When Praying With Bias Intent

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bbsion
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When Praying With Bias Intent

Postby bbsion » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:41 am

When you are in earnest prayer with the Lord and pleading with him for revelation on a certain matter, do you believe your bias effects the answer God gives you? Do you believe that He can answer your bias in a way that is not His will and still have it be considered revelation?

For instance, Joseph Smith prayed and asked the Lord if he could give Martin the 116 pages of translated scripture. God said no twice. Joseph again pleaded and then the Lord said yes. So God technically answered Joseph and I believe this could still be considered revelation. But, we all know how the story goes. Joseph was rebuked and shut off from revelation for a time until he repented. This, because he pleaded for something that was not the Lords will. It was not until he repented that he was able to receive revelation again. I believe events like this cause Joseph to say this ".... I made this my rule: When the Lord commands, do it."

I have always believed that we can pray for something but in the end our heart must be "Thy will be done". You can't fool God, he knows if our true intent is otherwise, even if our lips speak the words "Thy will be done".

So then, is revelation received always God's will?
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

Thomas Jefferson

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5tev3
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Re: When Praying With Bias Intent

Postby 5tev3 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:00 pm

I think this is an important question. It seems as though God respects our will, right? He allowed the 1/3 to fall, he allows rape, torture, and murder. Maybe "respects" isn't the right word. He is in a position where he cannot simply violate free will or he would be no different than satan in that sense. Check out the following verse:
'And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, ' Romans 1:28-30
God acknowledges our choice to rebel and doesn't stand in our way in many instances. But I think there is something deeper than what we may see on the surface. If another person stood by and watched a child suffer and did nothing, we would call them complicit would we not? God is not just a mortal person though and we are only seeing things from our limited view. As terrible as things appear, and don't get me wrong, they ARE terrible, there is a bigger picture. I do believe that we are allowed to push the limits here in this life but there are some points to which crossing a boundary would destroy us in an irredeemable sense. It is at this point that God intervenes, for he must.

This is why God doesn't intervene until a society begins to cast out the righteous. They can trample his laws and do all kinds of rotten things but once they cross a certain line, intervention must happen for justice and mercy to prevail. I know because I saw this in my own life when God intervened in my behalf after much sorrow and suffering.

I don't know if that makes much sense but it seems that God's omniscience and much that we don't see is in play. God often comforts and shields people internally although externally they are suffering. Take a look at this verse:
"And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions." Mosiah 24:14
Personally, I think that in many if not all cases when an innocent is being abused or even killed, that the mercy of God comes into play. Even though we, like the Lamanites, see the physical burdens on people, God is there to the degree that they "cannot feel" those burdens and are in a sense shielded. Remember, we are spirits in mortal bodies and what is done here does have meaning and an affect but I think that there are key safeguards in place that protect in ways we cannot see or understand.

Suffering is something that God sometimes shields us from but never entirely. So yeah, I think he does give us what we demand at certain points but never to the degree that he would allow us to walk off a cliff so to speak. He may allow us to walk towards the cliff and trip on a rock before the edge.

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gclayjr
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Re: When Praying With Bias Intent

Postby gclayjr » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:41 pm

bbsion,
When you are in earnest prayer with the Lord and pleading with him for revelation on a certain matter, do you believe your bias effects the answer God gives you? Do you believe that He can answer your bias in a way that is not His will and still have it be considered revelation?
I believe that this is one of the great lifelong learning problems. Unfortunately, often the difference between truly receiving God's will and receiving a confirmation of your bias is so similar that it is easy to be confused. I think that this is one reason that it is an extreme arrogance and pride that we inform those for whom we have no stewardship of our "answer". This happens way too frequently here on this board. This is also a reason that we should pray for confirmation of "revelations" even when delivered by the Lord's anointed. And if in either confusion, or more likely pride and arrogance you dont get that confirmation (which also happens way too often on this board), the only life you screw up is your own.

Even when you are praying for that which is in your stewardship, I think you should always err on the side of caution rather than ram home something based upon your "receipt of revelation"

a story

My father and mother were contemplating the purchase of an apartment house, with their retirement savings in order to generate some income. My father prayed and received a "revelation" that they should purchase a certain piece of property. My mother, who had spent her whole life in real estate, did not "feel good" about the purchase. My father pushed the issue that he had received "revelation" related to this purchase, and if my mother did not get such a revelation, then she was not "in tune" with the spirit.

