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Happiness and Sorrow


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#1 StarKist

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 11:40 PM

I'm wondering if greater joy and happiness are built on increasing sorrow and pain.

The scriptures teach:

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad."

"And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet"

John Taylor related this comment from the Prophet:

"You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God, and (said he) God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God."

Brigham Young said of Joseph Smith:

"that he suffered more in thirty-eight years than many men could in one thousand; that loosing one thousand hounds on Temple Square after one jack-rabbit would not be equivalent to the "boiling over" of opposition he faced from his boyhood; but that he was more perfected, more sanctified, more glorified because "every wave of Adversity only wafted him that much closer to Deity."

As a parent, I know that much pain and suffering comes from watching children make mistakes, but that experience makes their successes all the more sweet.

Does God experience more (vicarious) pain and suffering than any other being because of what He sees and understands, but does that pain and suffering enlarge his joy when men repent and progress ?

We sometime think that eternal bliss is our goal, but are we really in for more opposition, pain and suffering (in the next life) as we seek to become more like the Savior ?

#2 james12

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 11:28 AM

I agree. I think happiness is an internal matter not an external one. This world offers external pain and suffering but internally the light of Christ is with every man and woman. This light can be strengthened through the gospel of Christ. Christ said his "yolk is easy and his burden light". From a worldly perspective we say, "no way", but we have no reason to doubt him.

When no amount of pain, sorrow, fear, or suffering can shake our internal peace and harmony then we will be truly free from all enemies and obtain eternal life. As the Savior himself said, "for behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21).

This also should tell us how to progress in our own life. We must find harmony in the gospel. Yes, we will be faced with trials, but we must see through them. We must internally find the way through. At the end of the day the gospel is not a bunch of ramshackle rules and regulations. The commandments are simply rules teaching us how to find peace, teaching us to follow the spirit. If in our worship we are not finding either then we are doing something wrong.

#3 Dravin

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 11:47 AM

Does God experience more (vicarious) pain and suffering than any other being because of what He sees and understands, but does that pain and suffering enlarge his joy when men repent and progress ?


You'd have to be able to quantify pain and suffering somehow, keeping in mind that we're talking about what is experienced and not necessarily some objective external measure. And then being able to quantify pain and suffering compare it. For example, how much pain and suffering does God experience, and how much does Satan experience, which is the greater amount? To be perfectly clear I don't think the question is a stupid one, I just think it is unanswerable in a meaningful way with the knowledge we posses.

That said I do find the implications of your parting question interesting. That while we may be inclined to think of exaltation as an end of all sorrow, if we take the scriptures like Moses 7:28 at face value then it is reasonable to suppose that not all sorrow ends. I think the end to our sorrow with exaltation will be akin to the promise given to the three Nephites in 3 Nephi 28:29, our worldly sorrows will be done away with but we'll still sorrow over the sins of the world.

Edited by Dravin, 29 December 2013 - 12:03 PM.

Hindsight is all well and good... until you trip.

#4 StarKist

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 12:18 PM

Dravin-
Great scripture reference about the three Nephites. That God continues to feel sorrow is probably a better explanation than pain and suffering.

#5 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 12:44 PM

I'm wondering if greater joy and happiness are built on increasing sorrow and pain.

The scriptures teach:

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad."

"And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet"

John Taylor related this comment from the Prophet:

"You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God, and (said he) God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God."

Brigham Young said of Joseph Smith:

"that he suffered more in thirty-eight years than many men could in one thousand; that loosing one thousand hounds on Temple Square after one jack-rabbit would not be equivalent to the "boiling over" of opposition he faced from his boyhood; but that he was more perfected, more sanctified, more glorified because "every wave of Adversity only wafted him that much closer to Deity."

As a parent, I know that much pain and suffering comes from watching children make mistakes, but that experience makes their successes all the more sweet.

Does God experience more (vicarious) pain and suffering than any other being because of what He sees and understands, but does that pain and suffering enlarge his joy when men repent and progress ?

We sometime think that eternal bliss is our goal, but are we really in for more opposition, pain and suffering (in the next life) as we seek to become more like the Savior ?


Where does it say that "opposition in all things" continues through the eternities and is not just something that occurs in mortality?

Doesn't Christ overcome all opposition for us in the end? What does He not overcome?

