Tuesday, February 7, 2023

A Great Chain

I wrote this post a while ago and have been slow to post it. I know some of the information in this post is "old news" but bare with me, or is it bear? 

I have subscribed to the LDS living email list (though I don't remember signing up for it). I received an email a while ago with a great announcement:

Church announces Sunday second-hour 
meetings are to open 
with a prayer

It linked to an article from the church news which said:
Beginning immediately, Sunday School, elders quorum, Relief Society, Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women are to start with opening prayer.

Sunday School classes and Sunday meetings for elders quorums, Relief Society, Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Young Women should begin with a prayer.

A Dec. 21 notice sent from the Priesthood and Family Department to stake, mission and district presidencies; bishoprics and branch presidencies; and stake and ward councils said the practice of opening the second-hour Sunday meetings with prayer should begin immediately.

Citing the Church’s “General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” the notice also reminded recipients of the language and length for prayers in Church meetings as well as who may offer prayers.

Under the heading “Prayers in Church Meetings,” section 29.6 states: “Prayers in Church meetings should be brief, simple, and directed by the Spirit. Any baptized Church member may offer an opening or closing prayer. …

“Members should pray using words that express love and respect for Heavenly Father. In English, this includes the pronouns Thee, Thy, Thine, and Thou when addressing Him.”

When the Church announced a change to the Sunday meeting schedule in October 2018, direction was given that Sunday School, elders quorum, Relief Society, Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women “will not begin with an opening hymn or prayer but will conclude with a closing prayer” (see enclosure to the First Presidency letter dated Oct. 6, 2018).
Okay, I just can't say it genteel at this point - reading that article just about made me want to shout (okay, maybe I did), What in the world?!? HAVE WE LOST OUR MINDS????

Stuff like this makes me want to shake people and say, "WAKE UP!!!" Perhaps this level of control takes me back to my friends funeral where I was asked to say the closing prayer (read that experience here) and was told what I could and could not say in the prayer as well as the length I could take. GAH! Infuriating.

What have we become? Moroni is, no doubt, in shock at the meetings we run. In his day the church was run by the spirit. In our day it is run by a handbook. Our laws and rules rival even that of the Jews.
9 And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done. (Moroni 6)
What would a meeting run by the Spirit be like? Scary, that's for sure. We Mormons (using that word is a, "victory for Satan," sorry) like our structure and our predictability. Being lead by the spirit means we could do or say things not of the Spirit. Yes, there'd be that weird brother or sister (probably me) that takes it too far. But...there would be that sweet opportunity for so much more. Over Christmas break we were driving in Southern Utah and we passed through the town called, "Orderville". My husband commented that he thought this was a town where they lived the United Order for a time. I remarked that it was interesting they didn't go for naming it "Unitedville" but instead valued Order over unification. But I digress. 

I wrote a post about this kind of thing before. I quoted Elder Holland and Elder Eyring in a face to face interview teaching that we shouldn't be too familiar with the Lord (read that post here). 
In the interview, youth were allowed to ask the two Apostles a question and they would answer it face to face, off the cuff. One question was from Lily from Illinois who said, "I'm a senior in High school and I'm having trouble having good prayers, more like conversations with God. Do you have any suggestions, or what do you do?"
Elder Eyring responded by saying,
"Be modest in your expectations. God is close and he loves you and he'd love to have a conversation but remember, he is God. I always worry when someone speaks to him in too familiar a way because it is not easy. Heavenly Father's words, His ideas, are not exactly ours. So the idea of having a conversation where you're chatting with Heavenly Father, is probably a little bit of a lofty goal. My own feeling is....I pray as if He's there, as if He's listening. And He is listening. I believe He is always sending messages to me. But sometimes there's long silences, for me at least. So when she speaks of a conversation in her prayers, she's making it sound a little more casual than I think it's possible to be. We're dealing with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and they are so far above us in terms of their powers. In fact I've been with people who chat as if they're chatting..I've heard them pray and I've thought, "youre a little more familiar with that than I am". If you can just get the feeling that he is hearing you and then if on occasion answers come back often clearly in your mind, sometimes not, maybe just by reading the scriptures the answer comes that way. But the conversation is not quite like he and I together (motioning to Elder Holland), for instance, we talk with each other and it's very personal, Elder Holland and I have had wonderful conversations. But I don't have conversations with Heavenly Father like that. At least I don't. I do a lot of the asking and then I wait and then I wait and answers come. But not in a conversational mode."

In this latest announcement from the church, as I showed above, the church handbook says:
“Members should pray using words that express love and respect for Heavenly Father. In English, this includes the pronouns Thee, Thy, Thine, and Thou when addressing Him.”
Pulling from the blog, "Owl of The Desert" (can be read here) he reminded the reader of when Elder Nelson taught in 2009:
"We can use “right words”—special pronouns—in reference to Deity. While worldly manners of daily dress and speech are becoming more casual, we have been asked to protect the formal, proper language of prayer. In our prayers we use the respectful pronouns Thee, Thou, Thy, and Thine instead of You, Your, and Yours. Doing so helps us to be humble. That can also enhance our prayers." ("Lessons from the Lord's Prayers," April 2009 General Conference.)
Look, I'm going to be straight. I don't pray that way anymore. I used to pray that way. I can't say when my prayers changed because I don't remember when they did. I say "You" and "Your" when I'm talking to the Lord and to Jesus. And the power of my prayers has changed. The power of my prayers changed because I have changed my perception about who the Lord is. I went from viewing Jesus as this:

To knowing Him as this:

And here's a news flash - I didn't set the terms for my relationship with Jesus either. He did. He called me Friend and He asked me to come to Him! The church keeps trying to push Him away and keep Him too lofty to relate to. STOP IT! NO! That gets me mad. Really mad. Gosh, I need to go get a brown paper bag.

