Sustaining Leadership

Does the leadership in the church determine salvation and eternal life, or does your personal relationship with God and Christ determine salvation and eternal life? Knowing God and Christ is the only way to obtain salvation and eternal life. The only role leadership has is to point to Christ. 

Since the big push in general conference about sustaining the prophet of the church, I have decided to write a blog concerning the sustaining of leadership. It is my opinion that offices should only matter in the administrative roles of the handling of the finances of the church, decisions to build, use the proceeds given in tithes and offerings, to eliminate the poor.

When it comes to doctrine, some might know doctrine better than others. Our only concern about doctrine ought to be, “Does it align me with the mind and will of God?” Ranks are reduced to nothing, really fast, when it comes to knowing the mind and will of God. God is no respecter of persons. It’s the words of Christ that matters, not rank. Your control over the words of Christ neither puts you in a position of power over the next, nor does it require others to follow you (preserving agency). The quality of a prophet was never in the obedience of the people, but the purity of the message.

Agency must be protected at all costs, or God would cease to be God. But just because agency must be protected, those who choose wickedly must suffer the consequences of the loss of light. Every man who hears a messenger with a pure message, have the choice to listen and obey, or to reject the truth and suffer in the darkness. Sin is easily forgiven. But the loss of light requires a lot of work to replace what was lost.

A prophet, apostle, or any authoritative figure only has the ability to talk about the words of Christ. It is the responsibility of the individual to do the work to regain the light that they lost, or to gain more light. It doesn’t matter what authority the truth came from. It only matters if it adds or takes away light. Institutional shunning, disciplinary councils, etc are focused on penalties and have little ability to restore lost light.

So what’s the whole fuss about sustaining your leaders? The idea of leadership sustaining, and a person speaking as though he were the mouthpiece of God, comes from the absence of the words of Christ in the individual members. If the individual knew Christ, then no man need say, “know ye the Lord.” For all would know Him. The problem is we have rested the words of Christ, and few, if any, know Him.

The whole church has been under this condemnation for over 182 years (D&C 84:55). It’s no wonder why we protect and defend the authorities, as if they were themselves gods. The ancient Christians suffered the same problem. Since the saints had none of the words of Christ within them, they relied upon someone else’s understanding of the words of Christ. The common saint became ignorant to scripture. Eventually Church offices held more value than the words of Christ. The result is that saints sacrifice the words of Christ for the words of the sustained leaders. Thus sustaining has greater importance than scripture study, and your personal connection to Christ and God.

Christ Saves: Remember, we are taught, “This is life eternal to know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Knowing God and Christ is life eternal, …It wasn’t knowing authorities. In Christ’s ministry the Jews claimed their salvation because they were descendants of Abraham. They had their genealogical records to prove it too. But Christ said that He could make of these stones, children unto Abraham. Others claimed that they had cast out devils in Christ’s name, done many miracles, etc. But Christ told them, “Depart from me. I never knew thee.” We don’t find our salvation in sustaining leaders, creating miracles, or any other means. Salvation was always based upon a personal relationship with God and Christ. 

The problem in every fallen generation, who once had obtained an eternal covenant with Christ, is that they have strayed from the word, the ordinances, and the light. The natural consequences are that they become worshippers of graven images. Making a man untouchable, unable to lead men astray, etc. turns men into graven images to be worshipped. Soon we look to men, since we have lost our connection to the heavens, for our salvation. We praise prophets. We perform for them. We celebrate their birthdays. We stand when they walk in the room. We turn them into rockstars, want to shake their hands, hope that they wink in our direction, wish for some message from God through the prophet, etc. Thus we engrave them into idols. When we pray, our prayers turn more to gratitude for the prophet than they do to God and Christ.

Those who hold such high offices turn themselves into self-appointed gatekeepers and require the confession of loyalty to office holding men, as a right of passage into temples dedicated to God. That is what we do when we require people to state their loyalty to authorities in order to gain entrance into the temple, while disregarding the individuals understanding of the words of Christ, and their relationship with Christ and God. Christ is the only keeper of the gate. We would be better off getting to know Christ through the study of His words, than concerning ourselves with defending and sustaining the position of church leaders.

Conclusion: In order to be obedient to the words of Christ, when I am asked if I sustain the authorities of the church, I will claim only what I know: I am not concerned with their offices. If they claim to be something, then let them claim it. I’ll have no objection to their claims. But my salvation is not dependent upon their claims or their approval, only the approval and acceptance of Christ. If church leaders and authorities have something to say about Christ, I want to hear it. If they want to talk about the specialness of their offices, I’ll not care much, and will probably filter that stuff out; because that has little to do with my salvation.

