Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Big Mouth Strikes Again!

Well, I must be a glutton for punishment.

Either that, or I just refuse to let the hateful/mindless majority take over the church my family has been a part of for at least 6 generations. (Or maybe once in awhile I’m still willing to let the spirit work through me.)

We had an EQ lesson the Sunday after April General Conference from the Howard Hunter book, Chapter 7: Continuous Revelation through Living Prophets.

Our teacher is a divorced guy about my age, that has a daughter that is currently on a mission.  He brings up some story about how she has a friend/former mission companion, that has issues with the churches new policy about the children of LGBT parents.  He then try’s to say some crap about this new policy is really not that different from what we’ve always been taught, and most of the class then goes off on an echo-chamber tangent about how good and inspired this new policy is.

I was just about to get up and leave in disgust, but instead, I felt inspired to raise my hand.  I said something to the effect of: I can’t believe that you are all giving some corporate handbook, written by some anonymous lawyer at Kirton▪McConkie the same weight as scripture or actual revelation.  There’s a huge difference between some handbook policy, and the word of the Lord.
The guy sitting across from me just nodded and smiled, and the rest of the quorum (including the instructor) just sat there stupefied.

TBM EQ Pres, thought he’d save the day and made some silly comment about how all of the brethren are inspired and prophets seers and revelators, and we need to just follow them if we don’t want to have bad things happen to us.

And then I did it again, I just interrupted, and said something like: look, the Q12 or 1st Pres can say what they want, and it MAY be inspired, but it doesn’t have to be.  What we do know is that ONLY THE Prophet can receive revelation for the whole church.  And unless THE Prophet is actually speaking for the Lord, it’s not binding on the whole church.  (I could have added and the church accepts it by what is today the worthless formality of  “common consent.”)  So if we have a question about a policy (or anything else being taught), we ought to analyze it by looking to see if it is consistent with the scriptures.  In this case, I think that answers the question, and shows the policy is wrong.  But if that doesn’t do it, then you look to see if it’s consistent with what other Prophets (when they were the president of the Church™), expressly speaking FOR the Lord, have said.  If that still doesn’t answer it (and while I didn’t say it, let’s face it there’s VERY little of that), then is it consistent with the principle of charity.  And if not, then it’s not likely to be the will or the word of the Lord, and the spirit will tell you that.  Then I said something about how the whole purpose of our mortal existence is to make choices, and that we all get to decide what we believe and how we act.  Finally I told them that if they abdicated their agency to church leaders, or anyone else, there will come a day when they will be called to account for it.

My nodding smiling friend across the room, just kept nodding and smiling, and everyone else just kind of shut up, and let the instructor finally move on.  Literally two minutes later he’s having people take turns reading the lesson book and comes to this:

“Only the President of the Church has the right to receive revelations for the entire Church or to give official interpretations of the scriptures or the doctrines of the Church”

Vindicated by the dicta of the correlation committee.

I’m actually not sure how to feel about that. Especially when they support the conclusion by mis-citing D&C 28:2 and substituting “[the President of the Church]” for “my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.”  But the spirit did shut them all up, and maybe a couple of them though about it, at least a little bit.  So I guess there’s that.

The next week I was out of town for work.

I’m sure TBM EQ Pres is planning to “report” me to the stake pres again, if he hasn’t already.
While I still have NO respect for the guy, I suppose I do sort of feel bad for him.

But then again, I’m Dence.


  1. Hurray! We need more people who understand that if those are not Christ's words being spoken, then we have no reason to play "follow the leader" like school children.

  2. Linda, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. You are my second one ;)
    Just curious as to who you think the "we" is, in your comment "we need more people. . ." cause I'm feeling pretty alone out here.

  3. I've been following your story since I found your blog link on Rock's blog. I'm so glad you haven't been cowed into being quiet. Unfortunately, reminding people to turn to the scriptures to see what the words of Christ really say and suggesting that the church may not be on target can be a brave act that may have unwanted consequences. Deep sigh. I am in the nursery where I can't get into trouble with my mouth. I don't know what I'd do if I were in class. Keep following the spirit, I'm sure you are helping someone wake up. Just be sure you are willing to pay the price that that may be required. (I can't believe we have reached this place in the church of Jesus Christ.)

