Punishment


The goal of punishment is to inflict something unpleasant on a person – whether physical [e.g., corporal striking, physical confinement, monetary penalties] or emotional [e.g., shaming, time-outs, or making a public example] – for the purpose of discouraging the repeat of a certain behavior.

As with all things satanic, the focus is on the external – i.e., how to control behavior – rather than on the internal – i.e., how to affect the right-brain-heart.  Heart-level change does not result from punishment.  Worthiness will not result from the struggle to conform one’s behavior to this or that standard.

Any church that bases itself on the works of men will place its focus on the outside being “good” – assuming that a “good” inside will, of necessity, follow.  However, God says that it is our hearts that matter most, and it is often the sins that we can’t see that are the most dangerous.

The external metrics of “worthiness” are never an issue with the Lord for there is no one worthy.  It is those with hard-hearts who are obsessed with worthiness.  You can do all the church service and works of man until you have wasted your strength and you will still be unworthy to receive anything from God – an unprofitable servant.  Nothing in the gospel is based upon our merits.  We are to rely solely on the merits of Christ.  He is the only worthy one among us.

Further, it is only by entering into a covenant relationship with Him that the nature [or heart] of a person can be sanctified.  It will not come after a life-long process of struggling to sanctify our behavior.

Punishment belongs to God:

The word of God, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword – is the only thing that may execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people.  Truly we say that to the Lord alone belongeth judgment:  “For it is mine and I will repay.”

The inflicting of punishment is reserved by God the Father.  The only punishment which can be justly inflicted is the removal of a soul to hell [rather hell on this earth for a time or to outer darkness for eternity].  This punishment belongs to the Father alone because it is based on the hardness/softness of the right-brain-heart, which no man can ascertain.

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. [1 Samuel 16:7]

Humans are not to judge:

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: [Luke 6:37]

This is the principle on which the atonement of Jesus Christ forgives sin.  Sin is not forgiven and punishment withheld because God effectively beat it out of Jesus.  Justice is not satisfied by the punishment of an innocent.

[The Compassionate Empathy Model of the Atonement and How the atonement of Jesus Christ solves the “victim” problem]

The gospel teaches us that Christ can satisfy the demands of justice on the behalf of those who repent and believe in Him.  In other words, Jesus satisfies those seeking justice [judging/condemning] thereby putting an end to their demands.  He can remove all accusers as demonstrated in John 8: 10-11.

The visual imagery of Jesus being:

filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; [Mosiah 15:9]

is that for a person to obtain or “get to” justice — they would first have to go through Jesus.  And He is there to present His atonement as evidence in your behalf so that justice will pause from making its demands long enough for Christ to make his own demands of mercy.

Where there is no condemnation [meaning we do not accuse or judge], there can be no punishment:

where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; [2 Nephi 9:25]

Thus, saints who have been commanded not to judge, accuse, or condemn are thereby prohibited from punishing other people.

Further, even assuming that a temporal punishment [rather inflicted by circumstance or by the State] is just and comes from God, gives a person,

a great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. [Mosiah 4:17-18]

Problems with human punishment, in general:

When humans inflict punishment on others, it encourages them to hide their feelings rather than express them honestly and truthfully.  This can begin in childhood and can have a myriad of negative consequences well into adulthood — negatively affecting a person’s relationship with spouses, children, and friends.

When parents punish, children are not taught appropriate ways to deal with anger, instead they learn that expressions of anger will result in a spanking or time-out.  They are taught that crying will result in being given “something to cry about”.  They are taught that happy is the only acceptable emotion.

Punishment increases deceitful behavior in children.  Afraid to own up to mistakes — children learn to become secretive, lie, and hide their errors.   In addition, no motive to obey [other than by threat of punishment] has been generated — when the threat of punishment is removed, true desires and character will be manifest.

In criminal punishment, offenders are judged as the ultimate source of their socially deviant behavior — and then they are deemed deserving of punishment on the grounds that they could have overcome their environmental and biological circumstances, but simply chose not to do so.  Thus, incarcerations and executions are valued over rehabilitation, retribution to victims, and deterrence.