I will follow no man, no flesh, no office. I will take the council of Moses to look to Christ and live. If I were a follower of Moses, I would seek out a church that belonged to Moses. If I followed Apollos, then I’d look for a church of Apollos. I only want to look to Christ and live, so it is Christ’s words that will always take precedence over the words of man. Knowing the words of Christ is the only way to become a disciple of Christ. Failure to obtain it, will identify you as some other disciple, …even if it is a disciple of Monson, Eyring, Nelson, McConkie, or Ballard. So, feast upon the words of Christ, it will tell you all things what a disciple of Christ should do.

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4 thoughts on “Sustaining Leadership

  1. Please read Matthew 5 completely! That is Gods way. Criticizing the words or works of others – no matter what their position IS NOT Gods way. So stop! Read especially how he felt about those attacking his imperfect prophets and apostles. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. There was so much good in ALL the conference talks. I enjoyed them because I looked for the good. They were not trying to lay a snare for us or to lead us down an evil road. But if you are looking for it, I know one would be sure to find something that they can go off of to create a bad picture. This IS NOT GODS way. Was it not Christ Who would. not attack those stoning the adulterous woman. Even tho. They were well within the law to stone her. He simply said to let those who are WITHOUT sin to cast the first stone. It might be well with you to heed that council from Christ. Speak of Christ, his goodness, his example , his love, his atonement. Leave the judgement to God. Love mom

    • The subject matter was not anything to do with leaders of the church. You have a rut in your head that I seem to fit in and you can’t seem to get me out of. I could read Matt 5 in english and in greek, and it would align with what I said, no man replaces Christ. Men can hold offices all day long, but your or my salvation only rests upon our relationship with Christ, Period.
      Sorry if you can’t see past the emotions of scorn you are feeling. They are not from me. Every blog has been pointing out the words of Christ. If it conflicts with your understanding, than either the words of Christ that I am speaking are wrong, or your traditions are wrong. It’s obvious to me that you will not question your traditions, and you are certain that the words of Christ, you understand, don’t contradict with your traditions, and can’t be wrong either. You have confessed many a time that you’re doing the best you can to study, as is everyone else you know, …but life gets in the way. And I believe that you mean what you say. Just remember, you have the same agency as did Abraham, Melchizedek, and Enoch. What we do with that agency is how we’ll be judged.
      I have that same agency, and I say that the words of Christ is more right than the traditions. The traditions haven’t produced Zion, but for Enoch and Melchizidek, the words of Christ has produced Zion. So I’m going with that. You have your agency, and I have mine.
      I will not tell you what to do with your agency. That would be compulsory means. I’ll continue to speak the words of Christ though, even when it makes a Queen uncomfortable. I love you,
      Son

  2. In this day and age, the need to remain centered on the true belief of Christ is accurate. But just as important is our need to see good works not to glorify the works of a man, but to recognize the good works of another servant of God as another reason to glorify Him? If anything our General Authorities have said that distracts, detracts, or distances ones belief in our Savior, then they no longer hold sway as would be testified to us by the Holy Ghost. But this has never been the case. Leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that have gone astray have been corrected have even separated from the church. But, as Mormon and Alma stated, condemn not the gospel for the mistakes made by man.

    As concise as I can explain my sentiment for your desire to spread the truth I offer this…

    Our Church Leaders are not perfect or gods. They serve to bring others to Christ in as many diverse ways as there are diverse people. They try to influence all who come under the sound of their voice. I can testify that they do not perform their duties to gain an advantage to influence for worldly matters, but instead try to help others understand the Love of Christ is the most important foundation in which to start to build their eternal lives. We follow their guidance as they were called and given the keys to administer here on earth to perform service for our benefit. If you have a desire to hear or see then our Heavenly Father will provide the lessons necessary for our return to Him through those around you in unison with the Holy Ghost’s impressions and the guidance in the scriptures.

    Why belittle organization, service, and love when being used to bring others to Christ? If no two people are at the same place spiritually in life, should not the guidance of a loving Father in Heaven provide a means to love all at their carrying stations or situations? Does our Heavenly Father use words of chastisement without words of love thereafter so that we esteem him NOT to be the enemy?

