Spiritual socialism

There is an enormous difference between believing that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us the means by which each person can work out his own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord, and believing that the church is responsible to save us. The first is the plan of salvation, the second is spiritual socialism.

The church cannot save its members by force of bureaucracy, and when it tries to it only gets in the way. When Bishops believe that church callings they give are the primary vehicle to salvation then they make a great effort to keep everybody very busy, fretting that if the people are not kept busy enough with church duties they will not be saved. The ideology is best realized in the words a Relief Society President once offered in Ward Council stating that she needed to keep the sisters in the church busy during the week so that they didn’t have time to get into trouble doing other things. This is spiritual socialism. It is like regular socialism. It wants to maintain a great deal of control over its membership.

It will force them to heaven. Using means that are completely inadequate to the task.

Then there is the gospel. In the gospel Christ offers, to his members, everything that they need to gain exaltation and eternal life. Chief among these gifts are the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is given to them to show them the truth of all things, and to show them all things what they must do. Their chief responsibilities are the salvation and exaltation of their own families, of their dead, and of those they know. They also recognize a need to care for and watch over the poor.

In the true gospel the church preaches the truth, but the home is the source of spiritual strength to the church, not the other way round. The church revolves around bolstering individuals to use the means of salvation Christ has provided in their own lives and in their own homes to work out their own salvation.

Spiritual socialism generally stands in direct opposition to the gospel. It encourages leaders to take mothers of many children, or mothers of young children, or old members caring for a spouse, and give them large “spiritual” responsibilities so they can be saved.  It preaches to such mothers that those callings are the things for which they will be held accountable at the judgement. But that is utterly false. There is nothing a mother can do that will be a greater matter at the judgement than their efforts in their own home and family.

Spiritual socialism is spiritually destructive. You see believers in it every day though. They think their calling in the church is going to save them. They often are not too concerned about personal scripture study. After all, what’s the point? They are not too concerned about saving their dead. After all, that’s just extra credit. They are not too concerned about converting their neighbors. They don’t have any deep and abiding sense of the importance of family in the gospel, the importance of bearing children, the importance of mother’s staying home, or any of the things that make the gospel work properly in the home. They have their calling, and in their mind, that is what saves them.

The true gospel is different than spiritual socialism because the in the true gospel each member recognizes that it is his responsibility to gain his exaltation. He recognizes the intimate relationship between home, family, and gospel. They are braided together. The bishop has no power to save him and he knows it, because for him to gain salvation requites a great deal of work on his self, in his marriage and in his home, and work amidst his fellow man that the Bishop has not the least power over.

In the true gospel, the member knows that each man must work out his own salvation with fear and trembling before God. He knows that neither life, nor death, nor pain, nor suffering, nor wealth, nor poverty, nor any other mortal concern matters but the one great question: will he gain eternal life? And he sees the answer to that question as his own quest and his own task which he, himself, will be held wholly accountable for.


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John Robertson

I am nothing more than a regular member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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