I may choose to ignore people who comment anonymously. I choose never to be anonymous online myself. I have little tolerance for this behavior.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Antichrists in The Book of Mormon: Part 5: Modern Priestcraft in Mormondom

Modern day priestcraft is most easily identified amongst those who teach. Learners SHOULD emerge from a lesson NOT thinking that the teacher's wonderful, but that the gospel is.
Focusing on the needs of the students, a gospel teacher will never obscure their view of the Master by standing in the way or by shadowing the lesson with self-promotion or self-interest. This means that a gospel teacher must never indulge in priestcrafts, which are "that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world" (2 Ne. 26:29). A gospel teacher does not preach "to become popular" (Alma 1:3) or "for the sake of riches and honor" (Alma 1:16). He or she follows the marvelous Book of Mormon example in which "the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner" (Alma 1:26). Both will always look to the Master. Dallin H. Oaks, "Gospel Teaching," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 78.
Elder Oaks set the stage for this caution much earlier in an address entitled, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall," Ensign, Oct. 1994. This is from an address previously given at BYU.
Another illustration of a strength that can become our downfall concerns charismatic teachers. With a trained mind and a skillful manner of presentation, teachers can become unusually popular and effective in teaching. But Satan will try to use that strength to corrupt teachers by encouraging them to gather a following of disciples. . . .Teachers who are most popular, and therefore most effective, have a special susceptibility to priestcraft. If they are not careful, their strength can become their spiritual downfall. They can become like Almon Babbitt, with whom the Lord was not pleased, because “he aspireth to establish his counsel instead of the counsel which I have ordained, even that of the Presidency of my Church; and he setteth up a golden calf for the worship of my people” (D&C 124:84). 
I think the most poignant comment comes from Elder David A. Bednar in an address originally given to Seminary and Institute instructors:
[W]e must be careful to remember in our service that we are conduits and channels; we are not the light. “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Matthew 10:20). It is never about me and it is never about you. In fact, anything you or I do as an instructor that knowingly and intentionally draws attention to self—in the messages we present, in the methods we use, or in our personal demeanor—is a form of priestcraft that inhibits the teaching effectiveness of the Holy Ghost. “Doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God” (D&C 50:17–18). David A. Bednar, "Seek Learning by Faith," February 3, 2006, Address to CES Religious Educators, Jordan Institute of Religion.
Elder Bednar's instruction tells us how we can avoid priestcraft in any of our church callings. We should never inject ourselves into what we are doing. This simply distracts from the Spirit and focuses attention on where it shouldn't be -- ourselves. Keep that in mind the next time you are tempted to inject a comment into someone's lesson or dialog, especially if the comment is about yourself.

I've done some video and slide show presentations for some gatherings and conferences. With the above quotes and instruction in mind, I deliberately did not put my name on any of these projects. No one viewing them would know I had anything to do with them. 

It's not my universe. It's not my world. It's not my gospel. It's not my church. It's not my program. Why should I seek the glory for it? Doesn't the glory rest with Heavenly Father? We should never seek any glory no matter what our calling in the church is.

If the Spirit touches people because of you, you are merely a temporary conduit. Heavenly Father is working through you. You should never seek any glory because of it because you deserve no such glory.

This is a sobering subject. You should intentionally keep your profile as low as you can to avoid the sin of priestcraft.

Remember what President Gordon B. Hinckley said on the subject:

It is so very important that you do not let praise and adulation go to your head. Adulation is poison. You better never lose sight of the fact that the Lord put you where you are according to His design, which you don't understand. Acknowledge the Lord for whatever good you can accomplish and give Him the credit and the glory and (do) not worry about that coming to yourself. If you can do that, you'll get along all right and will go forward with a love for the people and a great respect for them and try to accomplish what your office demands of you.

Antichrists in The Book of Mormon: Part 10: A New Theory of Sherem 

No comments:

Post a Comment