauty and wisdom. The people not competing at any given time would watch from the seats. They gained as much from watching as they did competing.

Many were reluctant or afraid entering the competition, but found when they competed their fears were unfounded. Some believed it would be fun to compete. However, upon entering the competition failed to do as they hoped, and regretted their poor efforts.

After the days of the competition ended, a great feast was called. For the feast, the King invited not only those citizens who participated in the games, but also those who had fled the city rather than participate. Those who had remained loyal and participated in the games were troubled by this.

“Why are those who rejected your plan allowed to be among us?” they inquired.

“For a wise purpose,” said the King.

Many of those who participated resented the presence of those who had fled. Some who fled returned in anger, urging those who stayed to join them in their anger at the King. Some who did not do well were persuaded by the arguments of the returning dissidents.

The great feast turned into a great argument among the residents who stayed and those who had fled. Eventually the people divided themselves into two groups. In one, the King was beloved and his plan was held in esteem. In the other, the King was resented, or worse, hated. They found fault with the King, with his plan, and with the uproar caused among the citizens by the King’s great folly.

When the body was divided, the King addressed them all with these words, “I have been working for some time to determine who I can trust among our people and who I cannot trust. Using wise counsel I have adopted this great plan to decide the matter.

“I knew when the competition was devised it would divide the people. I knew, too, that some would flee rather than participate. I also knew if I invited back to a feast all of the citizens, both those who stayed and those who fled, that it would result in a great division. This was my purpose all along.

“We are faced with many challenges. Some are in forms which you do not understand. They will test all of us. I must know before we confront the coming challenges who I can trust to remain loyal in my kingdom. Today I know.

“All those who have been loyal have been identified. They will remain in my kingdom. All those who have rejected my plan, or spoken against me in hatred, will be removed from my kingdom. Those who leave are free to follow their own course. However, they cannot be among my people any longer, for they have been tested and failed in their loyalty.”

It required a battle to remove those who were to be exiled. Many argued they had endured all the King had asked and only spoken ill of him when the disaffected exiles returned. They claimed it was unfair to have been put through this final test of loyalty after allowing the return of the exiles. They argued a feast that included those who refused the King’s request was unfair. It rewarded all alike; the loyal and the disloyal. They claimed their final disloyalty came only as a result of their original loyalty later proving to be of no value, since even the exiles came to the final feast.

Others complained that the King was mad. His whole course was destructive of a people who had once lived in harmony and peace. They claimed it was the King who should be thrown in exile; not the citizens who were discomforted by the King disturbing their peace.

Still others complained the King was never honest with them. Had they known this was to be the result, they would have been loyal throughout. They thought it unfair he kept his counsel to himself and thereby lulled them into disfavor.

Yet others complained the King gave them too hard a test. It was unfair. Although they had passed the test, they had family members and friends who failed and if these whom they loved had failed they would refuse for their loved ones’ sake to remain with the King.

Some even said that the original test was supposed to improve the citizen’s “health and vigor” and not their loyalty. It was unfair to claim to test for one virtue when actually testing for another.

And finally, some claimed there could be no future test coming for which this test of the citizens would prepare; that the only thing this great plan tested was the patience of the citizens. If there is some great future test coming, then the King ought, in fairness, to share that information with them rather than to hide it and make claims which cannot be proven.

All the arguments were unavailing. The King expelled them all. When the kingdom was set, and none but the loyal remained, the King again called a great assembly of his people. To all those who remained the King announced, “I discovered long ago the power to make my kingdom last forever. I am now prepared to share the secrets of all I know with my people. From this day forward you will no longer be citizens in my kingdom, but you will be kings and queens, sharing with me in life which will never end.

“Before making you all kings and queens with me, I needed to have a people who would live in peace together.
Immortality without peace among us would be a great punishment and not a great prize.

“All of us who remain in this kingdom have lost friends, family members and others whom we love. However, all who remain will be able to live in peace, forever.”

The King did as he planned from the beginning. He and his counselors were able to find those who could live in peace, and for whom life would endure in peace forever.

There is not now, and never has been, a kingdom more stable, more happy, more at peace, and more enduring than this King’s. Though he ceased to reign as a king, he continued to be loved above all others. For he was the one who brought to life the happiest people of all.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Ezekiel & Kurt

To them you are like a singer of love songs, one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; they hear what you say, but they will not do it. 

And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he knows not what it means

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Nephi and the law

Hat tip to my wife and Max Skousen on this.  So the deal with 1 Nephi 3:7

I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.


is that it shouldn’t be read in isolation. 1 Nephi 3:7 is young man Nephi.  “Give me a commandment and I will totally nail that commandment.”  But then life continues to happen to Nephi:

2 Nephi 4:17
my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. 18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. 19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.


Finally, old man Nephi is channeling Paul:

2 Nephi 25
25 For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments. 26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. 27 Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away.


The law is dead and Nephi is alive in Christ.  Nephi's character arc takes him from a righteous young man who thinks he can live the law perfectly into a righteous old man who is transformed by grace.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Announcement: Infinite Remnant Broadcast

We, as a covenant people, applaud the efforts in engraving the eternal teachings of Denver, even, Dave, on metal plates to be found by future generations after the coronal mass ejection wipes out our modern technologies.

