Remember these verses in the Doctrine and Covenants from Seminary days? It’s ironic to me now that my favorite year was the year we studied the D&C and Church history.
I memorized the verses. I was a scripture chase pro.
I was also strengthened by the words.
11 Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear:
12 Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;
13 And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.
14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;
15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;
16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth fold and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.
It felt good to think that I was going to be on the side of the Lord, that I would surely be counted among the stalwart and righteous when the end of time began. The signs were everywhere, after all, and like many on my generation we were promised over and over from the pulpit that ours was The Generation. You know the one, saved for the last days, prepared since the beginning of time to help usher in the Second Coming.
And I was going to be among those who withstood temptation, who held to the rod and stayed true.
When I read these verses now, a small flame of indignation kindles deep. I did all that was required. Yet according to these words, I am cut off because I walk in my own way, which happens to run contrary to the words of the Lord’s servants.
Here is my problem. Later in the chapter, the Lord tells us that he makes no excuses for what he has to say. He says that what he says is scripture, and will all be fulfilled. And he says that the words of his servants are the same as if he spoke them himself.
Okay, I get that.
But, what about the words that have changed? What about the things that were spoken by his mouthpiece once, but then declared by another one to be false doctrine? What about all of those neatly repackaged statements that maybe outlived their usefulness, that were once true but then conveniently swept aside when they stopped matching the Church’s current PR position?
This frustrates me. This paints the ones who find themselves struggling to reconcile belief with the troubling skeletons in the Church's closet with that “prideful and hard hearted” brush.
So any true believing member can squarely place those of us who have broken up with the restored gospel in the right box. We are the ones who stopped giving heed to the words of the Lord’s anointed.
What I wish they could understand is that this place we wake up one day and find ourselves in, this is not a vacation in the sun. We didn’t just forget to say our prayers for a week and then poof! Satan got to us.
Before we are cut off from the arms of family, from the love of friends, I wish that they could spend a minute walking around in the same shoes we took on this difficult journey. I wish they could see how much we pray, how long we spend on our knees trying to make it all work. How we pour obsessively over the scriptures to find some key to unlock the mystery.
They seek not the Lord?
Neither give heed to the words of the prophets?
Big fail there, too.
So really, whose sword was the first to fall?