Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Only Religious Constant in Scripture Is Change

Although God is the same yesterday, today and forever, the structural, moral, social and symbolic has changed multiple times throughout scripture. Baptism replaced circumcision; animal sacrifice was discontinued; genocide no longer is seen as the will of God; the Jewish dietary system was modified in the early Christian Church; women in one society were told to remain silent, but almost no Christian denomination still follows that prior constraint; Paul dictated comparative hair length (again, at least in one society), and that has been abandoned in our day; polygamy was practiced by many Old Testament prophets but not by later societies; understanding of the very nature of God has evolved over time. The list goes on and on and on.  Eternal principles (which I believe are far fewer than most people assume) might not change, but the practical lives believers have led throughout time have changed in nearly innumerable ways. 

I understand the difficulty of many in accepting the changes that mark the history of Mormonism, but I am struck by the double standard this imposes on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every other Christian denomination that has been around for as long as our church has some aspect of its current practice and belief that is different than when it was founded - and different than what is described in the Bible. The fact that change occurred (even major change) is not the issue; whether or not we are open to change, even radical change, is. 

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