Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Or, In President Hinckley's Words

I understand that there are many people who view the church as less of an all-encompassing authority than I do. I guess you can feel that the church is the best thing for your life, even if you don't agree with all its teachings. But not me. I can't rationally believe in PART of an institution that tells me I need to believe in ALL of it. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of guy.

Which is why I have felt so befuddled lately by all the invitations to sign a petition against the church's stance on proposition 8, to visit, or even to fast for Prop 8 to be defeated. I can't fathom using a tenet of my religion to fight against, well, my religion. Maybe it would be different if it if it seemed less cut and dry to me, as I'm sure it does to my friends who send me these invitations.

Anyway, today a guy I kinda know posted this on his Facebook page, and I love it. It's what I've been trying to say, only he does it with much more gravitas and holy authority than I could, and I invite everyone to read it. Talk to you later!

From a talk entitled "Loyalty," given by President Gordon B. Hinckley during the priesthood session of the April 2003 General Conference.

"Now may I say a word concerning loyalty to the Church.

We see much indifference. There are those who say, “The Church won’t dictate to me how to think about this, that, or the other, or how to live my life.”

No, I reply, the Church will not dictate to any man how he should think or what he should do. The Church will point out the way and invite every member to live the gospel and enjoy the blessings that come of such living. The Church will not dictate to any man, but it will counsel, it will persuade, it will urge, and it will expect loyalty from those who profess membership therein.

When I was a university student, I said to my father on one occasion that I felt the General Authorities had overstepped their prerogatives when they advocated a certain thing. He was a very wise and good man. He said, “The President of the Church has instructed us, and I sustain him as prophet, seer, and revelator and intend to follow his counsel.”

I have now served in the general councils of this Church for 45 years. I have served as an Assistant to the Twelve, as a member of the Twelve, as a Counselor in the First Presidency, and now for eight years as President. I want to give you my testimony that although I have sat in literally thousands of meetings where Church policies and programs have been discussed, I have never been in one where the guidance of the Lord was not sought nor where there was any desire on the part of anyone present to advocate or do anything which would be injurious or coercive to anyone.

The book of Revelation declares: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15–16).

I make you a promise, my dear brethren, that while I am serving in my present responsibility I will never consent to nor advocate any policy, any program, any doctrine which will be otherwise than beneficial to the membership of this, the Lord’s Church.

This is His work. He established it. He has revealed its doctrine. He has outlined its practices. He created its government. It is His work and His kingdom, and He has said, “They who are not for me are against me” (2 Ne. 10:16).

In 1933 there was a movement in the United States to overturn the law which prohibited commerce in alcoholic beverages. When it came to a vote, Utah was the deciding state.

I was on a mission, working in London, England, when I read the newspaper headlines that screamed, “Utah Kills Prohibition.”

President Heber J. Grant, then President of this Church, had pleaded with our people against voting to nullify Prohibition. It broke his heart when so many members of the Church in this state disregarded his counsel.

On this occasion I am not going to talk about the good or bad of Prohibition but rather of uncompromising loyalty to the Church.

How grateful, my brethren, I feel, how profoundly grateful for the tremendous faith of so many Latter-day Saints who, when facing a major decision on which the Church has taken a stand, align themselves with that position. And I am especially grateful to be able to say that among those who are loyal are men and women of achievement, of accomplishment, of education, of influence, of strength—highly intelligent and capable individuals.

Each of us has to face the matter—either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.

Thank you, my dear brethren, you men of great strength and great fidelity and great faith and great loyalty.

Finally, loyalty to God our Eternal Father and His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every man in this Church is entitled to the knowledge that God is our Eternal Father and His Beloved Son is our Redeemer. The Savior gave the key by which we may have such knowledge. He declared, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).

Pray to your Heavenly Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and always, under all circumstances, by the very nature of your lives show your loyalty and your love . . .

Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Now is the time to show.
We ask it fearlessly:
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
(“Who’s on the Lord’s Side?” Hymns, no. 260)"


pinetree said...

That's always been my least favorite hymn.

Playa!!! said...

well i LUFF that hymn--and to it and this talk i say AMEN BROTHER

Jessica said...

What about a discussion regarding the imperfection of the people who are stewards over the Church? "The Gospel is perfect, the people in it aren't" is a total cliche, but also very true. If you have a genuine concern that a fallible human is the source of a request (that's not a strong enough word, but commandment is too strong for what I'm thinking) and you question them, does that mean you are not fully invested in the Gospel? I'm genuinely perplexed.

Playa!!! said...

Nah gurrrrl -- I don't think that's what it means. Let me say this though, the Prophet is the Lord's mouthpiece -- he's not one who will ever lead us astray. If there is a disparity between what we feel and what we've been asked to do, that's okay. It's okay to not immediately feel up to something -- we're human. It's the way that we deal with it that is important. Sometimes we say, 'Well, I don't feel that way, so it must be wrong...' Sometimes we even have a lot of really good reasons for our feelings. We need to remember that (in algebra terms) it's the Lord and the Prophet that are the constant. If there's something wrong with the equation, it ain't them. We need to figure out why we're not where we should be, and with prayer/study/meditation/(most importantly) the Lord's help -- we can get there. Now these methods might seem like clich├ęs... but they're also very true too.

Robert Anthony Pierce II said...

Well said!

Why does everyone read my blog in the middle of the night?