Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Fresh, Clean Smell of Hypocrisy in the Morning

The next part of my prophets series is coming soon. But first, this brief interruption for breaking news satire:



As you know, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held an important news conference yesterday to explain and reaffirm the Church's views on religious freedom. 

This news conference comes in light of recent actions by the church, including the following:
  • Excommunicating faithful church members who question LDS practice or beliefs in light of scripture
  • Seeking to silence religious expression by demanding that books, blogs, and public speech be curtailed or eliminated
  • Threatening to excommunicate minor children due to their parents' beliefs
  • Insisting on the right to control private family religious observance in the home
  • Excommunicating faithful members for simply asking questions and requesting the prophets go to the Lord for answers
  • Labeling unorthodox thinkers as "apostate" and warning other church members not to associate with or listen to such people
  • Threatening to excommunicate those who advocate for the rights of gays, women, dissenters, scholars, and other Mormon minorities
In other words, the Church has reaffirmed its commitment to treat those they call "apostates" with love, compassion, tolerance, and fairness, while guaranteeing the rights of such people to practice their deeply held religious beliefs, unmolested.  

This is a wonderful development!

Here are their words, cut and pasted directly from the official transcript (emphasis mine):

Elder D. Todd Christofferson: 

"To those who follow the Church closely and who are familiar with its teachings and positions on various social issues, it will be apparent that we are announcing no change in doctrine or Church teachings today. But we are suggesting a way forward in which those with different views on these complex issues can together seek for solutions that will be fair to everyone." 

Sister Neill Marriott:

"My name is Neill Marriott and I’m pleased to be here today with Elders Christofferson, Oaks and Holland on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to share our views on the ongoing discussion of religious freedom. While we speak primarily to an American public, we include our own members who number 15 million worldwide, many of whom reside in other nations wrestling with the same issues we face here in the United States. 

"This nation is engaged in a great debate about marriage, family, individual conscience and collective rights and the place of religious freedom in our society. The eventual outcome of this debate will influence to a large extent whether millions of people with diverse backgrounds and different views and values will live together in relative harmony for the foreseeable future.  


"In any democratic society, differences often lead to tensions. Such tensions are not to be feared unless they become so extreme that they threaten to tear apart the very fabric of society. While that's happened sometimes in our history, we're at our best as fellow citizens when the push-pull of different viewpoints, freely and thoroughly aired in national debate, lead ultimately to compromise and resolution and we move on as a nation, stronger than before. 


"God is loving and merciful.


"His heart reaches out to all of His children equally and He expects us to treat each other with love and fairness. There's ample evidence in the life of Jesus Christ to demonstrate that He stood firm for living the laws of God, yet reached out to those who had been marginalized even though He was criticized for doing so." 


Elder Dallin H. Oaks: 

"Meanwhile, those who seek the protection of religious conscience and expression and the free exercise of their religion look with alarm at the steady erosion of treasured freedoms that are guaranteed in the United States Constitution. 

"Sadly, the list is expanding. Accusations of bigotry toward people simply because they are motivated by their religious faith and conscience have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and public debate. When religious people are publicly intimidated, retaliated against, forced from employment or made to suffer personal loss because they have raised their voice in the public square, donated to a cause or participated in an election, our democracy is the loser." 


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: 

"The precious constitutional right of free speech does not exclude any individual or group, and a society is only truly free when it respects freedom of religious exercise, conscience and expression for everyone, including unpopular minorities. 

"At the same time, we urgently need laws that protect faith communities and individuals against discrimination and retaliation for claiming the core rights of free expression and religious practice that are at the heart of our identity as a nation and our legacy as citizens.   



  • We claim for everyone the God-given and Constitutional right to live their faith according to the dictates of their own conscience, without harming the health or safety of others.
  • We reject persecution and retaliation of any kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief, economic circumstances or differences in gender or sexual orientation. 

"Accommodating the rights of all people—including their religious rights—requires wisdom and judgment, compassion and fairness.

"These are serious issues, and they require serious minds engaged in thoughtful, courteous discourse. 


"Certainly, religious rights must include a family’s right to worship and conduct religious activities in the home as it sees fit, and for parents to teach their children according to their religious values—recognizing that when children are old enough they will choose their own path. 


"Let us conclude by emphasizing this point as an alternative to the rhetoric and intolerance that for too long has come to characterize national debate on this matter. We must find ways to show respect for others whose beliefs, values and behaviors differ from ours while never being forced to deny or abandon our own beliefs, values and behaviors in the process. Every citizen’s rights are best guarded when each person and group guards for others those rights they wish guarded for themselves.  