In addition to this effort, scientists from the LZ Slackers Fellowship, with help from John Pratt, are announcing a new initiative.  In an effort to seek the lost sheep remnant, wherever they may be found, we will be broadcasting the complete The Servant Denver Snuffer discography toward Antares.



Furthermore, we will be initiating a broadcast of this message underground for subterranean Israelites.  They will be invited to bring their prophets and their rich treasures, which, we can only assume, consist of a big pile of diamonds to buy us a temple.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Touch the Truck for Enlightenment


Young Buddha sought enlightenment, and a car.  Dharma told him he had a great journey ahead of him, for which he would need both.  A local radio station was holding a touch the truck contest, in which the last person to remove his hands from the car, wins the car.

Determined, Young Buddha decided he would sit at the car and meditate until he reached enlightenment.  He was not alone in his quest.  Many Buddhas had also made the journey to seek enlightenment, and the car.

A month passed.  Some of the Buddhas had bowed out of the contest.  They didn't get the car.  It wasn't clear if they received enlightenment.  The radio station didn't expect this to take so long, so they made an addition to the rules:

If all of the people touching the car agree to end the contest together, they can share the car.

The Buddhas thought they could reach agreement; they were all of like mind, they were all devoted to finding enlightenment, and none of them needed the car more often than a couple of times a month anyway.

Agreement was not so easily reached, however.  There were a few factions who had strong opinions about how the car should be used, and all of them had compelling arguments.  Each Buddha wanted to use the car to serve and bless others.

Votes were held.  The Buddhas could not come to unanimous agreement, much to their disappointment.  The great journey awaited each of them, but without the car, they could not embark.  The Buddhas grew frustrated.  It was even proposed that those who disagreed should have their hands pulled off the car, so that the Buddhas could end the waiting ordeal and finally get to their great journey.

Young Buddha said, "Let my skin and sinews and bones dry up, together with all the flesh and blood of my body! I welcome it! But I will not move from this spot until I have attained the supreme and final wisdom. And the car."

The impasse remained.  A year went by. The arguing had died down, but no new solutions were offered.  A few Buddhas took their hands off the car and left.  The long wait gave Young Buddha the time to think, and meditate, and pray.  As more time passed, more Buddhas took their hands off the car, and walked away.  Some angrily, some peacefully. Young Buddha's resolve remained firm.  After all, without the patience to wait for the car, how could he have the patience to withstand the great journey ahead?

A few more Buddhas left until there was only one other Buddha left beside Young Buddha.  They had never agreed on how to share the car, but over the years they had become great friends.  Neither diminished in their resolve, each truly believing that the great journey could not be accomplished with the other's plan for the car.  Still, while their resolve was never diminished, their desire to convince the other was, their thoughts turning inward to meditation.  Finally, Young Buddha, decided that his love for his Buddha brother was so great that he could trust him to decide what to do with the car.  Young Buddha arose, took his hands off the car and walked away.  The car had served its purpose moving him forward on his great journey.

The Buddha that remained, did get the car, in the end.  And, in the end, the car did bless, and serve, and unite the Buddhas.





Thursday, August 30, 2018

Things to hang on your wall if you want a happier family


Two things that you might want to consider hanging on your wall and living by to improve the happiness of your family:

1.   D&C 121:

39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood (or manhood or womanhood or motherhood), only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.


2.  Matthew 6 (with one little addition from me):

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
I must forgive you to be forgiven, but that does not mean that I get to demand that you forgive me.



Thursday, August 9, 2018

Some thoughts on a temple


1. We don’t know how much it will cost

2. If there’s no location and no blueprints there’s no invitation

I’m not a sensitive horse--maybe the place and blueprints are already out there for those with ears to hear.









 The hard part is getting people whose hearts are right.  God can’t force that.  He can build buildings very easily.  The world has the resources to build amazing buildings, and God has more resources than the world.









But he can’t change our hearts against our will.





Monday, August 6, 2018

Two ways to have a working Zion

Zion, seems to me to be a society of people who live in peace.

I can see precisely two ways this society happens:

  1. People who never act like assholes.
  2. People who unilaterally forgive each other when they act like assholes.
Which one do you think will be easier to achieve?



Sunday, April 1, 2018

Continuing Revelation

Russell M. Nelson: I called 2 new apostles, overhauled Home & Visiting Teaching, and restructured Melchizedek Priesthood quorums.  How's that for continuing revelation bitches?



Dave:  Hold my beer: http://denversnuffer.com/2018/03/our-divine-parents/



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How bad do we want Zion?

How bad do we want Zion?

So bad that we're willing to keep all of God's commandments?

So bad that we're willing to give of our substance to the poor?

So bad that we're willing to wait a very, very long time?

So bad that we're willing to be of one heart with many folks we barely know?

So bad that we're willing to take the 4 questions of the covenant?



So bad that we're willing to remove those who stand in our way?

So bad that we're willing to fight a war against those who oppose us?  To crush our enemies? To see them driven before us, and hear the lamentations of their women?


How bad do we want Zion?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

Dumb question:

If we adopted a really stupid G&S (e.g. this:)

Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll is our creed
Get Rich or Die Tryin
Snitches get Stitches

--> as our G&S--put it in writing, cross-stitch it on our pillowcases, etc.--
But loved each other as ourselves and shared our substance freely, would we be accepted of God?  Would we still meet Enochville, fall on each others necks and canoodle with each other, and all that?


But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.