Luke

Does anyone have an answer to this haunting question?!

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Let’s start with the assumption that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, Joseph Smith Jr was a true prophet, the BOM is true, etc (and I personally believe these things to be true):  Even assuming this, there is one thing, one terrorizing possibility that I don’t see that even the restored gospel has a good answer for.  What if there is a truth or a fundamental reality which will ruin even the joy of exaltation?  And please, don’t tune out yet….my concern is REAL and let me explain with one possible scenario that concerns me:

Imagine you are the parent of a family with 10 kids.  The parents do the best they can but only 1 of those kids really does his best to live an excellent life and achieve his potential.  3 or 4 are of the most evil, wicked rebellious sort and commit crimes so heinous that all of them are condemned to a sentence worse than death:  life in an awful prison where they are tortured every day and only kept alive so that they can continue to be tortured.  The other 5 or 6 children are not real bad or real good, but disappointingly mediocre.  

When you as a mother or father reflect on your children….are you going to feel good or feel bad?

If it was me, I would feel distraught ALL the time….especially to think of the 3 or 4 being tortured.

This scenario seems reflective of our Heavenly Parents situation.  How do they not feel a constant, inescapable depression (or at least, how could they ever feel a FULNESS of joy) to know that a third of their children are in a constant state of torment worse than the worse hell that even Dante could fathom?  Or, is there a way, once a child of God is irreversibly lost as a child of perdition for the parent to cut those heart strings….I mean, what good does it do to love them at that point?! 

Anyway, this is one of many real possible scenarios of why heaven and even exaltation may not be the happiness we imagine.  

Some others include:
- Perhaps God does lie.  I know the scripture tell us that He doesn’t.  But God inspired the scriptures…I don’t quite see how we can independently know if God is telling the truth.  Not only that, D&C 19 actually seems to imply that God does intentionally deceive us, though perhaps His intentions are benevolent.  The following thought is extremely repulsive to me because I have had many experiences where I felt the Spirit and I cherish those experiences....but what if The Spirit is lying to us?  How could we ever know?
- What if heaven is boring?  The typical Christian conception of Heaven sounds as boring as…well, Hell (pardon my literalism).  But perhaps after so many billions of years, even exaltation brings an unfathomable boredom.  Exaltation and the man-god doctrine of eternal increase address this concern much better than any other religion I’ve studied….but I’m not certain they completely eliminate the possibility of eternal boredom.
- What if God is actually evil and delights in tormenting us?  Now, I think this scenario is unlikely, but the one thought that gives me pause is the following:  it would seem that the most awful torment includes false hope…to raise someone up to believe something wonderful and beautiful and then drop them…the higher you lift them up, the farther they can fall.  There is a Twilight Zone (or was it Alfred Hitchcock episode?) that captures this:  This guy is betrayed by his girlfriend and ends up spending years in prison.  When he finally gets out she is terrified he is going to get vengeance, but instead he shows up and pretends to forgive her and even gives her money to set up a business, etc.  And just when things are going wonderful for her, he shows up and tells her it was a set up so that he could make her feel the way she had made him feel before her betrayal….and then he kills her.

But I really haven’t explain my concern fully.  I am going to attempt another way of saying this, but this is so hard for me to put in words…here goes:  It seems clear that there are laws that that even God cannot break….a reality that even God cannot change.  That said, there doesn’t seem to me that there is any reason to assume that reality and reality’s “superstructure” has to be benevolent toward humanity.  While I believe the restored gospel has the best argument and evidence for a benevolent God, I don’t think we can necessarily assume that reality is benevolent towards humans.  It would seem to me that God must operate in the structure of a reality that predates hims (by predate I don’t necessarily mean chronology but prior in order).  What I am trying to say is that we know from the scriptures that there are rules that even God cannot break…how did those rules get there?….and in a sense then God is not totally omnipotent.  He is bound by these rules.  So, what if there is a law or a fundamental fact of reality that results in an inescapable misery and doom for all.  And perhaps we are here in mortality for a period…and the veil’s purpose is actually to temporarily screen out this terrible fact from our consciousness….if only temporarily.  Perhaps God plugged us into this matrix called mortality to temporarily hide us from a hellish truth.  But this bubble of parental protection can not protect us indefinitely from this chilling reality.

One of the things that makes me think there is something going on that God is not telling us is the following:  If we lived in an eternal premortal state before coming to earth and we will live for all eternity after, what i the probability that we would currently live in mortality?  Well, any number divided by infinity is zero...how improbable that we currently find ourselves in mortality!....so, is there something else going on here that God isn't telling us about?  Is it possible we are caught in an infinite loop?  In some ways, the non-LDS doctrine of reincarnation seems to address this problem better.

It is not my intention to be sacrilegious.  But I believe in freedom of thought…and it does seem to me there are some scary possibilities out there.

I understand if what I said above doesn’t make sense…I really have a hard time explaining my concern.

In the end, though, my concerns don’t result in any change in my behavior or faith…because I have no control of the structure of reality.  I will continue to live my life with the assumption that all the things the church teaches are true and that doom is escapable by obeying God and relying on the merits of our Savior.  I suppose the truth of all things will come out after mortal death.

