A cross-post from my blog.
As I survey the “Bloggernacle”, I see and hear many disparate voices competing for attention. The most strident of these voices are those who seem to have a bone to pick with the Church, whether administratively, constitutionally, or with doctrine or policy. Some of these voices continue to express dismay over the composition of the leading officers of the Church (e.g., not enough persons of color, too old, too many millionaires, not enough women, etc). Some continue to complain that the Church hasn’t issued an apology for its past institutional “sins”. Some argue that it is necessary for grassroots “agitation” in order to get the Church to “change for the better”; a bottom-up agenda as opposed to the current centralized, top-down management of the Church.
This is just a mere summary of the critical nature of many, many sites of the “Bloggernacle”. One could be led to conclude that many, many online Mormons are intensely or at least partially dissatisfied with the Church, whether with its doctrines, practices, composition of the leadership, or its style. This leads me to ask the question: why this intense dissatisfaction? Is loyalty to the Church simply out of the question for the “Bloggernacle” at large?
When people are formally baptized, they gain admission to the Church as a “member”. A record is actually physically created, their names go on the books, and they then become a claimant to the blessings and privileges of membership in the organization. They get the benefits. They get to participate.
Yet membership also implies certain duties and obligations. As a member, I am expected to contribute my time and talents in support of the organization I join. For example, it would be silly to join a national chess federation if I did not plan on playing chess, watching games of chess sponsored by the organization, or pay my dues to support its functions. Likewise, I would not join the organization and then spend the balance of my life telling people how lame the group was, or how insipid, or out of touch the governing board of the federation were.
My point in bringing this up is to illustrate an attribute of membership that doesn’t get a lot of attention or focus. It’s also a word that does not merit a whole lot of respect in our early 21st century culture. This word is an ideal that we humans seek to share with each other in many contexts and situations. The word is Loyalty.