Thursday, October 16, 2014

Is the "Mormon" Church Traditional?

I like this video where a Church leader calls us to come to the "higher ground".

Some people see The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as just another traditional church where people follow the beliefs only because their parents and grandparents did. Since half of American society is composed of "orderly souls" who work to maintain the good in their society, that is partly a true statement.  Orderly, traditional people are the mainstay of all societies. Though we creative souls complain about their rigidity, they provide order and stability to life. Are they very flexible?  No.  Are they open to new ideas?  Only when it is forced upon them.  Do they ever want anything to change?  Definitely not!  Do they multiply rules on how to implement every Gospel principle? Yes, in endless multiplicity!

You could almost write a code book; for example
visiting teaching (women watching over each other) is only "done" when you visit the assigned sister once a month in her own home for an hour and read to her the printed lesson. Women who don't visit their sisters in this prescribed way, guiltily confess that they "haven't done their visiting teaching". Living the true Gospel principles is simple, freeing, and energizing. Trying to accomplish the huge list of impossible Pharisaical "shoulds" only drags one down to depression and exhaustion.

The Lord leads His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through revelation to His prophets. He wants us to grow and be happy in this life.  The Church leaders are always trying to lift us up to a higher level, a level of enlightenment, and of joy and peace. For instance, with visiting teaching they changed recording visits from home, letter, or phone visits to just making contacts with the women. The principle is to love and watch over each other. Orderly sisters complained. They didn't want to  "Prayerfully study this material and seek to know what to share". They wanted some set lesson to read. Visiting in the grocery story, or keeping in contact by email or texting, "was not visiting teaching".  

A couple of years ago, the Church leaders discontinued the manuals to teach the youth and instituted a program called Come Follow Me to involve the youth in gaining their own understanding of the Savior's teachings and to help them live these teachings in their daily lives. The teachers were given this direction:
 "Each learning outline in Come, Follow Me focuses on questions that youth may have and doctrine that can help them find answers to those questions. Learning outlines are not meant to prescribe what you will say and do as you teach. They are designed to help you learn the doctrine for yourself and prepare to engage the youth in powerful learning experiences. Tailor these experiences to their interests and needs. Consider ways you can inspire them to act for themselves in seeking, finding, and sharing answers to their own gospel questions."

As a person who answers feedback sent in from, I had to deal with many orderly people having "melt downs". "Where is the manual?!!" "How can I possibly give a lesson if I don't have a lesson to read to the class?!!" Some thought information should be "presented" (poured in by lecture) by the teacher, and that the youth should be quietly attentive.

Is the Church of Jesus Christ traditional? In some ways it is, but only because most people are traditional people and try and make it that way. The Church leaders are always trying to "raise the bar", to get members to live Gospel principles instead of simply implementing programs. This is what General Conference is all about. It is a time, twice a year, when the general leaders of the Church remind members of the goals and principles of the Gospel and encourage them to change their behavior. I love it!

I like this statement by a Church leader:
The gospel of Jesus Christ is about people, not programs. Sometimes, in the haste of fulfilling our Church responsibilities, we spend too much time concentrating on programs, instead of focusing on people, and end up taking their real needs for granted. When things like that happen, we lose the perspective of our callings, neglect people, and prevent them from reaching their divine potential to gain eternal life.  Elder Ulisses Soares

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