But I am curious:  Does anyone have an answer for my dilemma?  If there is a flaw in my thinking or something I’m missing, please point it out.  This has been haunting me for more than a decade.

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40 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

I'm guessing that heaven includes the strength and wisdom to not let other's choices remove our joy.

Actually, that's possible here on earth too.

C.S. Lewis thought so: https://www.millennialstar.org/c-s-lewis-on-mourning-with-those-who-mourn/

Alternately, authors such as Terryl Givens suggest that part of God’s greatness is His  ongoing willingness to make Himself vulnerable to rejection by His children—but that the pain makes the joy all the sweeter.

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Welcome, @Luke!

The number of different items from your post is a bit overwhelming to address individually, so I'm going to provide a few references which I think, if you prayerfully study and ponder, will help you to address your questions.

1) Lectures on Faith.  While the style may not be to your liking (or may, who knows), I feel it does an excellent job of explaining how it is that we can have confidence (faith) in God.

2) Moses 7 (sorry, it's long).  Look for the words "weep" and "rejoice" (and synonymous ideas).

3) See here for more on the idea of having joy despite others' choices not to have joy:

Quote

Ether 12:36 And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity.

37 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

4) I recommend that you make a study of the instances in scripture which speak of a fullness of joy, or joy being full.

5) I recommend you run through your ideas and very carefully sort out what is assumption, what is deduction, and what is revealed truth.  I think you may be viewing assumptions and deductions as if they were facts, and that might lead you unnecessarily down the wrong paths.

6) I would also recommend that you master the thoughts coming into your mind and choose not to give them control, but to control them - I think too much time entertaining them will give them power over you, to your detriment.  Do what is necessary to kick them out, or at least contain them.

I believe it's possible to arrive at a logical deduction that God is not evil, and that his ways bring a fullness of joy.  I believe that any other conclusion is unfounded, baseless.  I also think it's possible that God has indeed created all the laws to which we are subject, and that it's only truth which is pre-existing, and that God has chosen to live in harmony with pre-existing truth rather than rejecting it, and has perfected himself in that choice to the point of inability to make any other choice.  But I'm just an ignorant mortal and could be wrong.

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Your questions are not all that unheard of.  But that was a long post. Let me address just the first question 

  • This comes from the first incorrect belief that joy comes from without rather than from within.
  • It comes from the incorrect belief that we must do what brings about "good" (whatever that may be) rather than simply DO good works ourselves.
  • It comes from the incorrect and possibly evil idea that we should change our beliefs and our dedication to truth to make others happy in their evil ways.
  • It comes from the childish belief that no joy would include any sorrow.  The two are inexorably linked as opposite sides of a coin.  To wipe out ALL sorrow would be to eliminate any joy.

The Lord of Heaven declares that the greatest will be the least among you.  Christ says the greatest power is that power which allows us to serve others.  Man says the greatest power is to have others serve us.  How can we serve without some need?  How can there be a need without some source of sorrow?  How is there sorrow without at least the chance of failure?  How is there failure without choice and accountability?

Edited by Carborendum

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On 5/13/2018 at 4:25 AM, Luke said:

But I am curious:  Does anyone have an answer for my dilemma?  If there is a flaw in my thinking or something I’m missing, please point it out.  This has been haunting me for more than a decade.

Ok, let's address some points in here:

On 5/13/2018 at 4:25 AM, Luke said:

If it was me, I would feel distraught ALL the time….especially to think of the 3 or 4 being tortured.

No one's getting tortured.

LDS don't believe in the idea of a eternal burning fiery Hell.  No no.  Even the Telestrail Kingdom is a place of glory and happiness beyond our mortal imagination.  God is beyond generous.  The people there are there because it is the place they themselves will be the most happy and living the life they want to live.   There is nothing to be distraught about here.

On 5/13/2018 at 4:25 AM, Luke said:

This scenario seems reflective of our Heavenly Parents situation.  How do they not feel a constant, inescapable depression (or at least, how could they ever feel a FULNESS of joy) to know that a third of their children are in a constant state of torment worse than the worse hell that even Dante could fathom?  Or, is there a way, once a child of God is irreversibly lost as a child of perdition for the parent to cut those heart strings….I mean, what good does it do to love them at that point?! 

@Luke, are you a parent?

Being a parent opens a person up to both joy and sorrow greater than anyone else can experience.  You want the best for your children, and hope they will make the right choices.  But you also know you can't force them to make the right choices-- love doesn't cage another person.  A parent feels both deep joy and sorrow from their children's choices.  When a child does go off the deep end, you cry.  You cry tremendously with a soul piercing ache.  But you don't stop loving them.  And neither do you stop rejoicing in the good choices other children make.  I have no doubt our Heavenly Parents have a a much greater knowledge of sorrow and pain than I --a mortal parent-- do.  I have no doubt that they have both wept more than I could ever fathom.  I also have no doubt that they have also rejoiced more than I could ever fathom.   Their love is everything

 

 

{Replying to rest of your post}

Have you asked God "can I trust you?"   What answer did He say?  Did you ask Him "is this all-- the universe, the logic, the things that cannot change-- are they for my good?"  What answer did He say?  