Those in favor of punishment [rather a parent-to-child or the State-to-criminal] will refer especially to the “rod” verses in the Old Testament:

He that spareth his rod hateth his son [Proverbs 13:24]

As though this evidences that physical punishment is mandated by scripture, if not at least permitted.

Many may even feel that a child’s salvation depends on a parent punishing them. Punishment is considered the method of paying for their sin and removing their guilt.

However, the message of the gospel is that all sins, including those of children, have already been suffered for by Christ.  If the message that Christ has taken the burden of sin for us all [especially little children] tells us anything at all, it tells us that as saints — we are:

to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; [Isaiah 61:1-2]

Spanking, in particular:

Spanking is a bit of a controversial topic among parents.  Like the decision to homeschool, I have found that most will retort with:  “Well, I was spanked and I turned out fine.”  Not only does that assume that a person is capable of diagnosing their self as “fine” — but it ignores the very real fact many people who were spanked did not turn out “fine”.  Many of them are still, as adults, dealing with the results of their well-intentioned parents’ choice to punish.  Being “fine” in spite of something is not evidence that the thing is proper or necessary.

Further, the practice of spanking on the buttocks comes from the Victorian era — not from biblical times as is often assumed.  Spanking began under domestic discipline [a husband spanking his wife for not properly obeying him] and the history of the practice is sexual — both of which were enough reason for my family to refrain from spanking our children.

Besides, the physical punishment today rarely looks like the literal interpretation of the “rod” verses in the Old Testament.  The rod or shebet [which Proverbs tells us we are not to spare] was an implement that could kill a grown adult when being used to punish.  To be biblically-spanking [using the “rod” according to the original meaning] I would have to strike my children on the back with a shepherd’s staff large enough that I could conceivably kill them with it.

However, there is also another way to read the shebet that we are not to withhold.  As the staff of a shepherd, it would be used to guide [rather than strike].  As the scepter of a king, it would be

an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

As a measuring rod, it would be the standard works [or the word of God] by which all human behavior ought to be governed by.

Further, the Lord — in addition to proclaiming liberty to captives and opening prisons to those bound:

hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, [Isaiah 9:4]

Moved with compassion:

Because human punishment only teaches a person to obey — rather than why to obey or how to think for themselves — people have become more vulnerable to peer-pressure.  Already geared to be a people-pleaser, a child who is raised through fear of punishments will not have developed the necessary skills to be self-governing and say “no” — and will likely act out of fear of the negative consequences the group can inflict, as they learned in the home.

The punishments that humans inflict will not save a child, nor will it save a criminal.  That work is only wrought by Jesus Christ.  You cannot beat a person into salvation.  A child is not saved by a parent [nor a criminal by the State] who punishes him/her in order to “atone for his sin” or that he may learn how to “be good”.

No one is even saved by “being good” anyway.  A person is saved through a covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ — nothing more, nothing less.

Instead of helping people, punishment presents a distorted view of God.  God raises His children with compassion and mercy, not with punishment.  We cannot constantly beg at His throne for mercy and patience — while accusing and condemning our fellow-humans here on earth.

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying:  “Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.”  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying:  “Pay me that thou owest.”

And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.”  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?”  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

By this you may know my disciples:

The unsanctified believer in Christ will always focus on verses intended for others.  In this case, many may refer to Ephesians 6:1

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

and yet ignore the following verse directed towards the parents:

ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

It is not the place of a steward to make the concerns of their stewardship obey them [rather we are talking about husband-wife, parent-child, or State-citizen].  Rather, it is only the steward’s duty to govern:

by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile — Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

One is only brought up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” by discipline [meaning the way of disciple-making] — not punishment.

The root of our word for both disciple [and therefore “discipline”] is that of a student or follower.  It is a relational word — just as the Savior spent His time with His disciples, teaching them by word and by deeds.  Discipleship is what we do with others when we

sittest in [our] house, and when [we] walkest by the way, and when [we] liest down, and when [we] risest up. [Deuteronomy 6:7]

with them.

