No power or influence



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No power or influence—none. The text of verse 41 and the context admit of no exceptions. Throughout the above list of proper ways in which religious authority may be exercised, one searches in vain for any mention of the law or legal process. One only finds love unfeigned and the absence of “compulsory means.” These values are not the values of the law, which is “terror put into words.”665 These are not the values of politics (policy)—“That were some love but little policy,” says Shakespeare’s Northumberland to the Queen who does not want to be separated from her husband: “Banish us both and send the king with me.”666 It is for these reasons that appeals to the power of law and government, such as the two subject paragraphs in the “Proclamation” and the “Statement” with which we began deny the faith and constitute a retreat from patience and long-suffering and the other proper methods of exercising priesthood power. In effect, appeals to the state say: We do not believe that “the Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth.” They say: We do not really believe that “thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion.” They say: We really feel the need for some sort of “compulsory means”—and just a little “unrighteous dominion” seems in order in these exigent times in order to make sure that “it shall flow unto thee forever and ever. Actually, we really feel that the flow needs to be pressurized.” Just to make sure; just for spiritual insurance against doctrinal hypochondria. Law is not patient and long-suffering; it does not operate by persuasion but by coercion. It does not allow for “moral agency”667 but compels every person within its jurisdiction so that, in the words of Lucifer, “not one shall be lost.”668 All are compelled to come in, “that my house may be full.”669 The words from Mormon Apostle Boyd K. Packer sum up this idea:
Thirty-eight years ago I came…to see [Mormon apostle] Elder Harold B. Lee, who, next to President Joseph Fielding Smith, was the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve [Apostles]. I had just been appointed the supervisor of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. I knew there were serious problems in the system and I wondered why they had not appointed someone with more experience.
Elder Lee had agreed to give me counsel and some direction. He didn't say much, nothing really in detail, but what he told me has saved me time and time again. “You must decide now which way you face,” he said. “Either you represent the teachers and students and champion their causes or you represent the Brethren [the church’s all-male general authorities] who appointed you. You need to decide now which way you face.” Then he added, “some of your predecessors faced the wrong way.” It took some hard and painful lessons before I understood his counsel. In time, I did understand, and my resolve to face the right way became irreversible.670
As to “facing the right way” within the confines of the church, I have no quarrel, and such is not the subject of this inquiry. But Packer does not stop there. In a subtle tactical and rhetorical move, he assimilates his “lesson” to politics and law as well as to “movements” that participate in politics and law:
“Surely you have been anxiously watching the worldwide evaporation of values and standards from politics, government, society, entertainment, schools…. Could you be blind to the drift that is taking place? Are you not conscious of the drift that is taking place in the Church?....
It is so easy to be turned about without realizing that it has happened to us. There are three areas where members of the Church, influenced by social and political unrest, are being caught up and led away. I chose these three because they have made major invasions into the membership of the Church. In each, the temptation is for us to turn about and face the wrong way, and it is hard to resist, for doing it seems so reasonable and right.
The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals.671

Scholars and Intellectuals







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