November 28, 2006

Thoughts on Desire

Do you think we will be judged by God for the thoughts and desires that we have but never act on? It's what we were taught by our Mormon leaders.

I found this quote by Dallin H. Oaks (“The Desires of Our Hearts,” Ensign, June 1986, 64):

God’s law can assign consequences solely on the basis of our innermost thoughts and desires. There is no uncertainty in the administration of this law. As Ammon taught King Lamoni, God “looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning.” (Alma 18:32.)

As an LDS parent, I always figured this to be true, since sometimes I could look at my child and I knew what he or she was thinking of doing, even though nothing was said. But now that I don't believe in the church, should I continue to believe I'll be judged for my thoughts as harshly as if I'd done what I had thought about?

I think that's a raw deal.

I can't help it sometimes if I fantasize about something or someone. And what about dreams that come unbidden while we sleep? Will we be judged for those as well?

What was that quip? Oh, yeah. You can look at the menu, but you just can't eat.


from the ashes said...

I always felt guilty about thoughts, but now I recognize them as just thoughts. Now, if I daily fantasize about killing someone, I probably have a problem, but I'm not sinning.

I used to even feel guilty about sex fantasizing about my own husband!

Jazzy said...

Pretty thought provoking L. It is a raw deal, if true. I believe that God can see our thoughts and desires, but I don't believe that we would be judged by Him for those thoughts and desires. A thought is fleeting. How can we be judged if for a milli-second we have a dark thought of some sort? If that were the case, we would be judged by an unjust God who is not understanding or forgiving. How can we be judged and forgiven at the same time?

SocietyVs said...

I don't think we can be judged by our thoughts but only our wilfull intended actions (oddly enough coming from thinking on such things we want to do). So thoughts play a huge part as the predecessor to doing something but to say God will hold that against you may just be too literal an interpretation of what Jesus saind in the gospels on the subject - and they make it a law to boot.

Anonymous said...


I think God understands.

As you can see, I think I figured out how to link in comments...Thanks SML- you rock!

Sister Mary Lisa said...

"Said" woman! I knew you could do it. And I love the post you linked to.

Are you trying to tell me you aren't thinking nice thoughts today??

Pete Dunn said...

Yeah, I'm screwed.

Sideon said...

There's not a person alive who wouldn't be going to hell if their very thoughts were judged by God.

Examples of situations and ideas that will send you straight to hell:

-driving habits
-fashion magazines
-family squabbles
-telephone solicitors
-gym attire
-thong underwear
-the voice of the guy from "The Shane Company"

I must say that I'll be in GOOD company :)

sara sue said...

Surely he grades on a curve, huh?

Freckle Face Girl said...

One of the problems of the Mormon doctorine is that it focuses way too much on doom & gloom. There are just way too many things people can feel guilty about. I say shrug most of them off & go with your instincts.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

My thoughts today make me blush. And make my heart beat faster.

Sideon said...


Do tell.

Bishop Rick said...

You don't gain any weight from thinking about a piece of dessert.

For that matter you don't gain weight by smelling, touching or caressing that piece of dessert.

Just don't put it in your mouth.

Anonymous said...

..."You can feel the punishment but you can't commit the sin" I believe we all punish ourselves for our wayward thoughts...god (if there is one) is much to busy manipulating the universe! :)

Janet M. Kincaid said...

I hadn't thought about this in a long time (and I'll probably be judged for that, too, won't I?) In the grand scheme of things, I would hope God would judge us for our acts and not our thoughts and intentions. If S/He does include all of the above, though, then what I want to know is, why would S/He give us the ability to choose? Choosing is about weighing options, THINKING them through, deciding, and taking action. As far as I'm concerned, it's the actions that matter most.

And all of this is making my head hurt thinking about it.

Cele said...

Seeing as how I don't believe we go to "Hell" for our thoughts, let me pose this for consideration.

I once read a man can not be righteous if he has not been tested.

If we have thoughts that we do not act on, in a way of speaking is that not being tried? And therefore, pass the test by our choice to not act upon those thoughts?

Anonymous said...

The good thing about God's grace is that salvation is free, & forgiveness if full and permanent.

Cecily said...

Jesus did say that if you think of murder or adultery in your heart then it is as good as done. That being said, he forgave a filthy murderer who was dying beside him and advised him that he would see him in heaven. Yeah, we're judged on our thoughts - but there is a higher judging category. What did we think about Jesus? If we thought he was good and believed in him - that cancels out all the other yucky thoughts. Pretty cool I reckon!

And isn't it important what we do with the thoughts? If we turn them over and over in our mind and savour them - that's not so good. If we think it and never go back to it again and replace it with thoughts of good things - that's a good thing!

the Cadillac Cowboy said...

"I can't help it sometimes if I fantasize about something or someone."

I know what you mean. Sometimes, when I dream about Jesus (not much, but sometimes I do and when I do I must humbly admit that it is glorious, such beautiful orange and yellow hues) I wonder what he's going to wear underneath his red robes when he comes again. Is that wrong of me? But isn't that just some form of worship (albeit in some under-developed, uber-backwards small inner country, but who's judging ((besides the guys that come out with all those stats on small countries like how our GDP can crush their GDP all day long)?

Tell me I'm not alone on this one? We all have dreams about Jesus' underpants, right?