Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fanatics Among Us

I suppose I am one of those “fanatical” Mormons who just can’t understand why more people don’t jump on the wagon with us and enjoy the fruits of the Gospel.  There seem to be some in the world that will not see anything good that we do, no matter how honorable, right or beneficial it is to our fellowmen. 

A comment on a web-site discussing “Mormon Funerals” caught my eye just for that reason.  This person (a disaffected member) was really offended that the Bishop, who was conducting the funeral, would spend so much time teaching Doctrine concerning the Plan of Salvation .  The writer was put out because more wasn’t said about the accomplishments and life of the deceased. 

I guess my thought would be that by teaching where the deceased has gone and what life will be for him/her, we are doing a great service to those who will follow.  And for those who are unsure about the different parts of the Plan, this might be a chance to get some bearing on what to expect.  Yes, some might consider a Bishop’s funeral talk to be a form of missionary work (but then, what isn’t in the Gospel?) but it is also a message of hope and peace for those who are left behind in this world of sorrow and distress.  Maybe a little hopeful counsel is just what a person needs during their time of grief.  (And if you want to review the deceased’s life, there is usually a video montage in the foyer that gives a good accounting of the events of mortality.)

Neal A. MaxwellElder Neal A. Maxwell spoke of the relevance found in the gospel for all matters of this life:

There is no human circumstance to which the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot bring either remedy or reassurance.

There is no human challenge to which the gospel cannot respond specifically and effectively if applied.

There is no life it cannot ennoble and enrich and enlighten.

There is no mortal uncertainty that its light will not clarify ,and no darkness it cannot dispel. 

(CES Symposium, 19 Aug 1983)

My firm belief is that everything taught in the Gospel of Christ, as we have it in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is for the betterment of all men, everywhere.  Those who will listen and follow the counsel of the scriptures, the Prophets, and the Holy Spirit, will eventually find the joy that comes from being followers of Christ.  There are truths in all religions but only one has all the ordinances, truths and powers of God to help men become what God expects us to be. 

I quote C. S. Lewis and his vision of who we are and who we can be:

"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, ….  It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no 'ordinary' people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations -- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. (From The Weight of Glory)

As a people, we desire all to come and see what we have and what we can do to help.  We condemn no one (despite what some may say about our practices) but encourage all to sup at the table of Christ.  Our meetings are open to all and our hearts reach out in love to any who will accept (and even to those who don’t, but they can’t tell). 

If all these things make me a “fanatic”, then I will gladly accept the appellation.  And I will continue to fanatically live in such a way that I can have hope in the power of the Atonement of Christ to deliver me from the effects of this mortal world.  May we all do likewise and find joy in our earth-life experience. 

(I expect some might consider this a missionary message…and you would be right!!!)


Brian Whitmer said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with talking about the purpose of life and where we're headed at a funeral. It makes a lot of sense to me.

People forget that we don't think about dying as someone leaving, so much as just getting a little ahead of us, so there's a lot less to mourn about.

DeMoux Family said...

I agree with Brian. What better place to remember our potential than a funeral as we move on to the next phase of long as no one rambles too much, long funerals are no fun!