Thursday, May 1, 2008


I am grateful to Jonah Goldberg for clearing my mind on some issues surrounding the concept of unity. We generally accept it as a good and necessary thing. I do encourage one and all to step back and examine whether it really is or not.

The only real need for unity in His church would appear to be the singular belief in Jesus Christ and the scriptural understanding of the meaning of His life. Trivial tradition of service order, who can and who cannot share the gospels, identifying church leadership, and other man-made minutia all are meaningless if we fail to understand Him. If one does not understand sin, repentance, and the salvation brought about by his sacrifice and resurrection, then the entirety of the balance is meaningless.

Although not always visible, we do indeed have leadership; and it is not we who lead. It is Him who has set the standard and leads us to our reward. If one is totally preoccupied with prophets, first presidents, patriarchs, seventies, etc. when does one find the time and energy to seek the loving care of the Highest Power available? Our Lord demonstrated, during his time with us in person, that He was the absolute master of the impromptu. When faced with thousands by the sea who hungered for the word: He first fed them and slaked their physical thirst. As a living, breathing, genuine man, He understood the needs of those who were present. Was He concerned by the lack of a proper altar, the qualifications of those who served, or their credentials in the temples where they worshiped? No, He understood the message He came to share. He wanted for his flock that which He knew He was about to demonstrate, resurrection and ultimate salvation.

I truly believe that with the appearance of agency for man, any hope of earthly unity went out the window. Any veteran of the family dinner table realizes the fruitlessness of the search for absolute unity. Yes, we do provide a period of amnesty within our circle, regardless of the measure of importance, to achieve temporary common goals. However, for all to be ever of the same opinions and desires, excepting our love of the Lord, we can not be consistent over the long haul. Each is governed by his own personal view of matters both great and small.

Even in the pursuit of the Christ, no matter how individually devoted, we all enjoy a unique experience. Some I know claim visions, dreams, experiences, burning in the breast and other spiritual happenings. Most of these good people sincerely believe these things actually occurred. Our acceptance is then necessarily based on our knowledge of the individuals or by earnest prayers seeking confirmation. I am probably more accepting because of the personal response to prayer by the Lord and what I consider to be some strong personal testimony. Over decades He has healed my body and my soul and given me direction of incomparable worth. I also understand that any of my testimonies, regardless of their power, belong to me alone and are not comparable to any other mans. They are neither better nor worse; they are mine alone. They are mine to hold in lieu of that which I can not see.

In the same vein, my offenses against the Almighty are also mine. They are not the responsibility of any unified group. Subsequent repentance is also mine to exercise. This is no way means I should ignore the wise counsel and the often great words I hear from a pulpit or from a brother. If I am truly unified with Christ I should seek Him wherever He may be found. Often what I hear is uncomfortable but that is part of recognizing sin. I am fully aware that separation from God offends Him mightily and I need to be constantly on the alert to avoid it. Here again, it is a personal matter and does not depend on an organized hierarchy to be implemented.

So, how did unity become the hallmark of those in Independence who would have us make them our leaders? Here, we need to visit the opposite word, divisiveness. I believe rather than accept that each man has agency and more important a personal relationship with God, they see this independent responsibility as contrary to their own personal goals and ambitions. Is it any wonder then that we would question their agenda when individual members put the understanding of Christ in the forefront of their desires to the exclusion of organization and power structure? Divisive celebrates the necessarily personal relationship each of has with his Maker. Unity requires that relationship to be sublimated to a common human goal.

We are advised to become one with Christ. In choosing companions I attempt to determine that those I associate with share that goal. In that effort, when successful, I find that unity is a natural consequence and not something forced on me by men. We become one in our shared love of the Savior and a desire to entreat others to do the same. As I review the many wonderful relationships I have had with various Saints over the last few decades, I have come to understand that I was drawn to them by the obvious evidence of their commitment. As I have matured, my commitment has strengthened – not perfected. As my emphasis shifts to becoming one with the Master and less tied to organizations I feel an enhancement of the spirit and a keener understanding of my rightful goals.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Ed. Note: On this National Day of Prayer it might behoove us to think in terms of unity for all of us: the whole country and its leaders, not just the "The Church" and its leaders. jm

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