"Today we have spelled out the Church’s concerns about the erosion of religious liberties, while at the same time calling for fairness for all people." 


Well Said! Bravo! Three Cheers!

No doubt, then, we can all look forward to civil discourse in the LDS church on religious topics, and an end to persecution and punishment of church members for simply sharing ideas, having questions, or worshipping in their own homes according to their own beliefs. 

Right?

Because anything less would be wildly hypocritical.

22 comments:

  1. So, does this mean that the arm of fellowship will be extended to everyone who was cast out of the LDS Church for their beliefs, for daring to ask that the president of the Church ask God a question, for living the gospel according to their honest beliefs, for conversing with like-minded others about their beliefs? That all of their excommunications and disfellowshipments will be deleted and thrown away? That all temple recommends will be returned?

    How awesome to have the thought-police on facebook and in other places shot down, to have the saving the saints committee disbanded (I never can remember their real name. Protecting the saints committee. Strengthening the members committee. I think that's it).

    But, I wouldn't hold my breath. They are on a path that they willingly chose during 2013-2014 and it appears that they are continually increasing speed in their destructive spiral.

    This is not the same church I grew up in. Not at all.

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  2. Thanks for pointing out what I had totally missed in relation to this press conference. These are interesting times.

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  3. Great news! The church has now become accountable to the world. I'm sure we'll see massive policy changes now, zion is just around the corner. :)

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  4. Adrian, you and Tausha must have bought a different package with different membership benefits when you joined.

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  5. If I wasn't seeing it with my own eyes I wouldn't believe this circus which started with a few card trinks and has now grown into a full-blown 3-Ring-Extravaganza. With no end in sight.

    It's becoming unbearable to watch.

    Now I know how my ancestors felt as tenet after tenet was sacrificed to the gods of public opinion, political pressure and financial tyranny.

    And those true followers of Christ persecuted and hunted down (a bishop in Arizona has now promised to find every last believer in the scriptures and ex them. )

    This is not about homosexuality, it's about the church consistently and with alarmingly increasing frequency abandoning tenets (Doctrine was ceded long ago) to these telestial forces.

    Homosexuality is just the latest face on a very old process called "polluting the Church of God". We've seen this for generations; it started in Nauvoo while Joseph was still alive. It's what killed him.

    Intriguingly, the more the church beats its drum calling for respect and tolerance, seeking the approval of this world, not of Christ, the tighter the church is cinching its own noose around its own neck.

    True prophets call the world to repentance. They don't grovel to the media, pleading for their respect & approval.

    Imagine Abinadi confronting King Noah with the tone & text of this press conference. Imagine Christ on trial, begging for the good graces of the ruling hierarchy.

    Yet this is what our prophets are doing (and with a female trotted out to make us look more acceptable, but don't tell anyone she's completely powerless in our church to even be trusted with her own budget and own magazine & curriculum. ... hush hush on that. ..).

    It's my understanding that prophets prophesy, see, reveal, call to repentance, and bring others to Christ. They do not pander to the gods of public opinion, political pressure and financial tyranny as this press conference was clearly doing.

    A true prophet does not ask for, nor lobby for, nor even demand mortal approval and "rights" to worship God as God intends.

    A true prophet teaches the people how to worship God as God intends and then does so. He calls God's enemies to repentance and then leaves God to deal with the socio-political-economic enemies with His amply Almighty and capable Hand.

    Sadly I see none of this from church leaders. This press conference pandering is completely foreign to and incongruent with our scriptural accounts of true prophets.

    I suppose Joseph did grovel to the POTUS for help... but I believe that debacle is also inconsistent with the behavior and faith the Lord expects of His prophets.

    He expects a Moses demanding that the Pharaohs bow to God; not a committee holding a press conference pleading that God's people be granted freedom to worship God (then secretly spiritually persecuting and murdering the true Followers of Christ in their secret chambers! While the cameras are rolling on the primped and posing whited sepluchres. )

    Wo unto each of us (myself included) who are hypocrites!

    Wo unto those who pollute the church of God.

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  6. Angelina

    Thank you... very well done. My exact sentiments.

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  7. Excellent analysis Angelina! Knuckles.

    Intriguingly, the more the church beats its drum calling for respect and tolerance, seeking the approval of this world, not of Christ, the tighter the church is cinching its own noose around its own neck.

    Can I borrow your knife sharpener?

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  8. Me, too. I love the smell of hypocrisy. Makes me giddy.

