Talking To My Zelph

My quest for freedom from the LDS religion.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

"There But For The Grace Of God..."

I used to like the phrase "there but for the grace of God go you or I."

I don't know where it's originally from, but I always thought it had kind of a poetic quality to it and back when I had the mindset of an arrogant True Believing Mormon, I foolishly assumed that the phrase had a practical application in my life. If not for the "one true gospel" of the LDS church, after all, I could be just like that homeless guy in Pioneer Park, or I could be a drug addict or a criminal, or worse.

"There but for the grace of god..."

It served as some sort of validation for me that I was doing everything God wanted me to do. I was a member of His church, holding His priesthood authority (although it never seemed to have any actual power to do anything) and for awhile there, I was a card-carrying member with access to the International House of Handshakes (aka, the temple). Obviously, I was one of those valiant spirits in the pre-existence who had accepted Jesus' plan of salvation and was born into and raised as a member of the only church with the true and restored gospel.

"There but for the grace of god..."

I'm not sure when, but it was probably during my year of church history research, analytical process and personal reflection that I realized the true implication of the poetic phrase.

If "there but for the grace of god..." was true, then that meant that God plays favorites.

It suddenly didn't seem very fair that some people would be given preferential treatment over others. How arrogant it was for me to assume that god liked me better than some poor kid in Africa somewhere who lives in a mud hut and goes to bed hungry every night.

I don't like that god. He apparantly holds grudges and doesn't follow his own rules of kindness, compassion and forgiveness. More than likely, such a being that hands out blessings and cursing willy-nilly doesn't even exist.

The simpler - and more logical - explanation is that shit happens.

Bad things happen to good and bad people.

Good things happen to those exact same people.

And pure chance is the cause of it all...not the grace - or lack thereof - of some higher power.

Maybe I'll change the phrase to "there but for pure-dumb luck go your or I."

2 Comments:

Blogger Interested said...

I too, have used that phrase often, yet never thought of the implication. Thanks for showing me "the light".

1:58 PM  
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7:28 PM  

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