#6 Traveler

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 12:02 PM

Where does it say that "opposition in all things" continues through the eternities and is not just something that occurs in mortality?

2 Nephi 2:11
Obviously all things of opposition must continue to exist. For example, do you really believe that darkness will no longer be a possibility in opposition to light?

Doesn't Christ overcome all opposition for us in the end? What does He not overcome?


I think your confusion in this matter is not understanding "Agency". It is because of our agency that Christ as the proctor of our agency can take upon him our sins. Thus since he has overcome opposition as the proctor of our agency - opposition will still exist but under his control.

If we become agents unto ourselves then it will be up to us to control our opposition. But if you think about all this - those that obtain the Celestial Kingdom may serve in the capacity to help and assist as g-ds and with the G-d head to preserve those of lesser glory from opposition.

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#7 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 03:34 PM

2 Nephi 2:11
Obviously all things of opposition must continue to exist. For example, do you really believe that darkness will no longer be a possibility in opposition to light?


I think your confusion in this matter is not understanding "Agency". It is because of our agency that Christ as the proctor of our agency can take upon him our sins. Thus since he has overcome opposition as the proctor of our agency - opposition will still exist but under his control.

If we become agents unto ourselves then it will be up to us to control our opposition. But if you think about all this - those that obtain the Celestial Kingdom may serve in the capacity to help and assist as g-ds and with the G-d head to preserve those of lesser glory from opposition.

The Traveler


2 Nephi Chapter 2 is clearly talking about the law for "man" and for "flesh", which it mentions several times before verse 11. So just responding to the statement with that scripture did not answer the question.

Is agency intended to be a road with no end? Is agency an end unto itself?

Even if I don't see it clearly, I think Enos did; "And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. "

#8 NeuroTypical

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 04:04 PM

I'm wondering if greater joy and happiness are built on increasing sorrow and pain.

I've heard the notion of "redemptive suffering", where the more you suffer, the greater reward. I've also heard the notion that you can suffer and someone else gets the reward. I pretty much reject both notions.

But that's probably not what you were talking about.

I'm also mindful of folks with various disorders such as depression or crippling anxiety, where sometimes it just isn't possible to feel joy or happiness due to some chemical imbalance in the brain or unresolved trauma. I don't think that "oh, you'll be much happier later because of what you're going through now" is a helpful thing to say to someone, nor do I necessarily think it's true.

But that's probably not what you were talking about either.

I do believe that I'm more able to appreciate and enjoy many things in life, due to hardships I've endured and resolved. I think that may be what you're talking about.
If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack, to sit in the synagogue and pray.
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.

Ohhh....
If I were a rich man...

#9 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 04:05 PM

If we become agents unto ourselves then it will be up to us to control our opposition


Um...I'm confused by what you're trying to mean here. We ARE agents unto ourselves. That's what our agency is.
If prophets and apostles can be wrong, then it's possible that the prophets and apostles who said that prophets and apostles can be wrong were wrong.

#10 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 02:57 PM

I've heard the notion of "redemptive suffering", where the more you suffer, the greater reward. I've also heard the notion that you can suffer and someone else gets the reward. I pretty much reject both notions.

But that's probably not what you were talking about.

I'm also mindful of folks with various disorders such as depression or crippling anxiety, where sometimes it just isn't possible to feel joy or happiness due to some chemical imbalance in the brain or unresolved trauma. I don't think that "oh, you'll be much happier later because of what you're going through now" is a helpful thing to say to someone, nor do I necessarily think it's true.

But that's probably not what you were talking about either.

I do believe that I'm more able to appreciate and enjoy many things in life, due to hardships I've endured and resolved. I think that may be what you're talking about.


I think the thing that is missed is realizing that God and Christ have vicarious power. Christ was able to take on our suffering. Appreciation and enjoyment can certainly come in the form of vicarious experience. Christ didn't have to commit the sin to understand its magnitude and to empathize with the repentant.

When all things are made known and we can learn of all things, that will also include past experiences by others. We don't have to reinvent the wheel to use a wheel. I don't have to pass through the hours and hours, years and years of hard work and discovery that went into developing this computer I am using to enjoy its benefits. Likewise, not everything we enjoy in this life or the next is 100% related to our individual effort. This is why when we enter a Kingdom of glory it is an "inheritance", as opposed to a "reward" or a "payment". Inheritance implies obtaining something that wasn't earned by the direct efforts of that person, it is made available through someone else' efforts. The overcoming of all opposition is part of that inheritance, or at least, can be.

