12 September 2013

Apostasy: I do not think it means what you think it means.

For my LDS readers, you may or may not be aware that Denver Snuffer, blogger and author, has been excommunicated. If you'd like to know details, please read this post, and then this one. If you want a more complete picture, read the ones in between.

Throughout the last couple of weeks, I've watched some of the vast online discussion, as well as doing plenty of thinking and participating in some real-life discussions. Here is the truth, as it has distilled upon my soul: the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hold the legal right to excommunicate whomever they wish, for whatever they wish. That’s how private organizations work in this country. They are free to strip individuals of their membership, for whatever reason, because the law of the United States grants them that right. Whether or not any individual excommunication is pleasing to the Lord is something said leaders will need to take up with Him.

The usage of the word “apostasy”. The church, (and most everyone), is using it incorrectly, wresting the meaning of the word.

Definition of APOSTASY
1: renunciation of a religious faith
2: abandonment of a previous loyalty : defection

What Denver did in writing Passing the Heavenly Gift is called heresy.

Definition of HERESY

2 a : dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice
b : an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards

In PtHG, Denver transgressed the tradition of glossed-over history and infallibility of leaders, both powerful dogmatic tenets of Mormonism today.

The main problem I see arising from this kind of excommunication is that members might no longer feel they can trust the corporate church to treat them reasonably, and we might once again adopt the culture of double-speak and mistrust that once reigned in the last gasp years of polygamy. I pray that destructive situation doesn’t come again.

The beauty and glory of the victory of Jesus Christ is that all of us, despite our mortal blunders and unattractive traits, can be justified, sanctified, and loved . . . and with the touch of the Master’s hand, can be agents for revolutionary change and glorious salvation in the lives of those around us. It makes me so, so sad that we as church members are not welcome to acknowledge the flaws and mistakes of our leaders, even though that is the best way to learn from them.