Personal Online Journal

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The True Church

Scott Stover wrote an article on his personal resolution to some difficult history of the church.  This was part of his conclusion,
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its leaders are not perfect.  They never were and they never will be.  To expect them to be so sets a thoughtless and dangerous precedent.  The church shines nevertheless
At the beginning, he told a story of him playing guitar at a festival. And how the results might have been different if the expectations of those there were different. He then said,
I think it is important to remember the concept behind this story when we consider the church itself.  Sometime in the last 20-30 years, the testimony “I know the church is true” became a common declaration among Mormons.  What does this mean?  I frankly think we do the church, its leaders, and ourselves a disservice with this particular declaration.  I think it is demeaning and reduces the church to a clich√© – a caricature of itself.  I think in doing so we are setting the church up as a standard that it cannot meet.
I tend to agree with him. I do like the phrase, "the church is true". There is a comfort to it. It is the white to other blacks. But it may be setting us up to the wrong expectations.

Stover talks about the things the church does well and I agree with him. We sometimes forget the responsibilities we have as members of the church and as part of the human race in general. We have a duty to search out and live by good and true principles. The church have pointed out many of these. It have outlined a path to discover and master more and more good. It is up to us to learn about and put into practice the good and truth we find.

In the Joseph Smith Papers BYU TV series they talk about the difference between Joseph Smith's sermons and his revelations.
Narrator: The saints of the day considered [Joseph's] spoken word not as important as the written word of revelation.
Historian: A classic example is John Whitmer. Joseph uses his words to tell him that he wants him to be the historian of the church. John Whitmer doesn't want to do it. He says, "I'd rather not unless I get a revelation". Joseph then obtains a revelation which is section 47 of the Doctrine and Covenants and John Whitmer accepts it.
("Joseph Smith's Sermons", The Joseph Smith Papers. Starting about 3:34)
I think we all want to know what the Lord wants us to do. It makes it easier to follow if you know that. I remember a time when I was searching for what I wanted to do as a career. After several months, I came to the conclusion that the Lord would be please with many, many options. And that the Lord would not choose for me.

This applies to many other aspects of our lives. The doctrine of Christ is true. There are many other true principles taught by the church. It is more important that we live the truths we are sure of than to pick apart the stuff we are not sure of.

The scriptures give us a guide to go by,
And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. (D&C 68:4)

So what do you do when one of your church leaders asks you to do something? Do we follow them? If it is a good thing, then we should. Which it is nearly all the time. That does not mean we should not give constructive feedback at appropriate times and appropriate ways. We should not require that our leaders "get a revelation" for every request they ask of us. We are regularly instructed to get a confirmation from the Spirit that the Lord has called our bishop, stake president and the prophets. Once we get such a confirmation we should follow them.

Yes it is possible for them to lose their callings, but nearly all of them are doing good and we should follow them as the Spirit has confirmed to us.

It also means that each of us should seek the Spirit in all we do so as to lead as the Lord would have us lead.

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