Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Alma - Chapter 1

Thirty years ago I became friends with a fellow who'd been our local Southern Baptist Preacher.  He had left the ministry before he and I became acquainted.  The church council had approached him and instructed him to teach a more liberal gospel in his sermons.  He was unwilling to compromise his beliefs and so was dismissed.  They sought and got the preacher and gospel they wanted.  I so admired his integrity.  It isn't always so, when there is money involved and the congregation has itching ears.

I am so very thankful we don't practice priestcraft in the true church.  The standards and doctrines are revealed and carefully guarded against corruption.  No one benefits financially because of their service in the Kingdom.  The members sometimes celebritize our leaders, but the brethren would not have it be so.  There is no politicking, posturing, or lobbying for positions or policies in the Kingdom.  Priestcraft is indeed corupt and corupting.

As the Lord, through Alma, insisted that it was not becoming of a member of the Church to persecute one outside the Church I felt to rejoice.  How wonderful it is that we are bridge builders amongst our neighbors.  I thrilled when the Church loaned the Provo Tabernacle to Utah Valley Catholics for their Christmas Eve Midnight Mass.  How cool that the LDS Foundation assisted with the construction of the Krishna Temple in Payson.  I love that Church Humanitarian efforts are often done in cooperation with Catholic Relief Services.  I rejoiced last week when I read that the Muslim Relief Fund and contributed one million dollars to assist the devastated people of Haiti, by coordinating their contribution through the LDS Humanitarian Services.  Yesterday's paper had an article that excited me.  Rabbi David Rosen has suggested that the United States government should invite the Quorum of the Twelve to help initiate a religious dimension to negotiations in the Middle East.  Clearly the Rabbi can see that we do not practice priestcraft, nor do we discriminate or persecute those not of our faith.  Rather, we reach out in love and cooperation to all of Father's children.
30 And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.
The Book of Mormon, the Church and many many Latter-day Saints are fine examples of this.  I am so grateful that is how we are.


Candleman said...

This notion of persecutions caught my attention today. My brother-in-law lives in Senator Harry Reid's Stake in the DC area. He told me yesterday that Harry has got to be, hands down, the best home teacher in the church.

Harry's politics are not a match for most Utah Mormons I know. I wonder if he lived in your ward, how would you treat him? There's a Sister in my ward who'd demand his temple recommend was revoked. In other words, she'd persecute him! Would you? Would I?

D1Warbler said...

I have deep concerns about politicians (on either side of the aisle) who seem to believe that the "end justifies the means." I don't see that kind of thinking as "gospel friendly".

I'm sure the Senator is a person who cares about others, and especially, and very personally, believes in social justice -- probably because of his growing up in a poor family. I'm also certain that he is a wonderful home teacher.

That said, I think a person's public life needs to match his or her private life as much as possible; and I think that prominent LDS people, especially, need to think carefully about how their actions will be perceived by the general public, and be even more scrupulous about actions that could be perceived as dishonest than they might otherwise need to be.

In the case of the recent Senate "back room deals", facilitated by Senator Reid, I would say that the fact that they may not have been "technically" illegal, did not make them ethical!

I also think that there is great truth in the doctrine that "where much is given, much is expected.

The Senator has great power. For that reason, alone, I believe that he needs to make a greater effort to make his public actions match his private faith.

(I also understand that there is only one person who can question the Senator's actions in regard to his Temple Recommend, and that is his Bishop. All others need not apply!)