Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Peculiar People

There are definite reasons that Mormons are referred to as a peculiar people, perhaps no more so than our proclivity for "deep doctrine" - those things that aren't readily explained in the scriptures. This unfortunately gives some of us a tendency to go into deeper doctrine - things that aren't really explained anywhere, except in our heads. In other words, total bull crap. I've had a couple of experiences with it in these past few weeks. My first brush with bull was in a gospel doctrine class (for those not in the know, that's essentially a class where we get together and discuss the scriptures). We were talking about 1 and 2 Peter and the teacher had our self-proclaimed gospel expert get up and explain "Calling and Election Made Sure."
Again, a definition. According to Joseph Smith, having your calling and election made sure is when you recieve the second comforter, i.e. see Jesus Christ. It's something that seems to be pretty rare, indeed, if you weren't ready for that, you're damned to an eternity in purgatory. That's why you have to be at a certain point in your progression to have it happen and why it is exceedingly rare (I would posit that there are perhaps 15 people on the planet who have had this happen at any given time). Despite this being the official position as explained in commentaries and the like, our resident expert proceeded to say that this was something that happened in our temples. There are many ceremonies performed in our temples, including marriages, but this caused me to perk up because I had never heard of anything like this, and I consider myself pretty learned in all things Mormon. He said that people would go into a room in the temple, hear "This is my beloved son, hear Him!" and then see Christ. It was really starting to sound like bull at this point, but then 3 other people in my class backed him up. I was open to the fact that perhaps this was something I'd never heard of before, but it seemed awfully strange. It didn't sound like an ordinance, it was very, very exclusive, but not in the "you have gotten to a point where this is possible" sense, just in the "you're getting a call from the office of the First Presidency" sense. I asked a few people whom I consider actual gospel scholars about it and who have been around quite a bit longer than me and they told me it was a load of crap that was going around a few decades ago and it's been passed on to our generation now. While I do believe that there is something that may occur with regards to seeing the Savior, I think it's pretty restricted, i.e. if you aren't a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, you're not going to be getting that opportunity any time soon.
The second instance is one where my aunt, who I think has gone a bit beyond the bounds of normal channels. She has prophesied the following things: an earthquake in Salt Lake Valley next year and a worldwide famine that would start in April 2008 and be announced by President Hinckley in January. While I know that famine is one of the tools in the "punish the wicked" arsenal, it's a more local tool. I could see pestilence or disease or a mondo earthquake before that. I also am a firm believer in the priesthood line of authority, where this particular revelation, if it was indeed to be spread by anybody, would have been given through the head of the church. Instead, she has chosen not to observe the council of Boyd K. Packer when he said that (and I'm paraphrasing here) the members of the church would receive more revelation if they would keep quiet about what they got. She definitely isn't in the keep quiet category, so I find this highly dubious that suddenly she's getting revelation for all these people. You might as well put her in the same category as Bishop John Koyle and the Salem Dream Mine. Will I make sure I have a year of food storage? Sure, that's the prudent thing to do anyway. Will I also take what she has said with one of my 25 lb bags of salt too? Indeed I will.


Scott said...

Oookay, but in 2 Peter 1 having your calling and election made sure is done by something you do not by something that happens to you.

Scott "Google Hates Me" R.

Rob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob said...

I don't think the people in your class were making things up. The church doesn't do it much anymore, if at all, but there definitely used to be a temple ordinance involving calling and election. I think it was called the second endowment or something like that and although it wasn't common it wasn't that rare either. I don't have any sources, this is just what I've picked up here and there. I didn't touch the topic when I taught that lesson in gospel doctrine a couple of weeks ago.

You're right about your aunt though.

Sorro said...

I did a lot of looking into it too, as there's nothing much out there anymore about it. It appears that it was somewhat common during the early days of the church, but was all but discontinued since the 1920s. I certainly think that there is something out there along these lines that happens somehow, but I think that the people who get it are few and far between. It's not something that's nearly as open as they made it seem. Besides, what an incredible blessing, but what a burden too. I know I'm not ready for anything like that.

Sorro said...

And I agree with you on that Scott - it's brought forth by your actions far more so than "here's an ordinance." In the documented instances of it happening in our church scripture, it was spontaneous, i.e. Joseph Smith praying and he sees the Lord. That's what I have always assumed it to be. There might be something beyond that, but I do think that it's not necessarily something like what the guy in my class said.