Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Which End of the Pride Cycle

Anyone who frequents an LDS Sunday School class will understand what is frequently labeled the "Pride Cycle".  We'll say that it is a major message of the Book of Mormon.  Peace ---> prosperity, wealth ---> pride ---> war ---> destruction ---> humility ---> peace ---> prosperity, etc.  And on and on it goes.

This article just surfaced: http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/3082891-155/mormon-apostle-oaks-kentucky-clerk-wrong.  Elder Oaks, 2nd in seniority in the LDS Church, says it is wrong of Kim Davis to object to stamping her name on gay marriage certificates implies that it is not appropriate for those holding civic positions to act contrary to the laws of the land. (UPDATED: 10/21/15 after reading the update from mormonnewsroom.  Elder Oaks' commentary was a bit more benign than the SL Tribune made it out to be.  They found what they wanted to make it an incendiary article.  It is still grievous, but Elder Oaks was more tactful and lulling than the Trib made him out to be.)

"Believers should ... acknowledge the validity of constitutional laws. Even where they have challenged laws or practices on constitutional grounds, once those laws or practices have been sustained by the highest available authority believers should acknowledge their validity and submit to them."
This essentially is saying to current members, "If you are in the position that Kim Davis is, don't expect us to have your back as a member of this organization.  We won't.  Sign the paper woman."

The moment I read this, I was reminded of a book I'd never read, but everyone seems to own, called Standing for Something, by Gordon B. Hinckley.  I pulled it from our shelves, and flipped randomly to a chapter called "Making a Cause for Morality".  Here are a few lines, which I feel are aptly applicable.

"I feel sorry for today's generation, which seems bereft of heroes.  Men and women who by virtue of their contributions and achievements seem larger than life, and who can be admired for the full breadth and depth of their moral makeup, are a vanishing breed.  
On the other hand, I am satisfied that there are millions of good people in America and in other lands.  Many married couples are faithful to each other.  Their children are being reared in sobriety, industry, and faith in God.  Given the strength of these families, I believe that the situation is far from hopeless.  I am satisfied that there is no need to stand still and let the filth and violence overwhelm us, or to run in despair.  The tide, high and menacing as it is, can be turned back if enough of the good people I have mentioned add their strength to the strength of the few who are now effectively working.  The challenge to recognize evil and oppose it is one that every moral, virtuous person must accept." (Standing for Something, p. 39) 
What an interesting contrast.  At the beginning, we have Elder Oaks, who was quite familiar with President Hinckley, making the case that we ought to follow the 12th Article of Faith and stick with the laws of the lands.  Then we have President Hinckley, saying we ought to stand for something, and rise above the tide.  (President Hinckley even quotes Pope John Paul II, which I find ironic since Pope Francis has become involved in the Kim Davis debacle.)  The question then is, do you view gay marriage as Kim Davis does – as something morally bereft, or what scripture calls the "abomination of desolation"?  (See Mark 13:14.)

What is "desolation"?  I define it as a place where no thing grows.  A land left desolate has nothing living in it.  A generation left desolate would not have children, or posterity, or "seed".  Combine the elements of massive number of abortions of unborn babies, along with the increasing popularity of alternative lifestyles, leaving both families with fewer children being born, as well as humans refusing to mate entirely, and the case can certainly be made that we may indeed be entering this period that Daniel warned of.  I don't know.  What do you think?

But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judæa flee to the mountains: And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. (Mark 13:14-27 - the rest of the chapter is enlightening as well.)  
I've heard a lot of people refering to these signs.  I don't know if they apply to us today, or if it will be for some future generation.  We sure have signs that could be pointing to these.  Is it time to flee to the mountains?

President Hinckley continues:

"It all begins with our own personal virtue.  Reformation of the world begins with reformation of self.  We cannot hope to influence others in the direction of moral virtue unless we live lives of virtue.  The example of our virtuous living will carry a greater influence than will all the preaching, postulating, and theorizing in which we might indulge.  We cannot expect to lift others unless we are standing on higher ground.  Respect for self is the beginning of cultivating virtue in men and women."  (Standing for Something, p. 39)
So I'm a little confused.  Hinckley says it starts with us.  We must live virtuously.  Integrity means to not only hold to true to what you believe, but to stand for it without being divided.  To be whole.  A house divided against itself shall not stand.  It is not structurally sound otherwise.  

How can members of the LDS Church stand divided on this, as currently advised from the 2nd in seniority, via carefully crafted statement?  We support traditional marriage, but only when it's convenient?  Only when it doesn't draw attention to oneself?  Only when it protects our assets?  Only when we're not employed as the clerk of courts, required to put our signature on marriage licenses?  Only when it's really convenient?  Stand for something then?

Elder Oaks.  Seriously.  You've left me speechless.  So I'll quote Helaman.

"But they grew proud, being lifted up in their hearts, because of their exceedingly great riches; therefore they grew rich in their own eyes, and would not give heed to their words, to walk uprightly before God." (Alma 45:24)

It seems to me that this is more about retaining the wealth of the "kingdom" than standing for anything of God.  God would have us treat one another kindly, yes, and with great love, despite our sexual preferences.  Would God have us rely and fall back on the law of the land, if we knew it was opposed to His words?  Is Article of Faith 12 inspired?  Or does it require one to follow the arm of the flesh?    

Ahhh.  Now it all makes sense.  This is how we roll.  Unless we are stand for something. 


  1. This is a tricky situation because there are a few different ways you can look at things. I think Hinckley and Oaks both make some good points, but I wonder if the real distinction is not IF we should take a stand but WHEN and HOW. Is the time and place to take a stand against gay marriage as a clerk who has a job to issue licenses that are now legal? Let's say you worked at a restaurant when one day it was decided that it is now a brothel. Would you quit immediately or stay on board until the moment you were asked to perform a lap dance? Whenever we enter new waters like this, there is always going to be some time where we are going to have to figure things out.

    1. Right on. Do you object when there's talk of it becoming a brothel, or when it actually transpires and they're asking you to do the act? And what happens if the owner and manager disagree over who gets to make the decision, such as state vs. union? Definitely a sticky road. So many elements to consider, and each one a hot mess.

      Thanks for your comment & stopping by, Steve!


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