Discipleship is how humans learn by sight.  In our pre-mortal life, we walked by sight — meaning we were discipled.  As we saw, so we did — imitating the beings around us, learning by copying what we saw them do.

Upon entering mortality as children, we bring this capacity to imitate others with us.  We imitate or emulate our parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends and associates, the celebrities of the day, etc.  Eventually we assimilate into whatever society we are born into.

Disciplining [in the sense of how to make a disciple] comes as a steward acts as the servant that he or she is.  A servant is one who goes “through the dust” with another.  Only example and repetition will effectively:

Train up a child in the way he should go [Proverbs 22:6]

Using punishment does not discipline [or teach] a person.  When we punish, we act as if human society has no other means of bringing weaker members up to a standard of conduct — except for waiting until a person does something non-sanctioned, and then punishing them [legally or morally] for it.

The family has complete jurisdiction over a person during the entire childhood period.  The whole period up to maturity can be used to it teach a person to be capable of rational conduct in life.

Parents who disciple in the home will teach their children diligently and freely to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands – before the age of eight.  Then shall their children be baptized for the remission of sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.  They will also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.  They will teach their children to read and write, having a language which is pure and undefiled.  They will engage in continual tribal rituals to strengthen the common morphic field that exists among disciples of Jesus Christ.

If you love God sincerely, then you will naturally gravitate to becoming as He is and gathering with others who do too.  You cannot not, by adhering outwardly according to a law or standard, come to love God.  Thinking that our behavior can affect our standing with God is what leads people to falsely conclude that we should punish — because “it’s worth it”.

When we pass from mortal life and realize that all the laws and traditions of human convention no longer exist — then the true nature [state of the right-brain-heart] will manifest and those who have not learned to be as God [even though they still managed obedience] will find themselves removed from God because of their new-found freedom.

Our Father’s kingdom is tribal anarchy because it is for people who already know how to be.  He wants to know what people want to be — not what they can be punished into acting like.

Next Article by Justin:  Masculinity, Femininity, and Gender

Previous Article by Justin:  The conditions of this law

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15 Comments

  1. Thank you Justin. I learned a lot. I was raised by parents who believed in spanking as a punishment. I was also threatened into obeying by anger. I won’t pretend to know all of the results but I have realized that I was and still am to an extent a people pleaser. This was worse than it is now and I blame this training to do anything to prevent someone from getting angry as one cause of my being controlled for 33 years by two different wives out of fear of their anger.
    With God’s help and direction I have broken that bondage. I admit that with my chilrdren from my first marriage they were taught to obey by threat of punishment and threat of anger. Sorry kids, Justin wrote the post 32 years too late!
    At least now in my relation with my children we know that a request is more powerful than a demand. My son and I discussed that awhile ago. Someone told me I should enlist his help in a church activity to replace a brother who had just told us he would not be fulfilling his promised role. I was told that I must demand my son do it. I said it will be a stronger motivation if I ask if he will do it as a favor to me. The person said no way then he can just say no! I said yes but his love for me and my love for him is a stronger motivation than telling him he has to, that he must do it or else. The person did not agree and said i was wrong. I went and asked my son. And then asked him which was more powerful in motivating him? He said if you would of said that I had to do it or else, I would have said no just to see what would happen if I didn’t, Like what you were going to explode if I didn’t or what? We got a good laugh out of it. And I was happy to see that now at least we have a good way of motivating each other, love.
    Now with my new wife I will be seeking diligently God’s help in raising our children by example and love and time spent with them. It will be new for her also. But I am quite sure these children will be sent with the expectation from God to be raised by me in this new way.

  2. Justin:

    Can you describe the “common morphic field” in more detail? I followed the link to the Hydrogen2Oxygen site, but I was left wanting more information. Specifically, what is a “common morphic field,” how do they present themselves/act and what rituals would you be referring to?

    As for my parenting, we’ve never spanked… but, we’ve done more than our fair share of “timeouts” and can see some lapses where we might not be physically spanking, but the emotional spanking is present, unfortunately.

  3. Tuweap:

    Can you describe the “common morphic field” in more detail?

