My TBM brother had been excommunicated once for a moral breach, but repented and became worthy to be rebaptized. He backslid once more, confessed, and was summoned to a church court. He told me he prayed before appearing, and received an answer that he would just be disfellowshipped for a year.
But they excommunicated him again. He was astonished.
He is not going to try to get back in. He said he doesn't pray any more and doesn't believe.
I read the BoM (cover to cover) several times in my life. The first time, I was a teenager, the last time, I was a middle aged man. Every time I finished, I prayed for a spiritual witness. Every time I prayed with a sincere heart, with real intent, and with faith in Christ, and every time, I received....nothing.
My father was dying, in the final stage of renal failure. Nothing could be done for him at the hospital, and he wanted to die at home. For the first few days, when he coud not keep anything down, Mother, an RN, kept him going with sugar-laden IVs. But as that failed, he slipped into a coma. This was just before Christmas. We had a tree up, and decorated.
A mean old lady - a friend of my grandma's - drove to our house. She had never liked me. She always said critical things about me, in the third person, as if I weren't there. "Is she still failing at arithmetic?" she would ask, with me in the same room.
Anyway, as Daddy lay dying, this old lady thrust a blue-covered book at me and told me that if I read it and applied it correctly, I could save my father.
It was Mary Baker Eddy's book about Christian Science. (She was a contemporary of Emerson. Now, with a university degree, I can read and appreciate Emerson. But I was only 15 when I got Eddy's book.) It was an up-hill excursion.
Desperate to save my Dad, I tried very hard to understand that book. The general gist seemed to be that if you prayed in just the right formula, God would give you what you wanted. I tried. On my knees and everything. I tried very hard to get the words right, the concepts in the proper sequence, everything. Nobody ever prayed with greater sincerity.
Dad died five days after Christmas.
I tried to tell my mother after that that I no longer believed in God, but she forced me to go to church anyway, until I left home for university.
That old lady came back for Dad's funeral. She wasted no time in pulling me aside and telling me I had not applied the principles from the book correctly.
Rather than saying something unspeakable, I just turned and stalked to my room, locked the door, and stayed there.
As is my sister--that's one step above "Practitioner;" they train people to be Practitioners--professional "healers."
I think I can understand your hurt a little more deeply than others. I can certainly feel it, to this very day. Christian "Science" is a sham--as Twain (not George Carlin) pointed out, neither Christian nor a science.
The absurdity of standardizing prayer into a method, formula or scientific process was one thing which lead me out of CS, when I was in my early teens. How much easier it would have Cbeen if somebody were to say, "Dad is passing. We'll focus on loving him, enjoying this Christmas in a special way, and making him as comfortable as possible."
Last thought: Christian Scientists have vern strange beliefs about death, which makes their handling of people's deaths bizarre and socially inept.
I must have been 10 years old at a WEBELOS scouting meeting. I gave the opening prayer with a specific request that nobody would get hurt from using knives. That day we happened to be carving pumpkins for Halloween. Yes, I sliced my finger within minutes of picking up a carving knife. The other scouts found it so funny that I was the first one injured after giving the prayer.
With all due respect, you don't get to decide whether other people are allowed to be offended or not. Similarly, saying that someone has a good heart does not mean her or his words cannot be offensive.
As to whether ificouldhietokolob has a good heart, I will not comment on that. I think he already knows what I think of him.
"By their fruits ye shall know them." Around here, words are fruits.
With no respect whatsoever -- yes, he does. It was a joke with my friend elderolddog. It wasn't racist in the first place (there is no "race" called "Lamanites"), and since it was a joke for him, he does get to make decisions about it.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/19/2018 12:35PM by ificouldhietokolob.
If prayer worked medical studies comparing treatment options would have to take this into consideration. Reports of medical research studies (legit ones in reputable peer-reviewed medical journals) comparing different treatment options never list prayer as one of the variables they controlled for. You never see something like, "The treatment group and control group were matched for age, gender, race, co-morbid condition such as diabetes and religion". Christian prayer is as effective as Muslim prayer is effective as no prayer. I know of no stronger proof that prayer doesn't work because sickness leads people to offer some of their most heartfelt and prolific prayers, and these are prayers that a loving god should be willing, even eager, to answer. I don't mean to imply it isn't beneficial in any sense. Prayer can be a great source of hope and comfort, which is much needed in such times, but it doesn't prolong life, and this is what most prayers for the sick are asking for.
I have a friend who was raised in a different weirdo cult/religion. She posted the other day she was waking in the middle of the night and having trouble getting back to sleep. Someone suggested she needed to pray and find out what God wanted her to pray about. She agreed. I was like HUH? I resisted answering that maybe God wanted her to pray about praying.
