Dec 10, 2008

Should I Pray Or Should I Save My Breath? - Epilogue

Several months ago I wrote a post about prayer. We ended up having a really good discussion and it was one of my most successful posts in regards to the number of comments I got. In that discussion, I talked a bit about our moving dilemma. Now that we've just moved into a new house, I thought I should do a follow-up post since a lot has happened since then.

Almost 2 years ago we bought a piece of land from the locak gov't "cheap(er)" than market value to build a home. It was in a beautiful area close to town and we had plans to build a small home. There was no time to get a final price estimate before applying for the lot, so we did a bit of investigating and then entered this lot lottery, not being overly confident that we would get a lot since interest was huge. I prayed that we would ONLY get it IF it was right for us, because it wasn't like we were set on building new if it wasn't right for us.

So, long story short (you can read the details in the last post if you wish), my prayer was answered, just not in the way that we planned. We had to be really patient -- and believe me, there were times that I was going out of my mind and we wanted to move SO badly, but there was nothing interesting on the market. But suddenly in early November the perfect house for us came up for sale in an area even closer to town and a neighbourhood where we think we'll be very happy. The home is only 10 years old, yet still looks and feels brand new, is bigger than the one we had planned on building, and has more than we could have afforded to build ourselves. If we had bought this house even a year ago, I expect we would have paid around $50,000 USD more than we did now, since the financial crisis has brought the housing market to a standstill. And compared to the modest house we were planning to build, I figure we saved at least $100,000, meaning we now have a much more comfortable mortgage. Now, what about that piece of land we bought that we were seemingly stuck with at a hefty loss? The local gov't originally said they would refund most of the money, since they were partially at fault for everyone suddenly backing out, but we were expecting to lose about $8000 USD in non-refundable fees. But recently we got word from them that they are going to refund 100% of what we paid for it.

I still can't say that I'm getting promptings or burning bosoms when I pray. I still feel that "stupor of thought" and I still struggle to pray because of that. However, this ordeal was a lesson that the Lord still hears and answers my prayers, even if I don't feel anything. And in this case, the Lord saved us a ton of money, so it'd be pretty ungrateful for me to not acknowledge His hand in that.

Now if my cats will just get along and if we can just get our internet hooked up at home, it'll be a very Merry Christmas indeed. :)

28 comments:

derekstaff said...

Congratulations on the apparent gift you've received! I wasn't around when you wrote your post on prayer, but I can relate to the frustrations of feeling like the line is dead, so to speak. I've had to learn more patience, and to listen to more subtle language of the Spirit. I'm glad you feel that you do receive answers, even if they come in a different manner than you had hoped.

Lisa said...

My prayers - both answers and method of praying - has changed in the past few months. I'll be honest and say I haven't gone down on my knees to pray in a long time, but that isn't to say I don't pray. I seem to constantly have one in my heart lately.

I've gone through "dry spells" as well - and recent experiences has taught me that God knows my problems even when I'm not necessarily praying about them. The communication line between my heart and his is never closed so long as I'm open.

Lately my answers have come with my making a decision and knowing it's the right one by the sense of overwhelming peace and weight taken off my shoulders. Others may interpret that differently, but I take it to mean I'm doing something right.

This was a cool post - thanks for sharing your story. I have a couple of my own, and no matter where we are spiritually, it's really great to remember these sorts of times when we feel that connection, that we're being watched over and cared for.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Derekstaff, God must have answered my prayer because how often does the gov't refund thousands of dollars when they don't HAVE to? Talk about divine intervention. :) Anyways, we're lucky to be one of the few who are actually benefitting from this financial crisis since we got a nice home for a good price. We now hope to have our home paid off much earlier than we had anticipated.

