If Ye Are Not One Ye Are Not Mine

Posted by on Tuesday Sep 10, 2013 under Personal Life

For those of you who might not know me, I am a Mormon. The title of this blog post is taken from a book of scripture we use called the Doctrine & Covenants. The full scripture is in Section 38 in verse 27: “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” I write this blog post as a way to express my opinion on something that I have been pondering for a long time, and that is unity in the Church.

I recently came across this story in the news about a group of Mormon women who plan to protest outside the Conference Center during the Priesthood session of General Conference this October. Their protest is to demand they and all women be allowed to attend Priesthood session and ultimately be ordained to the Priesthood. The protest is led by a group of Mormon feminists who operate the website Ordain Women.

Several people I know share the sentiments of this group. They and several others have become disaffected with the Church, largely due to our position on homosexuality and women being ordained to the Priesthood. They believe the Church is in error and should be changed and feel their vocal protests will create the change they wish to see. I’ve been a mostly silent observer as these people orchestrated the “Wear Pants To Church” day a few months ago in which women were to wear pants instead of a skirt or dress to Church. Men showed support and solidarity by wearing purple ties that day. I’ve watched as a mostly silent observer as websites like Mormon Think have created dissonance and discontent among Church members. I’ve watched as a mostly silent observer as prominent media outlets have run stories on disaffected members of the Church.

I am no longer going to be a silent observer. Why?

“If ye are not one ye are not mine.”

Right now in the Church, perhaps like no time in its history, we are not one as Latter-day Saints. You would probably have to go all the way back to Kirtland to find this kind of widespread lack of unity. Now when I say widespread, don’t misunderstand me. In percentages it is a tiny portion of the membership of the Church that seems intent on changing it. But in sheer numbers this tiny portion represents thousands of people. Just 1% of the global membership of the Church would be about 140,000 people. So calling this lack of unity widespread doesn’t mean we’re talking about a majority of Mormons. In fact, you probably only know one or two people who sympathize with or support this movement. You may not personally know any at all.

As a Church we are supposed to be one. This kind of disunity is unbecoming of the Church of Jesus Christ. I’m now going to address every argument I’ve heard on the matter and do my best to lay the issue to rest.

1. We aren’t a conformist Church…that was Satan’s plan

I would call your attention to 2 Nephi 2:13:

“And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery.”

The plan of Lucifer was not to take away our agency by not allowing us to choose evil and force us all to do good. It was his plan to take away the law. Without law, there is no sin and there is no righteousness. We would have been just as capable as we are now of choosing good and evil. The difference is we would not have been instructed in good and evil. God cannot condemn whom He does not instruct.

On the flip side, the plan of salvation is a plan of conformity:

Matthew 5:48 – “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
3 Nephi 12:48 – “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”
Moses 7:18 – “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.”
John 17:11 – “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”
Acts 4:32 – “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”
Romans 12:5 – “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”
1 Peter 3:8 – “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”
D&C 51:9 – “And let every man deal honestly, and be alike among this people, and receive alike, that ye may be one, even as I have commanded you.”
4 Nephi 1:2 – “And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.”
4 Nephi 1:15,17 – “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people…There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.”
3 Nephi 11:28-30 – “And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.”

Ask yourself this…in the Celestial Kingdom, will people disagree on points of doctrine? I would argue no. We are all supposed to believe the same thing because, well, there is only one thing to believe. We are all supposed to keep the same commandments. We are all supposed to live the same gospel. This is a conformist church. We are to be one. It can’t be more crystal clear than through a cursory reading of the standard works.

2. The policy of the Church was changed regarding polygamy and the Priesthood, why can’t our policy change again?

Policy and doctrine are two different things. Regarding polygamy, you’ll notice that D&C 132 is still in our standard works. The doctrine of plural marriage has not changed. It’s still there as laid out in the scriptures. That wasn’t removed. The policy of practicing plural marriage was changed, yes, but then why not remove any mention of it from the standard works? Because we never changed the doctrine.

The policy of restricting who could have the Priesthood changed in 1978. But the doctrine of the Priesthood is unchanged. It is still the power and authority of God that governs the universe, our planet, our Church, our congregation and our home.

