LDS Priesthood: Power and Pain

   Posted by: Joel Groat   in Mormonism

The pain came off the paper in waves. It was just one of several similar contacts we’ve gotten recently — candid, revealing, heart-rending.

“I accidentally came across your website and wish I’d known about it sooner. I was born to militant Mormon parents and basically didn’t know anything except what I was taught by them and at church. …I used to be a very trusting soul. … I was given some answers that only made me uneasy. I went to BYU and was uncomfortable there but my parents wanted me to stay so I did. I ended up marrying a returned missionary who was hiding a dark side. …My marriage imploded after trying for 16 years and I raised my 4 children alone. … I felt like I was never good enough. …It made me angry that no one would discuss anything controversial and was warned about looking “too deeply and in the wrong places”. …[I] soon found it difficult to go to church and listen to the airbrushed versions of things. I have been feeling like Neo in the Matrix when he finds out that what he believed to be reality all his life is a sham. I turned in a letter to my bishop a month ago requesting that my name be removed from the membership records of the church. He attempted to heap guilt and threats of damnation on me and unleashed the visiting teachers and home teachers to talk sense into me. I want out of a church that is based on fabrication, control and guilt trips. I am VERY distrusting of any organized religion and am trying to sort through fact vs. fiction. Is there a God and what is He like? Where does Jesus fit in and what am I doing here really? I am a very confused person right now. The only thing I know is right is leaving the LDS church. My sisters and brother (all militant Mormons) have no clue any of this is going on with me and I dread when I am forced to tell them. A mentor would be a great lifeline right now when everything else is crumbling. Thanks for your assistance with this!”

How does a lifetime in a religion that claims to be “the one and only true church” lead to this level of pain and despair? The answer in part: Being subject to an authority structure that cannot be questioned whose claims of unique divine power lends itself to a lack of authenticity and a lack of integrity. For this person it led to being given answers that left them uneasy, feeling pushed to remain where they were uncomfortable, trusting someone who was hiding a dark side, an atmosphere that stifled honest inquiry with an unwillingness to face controversial topics, spiritual leaders who heaped guilt and threats of damnation in an effort to control those who raise questions they can’t or won’t answer. Is any of this unique to LDS religion? Hardly. It can happen anywhere there is a trusted spiritual leader – but much more so when the leader or leaders claim special spiritual power or authority that is uniquely theirs and is inherent to their position or calling.

This for me is one of the most troubling aspects of the Mormon priesthood hierarchy structure, a system where every leader is told he is vested with special power that has come from the leader above him, that has come from the leader above him – all the way up to the President, Prophet, and Seer, of whom it is taught that God will not allow him to lead the people astray. The potential for abuse is obvious. What does a Home Teacher do if the assignment he’s been given by his bishop borders on harassment? What recourse does a young Mormon Missionary have when his Mission president endorses or encourages unethical or less than honest proselytizing methods?** After all, these leaders have been “divinely called” and they have been given special “keys” to which those below them have no access. They possess “priesthood power” – the very power that transformed their God from man to Deity – and it authorizes and often justifies their actions. To question them is tantamount to questioning God himself.

There is only one answer to this type of authority and power structure – re-evaluate the whole system in light of a higher and absolutely reliable authority – the Bible. Bottom line: there is no support in the Bible for the LDS conception and practice of priesthood authority. It’s the invention of the very leaders who devised the Mormon religion. And that should give us pause.

You can access a detailed biblical and historical evaluation of the Mormon priesthood system here. http://mit.irr.org/mormon-priesthood-do-mormons-alone-have-power

It just might save you some pain.

** For more on questionable LDS missionary activity over the past 50 years do Google searches on “Mormon Baseball baptisms,” “oaksletter guatemala soccer baptism” “LDS Groberg Kikuchi Tokyo South Mission”, and/or “LDS Lure English Korea”

Tags: , ,

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 at 4:04 pm and is filed under Mormonism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 comments so far

Henry Miller

At the root of this authority problem lies a misconception many members of the LDS church make. The church does not teach blind obedience, and in fact, tries to challenge its members to find out for themselves through Christ.

As my father regularly says, obeying and sustaining your church leaders does not mean blindly doing whatever they tell you to do. Praying when in doubt about what they teach, and giving constructive feedback, are also a part of that.

Brigham Young, second president of the LDS church, once stated:
“What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.”

Unfortunately, many members in practically all places in the hierarchy of leaders do not fully understand this principle. This means a lot of errors go unattended, which could have been rectified if people knew better how to sustain their church leaders.

No one is perfect but our savior Jesus Christ. Our leaders are human too, and make mistakes, even when guided by the Holy Spirit. It is our job to reach out a loving helping hand when they make a wrong turn.

May 15th, 2011 at 11:32 am

My dear friend has been an LDS member in good standing for some 30 years, and has (over the years) attempted to create or expound an air of authority on all things spiritual – or Christian, whenever the topic come up. I have been patient.
Although he is bright and stubborn, these personality traits only serve to lock him into the Mormon mould, as it takes a spiritually smarter individual, and a stronger one too, to actually just look at what he/she believes in and check it out objectively. In less than the time it takes to order a caffiene-free Latte, anyone with an internet connection can find countless references that compare and contrast the Mormon LDS theology with that of the Bible.
As I have pondered on the LDS systems, I am drawn to this passage.. Genesis 3:1
” THE serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature… ”
The devil is definitely more “subtle”. So subtle in fact that you can be boiling away and not even notice the rest of the frogs are all hot and bothered too. So subtle you don’t realise your thinking won’t let you conceive of the possibility that the LDS system has duped you into believing in another Jesus. Unthinkable!
So subtle you cannot rationally believe there is anything wrong with the authority bestowed from on high. So subtle you cannot fathom what might happen if you suddently realized you’ve been preaching your side of the fence has all the grass, when you’re afraid to look at the yards all around you.
Yes, Subtle indeed.
I am reminded also of the words of a Nasa Engineer, who was commenting on the accuracy of landing a man on the moon. ” If we are out in our calculations by so much as 1 percent, we overshoot the moon…”
1 Percent and you miss your target! And that’s a pretty big target to hit. If you only need 1 percent to miss the moon, looking at all the errors in LDS doctrine compared to the standard laid out in scripture, the re-editting of the LDS prophet’s words to ‘correct’ them, the obvious large scale contridictions, never mind the small ones, and one has very little hope to hit the target at all. Very subtle indeed.
I hope and pray that all Mormons obtain the strength and fortitude to just look at the facts, and that the one true God will illuminate their hearts and minds to the truth, and help them find our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Hint: He is not Lucifer’s spirit brother.
Hint: He

November 30th, 2011 at 11:36 am

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.