Sunday, April 23, 2006

dropping a bomb in priesthood meeting

i'm sitting in my elders quorum today, listening to my quroum president going off on how we need to seperate ourselves from the world. he spews on about how we need to follow the "lord's standards" and not the "world's standards" (among the dozen or so meaningless standards which are supposed the lord's, are hinckley's earring prohibition from a few years ago). i listened to him continue to spout on about how we need to follow these rules, no matter how insignificant they may seem, and how by doing so, we can show how righteous we are and distinct from "the world".

i couldn't take it any more and dropped my bomb.

"how is the church today any different from the pharisees of christ's time?" i ask. "all i ever hear anymore is about how we need to follow this rule and that rule. it's all about how we dress, how we worship, how often we pray, read the scriptures, go to church. it's all about earrings, the word of wisdom, home teaching for the sake of home teaching, callings for the sake of callings, self-righteousness, being better than others."

"the pharisees were doing all this. they were the perfect rule followers. christ came and rejected that. he broke those rules. they were perfect in following the commandments and didn't get it. they did not understand the gospel. christ came and showed them what the gospel was about. it wasn't about clothing, meticulous worship standards, food, rules, and regulations. it was about helping the poor. it was about reaching out to the outsiders, the ostracizes, the oppressed. it was about loving others and forgetting about the self."

"the church today seems to be right in line with the pharisees. if christ came today, we'd reject him. we would look down on him for his simple d.i.-bought clothing. we'd reject this simple person who was spending his time meeting with heroine addicts, homeless, alcoholics, and sinners. we wouldn't even know he had returned, because we'd be too busy trying perfect ourselves, that we wouldn't notice the guy helping out those in need."

"in the end of the gospel of mathew, christ made the distinction about those who would enter teh kingdom and those who wouldn't. he showed how the sheep and the goats would be seperated. those who will enter heaven are those who feed the hungy, clothe the naked, visit the sick, take care of the elderly, etc. those who don't go to heaven are those who do not. it is that simple. there is no talk of diets, earrings, church services, clothing, scripture reading, and all these other supposed "lord's standards" that everyone keeps talking about."

the room was silent for about 3 minutes, with nobody saying a word.

then they all got up, carried me out of the building, and told me to never come back.

ok, that didn't happen. a few guys got all defensive and tried to weave some nonsense together to justify things, but it was all just that... nonsense.

after the meeting, a couple guys came to me and thanked me. telling me that it was the best thing they've heard in church for a long time, and that they've always wanted to say that, but were to scared of the response. it made me feel like that perhaps i do have a reason to still go to church.

17 comments:

  1. AMEN. In my humble opinion, I think church members need to really concentrate on living as Christ has shown us. He taught us that we must love one another. Many of the parrables are about not shunning someone because they are diferent. Since none of us is perfect, thus we cannot be the one to cast the first stone, we should welcome all to come and worship with us. It shouldn't matter that they mowed their lawn on Sunday, took a drink, smoked, dressed "immodestly" or in rags, had a child, or any number of other "sins". I know of too many people who will not go to church because they do not feel accepted. They do not feel loved at all. These are the people who need our love and help more than anyone else. I think feeling accepted and wanted, no matter that you are a sinner, is why non-denominational church attendance is growing nationwide. People want to worship, but they need to feel forgiven. This is very hard in the LDS faith. I pray that we may all show love and acceptance to all. May we not only love our enemies, but also to the stranger and (maybe the hardest) to friends who have strayed.

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  2. The Silent Observer4/24/2006 12:52 PM

    then they all got up, carried me out of the building, and told me to never come back.

    You say that almost as if you wished it would have happened. No matter how valid your point is, there is no room in the gospel for "dropping a bomb." Instead of disrupting the lesson, you could have politely conveyed the same information and at the same time turned an otherwise worthless lesson into a meaningful discussion.

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  3. Loyd-I would have to say that I agree with you on the fact that people can sometimes get too involved with living "the rules" and forget about living the gospel of Christ. Although I do try to follow the guidelines that the prophet has told us, I try to focus on how those "rules" keep me closer to Christ. That's why I thought our RS theme for the year should be the "small and simple" things. I think it's the simple things that Christ teaches that really has the power to bring the Spirit into a person's life and thereby change it. Without the Spirit, whatever you learn, preach, or do has little to no efficacy. For the RS presidency lessons, each month we focus on something important that Jesus taught. May is my month to teach the lesson and I've thought about the topic of the divinity in everyone or something of that nature. I want everyone to know how important they are, but also how important everyone else is and I'm not sure exactly how to bring that across. I'm still figuring out the lesson.

