Monday, August 6, 2012

The Beauty and Danger of Pure Mormonism

I have a friend who had been raised in a home where he was taught that every single policy, rule, commandments, word of counsel, request, etc. was of exactly equal importance - that in order to be a "good member" he had to do everything, all the time.  He had not been taught about the many instances within our scriptures that talk about "a time for ____ and a time for ____" - or "it is not requisite that (you) should run faster than (you are) able" - or all the other ways to teach the principle of balance and prioritization. 

He asked me the following questions, and I am including my answers to those questions. 

First, I need to make it crystal clear that the following is my take only - the world according to Papa D:
Which "laws" do you think are necessary for becoming like Him?

The ones that deal with internalizing love, including some that aren't obvious at first glance. Probably not much else, since everything else hangs on love.
Do all LDS policies, rules, etc. fall into that camp?

Absolutely not - and I guarantee there is unanimity in the top leadership of the LDS Church with that answer.
Are some laws more important to keep than others if we are to become like Him? If so, which ones?

See my first response. (Wow, that was easy. *grin*)

Which laws from God (as defined by the LDS church) have unintended consequences, and when (if ever) do those unintended consequences outweigh the benefits?

All laws, policies, rules, etc. have extraneous consequences, some that are not "ideal". The policies, rules, hedges about the laws, etc. have unintended consequences - all of them. The consequences outweigh the benefits whenever they do. 

I really don't mean that last answer to be flippant. Each one of those policies, rules, hedges, etc. will have different consequences for different people - and even for the same people in different circumstances, which means each of us ultimately has to answer that question for herself.  I simply would add that distinguishing between God's law and man's best attempt to figure out God's law is not an easy exercise, which is why personal revelation, agency and accountability are such a central part of Mormon theology. 
That's both the beauty and the danger of pure Mormonism.

1 comment:

symphonyofdissent said...

I tend to believe that all of the commandment we have in the church are divinely inspired, but people tend to apply them to the extreme in which case virtue becomes a vice. The general authorities are always speaking out against extremes in any one direction.

All sins are not equal in their eternal consequences. Clearly murder or sexual sins have far greater eternal consequences than some more minor transgressions. I don't think any member would tell you otherwise. (actually this is something evangelicals blast us for all the time because they say it leads us to a focus on works and that any sin is enough to damn us unless we cease to rely on works.

The truth is that the most important commandment for each of us is the one that we have the hardest time keeping. What is required if we want to become like Christ is not mere obedience but consecration of our souls and the giving of our will to god. Whatever thing ( icon) in our life is stopping us from giving out whole to god is a very serious obstacle in our path back to him. The commandments with which we struggle show us the area in which we most strongly must work!