Thursday, September 13, 2007


It's eating me alive. It shouldn't be, but it is. For many reasons. A few weeks ago a woman stood up at prayer meeting and stated, "I didn't think I had a testimony tonight, but I do. " She then launched into a tirade about the laxity of the saints and the church in not baptizing the dead. Sections 107, 109 and110 should not have been taken out of the Doctrine and Covenants, and they certainly should be put back in, she declared.

Last year I was invited to join a class which is being taught by one of the ladies of the congregation, and of whom the above woman is an avid student. I attended two sessions. One of the reasons I didn't go back was for this very reason. In my research, I have not been able to find any evidence to support baptism for the dead, and I certainly cannot continue to attend a class taught by someone who not only pushes the agenda, but places Joseph Smith, Jr. on such a high pedestal that his humanity all but disappears. Recently some of this veneration of Joseph Smith has begun to creep into Sunday School class. That bothers me.

If the priesthood wants to allow these classes to go on within the walls of the church, fine. But when the teachings spill out into prayer meeting and Sunday School I don't think I can accept that.

Back to the prayer meeting and the tirade. After the woman sat down a very loud silence reigned. There were three priesthood members present. The presiding elder sat with a deer-in-the-headlights look. The other two were behind me and I couldn't see them. No one said a word. Not one word. Thirty seconds ticked by. The presiding elder announced the last hymn and the meeting ended, thanks be to God.

Now, I suppose a testimony can be either positive or negative; who am I to judge a testimony? Personally, I have never felt compelled to stand up and badmouth the church at a prayer and testimony meeting. But that's just me. I feel there are other venues for that, and goodness knows enough of that goes on. Maybe I'm naive, but I always thought, at least within the context of the RLDS/Restoration, that Wednesday night was supposed to be an uplifting experience, giving God the glory and praising His name. Maybe not. The only information I have been able to gather about the meeting itself is that there is to be no musical accompaniment to the hymn singing (D&C 119:6.)

So, what bothered me so much about this "testimony?" Was it the fact that I didn't agree with what was said? Maybe, although I've disagreed with other things that have been talked about there. Was it the fact that it wasn't a testimony but, rather, a tirade? Or the fact that it was such a shock, and an embarrassment to us all? I think what continues to eat away at me is that not one of the elders had one word to say about the inappropriateness of the speech. But maybe I'm wrong in assuming there is a time and a place for such things. I honestly don't know. I only know that the whole texture of the prayer meeting was changed by that incident. But, compared to what is going on in the rest of the church and the rest of the world, it's pretty small, isn't it?

Do I feel better now? Not really, but in time, I probably will. Will God take care of it? Yes. In His time and according to His will. Now all you priesthood types can come out and start telling me what a critical, ungrateful, unchristian wretch I am. Let the chastisement begin.

1 comment:

Book of Mormon Warrior said...

I can kind of understand why she chose that time to give her speech. I am sure it can be sort of fustrating being a woman in a church set up as a sort of patriarchy with a priesthood of men determining rules, ideas, and the course of conversation. They don't get much opportunity to voice their opinions and have them really considered by the body. Perhaps branches should establish times where everyone could come together and voice their beliefs and have them heard and discussed by the Saints. I think that is all most people want sometimes is just to be heard.