 

Edited by Jane_Doe

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8 hours ago, Luke said:

But I am curious:  Does anyone have an answer for my dilemma?  If there is a flaw in my thinking or something I’m missing, please point it out.  This has been haunting me for more than a decade.

D&C 88 offers a structure for reality (centered on verse 37). "And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace." (verse 125). Charity is is own reward, no matter how badly things can get for objects (rather, recipients) of charity.

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So far as I can tell the universe acts according to set laws. Laws that govern how all matter interacts.  There is nothing I have seen that contradicts nature. 

I would think that if God lies, you'd see unnatural things. But you don't. He follows his laws. Perfectly consistent. 

If he wanted to doom us to an eternity of torment, why go through all the effort? Sounds pointless. It would be far easier just to torment us from the get go. 

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12 hours ago, Luke said:

 That said, there doesn’t seem to me that there is any reason to assume that reality and reality’s “superstructure” has to be benevolent toward humanity.  

Nature is designed to be malevolent towards humans.  Progress requires it.

Dr. Jordan B Peterson provides some excellent explanations as to why this is so during his Biblical Lectures series--see the podcast towards the bottom of the page

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Is it possible to feel sadness in Heaven...It may be if you ascribe to the principles found in the gospel...but at the same time great joy as well, beyond what we may experience even in this life I think.

From 2 Nephi 2

Quote

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

Quote

11 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. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.

13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.

15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.

16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

 

Edited by JohnsonJones

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14 hours ago, Luke said:

One of the things that makes me think there is something going on that God is not telling us is the following:  If we lived in an eternal premortal state before coming to earth and we will live for all eternity after, what i the probability that we would currently live in mortality?  Well, any number divided by infinity is zero...how improbable that we currently find ourselves in mortality!....so, is there something else going on here that God isn't telling us about?  Is it possible we are caught in an infinite loop?  In some ways, the non-LDS doctrine of reincarnation seems to address this problem better.

You've asked multiple questions, so I'm making a secondary post on this question.  I think that you are missing something.  There is a PURPOSE to the plan of salvation, and there is a PURPOSE for this mortal life.  This purpose is for us to show whether we will choose good or evil and to have joy (as per the scriptures above).

Now, the following is my personal thoughts rather than from scripture.

In eternity things are set and unchangeable to a degree.  That means things that can be done in mortality cannot be done in eternity.  Eternity is where things are set in stone, things are unchanging and time does not exist.  By this, I mean certain covenants and other articles we need for exaltation cannot be achieved in the eternities.  Thus, it is in this mortality where sealings are needed to be done, baptism and all other ordinances are needed to be completed in this world rather than the next.  This is why we do temple work.  This life sets the stage for where we will be in the next.

In this same light, because of the malleability of our souls in this mortal life, we also are faced with challenges that will determine whether we choose the light or the darkness.  It is here that the TRUE nature of ourselves, without the knowledge of what our life was prior to influence us, can be seen.  IF our nature is to be those who would follow the Lord, then it will be shown in our nature here.  If our true nature is to choose darkness, it will also be seen here. 

Finally, we also can obtain control over these physical bodies we have in our desires.  IF we choose to follow the light we can gain self mastery and control via lessons that we probably have determined we wished to go through in the life prior.  If we choose darkness we can allow ourselves to experiences that which may not bring us happiness even if it brings us a temporary feeling of exhilaration or other temporary feeling. 

Thus, this mortality is essential for us to get our ordinances completed and to gain bodies.  Not all will have the challenges of this world and die shortly after birth, but they still gain that short period of joy or pain or both as well as an opportunity at that point for the atonement and it's ensuing coverage of the ordinances to be an effect upon them and their exaltation.  For the rest of us, it is a proving period, not just to the Lord, but to ourselves and for us to gain knowledge and experience as well as the saving ordinances and to make choices.  We also can become like the Lord in the temple and perform the saving ordinances for others so that they can gain the full benefits possible for this life.

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17 hours ago, Luke said:

Let’s start with the assumption that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, Joseph Smith Jr was a true prophet, the BOM is true, etc (and I personally believe these things to be true):  Even assuming this, there is one thing, one terrorizing possibility that I don’t see that even the restored gospel has a good answer for.  What if there is a truth or a fundamental reality which will ruin even the joy of exaltation?  And please, don’t tune out yet….my concern is REAL and let me explain with one possible scenario that concerns me:

Imagine you are the parent of a family with 10 kids.  The parents do the best they can but only 1 of those kids really does his best to live an excellent life and achieve his potential.  3 or 4 are of the most evil, wicked rebellious sort and commit crimes so heinous that all of them are condemned to a sentence worse than death:  life in an awful prison where they are tortured every day and only kept alive so that they can continue to be tortured.  The other 5 or 6 children are not real bad or real good, but disappointingly mediocre.  

