Thursday, May 04, 2006

Virtual Reality –
I spend a lot of time hanging around the DAMU lately, and it’s easy to become focused on all the things going on in the LDS church “out there”. Bishops and stake presidents doing dumb and abusive things, people’s mission presidents who were jerks, stuff GAs said twenty years ago, etc.. Likewise it’s easy to get wound up about things Brigham Young said 150 years ago, Bruce R McConkie said 30 years ago, President Hinckley said 10 years ago, etc..

As we consider what the LDS church means to us, it’s important to be aware of those other things, while at the same time staying centered on the church we actually belong to. i.e. the ward we attend, the bishop and stake president we have, as opposed to the ones people elsewhere have, etc.. The people we know, and the experiences we have personally. With the internet it’s possible to hear all the off the wall stories happening in 20 or 30 wards while overlooking the perfectly normal things happening in the other 25,000 or so every day.

Rather than getting wound up over what Brigham Young said, focus more on what the current GAs had to say at the last conference. This is the church we actually belong to, not Brigham Young’s church.

Which is not to say there aren’t objectionable things happening today. There are. The modern church is way too focused on obedience and institutional survival rather than dealing with the diverse issues the membership is increasingly going through. It’s just a question of dealing with our personal issues and not the vicarious issues of other people, which may actually be exceptions to the rule and not situations we face at all.

4 comments:

TexasGuy said...

ChristFollower,

I agree with you in the sense that if you like your ward, what is the issue? OTOH, There are issues that can't be overlooked. I think you are asking the same question I am, Can you have it both ways? Can you KNOW that the church isn't exactly the way the COB would like to potray itself, but also realize that it doesn't affect you as much at the local level. You can take what you want and not worry about the rest. Good post.

TexasGuy said...

Hey don't be going inactive on us in the DAMU ward. I will have to send over the HT.

ChristFollower said...

My point wasn't that there aren't serious issues or that "all is well in Zion". I surf a number of DAMU sites, including the NOM site, the Foyer, Mormon Curtain, and occasionally RFM. Sometimes I think people get wound up, become hostile, and become really negative about a few data points in a large Mormon world. Sort of like watching the evening news and deciding the world is all about murders, violence, political corruption, etc., while ignoring the fact that, on balance, real life isn't really like that. Most people's home teachers are trying to do a good job and not just in it for the numbers, most people's bishops care about them, etc.. The LDS church is not totally messed up, full of judgmental people making ignorant comments, etc.. Those things exist, and probably argue at times against the LDS church being the "one true church" or running on 100% inspiration from heaven, but for the most part it's not an evil place.

Maybe the most damning thing is that it's a mediocre place where most people are just trying to get their callings over with so they can do things that really inspire them. It's a place full of "constructed reality" much of the time, where the ward choir wasn't really wonderful, leaders aren't always inspired, the gospel isn't really the "restoration" of anything, or any of the other things we repeat over and over again in hopes that they might become true.

ChristFollower said...

. . . and I'm not going inactive in the DAMU either. Just struggling for some balance between all those people shouting "cult!" "cult!" and those who think Joseph Smith was really a prophet like unto Moses.