Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Eh, someone else will do it

Motivated by D&C 68 25-28 I've reevaluated some behaviors and patterns I've seen all my life.

25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.  
26 For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized. 27 And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.  
28 And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.

What percent of Gospel education would you say, among current Mormons, is done by the Church, vs the parents?  50/50?  70/30?   I've asked various people, and the numbers are consistently 80/20 or higher.  Meaning the church does 80% or more of a child's Gospel education.  Combined with Seminary, and that age group the number goes even higher.  

Consider what this may mean. The primary responsibility to teach the core of the Gospel to ones own children being shifted onto a Church organization. Perhaps it happens because we feel justified in letting the Church be responsible because it's the only true church. Perhaps the thinking goes that thanks to correlated manuals and First Presidency-prophet approved curriculum they are more qualified, and doing a better job than the parents could do.

Is taking a child to a church and dropping them off for their classes, or waking them up for seminary an acceptable discharge of the obligation taught in D&C to teach ones children?  Can you teach your offspring the doctrine of repentance, or to walk uprightly before the Lord if you do not know and do those things? The verse in D&C implies the parents also have an obligation toward their own level of Gospel knowledge.  Seeing as they are a "parent in zion".

The verses above state "and they (parents, plural, meaning both of them) shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord. The verses include teaching them the Doctrine of repentance. Baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It didn't say to trust that some organization will make sure they get taught the truth about those things, and trust the organization will take care of it, and parents can feel good about having other priorities because the Church has covered all the bases.

I think in many ways we are ashamed to talk of Christ, preach of Christ, and have Christ be part of our everyday discussions and life.  Out of fear of being viewed as an extremest, or being viewed as "that" family.   Or maybe it's just laziness.  I can't say.  

Speaking of the parents teaching their kids, or letting someone else do it as the case may be. I had a conversation with a co-worker about the Temple today. The question came up about a particular segment where the patrons are given the opportunity to excuse themselves from the room and ceremony if they do not wish to accept or take upon themselves the obligations about to be presented. The question came up as to why that question would be posed BEFORE telling them what the obligations even are. How do you know if you are comfortable accepting something not yet told to you? Sounds backwards. But it's not.  

Our discussion ended with us concluding if the person going through the temple for the first time knew nothing about the laws and nature of the obligations being referred to, then the preparation didn't accomplish it's purpose. The ball got dropped. In a significant way. Must have been the bad temple prep teacher right? It's so easy to put the responsibility onto someone else.       

Things like sacrifice, chastity, the law of the gospel, and consecration are all found in scripture. The prescribed wording even reminds the audience of this. ("As contained in the scriptures, as contained in the D&C") These are not anything anyone has agreed not to speak about. You can teach someone the laws, commandments, and importance of keeping covenants, as well as keeping sacred knowledge sacred without revealing anything you ought not to.  

I think there is a lot of fear, and ignorance due to trusting in men and organizations which causes people to neglect teaching things which are not only appropriate to teach, but which are supposed to be taught by the parents.

The primary Gospel educator even among active church attending and believing families is almost never the parents anymore. I can think of hundred reasons why, and none of them are any good.   

1 comment:

  1. In the early days of the Church, sending children to a public school was not acceptable. But of course none of the members today care about what was originally taught by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.