When you as a mother or father reflect on your children….are you going to feel good or feel bad?

If it was me, I would feel distraught ALL the time….especially to think of the 3 or 4 being tortured.

This scenario seems reflective of our Heavenly Parents situation.  How do they not feel a constant, inescapable depression (or at least, how could they ever feel a FULNESS of joy) to know that a third of their children are in a constant state of torment worse than the worse hell that even Dante could fathom?  Or, is there a way, once a child of God is irreversibly lost as a child of perdition for the parent to cut those heart strings….I mean, what good does it do to love them at that point?! 

Anyway, this is one of many real possible scenarios of why heaven and even exaltation may not be the happiness we imagine.  

Some others include:
- Perhaps God does lie.  I know the scripture tell us that He doesn’t.  But God inspired the scriptures…I don’t quite see how we can independently know if God is telling the truth.  Not only that, D&C 19 actually seems to imply that God does intentionally deceive us, though perhaps His intentions are benevolent.  The following thought is extremely repulsive to me because I have had many experiences where I felt the Spirit and I cherish those experiences....but what if The Spirit is lying to us?  How could we ever know?
- What if heaven is boring?  The typical Christian conception of Heaven sounds as boring as…well, Hell (pardon my literalism).  But perhaps after so many billions of years, even exaltation brings an unfathomable boredom.  Exaltation and the man-god doctrine of eternal increase address this concern much better than any other religion I’ve studied….but I’m not certain they completely eliminate the possibility of eternal boredom.
- What if God is actually evil and delights in tormenting us?  Now, I think this scenario is unlikely, but the one thought that gives me pause is the following:  it would seem that the most awful torment includes false hope…to raise someone up to believe something wonderful and beautiful and then drop them…the higher you lift them up, the farther they can fall.  There is a Twilight Zone (or was it Alfred Hitchcock episode?) that captures this:  This guy is betrayed by his girlfriend and ends up spending years in prison.  When he finally gets out she is terrified he is going to get vengeance, but instead he shows up and pretends to forgive her and even gives her money to set up a business, etc.  And just when things are going wonderful for her, he shows up and tells her it was a set up so that he could make her feel the way she had made him feel before her betrayal….and then he kills her.

But I really haven’t explain my concern fully.  I am going to attempt another way of saying this, but this is so hard for me to put in words…here goes:  It seems clear that there are laws that that even God cannot break….a reality that even God cannot change.  That said, there doesn’t seem to me that there is any reason to assume that reality and reality’s “superstructure” has to be benevolent toward humanity.  While I believe the restored gospel has the best argument and evidence for a benevolent God, I don’t think we can necessarily assume that reality is benevolent towards humans.  It would seem to me that God must operate in the structure of a reality that predates hims (by predate I don’t necessarily mean chronology but prior in order).  What I am trying to say is that we know from the scriptures that there are rules that even God cannot break…how did those rules get there?….and in a sense then God is not totally omnipotent.  He is bound by these rules.  So, what if there is a law or a fundamental fact of reality that results in an inescapable misery and doom for all.  And perhaps we are here in mortality for a period…and the veil’s purpose is actually to temporarily screen out this terrible fact from our consciousness….if only temporarily.  Perhaps God plugged us into this matrix called mortality to temporarily hide us from a hellish truth.  But this bubble of parental protection can not protect us indefinitely from this chilling reality.

One of the things that makes me think there is something going on that God is not telling us is the following:  If we lived in an eternal premortal state before coming to earth and we will live for all eternity after, what i the probability that we would currently live in mortality?  Well, any number divided by infinity is zero...how improbable that we currently find ourselves in mortality!....so, is there something else going on here that God isn't telling us about?  Is it possible we are caught in an infinite loop?  In some ways, the non-LDS doctrine of reincarnation seems to address this problem better.

It is not my intention to be sacrilegious.  But I believe in freedom of thought…and it does seem to me there are some scary possibilities out there.

I understand if what I said above doesn’t make sense…I really have a hard time explaining my concern.

In the end, though, my concerns don’t result in any change in my behavior or faith…because I have no control of the structure of reality.  I will continue to live my life with the assumption that all the things the church teaches are true and that doom is escapable by obeying God and relying on the merits of our Savior.  I suppose the truth of all things will come out after mortal death.

But I am curious:  Does anyone have an answer for my dilemma?  If there is a flaw in my thinking or something I’m missing, please point it out.  This has been haunting me for more than a decade.

The haunting comes because of a rather false assumption or set of assumptions we make on our part. We wrongly assume there's nothing more for God to experience. That's false. Just as there are endless sequences that can be made with an instrument in making a song so too are God's creations- endless in their sequences and experiences. God has the ability to always create something new, something different. There will always be a new song to be played, learned, etc.

