picture found here
While I was in the wind-whipped deserts of Moab, Utah and subsequently out of the range of social media updates (and all other media updates), the world of Mormons was jostled once again. Two outspoken individuals were called into disciplinary council to discuss their membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
And then at least ten more were called in for similar charges of publicly questioning church doctrines and church officials. One gentleman's disciplinary council was repealed as soon as it was called.
Church officials and spokespersons have said that asking questions is not a problem, but what is a problem is recruiting others to question doctrine. And we recruit others, apparently, by voicing our own questions publicly.
So, I was gone for a good portion of this news and debate. I feel like I am just getting up to date as Kate Kelley's bishopric decides her fate (by telling her they need a couple more days). My thoughts have been swimming, admittedly, and the words that repeatedly rise to the top are:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
This feels like a witch hunt to me. I understand the need for an organization to clearly define the lines that are acceptable to keep their reputation positive. I am not ignorant enough to believe that the church in which I believe is not ALSO an organization. It is just that I don't wholly believe in the organization (post EDIT: it is within this part--the organization--where I have some concerns). I fully believe in the gospel. Parts of the organization would drive me away from the gospel itself, if I didn't believe so firmly that it is true.
There are so many conflicts within the LDS organization and the gospel, that it is difficult for many (myself included) to know what is the better choice for themselves. Use social media to share the gospel, but don't "recruit" others to question. All are welcome to attend, but "don't you all look so nice in your white shirts and ties." Love thy neighbor, but pluck out the eye if it offends thee.
Contradictions are a natural part of all life, but I see it separate faithful and equal members within the church. I choose this point and you choose its antagonist. And then within our similar beliefs, we call out the other and point the finger of apostasy and blame. In a recent post on By Common Consent, the writer had a tender list of concerns that she had. A commenter jumped in with, "The fact of the matter is you are questioning church leadership, counsel, and revaluation, and direction which is the first sign of apostasy." (I think he meant "revelation" but I could be wrong. Maybe he was talking economics and I just missed that part of her post.)
Oh, apostasy. It is the word du jour. I have heard of people who have verbally worried that I, gentle Ahhnna, am headed toward apostasy. If it wasn't so laughable, I'd be offended. But the truth is, I have concerns and questions as well. I don't see the point of some ideas within the members of the church. I would love to sit and chat with you about them, but you see, there is a witch hunt afoot and apparently my very membership is on the line. If I write them down on this blog, where I have felt so many of you reach out and heard you say, "ME TOO! I am faithful, but there are things I bristle at as well," I could be called in and threatened as an apostate.
Then again, I am not afraid. I am more afraid that people like me and maybe you will feel silenced. That is what I fear the most in this recent happening. That those of us with LOUD questions and those of us with little questions will feel quieted. Afraid. We are more alike than different. It is OK to verbalize your questions, because there you may find solace and you will most likely find a friend who says, "I hear you and I understand."
To those who want us silenced and excommunicated, and to me and you as well, I have a scripture from the same chapter of John as above:
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.