Following the prophet is easy when all you need to do is agree

A sacrament speaker brought up the November policy change today.

That marks yet another consecutive week of someone mentioning the policy change at least once during sacrament meeting, Sunday school, and elders quorum class.

I’ve beaten to death my feelings on the wordings and implications of the policy change, but as I was stewing on pondering the words of the speaker, a thought came to me that I hadn’t considered before, particularly connected with something the following speaker mentioned.

Why are Mormons so quick to stand firm behind the prophet when what he says requires no sacrifice?

In this case, I am definitely in the minority in my ward and stake regarding my feelings regarding this policy change. Most ward and stake members I know (and for that matter, Mormons I know outside of my stake) support the brethren on this change.

But it’s easy to support it. You don’t have to invest anything into supporting them. In fact, all you need to do is agree with them.

Let’s contrast this with home teaching.

Our high council speaker today reported that home teaching in our stake sits at 27%. That means that 3 out of every 4 families in our stake don’t receive visits from their home teachers. While anecdotal, friends of mine have shared similar statistics where they live.

So, back to my question: why are Mormons so quick to stand firm behind the prophet when what he says requires no sacrifice but so slow when what he says requires sacrifice?

Conversely, why am I labelled an apostate or a heretic when I disagree with the brethren on a policy (like the recent decision to prohibit children of gay parents from being baptized) but follow their counsel in other ways (like home teaching every month)?

Why are others not labelled apostate or heretics when they agree with the brethren on a policy (like the recent decision to prohibit children of gay parents from being baptized) but don’t follow their counsel in other ways (like home teaching every month)?

To be abundantly clear, I’m not judging those who don’t visit their home teaching families. I’m simply using that as an example. And it’s certainly not the only example we could use.

Finally, you know what the irony is in all this? Thomas S. Monson sat on the committee that established the current home teaching programme.

“Opposed… if any?”

I hear those words, almost on a weekly basis.

On a weekly basis, I get a few more drops of courage to actually raise my hand.

?Ǭ†Why is it that we don’t oppose when it’s how we feel sometimes??Ǭ† I must admit, I have never done it in a public meeting.?Ǭ† The closest I ever got was a few weeks ago when I had a PPI / HT interview with the EQP.?Ǭ† I told them point blank that I opposed a number of things they were doing in the quorum.?Ǭ† I didn’t try to be a jerk about it, but I let them know how I felt and why.?Ǭ† And, then to make it clear, I told them if they continued, I could not sustain them.?Ǭ† I / They left it there.?Ǭ† Nothing has changed.?Ǭ† They now know where I stand.

So, I’m thinking about our ward and stake conference that are comming up, where I’ll have another chance to oppose in public.?Ǭ† Honestly, I don’t know that I have the guts to do it.?Ǭ† I think I’d be more inclined to not raise my hand to sustain and afterwards, go to whoever and voice my opposition.?Ǭ† I admit that is the easier way out.

Ten Commandments

Today’s gospel doctrine lesson covered the ten commandments. While we did discuss what they meant on the surface, we also went into a little more depth on some of them.

For example, we discussed how the first two commandments could cover more than blatant idolatry or idol worshipping. We discussed how past-times and status could also be forms of idolatry.

We discussed how taking the Lord’s name could also refer to taking the sacrament unworthily; after all, we covenant to take Jesus’ name upon us when we take the sacrament.

We also discussed how the thou-shalt-not-kill commandment could also refer to spiritual killing?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùbeing responsible for the sinning, or spiritual death, of others. A good example of this is Corianton, the son of Alma the Younger.

Obedience

So if someone is told to pay ten percent tithing, and he pays eleven percent, does that make him more obedient? If someone is told not to drink coffee and never drinks anything hot, does that make her more obedient? If someone it told to read a page of the Book of Mormon a day and reads two, does that make him more obedient?

Under assignment from the stake

When I was called as elders quorum president nine years ago, I was dumfounded.

I had been a counsellor for a year, so I was familiar with how things worked, but it’s one thing to take care of delegated task; it’s quite another to hold keys that oversee the use of the Melchizedek Priesthood in an entire quorum. To top it off, I was the youngest person in the quorum. It hadn’t even been two years since I had returned home from my mission.

At the time, the bishop was concerned that too many members were coming to him with problems that could have been dealt with by the member’s home teachers or priesthood leaders. Along with the high priests group leader, it was up to me to convince the older members of my quorum to come to me for spiritual guidance and welfare needs.

It was a daunting task, but one I think my counsellors and I were able to accomplish. Through ministry visits, monthly home teaching interviews, and Sunday instruction, we were able to build a rapport and relationship with the brethren than we had previously.

I never gave anywhere near the number of blessings during the two years on my mission as I did the two years as elders quorum president. It was a very spiritual experience.

One experience sticks out though that never spiritually uplifted me. In fact, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

There was a member of my quorum who was not working outside of the home. His wife was. In fact, this brother—who was actually a friend of ours—was waiting for a job to fall in his lap, and his wife was taking up the slack in the meantime. The stake president assigned me to discuss this matter with the brother and convince him that providing for his family was his responsibility.

I took my first counsellor and we visited the family. We chatted a little while about this and that and the entire time I was dreading bringing this matter up. But bring it up I did, eventually. I told him that he needs to get a job and support his family.

They were polite, and he said things like “I have a few resumes out there”. Then we parted.

That was the last they ever spoke to me. They even avoided me at church, and he used his position in the stake to avoid attending our ward. Our friendship had shattered.

He never did get a job until one fell in his lap about a year or so later.

What good came out of it?