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  9. Well said, Angelina.

    Could this be another positioning maneuver bracing for the day when same-sex marriage will become the law of the land with the possibility of folks suing the Church™ for the right to seal gay and lesbian couples in the temples? I've heard the Proclamation on the Family described in those terms. Where the Church™ is beholden to the US government to continuing granting it tax-exempt status it ends up dancing a delicate, strategic step with Babylon.

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  10. A true prophet DOES demand or claim the rights and privileges of worshiping God as God intends….

    “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” A. of F. 11

    Why is it so hard for people to understand that being allowed to worship how, where or what they may DOES NOT mean that you have the right to tell others how they should or should not worship. Also, all those that have been “cast out” for not following the teachings of the church and its leaders have EVERY RIGHT to worship how, where, or what they may.

    However, just as freedom of speech should allow us to be able to speak how, where, or what we may… it does NOT mean that we can or should yell “fire!” in a crowded theatre. With every right comes responsibility. And with every right and responsibility comes accountability. If you do not agree with me that’s fine, say so, but don’t tell me that you have the right to come in my house and freely speak to my kids, my brothers, and sisters, of dangerous or hurtful words.

    If you do not like the way the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being run, it is your right to leave and worship how, where, or what you may. BUT you do NOT have the right to come into my house (of worship) and teach my kids, my brothers, and my sisters false or misleading doctrines.

    What has always amazed me is that anyone can leave the church, but very few who leave the church can leave it alone. If you don’t like it… leave… AND leave it alone.

    -A fellow seeker of truth.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous seeker,

      Thank you for your comments. I actually agree with much of what you shared. But I think a couple of points deserve clarification.

      1. If the theater is on fire, you have not only the right, but also the duty to yell "Fire". http://www.totheremnant.com/2014/09/finding-fault-or-feeding-faith.html

      2. I don't know anyone who has been cast out of the church for coming into the church and teaching, falsehoods or otherwise. All the cases I know (and there are now many) involve things people did OUTSIDE the church. Writing a blog, writing a book, submitting to baptism, taking sacrament. None of these things happened in the church. Nobody came into your house and taught falsehoods. Unless they were teaching from the church manual, that is.
      http://www.totheremnant.com/2014/07/history-hearsay-and-heresy-part-3.html

      In my case, I never made any waves at church, served faithfully in my callings, paid my tithing, did my home teaching, kept the rules. And I did not "leave the church." I was cast out.

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    2. There appears to be a ton of bitterness in your posts. I hope someday you can take accountability for your own actions, which is if you don't want to abide by the LDS doctrine and follow those that lead the church, you need to follow your own path and be fine with your decision. Don't say you were cast off like you were an innocent bystander when it was due to your own actions that led you to be ex'd.

      It is completely apparent that the reason why you and others criticize and try and read into talks given by LDS leaders is that you are simply trying to rationalize and justify your actions for leaving the LDS church.

      Haters gonna hate...

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    3. I'm sorry you perceive my posts as bitter. I honestly don't feel any bitter feelings--only sorrow for my brothers and sisters, and for what Joseph's restoration has been perverted to become.

      I certainly take accountability for my actions, and have not tried to avoid it in any way. You'll notice I'm posting under my real name and allowing others to criticize me, for instance, while you are anonymously doing the criticizing and condemning me.

      I'm amazed that you think you know the reasons why I was cast out, what's in my heart, and what "actions" led to my excommunication. Unless you are a member of my former stake presidency or high council, which I doubt, you know nothing about the situation. (And if you do happen to be one of those men, you really ought to speak with me personally, rather than publicly attacking me.)

      A couple of serious questions I hope you'll ponder. They matter.

      1. Why have you chosen to attack me, rather than deal with what I have written? In most cases, personal attacks like this are motivated by fear. If my message causes you fear, you should ponder why that is.

      2. Do you think it's OK for the church to argue in favor of a family's right to worship as they see fit in their own home, but then excommunicate families for doing that very thing? Not for any sin, mind you, but only for worshiping exactly as the scriptures teach, in private, "according to the dictates of their own conscience." Are you OK with that?

      3. And if you are OK with #2, will you still be OK with it when it is you, a family member, a friend, or a loved one who is being cast out?

      4. Do you suppose God is pleased that the same church that publicly argues in favor of free religious speech, without threat of punishment or retaliation, then threatens and excommunicates those who do actually speak their conscience, or simply ask questions?

