Why is "The Good News" good?

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RenLass
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Why is "The Good News" good?

Postby RenLass » Sun 22 Jun, 2008 10:51 am

I have been thinking a lot lately about the gospel and why it brings some people so much joy, and others it just seems to be a burden to. I seem to cringe a little every time I hear someone say it is "hard" to live the gospel but worth it. The Lord said his yoke was light not heavy, so why do they say this? I think that for many of us it is a matter of semantics and if we were to better clarify what we meant, others as well as ourselves would be able to better see how much joy there really is in the "good news".

As an example, the above "the gospel is hard to live but worth it" statement. The gospel is not what is "hard to live". The gospel is the good news. The good news is that Jesus Christ died for our sins so that by his grace we may be saved even though we are not sinless. What is hard about that? That is wonderful! It lifts burdens and gives hope!

What is hard is learning to discipline myself to follow the standards of God so I can become more like Him. And I want to become more like Him because of my gratitude for what Jesus has done for me.

So now instead of a statement that makes the gospel sound like a difficult challenge, I am focusing on the real issue which is the difficulty of self-discipline coupled with the atonement that makes my efforts at self discipliine an expression of gratitude for the hope I have been given.
That just seems way more positive to me.

So what other ways do we express ourselves that could be rephrased to show the positveness of the gospel? Or what about the gospel does lighten your burden, make your life bearable, give you hope and joy?
When the devil reminds you of your past,
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RenLass
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Postby RenLass » Mon 30 Jun, 2008 12:05 am

Or what about the gospel does lighten your burden, make your life bearable, give you hope and joy?


Is there nothing in your life that the gospel makes easier? Or does this seem like too obvious (or stupid) of a question?

I love the thought that we lived in a pre-existence and successfully supported God's side of things once already. If my spirit chose God once before, then I can do it again. I may feel like I make stupid choices too often, but at least I've made good choices in the past and there is something good inside of me to work with.

The same goes for my children. When they make stupid choices, or drive me crazy, I can think about how they were valiant in the pre-existence and so got to come here. And I find myself feeling kinder towards them and more patient as I wait for them to grow into the great people that their spirits must be.
When the devil reminds you of your past,

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Momma Snider
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Postby Momma Snider » Mon 30 Jun, 2008 12:56 am

I find great hope in the members of our new ward, who are all single people between 18-31. About half the members of the ward are inactive, some seriously and some just casually, but those who are active are strong and valiant and so good to each other. We have FHE at our house every week, and it is a total joy to have them filling the house with their laughter and kind words to each other. The first week there were 14, the next week 24, and last week 29. This kind of activity can only work week after week with the gospel. They have just enough leadership from the bishopric, but everything is done by them, and those who were the goofiest of teenagers come back from their missions still goofy, but in a more thoughtful way.

I also find great hope (in the scriptural meaning, "with full expectation") at this time in my life in the plan of salvation and the resurrection and the eternity of families. My mom died 11 1/2 years ago, and I still miss her very much and feel sorry for the times I could have visited her and didn't. And now my dad is teetering on the edge, in a lot of pain. His back has kind of crumbled so suddenly that he's 6" shorter than he was six months ago. When he talks about being ready to die, I am so glad he knows what that means. He looks forward to getting there. There shouldn't be any fear of the unknown for someone who knows God. Hesitance to leave one's family here, sure, but surely even greater excitement at seeing those who have gone before.

So yeah, I'm happy.

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Postby GenAdFemale » Mon 30 Jun, 2008 07:46 am

This may seem trite or very superficial, I don't know, but the Word of Wisdom has made my life easier. I find that I have tendencies toward addiction (can anyone say too much time on the computer? And me likey food a little too much) and if not for the gospel, I probably would be face down in the gutter somewhere, if not in rehab for the fourth or fifth time. And that's probably discounting possible DUIs or arrest records for other things like health issues etc.

And knowing that I am married to my husband forEVER has made it easier for me to get along with him. Or made it imperative for me to find a way to end conflict or ignore his little irritating habits. I'm a better wife knowing that I am stuck with him and he is stuck with me.

