Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The church is perfect......

"The church is perfect but the members aren't", is a phrase that we ex/nonbelievers/NOMs always hear.  It is the "trump card"  answer,  for any complaint against a leader or offensive member of the Mormon church.  This phrase allows member to keep their belief and faith in the church as God's only sanctioned religion on the earth.   It keeps the church undefiled and holy.  The church will not get blamed for anything negative.  Because of  the programming,  members will not link the questionable behavior of a member to the organization's teachings and counsel.   Hell,  just read the Journal of Discourses,  every other quote by Brigham Young will make you cringe.  This conditioning/teaching causes the shut down of a member's critical thinking.

This is an ingenious plan on the part of the church.  Multiple talks given during general conference emphasize the perfect nature of the church/gospel.  A recent example of this was Elder Uchtdorf's talk in General Conference October 2013;

 Mistakes of Imperfect People

And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.

I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.

In the title page of the Book of Mormon we read, “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.”6

This is the way it has always been and will be until the perfect day when Christ Himself reigns personally upon the earth.

It is unfortunate that some have stumbled because of mistakes made by men. But in spite of this, the eternal truth of the restored gospel found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not tarnished, diminished, or destroyed.

I think we must be clear that according to LDS teachings, the church and the gospel are the same thing.   According to the gospel principle manual (Chapter 17);

When Jesus lived on the earth, He established His Church, the only true Church. He organized His Church so the truths of the gospel could be taught to all people and the ordinances of the gospel could be administered correctly with authority. Through this organization, Christ could bring the blessings of salvation to mankind.

Without the church, men could not learn the gospel.  The manual continues;

 For many years people lived in spiritual darkness. About 1,700 years after Christ, people were becoming more and more interested in knowing the truth about God and religion. Some of them could see that the gospel Jesus taught was no longer on the earth. Some recognized that there was no revelation and no true authority and that the Church that Christ organized did not exist on the earth. The time had arrived for the Church of Jesus Christ to be restored to the earth.

Without Joseph Smith, men cannot learn Jesus Christ's gospel.  That was the reason for the "restoration".  So according to LDS doctrine--no LDS church=no Christ's gospel.   Thus the statement of  "the church is true but its members aren't" is vital to the Mormon organization.  It is taught from primary to adulthood.  Because, if the church is to blame for the member's actions, then the whole system falls apart.   So the burden has to be placed on its imperfect members.   The Mountain Meadows Massacre is a great example.  The church/general leadership did not accept blame for the atrocious acts done in southern Utah--even though Brigham Young and other leaders were preaching inflammatory rhetoric.  Johanna Brooks wrote;

The Mountain Meadows Massacre was the first work to fully document Mormon involvement in the massacre. In the book, Brooks demonstrated convincingly that the Mormon militia was responsible for the massacre, and that John D. Lee, the only militiaman executed, was effectively a scapegoat. She writes, "The church leaders decided to sacrifice Lee only when they could see that it would be impossible to acquit him without assuming a part of the responsibility themselves".[5]
The work cleared Brigham Young of any direct involvement, but did blame him for his incendiary rhetoric.[6] Brooks writes, "While Brigham Young and other church authorities did not specifically order the massacre, they did preach sermons and set up social conditions that made it possible."[7 (Wiki).

 Whether the person is an active full believing member or an exmormon--the individual is always at fault.   I have seen this in my own life.  My wife knows many of the historical and current problems of the Mormon church that bother me--but I'm the one to blame for the stress caused by my "faith crisis".  I am the one to blame for my weak faith,  or read to much "anti-Mormon" material, and stopped reading a fictional book masquerading as scripture.  It is never the church's fault.  The perfect nature of the church/gospel is never lost.  

 Without the members, the Mormon church would just be another corporation--oh wait..nevermind.  The members are what make the church great.  Although imperfect, the members are the cogs in the LDS corporate machine.  Without them, most/if not all of the good that the church claims is gone.  They are on the front lines working for the church/corporation.  They sacrifice and sweat for the church while those at the top reap most of the benefits of this corporate setup.  The church claims all the hours of service members perform.  Any act or kind deed is hijacked from the members and used to market, advertise and build up the "kingdom of God", or in other words,  the Mormon church.  

Look at the famous Mormon Helping Hands smocks (LDS church News).   Anytime there is a natural disaster,  the Mormon church/general leaders make sure their members  are donning the proper disaster relief apparel. 

The church has explained what the helping hands program is about.

Helping Hands

Mormon Helping Hands is a priesthood-directed Church program to provide community service and disaster relief to those in need.

The program provides priesthood leaders with an optional service opportunity for Church members and helps establish the name and reputation of the Church. It is a proven means of helping dispel stereotypes often held about the Church, showing that Latter-day Saints are Christians who contribute to the good of their communities.

Helping Hands volunteers clear downed trees after Hurricane Katrina
The “Mormon Helping Hands” designation helps identify the Church’s role in the activity: to provide service laborers and usually not goods or materials. Successful projects have been conducted throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific, and the United States. Coordination, implementation, and evaluation of these projects is usually delegated to local Public Affairs councils.

Objectives for Mormon Helping Hands

Helping Hands Help the Needy and Improve Communities

Service to others is an important characteristic of the followers of Jesus Christ. Mormon Helping Hands provides organized opportunities for Church members to give their time and talents to bless those in need. It also gives members the opportunity to beautify city streets, parks, schools, and recreational areas and to serve in other ways, showing that the Church is a friend to the community.

Strengthen Church Members

Through Mormon Helping Hands, youth and adults become more sensitive to the challenges others face. As Church members follow the example of the Savior in reaching out and helping others, their testimonies are strengthened. These projects are also valuable opportunities for Church members to fellowship less-active friends.

Share the Gospel Indirectly

Through Mormon Helping Hands, Church members have opportunities to portray the fruits of their faith and dispel unfounded criticism and prejudice toward the Church. While this program is not to be used for proselyting, these activities can help create conditions that are favorable for gospel conversations and may on occasion provide the opportunity to engage missionaries in teaching those who want to know more.

Build Relationships with Opinion Leaders

Church Public Affairs exists to “build strategic relationships with opinion leaders who affect the reputation of the Church of Jesus Christ.” Service is a powerful tool for influencing the beliefs and opinions of prominent individuals. Mormon Helping Hands is especially effective in developing beneficial relationships between Church leaders and government officials or other opinion leaders.

Enhance the Reputation of the Church

Mormon Helping Hands helps bring the Church out of obscurity and can greatly improve its reputation. Local media interest in these projects helps spread the knowledge of the Church to many who would not otherwise hear of it.

  Helping hands is a program that members volunteer to help those in need--GREAT, while at the same time advertise for the Mormon church--BAD.  What ever happened to praying and not being seen?  Or to give alms without being seen?  It seems as if the church is no better than a political party and "never want a serious crisis to go to waste", to quote Rahm Emanuel.

The church wants its cake and eat it too.   The organization has trained the members to not blame the church for anything that is questionable, illegal or downright evil.  It is able to distant itself from anything that is suspect.   It creates an environment where the victim gets blamed, the messenger gets attacked and its own crimes never see the light.  While at the same, it takes credit  for everything good that  the members do. To quote 13th Article of Faith,

  "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek" claim these things.

  The church, as an institution,  teaches and stresses humility to its members, while at the same time acts as a narcissistic spouse only interested in its own appearance.


No comments:

Post a Comment