Friday, June 17, 2011

Oh no he didn't: Taking GA's literally

I really think that Orson F. Whitney is saying it is in God's plan for some people to not join the church is this life in the following quote:
"Perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of His Church to help it along,” said the late Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve. “They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else. … Hence, some are drawn into the fold and receive a testimony of the truth; while others remain unconverted … the beauties and glories of the gospel being veiled temporarily from their view, for a wise purpose. The Lord will open their eyes in His own due time. God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous for any one people. … We have no quarrel with the Gentiles. They are our partners in a certain sense.” (Conference Report, April 1928, p. 59.)

I'm not arguing with this quote. In fact, I love it. It shows the depths of understanding that certain people through history have had regarding the gospel. This is evidence to me that the Mormon cultural hang-ups on conversion and ordinances need not be tied to life. The same blessings are available to those who die not having become a Mormon. Not just those who didn't ever hear of the gospel, but also to those who for some "wise purpose" do not feel convicted to be baptized into the church. What an Open Mormon concept. The whole exclusivity claims and some of the overt pressure, and judgement shown to many people is just unnecessary. This is another win for the universalist view of Mormonism, the one that says that Mormon theology provides for ordinance requirements of all people and the limited amount of time on earth is but a small factor that goes into how one is judged as either good or bad, righteous or unrighteous. Likely there will be more people in the celestial kingdom that perhaps your everyday Mormon believes.

Upon reading this quote, it occurred to me that this is just the type of quote that would have your conservative TBMs saying, "Oh well, you can't take everything said by a GA in Conference as scripture." (Even though this is the group that throws the same argument back in the faces of the unorthodox, questioning Mormons). That is precisely the arguments open Mormons when they encounter who are then denounced for their lack of obedience to the prophets. All I'm saying, there is plenty of content in the span of General Conference to make TBMs and OMs uncomfortable or that will lend support to their views.

The arguments are silly. Christ says love. The prophet of the restoration says "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (Article of Faith 11). The prophet of today says be tolerant. Let's do that.

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