My #5 golden oldie post was written as a response to some early fireworks in the LDS Blogosphere (this was before it had been christened "The Bloggernacle"), when Times and Seasons was said to be excessively intellectual. I smile as I recall LDS blogging’s little existential crisis.
It also doubles as a good articulation of the philosophy Bob and I bring to blogging. There were a few comments, but not really that many. If you’re interested in reading them visit the original post.
Also, (it should go without saying, but) I’ll point out that I wrote the post’s final sentence before I had come over to the dark side, so don’t hold the details of it against me.
Quite the hullabaloo over at Times and Seasons over whether there is too much "inappropriate intellectualism." I guess a couple of former regulars to the site feel that there is too much of the foolishness of men. I feel strongly that the doctrinal exploration and analysis typical at T&S is something that benefits me in my own search for knowledge and testimony. I also recognize that many do not feel the same way, and I have nothing but respect for people who follow their hearts and try to listen to what the Spirit tells them.
Growing up, I felt like my parents fostered an atmosphere where we were able to recognize and discuss instances in which we felt differently about certain policies and doctrines than did our leaders. At the same time, it was always clear that our leaders had a specific stewardship and responsibility, and that they deserved nothing less than our support and sustaining. An issue that came to represent these notions living side by side was that of appropriate sacrament meeting music:
My dad was ward music chairman at the time. Concerning sacrament meeting music, the manual said something along the lines of ". . . while the hymn book and children’s song book should be the primary sources of music for sacrament meeting, there are many other sources of appropriate music . . . " (I don’t actually have a copy, but my dad has quoted it dozens of times to me, and this is close). Our Stake Presidency decided that to "more fully" live this policy, the hymn book and children’s song book would be the only acceptable sources in our Stake. My dad discovered this after leading a choir in Stake Conference (they sang a selection from the Messiah or something like that) and being greeted by the Stake Prez with a "Sounded great, but make sure next time it’s from the hymn book." After many lengthy discussions, the official Stake policy was made clear.
It drove my dad nuts. Whenever the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would sing "In the Bleak Midwinter" or another appropriate hymn, he’d go crazy inside. He wrote letters to the Stake Presidency highlighting what the handbook said. He discussed it over Sunday dinner. He fasted and prayed. All to no avail — he and the Stake President continued to feel differently about it.
But he always lived by the policy, and made it clear that he respected the authority of these leaders. Even when other wards in the Stake would sneak other hymns by (the Stake Presidency weren’t musicians — they didn’t necessarily know what was in the hymn book anyway), he deferred to those under whose stewardship he served.
This is just one of many examples. Questioning and seeking personal confirmation of counsel received from leaders was a very real part of the teaching that my parents offered as I grew up. So was a respect for the priesthood and the organization of the church. Combining those two things is very near to the foundation of my testimony, and I think it is very possible to mix questioning and respect in a meaningful way. I realize that the testimonies of others may be based on different views, and I wish them nothing but the best as they make their own way toward exaltation. I just want to be on record as saying that I view Times and Seasons as something incredibly relevant to me as I search for truth (absolute or not).