As sort of a postscript to yesterday's entry, I had kind of a trifecta yesterday. I listened to one of President Hinckley's conference talks, I went to an Ash Wednesday service at our Episcopal church, and I listened to a sermon from a local Baptist church while I walked in the evening.
I realized that I spent a lot of yesterday in kind of a funk, which I often do when I get drawn back into LDS church issues.
President Hinckley's talk reminded me that the church is less a congregation of worshipers than a large management training exercise for priesthood leaders. Probably the best thing the church does is to train people who can speak in public, teach classes, and run groups. After all, is BYU known for its school of social work, or for its school of management and its business programs?
The doctrines of Joseph Smith, expanded on by those who followed him, creates an organization that is really one large food chain leading to godhood for those with "demonstrated ability" and being put out to pasture in the telestial kingdom for the lesser.
I am not one with "demonstrated ability". I'm a passable speaker, but at the time of my disaffection I was the oldest person in the Elders Quorum. I'm a counselor, not a presider. When I was 1st counselor in the EQ presidency the president moved, and they called the 2d counselor to be the president. It was hugely embarrassing to me, and a tremendous lesson I won't expand on now.
If the church is really true I will always inhabit the lower rungs of whatever kingdoms are present. I will never rise in the food chain, because of my lack of "demonstrated ability". Thus the closer I get to it the darker my mood.
Despite all that I still want more than anything to belong to the church the missionaries taught me about. That vision somehow won't go away. I was talking to Wife of Bath last night, and I told her that I would go back to full activity and give my heart to the LDS church if it would only do two things: tell me the truth and let me think for myself. If it would be honest about its history and the frailty of its leaders and allow me to follow my own spiritual witness about doctrine and practice, I would go back. I just don't see that happening anytime soon.