Wednesday, April 9, 2014
# 38: The Organization of the Church
You should stay LDS because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is so well organized. It's been around for almost 200 years, and now it's got almost 15 million members, so it's not going anywhere. The Church might get smaller in the age of the Internet, at least in America and Europe, but I think it's safe to say that the Church will still have millions of members around the world for generations and generations.
Have you ever built a business from the ground up? Most likely, you haven't. If you have, I commend you. It's rough, isn't it?
Have you ever started a church, or started a religion? That's even less likely than starting your own business. I've never started my own church or religion, but it's got to be really hard. If it were easy, there would be more churches and religions around.
And building a business or a church is a messy process. Mistakes get made. People get offended. But I'm glad that brave people were willing to take the risks necessary to build great businesses and religions. Of course, not all businesses and religions are created equal. Some are better than others. Some are more ethical than others. Some are more "true" than others. Yet none of them are perfect. All businesses and all religions have room for improvement.
I think it's better to reform the Church rather than to destroy the Church. Generally speaking, it's better to peacefully reform the government you live under, rather than go for a bloody revolution.
(And I'm not advocating an angry reformation, or even a calm reformation. I'm talking about an individual shift in attitude. Instead of trying to emulate General Authorities, we should try to emulate Christ. Instead of insisting on a literal interpretation of scriptures, we should use the scriptures as a source of wisdom, a wellspring of shared stories, and a springboard for personal revelation. Instead of signing petitions to change the temple wedding policies, for example, we should do our best to spread love and goodness wherever we go. Generally speaking, I'm happy with the Church the way it is. And instead of focusing on changing big structures like the LDS Church, I think you're better off trying to change yourself and your own family.)
We ought to be grateful that we're part of such a well organized and established Church. Think of all the missionary work and volunteer hours and faith and prayers that got this big ship of Mormonism sailing. The Church is huge, and the Church is impressive.
And to the people that are trying to tear down the Church, I say, go build your own kingdom. (I think I stole that line from John Dehlin.)
I'm not talking about the people who are calling for more transparency and honesty coming from the Church hierarchy. I suppose I'm one of those people myself. I'm talking about the Ex-Mormon Foundation and the Mormon Expression podcast. The people in those organizations seem like angry people trying to destroy the Church. I think they might really be inspired by Satan.