Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Problem with the Conference Dissenters



Even if you didn’t watch General Conference this past weekend, you’ve probably seen the articles about the dissenters. Essentially, they feel like there isn’t enough communication between the Prophet along with other General Authorities and the laity.  They want an open forum to address their doctrinal concerns.  I see a major problem with that.  It’s not what they’re called to do.  A prophet’s job is not to listen to us. His job is to listen to what the Lord says.  Would you really want a prophet who led by the majority opinion of the people? I certainly wouldn’t.

Imagine this scenario toward the end of the 7th century BC….

People: Jeremiah, we need to talk to you.  We’re not happy with some of the things you’re saying.  WE’RE God’s people, the Babylonians should not come to rule over us.

Jeremiah: Well, you know, God’s doing that because you are His people. You refuse to listen, so He’s got to get your attention.

People: About that….We think some of these rules are unnecessary.  Here are some things we think merit further discussion:

  1. The Seventh Year Sabbath:  We’d be much more financially and agriculturally productive if we weren’t required to rest the land every seven years.   In fact, that’s why we’ve been ignoring the command.  All the farmers have discussed it and feel we should decide how to run our farms.
  2. The Levites: Why should just the Levites get the priesthood? I mean there are plenty of people in the tribe of Naphtali that feel like that’s how they’d like to spend their lives.  Does God love the Levites more? Are you saying other tribes are worth less?
  3. Levitical food restrictions: We really feel like we should eat whatever we want.  The other day, some guy from the outlying regions brought bacon.  It was GOOD.  We don’t see the wisdom in restraining from certain foods and feel bacon should be a part of our diet.

Jeremiah:  Hmmm….well if you put it that way.  I’m sure God won’t mind if we change a few things.  After all, a lot of things have changed since Moses was around.

Though the above scenario is ridiculous, that is essentially what the dissenters are wanting. They want a say in doctrine.  But, let’s be honest, any leader who does that will end up leading the church astray.  We shouldn’t desire our leaders to establish doctrine by vote. 

By the way, there was a time that happened. You may remember it. It’s called the apostasy.

I am grateful, for a prophet and apostles who look vertically for guidance, instead of horizontally.

**Side note** There were dissenters in the time of the Old Testament prophets as well. Though, instead of not sustaining, they would imprison or murder them.  Jeremiah went through quite a lot, but was steadfast regardless of what the people did to him or how much his heart was broken by the destruction of Jerusalem.  Let’s pray for our leadership, that they will remain strong and courageous as well.