The Disobedient

Thank God for smugglers. I was humbled by this video.

35 thoughts on “The Disobedient

  1. I love to read the scriptures, but watching this video made me suddenly wonder if I appreciate enough what I so easily pick up in my hands. Your comment, “I was humbled,” describes the feeling well. Thank you for sharing it.

    Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living

  2. My Bible so often sits quietly, unopened for days at a time. Sometimes weeks.

    For me, it was more like ‘shamed’ than humbled.

  3. Kullervo asked, “how in the world do you square that with the Great Commission and Acts 5?”

    You don’t.

  4. LDS Church: “Please do not distribute any Church literature or other religious materials; please do not seek to attend Church meetings with foreign Church members…” (


    Peter: “And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:27-32)

    It is shameful to be proud of not spreading the message of Jesus in countries where it is illegal.

  5. I really didn’t post this to stick a thumb in the eye of the LDS church, and it should be noted that early Mormons had a long history of subverting the law to practice their religion. What may have prompted these changes I suppose is open to discussion.

  6. Please tell me you’re all commenting from inside Iran.

    I get it – finding fault with the LDS Church is a very enjoyable hobby for some. I should know. But, if we consider that not every believer in the Great Commission lives it out in the same way, (something a Protestant should be able to identify with) we can resist the urge to judge. LDS leaders seem to take a long view these days, which may not make headlines or martyrs, but may actually bring more people to the message they are preaching.

  7. Gundek — An example of what Christian J may be talking about is the temple that was built in East Germany in the 1980s. It was highly unusual at the time in the Cold War era for U.S.-based churches to have much of a presence in the country, yet the LDS church’s respect for the authority of the East German government was undoubtedly a factor in allowing the building and operation of the temple.

    And while I don’t expect to see open proselytizing in mainland anytime China soon, the Church’s deference to the Chinese government has at least allowed it to openly hold sacrament meetings (although currently only for foreigners). That’s probably more than the Church would be able to do than if it were joining the Bible-smuggling crowd. And who knows? Maybe the Church is in a better position than other religious organizations would be to pressure the government to lighten up on its oppression of religion.

    Tim said:

    I really didn’t post this to stick a thumb in the eye of the LDS church

    And neither am I criticizing the smugglers. Ultimately, I can see different kinds of good coming from both approaches.

  8. Eric,

    I don’t know many US based protestant Churches looking for a presence overseas. While I am sure there are exceptions the missionary organisations that I support are more interested in helping in the work of building sustainable local Churches, administered by local leaders not from the Unites States. I guess being an American based Church places added burdens on Salt Lake.

    I’m not trying to pick on anyone, as a Protestant I go back to Romans 10:17, and I just don’t comprehend a pragmatic withholding of the word of God. I guess you need to base your priorities against what is important to you.

  9. “I just don’t comprehend a pragmatic withholding of the word of God.”

    Every Christian I have ever met practices the pragmatic withholding of the word of God.

  10. I just asking how all Christians pragmatically withhold the word of God. For instance what do you see to be the practical motivation behind it? I’d really like to understand?

  11. It is a bit strange. Mormons give a LOT of time per capita to spreading the gospel and helping people live it.

    Gundek- perhaps the primary benefit is that you have more free time and money when you withhold the word of God.

  12. Eric,

    I’m not criticizing you, I’m trying to understand the reasoning behind excluding mission work in places like China.

  13. Jared,

    What does free time and money have to do with withholding God’s word? How exactly does an institution preventing Bibles from going to forbidden countries fit in with my free time?

  14. How much of your free time are you giving to bible distribution and proseltyzing. My guess is that its not 100%. For whatever reason you find it impractical to spend all of your time doing that.

  15. Mormons must be more pragmatic because their congregations depend on structure and contact with the main body of the church. Completely unattached Mormons are generally seen as threats rather than friends. It is hard to maintain Mormonism as an underground faith– perhaps one of the reasons they decided to leave the U.S. in the 1840s and why they gave up polygamy.

  16. You seem to be assuming that each Christian as an individual has an equal calling in spreading the word. Obviously, I think that is an unsupportable position (Jam 3:1). I don’t think it’s a pragmatic decision for an individual understanding that they are neither called nor prepared to teach the word, aspiring, “to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (1 Thes 4:11) as the apostle taught.

    I don’t see how Mormon structure requires a pragmatism, as opposed to the Roman Catholics during Poland’s Solidarity movement or the Egyptian Copts?

    I think Eric’s answer that Temples are so important that Cooperation with the GDR was justified makes more sense.

  17. Gundek — My remark about criticism was meant to be funny more than a serious reaction to anything you said; I should have probably added a smiley at the end. But to answer your question briefly, despite the stance of the church during the polygamy area, it has at least in the modern era placed a great emphasis on believers and the church being subject to governments. The gist of Romans 13:1-7 is one of our Articles of Faith and is regularly taught. While not proselytizing in China (among other places) may be a pragmatic move, I believe the main reason for it is based on principle.

  18. Whether or not you are called, we live in a society where support can be distilled to dollars.
    Even those that can’t teach can buy bibles to smuggle. Christians that drive luxury cars (or cars at all) could have helped smuggle bibles with that money, right?

    I submit that Christians make these decisions mainly on pragmatic grounds, even if they justify them otherwise.

    How to cooperate with an anti-christian government was a question presented Jesus, who resolved it in a quite pragmatic way.

  19. Jared,

    Jesus the pragmatist? I think we are reading different books.

    But seriously many give according to their means or even beyond their means as an act of worship, not mainly pragmatism. I’m wondering who all these Christians that you’ve met are? I wouldn’t even say that most practicing Mormons are pragmatic in their giving.

    I’d also point out that you are comparing an institutions official teaching to your evaluation to peoples motives. When you said “Every Christian I have ever met practices the pragmatic withholding of the word of God.” I kind of expected you to have a valuable outsiders perspective that I could learn something from.

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