Questions Regarding the CHI #1

This is the first in a series of posts.

I have decided how I will proceed with bringing to light some of the hidden things of the Church Handbook of Instructions.

I know of no prohibition regarding sharing this information. The Lord is very open. The only things of God that are hidden are hidden by our unbelief. As Nephi said, “For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.” (2 Nephi 26:23)

And how strange when you think of it why should we not know every single word of a book which is used to judge us as members of the church? A government who wants people to obey the law publishes and openly teaches that law.

There are many people with more access to background information and who are more knowledgeable than I. So I believe it is best to just get the information out for discussion. Then the knowledge and ideas of all can be brought to bear on the questions raised.

Since it is such a large book and it covers so many topics I will just put out some parts as I encounter them rather than them all in one post.

I will say as a preface since it deals with LDS church doctrine and in places draws from the scriptures there are many good things said in this handbook. In fact so far the vast majority is either administrative policies which are neutral in their spiritual application and the rest are just good true principles.

But, there are some things that raise questions. And that is all I will be bringing out for discussion. So here we go.

Section 1 covers the duties of the stake president. 1.1.3 Under the subheading of priesthood says in part:
Members of the stake presidency preside over the Melchizedek Priesthood in the stake. …
The stake president is the stake high priests quorum president. He and his councilors comprise the presidency of the stake high priests quorum. The stake presidency also oversees elders quorums.

In section 1.1.6, Callings and Releases subparagraph 4 says:
Elders quorum presidents. The stake president calls and sets apart elders quorum presidents because he is the person who is authorized to bestow the priesthood keys associated with their callings.

Section 2 is the duties of the bishop. 2.1.3 Has the Sub heading of Priesthood and says:
The bishop and his counselors direct the work of the elders quorum president and the high priest group leader in watching over quorum and group members and their families, building strength in the quorum and group, and ensuring that the work of the priesthood is accomplished. The bishop also directs the elders quorum president and high priests group leader in overseeing home teaching.
The bishop’s Aaronic Priesthood responsibilities are outlined in 2.2.

Why? I see nothing in the scriptures (D&C 20 or 107) which would account for this. The stake president has the keys of the higher priesthood and its blessings but the president of the Aaronic priesthood quorums is the one who directs the work of the Melchizedek priesthood quorums.

It is surely a fact that the bishop has charge of the temporal affairs of the ward and doing what he should for the welfare of the ward members in temporal things. This is a fulltime job. So when he is in charge of directing the two higher priesthood quorums then might we not end up with the work of the higher priesthood being skewed to temporal matters and a lack of focus on spiritual matters?

Even if the bishop is able to pursue both aspects of the work as an EQP or HPGL you are left to ask, “Now, who is my boss? The man who empowered me has left me in the charge of another.”

There was an article written about a branch in the early church where it was questioned who was in charge overall the bishop or the Elders quorum president. The scriptures say elders are to conduct the meetings. Surely the meetings on Sunday are the spiritual (at least should be) aspect of our church experience. So shouldn’t the higher priesthood quorum leader be in charge and ease the burden of the president of the Aaronic priesthood?

I think our Babylonian culture needs to see a straight line authority, one guy at the top, give us a king model. But it doesn’t appear even from what is in the CHI that the Lord intended that. Even in the US constitution which the Lord says He established provided for a division of power and a system of checks and balances.

But as in the culture so in the church. The US president acts like a king and the bishop too.