Monday, September 29, 2014

Tossed To and Fro

I've been a member of the LDS church for 25 years. 

I have questions (lots). 

And I have times when my testimony isn't as bright and shiny as it should be. 

But, I know that is my own fault, and no fault of the Church.

If I am not close to the Spirit, it's not because he doesn't want to be here. 

Anyway, I have felt for a long time that I needed to dig down deeper and get a better grasp on the Gospel, and purchased a whole slew of student manuals from Distribution. They are currently sitting on my printer, quietly collecting dust, since I haven't organized myself enough to wake up early and put the time in I should (my favorite time to study the scriptures is when the sun is barely peeking over the mountains). 

As I am frequently on the internet doofing around, I come across all sorts of stuff. Usually it involves small, crocheted fluffies, or something with obscene amounts of sugar, but from time to time I stumble across some really horrible accusations against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

Today was such a day.

A friend of mine posted an article about the temple being built in Rome. 

The article wasn't the problem (I mean, it was sloppily written, and the grammar was all over the place --> grammar nazi). It was the comment board.

I LOVE comment boards. 

I think they are great fun, and I usually enjoy reading what people have to say about the subject matter.

Well, today was a free-for-all on the Mormon faith. 

It was horrid.

"Joseph Smith was a con-man!" 

"The Mormons are a cult!" 

"Did you know that the General Authorities make $450K a year?" (I know they are given a living allowance, so I highly doubt that they are making half a million a year...I mean...really?)

"Mission Presidents are given an allowance, and they can buy CHRISTMAS PRESENTS with it!" 

"I've been a member of the church for 30+ years, and I can tell YOU that blah blah blah..."

"Oh, yeah? Well you are a brain-washed sheep, blah blah blaaaa..."

And it went on and on and on...188 comments of bickering nastiness.

I was disturbed by some of the claims.

I mean, did YOU know that mission presidents got an allowance? I didn't know that. So I looked it up (a bad idea...I mean, I don't know where these people got their information, but they claim it came from the Mission President's Handbook...but I seriously wonder if they were just taking out bits and pieces of the original text and posting what they liked for their own purposes. I'll never know.). 

I was really disturbed by this. I don't know why.

Maybe it's because all the young missionaries sell all they have practically and use all their money to serve for 18-24 months. 

Why shouldn't mission presidents do the same?

I thought about this for a while, seriously disturbed by this whole situation. 

And then I remembered something. 

In the bible, the twelve tribes of Israel were all sat down and told what inheritances they would be receiving. 

To Reuben was given this blob of land, to Simeon, this other blob, Judah,Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin, blob, blob, blob.

I'm sure the people of the tribe of Levi were digging their bare toes into the dirt waiting to hear what blob of land they would get, wondering why they were skipped, but then came this from the Lord: 

Deuteronomy 18:

 The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his inheritance.
 Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.
 ¶And this shall be the priest’s due from the people...
And I thought to my little self, well...the Levites were given charge of the temple. Nobody else could work there. And since this was all they were doing all day long, they didn't have time to work in a field...and, while they were getting meat from the altar, you can't just eat meat all day long every day all day without having some serious health risks. They were kept by the people. 

 The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.
 For the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for ever.
So, since this was the case, since they had the sacred job of the ministry, they were compensated. And so are the mission presidents. 

They don't grow wealthy while they are out there serving the Lord. Many of them give up lucrative employment, sell homes, and give up family ties for many years to heed the call to serve. So why not see that they don't suffer while they are out in the field? 

I was talking to Jeremy about this whole thing, and how it was making me crabby. The people who try and tear down the church (try being the operative word), don't attack our core doctrine: they attack things like polygamy (which we don't practice anymore, but was widely practiced in biblical times, people), and tithing (aren't there collection plates that go around other churches? And the argument about paying tithing so you can enter temples, don't people who enter the clergy to become priests or nuns give all they have to the Catholic Church??), or matters of church financial matters (like the missionary president compensation and how temples are built.). 

They added all sorts of stuff about taxes and how the church was squeaking around the law, which I don't understand (probably because I'm not an accountant, and like most people, I'm not a non-profit organization that has rules to follow), but my guess is that if something shady were going on the church would have been taken down YEARS ago, what with all these "leaks" that happen. I mean, the Federal Government and the IRS would be down their throats if there was anything to this...they're in all our pockets after all...but, then again, I don't know...

But the fact is, they don't attempt to jackhammer through our foundation, which is this: The root, trunk, and branches of our religion are all made alive through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Savior. I have never once heard someone say that our church wasn't true because we believe that Jesus suffered for our sins, pains, sorrows, sicknesses and then died to seal our fate with His. I have never once heard someone say that the Book of Mormon isn't true because it bears a seconds witness of His teachings, and that it couldn't possibly be true because He repeats His Sermon on the Mount to His disciples in America. 

Why? Because it is true. All that our core doctrine does is verify what is found in the Bible. But, they don't ever, EVER talk about that. 

I don't know everything. I have a very poor knowledge of Church History (I have a student manual for that...). I know people like to drag up all sorts of shenanigans about Joseph Smith (he was human, people...why can't he have a little wiggle-room to make mistakes?), and I honestly don't know all the ins and outs of what happened almost 200 years ago. I am mediocre with my knowledge of the scriptures at best. I have lots of questions, and I want answers. I am no sheep.

But I do have a testimony...simple and crude as it may be.

I know that Jesus is my Savior. I know that He loves me, and has compassion on me, sinner that I am. I know that He was there that night I called and begged for Him to take my hand as I wasn't wanting to live anymore because my body was so worn and sick, and I know that He woke my husband, so that he could be His hands, lay them on my head and minister to me. I know that what the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ is true. It is as much a companion to the Bible as my husband is a companion to me. I know that God is my Father, and that He is waiting to bless me, every day. I know He hears me when I pray. EVERY time I pray.

I don't have all the answers. I don't know everything. I have enormously gigantic gaps in my knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But what I know, I know heart and soul. 

1 comment:

Katscratchme said...

This brought tears to my eyes.. not hard to do, but I'm still selective.

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