      You need to stop worrying about me and consider what I have written. If I have written falsehood, please point it out. If you cannot do so, then I urge you to speedily re-evaluate your position, repent, learn of Christ's gospel and come unto Him. Time is short and there are much more important things than me you ought to be dealing with.

      Whoever you are, I love you and wish you the best. Brothers gonna love.

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  11. Well said Adrian and Angelina.
    Apparently, in SLC it is OK to beg in the media if you are rich and powerful, but a new ordinance now makes it illegal to beg ("panhandle") on the sidewalks and streets of SLC.
    "For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God?" (Mormon 8:37-38)
    James Russell Uhl

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  12. I find that there are no warnings about lawyers and judges until Alma, who warned the members of the Church about them and their intent.

    Alma 10:27 states: “And now behold, I say unto you that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges. (About 82.BC.)

    As we see in 3rd Nephi, judges and lawyers continued to spin their web for 100 years and were deeply involved with the wickedness of the people just before the Savior appeared.

    Can we not recognize that these circumstances prevail now and learn from their experience?

    Presently the lawyers and judges have the upper hand in the affairs of this nation and therefore many liberties, including our religious freedoms, are at stake. Property rights have been eroding for some time. The list is long. If we think we OWN our homes... just not pay property tax and you’ll find out who really owns them.

    Why in the world would the Brethren play “footsy” with a marginal legal system and trade some of our property rights (what little remain) for a religious cause that will be short of acknowledgement at best?

    I view the words spoken at the press conference as “Vain words”... fruitless and ineffectual at the expense of something greater... our liberty and opportunity to use our FREE WILL to be kind and considerate of all mankind, or not.

    Adrian, sad to say... but I personally believe you will find the words you have highlighted are not transferable. Of course, we can always hope?

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  13. Excellent post, Adrian. As always. Thanks.

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  14. Adrian,
    This morning I was pondering the press conference and the messages. I was quite upset by the rhetoric, the smooth words and deceptions. As I pondered, the Spirit reminded me of the scripture: "If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?", 1 Cor. 14:8.
    In considering that message, I was further led to consider the Lord's message in Ezekiel 33:2-7 about watchmen set to watch and warn the people about the approach of the sword.
    "But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet (if the trumpet give an uncertain sound), and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." (Ezekiel 33:6)
    The issues facing the church today are critical. WHY are the leaders not bringing forth the words of the Lord? Where is the valiance and forthright expression one expects from leaders who claim to lead by "continuous revelation"? Where is the word of the Lord?
    James Russell Uhl



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  15. I have a hard time with this. How are we, as members of the church, supposed to take what the leaders say as truth when it is so obvious that what they are saying is not what they really mean and certainly not what they (collectively as the leadership of the church) are doing. Isn't honesty one of the basic principles that we are taught right from the start in primary? How do they speak in public to establish the church's position only to perform the exact opposite in private? I expect more from those that are supposed to be the spiritual leaders of the church. Rather a sad situation for sure.

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  16. I am a former LDS member, having quit voluntarily over 30 years ago. There is nothing new here. Most "leavers" had the same issues most of you do back in the '70's and 80's. I have been a happy Christian by following three basic scriptures: Luke 17:21 which I interpret as there being no necessity for organized religion, Matthew 22:34-40 which says everything we need to know about how to live and worship, and Jeremiah 23:16, and related scripture, which keeps me from repeated the mistake I made when I joined the LDS church. Beware of "warm feelings" as your only criteria. We humans can create those feelings out of our own needs and wants. That said, I wish you all the very best at finding your own spirituality and relationship with God, however, and whatever that may be. You and only you, can
    know what that is. No one on earth can define it for you.

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  17. My bishop gave my a special letter yesterday, said I was being accused of having been in apostasy. That word jumped out at me, my heart rejoiced at the idea that I am guilty of not believing all the falsehoods taught today in the lds church. I refuse to abide by a handbook that contradicts the Book of Mormon.

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  18. Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

    "Meanwhile, those who seek the protection of religious conscience and expression and the free exercise of their religion look with alarm at the steady erosion of treasured freedoms that are guaranteed in the United States Constitution. "

    Sorry I'm very late to the party.

    If the general authorities are so concerned with the erosion of treasured freedoms, why in the world did they support Utah's suppression of the right of those business owners and landlords who did not want to deal with gays? Is it not their right to choose with whom they wish to associate and deal? Do man-made rights (freedom from discrimination) trump God-given ones? Do they even read their own scriptures?

    D&C 134:2
    2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

    It makes me want to scream.

    Steve

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