Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Faulty Memory

Every Wednesday night at 7:30 pm we attend a prayer service within our branch to render thankfulness for His gifts, supplications for the infirm, requests for forgiveness for straying from the path and acknowledgement of the premier placement of Jesus Christ in our lives. In addition we share testimonies of the presence and direction God gives to our daily activities. We are asked to submit the names and circumstances of persons who require special mention.

Invariably, we have a request from a sister who wishes to call God’s attention to members of her family, who followed the path to apostasy decades ago. Each time I hear her request, I can physically feel the pain in her heart as she registers her disappointment. To all accounts she has been a faithful witness for more years than anyone cares to remember. Her late husband was an appointee for a while and she personally has been a key player in building Zion. Despite her advanced age and physical infirmities, her mind is razor sharp and her memory (unfortunately, sometimes) is clear as a bell. While contemplating the events of the late sixties and seventies, I realize how instructive these memories are to those who were too young or too brain-washed to comprehend what was taking place around them. This dear sister’s prayers are for those loved ones and others who were then and are now, mistaken. Seduced by the wiles of men and eager for advancement, some family members succumbed to the enticement as did thousands more.

Memory can either be from first hand experience or from appropriate education. We have available as a memory jogger and a comprehensive look at the activities of the church over thirty years ago the excellent book, “The Failure of the Gentiles” by John Moody, available at a very modest cost. I will confess that it is a difficult read on many levels. The font selection, size of type and formatting are difficult but, not impossible. The weight of the material requires your full attention. The content is often difficult for those of us who lived these experiences in real time. It is also true that having shared copies with others, they have all been very grateful for the superbly organized approach that Brother Moody has taken. He, unlike many others, was paying attention at the time. At this critical juncture in the growth of the Restored Church, this volume is an absolute must—to be read, passed on, discussed and be absorbed by priesthood and member alike. For copies, please call: Deborah Bergquist: 816-916-0543. The cost is $5.00 plus shipping.

To deny the repetition of the failures from the sixties up to and including the present is to beg for further apostasy. To not heed the warnings in our history is to abuse our God-given intelligence. Just because we have agency to make our own choices does not excuse us from fighting for the right for all the wrong reasons. We all abhor contention. But, is it easier to follow along to get along? We, as a people, look to centuries past for lessons for today and the future. Our scriptures (all three) examine conflicts between God and his people and the agents of darkness. God has shown a clear path to verify the truth of every issue. He can and will provide that warmth in the bosom to confirm that which serves his desires. He will, however, only do that when He is sought.

Believe it or not, our youngest members do respect the opinions and observations of their older fellow congregants. We owe it to them to share our experiences and our analysis of how they came about. Do we seek them out and make them feel the vital part of their church? Do we attempt to understand the level of conflict in their lives? Do we listen, or just preach. Do we realize that eventually they will be the ones who either move the church forward or consign it to insignificance? If we understand the aforementioned, then we will be able to employ them in the advance toward Zion. If we don’t, then we abandon our memories, lessons, and history. They are, indeed, Zion’s Hope.

I recently had a conversation at the golf course with a non-member who attends the Elm Branch Christian Church in Aurora, MO. This good and faithful man and I shared much about how many life situations apply to both golf and church. The golfer who uses the game only to enhance his business, enjoy the sociability, and enable his acceptance in his circle will never improve his game. In the previous sentence, replace “golfer” with member and “game” with church. In both cases, we suffer from selective memory. In an otherwise mediocre round of golf we tend to remember the 40’ putt, the rare 255 yd. drive and the lucky chip that left you pin high and inches away. In church, we remember the comfort, the great dinner and the wonderful music presentation. Do we remember the effort to bring a new member to the joy of Christ? Do we remember the sometimes painful experience of insisting on conforming to those things which build the Kingdom? Are we willing to acknowledge the mistakes of the past and hone our “game” to avoid those things? If we ignore our history and continue to repeat past mistakes, then we are doomed to a watered down existence. Remember our history accurately and reflectively. We need not repeat the past every thirty-five years.

Cecil Moon

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