Jana Riess, an (evidently) leading and loud voice for liberals/progressives/dissidents opposing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while trying to stay in it, is continuing to clearly position herself further outside the mainstream of orthodox believers.
In a recent blog, she wrote regarding the new temple recommend questions: “Does the new Mormon temple recommend interview make things better or worse for members who struggle with chastity or who support teachings the church opposes?” She went on to “parse” the revised questions looking for loopholes—I suppose she hopes she won’t have to bend the truth as much when she herself is interviewed.
But the quoted question itself is deafening in its obtuseness. I am supposing that by “things” she means remaining a dissident but still getting into the temple; not the right perspective; like getting credit for a class with a D grade. But the real issue here relates to her championing of LGBT people desiring to break the law of chastity and remain members in good standing, and her ever-growing activist agenda of supporting teachings the Church opposes.
Jana Riess, and anyone else for that matter, can rationalize and bend the truth and parse the recommend questions all they want, even bald-face lie to their local leaders, and often succeed in obtaining a recommend—for all the good that it will do them.
Example: “I just paid my Mormon tithing. Why don’t I feel better about it?” is the title of a recent blog. I didn’t waste my time reading it, but just going from the headline, I can only repeat with Moroni: “For behold, God hath said a man [or woman] being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.” (The rest of the verses from Moroni 7 pertaining to this question are quoted below, for those interested.)
So according to the revealed word, Jana is not profited and it is not counted for righteousness to her. She is paying the monthly bills and it profits her nothing spiritually to include tithing.
But what about the main issue that Jana raises—that of supporting teachings the Church opposes?—like she eagerly proclaims she is doing? (I thought such actions warranted excommunication.)
President M. Russell Ballard taught:
Too often we hear, “why do the Brethren…”, or, “why does the Church…”. Instead of, “why do the scriptures teach…” or “why does the Lord say…”. We need to remember that when the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve speak with a united voice it is the voice of the Lord for that time. . . . So I am saying to you, when you step out into the noisy world, keep your eyes on us. We will not and cannot lead you astray. Do not ever follow those who believe they know more than Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ about the administration of the affairs of Their Church here upon the earth. . . .
In every generation there are those who have partaken of the fruit, but later became ashamed of the gospel. Today is no different. To them and to us, Paul boldly declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” The Lord needs an army of faithful, dedicated, and loyal disciples who are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ and who are willing to speak and stand up for the doctrine of Christ, including all principles and practices that flow from us as announced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—even when the principles and practices are not popular with some who may say they are not currently politically correct. . . .
Please remember that public opinion is not God. We must be faithful to Him. Additionally, public opinion is not our judge; God is our judge and He will stand by us. . . .
You will be going out into a noisy world. This noisy world will have some things to say that are nice about the Church and they will have some things not so nice. There will be those who want to tamper with the doctrine, but you don’t listen to that because you stay anchored to the fundamental doctrine and gospel of Christ. May God bless you with the courage and the strength to stand wherever you are serving and whatever your circumstances may be—that you may stand never never ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ; never with a wonderment or concern about the leadership of the Church. We are led by a prophet; there are fifteen apostles on the earth. We meet together. And I said earlier, we cannot and we will not lead you astray. Keep your eyes upon us. . . .
What else need be said?; this quotation seems to cover it all: when you oppose the teaching of the Church you are opposing the teachings of Jesus, whether Jana likes it or not.
For those who want to read what Moroni taught about paying their tithing grudgingly, without full purpose of heart and sincere intent:
For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.
For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.
For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.
And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.
Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.
For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.
Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.