Friday, October 2, 2015

Ward Boundaries and Divorce: Irreconcilable Differences vs. Tolerance and Charity

I like the use of geographic boundaries to define wards and branches. I know there are issues in individual cases, and I know it causes grief sometimes, and I have NO problem whatsoever with people attending another ward, where geographically possible, in cases where real harm is occurring . . . but I really like that the default is geographic boundaries, rather than allowing people to congregation shop.

There is an element of learned tolerance and charity in having to try to worship with people who wouldn't normally be one's associates that I don't want to lose. I don't want us to adopt the individual salvation of much of the rest of Christianity; I want to maintain the principle that Zion is the goal and that "atonement" is a communal process. Those things are jeopardized when people can change congregations for any reason whatsoever - like "irreconcilable differences" now means almost nothing in divorces. Divorces should occur when there truly are irreconcilable differences, so I'm fine with people changing wards and branches in truly exceptional circumstances, but I want it to happen only in those exceptional circumstances where there really are irreconcilable differences no matter how hard the person tries to make it work. In other words, I don't want "common problems" to morph into "irreconcilable differences" - and I am positive that would happen without the geographic boundary default.

As a rule, I don't like making policies (in anything, not just the Church) based on exceptions. I like allowing exceptions in exceptional situations, not changing the default based on exceptional situations.