Lisa, I hear ya. I'm not good at getting down on my knees because a) it's cold on the floor and b) I sometimes feel like I have ADD. I can kneel there and my mind will wander like crazy. Now I'm trying to get into the habit of prayer/meditation during my morning bath. It helps me to relax and focus, but still it feels like I'm always just saying the same things over and over again, which we're supposed to avoid. I always list the things I'm thankful for, but I hate asking for things over and over because it just feels like pestering. I used to pray for spiritual understanding, but I figure that if no one else has the answers to all the perplexing aspects of Mormonism, why would I suddenly get them? So I'm trying to focus on just praying for peace and the courage to hang on. I still don't feel anything, but I just trust that my prayers are being heard, so that's good enough for me.

This past Sunday a RS counsellor came up to me and said she noticed it's hard for me to come to church. I have been skipping RS quite a bit the past few months, so I think she thinks it has to do with her and the RS president, since I was serving with them when I resigned my calling. It wasn't because of them, but the RS pres did something that ticked me off and I knew I had to get out. I had been thinking about it for a year. This sister has a good heart, but she kind of gives me bad vibes sometimes (she can have a bit of a strong personality), so I didn't divulge any information. I think they just assume it has to do with my husband, but I just said it has nothing to do with him, that it's personal and I don't discuss it because I don't think they would understand. So she just put her arm around me and said she thought I was a strong person for continuing on, despite my difficulties, etc. That was nice of her and I appreciated her words, but I felt a bit uncomfortable as well. Now they're definitely "on to me." :)

derekstaff said...

Boy can I relate to the mind wandering! At various times of my life, I've tried to do the real intense, sincere prayer thing, an Enos experience, the "I'm staying on my knees until I hear back from you!" Prayers. I've always been left frustrated, because I would repeatedly realize that my mind has wandered as I try to think of what to say next. I've discovered that prayer works best not as big events which bookend my day, but rather as constant little events in which I engage as something strikes me. I think of something on which I want divine guidance or about which I need to express gratitude, and I just stop what I'm doing and take a few seconds to say it. I can't say it is a running dialogue, because I still don't feel as if the Lord talks back directly, but at least I feel like there is some connection there, and it feels less contrive than the formal prayers.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Derekstaff, I totally relate. My mind-wandering is so bad that I seriously looked up the symptoms of ADD a few months ago because I was seriously wondering if maybe I didn't have it. As it turns out, I don't think the symptoms really describe me, but I would say that I have poor concentration. My concentration skills were shot once I finished school. I did well at school, but hated it and it was like once I was done, I didn't want to concentrate anymore.

My mom always says that I should write a book, but my biggest challenge is putting my thoughts onto paper (or computer). I have racing thoughts all the time, which can be a good and bad thing. The bad part is that I have a vivid imagination and can sometimes freak myself out. The good part is that hopefully my brain is getting enough exercise that I won't get Alzheimer's. As well, I probably spend more time thinking about religion and spiritual matters than even the most conservative Mormon. Especially since I started blogging, I've made a million mental notes on things I could do a post about. So I guess the result is a combination of more insight/understanding on some things, while with others it's just more doubt and confusion.

Some people would perhaps think that I would be the meditation/yoga type. I'm sort of earthy and new agey and I love all kinds of music, but the truth is that I think I would be hopeless at it. I just can't concentrate and focus and my mind just wanders. I tried again this morning in the bathtub again, but nothing. But I always think about Mother Teresa and how for most of her life she felt virtually nothing spiritually. I'm not saying I'm like Mother Teresa because I'm not even close, but it goes to show you that sometimes the Lord holds back with even the best of people.

Sanford said...

Hi Faithful D,

It's funny how something that looks like a disaster turn out to be a blessing. The financial upheaval we are experiencing has been a great burden to a lot of people I know but due to circumstances beyond my control it has improved my financial bottom line. I owned some land that got condemned by the state of Utah for a road project and I had literally no choice but to sell --- but the sale occurred at the top of the market. Now, with the proceeds, I am buying another property at a much much better price point. The effect of the forced transaction is that my equity position has been enhanced by about 50%. And the timing had nothing to do with me. I lucked into it.

