23 March 2011

Holding to the Iron Rod

(Note: this is crossed over from S.P.A.M.'s current incarnation to make life easier for readers who do not wish to go through the signup. A large part of this was my response to discussions I'd seen elsewhere on the Net.)

As I've mentioned in comments or forums or both (else-site), I was not blessed with knowledge of the Gospel until I was 24, having grown up in a family whose attitude on religious faith ranged from apathy to rage. At least not in mortality.

While I was researching the Church on my own, then taking the discussions, I had an experience that I understand is not all that uncommon: the information I was receiving during my investigation was not new to me. I had the very strong feeling that I had once known and managed to forget what was being presented to me now in my second estate. This is, of course, explained by the teaching that a veil is drawn over our memories of our first estate, or pre-mortal existence, when we come to the second estate of mortality. This is done so that we will act on faith.

I entered the waters of baptism, and later the holy Temple, knowing that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's true church on the earth and is led by His chosen prophets, from Joseph Smith forward to Thomas Monson (as of this writing). This will be the Lord's Kingdom on earth, when He returns to bring in the Millennium. Even in my very non-religious childhood, I had an instinctive awareness of God, but could not have explained that awareness in any useful terms, even to myself. I know I am blessed to have had the opportunity to learn the Gospel and to join the Church, and to have found many friends who share my faith and can help me learn more of the Gospel (especially the very knowledgeable people here).

So my reader understands me better in the future, I should make myself very plain on my position on doctrinal or Church policy issues: I am very orthodox, clinging tightly to the Iron Rod. It is my conviction that the leaders of the Church are prophets of God and are guided and led by Him in running His church. I do recognize that they are human, don't mistake my meaning. I do not consider any individual member of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, etc., to be perfect and infallible. I suspect if they were, they'd have been translated. :-)

However, I am firmly convinced that as a body, the General Authorities run the Church as the Lord wishes it to be run, and that if He deems a policy change necessary, He will make that known in His due time, when we, the Saints, are ready for that change, and through His ordained spokesmen. When I read discussions along the lines of "the Church needs to let women have the priesthood and be equal to men" (I do not consider those equivalent, BTW) or "the Temple garment needs to be altered to fit our tastes better, such as no cap sleeves on womens' tops or more choice of color", I see apostasy in the making. When we claim that our "wisdom" (such as our taste in clothing or the social views our society pushes on us) exceeds the Lord's and that we know better than His anointed servants who lead us do just how His church is to be run, that feels like very dangerous ground to me, and I don't want to be on such a shaky foundation. I prefer to stand on the Rock of faithful adherence to what we have. When we're given more, through proper channels, I will of course embrace that greater light and knowledge, and if I disagree with new revelation given to the Church, then it's up to me to conform my thinking to the Lord's, not the other way around. I do not have the knowledge, wisdom, experience, or eternal view needed to be able to second-guess God, and don't care to try.