Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'm So Offended...

Frankly, I'm offended by the former policies on polygamy in both the 1800s and in Old Testament times. I'm offended by the former restrictions on the Priesthood in the modern era and in ancient times. I'm offended by some things Brigham Young and others have said. I'm especially offended by the actions and writings of Moses. Half of the Old Testament offends me. I'm offended by some Nephite attitudes about Lamanites in the Book of Mormon. And then I find myself bristling even at some of the words of the New Testament and some of the events therein. For example, did God really have to kill Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 for donating a little less than they could have?? Would not a gentle lecture been sufficient? Or perhaps one of the less desirable callings?

There are long lists of things that offend me. Some of the things that offend me may be due to human error (prophets are fallible, all men are fallible) and certainly, in at least several cases, some of these things are due to God's perplexing failure to do things my way.

Unfortunately, if we are looking for a religion that doesn't offend us, a Judeo-Christian faith is not going to cut it. Certainly not what I consider as Restored Christianity.

How often the scriptures teach that God's ways are offensive! In Matthew 11:6 and Luke 7:23, Christ gently tells good people that "blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." In the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, Christ warns of those who don't develop deep Gospel roots: "Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended."

Christ offended the religious leaders of His day. From Matthew 5:21: "Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?" He offended those who knew of His seemingly ordinary roots: "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him" (Mark 6:3). In the last days, Christ warned that "then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another" (Matthew 24:10). Even His own disciples were offended by Him (John 6:61; Matthew 26: 31-33).

Shall we be offended? I certainly have been. It may be necessary to recognized that some of the causes of offense are from human error, but there are things from God that will offend us to the core. The story of Abraham and Isaac - it offends me deeply. And yet it is a cause of great inspiration, one of the most powerful teaching moments in the scriptures.

May we be less offended and more open to the ways of God, and less dependent on human perfection.

9 comments:

Gnuosphere said...

The offense is committed in the mind of the offended.

Bookslinger said...

Gnu: Welcome to the Bloggernacle! (Mormon Blogosphere).

Your Blogger profile says you're in Africa. What country? What languages do you speak/read/write?

Have you read the Book of Mormon yet?

Stephen said...

Titus, verse 15 comes to mind, "to the pure, all things are pure, but ..."

Well done post.

Mary A said...

Jeff, this is a most excellent post with a most excellent point. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I've seen people that have left the LDS faith recently and others that are contemplating leaving the faith, & it is my belief that the root cause for their behavior is due to being offended in the past. This post by Jeff, puts this topic in context. It is my belief that if a person wants to be offended by a church leader or by a historical church book, that person is going to get what they desire. Everybody is entitled to their own perspective. Everybody is entitled to speak or write their own perspective. Just because it is written or a topic is found on the internet, does not mean that the author's or speaker's opinions or perspectives are absolute and true.

Todd Y. said...

"May we be less offended and more open to the ways of God, and less dependent on human perfection"

But that's just the trick, isn't it? Discerning between what are the ways of God and what are the ways imperfect humans are incorrectly claiming are the ways of God? I'm "offended" all the time by things I see in the LDS Church that are, in my view, ungodly.

Floyd the Wonderdog said...

While reading the Brothers Karamazov, I ran across this passage (Book II Chapter 2). I realized that is it possible for those who claim to be offended to manufacture that offense. Sometimes, those who do not wish to live the gospel find a way out of the church by manufacturing offense.

"Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself. The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than anyone. You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take offence, isn't it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a mountain out of a molehill- he knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offence, and will revel in his resentment till he feels great pleasure in it, and so pass to genuine vindictiveness."

Stephen said...

Half of the Old Testament offends me.

Only half?

Anna said...

I know a terrific guy with a ton of bishopric experience. Throughout his life, he's had episodes battling cancer, though he never makes it known.Recently in his current ward, the cancer came back in his stomach and he asked to be relieved of some of the more demanding parts of his calling. Time passed. Perhaps too much time had passed, because ward members began to question his "illness"...after all, here he was, still standing, eating a hamburger,the S.O.B.,despite reassurance that he was seeing a team of oncologists. Nasty rumors were spread by the old and young alike, that he liked a lightened load and even more attention. A group of "concerned" individuals even went so far as to confront him publicly, so he could get some help with his "real issues."
All of this because he wasn't dying fast enough for them. What I'm saying, is that I think everyone has a breaking point.It's easy to quote a scripture.Infinitely harder when "Saints" become the finger of "God".