    Thanks for bringing that up. You’re right, I basically just made a reference to the subject of morphic fields without ever having addressed the subject in detail in anything I’ve written here. And the Hydrogen2Oxygen site takes it for granted that a reader would already be familiar with the subject.

    Morphic Fields
    If you can imagine — the realm of mental activity [thoughts, ideas, etc.] has a literal existence, just as this physical world does. In this material world — human bodies exist and interact with each other. In the mental world — minds exist and interact with each other.

    There is a common space of imagination — just like you have your own personal house in this world, but share a common street with your neighbors. A morphic field is the common “neighborhood” that your own personal mental space [“mind-house”] shares with other people.

    In this sense — chairs exist, but so do the idea of chairs. Further, if two people are following the same trail of thought, then they are walking a common pathway — or connected to a common morphic field.

    According to the author who formulated the term “morphic field” [his wiki page is linked to above] — such a shared mental field is set-up by the repetition of similar acts or thoughts [i.e. ritual]. Further, just like a trail in the forest — the more a certain path is walked, the easier it gets for others to do the same.

    Any individual person who acts out the ritual that is associated with a specific morphic field essentially “taps into” this common mental neighborhood and is thereby connected with all others who currently are or have ever done so.

    The concept of a transmission of shared informational patterns and archetypes was also proposed as the theory of collective unconscious by Carl Jung. Also, this is similar to the concept of Akashic Records [a term from Vedas representing the “library” of all human experiences and memories].

    In general — the concept of morphic fields sees the human brain to be more akin to an interface than the actual computer:

    A thought creates a field. The field is not bound by physical space. There is no limit as to where this field can expand. People with same or similar objectives in their lives will create a larger morphic field — and ideas can jump into their minds suddenly out from this collective field. The brain functions here as an interface, not only for thoughts of the individual, but also for the thoughts that come from the morphic field.

  4. Here are two more links from Hydrogen2Oxygen that also talk about morphic fields if you are interested:

    Where are our thoughts written

    Morphic fields and resonance

  5. Tuweap, I had to take a bit of a break writing to put our kids to bed — you also asked:

    what rituals would you be referring to?

    When I wrote that sentence, I was specifically thinking about the sacrament. When Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me,” He established a morphic field that we all connect to when the ordinance is done according to the same pattern.

    However, the same is true for all rituals of the gospel — in fact, the same is true for all rituals. The linked article from the OP discusses how the placebo effect is actually an effect of morphic fields [not of you thinking you are actually taking medicine]. In the study, there was a measurable placebo effect even if subjects knew they were taking a sugar pill. The ritual of taking a pill every morning connects a person to the associated morphic field — and can by the ritual alone see some improvement.

    Likewise, Paul warned the Corinthian church that their failure to administer the sacrament meal in the worthy/appropriate manner was the reason there were many sick and dying among them. There is a healing effect associated with the sacrament ritual — but it must be reenacted according to the pattern given by the Lord in order for us to be connected to the proper morphic field. [The same is true for the other ordinances of the gospel].

    The reverse side of this [where the secret combinations work to do the same thing] is seen in hidden symbols in movies, TV, pop music, advertising, bank notes, building, orchestrated world events, etc. Just like there are wars over physical land here in the material world — the mental world [which though intangible, is just as real] likewise has its own battles for control over the space there.

    The more people connected to a certain “idea” — the more powerful it becomes. Were enough people to connect to a single morphic field — were it to ever reach a sort of “critical mass” — it could change the world. The historical “Zion” communities have done such a thing among themselves [Enoch, Melchizedek, Nephites, etc.]. The latter-day Zion will in fact bring an end to this world — in which we understand “the world” not to be the physical planet or the people living here, but our systems, politics, economics, our ideas about the world, our flags, bank notes, and borders.

  6. This is in response to the comment above that states: “I was told that I must demand my son do it.”

    I have had the same kind of responses when someone wants my kids to act a certain way. It could be attending church, or any of a myriad of things. The attitude is to just force them. One person was sure I could bribe my kids to do it. You know, kids want that almighty buck. Well, my kids didn’t worship money, but they did (and do) value their freedom to choose. Especially now that they are teenagers, I allow them to choose in nearly everything they do. I am surprised how often that is looked down on.

