Friday, July 24, 2015

Two Bits From My Morning Reading

This morning I was reading Chapter 45 from Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith. Two things struck me as interesting.

  • ...but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all.

    We might read this and think, "Well, I don't have any weird traditions that the church contradicts; I'm an Nth-generation Mormon!" What about traditional thoughts, also known as "assumptions"? Evidence comes along that contradicts our (individual or collective) assumptions and we have a sizable apostasy.

    (And I know one response to this could be to assume that I'm sitting here smugly, looking at people dropping off around me, thinking, "Some people just can't hack it!" I'm not. I read the parable of the ten virgins and I'm worried sick I'm one of the five foolish ones. I once heard a guy who survived D-Day describe how the leadership wanted to impress upon the enlisted men the seriousness of the situation by telling them, "Half of you will not make it," but the guy said later, "When you're 19 years old and you hear that half of the soldiers won't make it, you look at the guy next to you and think, 'That's tough luck for you, pal.'" Only spiritual teenagers read the parable of the ten virgins and think it's a sad story about the weaklings around them. Spiritual adults read it for what it is: a sobering warning.)

  • Some people say I am a fallen Prophet, because I do not bring forth more of the word of the Lord. Why do I not do it? Are we able to receive it? No! not one in this room.

    Think of that when you read the Huffington Post or Salt Lake Tribune article they run every six months about how something's wrong with President Monson because all he said at General Conference was that we should be nicer. Perhaps the current membership won't tolerate any correction more strident than that! I remember reading before that Brigham Young once received a revelation that he circulated among the apostles and they didn't like it, so he didn't declare it more widely. If the prophet seems weak, it means we are only capable of following weak direction.

    I'm about ready to declare a new Truth of Life: all perceived leadership problems are really just reflections of followship problems.

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