The church is perfect, the people aren't

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West
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Re: The church is perfect, the people aren't

Post by West » 11 May 2016, 07:20

I have recently come to define perfection as it is seen in nature -- I can look at a mess of clouds with a dozen different colors from the sun setting over an uneven horizon of mountains on a warm winter day and think how perfect it is. Perfect can be a beautiful mess of things so long as it gives you that "take my breath away" feeling. I've seen many breathtaking sunsets since then, but each is different in its own way. There is no one, true perfect sunset, and their individuality makes them as awe inspiring as they are.

I don't have much of a testimony in a literal Christ at the present time, but many of the examples and teachings attributed to him seem as perfect as the sunset -- not because everything was placed into proper order with no faults whatsoever, but because I appreciate them and feel there could be a lot of good feelings all around if we were better at following his example in appreciating individuals for being individuals rather than conforming them to rigid and strict ideals.

As things are now, the church has built up so many lists of attributes that their version of a one true sunset must have that it's perfect in the way something manufactured is perfect as it is repeated over and over and over...

Christ didn't have a long list of perfect sunset attributes to hold up to everyone. Just the basics. And what other people did with those basics determined whether or not they became a beautiful mess.

In that sense, the church is the type of perfect you'd see manufactured at the latest new smartphone showcase. So sure it's perfect, until the next latest advance in how many pixels and how much battery life you can cram into a reasonably sized and weighted scratch proof body. I'd rather go with people and all their crazy shades of sunsets.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

And God said 'Love Your Enemy,' and I obeyed him and loved myself. -Kahlil Gibran

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The church is perfect, the people aren't

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 May 2016, 14:29

By rejecting the central premise of confined perfection.

Perfect is the enemy of good - and even very good.

Good and very good are good enough for me.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Heber13
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Re: The church is perfect, the people aren't

Post by Heber13 » 11 May 2016, 15:24

DarkJedi wrote:How do you all reconcile this idea in your minds? In conversation and the classroom setting how do you politely respond to the statement?
I simply process what I think they are saying...which I hear them saying:

"The Church is perfect (to me), the people aren't (to me)".

I can't argue that they think it is perfect. That's what they see when they focus on all the good things they love about it.

I don't usually see a need for a response in a classroom setting to that.

I don't want it to become:
"No it isn't"
"yes it is"
"No it isn't"
...

Perhaps my wife is not literally Perfect on the level of an exalted godess (yet). But how she is right now is absolutely perfect to me. And no one can argue to me otherwise. She's perfect to me.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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LookingHard
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Re: The church is perfect, the people aren't

Post by LookingHard » 11 May 2016, 15:42

Heber13 wrote:Perhaps my wife is not literally Perfect on the level of an exalted godess (yet). But how she is right now is absolutely perfect to me. And no one can argue to me otherwise. She's perfect to me.
Glad you feel that way, and I am sure your wife is also! She is lucky to have someone that feels that way.

If anyone needs a laugh and has two and a half minutes to blow, this is my favorite scene in Everybody loves Raymond https://youtu.be/Ib-VMe8etNE?t=455

Roy
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Re: The church is perfect, the people aren't

Post by Roy » 12 May 2016, 15:00

nibbler wrote:The church can serve as a stand in for people that might need something a little more tangible, something they can physically interact with. To them the church might be that something that is both accessible and fills the need for something to be perfect and have order in this life. The defenses go up when something threatens the church, maybe not to preserve the church but to subconsciously preserve the idea that life is not subject to chaos.
Very well put nibbler. One of the most discomforting parts of my faith crisis and assumptive world collapse was that there are no guarantees. Random chance is quite unsettling. Predictable and fair justice is something firm and immovable - a solid foundation that I can build and rely upon.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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DarkJedi
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Re: The church is perfect, the people aren't

Post by DarkJedi » 13 May 2016, 06:03

Heber13 wrote: I simply process what I think they are saying...which I hear them saying:

"The Church is perfect (to me), the people aren't (to me)".

I can't argue that they think it is perfect. That's what they see when they focus on all the good things they love about it.

I don't usually see a need for a response in a classroom setting to that.

I don't want it to become:
"No it isn't"
"yes it is"
"No it isn't"
Except I don't think that's usually what they are saying. I might think like that and others (like you) might think like that but I think generally what they are saying is "This is the true church set up exactly as it was in Jesus's time by Jesus who directs it through the prophet today. Therefore we cannot possibly question anything the church does or is. People do stupid unChristlike things and make mistakes because they aren't perfect but we need to overlook that because the church is perfect." I certainly wouldn't get into a childish argument, but I think there must be tactful, perhaps even funny, ways to point out that the church is not perfect. I don't want to turn this into a conversation about "The Policy" but it is a good example. Any change is a good example - if the church were perfect policies wouldn't need to change.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Joni
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Re: The church is perfect, the people aren't

Post by Joni » 13 May 2016, 08:21

I think it's one of those pseudo doctrinal things we sat because it sounds good. Kind of like "I never says it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it." Jesus never actually said that! :D

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DarkJedi
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Re: The church is perfect, the people aren't

Post by DarkJedi » 13 May 2016, 09:37

Joni wrote:I think it's one of those pseudo doctrinal things we sat because it sounds good. Kind of like "I never says it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it." Jesus never actually said that! :D
That one bugs me, too. I hear "The church is perfect...." much more often though.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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Always Thinking
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Re: The church is perfect, the people aren't

Post by Always Thinking » 13 May 2016, 10:13

In all reality that saying doesn't make sense. The church is made from people. If there were no people in the church, there wouldn't be a church. So if people aren't perfect and the church is made of people, that means the church isn't perfect. At what point is there a line between the two? Prophets are people and prophets have changed things about the church, so it is not the same as it was when Christ was around. There are plenty of things that aren't that great about the church that someone could argue is from people, but what those people enforce is now part of the church, so their point is invalid. Those are the things that go through my head about that saying.

Roy
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Re: The church is perfect, the people aren't

Post by Roy » 13 May 2016, 10:28

Always Thinking wrote:In all reality that saying doesn't make sense. The church is made from people. If there were no people in the church, there wouldn't be a church. So if people aren't perfect and the church is made of people, that means the church isn't perfect. At what point is there a line between the two? Prophets are people and prophets have changed things about the church, so it is not the same as it was when Christ was around. There are plenty of things that aren't that great about the church that someone could argue is from people, but what those people enforce is now part of the church, so their point is invalid. Those are the things that go through my head about that saying.
I do not like this saying and I personally do not like using the word perfect because it is just too absolute. However, I think I know what people that use this are trying to express. I believe that they are saying that people can be frustrating and offensive and boneheaded. Church members are not immune to these irritating quirks. Even church leaders can and do make mistakes that might offend individuals. However, the church organization is still the only place where you can go to find the divine power and authority for salvation/exaltation.

I still wish that they would just say that and leave this perfect business out of it, but people can be frustrating and offensive and boneheaded at times. :mrgreen:
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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