The idea of becoming sons to Moses and Aaron, and the seed of Abraham (D&C 84:33) sounds glorious, …until you are persecuted for His names sakes. Becoming like Christ includes persecution, wrongful judgement, and crucifixion. The necessity for us to build a firm foundation, in the words of Christ (static and dynamic), is unquestionable if someone were to endure that load well.
Persecuted for My Name’s Sake: In my new ward, I attend the Elder’s Quorum. I have requested any and every opportunity to talk about the gospel of Christ, and since our quorum members quite often just don’t show up, I get the chance to teach almost weekly. However, since I am not a traditional instructor, and I actually use the scriptures to teach the lesson, and I have formed my own opinions of those scriptures different from the traditions of the church (that are completely founded in the scriptures), …this Sunday I was told that I am not going to be included in the teaching rotation any more. The presidency said, in so many words, that I was overqualified for the position. Through the grape vine, I learned that the bishop has gotten complaints that my classes are too deep, and I have an advantage over others in the scriptures, that make my perspective unfair.
The talks given in our latest sacrament meeting focused on the topic of “…staying in the boat of Zion.” The emphasis was on hobbyists who study the gospel “too deep,” who will eventually end up finding themselves on the road to apostasy. The idea of discouraging someone from studying the gospel too much, seems counter intuitive.
Currently, I am being quietly hushed away in elders quorum, because I know something, …and I’m being replaced by teachers who are satisfied to read the lesson out of the manual. It seems that a teacher who never prepares his lesson, and uses class-time to have us read the leasson, line by line, and paragraph by paragraph, is a teacher who “stays in the boat.” Because of the reaction and response of the bishop, and the elders quorum presidency, I wonder about the idea of staying in the boat. Was Peter wrong for stepping out of the boat, to walk on water?
“25. And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.
26. Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.“
Those who preach against sins and iniquities are to often the target of anger, being cast out, sought to be destroyed, called a false prophet, associated with the devil, and their deeds are considered evil and poisonous. They are never well received in a world of false traditions.
Like Christ: I never thought that enduring persecution well was an attribute that all who seeks to be one with Christ, had to obtain. If we are to be one with Christ, we must acquire the skill to absorb the poor choices of others, without wavering. I now find comfort in Christ’s response to Joseph Smith, that “…thou art not yet as Job,” and “…The son of man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?” The truth that cuts to the center is most often never received in gladness. We must be willing to obsorb those choices, sometimes indefinitely.
The Foundation: Until there are a people who know the mind and will of God, the truth that cuts to the center will produce storms, backlash, anger, destruction, etc. Those who have obtained that mind and will must build upon a foundation of rock, in order to endure the storm well. The words of Christ, both from the static pages of scripture, to the dynamic voice and revelatory experiences, …is the foundation of rock all the prophets in ancient times have instructed that we must build on, to endure these last days. I invite you to join me in the study and conversations of the words of Christ. Let’s not hasten that work, to produce weakness and imperfections in our foundation. But, lets get to work, so that our foundation can be made firm, through the grace of God. Let’s seek for our language to be preserved among us.
Conclusion: In our time, those who want the words of Christ will not only be considered apostate, by people who don’t know it, …they’ll als be shoved off the boat, cast out, stoned, and made an example. Those who know nothing of the words of Christ, will find their road totally acceptable by the masses, persecutionless, and non-threatening. Beware not to follow after such foolish and blind guides:
“29. O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light?
30. Yea, behold, the anger of the Lord is already kindled against you; behold, he hath cursed the land because of your iniquity.
31. And behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches, that they become slippery, that ye cannot hold them; and in the days of your poverty ye cannot retain them.
32. And in the days of your poverty ye shall cry unto the Lord; and in vain shall ye cry, for your desolation is already come upon you, and your destruction is made sure; and then shall ye weep and howl in that day, saith the Lord of Hosts. And then shall ye lament, and say:
33. O that I had repented, and had not killed the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out. Yea, in that day ye shall say: O that we had remembered the Lord our God in the day that he gave us our riches, and then they would not have become slippery that we should lose them; for behold, our riches are gone from us.”