Church Announcements and Two Wolves

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Note:  I am getting lots of requests to comment on the latest Church policy announcement (That was leaked prematurely). I hadn’t planned on it, but decided, at my EC’s encouragement (pressure), to chime in.  I’ll respond with some thoughts and with a story that, until now, I thought everyone was familiar with -I was wrong. Here you go:

Two Wolves

There is a story told of an old Cherokee teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One is evil: he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good: he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”  (Link)

Every so often the Church comes out with a new policy, directive, announcement, etc. that causes a stir. Today’s announcement regarding the standing of same-sex couples and their children is no exception. There is much angst, doubt, and struggle in the hearts of many members.

And it will happen again.  And again. As the gulf between the Church and the World widens, there will necessarily be more and more days like today.

 

The question – which I consider MUCH more important that the issues at hand is this:

Which wolf will we feed?

The Wolf of Faith?

or the Wolf of Doubt?

The Wolf of Doubt quickly turns to anger, indignation, public acrimony and discussion. He takes offense, and is quick to share it.  He searches for allies and information to validate his views. He turns to sources that are not enlightened, are not sanctioned by God. He often doesn’t even bother to read the very thing that he is so upset about. He will look to support his doubt…

And he will find it. There are many who are more than happy to feed the Wolf of Doubt.

The Wolf of Faith is quick to restrain his reaction. He turns to sources he knows are endorsed by God. He reads the actual policy – instead of seizing on the exploitive headlines in the media. He is not afraid to drop to his knees and seek truth from God through the Spirit before he makes up his mind – and especially before he speaks out. He will look to find that which will support his faith…

And he will find it.

Which wolf are you?

Do you desire understanding, enlightenment, inspiration and truth?

Or do you desire contention, justification and doubt?

You can find either.

And you can feed at the trough…or drink at the fountain.

MMM-logo-small

 

LATE ADDITION:  Here is what a lot of us have been waiting for.  Elder Christofferson did a remarkable interview today that explained the policy changes and all that was involved. This is “going to the source.”  http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/handbook-changes-same-sex-marriages-elder-christofferson

(I had to take the video down, because my ISP got ad at me for hogging the CPU.  Go to the link instead.)

 

Here is a great article that helps explain things in more detail for Wolves looking for faith.

http://blog.fairmormon.org/2015/11/06/a-look-at-the-churchs-new-policy-on-children-of-gay-couples/

Here is a quote by President Boyd K. Packer as well:

“The family is safe within the church. We are not in doubt as to the course we must follow. It was given in the beginning, and guidance from on high is renewed as need may be. As we continue on our course, these things will follow as night the day: The distance between the church and the world set on a course which we cannot follow will steadily increase. Some will fall away into apostasy, break their covenants, and replace the plan of redemption with their own rules.”  (Link)

 

 

50 COMMENTS

    • Absolutely. As a minor, my parents had to give permission for me to even begin missionary discussions. Ultimately I had to wait until I was 18 and a legal adult since they would not. This was back in 1976.

  1. I appreciate how you explained…I love the story of the Cherokee story. I say AMEN and to add to your words, if we follow the council of the Prophets we will always be protected from this ever dividing gulf of misery the world to gives us. We must be strong and keep the faith in these Latter Days~

  2. Today I have been giving a lot of thought to idea that this is part of the process of separating the wheat from the tares. It is our humility and willingness to seek the Lord’s counsel, I think, that defines which one we are. Unfortunately, it’s heartbreaking to watch those we love reject the things of the Lord because they think they know better than He does. But as the gulf between what Christ’s doctrine is and what the world teaches grows wider and wider, it is unavoidable.

    • Anita, I said the same thing to my lovely bride: “this event will be one that will separate the strong and faithful from the weak or faithless.” And sure enough, a number of my friends, acquaintances and even family immediately jumped to the side of “doubt”. I completely agreed with your comment that it’s so heartbreaking to see people we care about move away from the doctrine and leaders of the Lord’s true church.

