In the thread on suicide below, several comments have raised this idea from 1 Cor. 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” What does this mean? When BRM states, “Persons subject to great stresses may lose control of themselves and become mentally clouded to the point that they are no longer accountable for their acts,” isn’t that an example of being tempted beyond one’s ability? Is Paul’s statement just “rah! rah!” talk?

11 comments for “Temptation

  1. Derek
    August 17, 2004 at 4:18 pm

    Not just mentally clouded, but as you probably know, torture can literally make a person go insane, despite (or in fact because of) his or her best efforts. Insanity is one of the mind’s ways of coping with an extremely stressful situation. Whether or not insanity a good thing for the person, and whether or not it’s an example of being tempted beyond the person’s “ability” (whatever that means), I’m not in the position to say. But I do think it’s a form of escaping from the sitation.

  2. greenfrog
    August 17, 2004 at 4:46 pm

    It is rah rah talk.

    Not that that’s a bad thing.

  3. August 17, 2004 at 4:55 pm

    Maybe there’s a difference between being tempted and being downright deceived/delusional.

  4. Janey
    August 17, 2004 at 5:23 pm

    The scripture doesn’t say you’ll be able to withstand the temptation; it says you’ll be able to escape. In other words, the situation is too much for you to handle, and God will rescue you by providing an escape hatch.

    But not everyone gets an escape route. So if you get overwhelmed, did you ignore an escape route?

  5. jpatch
    August 17, 2004 at 7:18 pm

    This scripture has morphed into the popular wisdom that “God won’t give you anything you can’t handle.”

    Like what, a fatal disease? Mental illness? Gasoline prices? Besides, history is filled with people who have not handled problems very well.

    Actually I think the statement hints at some deeper truths, but taken at face value I think it is meaningless psyco-babble.

  6. August 17, 2004 at 11:52 pm

    ” Is Paul’s statement just “rah! rah!” talk?”

    No, Paul’s statement is that nothing can seperate us from the love of God, not dominions, powers or thrones, not life or death.

    But is also has, from the context, the implicit statement that death and other terrible things will happen to us and that but for God providing an escape for us, we would perish in soul as well as in body.

    As for this life, are we not of all men most miserable, knowing the full depth of the injustice of this life, and finding hope only in that there is a life to come?

    I think that Paul, read in context, has a great deal to say that the typical Mormon (not LDS) reading creates a definite proof text out of something that is entirely different.

  7. August 18, 2004 at 1:07 am

    Ethesis, This makes sense, except the part about “typical Mormon reading.” There is nothing uniquely Mormon in that reading. Another example of misquided Protestantism creeping into Mormon thought.

  8. dp
    August 18, 2004 at 6:38 am

    Talking of not being held accountable for our actions (not the type of comment normally made by Bruce R. McConkie!!), in a recent post at Doctrinal.net I quoted from a newspaper article about so-called sex addiction. An academic made some interesting points such as:
    “Creating an illness when an individual should first of all take responsibility for and then examine and change their behaviour, is to give the “addict” a passport to victimhood.”
    It was an interesting piece, certainly not what I’d expect to read from an academic.

  9. August 18, 2004 at 8:31 am

    Gordon ” There is nothing uniquely Mormon in that reading. Another example of misquided Protestantism creeping into Mormon thought.” is an excellent statement, and one I should have taken the time to reflect on in posting.

    Well said, well said indeed.

  10. August 18, 2004 at 12:21 pm

    I understand Paul’s statement to be conditional, with the Book of Mormon providing the implied condition:

    “That ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear.” (Alma 13:28)

  11. August 18, 2004 at 4:08 pm

    The problem is that many people use the fact some people do suffer mental problems to excuse their own behavior. I think it is unarguable, for instance, that victims of child abuse will suffer sexually as adults.

    The problem in these discussions tend to be the assumption that it is an either/or situation when in reality it most likely a matter of degree. We just have a cultural bias against thinking of agency as a matter of degree. We want to believe it is an all or nothing affair. Yet the fact is that even victims of sexual trauma have some measure of control over their acts. They may have strong subconscious drives that many of us can’t ever truly understand. Heavens, they may never understand them. But that’s not to say they can’t in some measure be controlled.

    All this suggests that judging accountability is even more difficult than we might think. Fortunately because of the atonement we can be made whole in Christ. So I think in some measure our whole approach to the issue is somewhat misleading since we tend to discount the place of the atonement in all these questions.

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