Saturday, April 4, 2009

If You Believe That You Alone Are Right, And That The LDS Leadership Have All "Gone Astray", You May Be On The Road To Apostasy

The Feminist Mormon Housewives blog is one of several in the Bloggernacle discussing the 179th Annual General Conference (don't be put off by the "feminist" moniker; this blog is generally pro-LDS). But instead of reporting any of the events, they've chosen merely to start an open discussion thread HERE.

One comment posted by Martin caused me concern. While only the last sentence in the comment is really pertinent to this post, I will cross-post the entire comment here in order to preserve the context:

As I listen to conference with its familiar cadences and soothing speakers, I find it surprising that I keep thinking about this blog I’ve followed for many months, and I have a question for all you active Mormon FHMers, particularly those who have a serious beef with the church’s policies.

My question is simply this: can any of you cite a circumstance when you feel the patriarchy of this church has EVER demonstrated inspired leadership or relevation for the church as a whole? Beyond the Book of Mormon, I mean, since several of you seem to accept it. I mean after that. The Kirtland bank? Polygamy? Expansion into Missouri? The temple ceremony? The martyrdom? The migration to Utah? Support for prohibition? Civil Rights? ERA? Blacks and the Priesthood? Church correllation? California Prop 8?

While I’ve truly learned a lot from all the comments I’ve read here (particularly from LDS people with un- or semi-orthodox views), I really wonder why many of you stay, especially considering the amount of anger and frustration expressed.

I sit here listening to these men (and woman) speak, and I don’t expect them to be perfect, but they do lead the church. Does God lead them? More than He leads me? Or, rather, does He lead me through them? If so, why then do they appear to be on the wrong side of nearly every issue? If not….

Comment by Martin — April 4, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

The last line of the highlighted section is of concern. Note that Martin now believes that the Church leadership is on the wrong side of nearly EVERY issue.

None of us who remain faithful to Church doctrine, regardless of level of activity, agree with the Church leadership 100 percent on everything. Some question the three-hour meeting block as being too long, others question the demands of various callings, still others wonder why close family members can't be given one-time guest recommends to witness their loved ones being married in the temple, and many honorably disagreed with the Church's stand on California Proposition 8. There is nothing wrong with raising such questions; such conduct is not only NOT apostasy, but doesn't even rise to the level of dissension.

But Martin has crossed that line. He not only is disconnected from the Church leadership on nearly every issue, but arrogantly presumes that the leadership is on the WRONG side on ALL those issues. When you get into a position of disagreeing with every major issue, then it is time for you to quit looking at the other side, and look in the mirror instead. Because the problem may be with YOU.

And Satan lurks behind the scenes literally licking his chops. Because now he gets to do what he does best; namely, dispense counterfeit light. Satan will summon his best missionaries from hell's MTC, and dispatch them to influence Martin. They'll tell him, "Martin, you're right. You're smarter than the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and all the Seventies combined. You know in your heart they've all gone astray; you alone are right. Here's you're chance to be the One Mighty And Strong, to call the leadership to repentance, and to single-handedly lead a 13-million member Church out of transgression. You can become Heaven's Next Idol".

Sound ludicrous? Yes, to rational people such as you and I, but no longer unthinkable to Martin. But the real tragedy isn't just that it can lead to apostasy and excommunication. It can lead to a lot worse. Review the experiences of both Ervil LeBaron and the Laffertys. They too suddenly decided that the leadership had all "gone astray", that they alone could bring the Church back, and presumptively called the Church leadership to "repentance". They ended up committing murder - sealing their "testimonies" with the innocent blood of others.

This is not to imply that the Church leadership is infallible. Individual leaders can fall into transgression and apostasize; the case of George P. Lee is proof. But we have obtained a promise from the Lord that once the fulness of the Gospel was restored, it would not be taken from the earth again. Consequently, neither the Church nor its leadership will be permitted to apostasize as a body.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, populated by individuals clothed in imperfect mortal tabernacles, will trip and stumble from time to time. But it will NEVER fall.


Seth R. said...

I agree with the notion that I have little personal basis for thinking that I have it right while all the leadership of the Church have it wrong. That would be presumptuous in the extreme.

But this notion that the Church will never go astray has been bugging me.

How can it be impossible for the LDS Church to go astray? This is not the pattern of the scriptures - where there was always a possibility that the Church AS A WHOLE might fall into wickedness and error. It often happened too.

As God demonstrated in his decision to spare Ninevah after Jonah prophesied its destruction, God can and will change his mind based on human actions.

Is it so unthinkable that the LDS Church as a whole, as a people, might someday change enough to lose the promises the Lord has given them?

Jack Mormon said...

Seth - It's more a matter of faith than anything else. Since the Lord promised that the Gospel would not be removed from the earth, this would imply that somehow it would be preserved.

Perhaps it's not impossible that the Church as we know it might go astray, because anything is within the realm of possibility, but I believe even if that happened, there'd be a remnant who would remain faithful to the principles.

Besides, you can always judge the leadership by what they preach.