The second assumption we make is that it's impossible for the present to exist if we have existed forever and forever will exist- that we could arrive at this precise moment from an infinite past. All things are numbered, even to God. We had a beginning, we have arrived at this point because our existence as sentinent beings had a beginning. This tells us something about growth and glory which leads to the third assumption-

The third wrong assumption is that God has maxed out in glory and power. This simply isn't true. Why does God continue to create? To increase his joy- his glory is ever increasing. The anomaly (yes, believe it) of Satan is real. He wasn't supposed to exist but the reality is he does. But, he will be destroyed and it will be hard on the Father and all of us but it is the law and in eternity this point will be an eternal marker and lesson for others- a warning, to forever keep God's children from falling again.

 

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17 hours ago, Luke said:

life in an awful prison where they are tortured every day and only kept alive so that they can continue to be tortured.

This is an incorrect perception of Outer Darkness.  

17 hours ago, Luke said:

Perhaps God does lie.

And?  What are you going to do about it?  Is there any benefit to understanding this possibility?  If it were true, then He could be lying about anything.  Would you want to risk disobedience to what He has revealed?  Would that somehow make you unique and deserving of some reward from Him because you were the lone genius who figured out the secret that God could lie?  Even if He could lie, since you don't know and yet still believe He actually exits, then it is probably better to obey Him anyway.

17 hours ago, Luke said:

What if heaven is boring?

And?  So what?  Then it is boring.  Is that going to all of a sudden make Hell really fun?  Only if God is lying about it!  :eek:

17 hours ago, Luke said:

What if God is actually evil and delights in tormenting us?

If he is and you know about it, is it going to somehow stop him from doing it to you?

17 hours ago, Luke said:

how did those rules get there?

They didn't, there was never a moment when they were not there, and there will never be such a moment.

17 hours ago, Luke said:

What if there is a truth or a fundamental reality which will ruin even the joy of exaltation?

Would it be bad enough to where it would be better to not have exaltation?  If you are in Hell, and more and more people come join you there, would that somehow be better than not being in Hell and watching other's go there on occasion?

17 hours ago, Luke said:

When you as a mother or father reflect on your children….are you going to feel good or feel bad?

Good that I made the right decision, sad for the ones who did not.

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On 5/13/2018 at 6:25 AM, Luke said:

Let’s start with the assumption that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, Joseph Smith Jr was a true prophet, the BOM is true, etc (and I personally believe these things to be true):  Even assuming this, there is one thing, one terrorizing possibility that I don’t see that even the restored gospel has a good answer for.  What if there is a truth or a fundamental reality which will ruin even the joy of exaltation?  And please, don’t tune out yet….my concern is REAL and let me explain with one possible scenario that concerns me:

Imagine you are the parent of a family with 10 kids.  The parents do the best they can but only 1 of those kids really does his best to live an excellent life and achieve his potential.  3 or 4 are of the most evil, wicked rebellious sort and commit crimes so heinous that all of them are condemned to a sentence worse than death:  life in an awful prison where they are tortured every day and only kept alive so that they can continue to be tortured.  The other 5 or 6 children are not real bad or real good, but disappointingly mediocre.  

When you as a mother or father reflect on your children….are you going to feel good or feel bad?

If it was me, I would feel distraught ALL the time….especially to think of the 3 or 4 being tortured.

This scenario seems reflective of our Heavenly Parents situation.  How do they not feel a constant, inescapable depression (or at least, how could they ever feel a FULNESS of joy) to know that a third of their children are in a constant state of torment worse than the worse hell that even Dante could fathom?  Or, is there a way, once a child of God is irreversibly lost as a child of perdition for the parent to cut those heart strings….I mean, what good does it do to love them at that point?! 

Anyway, this is one of many real possible scenarios of why heaven and even exaltation may not be the happiness we imagine.  

Some others include:
- Perhaps God does lie.  I know the scripture tell us that He doesn’t.  But God inspired the scriptures…I don’t quite see how we can independently know if God is telling the truth.  Not only that, D&C 19 actually seems to imply that God does intentionally deceive us, though perhaps His intentions are benevolent.  The following thought is extremely repulsive to me because I have had many experiences where I felt the Spirit and I cherish those experiences....but what if The Spirit is lying to us?  How could we ever know?
- What if heaven is boring?  The typical Christian conception of Heaven sounds as boring as…well, Hell (pardon my literalism).  But perhaps after so many billions of years, even exaltation brings an unfathomable boredom.  Exaltation and the man-god doctrine of eternal increase address this concern much better than any other religion I’ve studied….but I’m not certain they completely eliminate the possibility of eternal boredom.
- What if God is actually evil and delights in tormenting us?  Now, I think this scenario is unlikely, but the one thought that gives me pause is the following:  it would seem that the most awful torment includes false hope…to raise someone up to believe something wonderful and beautiful and then drop them…the higher you lift them up, the farther they can fall.  There is a Twilight Zone (or was it Alfred Hitchcock episode?) that captures this:  This guy is betrayed by his girlfriend and ends up spending years in prison.  When he finally gets out she is terrified he is going to get vengeance, but instead he shows up and pretends to forgive her and even gives her money to set up a business, etc.  And just when things are going wonderful for her, he shows up and tells her it was a set up so that he could make her feel the way she had made him feel before her betrayal….and then he kills her.