After a lot of pressure and time, my mother relented... The decision was a disaster.


Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here.

Regards,

George Clay

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5tev3
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Re: When Praying With Bias Intent

Postby 5tev3 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:10 pm

gclayjr wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:41 pm
After a lot of pressure and time, my mother relented... The decision was a disaster.


Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here.

Regards,

George Clay
Yes, include your wife's perspective. God said if you aren't one you aren't mine. The highest councils of the church have to make decisions with unanimity and marriages should seek for that as well. A man and wife should be one flesh, one heart, and one mind. To ignore your wife is to act with half a heart and half a mind.

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gclayjr
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Re: When Praying With Bias Intent

Postby gclayjr » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Stev3,

Yes, include your wife's perspective. God said if you aren't one you aren't mine. The highest councils of the church have to make decisions with unanimity and marriages should seek for that as well. A man and wife should be one flesh, one heart, and one mind. To ignore your wife is to act with half a heart and half a mind.
Absolutely, or your counselors if you have a leadership calling, or your apostles of you are the prophet. I know that there were days of yore when God needed to bootstrap things with one selected person. If this was the case he would speak from a burning bush or maybe pay a personal visit in a grove of trees, but I am quite confident that that isn't the paradigm for us today, so seek out confirmation and be humble enough to recognize that even in your earnest communications with the spirit, you may confuse your own bias with the whispering of the spirit, and recognize that when your wife or your counselors receive a similar message, you can be confident that it truly comes from the spirit.

Regards,

George Clay

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Re: When Praying With Bias Intent

Postby Rand » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:24 pm

I have had many, as in more than 4 or 5 times, that God has asked in response to a request I am making, "Are you sure the want the consequences of what you are asking?" Inevitably, I have reversed my request. It is always accompanied by the feeling that He will grant me those experiences and gifts, when I am ready to honor them, not when I think I am ready to experience them.

I think you ask a great question. I hope I have understood it and addressed what you are asking.

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Joel
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Re: When Praying With Bias Intent

Postby Joel » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:30 pm

Joel wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:13 am
Study: Believers’ inferences about God’s beliefs are uniquely egocentric

Religious people tend to use their own beliefs as a guide in thinking about what God believes, but are less constrained when reasoning about other people's beliefs, according to new study published in the Nov. 30 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Nicholas Epley, professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, led the research, which included a series of survey and neuroimaging studies to examine the extent to which people's own beliefs guide their predictions about God's beliefs. The findings of Epley and his co-authors at Australia's Monash University and UChicago extend existing work in psychology showing that people are often egocentric when they infer other people's beliefs.

The PNAS paper reports the results of seven separate studies. The first four include surveys of Boston rail commuters, UChicago undergraduate students and a nationally representative database of online respondents in the United States. In these surveys, participants reported their own belief about an issue and their estimation of God's belief, along with their assessment of beliefs held by others, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Major League Baseball's Barry Bonds, President George W. Bush, and an average American.

Two other studies directly manipulated people's own beliefs and found that inferences about God's beliefs tracked their own beliefs. Study participants were asked, for example, to write and deliver a speech that supported or opposed the death penalty in front of a video camera - an exercise known to affect people's reported beliefs. Their beliefs were surveyed both before and after the speech.

The final study involved functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure the neural activity of test subjects as they reasoned about their own beliefs versus those of God or another person. The data demonstrated that reasoning about God's beliefs activated many of the same regions that become active when people reasoned about their own beliefs.

The researchers noted that people often set their moral compasses according to what they presume to be God's standards. "The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing," they conclude. "This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God's beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing."

But the research in no way denies the possibility that God's presumed beliefs also may provide guidance in situations where people are uncertain of their own beliefs, the co-authors noted.

Citation:"Believers' estimates of God's beliefs are more egocentric than estimates of other people's beliefs," Nov. 30, 2009, early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, by Nicholas Epley, Benjamin A. Converse, Alexa Delbosc, George A. Monteleone and John T. Cacioppo."

Funding: University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Templeton Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.
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