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Postby AdamOndi » Mon 30 Jun, 2008 08:31 am

I was going to say something similar to what Momma said. I find it much easier to deal with death due to my knowledge of and faith in the Gospel. Most recently, we had some friends who lost their 4-month-old baby due to SIDS, and going to the funeral was heartbreaking. However, that sadness was mitigated by our knowledge that the little girl automatically receives exaltation. So, sure, it was incredibly sad at the funeral, but the sense of hope we shared with our friends due to our faith in the Gospel definitely made that part of life much easier.
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Matt
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Postby Matt » Mon 30 Jun, 2008 10:32 am

I also consider myself to have a very compulsive, addictive personality, but I have managed to keep that in check without subscribing to the word of wisdom. For me, it's a matter of having responsibilities to my family that require me to keep those impulses in check.

I think it's hard to say what ultimately keeps our behavior in check. We tend to give credit to the influences that we hold in high regard and *want* to be the mitigating factors, but even as I claim my family is what keeps me on the straight and narrow, I can't say with any certainty that the man I am today would change dramatically in that regard should I lose them (heaven forbid).

Not trying to argue, just being a bit philosophical...
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GenAdFemale
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Postby GenAdFemale » Mon 30 Jun, 2008 10:44 am

Matt wrote:I also consider myself to have a very compulsive, addictive personality, but I have managed to keep that in check without subscribing to the word of wisdom. For me, it's a matter of having responsibilities to my family that require me to keep those impulses in check.

I think it's hard to say what ultimately keeps our behavior in check. We tend to give credit to the influences that we hold in high regard and *want* to be the mitigating factors, but even as I claim my family is what keeps me on the straight and narrow, I can't say with any certainty that the man I am today would change dramatically in that regard should I lose them (heaven forbid).

Not trying to argue, just being a bit philosophical...


As you say, it is hard to know exactly what affects behavior. But in my case, and I emphasize that I am only speaking for me, the WoW did have an effect. I considered what following the WoW would mean at a critical time in my life. I weighed the rules as they were given to me against the freedom to make up my own rules, and knowing what I did about myself, I consciously chose to follow someone else's rules. And should I lose what keeps me on track (in my case, the rules) then I would be a mess.

And I don't mind you "not arguing" with me. A tip o' the hat to you, Matt, for doing what you do and choosing family over other things.

Edited to add a comma because I like commas.

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Postby RenLass » Tue 01 Jul, 2008 12:41 pm

Thank you all. GAF, I agree with you about the eternal marriage thing helping me to get along better with my husband because I know he is my husband FOREVER. That's a long time!

And without a belief in the resurrection I don't quite know how I would have gotten through last year when my mother-in-law died with no warning. We had expected all the other parents to go before her, so when she was gone, I found myself overwhelmed with guilt for not spending more time with her while she was with me. But the knowledge that I get to see her again and spend eternity seeing her comforts me. (I've also learned to spend more time with the ones I still have here, because you never know when they will go)

I'd never thought about the joy the WOW brings to me. Like GAF, I have an addictive bent to me and was well on my way to joining the family in alcoholism before I found the gospel. I made a concious choice to follow the WOW and I have never regretted that choice. Now if I could just manage to work on the finer details in there - like moderation in all things (sugar, I'm talking to you!) Yes, Matt, there are many non-believers who practice moderation and even abstain from alcohol and such, but it was the WOW for me as well that put me in that direction. THank you GAF for reminding me of that.

I think that was what I was hoping for in starting this thread, was to see what things other people get joy from so I could be reminded of my own multiple reasons for joy.
When the devil reminds you of your past,

remind him of his future

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Postby AdamOndi » Tue 01 Jul, 2008 12:58 pm

RenLass wrote:I'd never thought about the joy the WOW brings to me. Like GAF, I have an addictive bent to me and was well on my way to joining the family in alcoholism before I found the gospel. I made a concious choice to follow the WOW and I have never regretted that choice. Now if I could just manage to work on the finer details in there - like moderation in all things (sugar, I'm talking to you!) Yes, Matt, there are many non-believers who practice moderation and even abstain from alcohol and such, but it was the WOW for me as well that put me in that direction. THank you GAF for reminding me of that.