But I really haven’t explain my concern fully.  I am going to attempt another way of saying this, but this is so hard for me to put in words…here goes:  It seems clear that there are laws that that even God cannot break….a reality that even God cannot change.  That said, there doesn’t seem to me that there is any reason to assume that reality and reality’s “superstructure” has to be benevolent toward humanity.  While I believe the restored gospel has the best argument and evidence for a benevolent God, I don’t think we can necessarily assume that reality is benevolent towards humans.  It would seem to me that God must operate in the structure of a reality that predates hims (by predate I don’t necessarily mean chronology but prior in order).  What I am trying to say is that we know from the scriptures that there are rules that even God cannot break…how did those rules get there?….and in a sense then God is not totally omnipotent.  He is bound by these rules.  So, what if there is a law or a fundamental fact of reality that results in an inescapable misery and doom for all.  And perhaps we are here in mortality for a period…and the veil’s purpose is actually to temporarily screen out this terrible fact from our consciousness….if only temporarily.  Perhaps God plugged us into this matrix called mortality to temporarily hide us from a hellish truth.  But this bubble of parental protection can not protect us indefinitely from this chilling reality.

One of the things that makes me think there is something going on that God is not telling us is the following:  If we lived in an eternal premortal state before coming to earth and we will live for all eternity after, what i the probability that we would currently live in mortality?  Well, any number divided by infinity is zero...how improbable that we currently find ourselves in mortality!....so, is there something else going on here that God isn't telling us about?  Is it possible we are caught in an infinite loop?  In some ways, the non-LDS doctrine of reincarnation seems to address this problem better.

It is not my intention to be sacrilegious.  But I believe in freedom of thought…and it does seem to me there are some scary possibilities out there.

I understand if what I said above doesn’t make sense…I really have a hard time explaining my concern.

In the end, though, my concerns don’t result in any change in my behavior or faith…because I have no control of the structure of reality.  I will continue to live my life with the assumption that all the things the church teaches are true and that doom is escapable by obeying God and relying on the merits of our Savior.  I suppose the truth of all things will come out after mortal death.

But I am curious:  Does anyone have an answer for my dilemma?  If there is a flaw in my thinking or something I’m missing, please point it out.  This has been haunting me for more than a decade.

I presume you’re a knowledgeable Latter-Day Saint and are aware of the fact that you had no beginning and have already existed for endless eternities. Are you bored yet?

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Thank you everyone for their responses.  I feel humbled that you all felt my question was worth addressing.  

 

On 5/13/2018 at 9:45 AM, zil said:

2) Moses 7 (sorry, it's long).  Look for the words "weep" and "rejoice" (and synonymous ideas).

Zil, I found your post particularly helpful and feel my concern about eternal sorrowing for lost children is much subsided.  Yes, I love the pathos of this chapter and the tender imagery of a Father (and I assume Mother as well) that weep for their lost children.

 

On 5/13/2018 at 1:34 PM, Jane_Doe said:

@Luke, are you a parent?

Yes.  I'm a very happily married father of four.  Just to clarify, when I refer to the 3 or 4 children out of 10 I was referring primarily to the one third that were cast out of heaven with Lucifer and became sons of perdition....not to those who go to Telestial Kingdom.

 

On 5/13/2018 at 8:02 PM, JohnsonJones said:

From 2 Nephi 2

Hi Johnson Jones.  Yes, these are great verses in 2 Nephi...I wish more Christians believed the BOM so they could have this profound yet simple doctrine.  It does make so much sense.

 

On 5/13/2018 at 1:57 PM, CV75 said:

D&C 88 offers a structure for reality

Thank you CV75 for that helpful suggestion.  I has been a while since I read D&C88  So I went ahead and read it.....very profound doctrine that rings true

 

Yet, I feel my larger concern has not been addressed.  And this is probably my fault for not explaining myself better.  But, let me try to focus my question.  How can we know that God doesn't lie?  It would appear to me impossible to know, at least in mortality.

 

On 5/13/2018 at 1:34 PM, Jane_Doe said:

Have you asked God "can I trust you?"   What answer did He say?  Did you ask Him "is this all-- the universe, the logic, the things that cannot change-- are they for my good?"  What answer did He say?

I don't really see how this could help.  Because God could say "yes"...but still be lying.  That is the dilemma...there is no one else to ask...no one else to pray to...no third party or independent means to verify whether God is lying.  

And it seems to me God has given us clues that he does sometimes bend the truth.  Most of the scriptures speak of only heaven and hell and imply that most will be going to hell.  Yet we know from D&C 76 most will actually receive some degree of glory or salvation.

I don't know how you interpret D&C 19, but God seems to imply that He sometimes lies to us for our own good.  Specifically, when I read verses 6 and 7 it would seem God is using lawyer speak to basically say, I have threatened endless torment, but that was simply a tactic to scare people into choosing the right path...I am not going to cause people to be endlessly tormented:  

"Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.  Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.") 

And what parent has not sometimes lied to their kids or issued vain threats to try to motivate them to do or not do something.  And if this means he isn't really going to cause people to suffer in hell for eternity...hey that is great news....BUT, it opens up the question:  What else has God not been honest about?!

