September 24, 2010

Standing for Something

One of the more honorable attributes of Jesus Christ is His usually quiet defiance of social and political norms when they are ungodly. Obviously I do not refer to the "cleansing of the temple," which appears to have been rather violent (John 2:14-15), but in all other areas where something was out of place with social and religious practices, He shamelessly did what was right, often opposing what was popular. In fact, in driving out the moneychangers, He showed that He feared not what man thought; as long as it was ungodly, He would defy it.

Christ did not usually defend righteousness in such aggressive ways, but it appears that He openly opposed society's more subtle wrongs as well. For example:
  • John 4:7-9. The woman at the well was shocked that Christ, a Jew, would speak to her, a Samaritan. Christ did not shy away, did not avoid her because of her nationality, but instead engaged in very personal, loving conversation. His disciples were clearly disturbed that He would speak with her (John 4:27).
  • Luke 7:37-48. A woman of low esteem washes Christ's feet in her tears, and dries them with her hair. The Pharisee observer clearly is troubled by Christ's allowing the woman to touch Him, yet he patiently allows her penance to proceed, then teaches all that their practice of shaming and chastising sinners is wrong.
  • Luke 6:6-11. In opposition to the widely held social and religious norms, Christ heals a man on the Sabbath.
  • John 9:1-3. He shattered the belief that physical disabilities were the consequence of sin.
  • As a general rule, He held women in high regard - a radical practice in the region and time (e.g., 1 Corinthians 14:34-35). After His greatest miracle of all, the resurrection, the first to learn of it were women (Luke 24:1-8), but even His disciples would not believe women (Luke 24:11). The first person on Earth honored with direct witness of the miracle was Mary Magdalene, a woman (John 20:11-18). This was a strike against the male-dominated culture of the age.
There are, of course, several other examples in the New Testament. My point is that Christ was never one to shy away from controversy. He stood His ground for what was right, even when it led to His death.

Why, then, would this same Christ, who defied even the most deeply rooted practices whenever they were out of line with God, the same Christ, who is supposedly the head of the LDS church - why would He command, without reason, that persons of African descent be denied priesthood blessings and temple attendance? Even though racism was popular at the time, and even when it was becoming taboo to continue the policy, the LDS church clung to the racist practice, that they stated was revealed to them by Christ (source). Later, of course, it was re-revealed to have been wrong (source). To command leaders to do the wrong thing for more than a century is uncharacteristic of the Christ of the New Testament. It seems reasonable to conclude that either Christ is inconsistent, or the leaders who claimed that He made the former revelation were lying.

Similarly, what Christ apparently revealed to be divine commandment - polygamy - was phased out for the purpose of becoming a more mainstream church, and to fit society's expectations (source beginning with "The question is this:"). Rather than standing His ground and defending His commandment through tribulation and opposition, rather than insisting that His divine revelation be adhered to, He apparently buckled under the pressure from popular politics and social practices.

I find it odd that Christ, while in the flesh, would personally defy generally held beliefs for the sake of doing what was right, while easily relenting from the heavens - letting society and politics push His commandments around. It is an odd deity who is unchanging (e.g., Mormon 9:10) and yet appears to have made drastic changes in character.

Either that, or the LDS church was not and is not led by Christ.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I agree with the conclusion that the LDS church was not and is not led by Christ but rather a counterfeit who is in the business of seducing people into those exact beliefs. I am enjoying your posts!!