Subject: The limits of obedience.
Date: Aug 17 09:28
Author: Stray Mutt

I got thinking about the spiritual emptiness of LDS leadership. As I’ve said before, they aren’t really spiritual guides leading the faithful to transcendence and oneness with the divine. They’re taskmasters whose answer to everything is to obey the rules.

So imagine if you had a coach who acted like a church leader. He’d gather the team and say, “OK, here are the rules of the game, now go win!”

A player raises his hand and asks, “What’s our game plan?”

“Our plan is to obey each and every rule of the game. Because you can’t win if you don’t follow the rules. All the great teams before us obeyed the rules, and we will walk in their footsteps.”

“Well, yes, that’s true, but do we have a strategy?”

“Our strategy is to obey each and every rule better than the other teams do.”

Another player pipes up. “But last season we couldn’t generate any offense and our defense was useless.”

“Yes, so we’ll just have to follow the rules even more diligently this year. We’ll have to meet more often to review the rules.”

“Um, but, you know, a lot of things aren’t addressed by the rules, like basic skills and what to do in any given situation.”

“The most important skills are the willingness and determination to obey the rules, which is always the correct thing to do in any situation.”

“Coach, please, I don’t mean to criticize the rules, but it seems there’s much more to the game than that. When we play we don’t break any rules, but we’re running around out there like headless chickens. Meanwhile, the other teams are organized, they know what they’re supposed to do, and they’re handing us our asses.”

“Well, with language like that, it’s no wonder. Right now I’m adding a rule against dirty talk.”

And so on.

The brethren have nothing to offer beyond the rules. In fact, all that stuff out beyond the rules (if they ever look up from the rule book long enough to notice) seems to scare them, and they dismiss it as unnecessary for our salvation, as the meat we’re not ready to taste. But is it really that we're not ready to taste it, or that the leaders aren't ready to lead there?

Pray, pay, obey – that’s the way. Don’t stray from the straight and narrow path, don’t let go of the iron rod, follow the prophet. OK, but then what? A spiritual life is far more than not committing any fouls.

Subject: Re: The limits of obedience.
Date: Aug 17 09:39
Author: Anon

That's what happens when they make up a religion as they go along.

Subject: And yet...
Date: Aug 17 12:29
Author: butch cassidy

the D&C teaches that the glory of god in Intelligence, or in other words, light and truth. JS taught that obedience is the first law of heaven.

TBM's see no paradox there, assuming that the only way to Intelligence is obedience - even if it's blind.

No real progress was, is, or ever will be made by being obedient. You may stay safe and comfortable that way, but that's not what I call living.

Subject: "safe and comfortable"
Date: Aug 17 12:44
Author: Stray Mutt

I think this is one of the products of a gerontocracy like the church. The leaders are well past their adventuresome years and now they prize those things that protect their status quo.

That's 180 degrees from JS and the other young bucks who started the church. They thumbed their noses at the status quo and made their own rules. That adventuresome spirit died as BY got old. Since him, the church was in the hands of the old men.

Any younger blood that's brought in must first prove their ability to think like the old men, to mirror the attitudes of the eldest elders. And the new blood is old by the time it reaches the seats of real power.

Subject: You need to know the rules of the road before you can drive a Chevy, afterall...
Date: Aug 17 13:28
Author: Missionary

you wouldn't trust someone who doesn't know the rules to drive a chevy would you?

Subject: The point is that more is required
Date: Aug 17 13:43
Author: soothseeker

You wouldn't trust a blind man who knew the rules to drive the chevy, would you?

Besides, that misses the whole point. The question isn't about the rules, but about the journey, and direction in life. The rules of the road don't tell you whether to drive to Vegas, Salt-Lake, LA, or New York. That is up to you depending on your wants and needs. That is what seems to be missing from the church.

Subject: Re: The limits of obedience.
Date: Aug 17 14:34
Author: Daisy1

This thread reminds me on a conversation we had with our HT some months ago. My husband stated, rather tactfully I thought, that we were getting tired of having the same old song and dance handed to us at SM, in the Sunday school classes, at Priesthood/RS (only the covers on the manuals change from year to year, you know). Why couldn't they ever do something new and innovative?

Our HT stopped and thought about it, and then said, "Well, when I was young, I studied comparative religions, mysticism, metaphysics. . .but now, I just try to keep the 10 Commandments. And I find that it takes everything I've got. You might try it too."

Ker-THUNK! There went any hopes we might have had for at least a smidgen of understanding!

Subject: Well put Stray Mutt
Date: Aug 17 14:55
Author: activejackmormon

It seems to me that the church has drifted in this direction in the last twenty-five years and has made the church less and less relevant to people in a quickly changing world.

I remember as a youth being encouraged to learn and explore. I remember being encouraged to develop talents and was given opportunities to share those talents. There is still some of that in the church, but the focus is different. The Glory of God is no longer intelligence, but compliance.

In a real sense, the organization no longer exists for the members, but the members now exist for the organization. Blind obedience to leaders (disciplitis) has replaced personal growth as the hallmark of a good Mormon. Isn't it wonderful. Isn't it marvelous.

Subject: Re: The limits of obedience: Sad thing is....
Date: Aug 17 15:16
Author: Susan

even the hymns are "dumbed down."

The members may only speak using approved material from the bishop; many times they will hand you pre-copied talks from the Ensign Conference issue to use as your guide or, worse, GBH's new book and tell you to speak on it and encourage ward members to get the book.

The whole thing reminds me of Hitler's Germany, it really does.

Subject: Actually, I think Mormonism is more Stalinist
Date: Aug 17 15:32
Author: activejackmormon

in its mindset than fascist. But the building of personality cults around leaders was certainly employed by Hitler and his cronies.

Subject: The limits of obedience and Howard Zinn
Date: Aug 17 15:31
Author: Scott Jensen

One of my favorite Zinn quotes goes something like this, 

"We have far more to fear from obedience than disobedience....the most terrible things in history, war, slavery, genocide (polygamy for Mormons) are the result of obedience."

Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

Listing of additional short Topics  |  Main Page