I guess that it is about time that I write what I originally thought would be the inaugural post of this endeavor-namely, what does my chosen title mean? I included a quote from the NT in the caption as a clue, but the gist goes towards what I hope our common aspiration as Church members is-both to keep the Lord’s commandments and be good people while doing it. No really, they aren’t the same thing. I am including links to several of the other posts around the Bloggernacle that got me thinking about this topic and finally convinced me to get off my butt and start blogging (or is that to get ON my butt and start blogging?). Anyway here are a couple (though not a complete list by any means):
“Dear Loyd You Are Not Welcome
My Dreams of a Future Mormonism
Temperate in All Things.
I could go on, but that should whet some appetites. I should also say that I don’t agree 100% with what the above authors said in their posts. I would not have gone as far on some points, and maybe farther on others. I am interested them inasmuch as they indicate that at least a couple of other people are thinking about the same kinds of things as I am.
I think what Jesus was saying to the Pharisees and scribes here was something like this, “Look, you are focusing so hard on making sure that you believe in the right things, and do the right things relative to God, but you aren’t even nice people.” That’s watering it down somewhat, but I think that the basic accusation is “You’re missing the point.” The reason we keep the commandments is that they should naturally lead us to become people who are more merciful, more just, and more faithful. If our obedience leads us away from those virtues, it has accomplished very little. I bring this up because I see a lot of people missing the point these days, both in and out of the Church. I have probably been guilty of the same thing myself on a couple of occasions. But I believe we all generally worry too much about whether so-and-so is active/inactive, orthodox/NOM, Democrat-liberal/Republican and whether we have the right thoughts and believe in the right doctrines. Church members sometimes exclude or are rude to those that they don’t feel “fit in” with Church doctrine (or culture)-whatever that means. I would rather see a return to the “big tent” ideal that David O. McKay and Joseph Smith had. My wife recently attended the Yale Mormon Scholars conference and one of the participants there remarked that as their faith and knowledge of the Gospel mature and increased, their testimony tended to shrink and coalesce around a few core principles, leaving the rest as details that are up for discussion. This is an ideal I would like to see put into place. I also think it is a “true” principle; and if not, at least a helpful and productive one for a community as large and diverse as the Church is and aspires to be.
One of the things that got me thinking about this was the death of Jerry Falwell, someone for whom I am not inclined to shed a tear. I don’t know whether his abrasive and somewhat unhinged public persona was reflective of his private behavior or not. (Just because somebody goes on Larry King and says that you were a really nice person after you die does not mean that it was so.) But I was struck by the idea that here was a person who was deeply and passionately concerned about whether TinkyWinky (one of the Teletubbies) was gay or not since being gay is wrong (ex. of correct doctrine or belief) but seemed unable to muster compassion or mercy for those who might be toiling under the temptations that he condemned. I just kept thinking, “he missed the point.” Perhaps it was uncharitable of me to make such judgments of him, but there it is.
Anyway, I hope that this has given my few readers an insight into what I’ve been thinking about recently and why I started this blog in the first place.