Friday Forum: We Curse Ourselves With Our Own Iniquity

Discuss Ether 14:1

zits

“ And now there began to be a great curse upon all the land because of the iniquity of the people, in which, if a man should lay his tool or his sword upon his shelf, or upon the place whither he would keep it, behold, upon the morrow, he could not find it, so great was the curse upon the land.”

Discuss

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About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/04/dna-mormons/ and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009 http://theredbrickstore.com/sunstone/becoming-hong-meis-mother/.

12 thoughts on “Friday Forum: We Curse Ourselves With Our Own Iniquity

  1. Although the cartoon is pretty good, and we all have done things like that, I’ve always thought this scripture referred to the fact that stuff would get stolen all the time because of the complete lack of respect for property that takes place in an iniquitous society.

  2. Thanks Geoff for your comment. Yeah, the Zits comic is essentially my life except DH Mike has all his hair and is slender. It is a cute attention grabber.

    On the subject of curses; in Ether 14:1 the curse is not so much a curse as natural consequences. Does God really every curse us or in all/most cases do we curse ourselves? Any examples either way?

  3. I think it’s wiser to read God “cursing” society or groups of people as Him allowing them to suffer from their own bad decisions rather than to temporarily protect them.

  4. I think there was more going on than people thieving from one another. If we can be blessed to draw bounty from the earth, and given inspiration to find what is lost, we can also be cursed to forget where things are, and the earth can claim things we no longer deserve to possess. The dust is obedient that way.

  5. John M- Beautifully said. Interesting i had not thought of the earth in those terms.

    I think when we do iniquity or even allow wickedness to prosper, the Holy Sprit can not dwell with us, so the cursing is loss of the spirit and consequently giving Satan power.

    Good luck with the car Brian.

  6. One thing that modern western people, including many mainstream Christians, but especially agnostics and atheists have is that they don’t accept the possibility that, if there is a God, He could allow the innocent to suffer along with the wicked. Many deny Noah’s flood because they think that if there’s a God, He couldn’t or wouldn’t have killed the innocent children. But the scriptures make clear that the flood (and the fire and brimstone thing on those two cities of the plain) were in direct consequence of the people’s wickedness, even if or even when, or in spite of, the children being innocent.

    It may seem cold-hearted, but Spencer Kimball defended the deaths of the innocent children in the flood saying it would have been worse for them to live.

    At scriptures.lds.org do a search for “pestilence” in the Book of Mormon. And the curses are indeed promised most often as a result of “iniquities” and “abominations.”

    The Book of Mormon gives plenty of examples of catastrophes-in-response-to-wickedness, such as the seed of the Amulonites, the city of Ammonihah, the “mostly wicked” cities being destroyed (sunk, burned, or buried) at the time of the crucifixion, and eventually the entire Nephite nation.

    Many have said that AIDS can’t be a curse from God because many innocent people suffer too, such as innocent spouses, and recipients of transfusions and blood products.

    But in recent lessons from the PH/RS manual (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Joseph Smith), Joseph Smith emphasized many times that the innocent would suffer along with the wicked.

    So, just because it’s a “natural consequence” doesn’t mean it’s not from God. God could have set it up that way. And, just because innocent people also suffer the same thing, doesn’t mean it’s not from God. And, because someone suffers, it doesn’t automatically mean they are guilty of anything either.

    But again, Mormons can be big with the guilt-trip thing, just like Catholics and Jews sometimes are. :-)

    As I’ve transitioned middle age, I’ve realized that many of my tragedies that I thought were other people’s fault were really my own. And for the tragedies that were clearly (or that I still think are) others’ responsibility/fault, I’ve come to learn that some of them were a necessary learning experience for me; worse things would have come had I not had some of those tragedies, or I couldn’t have learned some things any other way.

    In the last five years, especially in my book-slinging project, I’ve learned how intimately and at such a detailed level that Heavenly Father is cognizant of and often involved with our lives. I’m almost at that Buddhist thing of thinking there are no coincidences, no chances. That somehow, it’s both agency _and_ “destiny.” But a destiny that we bring upon ourselves, or that we need, or that we somehow “deserve.”

    Many people can’t reconcile man’s agency with Heavenly Father’s absolute foreknowledge. Yet with his absolute foreknowledge and apparently infinite ability to pre-calculate it all, Heavenly Father somehow takes it all into account. Somehow Heavenly Father knew that the other guy was going to run the red light at that moment, hit your car, and paralyze you; and it was all part of His plan, even though your agency and daily choices, and the other guy’s agency and daily choices, brought you both to that intersection at the same moment.

    If we define Heavenly Father as both _omnipotent_ and _omniscient_, then logically anything he doesn’t directly _cause_, He at least _allows_ to happen. Technically, with his infinite power, He could have prevented something we consider “bad”, but for some reason or reasons we don’t fully know yet, He choose not to intervene.

    On the other hand, there could be an infinite number of bad things that _don’t_ happen due to Heavenly Father’s behind-the-scenes actions, that we are completely oblivious to. We are totally ignorant of a possible myriad of benevolent interventions on our behalf by Heavenly Father.

    It may well be that the only thing Heavenly Father _causes_ directly with his foreknowledge is which spirit child to infuse into the developing baby; the where and when and to whom every spirit child is born into mortality. Everything after that could be agency and natural consequence, but then, with His infinite foreknowledge He knew who was going to do what, so He made his who-gets-born-when-where-to-whom decisions based on that. IE, He put the chess pieces (us) into play at the times/places based on what He knew we were going to do.

    Yes, the other guy literally chose to run that red-light, but Heavenly Father knew that before you and that guy were born and took all that into account. That “accident” would not have been a surprise to Him.

    It’s all very hard to get one’s head around it. But that’s how I put the pieces of the puzzle together.

  7. Sorry Michael-You got spammed. I thought this post up several days before MJ died. Here are a couple of posts on Mj:

    http://bycommonconsent.com/2009/06/26/two-intimations-of-my-own-mortality/

    http://www.mormonmentality.org/2009/06/26/michael-jackson-end-of-a-life-filled-with-promise-heartache.htm#comment-108811

    My take is that MJ was clearly a victim of fame as a child. If anyone would have told me his life would have turned out so oddly back in the early 1980′s; I would have had a hard time believing it. The guy was so golden.

    Whether or not he then became a victimizer is unknown( I think he probably was). I feel so badly for his kids.

  8. Bookslinger. Thank you for such a thoughtful moving response. I think of you as a “road less traveled” person. Your life experiences, good and bad, have made you what you are today.

    I have struggled with this philosophy too. I had the whole notion of “if God was God, children’s suffering would not happen” smack me upside the head; when we visited Hong Mei’s orphanage. I still do not have an answer for why and what we witnessed that day.

    I like the idea of a chess game. He just knows us so well he can predict what we will do. I feel something similar to this with my own children and DH Mike. Often times you can just predict the outcome. This is one of the “looking thru a glass darkly” moments. We just have to have faith that God is God.

    Also as an aside Satan, who is NOT Omnipotent, but very clever, is getting good at predicting human response and behaviors. He just knows what buttons to push. We are the ones who invite his influence in our lives thus “causing” the curse.

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