Wisdom From Those “In the Know”
By Eleazar, 2002
contains a few personal experiences that are related to this website and may be
valuable to pass on to others. In
LDS culture, there is an emphasis placed on hierarchical authority and those in
leadership positions are considered to be those who know and can be looked to
for guidance. Here are a few
experiences with LDS church leaders that may be worthy of careful consideration,
not because they proclaim a dogma on one way or another, but because they
provide important starting points for new avenues of thinking.
As always, none of these comments of my own pretend to be authoritative,
but are offered only as food for thought.
One must always be in a position to consider that their own way of
thinking is incorrect and I should do no less.
With that said, here are a few incidences of counsel from LDS leaders
that have occupied a prominent place in my own thoughts.
The temple endowment is not very symbolic.
A half dozen or so years ago, I was moved to write an essay on the
symbolic meaning of the apron. At
the time, I was laboring under the usual worldly ego and notion of wanting to
share my newfound knowledge with everyone I could find to listen.
I was sure that everyone would see it the same way that I did and would
be as amazed as I was. In
my zeal, I gave a copy of the essay to a fellow I knew (Steve F.) who is
currently the local (Buffalo, NY) Stake President, and asked him to read it and
tell me what he thought of it. After
an appropriate time, I happened to see him on other business and conveniently
asked him what he thought of it. He
handed the essay back to me and said that it went way too far into trying to
uncover the symbolism in the apron because “the
endowment is not very symbolic.”
We don’t know much about it.
When a member of the (
Lucifer tells truth.
In an informal private conversation with Steve F. (who is now President
of the Buffalo, NY Stake, though not at the time of this conversation
-- he held a different Stake position), we got into a discussion of a
popular axiom sometimes stated in LDS classes that “Lucifer tells nine truths
and then slips in one lie.” I
took issue with this idea, claiming that Lucifer always lies.
Steve took a supportive stance on the axiom, pointing out as an argument
in his favor that Lucifer tells truths in the endowment.
We went around and around that bush for a long time without either of us
yielding our ground. It
was an experience that I remember because I thought it ironic that here was a
LDS church leader holding ground that Lucifer tells truth in opposition to
someone (me) who many view as LDS apostate claiming apparent nonsense that
Lucifer lies all of the time.
You cannot trust your conscience.
Prior to a disciplinary court being held for me creating and maintaining
A question of authority. In 1997, the local LDS Branch President (BP) (who was Gary W.) came to my home and privately met with me in order to find what I thought about my wife being called to a major local leadership position. Before answering, I asked him to clarify the purpose of the conversation we were having. In particular, I was curious whether or not my answer in this matter was binding, so I asked him in a very frank way. Gary responded that he was visiting as a courtesy, but ultimately it is his prerogative as leader in the church to do as he wished in calling my wife to the leadership position. I felt moved to respond to him that I would seek revelation on it and get back to him in a few days. I sincerely sought revelation on what to say and, at the appropriate time, told him that the Spirit had clearly told me that God was not calling my wife to the relevant position, but that the idea for the calling had originated in the mind of the Branch President himself. Moreover, the Spirit was very clear in saying that the decision to accept or reject the calling belonged to my wife alone and that it was neither the BP's decision nor mine. The answer caused me to think about it and to admire its deep wisdom, but Gary seemed to want to forget it. Later, Gary told me that he would perform his solemn duty to "not allow anyone else to hear what you are saying." (quoting his exact words). As a result of that experience, I began realizing that the highest authority under God resided with the individual rather than with church leaders as I was taught in church. And it seemed so obvious all along, but why couldn't I see the obvious? Incidentally, it turns out that my wife sought her own guidance and ended up rejecting the call.
may be added later