And here's another observation of something I've noticed as I've had a sabbatical from intense activity in the church. People commonly and frequently refer to Jesus as, "The Savior." They call him "Christ" or "Jesus Christ". But they rarely say His name - Jesus.


You can't hear my voice but that is how I say His name! When I see a beautiful sunset, a gorgeous animal, insect, a special landscape or heck, when my kids are just plain getting along! I pause, lift my head and say with all my heart


Like a breath - like a roar - like a whisper.

Yes, he's my Savior. He is the Christ too. But now - he is Jesus. He is my Friend. And I don't ask my friends to speak to me with formality...do you? "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing: but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known unto you." (John 15:15) "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13).

I have been reading a book by the author Daymon M. Smith called, "The Book of Mammon: A Book About A Book About The Corporation That Owns The Mormon Church." (link) It isn't a quick read and reading it requires stamina and sometimes requires me to read it out-loud to myself to make sure I am understanding it correctly. But the belly laughs are PLENTY and I love when someone can make me laugh. This is an excerpt from the book that I hope makes you stop and think deeply. I will include Daymon's footnotes, which will look like this: "(a)". When you see those, scroll down the page to read the footnote before going on because it's either dang funny or helps build the case for what is coming. Without further adieu:

"As I might have mentioned, humans are quietly being erased from the Capitalized Church (if not altogether from churches), and in their place are machines, bricks, synthetic building materials, polymerized carpet and particle board pews and words arranged like dead flies in a window pane, all to serve "leaders." Whom do the leaders serve? Not congregations, but God (a), they are Servants of the Lard. All appear to lean sheaf-like upward in deference to the Almighty Facilitaor and Distributor, to whom souls are prioritized, for whom we implement, and around which our supply is chained, prayerfully, round and round one eternal round to Strengthen the Family. His production linear global, His supply sourcing diversified, and to Him we offer tithes and minted rue. And He bestows cars, rag cotton paper, garment factories, lampshades, sofas, DVDs, musicals, and Endowment projectors: yea, anything indeed fitted through the Windows of Heaven Millennial Edition. Ecclesiasticapitalism strives Upward! Moving forward, it carries the swag and booty up, up, up (how else doth Heaven furnish all thine Mansions?). It allows us the privilege of Giving and Receiving. Humans not submitting to refiguring in the image of binary devices are to be written from the plans and policies, struck from its Book of Numbers. 
Look heavenward readers! In an awful vision long ago scribbled by a scribe of Joseph Smith's, we see through the eyes of Enoch, greatest of Old Testament prophets. See a monster throwing a great chain and laughing at the world enslaved: (Moses 7: 25-29)
25 And he saw angels descending out of heaven; and he heard a loud voice saying: Wo, wo be unto the inhabitants of the earth.

26 And he beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced.

27 And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.

28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?

29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?
"One of many passages from Joseph Smith's revelations, it returns to the darker themes that often make no sense, or too much sense, in today's Cob (Ruth here. "Cob" is a form of "COB" which means, "Church Office Building." But the "Cob" is deeper entity that runs the church). How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy? Satan looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced. Enoch pleads for the Earth, that the Lord would preserve it from annihilation, and so Noah was condemned to pilot the Great Flood. In his body he kept warm Enoch's seed, Seth's divine seed got from the Lord; a seed to remain on the earth as a light in the dark until the world is put to the consuming flame at the end of this age. Global Supply Chains? Trusted Business Advisors? What religion is this? My Lord 'tis The Ecclesiaticapital-Mormoration. Simple supplication in faith brings immeasurable treasures from the Hand of Cob. If those Filipinos, Mexicans, and Africans (It's a continent? Whatever) know what's good for them, they'll be insured to be motivated to create mission statements with lots of embedded sentence fragments, beginning with verbs in the present tense (to suggest action, ongoing, forever); or a blindingly fatuous vision statement; or, minimally, a cultural beliefs card easily carried that will finally make their hearts right with this G010011100D
  • Who is come
  • And is not here to dispense justice and mercy
  • But to rule and reign according to His will

            Even so, Admin.

(a)    This God always pronounces His name in BOLD
(b)    Editor's Note: This is the first formulation of the MyDigitization Policy. See Book 01 1001010010:11010

Well, that's all I got for now. God wept when He saw our day - that great chain wrapped around the earth and the devil laughing. And we think of that great chain being "out there" away from us. We think we aren't a part of it all as we continue to fund the building of mall's or megachurches in high-rise apartment buildings pay our generous tithes. We steamroll ahead building more and more lavish temples (only the finest materials) while the numbers of those patrons attending are declining steadily. Our leaders, and those that run the corporation we call, "the LDS church" have used our tithing money to amass ginormous investment portfolios and we strengthen that chain, wrapped around the earth, by willingly sustaining a man who tells us we are morally complicit teaches us that when we make the simple gesture of moving our arm in a sustaining motion we are then cursed bound to uphold their priorities and thereby we see that great chain extends even into places where we once believed to be impenetrable.

Even so, Admin.

Sister Christian
Night Ranger