I have just finished reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and I have an increased understanding of the role of luck and serendipity in our lives. We can control our fate only so much. While there are measures we can take to gain success, a lot of what prompts or allows for success is beyond our control. The opportunities for success do not seem to be equally distributed.

I also believe that whatever life deals us, it is up to us to find and define our own silver linings.

PS - I think you should write a book too. I really think you could do it.

derekstaff said...

FD, I can certainly relate to the mind racing. I can never seem to get my brain to just shut up. I’m fine when it comes to school, reading, etc, because it is engaging my mind (I wish I could have gone to school forever). But when it comes to mental “quiet time,” no dice. I frequently have insomnia because I just can’t stop thinking. And we had a yoga seminar at our last staff development day, where the instructor was going to teach us some meditation techniques. They had us try the techniques for a couple minutes. By the end of the two minutes, the instructor was trying to suppress a chuckle, because I couldn’t sit still and meditate; I kept twitching because I couldn’t just let my mind go blank. For the same reason I’ve always been resistant to hypnosis. I can’t just let my mind go. When the hypnotist is telling me to visualize some peaceful scene, I keep stage managing the scene (“I wonder if a more hazy day would be nicer...Should that hill be bigger?...that lake looks like that dam in Hyrum...I remember the day I was there with my friend...I wonder what he's up to...what if I was at the ocean instead of a lake...). Its pretty pathetic

I can relate to the imagination as well; I don’t often watch horror movies, because I end up really freaking myself out.

And I also have a few dozen drafts of posts for my blog and several times that links to items to remember for future blog posts. Not to mention hundreds of items in my rss reader which I really want to read but haven’t gotten to yet.

So you're not alone.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Hey Sanford, nice to hear from you again. I was hoping that you'd read this post since I often thought about your comments in the original post about prayer.

I guess we're in a strange position in that we're some of the few who are doing OK in this economic crisis. Just a few days ago Icelandair had a major seat sale and so my husband and I found a great airfare from Oslo to Toronto in the spring, under $500 bucks US. Almost makes me feel guilty that we're profitting from the financial hardships of others. But as you said, we can only control our fate so much and we simply never know what's around the corner. So cheap homes and airfares or not, it can all be taken away in the blink of an eye.

Derekstaff, I'm with you. I cannot imagine ever being able to be hypnotized. Just can't imagine it! I've often struggled with stress throughout my life, which manifests itself in physical symptoms, and it's often aggravated by the fact that I have a heart arrythmia that, although is not dangerous, it extremely unsettling at times. I tried different relaxation techniques but didn't have any success until I tried a program that is more proacive. Instead of just focusing on relaxing, it focused mostly on changing my way of thinking and only then did I see an improvement. As for mind wandering, the stuff I think about even just during sacrament meeting when I'm supposed to be thinking of Jesus. Remember that story about Spencer W. Kimball when he didn't take the sacrament one Sunday because he wasn't thinking about Jesus? If I were so strict with myself, I'd almost never be able to take it.

Mormon Heretic said...

I'm glad to hear the update.

I have a suggestion to keep you mind from wandering during prayer: Say it out loud (even if it's a whisper.) I remember when I did mental prayers, my mind wandered. But when I whisper them, it helps keep me focused. Sometimes I just mouth the words, but it helps me.

derekstaff said...

Honestly, praying out loud never made a difference for me. At some point, I would have to stop talking to think of what I wanted to say next (how often do you talk nonstop when talking to friends?). Before long, I'd realize five minutes had past and I was thinking of something entirely different. Plus, at various times of my life, I'd be silent to try to listen for the promptings of the Spirit, and again, mind wanders.

But I'm glad it works for some people.

Mormon Heretic said...

Derek,

I'm sure you've said prayers at church, or over food out loud. My point is that if you have to think about what to pray about so much that you lose your train of thought, end the prayer.

