Opposition in Probation

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It is a common belief among Mormons that one of the reasons we come to earth is to be tested through trials. Supposedly, these trials teach us how to be sad, angry, grief-stricken, jealous, etc in order for us to know happiness, peace, joy, love, etc. Doing so will help us become more like God.

So, why is it then that not everyone lives long enough to experience these trials or live lives plagued by disabilities hat prevent them from learning these. If they are for our eternal benefit, why do some people get to bypass them and go straight to salvation (D&C 137:10)?

Is it possible that some people learn so much in the pre-mortal realm that the only reason they come to earth is to gain a body; that coming to earth would teach them nothing further?

Is learning such things just not as important to exaltation as we think

21 thoughts on “Opposition in Probation

  1. If it worked for Jesus Christ, then I don’t see why it also wouldn’t work for those who die pre-age 8 or are born in the millenium.

    However, that doesn’t lessen the importance of this mortal estate for you or me or anyone else reading this blog.
    We made our choices; and we are here…so we have to follow the Gospel plan; which appears to have trials, tests & temptations. So what?

  2. of course we chose to have trials.. we knew before leaving the spirit world to come here what our lives were basically going to be about. We were all given a choice.. either follow Christ or follow Satan.. the fact that we are here now goes to show which path we chose.

    We always have choices… choice to do wrong or choice to do good

  3. I believe we chose to have trials too. Maybe we didn’t know exactly which ONES. But we knew basically what we were gettng into.

  4. I hope you don’t mind the response of a Non-Mormon. I’ve occassionally read your blog for the past month–after having one of your posted cited in the blog of a friend’s from Utah.

    I found some of the post to your questions interesting. I had never connected the idea of being tested with an explanation of why we experience tragedy. Is this concept (testing) a Mormon answer to the theodicy problem (theodicy: essentially addresses why bad things happen if we have a good God). This is one of those mysteries that great Christian thinkers have wrestled with for ages. It seems to me that if the burden for bad things is shifted to conscious decisions made by the human race (chosing to have trials), we’re made out out to be a bit masochist.

    The concept of the mortal life being a test is foreign to Protestant Christianity. The Westminster Catechism opens with the question, “What is the chief end of man?” The response, “to glorify and enjoy God forever,” as Norman Maclean cites in his novella A River Runs Through It,is beautiful. Certainly, we’re tested in this life, but that’s not our main purpose of being.

    As for why we have tragedy, we’re not given a good answer. Instead, we’re shown that God stands beside us even during our trials.

    I hope I’ve not broadened the intent of your post too much.

  5. Thanks for commenting, Jeff.

    Mormonism does suppose trials to be a reason for our being. It should be noted, however, that we certainly do not consider this to be the main purpose of mortal life.

    In fact, Lehi, a Book of Mormon prophet, stated that “men are, that they might have joy” (2 Ne 2:25), suggesting that we exist so we might experience the joy that comes from living with God.

  6. The way I see it is that if certain people (babies, young children, etc.) who die before they’re ready to experience these things, don’t have to go through these trials.

    In Heaven they were already perfected, and already knew everything. Maybe these were very special beings, who only came to Earth to gain a human body.

    I’ve only been in the Church for a couple of years, and I have no idea of the full teachings. I’m still learning :) But from stories I’ve heard, this is my oppinion.

  7. “The way I see it is that if certain people…die before they’re ready to experience these things, don’t have to go through these trials.”

    So if it’s not necessary, does that mean it’s not the reason we came to earth?

    “In Heaven they were already perfected, and already knew everything.”

    So, if we can learn in the pre-mortal existence all that is necessary for us to progress to the ante-mortal existence, why don’t we all learn it without coming to earth?

  8. Opposition is an integral part of mortality. If we try to answer all the philosophical questions regarding mortality, trials early death, suffering etc. in a blog, we are most certainly going to fail.

    There are some things that we don’t have a distinctly clear understanding of yet, though some have brought us closer with their writings, in conjunction with the scriptures.

    Years ago I read a small pamphlet by President Kimball, entitled “Tragedy or Destiny.” I recommend this to anyone trying to come to grips with the apparent inequities of mortality.

    In the end it is the Lord’s plan. We were made fully aware of it before we came here and we all shouted for joy. Why with joy?; because the purpose of the atonement was made known to us there. Whatever our expectations were there, when we could see more clearly than we do now, they were fully satisfied, even though we knew that mortality would be a time of suffering and woe.

    As Kim pointed out, the coming to Christ here in mortality will bring joy into our lives, in spite of the trials, tribulations, and suffering we may have to endure, and eternal life hereafter, where those conditions cease to exist.

  9. I think trials are inevitable. That we are in a war, experiencing atrocity, or even a bad hair day doesn’t mean that Heavenly Father and/or Mother are doing it to us. Stuff happens. Trial happens.

    The trial hypothesis doesn’t mean that this glorious,
    monster of a Godhead is tormenting us. Bad things happen on this world, and so bad things, even horrible things happen, not to all, but to most of us. I sure as heck hope I’m leaning with a decent
    GPA. I don’t want any more trials.

  10. “[that] doesn’t mean that Heavenly Father and/or Mother are doing it to us. Stuff happens.”

    This pretty much flies in the face of God being the all-powerful creator of the Universe. Is willfully not intervening the same as being responsible for the act?

  11. Rick

    How does it fly in the face of God being all powerful? Just because He can do everything, doesn’t mean He doesn’t allow natural law, which He created to take effect. Part of being all-powerful is having the wisdom to allow natural consequences and sometimes there are lessons that need to be learned, and reasons we don’t know about.

    I have to admit I have had some pretty minor trials compared to most, but while going through some of them they didn’t seem so minor. It was afterwards I realised why they happened and the wisdom in allowing these things to happen.

    It always amuses me when humans think they are wiser than God.

  12. So, Mary, if I drop an anvil from a balcony, I can’t be held responsible because it’s gravity doing the damage, right? I had the ability to identify and avoid the consequences and I choose not to. That puts me in the same position as God in the previous scenario.

  13. No, sorry don’t see the connection there. Dropping an anvil isn’t the same as letting the forces of nature be in control. Basically it would like saying whatever YOU create, you manually control (i.e. a computer programme that malfunctions) and will always make it do what it is supposed to do. You CAN change it, but you won’t always do so. Ok, might not be a perfect example, but again, I do find it amusing when humans think they know better than God.

  14. God made shearing winds, and knew the implications of such.

    Given the assumption that He set the initializing conditions of the Universe and has the ability to see/predict the outcomes of all people and things in the Universe I don’t see how that is any different that hanging an anvil out a third story window.

    I’m responsible for the initial conditions, and I have a fair idea what’s going to happen when I drop it.

    If the scenario doesn’t hold true, then your God is certainly smaller that the God in the old testament. Maybe that’s the case.

  15. I’m responsible for the initial conditions, and I have a fair idea what’s going to happen when I drop it.

    For the parallel to exist, either God created Hurricane Katrina specifically, or the person who created the anvil (not the person who drops it) would be responsible for any damage.

    If the scenario doesn’t hold true, then your God is certainly smaller that the God in the old testament.

    Assuming of course that all those actions are literal, but that’s another post, I think.

  16. We may have been told that this world would be tying, but like a child told not to swim in contaminated water, then going on and doing it–how could we understand the concept of consequences if we’d never had any
    expeience of them. Besides, I’ve never heard we had any choice whether or not to come here eventually–we were arguing about the terms.

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