Unfinished Conversations: Silence

Unfinished Conversations: Silence

September 5-8, 2019

ar:

I finished silence! Ready to chat. Hope you are having fun in Ptown! 

ai:

What what!! What’d you think of it? 

ar:

It’s taken me a day or two to process what it means. But the main message I got from it is no matter what we do Christ died for us all, we all trample on him and that is why he came to the earth to make up that difference. It was such a fascinating book to read. 

This was my favorite quote and I think it applies to all of us, we have to figure out how our religion fits with our own selves.

ai:

It is so interesting. On the one hand there’s that, and it’s true: we do all constantly deny Christ in our actions and thoughts and words. But on the other hand following that train of thought and what seems to be the position of the book kind of renders martyrdom meaningless doesn’t it? Like why shouldn’t Joseph Smith just have denied the work and lived on trusting in Christ, or any of the martyrs, you know? And what should we conclude about the fate of Judas if we’re saying we all participate in the betrayal of Christ? 

That’s true too about that passage, I like that. That was definitely a thought I had while reading it: while Japan probably brought about some of the most severe persecution of Christianity ever, the problems of accommodating Christianity (or the Restored Gospel, or any religion) to a new culture occur everywhere in every country and every individual and family. They’re not unique to Japan. Like you say, we all have to figure out how things work with us.  

ar:

Right, I do feel like the author kind of addresses that through the character of Krichinjo (or whatever his name is?). Basically saying everyone’s faith journey is different and that doesn’t make one or the other less or more because we are all saved by grace. Right? So the martyrs took their path and will be rewarded and the priest too light his path, but Christ knows his heart and he will be rewarded. But I do think that is where the book (as a Catholic point of view) differs from our theology in the restored gospel. They have an emphasis on grace, where we have an emphasis on obedience. 

Although this is probably the biggest question I have as I watch friends and loved ones leave the church. I don’t want them to go to hell or not be happy after the resurrection and prophets say things like “if you teach your child and they fall away they will come back in this life or the next.” But how does that work out? How is it fair if I stay faithful my whole life, serve in the church, always work on Sundays (essentially am the martyr right?) and others leave the church, and get to repent later and we all have the same blessings… 

ai:

Right! Well that’s why I wonder if we wouldn’t benefit by a more grace-oriented understanding of things. I actually think our theology is more grace-oriented than Protestant or Catholic, our culture just isn’t. In trying to differentiate ourselves from the Protestant theology of grace (which Catholics have now adopted but which I don’t think they had pre-reformation nor in the time setting of Silence), our culture is pretty work-heavy. But the actual theology? There are a number of things that make me think it’s heavier towards grace than we think or talk about. But yeah, your question I think is the right one. How is that supposed to play out…

Like one example is in D and C 132, the section on eternal marriage. It states pretty clearly in there that if two people are sealed, as long as they don’t commit murder, no matter what other transgressions they commit, they’ll be exalted. That’s cool but it’s also kinda like… whaaaat??? Hahaha

ar:

Love what you said about our theology vs our culture. It’s very American West culture, work hard keep your head down things will go your way. But yes that isn’t actually Christ’s theology. Especially what we have been studying in the New Testament this year. Which is more of love everyone and accept whatever they offer. Even when as in the case of the father in Silence it is “not enough”. 

I think you are right about what it says in D&C, and while sometimes that can be like, then what am I doing this all for it can also be liberating. 

I listened to a podcast this morning from the All In podcast series and the one thing I enjoyed that she said was that she chooses to stay in the church because a Christian structure environment is the best way she can continue to learn to be like Christ. It’s isn’t the only way but the best way for her to continue to learn and grow and be forced out of her comfort zone.

I also believe we do get blessings in our day to day life for being faithful. So maybe our friends or family won’t be damned for leaving but perhaps they will actually walk a harder path in the long run whether we see that or not. 

Also in thinking about your future wife I think based off your independence you need to find an independent woman. Look for that

ai:

Right, and it says that in the D&C section I’m referencing too: that after they suffer the pains of hell for however long, THEN they’ll enter into exaltation etc etc. So yeah, it’s a complex distinction, but focusing more on grace doesn’t mean rendering our own wills and actions meaningless. Actions still matter, just not in the same way. And I think that is the liberating thing about it too. What people do by staying “faithful” isn’t gaining salvation or even necessarily choosing an “easier” path (because martyrdom is hardly easier than giving up)—It’s not avoiding suffering just like Jesus even by being perfect couldn’t avoid suffering. People by staying faithful practice being like God, progress a little more, have that much more of an advantage in this world (like you say thru Gods very real blessings) and in the next. But that doesn’t make the faithful better or even more deserving of Gods grace than anyone else. Plus there’s the whole conversation about being faithful in the right way too which is complex haha. 

As for my future wife: yeah, definitely has to be embracing of independent thinking huh? Haha 

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