    To anon, I agree that we should accpet and love people no matter what. My concern is that SOMETIMES people feel uncomfortable going to church because they know the standards of living a Christ-like life and aren't living them. They can then easily use the excuse of nobody loves them or accepts them to avoid facing the truth that they need to change. (I'm only saying sometimes because sadly I do know how people in the church can be unkind, unthoughtful, and unloving.) I think the excuses people use to not go to church is the same as people that go to church and live the letter of the law without really living like Christ and then make up excuses when confronted with the fact that they need to change.

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  4. Reminds me of the time my EQ pres. said only those that wore white shirts could pass the sacrament. (we dont have young men in the ward)

    I had a simular, yet, toned down and more limited conversation about the subject in the quorm meeting.

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  5. Good for you, Loyd. No religion can truly succeed unless it is there to make the world a better place. Being judgmental certainly doesn't accomplish that. The rules that are important to follow are key rules such as not killing, not committing adultery, and otherwise doing no harm.
    Jesus was a rebel. We should all be rebels in kind.

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  6. careful where you say "the church", symantics...but "the church" is still different from "leaders of the church" or "people within the church" or even "majority of the church".

    I often think about how different church is outside of utah and idaho. I remember attending church in Japan with lots of "wierd" members and people normally ostrasized from the "normal" people. Outside of Utah, clothing is definitely not as important as service and love. I often thought of these "wierd" member as only members cuz they were easy to baptize, due to lack of friends in the common population of people. But maybe that is the purpose of God's church, to bring in the needy. Where in Utah we have come to learn that being a member is cool and everyone is a part...and thus we become more clickish than here for the service and love for those in need.

    And also bringing up the little things like white shirts, earings, conservative ties....just shows that many of us are still on the level of the law of moses, where we need everything spelled out to show obedience...not so much because of necessity of those commandment. maybe???just a thought.

    I enjoyed your thoughts.

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  7. The title of your post said it all. You have a chip on your shoulder and you had to lambast someone. Excellent example of Christ-like attitude. Yeah right...

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  8. Jake C. here. I wish I would have been there, Loyd. Good for you! A few years ago, I remember realizing there are two entities associated with the LDS religion - the 'church' and the 'gospel.' The 'church' as I experienced in Provo, Idaho Falls, and Logan was/is an organization supposed to bring people to Christ and earn exaltation. Obedience to the church's (arguably not Christ's in some cases) established rules determines ones worth as a person in terms of the spiritual (and more in Provo). If people do not obey the rules, regardless of the utility and senselessness of some of those rules, they are shamed, ostracized, and have to fight their way 'back' to some level of 'worth' again (merely obedience to the rules). This is not how Chirst works! He went where it was dirty, disease-infested, and took care of dirty people with REAL problems. I don't see the majority of mormons doing that very often, do you? So what if I have an earring (which I don't), so what if I have a glass of Cabernet with dinner (which I do occasionally - it's good for your heart). If I am helping people who have real problems, and inconveniencing myself to help people and save lives, am I really not going to be exalted because I broke a couple of rules? You accurately articulated Christ's gospel and some of the less-informed or less-observant tried to defend all they know - the rules of the church. The 'Church' organization creates a standard of behavior that is supposedly in line with Christ's gospel, both in deeds and intent. I think it misses the mark.

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  9. I say, bravo. I don't think priesthood meeting should be a setting where any kind of dissenting viewpoint is intolerable. Some people seem to worry that it invites contention. Others feel that these sentiments should be expressed quietly, one-on-one with the president or the instructor, after the meeting has ended. I think it's vital that dissent is expressed in front of the entire quorum, during the meeting. When we choose not to speak up, we're only contributing to the already-existing pressure to simply nod and agree. Self-censorship isn't a virtue.

    If more quorums fostered an environment where people could respectfully disagree with the general consensus, then such comments wouldn't be considered "dropping the bomb." They would be considered acceptable and not out-of-the-ordinary. But unfortunately, since most elders quorums don't seem to be very encouraging of even respectful disagreement, honest comments such as Loydo's are much more offensive to some than they really should be.

