Shouting from rooftops…

Almost all people keep their misdeeds secret, hoping their undeserved reputation for goodness is never tarnished by their private stuff getting exposed. But Christ said that would not work. “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy, for there is nothing covered which shall not be revealed, neither hidden which shall not be known. Therefore, whatever you have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light, and that which you have spoken in the ear, in closets, shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” NC Luke 8:18

I’ve heard about recent fighting among us that has become public. Sources reporting about our belligerence include not only local people through texts, emails, phone calls, and private conversations, but also from people in Europe, Canada, and the Far East. I’ve been sent links to websites where cross-complaints and ‘dirty laundry’ have been published for anyone interested to read. I’ve read some dramatic stuff!

When the last day comes and there are private failures shouted from the rooftops, at least no one will be interested in hearing from our group. All of our stuff is out in public, and often times portrayed in the worst possible light.

We apparently don’t let a balanced story to be heard when we rail on one another, but prefer to evaluate each other as narrowly, stringently, and judgmentally as possible. So in the last day, I doubt anyone will be interested in gathering by our roofs, but will instead mosey along to the other rooftops where the unexposed, carefully concealed, and surprising conduct of our critics will be proclaimed.

As we go about our indiscreet treatment of one another, I think there are at least a couple of things that might be worth considering. Joseph Smith gave advice to people conducting disciplinary councils in a meeting on July 11, 1840. I think his advice then is suitable for considering today: “That the Council should try no case without both parties being present or having had an opportunity to be present neither should they hear one parties complaint before his case is brought up for trial— neither should they suffer the character of any one to be exposed before the High Council without the person being present and ready to defend him or herself—that the minds of the Councellors be not prejudiced for or against any one whose case they may possibly have to act upon.” (As quoted from JSP Minutes, online, footnote omitted, spellings as in original.)

In a recent post I invited those I’ve offended to let me know and I was pleased to hear from a few folks. I know there are many times when I could/should have done better, communicated more clearly, taken more time, and shown more courtesy. I’ve never felt equal to what I’ve been asked to do, but I’ve tried and continue to try with all my heart to obey the Lord. There are a lot of disappointments along the way. But that is due to my own unrealistic expectations more than anything else.

The work of the Lord is continuing apace. There have been some amazing things accomplished that are far, far greater than I could have done alone. Much more will be accomplished this year as we soldier on together. We have enough within our group to finish what must still be accomplished. Perhaps we even have too many people now involved. At least too many to gather together into one body without contention, jarring and polluting the place like they did, and have continued doing, in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Utah. (See T&C 101:2: “Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore, by these things they polluted their inheritances.”)

It is a very good thing, even a necessary requirement, that we let each other know truthfully about one another. Hidden resentments and suppressed offenses will come out in time. Eventually they will be shouted from the rooftops. To get ahead of that, we ought to be telling one another directly about how we have mistreated or offended one another. Things need to be put behind us if we expect to live in peace with each other. We’ve begun that. Let’s continue to do so. However, while reconciling and addressing wrongs is absolutely necessary, there is always the question about how to do that

There is some reason to believe that private offenses, even if they involve a few people rather than a single individual, ought to be addressed directly and privately. So we might consider ending our own shouting, climbing down off the roof, and inviting one another into the living room to talk about the offenses, when it seems appropriate. “And if your brother offend you, you shall take him between him and you alone, and if he confess, you shall be reconciled. And if he confess not, you shall take another with you, and then if he confess not, you shall deliver him up unto the church, not to the members, but to the elders. And it shall be done in a meeting and that not before the world. And if your brother offend many, he shall be chastened before many. And if anyone offend openly, he shall be rebuked openly that he may be ashamed. And if he confess not, he shall be delivered up unto the Law. If any shall offend in secret, he shall be rebuked in secret, that he may have opportunity to confess in secret to him whom he has offended and to God, that the brethren may not speak reproachfully of him.” T&C 27:5.