Friday, March 20, 2009

When The President Of The LDS Church Speaks Officially On Matters Of Doctrine, The Debate Is Over, Because The Thinking Has Been Done

There is a discussion taking place on the By Common Consent blog, in which quite frankly, some respondents are making me hot under the collar.

The discussion centers around a post entitled "God Loves Racists, Too". The author suddenly came to the realization that we don't need to apologize for the ban on Black Priesthood membership, using the “God loves racists, too” theory to explain it. He states that "God tends to give us what we want, because he loves us. God tends to let us ask for stupid things, because he loves us and recognizes that getting what you want is a good way to learn to not want stupid things. I think that the priesthood ban lapsed because we finally saw the petty stupidity of it. We, as a church, stopped wanting it and God, gratefully I think, let it go".

But others are not prepared to "let it go". In response, some commenters are playing the "Mormon Doctrine" card (based upon a book written by Bruce R. McConkie) and suggesting that the revelation issued by President Spencer W. Kimball in 1978 extending Priesthood eligibility to worthy males of African descent was merely a cover, despite the fact that McConkie actually updated the book to reflect the new revelation.

I will not tolerate such a suggestion that the revelation was merely "cover". Here's the bottom line. Spencer W. Kimball was the President of the Church, ordained to be a prophet, seer, and revelator, and authorized to speak for the ENTIRE Church on matters of doctrine. Bruce R. McConkie was an ordinary elder, not authorized to speak for the entire Church. On that basis alone, President Kimball TAKES PRECEDENCE over Elder McConkie.

Secondly, it no longer matters what previous Presidents of the Church had to say about this issue. The word of a living prophet ALWAYS takes precedence over that of a dead prophet. Living prophets have access to wisdom and experiences not available to dead prophets.

Why do Church bookstores continue to sell Mormon Doctrine? Because we are the Lord's Church, not a Soviet Church. During the 75-year Soviet occupation of Russia, every time a new General Secretary was chosen, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia was completely scrubbed down and re-written. This means Russian history was re-invented for political reasons. The LDS Church does NOT re-write or re-invent history. Yes, we've made about 3,000 or so minor editorial tuneups to the Book of Mormon, but that was merely for clarity, and did NOT change the fundamental message. Yet we have imperfect critics demanding perfection from an organization operated by other imperfect beings. That's beyond stupidity; that's outright disingenuity. The term "Latter-day Saint" doesn't so much describe what we are, but more like what we are trying to be.

This is why those of us Mormons who remain faithful to Church doctrine believe that when the President of the Church officially speaks on matters of doctrine, the debate is over, because the thinking has been done. In accordance with free agency, we are free not to obey counsel, but we will not debate the veracity of that counsel. We may suggest adjustments to individual policies, such as the length of meetings, or whether or not non-members should be admitted to temples to witness temple marriages of loved ones, but we will not dispute the fundamental doctrine itself. We don't consider the President of the Church to be personally infallible, but when he issues revelations on behalf of the Church, they become indisputable.

Latter-day Saints who question the veracity of a revelation aren't merely dissenters; they are apostates, and need to be dealt with as such. This means reprove, betimes with sharpness, but don't forget to leave the door open for their return by showing an increase of love towards them thereafter if they are willing to repent.

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