Monday, July 23, 2007

Guilty as Charged

Closely following on the heels of Brother Arthur's letter comes this reaction by Cec, who nearly had apoplexy last night when he finally ferreted out the section of the minutes of the CRE conference addressing the apparent dumping of the D & C:


We have been accused of “bashing” the JCRB and by “vote” of that other august body, the CRE, I guess the accusation extends to them as well. I plead not guilty.

There are several things to which I plead guilty. I confess that I believe in our Lord, Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit working within those who share the covenant. I further confess I am guilty of belief in the Rod of Iron as typified by the Inspired Version of the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. As a Latter Day Saint, I believe in the miraculous occurrences which provided our three works of scripture. I continue to believe that, given a proper descendant of the prophet, the later book, with the consent of the body, may still be a record of revelations to the people. I believe, from personal testimony and that of other Saints, that we believers may enjoy all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I also believe that I am no more or less important in the eyes of God than the “fallen sparrow.” My choice, therefore, is to associate with those persons who share these beliefs. Doing so has bought great joy to my life. My guilt in pursuance of these beliefs has earned me the title of fundamentalist. Guilty as charged, your honor.

If holding and publicly stating these beliefs makes me a “basher” in the eyes of those who do not share in these beliefs, then so be it. This is not a matter of quantifying the numbers of angels which may be stacked on the head of a pin. This is an issue which clearly defines those of like beliefs and goals of enhancing Kingdom building and the realization of Zion in our mutual lives. It all boils down to a very simple proposition: “If you ain’t fer us, yer agin us.”
Building the Zionic condition in the people cannot be accomplished by dismantling our basic beliefs.

From reading the minutes of the last conference, it is unclear why the body felt it necessary to follow this path. But, follow it they did on Wednesday of that fateful week. This is not bashing, this is reporting! One hundred sixty-six elders met and decided to tear down the Restored Church one brick at a time. The first brick they removed was the Doctrine and Covenants. Why? Were the messages revealed to Joseph Smith and his descendants so threatening they need to be excised from the faith? What’s next? How about Isaiah? That book has some tough things for the Saints to wrestle. Now that we [appear to have] excluded the [Word of Wisdom,] maybe we should sit back, have another cup of coffee and think this thing over. I am sure we could find other scriptures which make us uncomfortable in pursuing our own selfish goals rather than the will of God. [If you don't like the law, change it. Works for our government.]

While re-reading the above paragraphs for errors, I decided I may have to alter my “not guilty” plea. One of the principal hallmarks of our Heavenly Father is his capacity for forgiveness. Once our errors are identified and repentance is present, He has promised to forgive and, most important, to forget our sins. This allows us to clean the slate and proceed with the business at hand with an uncluttered heart and renewed strength. There is one bothersome thing here. If we deny the record of His works and counsel as shown in the Doctrine and Covenants, does this mean we are denying Christ as well? We are well acquainted with the results of that grievous sin. Judgment is not in my job description. I would, with all the love I can muster, encourage my brothers to rethink their position on this critical issue. For myself, I will continue to hold the Doctrine and Covenants as a sacred document and testify to all who will listen that it reflects the mind and will of God. My prayer is that, after prayerful consideration, all will see it as a document worthy of standing with our two other Sacred Books.

Cecil Moon

2 comments:

Vicki said...

Hello,

I'm new to this blog, and hope that my comments will be accepted in the spirit in which they are given.

My husband has been involved with the CRE and the JCRB for some time. He was the secretary for the CRE for 2 years. He's given up vacation so he can attend the meetings. He's been involved with the JCRB since its inception and I can tell you categorically, that there are no moves to start a new church as has been alluded to. We have found this group to have a strong desire to unite our efforts together to prepare for the will of the Lord.

It is my personal opinion that the ommission of the D&C from that particular resolution was simply because we have diverse opinions as to what is accepted and what is not. Some people choose to accept the sections only through 144. Some accept a few more than that. Price Publishing only prints up through 144. But to include the D&C in that particular resolution would mean that a certain version would have to be identified.

I've visited briefly with Brother Reed, and it was never his intention to completely remove the D&C from our canon of scripture. He does believe in the scripture but simply stated that there were some areas that he struggled with. To make broad assumptions seems unchristian to me.

One of the areas that I feel we fail as Saints is that we just take things as we see or hear them rather than going to the source to discuss them. The Word says we are to reason together. As God's people, if we could just talk with one another, I do believe that we would have a much better chance at understanding the various points of view, without assuming the worst in people.

These are just my opinions. I know that we are all concerned for the church and its people, but please let's not attack a person's character and integrity without speaking with them personally. The Lord will bless His people if they continually turn to Him and remain humble.