  3. I had no idea this was going down and don’t really have any feelings one way or another on it. But, I do have family it will effect. In the situation of divorce, when kids are 50% living the Gospel with the parent who stayed and 50% with the parent who left to be with their same-sex partner, can they be baptized? I totally get not wanting to place children under covenant when they are living in a situation that directly conflicts Gospel teaching and not be able to receive the support needed to keep those covenants. What do they do if they are only in that situation half the time?? So complex. So heartbreaking. So infuriating that those who know they have same-sex attraction marry in the Temple, have children, then decide to wreck all the lives in pursuit of what they want. Just DON’T GET MARRIED if you don’t like the opposite gender. 🙁

    • I’m not so sure about your last two sentences, MM (Not to be confused with MMM). I don’t know that someone who is gay simply doesn’t like the opposite gender. I understand your initial comments, that this announcement will be complex for some. I would hope, under proper guidance, that decisions will be made regarding your situation presented that will not hurt those who are innocent. The Church had to draw the line somewhere. Other churches will also have to do likewise. Let’s watch and listen for the commentary from Church leaders to better understand this change. I have appreciated some leaders’ comments about people who are gay, but not so others, in the past.

    • Minors cannot be baptized if the other parent does not give permission regardless of the parent sexual orientation. I have grandkids who must wait until they are 18 because one parent will not give permission, yet both parents are heterosexual. Being a convert, I had to wait until I was 18 because my parents did not give permission. This is not a new policy. It’s a clear explanation of what has been in place for years.

      • The difference is that if the child wants to be baptized, and the parents want the child to be baptized, their permission is not sufficient. The analogy to apostate polygamous groups (a much smaller group) is apt, because the family framework is not according to the Lord’s plan and it colors that child’s formative experiences. Besides putting a wedge in the family at home, which we don’t want to do, children grow up seeing no harm in what the Lord has said is wrong. This is something that takes maturity and experience to comprehend.

        Our stake president was visiting our ward on Sunday, and he took the third hour to have a conversation about this and the initial uproar. This is an administrative guideline and clarification, and there may or may not be some fine-tuning to come.

        The Brethren see what we cannot, and as our stake president said, we start from two points of certainty: one, that the prophet and apostles are guided by revelation, and two, that God loves all his children, every single one. And works to help them in His eternal, long-range, perspective. There is genuine pain in dealing with this issue, and sorting out, but as Peter said to Jesus, where will we go? Only He has the words of eternal life.

        There is no impediment to offering priesthood blessings for strength and comfort. There is no impediment to offering service and love and testimony. I hope we will step up to the need to minister to these children and families and keep them in hope.

  4. Completely agree with the post. I expect that there will soon be a statement of policy (maybe there has and I missed it), that same sex couples who are already married and decide they want to join the church will have to divorce and separate before they can be baptized. Satan will make it sound like we just hate gay people, but we know that a loving Heavenly Father will never condone breaking commandments (which he gave us because he loves us in the first place). I have been so sad reading the comments of church members today who are siding against church leaders. I hope they can give this statement more consideration and see it for what it really it.

  5. Thank you for this. One of my oldest friends, I consider her my sister, is lesbian. Her partner of 10 years just died.
    I’ve never tried to justify my beliefs to her, and I don’t judge her lifestyle by my beliefs. I just love her, her daughters, and her deceased spouse. I leave the rest to God.

  6. Nice post MMM…I don’t see this exactly the way you do although I greatly appreciate your thoughts. For me I am waiting for further clarification as what I read flies in the face of several scriptures, directly, as well as one of the articles of faith. No one is perfect, even if the information is coming from a perfect place we are all human, I want more clarification before I jump to any conclusions here. If that is my version of feeding the good or better wolf inside of me then cool, if anyone interprets that as me choosing the negative then whatever, they just don’t understand me and the lens i see this through.
    I do want to say thank you however to you, and your wife, pretty much all I’ve read about this so far has been pejorative, I greatly appreciate you sharing your perspective and adding it to the discussion.
    Have a beautiful day!

    • Thanks Missy. As you search, if you search the right places, and you will find answers – because none of this is flies in the face of doctrine or scripture. As I read it, with my prism of my limited experience, it made perfect sense to me. Not a big deal. But that is me.

  7. The trains are definitely headed in two very separate directions that’s for sure. I have no doubt it’s deliberately set that way so that we have to make a firm decision as to which train we’re going to ride i.
    No holding on to both anymore.

