It may be because tithing settlement is upcoming in my local ward, but I recently had my attention drawn to a particular story in the scriptures. To be frank, I know that my position with how I relate to the church is idiosyncratic. My opinion about the present order of things is far too critical for most of my mainstream peers [I admit they’re problems with how Mormonism is governed by the men in Salt Lake and I admit there are alternate ways for people to legitimately be “LDS”] — but I’m far too generous for any among the critical crowd [I believe that the LDS church is literally the true church of Jesus Christ and don’t support an “All is lost, corrupt-apostasy, JUMP ship” view of things].
In any event, this last week I was reminded of the story of the widow and her two pennies. At a point when Jesus had already condemned the religious establishment of his day as corrupt,
woe unto you
and when he had already tossed his hands up in derision at the apostasy he saw present in the management of God’s temple,
your house is left unto you desolate
and truly I say unto you
you shall not see me
until the time come when you shall say
blessed is he
that comes in the name of YHVH
the scriptures say that:
he looked up
and saw rich men casting their gifts into the treasury
and he saw also a certain poor widow
casting in two pennies
and he said
truly I say unto you
that this poor widow has cast in more than they all
for all these have given
of their abundance unto the offerings of God
out of her poverty
has cast in all of the living that she had
Here we see Jesus referring to what was obviously an abused receptacle of money as “the offerings of God”. Here we see Jesus approving of an impoverished widow submitting what little money she had into the coffers of a corrupt and wealthy religious establishment.
To me, the same applies to the criticisms that people make about things like the encouraging of leader-worship, relying on the corrupt works of our own efforts, the lack prophecy and revelation coming from the men sustained as prophets and revelators, using the tithing funds to have sufficient for our needs and then investing the difference for usury, etc., etc.
Do I think such concerns are valid? Absolutely. But it is my belief that it is still the church of God that is doing those things. We have not ceased to be the Lord’s people because of these condemnable works. The church of Christ can remain “true” while being “dead” and “damned” [see D&C 84:54-57].
For the last couple years, there’s been a lot of attention on blogs about the “corporate Church”, [the “Church™” as opposed to “the church”, etc.] — and more especially since the whole City Creek Center things was announced, built, and opened. Although it is true that none of us [except Thomas Monson] is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints™ corporation — it is my understanding that every latter-day saint was confirmed a member of “the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.”
While we know how to spell the name of the corporate Church, including where the capitalization and the dash goes [it’s a trademarked letterhead and defined in the corporate charter] — on the other, the name of the Lord’s true church is never spelled, it is only spoken as hands are laid on a person’s head and they are confirmed a member of it and commanded to receive the Holy Ghost. This latter church may, or may not, contain a dash and capitalization — we don’t know.
When the Lord refers to his “church”, it is always in reference to a living body of people — not to some non-existent, non-living, non-corporeal, legal corporate entity. That’s why you see Jesus not giving a hoot whether the temple treasury where the widow was submitting her pennies was “corrupt” or not.
Of real concern to me, is not the corruption and break-up of the corporate LDS Church — but the corruption and break-up of the latter day church [meaning seeing the members dividing into a plurality of separate, wicked churches]. That is where my focus is, on the LDS church — on the people. We cannot call the LDS church [people] out of the LDS Church [the corporation], because they were never a part of it to begin with [the Church President is always ever the only member].
We, like the widow that Jesus observed, must assert our rights as confirmed members of “the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints” and turn the tide in the Lord’s favor — allowing for the wicked and corrupt influences to be exposed in the open light, right smack in the middle of the church, where observant people can be influenced, so that they can make an informed decision as to who they will follow [whether that be Jesus Christ or other men].
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