Loyalty Tests

My good friend Corbin Volluz has posted the latest in his ongoing campaign to face church discipline (just kidding, of course).

Apostasy Now

It’s an interesting read, and I think he may have something here: it isn’t so much what you believe that determines your status in the church as it is your loyalty to the institution and its leaders. Anyway, as always, Corbin is a passionate and compelling writer.

Of course, if that were all there is to it, how does one explain my current status in the church? I suspect that one must not only be deemed disloyal but also attract some notoriety. That would apparently exclude me.

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9 Responses to Loyalty Tests

  1. CAB says:

    Some years ago the church changed its teaching that love was the highest order of heaven. Now it is obedience–as in, “obedience is the highest law of heaven.”
    When that shift happened, I knew that my days in the church were numbered.
    Any such institution, for which unquestioning obedience is the highest value, and I are bound to come a cropper.
    Consider all other organizations which require that kind of obedience–the Mafia and other criminal organizations come to mind. The military could probably also fit into that category. But God’s own true church, devoted to the salvation of human souls, possessor of the “Plan of Happiness”??
    When I am feeling sad about no longer being part of the culture and religion of my birth (which happens much less often than it used to, thankfully), and considering the great sacrifices of my ancestors for the church, I remind myself of this guiding principle of blind obedience to men who lie openly and regularly and who represent themselves as God’s agents.

  2. I disagree with your premise. Former Seventy Hans Mattsson could be considered “disloyal” from your definitional perspective, and certainly has some “notoriety,” but he has not been excommunicated that I know of. The difference that I have seen has been one of what I would consider overt obnoxiousness, at least in terms of John Dehlin and Kate Kelly, far more so from Dehlin who seems to be an unparalleled narcissist.

    There also seems to be a geographical variable to the issue, much seems dependent on who is in charge at the local level. For what most critics call a monolithic, bureaucratic tyranny, almost everything of note that I have encountered in the Church is largely dependent on local leadership. I would argue that the most important leader in the Church is the Stake President. The delegation of authority in the Church is rather significant, contrary to most criticisms.

  3. IrishLDS says:

    CAB,
    You posit a false dichotomy between love & law. Christ, for example, obeyed the law perfectly because of his perfect love … not in spite of it. His obedience to the Father was an expression of love. Indeed, it takes a rather selective reading of his words to believe that he was interested in advocating a form of lawless love. True worship consists in a union of love and law … not in their separation.
    In fact, your own words about love betray you … “love was the highest order of heaven” … as order suggests a law like organisation (with ordinances and officers etc). God’s house is a house of order … a house of law … a house of love. There is no inconsistency in that. Do some members get the balance wrong? Of course! Does that excuse me from abandoning either the law or love? Of course not!
    Obedience out of pure love is not necessarily unquestioning or blind … nor is obedience out of faith etc … It is obedience out of tradition that is the real danger … obedience for the sake of obedience … rather than for the sake of others. When we obey in order to bless the lives of others around us, as Christ himself demonstrated perfectly, then we can truly say … charity never fails.
    If Christ had been a rebel rather than a servant … then I might be persuaded by your dichotomy … but clearly Christ saw no disharmony between love and submission … in fact, his submission, his obedience was the greatest example, the greatest expression of a love that never fails.

    • runtu says:

      I think those of us who are older, like CAB and me, understand where love and law can run up against each other and what the church teaches should be done in those cases. I’d say that, rather than a false dichotomy that “betrays” her or me, it’s more an understanding that love and “the law” are not always the same thing.

      • IrishLDS says:

        I’ve seen them run up against each other in alot of cases – and sometimes those involved choose love and sometimes they choose law. In fact, in discplinary councils, most often love is demonstrated … sometimes overpoweringly so. In the ordinary daily workings of the church are there counterfeits, or misjudged imbalances, feigned love and blind obedience? Of course. I’ve seen it. But the church does not automatically advocate that. The highest order of worship combines truth and spirit, works and grace, love and obedience. That was my point. They are not the same thing … but I can seek to unifiy them.

    • CAB says:

      IrishLDS,
      I did not posit a dichotomy between love and law, but between love and blind obedience.
      IF the obedience were to God, rather than to his “representatives,” I would have little problem with such obedience.
      Your example of the perfect love and obedience of Jesus Christ is worlds away from the obedience to very fallible men which the church demands. Christ was obedient to the demands of love, and he understood that.
      For me, who no longer recognizes the power and authority of those men who lead the LDS Church, the issue is moot. Those men do NOT speak for God.
      For you, Irish LDS, all your argument is based on a different reality than do I. We do not share a universe of discourse.
      If you are going to argue law and the church, then you need to review church history and how much its own doctrine and teachings have changed over the decades.

      • CAB says:

        posted too soon.
        …all your argument is based on a different reality than I acknowledge and believe.

      • IrishLDS says:

        You say that … but you do not see what I see. For example, why do you assume that obedience in the church can only be blind? A prophet is only a prophet when he is acting as one. So prophets are not perfect. Does that mean they never speak for God? Can God speak to and through them? Can he speak to and through me? It is not blind obedience is I can see that the true source is God. Plus obedience is a very personal matter. As for changes in teachings … I’ve changed what I teach over my short life-span … why should a living, growing church be any different? Even Jesus changed his teachings … for example, “tell no man” … “go into all the world”. Our teachings have changed. That is not surprising in a changing world.

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