I doubt you would stay on the phone with someone if you had run out of things to say. If you're thinking that hard of things to say, then just say "amen."

derekstaff said...

MD, there is quite a difference between a formal public prayer on behalf of a group, and what is supposed to be very intimate communication in private prayer. The pauses aren't about trying to think of something else to pray about, it is about trying to find the words to express what is in my heart. Stream of consciousness--something else I've tried--can only go so far.

(FWIW, I don't specifically pray over each meal; that has always seemed pretty much like "vain repetition" to me)

I'm not suggesting speaking out loud is meaningless; I'm glad you've found it effective. I'm only pointing out that vocalization isn't the ultimate solution.

Mormon Heretic said...

Derek,

I'm no MD, nor do I pretend to be one. :) Please don't think I am trying to diagnose your prayer problem, but I am trying to understand it. I hope I do not come off a offensive, because that is not my intention at all. I will apologize before hand if I step on your toes.

You say you are trying to express what is in your heart, but your mind wanders. I don't understand this. I suspect if you had a real issue with the Lord, such as fasting for someone, praying for a miracle in your life, or even giving the opening prayer in Sunday School, your mind doesn't wander.

However, when there is no pressing issue, I suspect your mind wanders. I guess my simplistic solution is to just simply end the prayer. My choice of vocalizing my prayer merely helps me focus. If it doesn't work for you, I understand, but why are you continuing to try to pray if your mind is on things that are not prayer material?

I read a book by Larry King called Powerful Prayers. For the record, Larry was born jewish, but is basically agnostic. The book is both light-hearted and quite reflective, and many celebrities offer their insights (or in some cases, lack of insights) into prayer.

Since reading that book, I often am much less formal in my prayers. To a typical mormon, I probably don't do a formal prayer as often as we're told. However, I do find that I will often think about God while driving, or some other task. Now obviously, it is not safe to close eyes while driving, and while an orthodox mormon might not call this prayer, to me it is.

I do more "normal" prayers as well, such as for fasts. I haven't felt the need to pray like Enos did. If I did, then I would say my piece, even if it took hours, and then end it when I had run out of things to say. To me, if my mind is wandering, then I should have ended the prayer sooner, because that is telling me that I don't have anything else to say to the Lord. I guess I just don't understand your comment when you said that 5 minutes have passed before you notice that your mind has wandered. It only takes me about 5-10 seconds to notice this. (Once again, I'm not trying to be critical, I'm just trying to understand.)

On the other hand, I often use more informal prayers. Some people would refer to these more as pondering than praying. At any rate, this help make me closer to God. I suspect you do this too, but don't consider it a form of prayer.

Alesia said...

FD: I actually DO have ADHD :) but maybe your mind wandering is exactly what you should be doing. I mean, when we're too married to OUR agenda, we might not be able to hear the Spirit. I've had lots of cool answers to prayers when my mind has been wandering. My brain will be rambling then I'll have a thought and I'll know it's an answer. If I'd been trying to force myself to focus on saying 'a good prayer' I'd have missed it. Or, I would have never even gotten there.

I also think the act of kneeling is humbling. I think just doing that invites the Spirit. So, I list all the things I'm grateful for then just think. The fact that I'm kneeling is showing humility and I bet if you try it you'll be surprised at the answers you'll receive just letting your mind wander. Just hang out with God. I don't think he wants a dissertation, I think he just wants us to hang out with Him :)

The Faithful Dissident said...

Alesia, how do you know the difference between getting an answer and just a vivid imagination? That's my problem. I don't trust myself to know what's from God and what's just all in my head.

derekstaff said...

MH, sorry about the abbreviation mistake; I must have accidentally conflated your name with FD’s.

