Liberalism is the worship of men in preference to the worship of God.
Of course, it parades as being true Christianity in many circumstances. It claims to seek to fulfill the great two commandments, but it reverses the order of them. This allows it to fool many people. It considers truth to be a small matter compared to making man feel loved and cared for. Thus it will divest itself of eternal truths in order to please men.
Because it cares more about pleasing men than pleasing God, it is easily swayed by the world.
Now that description alone does not paint the picture properly. It hits at the core of the liberal philosophy, particularly among church members.
But it fails to truly unmask liberalism.
Because with that understanding alone, we cannot understand why liberalism, as soon as it gains the upper hand, immediately becomes oppressively intolerant to any thoughts or actions that are not after its own manner of thinking. The great secret of liberalism is its oppressive nature. It parades about as generosity and the spirit of freedom, and then when it gains the upper hand it becomes a hand gripping the throat of all that think differently than itself.
There is an interesting statement by the prophet Joseph Smith. He taught:”I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn other, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.”
Note that Joseph Smith says this is an eternal principles that has existed with God from all eternity. This statement appears to describe not only the fall of men in mortality, but the fall of Lucifer and his many followers in premortality.
Lucifer’s plan is an interesting echo of liberalism. He claimed he would save all men. He portrayed himself as being, well, more liberal and loving than God himself. He would save them all.
And what did he want? Why to overthrow the father. When he said he wanted the Father’s glory, he has no reference to a personal badge of honor. He is referring to the light which proceeds forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space and which is the means by which he is in and through all things, and the means by which he knows all things and governs all things. He wanted to replace the Father. He looked at those at the head and thought he had the righter path that would save more generously. He was the first liberal.
But what sort of reign would he have taken up? What sort of being is he? Would it not have been as cruel and merciless as the devil himself? Whatever form of “salvation” Lucifer offered, of this we can be certain, it would save everybody on the principle of the cruelest intolerance toward anyone who deviated in the least from his same thinking.
It is the nature of liberalism to become oppressive and cruel once it gains power. Liberalism is not just the rejection of things that are true. It is the rejection of the worship of God in preference for the deceptions of the adversary. It is the war in heaven all over again fought over the same principles here as it was there, and fought against the same being inspiring followers here as it was there. It has the same appeal, and leads its followers to the same hell. It seems to be part of Joseph Smith’s eternal principle that is a key to the mysteries of the kingdom.
Liberalism is the same old plan to strangle agency and fight God the Father that Satan put forth in the premortal life.
And it is cruelly intolerant of anything but its every dictate and whim as soon as it believes it has gained sufficient power to be so.