You know, I wonder what makes a "beehive" such a good symbol for Deseret? Is it because it represents industry, or because it represents hierarchy?
Bee colonies are composed of a queen and . . . everyone else. If you're female (but not a queen, sorry), then you're called a "worker bee." If you're male, you're just a "drone."
Guess what? An ant colony is structured just like a beehive. We've got a queen ant, who is the leader of the colony; then there are the female worker ants; and finally, male drone ants.
You guessed it! Most Christian churches are structured like beehives and ant colonies: there are (1) leaders, (2) workers and (3) drones.
To Bee or Not to Bee?
Martin Luther said true reform of the Church was impossible when "they have given the pope full authority over all the decisions of the council, so that it is all one whether there are many or no councils."
(Martin Luther, Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, 1520)
What is the Point?
1.What is the point of individual spiritual literacy if we are supposed to stick to what the leaders say?
I mean, it is like eating at Taco Bell for every meal: all of the menu items are comprised of essentially the same five ingredients, just in various configurations.
What if we want to eat at Chick-fil-A? (Or, heaven forbid, Chipotle?)
As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
Don't get the wrong idea! I am not saying that General Conference talks are dog vomit (much of the preaching is quite good.)
But we have been on this hamster-wheel for a long time and what do we have to show for it? Maybe we need to allow the Test Kitchen Chefs a little more leeway.
Because if we keep "going along" the same way as we have been, doing business-as-usual, how will we ever get to Zion?
2. What is the point of spiritual intelligence if we are supposed to depend on leaders to tell us right from wrong rather than the light of Christ?
Do we really need a Handbook to decide whether to get a vasectomy or not?
And what good is a Handbook we had no "hand" in drafting?
An "adhesion contract" is a contract drafted by one party (the one with the power), and signed by another party in a weak bargaining position, who is unable to change the terms of the agreement.
That's the whole point: the weaker party can't negotiate a better deal because they're stuck with "take it or leave it."
Many adhesion contracts are illegal because courts find them to be "unconscionable," since those who have power can use them to take advantage of those who don't.
For example, once I "shopped around" for a gym to join (yes, that's right). I finally chose one and tried to get the gym to modify some of the boilerplate language in the "fine print." They refused.
So what did I do? I signed the membership contract anyway. What choice did I have?
3. What is the point of belonging to a group that does not require (or want) our input?
If we don't like our cable TV service, or cell phone provider, we simply choose another company. We cancel the contract and find better service.
But what if there were no other choices? What if there was a monopoly?
Well, that's bad. So under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Government will step in and break it up.
Are Monopolies Bad?
A monopoly allows a company to (1) fix prices, (2) gouge customers, (3) offer inferior service and products, and (4) drive inflation.
How can they do all that? Because the customer has no other options. There's no competition. The customer is stuck.
But the worst part of a monopoly is that they are proven to stifle innovation and creativity.
A company can sit back, allowing the revenues to flow in, and do nothing. Because where there is no competition, there is no pressure or incentive to improve, innovate, or find better solutions.
Now, consider if a Church claimed a monopoly on God's authority.
What are the implications of a spiritual monopoly?
And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor.
Ah, but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of churches to choose from, right?
Well, no. That is the point of priestcraft and sectarianism. If you want to be "in good" with God, you've got to ride in myturnip truck. Are We Oppressed?
Well, let's just say that we are "poor" because we lack institutional authority.
We are "poor" because we are unable to effect meaningful change in the institution.
We live in a "my way or the highway" world.
The worst part about spiritual monopolies is that they think, since they have a monopoly, they can treat members as things to be "acted upon."