#11 Traveler

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 02:23 PM

Um...I'm confused by what you're trying to mean here. We ARE agents unto ourselves. That's what our agency is.


From the published definitions of agency:

1
a : the office or function of an agent
b : the relationship between a principal and that person's agent

2: the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power ;operation

3: a person or thing through which power is exerted or an end is achieved ; instrumentality <communicated through the agency of the ambassador>

4: an establishment engaged in doing business for another <an advertising agency>

5: an administrative division (as of a government) <the agency for consumer protection>

from LDS doctrine - D&C 93:30-31

30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.

As long as we act within that sphere in which G-d has placed us we are his agents and G-d is our proctor. This is in part why Jesus was able to take upon him our sins. As I understand LDS doctrine there are two ways to become agents unto ourselves. #1 Is to reject that sacrifice through which Jesus took upon him our sins - then we become agents unto ourselves and responsible for all our deeds.

#2 Are the individuals that are made free to act according to their power as Celestial beings.

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#12 Traveler

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:01 PM

2 Nephi Chapter 2 is clearly talking about the law for "man" and for "flesh", which it mentions several times before verse 11. So just responding to the statement with that scripture did not answer the question.

Is agency intended to be a road with no end? Is agency an end unto itself?

Even if I don't see it clearly, I think Enos did; "And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. "


It is Satan that is opposition to G-d. I see nothing in scripture that indicates Satan (though defeated) will no longer exist.

The Traveler

#13 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:27 PM

from LDS doctrine - D&C 93:30-31


I counter your D&C with this - D&C 58:28

For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.


Your understanding of this is a bit off in this case. We are agents unto ourselves. We are responsible for our own choices, and have the right given to us, without interference, to choose good or evil.
If prophets and apostles can be wrong, then it's possible that the prophets and apostles who said that prophets and apostles can be wrong were wrong.

#14 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:29 PM

See Moses 6:56 as well.
If prophets and apostles can be wrong, then it's possible that the prophets and apostles who said that prophets and apostles can be wrong were wrong.

#15 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 04:15 PM

From the published definitions of agency:
from LDS doctrine - D&C 93:30-31

As long as we act within that sphere in which G-d has placed us we are his agents and G-d is our proctor. This is in part why Jesus was able to take upon him our sins. As I understand LDS doctrine there are two ways to become agents unto ourselves. #1 Is to reject that sacrifice through which Jesus took upon him our sins - then we become agents unto ourselves and responsible for all our deeds.

#2 Are the individuals that are made free to act according to their power as Celestial beings.

The Traveler


I get mixed up when you talk about this, Traveler. I wonder if you (or me) are trying to separate the definition of "agent" from "agency". Is an agent one who has agency? Or are they not linearly related?

Just talking about "agency" alone; When we sin we lose agency, we lose the agency that is given to us as a gift in starting this life and even before. It is ours to lose, in other words.

“With regard to the rights of the human family, I wish to say that God has given unto all of his children of this dispensation, as he gave unto all of his children of previous dispensations, individual agency. This agency has always been the heritage of man under the rule and government of God. He possessed it in the heaven of heavens before the world was, and the Lord maintained and defended it there against the aggression of Lucifer and those that took sides with him, to the overthrow of Lucifer and one-third part of the heavenly hosts. By virtue of this agency you and I and all mankind are made responsible beings, responsible for the course we pursue, the lives we live, the deeds we do in the body” (Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 8–9).


“Free agency is the impelling source of the soul’s progress. It is the purpose of the Lord that man become like him. In order for man to achieve this it was necessary for the Creator first to make him free” (David O. McKay, in Conference Report, Apr. 1950, 32).


“Man’s greatest endowment in mortal life is the power of choice—the divine gift of free agency. No true character was ever developed without a sense of soul freedom” (David O. McKay, Man May Know for Himself: Teachings of President David O. McKay, 80).


“The Church teaches as a strictly scriptural doctrine, that man has inherited among the inalienable rights conferred upon him by his divine Father, freedom to choose the good or the evil in life, to obey or disobey the Lord’s commands, as he may elect. This right cannot be guarded with more jealous care than is bestowed upon it by God Himself; for in all His dealings with man He has left the mortal creature free to choose and to act” (James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, 52).




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