Melissa Inouye: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Not a Democracy, Not a Dictatorship, But a Family; And My Reply to a Poster Who Responds to Inouye by Ridiculing Religious Faith In Toto
By Ken K. Gourdin
Melissa Inouye, who blogs at Patheos, posted some musings back in October about how members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who find themselves outside or at odds with the mainstream can reconcile their continuing fellowship with the various ways in which their views may not correspond to that mainstream. See Sister Inouye’s post here (this and all other links last accessed February 26, 2017): http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peculiarpeople/2016/10/not-a-democracy-not-a-dictatorship-my-big-fat-mormon-family/.
Is the Church of Jesus Christ a democracy, she asks? If it were, perhaps some of the Church’s positions could be expected to change (at least eventually) to match those of the larger society in which the Church operates. However, if the Church were to do that, what, then, would its detractors make of its claim to be divinely led?
Is the Church of Jesus Christ a dictatorship, she asks? If it were, that would seem to be at odds with an oft-quoted scripture from the Church’s Doctrine and Covenants, a collection of revelations to its leaders which states that, “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained . . . only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness and pure knowlege, which shall greatly enlarge the soul . . .” Doctrine and Covenants 121:44-45.
But if the Church of Jesus Christ is neither a democracy nor a dictatorship, what is it? The Church teaches that, since God is literally the Father of our spirits and we are His spirit children, that makes us all brothers and sisters. If we are brothers and sisters, then the Church is a family. See, e.g., the text to a song taught in the Church’s Primary organization for children ages 3 through 11, I Am A Child of God: https://www.lds.org/music/library/childrens-songbook/i-am-a-child-of-god?lang=eng.
Another poster dismissed Sister Inouye’s post entirely, ridiculing religious faith as a whole and writing, “The most important fact about Mormonism is not its authoritarianism but its utter disregard for reason and common sense. I once thought it was even more ridiculous than normative Christianity but now I see that all the Christian and semi-Christian sects are the same: foolishness for fools.”
I responded, “For many, the human response to such things as love, art, music, literature, philosophy, and other, similar endeavors is as inexplicable and as hard to quantify as religious experience is to the devout. Are these people fools, too, or is your contempt reserved solely for believers?”