Regarding homosexuality, there is a CLEAR doctrine: homosexual acts are sins. Lots of sexual acts are sin. Sex before marriage, sex after marriage with someone who is not your spouse, sex with the same gender…they are all sins. It couldn’t be more clear. Elder Bednar just gave a talk about being chaste that explains things pretty clearly. Elder Packer has been quite clear on the matter.

Does that mean same sex attraction is a sin? No, just as pre-marital sexual attraction is not a sin and being attracted to someone who is not your spouse is not a sin. Temptations are not sins.

Now, can we separate the Church’s policy and doctrine regarding homosexuality? No, we cannot. We cannot maintain our doctrine while performing same sex marriages in our chapels or temples. So changing our policy there would also change our doctrine. And doctrine cannot be changed.

3. There is room in Mormon theology for women holding the Priesthood.

Maybe there is. The Old Testament speaks of a woman who was a prophetess. Perhaps there is no doctrine prohibiting women from being ordained. Perhaps it is simply a policy.

But what would happen should you change it? Is the Priesthood optional for women then? Can you imagine the disunity created by some women choosing to receive the Priesthood and others choosing not to? We’ve already got the unspoken rift between women who serve missions and those who do not. We don’t need another.

Oh so then the solution is to make it mandatory to receive the Priesthood, right? Great, now what about the 6 or 7 million women in the world who DIDN’T want the Priesthood. Congratulations, you just increased their duties and responsibilities so you could feel good about yourself. You just forced an oath and covenant upon millions of women because you just couldn’t live in a world where men had something women couldn’t have. Feel better?

Obviously that’s not the answer either. No matter how you go about it, disputations and contentions are created, something I addressed in point 1 (ie: they’re bad).

I could go on and on and on and on about this…but I won’t. I’ll just remind everyone that disputations and contentions are not the doctrine of Christ. His doctrine is that such things should be done away. If you want women to be ordained to the Priesthood, that’s your business. You can have that desire. You can write to the leaders of the Church to voice your opinions and beliefs. That’s perfectly fine.

What’s not fine is wearing pants to Church. What are you really saying? You’re saying “look at me! I’m different! I’m not one with the rest of you!” That’s what you’re saying. It’s not about the pants or the skirt. It’s about the message. So what are you really saying if you protest outside of the Conference Center in a few weeks? Are you saying women should be ordained to the Priesthood? Sure you are. But you’re also saying “look at us! We’re different! We’re not one with the rest of you!” It’s not about the protest. It’s about the message.

3 Nephi 11:28-30 – “And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.”

Christ already came once to a people who disputed points of doctrine. When He comes again, will He find the same thing among His people?

I encourage Mormons everywhere to stop the disputations and stop the contentions. That goes both ways. Don’t be malicious towards those who did wear pants to Church. Don’t be malicious towards those who do protest during General Conference. These are our brothers and sisters. To those who did wear pants to Church…don’t be malicious towards those who try and call you to repentance. They might not be wrong. Don’t be malicious towards the men inside the Conference Center during Priesthood session. Don’t be malicious towards your friends and family who think you are on the road to apostasy. They might be acting out of love to try and help you, not belittle or disrespect you. Most of all, to everyone out there, don’t be malicious towards those who disagree with you. You might be wrong. Until Christ comes again to reign personally upon the earth, He will continue to have to use imperfect men to direct His Church. He’s going to have to continue to use imperfect missionaries to preach His gospel. He’s going to rely on imperfect primary teachers to instruct His children. That’s just how it is.

Just remember, He said “if ye are not one ye are not mine.” Let’s all try to remember that.

One Response to “If Ye Are Not One Ye Are Not Mine”

  1. Chelsea Barney says:

    Amen! My thoughts as well, however, regarding women holding the Priesthood, I do not believe we will ever hold it in the sense these sisters think we will. We belong to an ETERNAL PATRIARCHAL order. Where there has been sisters administering Priesthood ordinances it is still under the direction and authority of Male Priesthood leadership. I address this on a blog I have written regarding this topic as well. (Hope that doesn’t sound narcissitic. Just feel strongly to speak out for the same reasons.
    http://www.alatterdayobserver.blogspot.com/2013/09/my-problem-with-mormon-feminist.html Thank you!!

Leave a Reply

*


5 × = five