Blessings,
Vicki

Seeker said...

Sister Vikki,

First, we send a hearty thank you for your interest, and taking the time to participate in Zion Beckons. When Jan and I decided to start the blog it was not because of a random crazy thought. It was certainly not because we thought there was a potential for financial gain. Neither of us seeks any lofty status or position as a result. We genuinely felt directed to provide a forum for all the Saints to make their opinions available to others. Is it necessary to agree with all of the varied positions posted here? No! Does any thinking person agree with every position posted on the Center Place Discussion Board? Again, no! I can’t think of a better place to witness the disagreement and approaching contentiousness of the Saints than the present “Fall of Adam” thread on that board.

We no longer live in a closeted world of compliant peoples subjected only to top down information supplied by leadership. This does not mean that we do not have regard for their scholarship, work ethic, and service. We also love them as children of God and pray for them as we pray for God’s blessing on all who would help in building the Kingdom. Respect is another matter. Respect is not given at confirmation, election, selection or ordination. Respect is earned. It is achieved by demonstration of works, thoughts expressed, and deeds. Every Saint, from recalcitrant member to prophet, is subject to that general identifier, man. As men, we have by definition, faults and foibles. Some are better than others and none are as good, or, as bad as they might think. Fortunately, it is not our business to render that judgment; God can and does handle it. We, as men, can only pray that we are following the will of the Master.

On the subject of disagreement, I submit this analogy. That most common unit of Saints working together is the marriage. Since I don’t know the particulars of your marriage I will use ours as an example. With time to spare before an coming bit of business, I sat on a rock high in the Helderburg Mountains above Albany, New York and prayed earnestly for a decent woman to share my life and I hers. The following Saturday, I looked across an open field and spied a lovely woman approaching. At that moment it was made known to me that it was the woman with whom I would share the rest of my life. We spent the next year prior to our marriage working out the details but the issue was never in doubt, just the minutia. Would we like to have you believe that the following twenty three years have been peace, bliss and unencumbered by strife? Have we never shared an unkind word? Are we always in accord on each issue which life delivers? Absolutely not. Christ has shared his love and enabled us to work our way through our manmade problems and returned our focus to him and ignore our own petty wants and desires. It can be said that sometimes the flies on the wall hide their heads in fear after witnessing some of our discussions. But, in the end, we find we have the same end point if not the same route. We are fiercely loyal to each other. She has earned my respect as mother, nurse, author, scholar and my love for sharing our mutual concern for the church and, not least, for putting up with an opinionated, sometimes cranky old man. Vikki, if you can relate to any of the foregoing, then you can understand how, in the greater body, the church, disagreements can occur without diminishing the love we all have for each other. If you have never experienced these things then I can only conclude you have a unique marriage. I would then congratulate you.

The final issue in your posting was the matter of the Doctrine and Covenants. My “assumption” about the actions of the CRE in conference is based on the written, published minutes of their proceedings. The resolution was written in full and the result of the vote was then given. Not the number, just the final result. If my “assumption” was in error, it would be because my resource was false. As to the matter of “broad assumptions” being “unchristian”; God shall deal with that at the judgment seat.

Having attempted to read every published effort by the CRE, I find them to be committee poor. Would one more committee be out of order on a matter so important as the Doctrine and Covenants? Could our elders(whether CRE or JCRB) not be more productively concerned with determining the cut-off point in the D&C than going to the CoC with hat in hand seeking reconciliation? By using their logic, I can envision a group of surgeons standing around discussing the best point to amputate a gangrenous leg. The conclusion, since they are in disagreement, would then be to amputate at the neck. Neither the patient nor his family would applaud that decision. I believe that many in the church family do not applaud the decision to forego the inclusion of the Doctrine and Covenants among our sacred canon. I don’t. I also don’t believe the responsibility for the decision rests upon the shoulders of Brother Reed. This could not have taken place without the acquiescence of the assembled body. It serves no purpose to cover you with scripture which supports the concept of common consent. You are well versed on this. To assert that any man is infallible is to assign a level of sanctity which they do not possess. Absent a Pope, Prophet, visionary or wizard we shall have to rely on God Almighty for direction. It works for me.

Vikki, if you have read all of these posts and comments, you know my background and where I stand on these issues. Yes, I have strong opinions. Is my thinking correct? Only God knows this. The rest is a matter of the opinion of men. I pray for all persons involved in these issues to continually ask our Heavenly Father for the gifts of wisdom and discernment to better aid in building Zion here and now.

Your servant,

Cecil Moon

Addendum: For those of you who get wrinkled up over the use of the term "men" or "man" please get over it. We're all grown up enough to know it speaks to homo sapiens, not gender.

Seeker