Monday, May 19, 2008

Pride

I feel the need to rescind much of what I said in my last posting. As I've been pondering it, I've come to realize that I was unnecessarily harsh on the Catholic church and the Pope in particular. I had no more right to assign ulterior motives to him for cutting off church access to Catholic records than anybody else would have of claiming that I had ulterior motives for being a missionary. I was a victim of the same sort of pride that I so easily saw in others. I have sacrificed a great deal of time, money and effort to help strengthen the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, because I really believe that it teaches the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. When the Catholic church announced that they were restricting record access in order to "ensure that such a detrimental practice is not permitted," I naturally felt that someone had attacked something very dear to me, something close to my heart, and something so unquestionably pure and good that they could not possibly have any righteous motive for doing so.

While I believe that many people in the world have used supposed religious beliefs as an excuse to commit the evil in their hearts, I also recognize that many truly altruistic people are simply at odds regarding what things are helpful and what things are hurtful in this world. And while from a purely secular viewpoint it seems inconceivable that performing ordinances by proxy could be detrimental, it is very reasonable for somebody to call it that if they believe it to be against God's will. Anything out of line with God's will is, by nature, detrimental, and a secular perspective cannot hope to see things as clearly as God does.

As for the obstacle that this decision serves for those doing genealogical research, one can hardly expect the Pope to attach any importance to what genealogists think of him or his policies, or the effect his decisions may have on a field that probably seems from his point of view to have absolutely no merit. As far as he sees it, they could burn all the records and there wouldn't be one soul more or fewer that would make it into heaven. In fact, doctrinally speaking, I believe the same thing, but in a different way. Just as Pharoah's might was useless to stop the Israelite exodus, all the powers of this earth won't prevent the Lord from bringing eternal life to even one person who would go there. That doesn't mean it was right for the Pharoah to send his armies, but knowing that he had it was more important for Israel to have faith in God's power than to worry about the armies that had been sent against them.

So anyway, I still feel that the Pope and his church are incorrect doctrinally, as they think I am wrong doctrinally. But I need to apologize for having been so prideful as to think that I could know the intentions of their hearts. I'm sorry.
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