Friday, April 16, 2010
Forward or backward
I got asked about loss of teachings or practices within the LDS community. My response is as follows.
It makes no difference whether it is an individual or a community, we are all on a single path that goes two ways - forward or backward. We are either gaining, or we are losing. We cannot stand still.
Whether a group or a person, we are either gaining (restoring) light and truth, or we are losing (apostatizing) from light and truth. This world is a world of change. Nothing remains the same. Everywhere you see either growth, or decay. These forces are at work everywhere. They are also at work within you.
You either search out new truth, find it, live it, and thereby become restored to truth, or you back away from it. If you are backing away, losing it, neglecting it, and discarding it, you are in the process of apostasy.
In a restoration process, there are moments along the way which are marked and notable. Having the inspiration of the Spirit, or feeling the remission of your sins, or receiving revelation, or having a visit of an angel are notable. The culmination of the restoration would be to return to God's presence. Should that happen, through the Second Comforter's ministry, then you have been restored in full.
In an apostasy process, you also have a few momentous events. Having a loss of sympathy for others, feeling progressively more critical of others, becoming neglectful of prayers, failing to associate with fellow saints, neglecting the sacrament are early along the path. Ultimately asking to have your membership terminated, engaging is drug abuse, patronizing the sex industry, are strong signs someone has departed from moving in one direction and has begun to move quickly into the other. (I'm not saying that these are related, nor that someone who leaves the church voluntarily is doomed to addiction, immorality or worse. There are many people of good faith who struggle with the church. That is a different subject.) It is clear, however, than when a person has become a murderer, seeking to kill the saints, as we have seen in history, such a person has finished the course of apostasy and is beyond feeling.
These are examples which try to quickly illustrate the point on a personal level. Quickly, at the institutional level, we have at one end of full restoration, a return to Zion, and the Lord dwelling among them. At the other we have a society whose wickedness and abuse of children is so far spread that fire comes down from heaven to destroy them. Complete restorations and complete apostasies are rare. What history is made up is the description of struggling along the path. We ebb and flow back and forth, without becoming fully ripe either way.
Christ promised at the end of time there there would be a ripening. "Wheat" and "tares" will ripen. Then there will be a harvest. (Matt. 13: 37-42.) However, the haphazard manner of the harvesting makes a full return of Zion before His coming seem unanticipated by the Lord's teachings. (Matt. 24: 39-40.) Modern revelation gave us that opportunity. We clearly have not done so, and at present seem clearly not interested in doing so. That is a subject for another time, however. As Christ put it, we need to seek for our individual, complete restoration because the group will not.
There are two ways - forward or backward. It is not required that you finish the course in a day; but times are coming in which the environment will require of you a greater commitment as "wheat" on the one hand, or leave you to descend into becoming a "tare" on the other. So the direction you are on now is quite important. Either you are restoring truth or you are discarding it.