    1. Betsy, Rock seems like a great guy. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for distilling many of the concepts I've studied for years into specific, actionable ideas. I do think his political leanings tend to lead him astray from time to time, but I see that with just about everyone.
      BTW, the nursery can be a good place to "endure" a bad ward, and my current ward is, if not the worst, then one of the top two worst wards I've ever been in. Maybe I should solicit a nursery calling ;)
      In any event, I do appreciate your words of encouragement, though I don't consider myself to be brave. I just know who I am, and what I know and believe, and it's more I don't care what "they" try to do, because "they" are really quite powerless. Sure, "they" can make things uncomfortable for my family, and possibly damage my family's relationship with me (at least for a time) but to me personally "they" can't do anything but bring condemnation on themselves. I don't think it will likely come to that (at least not with my current Stake Pres), but I honestly believe that it doesn't matter to me if it does.
      I suppose that's part of what happens when you come to recognize that The Church™ is not necessarily the church of Jesus Christ.

    2. I just re-read this and wanted to let you know that almost a year ago I was called to the nursery. "It'll only be for a couple months" I was told. Guess it's a convenient place to hide me (for now).

  4. Dear Dense,

    I too can’t keep my big mouth shut when it comes to challenging statements made in Sunday School, or in Relief Society.

    I teach the 4th week RS lesson each month which are taken from conference talks. One month I was assigned to speak on Carol McConkie’s “Follow the Prophet”. Well, that did not sit well with me, but I really do love my sisters in RS, so I prayed and studied a long time on how to handle that particular lesson. I was not about to teach follow the prophet. So as I frequently do, I prepared my handout slips for the sisters to read portions of the lesson. Except in EVERY instance where Sis. McConkie had stated “Follow the Prophet”, I substituted “Follow the Savior.”
    The lesson went very well, no one had their panties in a wad, and those sisters who followed along on their smart phones could see exactly what I was doing.

    Also, in Sunday School I will frequently speak out as you have done. Sometimes, there is an audible gasp, and sometimes others disagree with me, but I can back up with scripture the statements I’ve made. My hope is that some will search their scriptures a bit closer.

    So you and your big mouth are not alone. We need to be brave a speak out when error is being taught.

    1. Linda, I get wanting to play nice. It's a safe harbor. And I find your solution to be an interesting half-measure.
      But wouldn't it have been more honest to teach that you only should follow the prophet when he's speaking as THE Prophet (i.e. for the Lord), and it's up to each of them to exercise the right and responsibility of their agency to figure out just when that is?
      Oh, what do I know. That's probably just my natural man being stiff necked. I can't make anyone think critically about the gospel any more than they can stop me from doing so. I suppose all any of us can do is study and be willing to allow the spirit to use us if the Lord sees fit to do so.
      I did notice that you still never told me who "we" are though. That really is something I'd like to know, because apart from a few folks who comment on other blogs who I occasionally read that I mostly agree with, I really do feel alone out here.

  5. Dear Dense,

    I did not realize that I hadn't answered your original question. Sorry. The "we" I was referring to are those souls who know that what is being taught is not scriptural and are not afraid to speak up.

    1. Regrettably, I'm the only one like that in my ward (quite possibly in my stake).
      There was a time when I thought being tested as Abraham involved one big test, like sacrificing Isaac. More recently I'd come to think of it as including that, but also as being alone in your beliefs/knowledge of God. Abraham lived with his family in the wilderness with his knowledge of God, but without support from any society or other organization.
      Now I think this analysis may be flawed though, as at least Abraham was actually alone, and didn't have to contend with the Church™ (who should be acting as a delivery device for the gospel) about gospel truths.
      Boo hooo for me (and yes, I’ll have some cheese to go with that whine) ;)