Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Recently Mormonism has again made the news because the LDS Church has again excommunicated devout, believing members who followed the Light they had received. The LDS General Authorities insist that those who are excommunicated from their church are no longer Mormons: that they have been stripped of forgiveness, of Priesthood authority, of Temple blessings, of their eternal standing within their own families. The LDS Church leaders insist that they, and they alone, determine who is a true Mormon.
In response, we offer the following parable for your consideration:
"A garden (Mormonism) was planted by God, and it began to grow and spread. The few men who had at first tasted the fruit of the garden, erected fences (a church) around the garden to stop it from spreading beyond the boundaries they envisioned for it.
But the men were not the garden; they were not the plants, the flowers or the fruit-bearing trees.
"And so roots crept under the fences and sprouted beyond the small area inside the fences. The pollen from the flowers within the fenced area was picked up by the wind and blown out beyond the confines of that area. Bees, too, came into the garden and gathered pollen--and despite the fact that the men who appointed themselves the protectors of the garden swatted at the bees and drove them from the garden, the bees carried the pollen out into the world, spreading it far and wide.
"Birds also flew into the garden and ate fruit from the trees. The men who appointed themselves the guardians of the garden drove the birds from the garden. But Nature, being supreme, took its course and the birds who'd eaten the fruit, flew in all directions and the seeds of the fruit they'd eaten eventually passed into the soil so that fruit trees grew far away from the sight and control of the men.
"The day came when the men who'd appointed themselves guardians of the garden looked out beyond the fences they'd built and they saw that the whole earth outside had become like the Garden of Eden.
"This was because of the birds they had driven from the garden for eating the fruit; because of the bees who partook of the pollen and were driven away by the guardians; because of the roots of the fruit trees that snaked beneath the fences the guardians had erected.
"The garden outside the fence, unencumbered by the self-proclaimed guardians, was bigger, more lush, more full of good fruit than the tiny fenced in garden. The people of the world enjoyed the outside garden, praised its beauty and goodness; were nurtured by its fruit and cooled by the shade of its trees.
"And on those rare occasions when people happened upon the small fenced-in area, which was now hidden deep within the wide flourishing garden that covered the whole world, they shook their heads and marveled that anyone would think they could control a garden planted by God."
Who determines if you are a Mormon? YOU do.
What determines if you are a Mormon? Your relationship with God--and God alone; your intimacy with the Spirit working within you; the way you envision the universe and your place in it.
God is doing a marvelous work and a wonder in the world. God has revealed the human family's divine potential.
If you have caught a glimpse of this; if it has resonated within your soul; if the principles of Mormonism guide you in the way you live your life, in your relationships with others--then YOU ARE MORMON regardless of whether you belong to this church or that.
No one can excommunicate you from those things that you hold sacred within your own heart--especially your relationship with your Heavenly Parents.
THIS IS THE MESSAGE OF REFORM MORMONISM: there are more ways than one to be a Mormon. Mormonism is like a garden and if you have eaten of its fruit; it that fruit nourishes you, then you carry Mormonism within yourself.In Reform Mormonism, excommunication has been excommunicated.