There have been times in my life when I’ve been experiencing what were personal crises, and have felt a desperate need for divine aid (depression, a family issue, whatever). I was determined to remain in prayer until I felt I had received some answer, some sense of comfort or direction, to help me keep going Even during those prayers, my mind would wander as I thought to come up with the words. At first I might be thinking of something related--the circumstances of my then current depression, for example--but it would deviate from there to the point where I was thinking of something completely unrelated. This would only increase my sense of despair; how lost must I be if I can’t focus when I’m feeling so desperate? And yes, those thought digressions can go on for several minutes. I’m that lost in my thoughts. I can’t explain it, it just is.

I’ve made some peace with the matter, based on other experiences and decisions. I feel I have developed non-traditional, more casual forms of prayer which seems to be more effective in my life, as well as a recognition of very subtle “signs.” Those casual prayers, which I mentioned in my first comment, sound similar to those you’re speaking about. But it doesn’t change the fact that my mind does wander in the traditional forms of prayer, no matter how urgent my need.

I’m definitely an advocate of less formal prayers. I’ve jettisoned the use of the archaic language in my personal prayers, for example. I found that the stilted language was a barrier to a greater intimacy with God.

(I find the whole subject of “thee” and “thou” in the Church ironic. Church authorities tell us to use that language as a sign of deference and respect, which is what seems to put up barriers for me. But in reality, “thee/thou” is an archaic form of very familiar and personal addresses rather than respectful language; in Elizabethan England, you would use those forms to talk to your wife, your child, or your favorite pet. So the Church seems to have turned what was supposed to be very intimate forms of address, and turned it on its head.

Not directly connected with our dialogue, but an interesting related note, IMO).

FD, interesting that you would ask about the difference between imagination and inspiration. Sometimes my wandering starts with me having a thought, and then entering into a dialogue with myself about whether that thought is from God or a construction of my imagination.

Alesia said...

FD: That's a good question. For me, I've learned that you don't really have to discipher between what is God and what is in your head. When you're trying to be humble (which is where the kneeling comes in for me), He's a part of you. He's already hanging out with you and a part of your head. Prayer isn't a question/answer format. Our conversations with God are VERY different than conversations we have with other people. If we try to communicate with Him like we do with other people, we're going to be disappointed. When you're praying with the intention to be humble, you can't really say anything wrong if you're just being honest. Then when you just let your mind do what it wants to do, you'll be surprised at what you come up with. Happens to me almost every time I pray. It's hardly ever insightful or life changing, but it's helpful. And if it's helpful, it came from God.

In short, God is a part of your head, so don't be afraid to let it go where it wants. If you're trying to humble, it's not going to go to the wrong place. I used to practically want a computer print out of my 'answers.' I'd input a question and then be mad that I didn't get a verifiable output/answer. It drove me nuts.

That being said, I have had thoughts that come into my head that I just KNOW didn't come from me. Like epiphanies that just felt different. But that is rare. Also, I've learned that most of the time, God just wants us to do what we want to do. Most of the time, what we REALLY want is fine. He wants us to think for ourselves so he isn't going to give yes/no answers very often. I've only had 2 yes/no answers in my whole life and only one of them turned out like I thought it would.

I'm a rambler...sorry this is so long. See what God has to put up with every night! :) At any rate, thanks for letting me hang out with you sometimes, too.

The Faithful Dissident said...

All great advice, guys. I really enjoy reading all your comments.

Alesia, I like that, "God is a part of your head."

I've been thinking about telling Georgie about my blog for quite some time now, bouncing back and forth in my mind about whether or not it'd be good for him. Right now I'm thinking more and more that I need to for some strange reason. Either there's a good reason for it or it'll turn out to be one of my not-so-brilliant ideas, like when I tried to bathe my cat in orange juice and baby powder as a kid. I meant well, but... :)

Derek, I sort of feel the same way about "thees and thous." Interestingly enough, in all foreign languages I've learned that have a polite form, when you address God, you use the familiar form and not the polite form. This surprised me, since we're taught to do the opposite in English. In French, you would always address a person who is older or you don't know so well as "vous" instead of "tu." But they address God as "tu." In German, God is addressed in the familiar "du" instead of "Sie." In Norwegian, there is a polite form that is used only occasionally for older people, "De," but we address God with the familiar "du."

