David Marshall Stuart: Experiences of an Elder (Part 5)
42 minutes ago
(I) talk of Christ . . . and (I) write according to (my understanding), that (my) children (and friends) may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26)
I think during the early-mid 1800’s, Jesus was Mormon - in the sense this post highlights. He isn’t anymore, and I actually am glad he isn’t - for various reasons. However, I wish as a Church writ large we understood better who he is right now and loved “him” better and more fully than we do.
"Have you ever lived Mormonism out of faith?"The answer is:
"No, I don't think I have. I've never lived Mormonism out of faith in God's goodness."
I think her focus is going to be on Mormons who struggle to be able to express their concerns in the LDS Church - how their questioning affects their membership and why. She mentioned the number of members who wouldn't give their names if they were going to be quoted and how she was struck by that. She also talked about attending church with an acquaintance and observing the general lack of dissenting voices. (I think she doesn't realize a large part of that is because the LDS Church is so participatory in nature that most members don't want to cause contention or problems when they might be the one teaching the class later that day or down the road a few years. I think we all know that payback can be a . . . difficulty - and none of us want to encourage hard feelings and vocal, obvious disunity.)
I was crystal clear with her about my situation and why I don't struggle even though I question pretty much everything. (having to accept the fact early in life that I see things differently than everyone else around me and my social capital from not being a threat in any way) I told her I am a fully active, serving, believing, faithful, dedicated member - who just happens to see some things differently than others. (i.e., I don't question because I'm Mormon; I am Mormon and I question naturally.) She asked about my background, so I gave her a thumbnail sketch.
We talked a lot about placing Mormonism into historical perspective. (She mentioned how diverse and tolerant Judaism is, for example, and I pointed out that it wasn't nearly as diverse and tolerant back in the biblical days when it was being oppressed by various empires - and that Mormonism still is close enough to its times of intense persecution that it's unrealistic to expect it to be completely out of the woods in that regard.) I mentioned Pres. Uchtdorf and Elder Wirthlin and how there are top leaders who appear to be trying to move the Church toward a more accepting and less fundamentalist orientation, and I stressed the difference between that and what individual members encounter when they have local leadership that has an extreme protect-the-flock mentality and sees danger everywhere. (I used myself and an online friend as a prime example of the wide differences in local experiences.) I explained my settler vs. explorer analogy - that settlers establish barriers to ward of potential danger, while explorers are drawn to potential danger - that there is an inherent, unavoidable tension between them in most cases - and that neither approach is "bad" or "wrong". They just "are" - and I am trying to be the best "I am" possible for me - to live according to the dictates of my own conscience while allowing others to do the same.
I also taught her a new word - "orthoprax" (living one's life in a traditional manner) - and talked about how the mainstream actions of members generally can overcome non-aggressive heterodoxy (believing differently than the dominant group but not pushing for converts, so to speak).
"We love and always will honor you, but we can't allow you to hurt us by doing (or saying) _____________. We will never withdraw from you if you don't do (or say) _____________, but if you do we simply won't be able to see you or talk with you for _______________ (an established time frame)."
“Motherhood is like a roller coaster: there are lots of ups and downs, and sometimes you just have to close your eyes and scream.”
“The soul would have no rainbows if the eyes had no tears.”
“Heavenly Father, we speak with thee every day, and we look forward to the day when we can renew our relationship with Heavenly Mother.”
We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
"What is "the Gospel"? What is meant by "preach" the Gospel? What are the ordinances of that Gospel?"
"administer IN the ordinances thereof"
"administer the ordinances thereof"
A Priesthood leader asks me to wear a white shirt every Sunday due to my calling? Fine; I couldn't care less, so it's not worth fighting. I wear the white shirt.
Tea is prohibited in the Word of Wisdom - in the area where I live? Fine; I couldn't care less, so it's not worth fighting. I don't drink tea.
A prophet asks women to wear only one pair of earrings? Fine; I couldn't care less, so it's not worth fighting. I support my wife and daughters in wearing one pair of earrings.
Life's too short and precious to waste time fighting about the inconsequential. I love people too much to cause them to suffer over what is important to them but not important to me. I couldn't care less, so I don't fight.