    Finally, my son told me last night at Family Home Evening something that took me some time to understand- Dad how come you only look at all the things that we don’t do instead of recognizing the things that we do? At the time I tried to explain that he didn’t sweep the stairs good enough the first three times. But now I realize that there was no reprove at time followed up with words of love so that he doesn’t esteem me to be his enemy. Truth is simple and direct and is usually hard. But charity is providing truth with love in a manner that the recipient comes to the conclusion that God loves them in their imperfect state and desires them to find for themselves the path that leads back into His loving arms.

    Once words leave our mouths we cannot take them back. If they are good the Holy Ghost will testify with a burning in our bosom. If they are laced with subjective speculation and opinion then it will confuse and detract from the gospel truth. Using any influence to confuse, argue, distract, or detract from the central message of Love from our Heavenly Father and Savior even Jesus Christ is the road to apostasy and delusions of self-determined answers. Be careful of the messages you provide, use caution with the words you use because if you are the foundation of ones understanding and you have it wrong, then you too will bear the burden of responsibility of their downfall.

    I love you.
    Angus

    • Ang, it’s awesome to hear from you, my Italian Stallion. I’ve missed being able to call you and just talk story. I remember when you and Rick were here, and we talked about Mary Magdalene being the wife of Christ. My wife didn’t quite like the level of emotion as we passionately spoke openly toward one another. I felt comfortable in that situation because I was confident that our relationship was stronger than one disagreement. After all we’ve had a few in our lifetimes. However, I have offended, what seems to feel like permanently, because I have spoken too loosely about the church. Since then, I have not written anything without the approval of the spirit that I understand to be the Holy Spirit. So I appreciate your response and have taken your advice to heart. Trusting that you and I are open to an exchange, and that our relationship is not in jeopardy, I will respond to your comment.

      Positive feelings aren’t always the feelings of the spirit. For example, Laman and Lemuel were pierced through their heart and claimed that Nephi spoke harsh things about them. Nephi cried, O wretched man that I am. Isaiah cried, “wo is me, for I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell among a people of unclean lips…” When we obtain light, it doesn’t make us feel comfortable in ignorance, it will magnify the words of Christ within you, so that you can understand them more. If a false tradition occupies that space, then the truth cannot expand, and has been constrained not to grow.
      I agree, the men who fill the seats of leadership are not perfect, and are good men. I have no doubts that they have sacrificed much in their lengthy life, and have served much, and have produced much good. I grew up on their councils, so I am even grateful for what they have given. I agree that from their fruits you can know them. And compared to the fruits that the world offers, the fruits of the brethren seem sweet. However, compared to the fruits described in the scriptures of parting mountains, turning streams upwards, walking on water, bringing the dead back to life, calling down pillars of fire, commanding the elements, and teleportation, the fruits that we talk about in church and conference seem bitter.
      What I share is what I have studied. Every fruit stated above comes directly from the scriptures, even the teleportation. It is not subjective. This doesn’t distract or detract from the central message of love. It only expounds on the love we understands and expands it to include even greater expressions of love, in the gifts of the spirit.
      Your son’s response doesn’t consider all the good things that you have said and trusted him with, either. He’s only seeing the bad in your parenting. When we see the whole picture it is easy to see that parents love children, despite the immediate circumstances of reprimand. Remember, the Lord chastens those whom He loves. If he stops calling you to repentance, then you are being left to your destruction.
      I will be held accountable for the words I speak. We all should. If I lead men astray, and they loose their salvation, I want to be held accountable. If I am teaching my children wrong, I will not need to say, “Well, I followed the prophet, so it’s his fault.” Prophets have made major mistakes, and have not been removed from their place. The church only recently admitted to the mistake of Brigham Young for not allowing blacks to hold the priesthood, yet he remained a prophet until 78-79 years old. Heber J Grant stated that blacks will not hold the priesthood in this lifetime nor in any lifetime here after, but he too continued in the office. All I am saying is, men who hold offices are fallible. I cannot rest my salvation on the arm of a fallible man. It is necessary for me to break into the heavens and obtain a relationship with Christ. And I believe the scriptures are trying to tell us to do just that.
      So I’m not wanting to be critical, belittling, negative, nit-picky, or any other negative associative term you can think of. However, I do know that the issues I choose to write are challenging to hear when we have been raised as traditional mormons. But, I have a different perspective. I know that my brothers were Kings before coming here. My sisters were Queens. And my parents were of royal lineage. For that reason, I will continue to speak the words of power from the scriptures, until my family begins to look and remember who they were, so we can roar like lions amongst the beasts of the forest.
      So, until you remember, I’m sorry for taking too much license. But when you remember who you are, I will take that apology back and say, “See, I told you!” (lol)
      I love you too Ang,
      Rob

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