Idiots. Every village has them.
Since the New York Times is running this story and I feel very strongly about it, I’m going to address it here.
A couple of them (village idiots) in my Church have been running rampant recently, intent on shaming and forcing my Church into their vision of “Progress” and “Modern Times”. They’ve taken activism and social “issues” and decided that they would force their will onto the millions of members of my Faith.
Now, finally, the leadership of my Church has notified them that their continued membership will be reviewed, assessed and decided upon in what we call a Church Court. This is typically a very private matter; one where deep feelings and beliefs are analyzed, along with behavior, and then weighed to decide whether no action, corrective action or being cut off and out is in the best interest of the individual’s eternal salvation.
The very fact that this is being published in the New York Times is self-evident of attempts to subvert, socially pressure and embarrass the Church into doing what *they* want, regardless of what the Church itself wants/believes/knows. Doing that is enough; creating a group and recruiting other Church members into following your doctrine is exponentially worse.
What is not often fully understood about Biblical Christianity is that Christ set up His Church using the model of the Republic. The inherent value of a Republic is that it has foundational principles that rarely, if ever, change. The idea of a small group (or more pointedly, a large group or majority) of people deciding for themselves that those principles are wrong and need to be changed, and then proceeding to use manipulative tactics to try to force those changes on everyone else is in itself completely anathema to the Gospel of Christ. Behaving in the way that these people have shows a deep, fundamental, flaw in their understanding and professed belief in that Gospel. I believe, though I do not and should not know, that this is why they have convened a Church Court.
The further issue with these people is that the changes they are/were seeking also show a fundamental lack of understanding of the Gospel as taught by the LDS Church. A full understanding of the gospel, devoid of the social rhetoric of today’s culture and the philosophies of men, provide every explanation and answer she/they ever sought.
Everything they are seeking is already theirs; but they do not recognize or understand it due to their own apparent ignorance and their apparent unwillingness to seek those answers. It appears that they have a vision of what must be for the Church to “be correct”, and nothing short of that seems to satisfy them.
Furthermore, scripture after scripture strongly warns against doing exactly what they did. General teachings in the Church strongly warn against what they did and regular personal interviews with ecclesiastical leadership warns and reminds against exactly what they did.
The implications of their actions and behavior include that they 1) Do not believe that God is at the head of the LDS Church (or that, if they do, that it is their place to inform God on what He is and is not allowed to do). 2) Do not believe that the leadership of the Church is leading the Church through direction from God (or again that, if they do, they believe it is their place to let the leadership know what God forgot to inform them of). 3) Do not believe in or understand agency, as they believe they are entitled to coercively force their personal conclusions and beliefs not only on the Church itself, but on every member. 4) While claiming a desire to continue as members of the Church, they actively seek to transform it into a different Church with different beliefs and structure.
What is most astonishing to me is that these people are upset that the leadership of the Church feels a need to assess, openly and with input from the people in question, whether they are or intend to live the Gospel of Christ as taught and understood by the LDS Church, or whether they intend to continue to actively work against the LDS Church through slander and libel – in which case, they will be cut out and off and will no longer be members. Which is exactly what should happen.
If they go in and show humility, love, contrition and understanding, a willingness to accept Christ and the Gospel and a willingness to learn and understand the things they clearly do not – then they will be allowed to remain and a plan to help them succeed in those things will be put together. Which is exactly what should happen.
What is happening now though, is that they are expending effort to use this process to further attempt to shame, embarrass and force the Church to do things the way that *they* want to do them.
The short version is that if you are a member of the LDS Church, then be one. If you don’t believe in the LDS Church and what it does – why in the world are you punishing yourself and all those around you by remaining a member? You know why I’m not Catholic? Because I don’t agree with or believe everything they teach. But I’m not professing to be a Catholic while trying to change their core doctrine.
As my grandmother used to say: “Buck-up or Shut-up.”