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Mormons As "blind Followers"


Corky Wallace

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In the thread about whether pioneer Mormons were more "bloodthirsty" (referring to MMM), an explantion of the cultural context noted there was a very strong emphasis on obediance (with a note about someone's great grandfather getting excommunicated for going to a dance, or something like this).

Fast forward to today - anti-Mormons accuse LDS of being "blind sheep".

Beyond the pejorative characterization, isn't the basic assertion correct?

There is an emphasis on obediance, and an admonition to support & follow local leaders, so why are TBMs so defensive when others assert many Mormons will blindly follow their leaders' direction? It's not as though this is some kind of dramatic accusation that parts widely from reality.

Understood the direction today is more along the lines of individual interpretation in following the spirit, but cultures rarely make 180 degree turns. In the case of the priesthood ban, the LDS people have impressively done a turnabout, but in the case of obediance, it's not as though there has been a revelation & direction to "forget everything we've said about obediance, make your own decisions".

I just don't understand why TBMs get so upset when others point out the LDS emphasis - and effective result - regarding obediance. The historic & (many) contemporary examples are overwhelming.

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Chaos and anarchy are much better than peace and order, wouldn't you agree?

I'm trying hard to think of something I have heard from a General Authority in

the past 60 years that if I obeyed it, it would result in harm to me, my family, or others.

Strangely, I can't think of a thing. Maybe you can help me out here.

Wasn't it Jesus who said, "If you love me, keep my commandments?"

Bernard

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Most LDS I don't see as blindly following leaders. Rather they do thing's leaders ask them to that they don't feel a need to question. So making decision's contrary to good direction wouldn't be something you could get most LDS into. If they believe leader's instructions originate with commandments of God it wouldn't be God's way to tell people it's ok to choose to disobey.

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Chaos and anarchy are much better than peace and order, wouldn't you agree?

I'm trying hard to think of something I have heard from a General Authority in

the past 60 years that if I obeyed it, it would result in harm to me, my family, or others.

Strangely, I can't think of a thing. Maybe you can help me out here.

Wasn't it Jesus who said, "If you love me, keep my commandments?"

Bernard

Well, you could argue that if the entire population of the US was active, faithful Mormons, the order to buy a years supply of more of food storage could have devastating economic effects on the world.

Ok, that's stretching. A lot. But I'm sure that some GA at some point has lost his temper briefly and told someone to go [do something - edited out allusions to vulgarity; please abstain], acts which would likely cause great bodily and/or spiritual harm. :P

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It is not blindness, it is just an over abundance of wool.

Baaaahhhh humbug.

Bernard

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I have no issue with being labeled 'obedient' to the counsel of my church leaders and the doctrines of the church.

What i strongly disagree with is the accusation that i, being LDS, am blindly obedient.

One is obedience with thought behind it, obedience to things that i believe will help me accomplish my goals and objectives-the other is the equivalent of being a lemming following the one in front of me off the cliff-it's doing something simply because someone said so with no thought to why.

To explain what i mean, i'll use laws of the land...

I obey traffic laws such as driving on the correct side of the road when i am driving in my car. I am obedient to the government.

But am i blindly obedient? No. I don't obey because they said so. I obey because i want to get home safely each night with my family in one piece and obeying the traffic laws (and hoping others do as well) is the best way for me to accomplish my goal.

In short-i obey because it is in my best self interest and in the best interests of my family to do so.

The principle is the same with my obedience to the counsel of church leaders.

My obedience is based on previous experiences, study, prayer and personal inspiration from the Holy Ghost.

It is not based on 'because they said so'.

Does THAT explain why LDS won't quietly accept the label of 'blind follower'?

:P

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My obedience is based on previous experiences, study, prayer and personal inspiration from the Holy Ghost.

It is not based on 'because they said so'.

Does THAT explain why LDS won't quietly accept the label of 'blind follower'?

Indeed it does. Well said.

Bernard

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Obedience doesn't pre-suppose a lack of knowledge. Obedience means that a principle of the universe is being laid hold upon and the powers that come from it are being accessed for our lives. Obedience is about principles and not people.

Now, since we are mortal and knowledge, experience and understanding cannot be laid upon a body within one second, we get the privilege of listening to people who care about us and who have gone before: parents; prophets; God; other wise people/ teachers (not just in the church). They provide the 'short version' of the principle -- that is the part of the principle that gets us the closest to the power available to us -- and we can enjoy the power/ blessings while in the mean time we are deepening our knowledge, understanding and experience so that the principle truly can belong to us by our acts/ obedience. In that principle that we do not fully know, it may be said we are blind for a time. But we are not blind that the prophet loves us; that God loves us; that our parents love us (should we be so blessed); that other wise teachers loves us -- and that they speak the truth. But there are very few LDS, or even people on the earth of any kind, who do not have some full knowledge of some principles (some one, and some another) so that their obedience is with eyes wide open.

The power from the principles we are obeying/ accessing in the gospel are powers that allows us to sanctify, translate, resurrect, exalt, etc. our temporal condition to that of eternal.

'Unhesitating' obedience might be a better way to say what you are putting across, Corky. But not blind.