Mormon Heretic said...

Derek,

Thanks for sharing. That makes much more sense to me. I agree totally with you on the "thee/thou" part. I have always found that language ridiculous, and stilted as you mention. (I'd love to dump the King James Bible for that very reason, but I don't see that happening. There are much easier to understand translations out there.)

I know there are people who advocate that you should pray unceasingly, as Alma and Enos say. This has never worked for me. I like what Alesia said. I think it is more important to listen or ponder about a possible response, than to talk incessantly in prayer. If we are constantly talking, how will we ever hear a response?

Don't get me wrong, the story of Enos is a great story, but I just think most people don't work that way. When I pray, I'd rather say what I need to say, and then just sit there and meditate as Alesia said. That's where the answers come. Unfortunately, I often hit the pillow without pondering much. These types of prayers might be considered more of the vain repetitions that we're not supposed to do.

I know I always pray better when I have a purpose, but I don't want to over-do prayer by thinking I need to just keep talking too long. When I do that, my mind certainly wanders, just like everyone else.

derekstaff said...

Actually, FD, the “thee/thou” language is the familiar forms, rather than the polite language. Those forms are cognates of French “tu,” and German “du.” Because the English language evolved such that those forms were dropped from the vernacular, we have come to associate them with the more formal, more polite forms. I suspect that the KJV, for almost two centuries the most common translation in the US, is the very reason why we make that mistake. Because that is the form of address we associate with the ancient prophets and with God, we assume it must be respectful and formal.

Because of this useless bit of trivia, I can never help but chuckle when some GA talks about the language of prayer, and the need to address the Lord in the more “respectful” forms. You would think that one of them would see the way speakers of foreign languages refer to God, smack themselves on the head, and say “whoops! We’ve got it backwards!”

Yeah, MH, I would switch entirely to the Greek Translation, if it weren’t for the various footnotes in the Church KJV.

I know what you mean about not talking, about giving some time to listen. But then we’re back to the problem I mentioned earlier to FD about not being able to get my head to shut up even when my mouth is shut. It just starts revving on whatever.

It isn’t a really big issue. I have made peace with my own manner of communication with God, even if it isn’t stereotypical. I only shared because I can relate to FD on some of her frustrations.

Alesia said...

derekstaff, I wrote to FD about what you said about not being able to listen because your brain won't stop 'talking.' I told FD to just do that. Let your brain go wherever it wants. In the process, you ARE listening. Try it...I swear it works. I always kneel because it humbles me enough to be receptive. Then I say what I'm grateful and ask for a few things. Then I just think. And I let my brain go wherever it wants. It goes lots of crazy places, but I always end up 'thinking' something that is helpful. Therein lies my answers! They're just rarely profound ;).

p.s. I AM ADHD, so my brain really does go to all sorts of crazy places in record time. I've decided that in prayer, that's okay. And I hope I don't sound self righteous...this is just what I've learned for me.

Mormon Heretic said...

Derek,

I don't speak Greek, so that translation might be tough for me to understand. I will say the NIV and NLT are some pretty good translations. I have a Bible with 4 translations you can compare side-by-side. It makes it kind of nice, especially on some of the tougher Isaiah chapters. I must say, Isaiah isn't so hard to understand in these other translations.

So, do you think there's a market for adding LDS footnotes to an NIV or NLT translation? Perhaps I should start on it....

The Faithful Dissident said...

I think the whole fuss about what version of the Bible to use is more of an issue among English-speakers than other languages. For example, in my branch, we use 3 different versions of the Bible in Norwegian. There's an older version that the Church "prefers" that we use, but the missionaries use the newer translation that the state Lutheran Church distributes. The branch president uses yet another version, which is in a Norwegian dialect from western Norway. They all use them at church, during lessons, talks, etc. I use the one that the Elders use. It's the one my husband had and I find it easier to understand.

derekstaff said...

