“The Best EQ Lesson Ever”

I saw this post by a disaffected Mormon elsewhere. I’m wondering if I can get your thoughts and comments on it. Was this EQ speaker out of line or was he dead on?

Yesterday in EQ, the lesson given was on false gods. The guy teaching is a regular EQ instructor, but I know he has some issues. Specifically, his opinion is the church isn’t Christ focused enough. True enough. Still, I believe this guy believes in the restoration and certainly seems devout in other ways.

Anyway, the first 2/3 of the lesson was just fairly average, but then it really got interesting. He started saying how the church organization itself can be a false god. He then said that church leaders can be false gods and went on to say that he had some sort of controversial experience when he was attending one of the church schools and it went so far that the church leadership intervened. He went on to say that a current apostle got involved and flat out lied to him. He used those words: “A current apostle lied to me.” I turned off my Palm Pilot at this point.

He said that it was unimportant if the quorum believed that the apostle lied, it was only important that he knew the apostle lied. He then said there is too much attention paid to the leaders of the church and how they are only men and we should spend our time thinking about Christ.

But he still wasn’t finished.

He then opened the hymn book and commented about how many hymns therein have nothing to do with Christ or the atonement. He said that Praise to the Man was a particularly egregious example of putting a man before God. He then gave a few examples of other people (not mormon) who claim to have seen God. He then substituted the names of these people into Praise to the Man and said he had no doubt that the church membership would have a problem with singing the song that way. But he pointed out that it should horrify us to sing it the way it is now. He then suggested the lyrics be changed to “Praise be to God who communes with man …”

The whole time this was going on, I was waiting for someone, anyone to contradict or challenge him, but it never happened. The missionaries didn’t even make a peep. Our EQP is super devout. He’s one of those people who is always talking about how these are the last days and so on. He always has some obscure statement from a past prophet to back up his wacky ideas. So I was sure he would say something. But even he kept quiet. Finally the lesson was over, and the EQP got up to close. I was sure he would say something to at least soften what the teacher said.

But it was like a cherry on top of an apostasy sundae.

He encouraged us to be more Christ centered in our teachings at home and at church and then went on to say that he too had an experience where a GA lied to him.

It was the best EQ lesson ever!

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16 thoughts on ““The Best EQ Lesson Ever”

  1. How long can this guy last? I have a sense that once someone starts focusing on Christ, to that extent, there isn’t much room for …………things that are often substituted. I’ve seen it in mainline churches where members are more into the organization then they are to God. Once someone gets truly born again and Spirit filled they are really off the reservation.

  2. Two people that know an Apostle lied to them? I’ve only ever met 3 of them and never had an intimate enough conversation where they could have lied to me. I’m not saying that it’s not true, but it makes me suspect that the person who posted this is probably exaggerating a little.

    I do think that this would have been a very cool EQ meeting. I would have loved to ask him some questions in front of the whole quorum and have other people respond too. I think this guy must have been very disappointed that no one would say anything. A class where LDS members could be as open with what they think as this EQ teacher was would be great. It would make church a lot more interesting.

  3. I vote for out of line. If there was an actual discussion on the topic during the meeting, perhaps it would’ve been more appropriate, but it just sounds more like a chance for a disgruntled member to cry his woes as a teacher, using the position inappropriately. This could be a spiritually dangerous approach.

    I think most of us would agree that the worshipping of false gods can come in many forms. It’s quite possible that some of the early Christians put more faith and focus on the early Apostles than they did these Holy Men’s witness and testimony of Christ. But I do not see how this would have been the Apostle’s fault. Nor do I see this as a rampant problem today in the LDS church. It just seems to me that the guy above felt like he was mistreated and created a lesson out of it.

    I don’t believe I ever sang “Praise to the Man” as preparation for the sacrament. The LDS hymnal has many songs on many subjects and events. This guy’s logic doesn’t make sense. Should we abandon every hymn that is not focused on Christ, but still is inspiring? If you believe in it, having a man born in the last days and chosen to restore many important truth’s pertaining to Christ and the salvation of man, is worthy of praise. Joseph Smith certainly didn’t save us from our sins, but he surely brought to light a lot of truth- for those who believe of course.

    He is right though. We should spend our time thinking of Christ. But this has been the counsel of the Prophets and Apostles, to study the scriptures and Come unto Christ, and I think most members do this in their personal studies and daily life.

  4. Hey, I am new to commenting here, but have been following the site for a couple of months. I wanted to gauge the atmosphere around before getting involved with the discussion. It appears to be a reasonable and mature group of regulars, so here I am. And I am LDS, for the record.

