Highlights for Doctrine and Covenants 84
The earth has started its own mission of warning and speaking up. I would suggest we stay in sync with the scriptures and the signs of the times.Shawnie Cannon – Divine Code
A good friend of mine posted an article by Richard Ostler about garments and a wedding dress which appeared on my Facebook timeline. There were some excellent points made in the article – especially about gossip and unrighteous judgment. However, it managed to subtly twist in concepts or versions of love and fellowship, which I believe oppose the Savior’s version as spelled out in section 84.
This post expresses my understandings – as best as I can discern. However, let me say, I am grateful I read the Come, Follow Me assignment because it allowed me to detect a false concept which honestly sounds Kumbaya and gospel-grounded at first pass. Richard Ostler is a gifted writer, and his re-directs were subtle. If it were not for some key verses in section 84, I don’t know I would have recognized them.
In short, his post disguised complacency as love – and re-directed our focus for the last few minutes before the Second Coming. While his theories will make everyone feel more comfortable and warm-hearted for the short term, I do not believe a couple of Richard Ostler’s interpretations of love and fellowship will turn out well for anyone in the end.
Overall, the gospel does not allow us to sit and be comfortable for long. We are here to grow, to reach, to repent, to be tested and tried, and to be “proved herewith.” And then, repent some more after all that. Honestly, the gospel is not a sheltered fit and is continually at odds with our carnal selves. It might surprise you, but I believe we are at our best when gospel-living is a bit uncomfortable and a stretch.
Here is a quote from Richard Ostler’s article. See if you can spot the re-direct?
“The leaders of our Church have a broader mission with their worldwide responsibility to be a ‘voice of warning’ to help everyone come closer to Christ and do this through means that are available to them such as conferences talks, meetings, press events, books, and articles. I do that in my life by living the second great commandment ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.”
The injection of gospel trigger words helps this sound kind of righteous. The problem is, he goes on to quiet both his voice of warning and any other members’ voice of warning and categorize that under “love thy neighbor.” It’s a flourishing, emotionally appealing version of ‘live and let live.’
That’s not true love; it more resembles a convenient comfort zone.
Question:How is the Church leader’s voice of warning different than ours?
Answer: It’s not. Perhaps the scope is smaller – but the charge and the mission are the same all around.
The voice of warning, a call to repentance, alongside an invitation to greater faith and obedience are at the core of our experience with God’s love. They are also central to the Atonement and the plan of salvation. If we are to love like God, a voice of warning is at the core of any genuine love for others. While it is edgy, it is more authentic and more profound than Ostler’s version of see-no-evil acceptance.
Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor. (Doctrine and Covenants 88:81}
How did Mr. Ostler manage to gloss over the first great commandment (to love God with all our might) – to make his case for the second commandment? His take on loving others means to say nothing and let everyone live as they want. And this would “love” them. That’s not loving; that’s making everyone comfortable and quieting some key teaching moments and shutting down some needed bearing of truth and testimony.
While his article and commentary on judgment and gossip are good, he used them as a launching pad for complacency.
Complacency isn’t how we love and save ourselves. We love and save ourselves by introspection and repentance. If we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, repentance is how anyone else is saved and loved too. I would agree our method of delivery matters, and none of us have a license to be preachy, disagreeable or unloving. Nonetheless, social comfort has no doctrinal backing.
It’s harder to love like the Savior – love, serve, love, and serve again, love no matter what, and speak up even when it is not popular or wanted or politically correct.
Here are some better guides from DC 84:
87 Behold, I send you out to reprove the world of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is to come.
88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
117 And verily I say unto you, the rest of my servants, go ye forth as your circumstances shall permit, in your several callings, unto the great and notable cities and villages, reproving the world in righteousness of all their unrighteous and ungodly deeds, setting forth clearly and understandingly the desolation of abomination in the last days.
118 For, with you saith the Lord Almighty, I will rend their kingdoms; I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble.
There is nothing reserved nor socially comfortable about God’s love or plan of action for the last days. The earth has started its mission of warning and speaking up. I would suggest we stay in sync with the scriptures and the signs of the times. We love deeper and truer when we “set forth clearly” what is to come, including Judgment Day.