  8. I believe the Presidency of this Church is guided by our Father in Heaven. If we follow their guidance we can not go wrong. If we are having problems with this policy then we should pray about it and continue in faith until the time comes that the Lord makes it clear to you that it is His will. Many times during the history of the church the Lord has asked us to do something, change something or accept something we did not quite feel comfortable about. And, later, we find it was only for our protection or to separate us more from the worldly ways.This can be looked at as another weeding out of the flock, leaving us stronger. Love the Gospel.

  9. You know, I don’t think the church has even had the chance to formally introduce this new policy along with the needed explanations and clarifications. It was “leaked” to the public by the first person who got a hold of it and now we are just getting reactions and statements, verifying that it does exist but nothing more about it yet.

    • Yes. Normally it would go to the leadership, accompanied by some training, then to the rest of us with some explanation. The leak was to force the issue and embarrass the church.

      • Not sure if it forced the issue, but someone thought this would embarrass the church? We’ve had LOTS more embarrassing things in the past!! Personally, I think it will be a long time before we get over that “We will fight back” speech that Sidney Rigdon gave (in opposition to the Lord’s commands) and the Lord indicated some displeasure by zapping their “lucky” flagpole with a bolt of lightning.

  10. Interesting that you use the wolf story (one that I love because it’s so simple to understand) to explain our choices : faith or doubt. I’m going with faith, thank you.

  11. I love my faith wolf. Never want him to die 🙂 Thanks for your insight. I’m a happy new follower since someone posted one of your recent conference notes.

  12. Oh, I love the wolf story! I agree with you, and I’m with the prophet and the Lord. I know that we just need to hold on tight. I know that if we’re faithful, we have nothing to fear!

  13. There is absolutely no room for argument with God’s law. My parents, God rest their souls (for having the job of raising me), taught me two great lessons that solve any conflict my human brain fails to figure out. Mom would answer my difficult gospel questions with a question “Mike, is God fair?” The answer was obvious. “So, Mike, do you really need to know the answer to your question?” Again the answer was obvious. Dad would simply state that “when a Prophet of God speaks, the argument is over”.

  14. There is an interview with Elder Christofferson released today. (Check out Mormon Newsroom) One of the points he makes is that baptizing a child of same sex couples invites potential conflict into the home. The parents have chosen a way of life contrary to the teachings of the Lord. If a child is blessed or baptized, the church has an obligation to provide teachings contrary to the parent’s lifestyle choices. That is confusing and could be very hurtful to that family. By making it policy to NOT baptize the child of same sex couples until that child is an adult and capable of managing that conflict is actually respectful to the parent’s choices. Thank you, MMM, for your post about feeding the wolves. We always must remember that the Lord loves His children. If there is a policy change, look for the way it protects us before screaming that it is unfair. It will be there if we look for it.

  15. It’s been an interesting day for me. First I was asked by one of my sisters to read and comment on a reply she was planning to post on Facebook concerning this policy. It was well thought out and written–definitely feeding the faith wolf. I then came across Elder Christofferson’s interview which basically clarified and strengthened the thoughts I’d had about this policy when I first heard about it yesterday. Finally, I read your post–3 for 3. Thanks for being my third witness.

  16. The thought struck me as I read this if we have a serious issue with this we need to evaluate our spirituality and get on our knees and pray about it for ourselves. These are the last days and only the faithful will make it to the end.

  17. The records of the church have room for one mother and one father. That will not change. If you allow 2 mothers or 2 fathers, you are asking the church to accept the homosexual lifestyle into the formal records. That is just not going to happen. This is simply continuing to refine the already stated stance on the way God wants families organized. A sin is a single and always will be to an unchangeable God.

  18. Nobody seems to be addressing the elephant in the room. The parents are the ones responsible because they elected to bring children into an unsanctified union and it is the parents, not the children or the church, that will have to andwer to God

    • I know this is 6 months later, but I wanted to thank you Terry for stating what I thought from the very beginning. The Church is not hurting children. It is addressing an unfortunate event that has been brought upon them by the decisions of adults.

  19. Hearing this new policy actually brought me peace that I had been seeking. While I do have dear love for my homosexual friends, I was unsure where that fit into my faith. With this, I feel like everything makes sense, and my inner struggle is gone. The church really cares about these people and their families. They don’t want their young children to choose between their parents and their faith. The church and the world are headed two separate distinct directions. I feel like I’ve jumped from being on the fence, over to the church’s side; which is a good feeling.