All I ever have to do to know the joy that obeying the Word of Wisdom has brought me is look at people who do not follow it. I have never seen someone "under the influence" who seems the least bit appealing. Hearing about and seeing the effects of hangovers brings me joy in obeying the Word of Wisdom. Lastly, seeing just how stinking much money people spend on various substances brings me joy that I am not compelled to partake of them.
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Matt
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Postby Matt » Tue 01 Jul, 2008 03:31 pm

All I ever have to do to know the joy that obeying the Word of Wisdom has brought me is look at people who do not follow it. I have never seen someone "under the influence" who seems the least bit appealing. Hearing about and seeing the effects of hangovers brings me joy in obeying the Word of Wisdom. Lastly, seeing just how stinking much money people spend on various substances brings me joy that I am not compelled to partake of them.
Many people who do not follow the word of wisdom are very happy indeed. I don't drink, but know many people who do who have no problem drinking in moderation. I occasionally eat chocolates that include liquor, which is a technical violation of the Word of Wisdom, with no ill effects. I also drink some teas which arguably have positive health effects (as does moderate amounts of some alcohols).

The people you observe are representative of those who have chosen not to moderate their behavior, not of all people who do not follow the Word of Wisdom. It's true that if you never start an activity you are less likely to fail to moderate the activity, but that also applies to many activities that the Word of Wisdom doesn't address. Of course it's harder to enforce an admonition to merely moderate - I wonder how many Mormons have been on the Atkins diet...
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Momma Snider
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Postby Momma Snider » Tue 01 Jul, 2008 03:51 pm

I think maybe the point is that for some, wisdom about such things does not come naturally, especially in the teenage years, so it was helpful to have the Word of Wisdom to supplement our own flimsy wisdom. Of course there are plenty of people who manage their health and habits just fine without any religious reasons, but there are plenty who don't.

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Matt
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Postby Matt » Tue 01 Jul, 2008 04:22 pm

Momma Snider wrote:I think maybe the point is that for some, wisdom about such things does not come naturally, especially in the teenage years, so it was helpful to have the Word of Wisdom to supplement our own flimsy wisdom. Of course there are plenty of people who manage their health and habits just fine without any religious reasons, but there are plenty who don't.
That's fine. I'm not arguing against any tool for self improvement. I was just clarifying that the behavior that AdamOndi referred to as being proof of the, uh, wisdom of the Word of Wisdom was not representative of those for whom the Word of Wisdom is not a factor. People who behave badly stand out *because* they are behaving badly, not because the behaviors which they take to excess are inherently harmful or that those behaviors inevitably (or even usually) lead to similar excesses.

Such thinking, at least here in Utah, has led to an unfair stigma against people who drink alcohol. I have a friend who was told that one of his LDS neighbors' children were not allowed to play at his house because he drank beer. Not because he got drunk, beat his family, and peed on his yard, but simply because he drank the stuff at all. Once I received as a gift a box of cherry cordials which contained alcohol. My daughter was driven to tears with worry over what unspecified horror would occur if I ate them. She didn't even know what it would be, but she had learned that alcohol was a horrible horrible thing and she feared for my safety.

Matt, I've missed you!


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Momma Snider
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Postby Momma Snider » Tue 01 Jul, 2008 05:46 pm

Matt wrote:
Such thinking, at least here in Utah, has led to an unfair stigma against people who drink alcohol. I have a friend who was told that one of his LDS neighbors' children were not allowed to play at his house because he drank beer. Not because he got drunk, beat his family, and peed on his yard, but simply because he drank the stuff at all.


Having always lived in California, where it would be very difficult to HAVE friends if you treated them like this, I have a lot of trouble with this attitude. I think it's so much better to teach our kids that even though our friends may not have the same rules as we do, we can still be friends with them AND keep our own rules. For that matter, there are plenty of rules that other families don't agree with even if they are members of the same church. (I'm thinking playing outside on Sunday, for example.)

I've actually been thinking about this one quite a bit lately because my granddaughter was in my Primary class until I was released recently to go to the singles ward. All the other kids in the class were baptized last year, and all happen to come from active families. She only comes to church every other Sunday, when she's with her daddy, and the rest of the time she's not even allowed to talk about it. She has to pray silently before she goes to sleep, and can't even put a baby Jesus ornament on the Christmas tree. So when things like the Word of Wisdom would come up in class, I had to make a special point of saying that if a person is not a member of the Church, they don't have that rule. No way am I going to even let her wonder if her mommy is "bad" or wrong or anything like that. Her mommy is a wonderful, wonderful woman and mother who just doesn't happen to believe in the same things her daddy does.

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Postby ImAdhis » Tue 01 Jul, 2008 05:50 pm

Without the gospel influence in my life, I would be a hoochie mama.
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Matt
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Postby Matt » Tue 01 Jul, 2008 07:03 pm

ImAdhis wrote:Without the gospel influence in my life, I would be a hoochie mama.

:lol:
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