Alesia, I did see your earlier comments to FD. Its an interesting theory, but I don't really see the meanderings of my mind being answers from God. Half the time, the wandering leads somewhere meaningless--for example, a funny scene from a movie I might have recently seen, or the composition of a painting I'd like to do, or even a replay of some sports game I might have caught. I just don't see that being God.

Mormon Heretic said...

FD,

It is interesting to hear the different Norwegian bibles the church uses. I suppose that native languages always hold some sort of mythical power over a group.

I am reminded of the first attempt to translate the Old Testament into Greek. It is called the Septuagint, because the jews called 72 scholars (6 from each tribe) to translate the scriptures into Greek, because most of the people spoke Greek, not Aramaic or Hebrew. It was quite a controversy in its day.

Also, the Koran is properly spoken in Arabic, because that was Mohammed's original tongue. Yes there are other translations out the, but the "true" form in always Arabic.

It seems King James English is just another one of these annoying traits that humans exhibit that just doesn't make much sense. While I acknowledge the importance of understanding documents in the context of their time, it seems that we often hang on to strange traditions much too long.

On my mission I met a wonderful rabbi that said that he used the New Testament to teach Hebrew instead of the Old Testament, because the New Testament Hebrew was easier to understand than the Shakespeare-like Old Testament with it's unfamiliar old-Hebrew language.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Although I can understand the need to have one "official" Bible for our Church, I think it's wrong when we assume that the KJV is the only version that we should be reading and that all the others are somewhat heretical.

Everything that is translated from one language to another -- even the KJV -- will lose something in translation or have the original meaning modified slightly. I've seen this even in the Book of Mormon between English and Norwegian. Reading it in Norwegian, certain passages will have a slightly different meaning than in English.

Strangely enough, I find it easier to read the scriptures in another language than in English, even though it's my mother tongue. I can understand that some people really have an appreciation for the KJV because it's older and beautiful English. It can seem very poetic compared to the newer translations. But to me it's sort of like reading Shakespeare. It's heavy, formal, and difficult to understand. I hated Shakespeare and could never bring myself to read it in school.

So, while English has changed a lot over the years, when you read the Book of Mormon in French or Norwegian, it's pretty much the same modern French and Norwegian that is spoken today. So I found that by reading the scriptures in a non-English language, I actually absorbed more. It was also a good way to learn a foreign language quicker.

I guess it's a matter of what's more important: getting the absolute most accurate translation of a scripture, or translating it into a contemporary language that people can understand now and apply in their lives. For example, I'm sure that the Catholic mass is most beautiful and most authentic in Latin. But what good was it when no one could understand it? Eventually they realized the need for having it in the local language. For the same reason, I think that newer translations of the Bible can be very effective. They may not be 100% accurate, but the average Joe will probably get more of the essentials out of it than the KJV. And, since it's more interesting and easier to understand, they may be more motivated to actually read the scriptures.

DeweyOlsen said...
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Alesia said...

Derek, I totally hear what you're saying. And it's probably a little lame that I'm still talking about this, but I really wanted to respond one more time.

My mind goes to all those same places, too. But that's how my mind works. I can't force my mind to work any other way. I just found that as long as I didn't give up, my brain would eventually come back to something I need to pray about. No, funny scenes from movies aren't an answer, but sometimes a thought that comes after several more thoughts is. I'm not saying that we shouldn't try to keep 'talking' to Heavenly Father. I'm just saying that I stopped trying to force myself to give some awesome speech to Heavenly Father. So what if you think of a scene from a movie? I suppose it could be a problem if it's a sex scene ;) but otherwise, so what? I'm a therapist and I tell clients to do 'free association' while writing. It's amazing what they come up with after talking about 'nothing' for a whole page. Theres's a process to it and if you give up to soon, you're thwarting the process.

Anyway, sorry I keep talking about this. I'll stop now :)