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. You're so proud to be a non-conventional mormon and so proud that you can interpret the bible and everything that a good mormons should be doing and they're not. I'mn happy that someone (you only and 10 other people in your quorum) finally figured things out.

    Did you forget that the prophet is God's mouthpiece on earth? That through revelation he leads this church? And the rest of his time, when speaking for himself, is spent urging people to follow the principles of the gospel?

    Well President Hinckley may not have it figured out, nor the rest of us, so you'll have a lot of land to yourself in the celestial kingdom. It will probably be lonely, but that's cool - you wouldn't want to live with the rest of these crappy mormons for eternity anyway.

    Why go to a church whose leaders you don't fully support? When an apostle paraphrases Alma the Younger it must be because he's trying to back up his own views instead of that of the church or of God. Surely unchastity isn't an abomination before God, since it is listed as pretty much one of the top sins in the scriptures, and repeatedly through modern revelation.

    Joseph Smith said that people who go around badmouthing the leaders of the church ar eon the road to apostasy. It is as true as the pillars of heaven an that if they don't repent they'll find themselves away from the church.

    Seriously, wherver the momrmons are going in the afterlife, they're all going to go there together (eh ... at least that's the goal). Do you really want to live with these people for eternity? I would evaluate if you do or not and change your opinions thusly.

    People like you think everyone in the church is so self righteous because they don't share your "liberal" views on everything. The only self righteous people are the ones who seek to council their God-appointed church leaders and in turn their God.

    It doesn't sound like you believe in the church at all. It sounds like you have put yourself in a higher place than the church.

    If Pres. Hinckley tells me it's not a good idea to pierce my ears then bloody fucking hell im not gonna pierce my ears. I don't care why. It's not that difficult.

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  12. sam, i haven't been to responsive to comments lately, but i'll respond to you. you are an idiot and i had sex with your mom and it was great. joseph smith would be disgusted with your rhetoric. it's pretty simple. i know more about church history, church *doctrine*, church practice, church culture, scriptures, etc than you. i am smarter than you. it's that simple.

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  13. haha Yea Joseph Smith would be totally pissed that I advocate following the prophet. He would certainly be happy with you speaking for him. Perhaps you should start your own church - you could be your own prophet and have self righteous pricks question your teachings and motives.

    As for your level of intelligence - I have no doubts that you're more learned than I am.

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  14. Elder M. Russel Ballard from
    “Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers.”

    " Therefore, let us beware of false prophets and false teachers, both men and women, who are self-appointed declarers of the doctrines of the Church and who seek to spread their false gospel and attract followers by sponsoring symposia, books, and journals whose contents challenge fundamental doctrines of the Church. Beware of those who speak and publish in opposition to God’s true prophets and who actively proselyte others with reckless disregard for the eternal well-being of those whom they seduce. Like Nehor and Korihor in the Book of Mormon, they rely on sophistry to deceive and entice others to their views. They “set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion” (2 Ne. 26:29).[…]"


    Ahh but what do we care what he thinks? He's just proliferating his own Victorian ideas of religion and prophecy. He should really get a little more progressive.

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  15. my dear sam,

    why you gotta be so mean, has it been a while since you've been able to poop? you seem to like to exagerate and blow things out of context. you would fit in well with a bunch of anti-mormons. i'm sorry, but joseph smith would find your rhetoric appaling (though i'm sure he would get a big laugh out of it). joseph advocated rational autonomy much more than the church would want you to think. his ideas of authority and prophect are also much different than the stream-lined version you are fed today.

    you can go on quoting general authorities all day long. it's a rather pointless venture though. for every quote you provide i can provide a quote that says somewhat differently. you remind me of the many ignorant anti-mormons i used to bash with during my mission. no amount of argumentation, scriptures, quotes, the spirit, or whatever could affect you. you want to stick to your sad ultra-right ways and god him/herself could do nothing about it.

    if you're in happy valley, we should sit back and discuss this over some coffee and chocolate.

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  16. Okay. I live in Springville.

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  17. Sam, sweet. I am free most afternoons and evenings. How 'bout Borders or the Fresh Cup Cafe on University Ave. WHne is good for you?

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