Contentions in the Church

After signs and wonders of Christ’s birth were seen in the Americas, a great work of conversion occurred. Nephi kept busy teaching and baptizing. This inevitably resulted in increased peace in the land. Peace, unfortunately, rarely lasts long. In 3 Nephi 1:24-25 we read:

“24 And there were no contentions, save it were a few that began to preach, endeavoring to prove by the scriptures that it was no more expedient to observe the law of Moses. Now in this thing they did err, having not understood the scriptures.

“25 But it came to pass that they soon became converted, and were convinced of the error which they were in, for it was made known unto them that the law was not yet fulfilled, and that it must be fulfilled in every whit; yea, the word came unto them that it must be fulfilled; yea, that one jot or tittle should not pass away till it should all be fulfilled; therefore in this same year were they brought to a knowledge of their error and did confess their faults.”

These verses remind me of the movement pressing for the ordination of women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve written of this movement previously: Response to Ordain Women.

There are some within the Church who are following the pattern of contention described in the scriptures. They are at best premature and at worst completely off the mark. “Now in this thing they did err, having not understood the scriptures [and the teachings of the prophets].” We would all be wise to follow the prophet and avoid contention.

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5 thoughts on “Contentions in the Church

  1. It seems that there are many who disagree with Ordain Women who have been very hateful towards those who belong to or agree with OW. It saddens me that there are people on both sides of the issue who are not willing to be kind about it. While I have never had a problem standing with the prophet on this issue, I think it’s important to try to have charity towards those who think women should receive the priesthood and recognize that their feelings and doubts are real even if we don’t understand them.

  2. I’m always amazed when faithful dissent is mischaracterized as apostasy. What did Brigham Young mean when he said he feared the day when the Saints would accept the leaders’ pronouncements without seeking personal confirmation? Was Paul an apostate when he questioned Peter’s views regarding circumcision and taking the gospel to the Gentiles? Was he not fomenting dissent, albeit at the Savior’s direction? Don’t you think we would have discarded the uninspired “Negro Doctrine” decades earlier if a few brave members had dared to dissent? Is seeking new light apostasy? Is seeking the greater gifts — full spiritual empowerment for women — blasphemy? If we are not agents unto ourselves — with the right to dissent — why put things to a vote?

  3. There is questioning and there is dissent – they are different by degree. The issue is – do members of the church accept answers when they are given or do they reject the answers merely because they find them at odds with personal views? Paul questioning Peter was different because they were both apostles (i.e., the question was within leadership councils). As for extending priesthood to all worthy males – the push for that came from within the church leadership and it didn’t happen until The Lord told Pres. Kimball to reverse the ban.

    Questioning and even dissent are just fine as long as they are within proper bounds. This means we shouldn’t encourage others towards dissent if their testimonies cannot handle it (milk before meat). That’s not deceptive, it’s normal learning, education, and progression. We have to learn arithmetic before algebra and algebra before calculus even though calculus, for example simplifies many things that are challenging with algebra. Without a good foundation, dissent can be deleterious. The Savior has the final say and when He provides revelation to His prophet and apostles, those of us not part of those quorums would do well to accept their answers and pray for a confirmation that what was said was the Lord’s will at this time.

    As for what I’ve said specifically about Ordain Women, please read my post on the subject –

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