Friday, April 27, 2012
Churches built to get gain
2. Now an interesting phrase from the second verse quoted above (Mormon 8:33). "O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God..."
33: O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.
Built up Churches to get gain? That seems simple enough. A church built up with the purpose of making money. We never do this do we? We never build multi billion dollar shopping malls specifically to get gain do we? Isn't that just good business? But when a church is doing it as Mormon says here, it should raise a red flag. What if that desire for gain or money supersedes that of saving souls? How easily could this happen? And it's "built up" or grown/expanded to get gain. "Unto yourselves". This suggests the church's built up to get gain are not built up unto The Lord. But are built up to build up some other person or cause. The other part of the verse though was what I wanted to focus on: "Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God..."
Transfigure is "to give a new, typically exalted or spiritual appearance" (Websters dictionary). Mormon says why have "ye"... so it seems he's addressing the reader of his words, (not the non member who isn't reading in, and doesn't believe in the book in the first place). If someone is being accused of transfiguring the word of God the definition would seem to mean that someone is altering or redefining the word of God to make something or someone more exalted or spiritual in appearance.
So say we take the words of scripture, and take the parts that are not flattering, and that accuse or call to repentance and redefine them to NOT apply to ourselves, or our surroundings, it would result in transfiguring the word of God. This would of course defeat the purpose of the scriptures and cause even more pride. If for example I want to worship a graven image, but know the ten commandments says not to do that, I could alter the word "graven image" or just redefine it until it no longer points to the behavior I am wanting to continue. It's a way to self justify. That is just a hypothetical example.
What interesting phrases Mormon has used. The need for repentance, reconciliation, mercy, and grace becomes so much more apparent once the reality of a situation is appreciated. Mormon prophesies to us so we appreciate just such a reality. He offers a repentant alternative to the above warnings.
I like the repentant alternatives Mormon writes and tries to preserve. If we, our culture, or traditions transfigure the word of God, we should thank Mormon for being so blunt.