For LDS Members: LDS Intro Post 1

Intro - LDS

Latter-day Saints find themselves in an interesting position in today's world. We claim some fairly significant things—some of which could be said to be even outrageous. We are unique in those things we claim. It is not my intent to rehearse them in detail here but you know what they are.

We claim to have a real prophet, Joseph Smith, who had amazing experiences at the beginning. Then there is the temple with its work for dead people. Who works for dead people? And why would they do that? There's more but you are aware.

I'm going to begin my comments by pogo-sticking all over the map. I have several thoughts in my head and I'm just going to let them out in no particular order but ultimately they will coalesce into a coherant point. We begin, as I have mentioned, with the idea that we are a unique people in our beliefs but it appears to me that we have become fearful or ashamed of our uniquness in an effort to compromise with the world in order to be accepted.

Of One Mind And Heart, Compromised

At the core of all this uniqueness, though, is the admonition of the Savior that we be one; of one mind and heart. (See 4th Nephi for an example.) That does not infer robotics. Strong individuals can come to consensus when humbly led by the Spirit. Consensus is very different than compromise.

The world mostly uses compromise because it does not recognize the Spirit. Do we all too often give in to compromise just to get along? Externally, has public relations become more important than truth? Internally, has Correlation become more important than inspiration?

Make no mistake, this effort will not include general authority bashing or other such rebel causes. In like manner, however, make no mistake that my primary allegiance is to the Savior and only secondarily to the Church. I have been baptized. I have received all the ordinances of the temple. From here, only the Savior can save me, not my bishop, stake president, or any General Authority.

However, the culture of the LDS Church has developed a attitude of extreme patriotism toward the Church and its current mortal leaders. We have difficulty realistically analysing our current culture with any degree of pragmatism. If I would like to see a Priesthood/Relief Society lesson manual with significantly more meat in it. Why do we think a constant diet of vanilla pudding is nourishing? 

If I say that Priesthood callings are primarily administrative callings to teach men how to serve, not to provide them with personal aggrandizement or coercive power of any sort, am I somehow berating my Priesthood leaders? If I suggest that I would like to see at least some of the General Conference talks be given extemporaneously (which would, no doubt, utterly panic the Correlation Committee) would I, again, be suggesting apostacy? I believe, actually, the facts point to quite the opposite.

My point here is simple: Latter-day Saints spend far too much time putting the Church and its leadership on far too many pedestals. And I don't think it's always the fault of the general membership. I asked a general authority once in a priesthood leadership meeting the following question: "Does it make your job more difficult when the members put you and other general authorities up on artificial pedestals and try to make rock stars out of you?"

His answer danced all over the question without directly addressing the issue. It sounded as if he didn't want to recognize that the pedestal on which we put him was artificial and, in fact, that he wanted to be up there. He was not a very high-ranking general authority so I'll give him the benefit of inexperience but he was enjoying being the rock star at that meeting.

Needless to say, I was stunned at his answer. I expected something more like, "Yes, it is more difficult because the added glory we receive for simply acting within our calling adds a level of pressure. And that pressure makes more difficult the job of maintaining a level of humility that is pleasing to the Lord. There is only one pedestal and it belongs to the Lord. All the rest of us, position notwithstanding, are all on the ground around Him looking up." That's what I wanted him to say. I wanted him to put the emphasis on the Lord. The Savior is the only one among us with a pedestal.

What is additionally stunning and should be telling to each of us is the fact that He would willingly come down from that pedestal and wash our feet to demonstrate and, more importantly teach, the very attitude I describe. He gives His glory to the Father. Even He, who deserves every bit of it, passes praise on. Who are we, then, to revel in any glory for anything we do?

  In The Intro - LDS Category
Design and Coding by the Blog owner.