For those who have wondered where I've been, I can explain.
Last month I contracted Covid-19. I was not one of the lucky ones who was asymptomatic. I ran a 106 degree fever which stretched for nearly two weeks, couldn't eat or move without throwing up, and my oxygen saturation levels dangerously plummeted to the 60s.
So there I was, on my maybe-deathbed, making sure I was ready to leave this world with a clear conscience, and thought, "I can't die yet, I haven't finished my series on common consent!"
So after many prayers, oxygen tubes, and bottles of Gatorade, I am back.
Fully recovered, thank the Lord.
However, just to be safe, I decided I better wrap up this series.
Because . . . we never know how long we have left.
And thank you to everyone who sent me well-wishes, prayers, and pizza. May God bless you.
Now A Word From Our Sponsor
In a quiet moment the Spirit whispered these words to me, which I wrote down:
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is full of my children who must be called, and then chosen, in order to bring them into fellowship with the Church of the Firstborn . . . . Speak in love, not judgment; speak to save, not condemn; speak in meekness, not anger, and my sheep shall hear my voice and know the Shephard calls."
(1) Does common consent precede or follow our becoming of "one heart?"
(2) What is the correlation between common consent and pure love?
(3) What if membership in the Church is simply a layover as we travel towards our final destination: Jesus's only true and living Church (the Church of the Firstborn)?
(4) Unlike the earthly Church, what if the Church of the Firstborn is composed of those who live the Order of Common Consent?
Politics plague every organization, be it civic, business, or religious.
But Zion is not a political system. It is not a church. It is not a "kingdom."
And Zion is certainly not a democracy.
Wait a minute. Common consent is not a democracy? Aren't we supposed to vote on things and sustain stuff?
The tyranny of a majority can exercise unrighteous dominion as easily as an earthly theocracy.
So what is Zion?
Zion is a marriage.
Zion is a marriage that produces a family.
Zion is a marriage that produces a family of equals.
Zion is a marriage that produces a family of equal sons and daughters of Christ.
Zion is a Marriage?
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.
The first miracle Christ performed was at . . . a wedding.
For the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
If Christ is the Bridegroom, then who is the Bride?
I know this will sound crazy, but consider the Marriage of the Lamb in this context:
And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage].
What does it mean to be sealed . . . to Christ?
How Do Marriages Work?
Structure can be imposed (external), or structure can arise voluntary (internal).
An example of external structure is a Police Officer who sees me driving 100 mph on the freeway. He will impose order (structure) by initiating a traffic stop and giving me a ticket to encourage me to drive the speed limit.
Or I can choose voluntarily to drive the speed limit.
There Are No Police Officers in Heaven
The problem with external controls is that there are no police officers in heaven. (Why would there be law enforcement in a place where "no unclean thing can dwell?")
The problem with using external controls in the Church is that it is antithetical to Zion.
Why? Because the structure of Zion is internal. You know, with the law written in our "inward parts."
Anyone who seeks to impose external controls upon Zion is misguided because they do not understand the fundamental, essential nature (or order) of Zion, which is common consent through love.
External structure is directly inverse to one's maturity.
When we were children, we had lots of rules and boundaries to prevent us from running out into the busy street. But now as adults we learn to govern our own actions.
What are the "Gifts and Callings" of God?
Ordering the Body of Christ is a bit clumsy when we attempt to do so by external means.
In the Church, we task a bishop or Stake President to issue callings or assignments to the membership, and they seek the inspiration of the Spirit in making those decisions.
However, haven't we all noticed that a hierarchy creates a Frankenstein of the Body of Christ? Despite their best efforts, we see mortal leaders attempting to put a "nose" in the place of an "ear"; they try to stick a "foot" where the "eye" should be. (For more on this topic, see Paul's explanation in 1 Corinthians).
To change up Paul's analogy, if we are in an orchestra and have spent our lifetime perfecting our skill with the flute, why would the conductor tell us as the concert begins to switch to the violin section? We will do poorly in a position we are not prepared for or do not have the talent for.
Someone might say, "But Tim, we need to be cross trained. We need to expand outside of our comfort zones and be put in positions that stretch us."
I completely agree with that statement. But that is not what the diversity of operations is about.
I guess the challenge is when a leader tries to force someone (who is a foot) to act like an eye. We have all sorts of trouble when the leader applies external control rather than allowing the foot to grow organically.
