Thursday, October 03, 2013

LDS Church: Stay With the Ship

The LDS Church carried out an unfortunate but very necessary excommunication of a popular LDS writer last month.  The name isn't important, but if you are familiar with LDS writing then you already know who I'm speaking of.

This popular ex-LDS writer who has and continues to hold doctrinal seminars; has a small number of adherents.  Now not everything this writer has said is incorrect.  I personally have gained many insights from his books.  However, the problem arose when this writer began making the following claims: 1. the current LDS Church is holding its members back 2. the current LDS Church has detracted from the pure doctrine of Joseph Smith 3, the current LDS Leadership do not possess the Priesthood keys and authority of Joseph Smith.

I'm not sure what this ex-LDS author was thinking when he started coming out publicly claiming and printing these claims, but anyone can see that no person could possibly remain LDS-in- good-standing and be publicly printing this.  

A forum I frequent had several fan's of this ex-LDS writer which includes the webmaster and moderators. The forum attracted me because it was supposed to be a conservative political forum.  But in reality, it has been revealed to be a fan forum for this popular ex-LDS author.  Since, the excommunication, the forum members have gotten very vocal and very clear in their adopted views with the ex-LDS author. 

I came to the forum wanting to talk about defending the US Constitution and constitutional principles.  Instead, I find myself having to continually defend the LDS Church to these other supposed-to-be LDS forum members. Even when talking politics, the conversation seems to be more focused on "why isn't LDS leadership not speaking out on these issues" more than the issues themselves.

In response to this, I wanted to make the following point.   Yes, the current LDS Church is NOT perfect and has NOT yet arrived at its appointed destination.  The LDS Church at the time of Joseph Smith's founding had not yet been perfected either.  However, let it be known that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's kingdom on Earth and it is and will be the only vehicle for the salvation of mankind. 

God may lead people to be Catholic or Luthern or non-denominational as a stepping-stone to becoming LDS. This would be akin to Lehi's family being led to Bountiful before crossing the Ocean to the "Promised Land". The LDS Church is the Promised Land and the only train that will gets its people safely to Zion.

Yes, the LDS Church has not yet arrived at our final destination; but it is the only train, boat, vehicle that will get us there. Any other thinking that a person can get to Zion outside the LDS Church priesthood authority is tragically mistaken.
Using another Book of Mormon prophetic analogy, the only other ship heading towards the promised land other than the Nephites (LDS Church) were the Mulekites (Jews). But they eventually became one nation. At some point the Mulekites joined with and became one with the Nephites and became Nephites.

It will be exciting to see the fulfillment of this prophesy in the Book of Mormon and Ezek 37 when the Jews will one day accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

My message to anyone out there worrying about perceived imperfections in the LDS Church; 'Stay in the boat!'
No, the LDS Church is NOT perfected. But we are expected to submit to God's priesthood authority and not "steady the ark". There is a difference in talking about about principles of freedom and Zion society and wanting to trigger a grass-roots rebellion and division in the ranks. It's not the Lord's way.
A friend asked me to give an example of a way in which the current LDS Church membership is not living according the teachings of Joseph Smith and how to respond to it.  In one example. The LDS Membership does not currently live under the "United Order". The LDS Church itself does live with all things in common. For example LDS Temples and meeting houses in Santo Domingo, DR; Racife, Brazil and Fiji are just as nice as in the US and the PotLuck Christmas parties are just as wounerfully mediocre everywhere.
You may say, the Church has departed from the teachings of Joseph Smith because membership themselves are not living under the United Order. However, the United Order in reality is an economic system that helps membership live consecration.  Unfortunately, in the western world, economic policy is controlled by politics and not religion (Thank-you Rothschilds). 
The LDS Church encourages individual members to talk about living the Law of Consecration and keeping their temple covenants better even though, as a community, we currently live under a  capitalist-controlled system and not a true free enterprise united order.  So, talk about you living consecration all you want. But you cross a line when we start saying "the Brethren should be doing this or saying that". That is none of our business.
Stick to the ship of Zion. If boats come to the side, showing beautiful colors and making wonderful promises, do not get off the ship to go to the shore on any other boat; but keep on the ship. If you are badly used by any of those that are on the ship, who have not got the proper spirit, remember the ship itself is allright. We should not allow our minds to become soured because of anything that the people on the ship may do to us; the ship is allright, and the officers are allright, and we will be right if we stick to the ship. I can assure you it will take you right into the land of glory.17 (Chapter 3: Lifelong Conversion: Continuing to Advance in the Principles of Truth, TOTP Lorenzo Snow)
Also it is important to realize just as Pres. Uchtdorf said in Oct 2013 General Conference, that God works through imperfect people which includes leadership. The introduction to the Book of Mormon warns that "And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God,"
Also the Doctrine and Covenants acknowledges that God works through imperfect people:
24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding. 
25 And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known; 
26 And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed; 
27 And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent; 
28 And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 1)
So, here God acknowledges that his chosen leaders like Peter at times have lacked knowledge, erred, and even sinned.  But the important thing is that our leaders have humbled ourselves and sought wisdom and repented and God's kingdom has progressed greatly.
Finally, going back to the boat analogy it is important to realize that the kingdom of God has yet to "arrive" at our final eternal  destination. Again, we haven't yet arrived but we know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only ship headed where we want to go-- Zion.  So, we need to "stay with the ship."
How do we balance, not coming out in open criticism (evil speaking) of current LDS Church leadership and seeking to steady the ark vs. not saying 'all is well in Zion?" I think the issue with not saying "all is well in Zion" is not a free pass to criticize LDS Leadership but to, realize our ship hasn't yet arrived. 

Is is alright to Second Guess and Monday Morning Quarterback the Brethern? No! But instead of murmuring, we should realize we still have a lot of sailing to do. Then, instead of being at ease sunbathing on the deck, we are helping to clean the decks and to hoist and trim the mainsail. 

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