When my parents adopted a baby girl in 1955 who it turned out had severe spastic cerebral palsy, dad had us gather in family prayer every around her crib every night to ask for relief for my baby sister. His prayers were from the heart from the greatest, kindest, most loving man I've ever known. He was indeed asking for a miracle. What we got was her dying at age 3 1/2. I was 11. It broke our hearts. I think I lost whatever tiny bit of faith I may have possessed the day she died, Easter Sunday 1959. I just went with the flow after that out of respect for my folks. The gospel was just a bunch of meaningless words.
Unfortunately, a TBM would tell you that God *did* give her relief by taking her "back to Heaven", and should you ask why He made her that way in the first place, the TBM would say something like "To teach us all a lesson about love and humility and caring."
If prayer worked, the world would be filled with peace and love, evil would be conquered, everyone would be healthy, no one would suffer, no one would make bad decisions, and everyone would be blessed in every conceivable way -- because that's what billions of people are praying for every day, several times a day.
Because of my eclectic religious/philosophical history--raised Hindu, which proved to be ENORMOUSLY important in my lifetime philosophical thinking...liberally exposed to many different kinds of Christianity as I was growing up...some intellectual inquiries along the way into Buddhism, Native American, and indigenous global religions...and my long-desired conversion to Judaism (which, when I was in seventh grade, I was semi-aware was eventually inevitable, it just took me a couple of decades and some significant changes in American Judaism to actually bring about)--I have been conjuring with this exact question since I was really small (maybe six years old).
Here is what, after all that exposure, study, and various levels of experience, I have discovered (to my own personal satisfaction):
There are many different "kinds" of prayer in many different religious traditions, including asking for something (health, an easy birth process in regard to a soon to be born infant, food, water, protection, employment, the right marital partner, etc.), praise/adoration, thanksgiving, intercession (asking for something on behalf of someone or something other than one's self), repentance, or (in the case of specifically southern African indigenous peoples), a kind of active and desired intervention by the spirits/souls of deceased ancestors for something needed or desired).
Most of these aside, the overwhelming lesson I have learned in my own personal life has been that "No!" (otherwise possibly known as "fail") is frequently not only an "answer to prayer," but can frequently be seen, in retrospect, as "the" most positive and life-affirming "answer." (This also seems to be seamlessly true in regard to the larger panorama offered by reincarnation as well. "Failure" of a specific "plea" (for want of a better word) may be the necessary foundation of the next (or down-the-line) life to come.
I can look back at some, specific, "bad" things which happened to me in this life, and clearly see (in retrospect) that had that situation NOT happened--and often, not happened in that particular way--I would not have had the life I have now (which I fully understand is one of the very best lives available on this planet, and I am deeply serious here).
I can look back at things I have DESPERATELY wanted in this life (my college education, for example, which was ALWAYS promised to me from the time I was about three years old, and was then, quite decisively, taken away from me when I was somewhere around tenth grade)--and what I see from these mostly major things I so desperately wanted at that time is that, had they actually "arrived," I would not have been able to have my life now, because I would have gone so far off the track I was actually, without my conscious understanding, heading for, that I could never have made the connections I needed to get back on track to where I am now.
Had any of those "no's" been "yes's," I would very likely be either miserable, or even possibly dead, right now.
What I am trying to say is: "Prayer" is not a simple thing--for one thing, it can involve all kinds of activities that are generally not recognized as "prayer" in American, or generally Western, culture.
I think one of the things that "prayer" MAY [possibly] do (especially if it veers towards the meditation/concentration/mantras/stotras/dancing/playing instruments/working in the creative arts kinds of prayers), is to both:
1) concentrate the mind so it is more able to access all of the existing information available to that person (including information which may exist in that person's mind, but they have, for example, forgotten--or may be afraid of), and also...
2) (in a sense) to "liberate" the deeper, and usually more inaccessible, parts of an individual person's mind so they have conscious access to THAT part of their own wisdom.
If individuals are able to do this, there appears to be a kind of "connection" that can be established to a kind of universal "knowingness" (and this IS repeatedly affirmed by most any truly creative person who has ever lived, going back at least as far as cave painting times), and this "connection" (to whatever kind of force or nature it may be; I do not have any idea other than I personally deeply believe that it is, most definitely, NOT a "Big Guy in the Sky" figure), and that in this kind of "state" or "dimension" (for want of a much more accurate word), if the person's thinking and character and motivations are optimum, what may contemporaneously appear to be a "fail" can actually be discerned as a point of success, or a saved by the bell moment, when, usually much later (decades for most people) it is seen in retrospect.
Mis muchos centavos.
Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 10/19/2018 05:35PM by Tevai.