Every elder, priest, teacher, or deacon is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God unto him; and he is to be ordained by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Common Consent cannot be engineered or master planned, where leaders decide where everything goes.
Common Consent is a garden in which we grow where God plants (or transplants) us.
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
What surprises me is how we quench the Spirit by denying the gifts of God held by those around us.
The good news is none of us wants to deny God's power. We don't doubt Him.
Instead, we doubt each other.
Our doubts regarding so-and-so ("Oh, they wouldn't be a very good Relief Society president because...") are surprising because of Christ's infinite and eternal faith in us.
Tight or Loose?
We find that cultures can either be "tight" or "loose."
When a culture feels threatened, they tighten up (example: after 9/11 we created the Department of Homeland Security and were blessed with the TSA).
But the real question is why we have created a "tight" culture in the Church?
Who do we have to fear? Why in the world would we feel threatened by freedom?
Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
"Make Money and Make Converts"
In the Great Commission, Jesus left his disciples with this charge:
Go ye therefore [and make money], and teach all nations, [tithing] them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Patrick Mason, a professor at Utah State University where he holds the Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, is the author of the book Restoration: God's Call to the 21st Century World (2020). He said on a podcast I recently listened to that the Church engages with the world in two ways: to make money and to make coverts.
Another thing I learned from Professor Mason was that Joseph Smith never spoke about "a restored church." Joseph Smith always referred to "restoration" in terms of restoring a covenant family (Israel), not a Churchly institution.
In sports, a referee uses a whistle to draw attention to infractions, flags and fouls. Everyone on the field pays attention when the whistle is blown.
So why is it in the Church that we treat whistleblowers as though they were disloyal? Why do we excommunicate those who lovingly want to help us play by God's rules, and keep His laws?
And one more question: To whom do we owe our highest loyalty? To the Church (an imperfect institution) or to the truth?
Why would the Church need to protect itself from the truth?
Shouldn't the counsel we have been given by our leaders in General Conference to "seek after correction" apply to the institution, too?
Elder D. Todd Christofferson:
"I would like to speak of one particular attitude and practice we need to adopt if we are to meet our Heavenly Father’s high expectations. It is this: willingly to accept and even seek correction. Correction is vital."
("As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten," April 2011 General Conference)
If the Church is supposed to "seek correction," then why does it excommunicate those who give it?
At baptism, we should all be given a whistle as a witness of Christ.
On April 15, 2013 the Boston Bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, planted bombs in a pressure cooker that killed three people and injured 280 others during the Boston Marathon. He was convicted of terrorism.
The moral question: is a person who is converted to Radical Islam justified in harming others to forward the faith?
"Jihadists see violent struggle as necessary to eradicate obstacles to restoring God's rule on Earth and defending the Muslim community, or umma, against infidels and apostates. If the umma is threatened by an aggressor, they hold that jihad is not just a collective obligation (fard kifaya), but an individual duty (fard ayn)."
(BBC News, "What is Jihadism," accessed at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30411519)
Is spiritual terrorism justified because we believe our faith is "right" while others' faith is wrong?
Does a jihadist believe a person's profession of faith is more important than their life?
Do we turn people into objects when we judge them based upon whether they assent to a certain set of beliefs or creeds?
Christ taught that saving belief cannot come by violence (i.e., force or external control).
Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath.
In the church, have we also learned to judge a person's worth based on whether their beliefs are "correct?"
For example, when we label someone an apostate or when we excommunicate someone for their beliefs, aren't we saying to the membership: "You can ignore this person. This person is persona non grata because they don't hold the same beliefs as we do."
Is this kind of shunning the spiritual equivalent of jihad?
When we choose orthodoxy over love, do we make people's worth to be less than that of our religious beliefs?
In other words, does religion dehumanize others?
There is a great gulf between religion and the gospel of Christ.
From Christ we learn that the worth of souls is greater than adherence to Creedal Orthodoxy.
This why His gospel is called “pure religion.”
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
(1) To visit the fatherless (2) and widows in their affliction, (3) and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
(James 1:27) Why do we make religion into a bundle of truth claims when, in fact, pure religion is about keeping MYSELF (just minding my own business) unspotted from the world, and caring for those in need.
Notice it says nothing about making sure my neighbors profess to my version of the gospel and conform to my set of beliefs.
19 posts? This has been fun and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic.
I hope these posts have accomplished at least one thing:
We'll all think twice the next time we're told common consent means a one-sided "you support what we decide."