    This is an excellent post. Thank you for taking the time to write it, Justin. My mother was not into punishing her children. Her philosophy matches what you have written above. I was at my most miserable when I was not able to follow her example.

  7. “He wants to know what people want to be — not what they can be punished into acting like.”

    just want you to know i quoted you several tilmes this week while teaching. great post.

  8. On morphic fields:

    Soon after the original sin, God gave his promise to destroy the spiritual being that speaks through the serpent, crushing his head through his heavenly organization. This rebellious being was named Satan, that means “someone that resists” or simply “rebel”.

    From the point of view of a biocentric worldview we can deduce that Satan created a mirror world that is opposed to God’s world and with a lie he attracted Adam and Eve into his cosmos. Humanity was enslaved by connecting themselves to Satan’s own morphic field, his consciousness. The consequences has been disastrous as we know.

    How was Satan able to create a mirror world? He concentrated on his own Ego instead on the fractal nature of the Whole. In doing this, he separated himself from the Whole, becoming a creature that lives in his own isolated cosmos. His cosmos lacks eternity even if it seems to be of a fractal nature because the only true eternal being is God.

    He declared independence from God by saying the first lie to Eve. His goal was to separate humanity from the ONE original consciousness. Everything that he does results in separation and isolation. His egoistic nature is evident in his human organization on earth.

    From this article.

  9. In response to the the article just quoted:

    God has actually promised to crush the skulls of all the sons of Seth (which is all of us, as Seth is a father to us all).

    “ha-Satan” means literally “the accuser”. In Hebrew, “to rebel” is “limrod” (past tense “rebelled” or nominative “a rebel” is “morad”).

    The first lie actually came from Adam, when he diminished his responsibility by accusing the woman that God had given him. The serpent actually speaks truth & eerie wisdom to Eve.

    As an interesting aside, pay attention to the order of the story in Genesis. The commandment to not eat of certain fruit is not given to woman, it is given to man before the creation of woman. Prior the first lie, could the first misunderstanding have been that woman was beholden to the same commandment as man? Just something I’ve wondered myself…

  10. …and the first lie was Adam telling Eve that she couldn’t so much as touch the fruit of the tree of knowledge without dying — thus adding to the commandment of the Father.

  11. Also

    The first lie actually came from Adam, when he diminished his responsibility by accusing the woman that God had given him.

    The “diminishment of responsibility” seems to me to be the product of centuries of Catholic exposition of the text — and not really based in what was said.

    Adam admitted to eating,

    …and I did eat.

    Just because he said,

    The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree…

    doesn’t really imply he was trying to dodge responsibility — unless you rely first on the past interpretations of the text that have said so.

    I can’t say that I read Adam’s exchange with YHVH as “a lie” — especially in light of the temple’s account of Adam’s line of reasoning [i.e., the primary importance of staying with Eve, the woman YHVH gavest to be with him].

  12. I guess I’ve always read into Adam’s statement an air of “but she made me do it!” Thanks for your take. I noticed these things myself years ago after deciding to make a thorough study of Genesis & Revelation, glad to have you corroborate.

    (I’ve also noticed a connection between the number line, star polygons, sacred geometry, prophetic time spans, and “time, times, & half a time”, i.e., y = x + 2x + x/2. I’ve wanted to write up a mathematical exposition of these ideas for this site, but I’ve never gotten around to it — basically its a geometrical similitude for the command to be equal & perfect [the discovery is founded upon the principle of “points equidistant on the parameter of a perfect circle”].)

  13. I’ve read the y = x + 2x + x/2 somewhere else before — but anything resembling an exposition on the subject that ties in the command to be equal and perfect, as you described. You can color me interested.

  14. Derek:

    You might like this exposition on whether the serpent tells truth, or “eerie wisdom”… skip down to “Lucifer is a Father of Lies” [in bold].

  15. I thought you may be interested in this BBC interview titled “Was Jesus an anarchist?”:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2011/05/was_jesus_an_anarchist.html

    God bless,

    Adam


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