 

On 5/13/2018 at 2:32 PM, Lost Boy said:

I would think that if God lies, you'd see unnatural things. But you don't. He follows his laws. Perfectly consistent. 

You make a really good point....and this makes sense to me but doesn't entirely eliminate my concern.  Our present "reality" could be a very well designed "Matrix" that is internally consistent but not consistent with the greater reality out there.

It seems to me this is one concern that cannot be resolved by praying to God and personal revelation....because even if you know that the revelation you receive is from God there is no way to know God isn't lying.  And it makes me shudder and queasy to think about, but even those good feelings from The Spirit...again, could be God manipulating us.  Perhaps manipulating us for our own good.  Perhaps trying to shield us from a cruel reality that we will eventually have to face and that even Christ's Atonement cannot save us from....I don't know.

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Luke said:

How can we know that God doesn't lie?  It would appear to me impossible to know, at least in mortality.

This is why I recommended Lectures on Faith.  It goes through a series of logical proofs regarding God, the nature of God, and how it is that we can have faith in him that he is what he says he is and does what he says he does.

IMO, Alma 32 would help you here too - not just understanding what it says, but implementing it.

It is my experience that these principles, acted on in faith, will lead one to complete confidence that God is what he says he is, that the truth is as he has presented it.  It will lead us to an ever-increasing understanding of truth (see below), and ever-increasing faith.  God himself acts in faith, despite having all knowledge and power (or so teach those lectures, and I find this empowering).  At the end of the day, you must reject the doubts, the Satanic1 (yes, I mean that) voice which whispers "What if God's a liar?  How could you ever know?", and instead act in faith, test the theory (as Alma instructs) that God is what he says he is.  Nothing else can bring you to an answer.

46 minutes ago, Luke said:

And it seems to me God has given us clues that he does sometimes bend the truth.  Most of the scriptures speak of only heaven and hell and imply that most will be going to hell.  Yet we know from D&C 76 most will actually receive some degree of glory or salvation.

Is it lying to explain things to a child's understanding and then later, after they have grown (up), to explain the details?  Is it lying for the Savior to teach in parables and symbolism so that as the reader matures and gains experience he learns more and more at each reading?

We are infants, being fed milk before meat.

47 minutes ago, Luke said:

I don't know how you interpret D&C 19, but God seems to imply that He sometimes lies to us for our own good.  Specifically, when I read verses 6 and 7 it would seem God is using lawyer speak to basically say, I have threatened endless torment, but that was simply a tactic to scare people into choosing the right path...I am not going to cause people to be endlessly tormented:  

And then in verses 10-12, he explains how it should have been obvious all along:

Quote

10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—

11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.

12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

...it's a parable moment, an instance of "I presented this as milk and now I shall explain the meat - which you could have figured out on your own at any time, had you put forth the mental effort".

I see all these things as mercy - the Lord could have dumped all eternity on us from day 1 and it would have crushed us like ants under a big old block of gold the size of the universe.  In mercy, he presented a tiny nugget and said, "here, taste this".

The simple fact is, we have no choice in the matter of reality (beyond what we will think, feel, speak, and do) - if God is true (and I testify he is), then our options have been outlined by him; if God is not true, then nothing matters - do what you will (I will note here, however, that it is my experience that the Nephite promise - obey and prosper - works on an individual level as well as a national level, so it would be wise to choose God's will either way).

1It has been suggested that among Satan's hosts are those who knew us well before this life.  Whether that's the case, or whether they have been carefully observing us since our births, I don't know, but I believe that they know or figure out our weakest spots, to a T (so to speak).  I believe they then wait for the "'right" moment to begin using these weak points against us, and that often, these weak points are little more than whispered ideas - ideas that will pester us, make us doubt or fear, depress or frustrate us, blind or deceive us.  I believe these can present some of our most difficult battles in mortality.  This is why I said earlier that you must control these thoughts and not allow them to control you.

(PS: Thanks for sticking around - it's frustrating the number of drive-by posts we've had lately which could have initiated a discussion with the OP, but instead fizzled when the OP never returned.  Glad yours wasn't one of those.)

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1 hour ago, Luke said:

Yet, I feel my larger concern has not been addressed.  And this is probably my fault for not explaining myself better.  But, let me try to focus my question.  How can we know that God doesn't lie?  It would appear to me impossible to know, at least in mortality.

If it appears impossible to know in mortality, then don't worry about it. Choosing to live by faith is our primary goal and source of happiness here anyway, and this leads to hope, charity and knowledge (Alma 32). Knowing this happiness has led some to conclude that He does not lie. And as with any other doctrine, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine..." (John 7:17). The Lord's will is that we have faith in His promises, and when have faith to do our part to fulfill them, we will know that He does not lie. Since they are all interconnected, if one or more is fulfilled we can have faith that He tells the truth about them all.

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Did you consider that the matrix could have just been a sub matrix of a sub matrix. 

No point in worrying about it. I know I am happiest while living the gospel. That is sufficient. 