  20. Isn’t it interesting that (not here) people argue that the church is all about increasing numbers. This policy should very obviously point out that the church is much more interested in the family unit (even the ones based on a model we disagree with) than we are in increasing the numbers.
    We have had discussions with our adult children, just entering the loan and dreary world on their own, there is huge conflict between what is percieved to be “fair” and what is right. I see it as a no-win argument for the righteous (like all contention). But doesn’t the Lord’s law nearly always conflict with what is “naturally” right?….at least from the point of view of those who refuse to accept any law other than themselves and their own desires? The fields are great and spacious around “that” building. There is a lot of fog out there, especially when you don’t pay attention to what you are holding on to.

    • As people seek peace from the storm, they will realize they have been taking refuge in structures that are not stable and as the perceived shelter crumbles, they will run to the sure foundation of the Restored Gospel. Policies are made that reflect the love of Christ, which in turn may be hated by the world, but the large and spacious building was never about about inclusion, it was about mockery and hating that which is good. As members and non-members alike realize the safety given by God’s commandments, they will enjoy a deeper and more lasting feeling of peace and love. There will be those that won’t weather the storm but there will be many, many more that will run to take refuge.

  21. First off, thanks for the thoughtful article. I was hoping you would have a link to the policy change letter. I would consider that a true source as well, and it is surprisingly hard to fibd right now.

  22. The reason I am writing this is that I hope that my story will help someone who is struggling with this issue.

    I am the oldest of seven kids. My parents were strong, active members of the church. My mom served as the Young Women and Primary president, and my dad served as the Young Men and Elder’s Quorum President. We read the scriptures and they taught me the gospel. On the other side, there was a lot of contention in our household. My parent ended up divorcing when I was 19, and my dad got married the day after their divorce was finalized. When I was twenty, I received a strong prompting from the spirit to serve a mission.

    During my mission, my mom wrote me and told me that she was now a lesbian. She has since had her name removed from the church records. I am much older than my youngest sibling who was six at the time. He was baptized then, but he would not have been able to under this new policy.

    I just wanted to let you know, that I fully support the prophet and this new policy especially because of my closeness to the issue. Unfortunately, five of my seven siblings have nothing to do with the church, including a brother who is gay, and a sister who married a catholic man. I feel that this policy is out of love. It keeps children from having to choose between their parents and a church who disagrees with what their parents are doing. If this were around when I was younger, it would have prevented two of my siblings from entering into covenants that they have not kept anyway.

    I know that God loves us, and that this is from him. This is not a punishment. It is a protection. He does not want his children to enter into covenants that they will not keep, and he wants his people to be strong. They can still get baptized and go on a mission, it will just be in a timetable that is slightly later.

  23. I have grown up with the two wolves philosophy guiding my steps (sorta) but found my self putting food in both bowls… occasionally. When it comes to the brethren, and changes in policy, I find myself occasionally asking the question that one of my grandsons drives his mother crazy with; “Why?” With regards to the recent policy change, I didn’t. After studying it and spending some time on my knees, I was convinced that this was not a myopic decision made by the antiquated thinking of out-of-touch old guys, but was thoroughly contemplated and discussed and prayed about individually and collectively by humble men who gave no thought to their own feelings or the perception of others. This is the will of the Lord… without a doubt.

  24. It’s interesting – I was thinking about this the other day and thoughts came into my mind that this must have been what the war in heaven was like. I’m sure many thought that God’s plan was unfair because it wouldn’t save everyone. Why would God’s love not save everyone? I’m sure many argued over the points of each plan. Many chose to follow God’s plan and many chose to not. Why did we choose to follow His plan? Because we trusted in a loving Heavenly Father that knew what He was doing. It was the only way – even if it didn’t all make sense to us at the time.

    • Thank you, Pam, for that thought. It opens a new piece to what I have been thinking about, that sin isn’t wrong because it goes against some list, but it’s sin because it keeps us from being with God, our loving Father, who wants us to become like him, and doesn’t want us to be unable to be with him. It’s wrong because it diminishes our true eternal selves. Our mortal, poor-sighted selves here have trouble getting that sometimes, but it’s sin and forbidden because God loves us. He knows what we truly need and who we truly are. I try to trust that in every circumstance.

Add your 2¢. (Be nice.)