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I just don't understand why TBMs get so upset when others point out the LDS emphasis - and effective result - regarding obediance. The historic & (many) contemporary examples are overwhelming.

I resent being called "Blind". I am not Blind. I see quite well and I think that is the case for the majority among us. Let me paint you a picture with my words:

The world goes off in many different directions, and they see us Mormons as being constrained to this small narrow path by our leaders, and they seek to free us, or suggest we are blind in that we go "where they tell us to". But the truth that the rest of the world is what cannot see. We can look down at the ground and know where there is stability and where there is danger. We can SEE exactly where it is safe, and from there can see where it is not, while the rest of the world goes in all directions without a thought as to the danger they may put themselves to.

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I remember my Bishop quoting a member of the 70 and said that, "When the prophet has spoken, the thinking has been done!"

I took that to mean, it doesn't matter what I think about things. It doesn't matter that something seems so egregiously wrong, don't question it. Don't even THINK about objecting to it.

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I remember my Bishop quoting a member of the 70 and said that, "When the prophet has spoken, the thinking has been done!"

I took that to mean, it doesn't matter what I think about things. It doesn't matter that something seems so egregiously wrong, don't question it. Don't even THINK about objecting to it.

Lucky that's not in the scriptures! Or church doctrine! Or from the prophet! :P

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Antis make the claim that Latter-Day Saints are "blindly obedient". Antis often point out that a good percentage of Latter-Day Saints do not live up to the teachings of the church and hence don't have a temple recommend. How can both these be true? Hence, "blind" obedience is not a problem. Most Latter-Day Saints try to be obedient. Some struggle with it. Many are obedient and are happy. There is nothing blind about striving to be obedient. If, for the sake of argument, there are "blind" obedient Latter-Day Saints, they are in the extreme minority.

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I thought we were wolves in sheep's clothing. Will someone make up their mind?

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Antis make the claim that Latter-Day Saints are "blindly obedient". Antis often point out that a good percentage of Latter-Day Saints do not live up to the teachings of the church and hence don't have a temple recommend. How can both these be true? Hence, "blind" obedience is not a problem. Most Latter-Day Saints try to be obedient. Some struggle with it. Many are obedient and are happy. There is nothing blind about striving to be obedient. If, for the sake of argument, there are "blind" obedient Latter-Day Saints, they are in the extreme minority.

Not to mention that anyone who is a true LDS has the Gift of the Holy Ghost. No being blind when he is around. It is those without this gift who would suffer blindness.

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I remember my Bishop quoting a member of the 70 and said that, "When the prophet has spoken, the thinking has been done!"

I took that to mean, it doesn't matter what I think about things. It doesn't matter that something seems so egregiously wrong, don't question it. Don't even THINK about objecting to it.

I can't find that quote anywhere-can you share with us who said it selah, thanks.

:P

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I remember my Bishop quoting a member of the 70 and said that, "When the prophet has spoken, the thinking has been done!"

I took that to mean, it doesn't matter what I think about things. It doesn't matter that something seems so egregiously wrong, don't question it. Don't even THINK about objecting to it.

CFR on the quote.

Obviously, in this case you have taken his advice.

Bernard

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I just don't understand why TBMs get so upset when others point out the LDS emphasis - and effective result - regarding obediance. The historic & (many) contemporary examples are overwhelming.

Because the assumption of "blind" obedience implies ignorance and lack of ability to self-determine what is right or wrong. I'd like to know what historical references you are referring to. And please don't say Mountain Meadows. That was an extreme situation and even there people had the option to choose otherwise, which one man btw did, the one who hastened to the prophet to tell him of what was about to happen. As Richard Turley so well pointed out at the Fair Conference: there is no such thing as blind obedience. Every person has choice and accountability.
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Corky W.

How would you like to be portrayed as a simple minded person who doesn't take the time to educate themselves in Church doctrine, principles, history, etc., etc. One who just follows "blindly."

I've heard/read that quote on these boards previously, and I forgot who said it. But it was quite some time ago that it was said... I don't know a single LDS today who would practice it... mind you, this is not to say that we LDS do not sustain and follow our leaders. Issues that come up today are studied, prayed about for understanding and, yes, normally the result is that we follow our leaders, not blindly but because we've studied and in principle we do believe in being obedient, but not "blindly" obedient.

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Those who are calling for references from Selah...

"Any Latter-day Saint who denounces or opposes whether actively or otherwise, any plan or doctrine advocated by the prophets, seers, revelators' of the church, is cultivating the spirit of apostacy. One cannot speak evil of the lord's annointed... and retain the holy spirit in his heart. This sort of game is Satan's favorite pastime, and he has practiced it to believing souls since Adam. He {Satan} wins a great victory when he can get members of the church to speak against their leaders and to do their own thinking."

"When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan--it is God's Plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give directions, it should mark the end of controversy, God works in no other way. To think otherwise, without immediate repentance, may cost one his faith, may destroy his testimony, and leave him a stranger to the kingdom of God."

Ward Teachers Message, Deseret News, Church Section p. 5, May 26, 1945

Also included in the Improvement Era, June 1945 (which was the official church magazine before the Ensign)

It comes from the Improvement Era magazine.

http://www.lds-mormon.com/thinking.shtml

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