    In response to Kullervo, I have often struggled with the idea of giving to much praise to any man, and thus question the wisdom of the particular wording of this that hymn. That being said, I feel I understand the spirit of the song (and the word praise can have different degrees of stregnth), and have decided I can let it go. I disagree though, that he comes under praise for simply being chosen. As we know, many can be chosen to great works, but fall short (sometimes fail outright) due to human weakness. Judas Escariot is a prime example (though some might argue that Christ chose him because he knew he would play a role in his atonement process, but that is for another discussion). Joseph Smith is praised (not worshiped, mind you) because of all that he did after being chosen and all that he sacrificed (even his life) to accomplish the work he was chosen to do. And they were no small accomplishments. So I think you oversimplify the discussion by asserting that all that he accomplished was being “chosen”, not to mention that even being willing to be chosen and to accept his responsibilities is praiseworthy.

  5. so why are there no praise songs sung about Peter, John, Paul, Moses or Elijah?

    Nice to meet you, by the way. I’m glad you decided to comment.

  6. Probably the Mormon answer is that we owe particular respect to Joseph Smith since he presides over our particular dispensation.

  7. No- the dispensations are like a thousand years each. This is the final dispensation, the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, and it is headed by Joseph Smith. Other dispensation heads include (IIRC) Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.

    GBH is the president of the Church right now, but not of the whole dispensation. And “We Thank Thee O God, For A Prophet” is kind of the stand-in for praising whoever the current prophet is. Even though the song actually praises God for sending a prophet, instead of praising the prophet himself.

  8. I don’t think it is so much about presiding over this dipensation (which according to church doctrine, JS does, not GBH, to clear that up for you Tim) as it is about his particularly important role in the restoration. As you all know, the restoration is central to mormon truth claims. Without the restoration, there would be no need for the mormon church. You evangelicals may claim that there is no need regardless, but for those of us who believe in there having been a necessity for a “restoration of all things”, the fact that he did so much to bring that about is particularly important. To us, the restoration was of the original church that christ instituted, complete with the authority to act in his name, and a continuing channel of comunication between Christ and his church. Indeed, the restoration is viewed by church members as one of the great events in the history of the world and in the plan of God. Much more significant even than the parting of the red sea, yet not near as significant as the atonement and ressurection of Jesus Christ.

    GBH is a prophet, and is held in extremely high regard by the members of the church. Yet his mission is not as crucial (not to diminish his role, it is indeed important) as that of JS. From our perspective, our quest to return to our Father, and our understanding of what that entails, was made possible because he was willing to dedicate his life to the work of God. His work did not provide salvation, only Christ’s work can provide that. But his work provided us with the knowledge and tools that we need to come unto christ and become the benefactors of his saving grace, as well as an understanding of the necessary ordinances. Are gratitude is great, to say the least, and from our perspective, can you blame us?

  9. frofreak, I think Kullervo has a good point.

    Tim asks, “so why are there no praise songs sung about Peter, John, Paul, Moses or Elijah?”

    There’s some immediate history to the song. Wikipedia has a brief article on it: “…written as a tribute to Joseph Smith, Jr. by…William W. Phelps…approximately one month after Smith was killed.” It was a eulogy at a time when Church members were scared, worried, and confused. As can be expected, there is a lot of “Joseph lives on and his enemies will perish” sentiment. The emotions behind the song only have more meaning when one realizes that its author, Phelps, had years earlier testified against Joseph Smith in a hearing in Richmond.

  10. The primary song “Latter-day prohets” (I think that’s what it is called) mentions Gordon B. Hinckely by name, as well as all the other modern day LDS prophets. Would this be considered praise?

  11. Question:

    Are we disallowed from praising or celebrating everything that is not explicitly Christ?

    No songs about sharing your toys! We only worship Christ!

  12. BrianJ,

    Thanks for sharing that. It is a tidbit that I had known, but it had long escaped my memory. And it does put the song in context, which is important to understanding why it was written the way it was.

    Seth R.

    I don’t no that anyone is suggesting that giving praise to any man but Christ is taboo. I had a concern about giving too much praise, but I think BrianJ’s comment help us to understand the motivation behind the song. I think Kullervo’s point was that there don’t seem to be any songs that explicitly praise other modern prophets. A valid point, but one that I think is unnecesary, no offense kullervo. And I also don’t know that a song necessarily has to use the word “praise” to conote praise. The fact that a song has been written about someone (provided it is a positive message) implies a certain degree of praise.

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