We have just finished another General Conference in the Church and it is clear to me that the world is going crazy. You would think that a Church with only 16 million members living on a planet of more than 7.5 billion (that’s approximately .2% of all the people on earth) could function without too much interference or notice by the rest of mankind. Yet, every six months, there are reminders that sharing and believing the Gospel of Christ has its costs.
Here’s an example.
|Elder Dallin H. Oaks|
Elder Dallin Oaks used his time in Conference to speak about the importance of families and the inspired nature of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” When this document was first published in 1995, many in the religious world lauded the principles of the message and appreciated the reminder, but wondered why such a thing was needed. After all, 22 years ago, nearly every Christian (and other) religion agreed with the things that were taught. But when Elder Oaks completed his talk on this important document and the even more important doctrine it teaches, there was an explosion of angst on the Internet. And not just from folks who are in opposition to the Church and its teachings!
In the passing of 22 years, a document that was once considered nicely stated but unnecessary has now become something to be ‘loathed’ because of its ‘bigotry’ and ‘unkindness.’ Many outside (and some inside) the Church have called for change in the teachings of the Church. They assert that the Church’s stand on families is oppressive and exclusionist because it does not include all “forms” of family.
Why does the Church continue to teach the “Proclamation?”
Because the Doctrine of Christ, as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says that a family consists of a husband (male) and wife (female) who work together to raise up children in a home filled with love and the knowledge of Christ.
The doctrine of the “world” says any combination of individuals or parties can join together and create a family. It is the plan of the adversary of us all to destroy and corrupt as much of God’s truth as he can in an effort to stop the great Plan of Happiness.
And one of his best efforts, recently, has been the attack on marriage and family.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not persecute those who believe the doctrines of the Gospel of Christ in a different way than stated by Christ and His Prophets. But the church cannot allow members to adjust the doctrine to fit some personal interpretation of God’s message.
A few define this limitation on practice/doctrine as discrimination against the individual when, in fact, it is protection of basic truths in the doctrine. To allow every social, political, personal, or other belief to “water down” the doctrinal truths of the gospel is to start on the road to apostasy. This would be repeating the steps that led to the “Great Apostasy” that occurred shortly after Christ’s resurrection.
I, for one, appreciate the efforts our leaders are making to keep the doctrines pure. It is a difficult task to live in a world that, by and large, does not agree with much of what is taught. And it doesn’t help that there are factions IN the church trying to change things to meet social, political, or some personal viewpoints. That’s why it is so critical to have these semi-annual checkpoints. Even the best of us will drift off course if there are no reminders on a regular basis.
When Lehi and Nephi wrote of their vision of the Tree, both identified an Iron Rod that the seekers of the Tree and its fruit latched onto for guidance. They identified the Rod of Iron as “The Word of God.”
I fear that we sometimes forget the rod is not just the scriptures written by past prophets but is also the words of modern, living prophets who are right in the middle of the life we are living. They face the same challenges and mortal fears but they also know Whom they represent. And when the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles meet and prayerfully define the path that is best for a particular time, they have given all who will listen and obey another length of the Rod, leading to the ultimate goal – The Tree of Eternal Life that represents the love of God and Christ.
I recognize that my own commitment to following Living Prophets is not popular with most of the world. And I will confess that, at times, it is difficult to always be strong (not because I don’t believe, but because it is hard to be unpopular ALL the time). But, thus far my vision is clear enough to allow me to see that the “prize” at the end of the ROD is worth the effort.
So, my hope for all who read this is that you will find the faith in your heart to:
#1 –Believe in Christ and the power of His atoning sacrifice.
#2 – Stay with the prophets of God, no matter what the rest of mankind decides to do. You will always be safe because Jesus has promised that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve cannot lead us astray (I know some will quibble with this, but I am confident of its veracity).
|The current Apostles (Elder Hales passed recently)|
I am a witness of Christ through the power of the Holy Ghost. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Kingdom of God on the earth. The teachings of the gospel of Christ will change mankind and welcome in the return of the Savior. mw