Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Preaching with Love

We have two competing commandments - or at least it appears that way on the surface. The greatest one is, “Love God and love thy neighbor as thyself,” “Love one another,” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” or any number of ways to phrase it. The other one is, “Preach the Gospel.” Christ said that the world would hate those who represent him, but he didn’t say that meant we should preach in such a way as to antagonize by our own actions. He generally didn’t do that, and neither should we.

There are many reasons why the early Saints were persecuted as harshly as they were, but one of them is how arrogantly they proclaimed their chosen status. I have read most of the published anti-Mormon stuff from the pre-Utah years, and that is a central theme. That arrogance and attendant pride is the central reason given for the demise of the United Order, as well.

We can fulfill the command to preach the Gospel as well as the command to love others, but we can't do it with an antagonistic spirit.


less mehzzed up said...

This is so true. I suppose part of the inherent conflict lies in the idea that Mormons belong to the "only true church" on the earth. We need to be careful about the way we internalize this idea. We are indeed blessed to be a part the restored the gospel; but when arrogance or even the feeling that we just plain know more than everybody else creeps in to our soul--we are in danger of becoming off-putting. Not only to others, but I think, to the Spirit as well.

In the past year or so I am realizing just how much I can learn about love and hope from my friends of other faiths. It's impossible to learn when we think we already know it all. And it's tough to be a good friend to those who believe differently when we think we have nothing to learn. Interesting post. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

This organisational arrogance was the main stumbling block to my husband's baptism-he got there in the end but kind of in spite of his experience at church.We're both much more comfortable with the way the missionaries teach these days,and with the tone that is set in general conference.It was particularly difficult when he was ward mission leader -for seven years.Being a naturally humble man this really did not gel with the missionary program at the time.Hated it,and foreign to our culture.We both feel it held up the church's progress in the UK,partucularly as there is cultural stereotype of Americans as arrogant.Hopefully the church is moving forward now,and a little less simplistic in our world view.