Monday, December 30, 2013

Alma 6: Church Discipline

Alma reorganizes the church in the city of Zarahemla, setting apart new leaders and baptizing new members.  But the organization he establishes doesn't sound very Christlike:
And it also came to pass that whosoever did belong to the church that did not repent of their wickedness and humble themselves before God—I mean those who were lifted up in the pride of their hearts—the same were rejected, and their names were blotted out, that their names were not numbered among those of the righteous.
This makes the modern church's occasional policy of disfellowshipping and excommunication seem downright benevolent.  Imagine the bishop telling you you're too full of yourself and wear too much costly apparel and subsequently removing your name from the church records.  That kind of thing doesn't happen.  The church is pretty big on the whole repentance/forgiveness thing.  If you want to get excommunicated you need to be unrepentant for some pretty big sins, not just any old thing.

I suppose the argument could be made that these people whose names were blotted out weren't barred from attending worship services and that means they weren't truly cast off:
Now I would that ye should understand that the word of God was liberal unto all, that none were deprived of the privilege of assembling themselves together to hear the word of God.
Okay, so the prideful sinners were removed from the church rolls, but if for some reason they still wanted to go to church, they were allowed to.  But come on—who wants to attend sacrament meeting wearing a scarlet letter?

I guess that's one thing that Alma's Zarahemlan church has in common with today's Mormon church:  it makes idealistic claims about itself that can't possibly be expected to work out in practice as they're advertised in theory.


  1. I wish a few months of inactivity would get my name removed from the rolls or at least the ward directory. People keep calling us or speaking to us in person asking us to do stuff. In the last week and a half, we've been asked to be involved with the choir, say the prayers in Sacrament meeting, and bring the bread. These are obvious attempts to "force" us to attend. We've had a couple of different people tell us they missed us at church both in person and by text. We got a call for my wife from a church member I don't know who chose not to leave a message (I know it was from the church, because he used sister.) My wife wasn't but I was actually thinking of attending until the guy called asking us to pray. I even got a call a few days ago from the EQ President asking me if my HT families attended Sacrament meeting last month. How would I know that? And who cares? I'm not his spy. I wanted to BS him and say something like I suspect one of them was sinning, because he faked taking the sacrament. That may have given them something to gossip about in the next PEC meeting. I've been in enough of those meetings to know they're talking about us and are devising strategies to get us to attend. I fully expect them to try to give us Sunday callings again very soon. They are actually starting to piss me off when really all I want is to be left alone.

    Enough is enough!

  2. We claim the privilege of worshiping the Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege and let them worship how, where or what they may.

    ...unless they used to worship with us, in which case they have no business being anywhere else on a Sunday morning.