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@Luke

I am an engineer working in the field of industrial automation, robotics and artificial intelligence.  Because of my scientific background, I am rather attached to empirical evidence as a means for discovering truth.  And yet I have a couple of sons working on pushing the threshold of virtual reality.  The more it is possible to stimulate the senses the more it is difficult to distinguish between reality and a virtual reality.  I have had many discussions about this.  For example, it would be much easier to create our universe (and the vastness of it) as a virtual reality than to create a real one.  G-d could have control and still allow individual will and agency.   Certainly, our experience would be easier to explain in so many ways – even things like a resurrection become simple and the notion that G-d thinks and declares something and it is; would make a lot more sense.  It also means that our suffering and other concerns are not as “real” as we may think.  Finally, or sins and transgressions against others in a virtual reality can easily be mitigated and resolved.  The sins are no longer as bad – what is bad is a refusal to address our attachment to sin not the problem we superfically cause others.  It is very possible we are in a Matrix reality.  But the reality is that we must deal with current circumstance.  We cannot deal with that which we cannot interface.

I also want to address your concern over the rebellious sons and daughters of G-d in our pre-existence.  I have wrestled with this conundrum for many years.  My concern is a little different.  I have resolved that in the full light of understanding and knowledge (including consequences) – Satan and his followers rebelled against G-d and chose darkness over light.  But this make almost no sense to me.  It seems to be to be both foolish and stupid – that they would someday regret such a choice.  But a someday regret would require that something happened that they did not foresee.   And if they did not foresee or understand – how could they have made a choice and exercised agency?  How is it that in the very presents of G-d that they could be deceived?  Not that G-d would be the deceiver but how could he allow them to deceive themselves?

In all cases that I have observed myself and others making bad choices – it has been because something was missing from understanding – thinking the results would be for the benefit and different that what was real.   Thus, if something was selected such that we would discover that it really was not our choice but was forced upon us by some outside force taking advantage of our ignorance – how can it be said that there was a choice to rebel?   The only resolution I can imagine is that Satan and his followers knew the results of their choice and that the result was their choice.  I have come to understand that I do not understand others very well – if they do not think and conclude as I do – I cannot relate very well if at all.  I just do not usderstand what Satan and his followers were thinking.  I am not sure I even want to try very hard to do so.  I have kind of given up resolving why or how they made their very silly and stupid choice.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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1 hour ago, Traveler said:

@Luke

***

It is very possible we are in a Matrix reality.  But the reality is that we must deal with current circumstance.  We cannot deal with that which we cannot interface.

***

I would like to add D&C 93:30 to this idea: "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." The movie uses an "evil twin" of this holy concept, where a victorious AI places individuals' consciousness in spheres within a superstructure that keeps them content and under control to exploit their living tissue to provide bioelectric power. In the movie, a lie is inherent in the scheme and we as an audience can see that (the prisoners cannot). But because in our Gospel reality every intelligence is "gnolaum," no intelligence (even the devil) or sphere by definition can inherently be a lie, either singularly or relative to another, right up to God (Abraham 3:18-19). And because within our sphere we are told that there is no space where there is no kingdom (and no kingdom where there is no space), and it cannot be comprehended without the law of opposition (note that this is the pivot point in the movie), the superstructure is indeed vast and difficult to manage, mostly because it depends upon the agency of man, the Chief being God.

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7 hours ago, Luke said:

  How can we know that God doesn't lie?  It would appear to me impossible to know, at least in mortality.

While I trust that God will always tell the truth, I agree with you, we can't know any more than our children can know that we aren't lying.

At best we can simply have faith that whatever our loving Heavenly Father does (whether telling the truth or lying) it will be for our best. Hopefully, our children can have similar faith in us.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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10 hours ago, Luke said:

....

  How can we know that God doesn't lie?  It would appear to me impossible to know, at least in mortality.

.....

 

If G-d lies he is not all that intelligent, good, honest, just or worthy of worship.  If there is no source of truth in the universe - then seeking truth is both useless and foolish on our part.

 

The Traveler

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On 5/13/2018 at 4:25 AM, Luke said:

But I am curious:  Does anyone have an answer for my dilemma?  If there is a flaw in my thinking or something I’m missing, please point it out.  This has been haunting me for more than a decade.

Curiosity is a good thing in my own opinion. I doubt that anyone has an answer for your dilemma---at least not the kind of answer that settles the matter for you. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. As long as any of us can hold your interest I think talking about it is a very good thing. Is there a flaw in your thinking, or something you're missing. The short answer is, yes of course there is. However, I suspect that you'll identify the flaws, etc. as you continue to discuss. 

Let me ask you this. Is there *anybody* that you feel you know (to the degree you appear to wish) doesn't or hasn't lied?

Edited by Mike

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Ooh. Math. 

Say I put a single item into a bucket, and create 100 new items.  Then I take one of those items into a bucket, and create another 100 items.   1/100, 2/200, 3/300... etc.

How many items get put in the bucket?  All of them.

Infinity is a crazy thing.

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