“Requirement Church” vs. “No-Reject Church” — A Sacrament Meeting Talk

Sacrament Meeting Talk 5.26

Charity and Unorthodoxy

At Ward Conference, bishop gave a speech about the ‘many paths to Mt. Fuji’ where he asked us to be respectful to those on ‘unorthodox paths’ in the Church and the Gospel. Today, I want to expand that idea with my thoughts on what that looks like on the ground and reveal ways in which we may unintentionally be pushing people away.

I’ve written about 10 different versions of this talk. I even still have 3 different endings to it. When I’ve sat down to write this, I sometimes started writing out of anger. Sometimes out of pain. Sometimes out of hope. But hopefully, my words can do justice to all those feelings while also being grounded in the same charity I’ll speak about today. I hope especially to send this love to those who find themselves somewhat on the outside of the mainstream – those on unorthodox paths. Some of you may not agree with my conclusions, but I’d hope that instead of you shutting down or outright rejecting them, you give thought, consider my side, and then come discuss with me a path forward.

As we know, Christ calls us to love both God and our neighbor and that “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.[i]

Charity and love hold the premium place in the Gospel of Christ. I’d like to start the meat of my talk with reading some introspections on charity and prophecy by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. This is an amazing example of being reflexive about your limits as a Christian in knowing God’s will (i.e. – prophecy) and how charity fills in those gaps. Now remember that Paul is one of the most influential leaders of the Church at this time. So imagine if, let’s say, Elder Oaks is talking:

  1. If I have prophetic insight and I understand all mysteries and knowledge and I have all faith so as to move mountains but I do not have charity, I am nothing.
  2. If I give away all that I have and hand over my body to be burned but I do not have charity, I gain nothing.

Notice here that, it is not the action but the intent that is the issue. He could have prophetic insight, he could be the smartest person alive, but without charity—that means nothing. He could have given away all that he has, which on face value looks like one of the most charitable things to do. But it seems, according to Paul, that you can both give away all your things and still not have charity. It is more than an action – and this is something to consider as we continue on.

  1. Charity never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will pass away…; as for knowledge it will pass away.
  2. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part

In part meaning “imperfectly”. Paul, as an apostle of the Lord, recognizes that he doesn’t know everything and that not everything he prophecies is true—but that there are gaps.

  1. For we see dimly in a mirror, but then face to face. I know in part; then I will know fully even as I have been fully known.
  2. Now, faith, hope, and charity, these three abide, but the greatest of all these is charity.

It seems that when Paul is reflecting upon his prophetic role as apostle, he recognizes there are gaps. But Christ has given us the tool that we, as prophets, leaders, and members, can use to fill in those gaps: that tool is charity.

So where am I going with a discussion on charity and how do I connect it to unorthodoxy?

Elder Wirthlin said in a 2008 conference talk:

“Some are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don’t belong. Perhaps because they are different, they find themselves slipping away from the flock. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.

Tied to this misconception is the erroneous belief that all members of the Church should look, talk, and be alike. The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.”

Christ’s mission was to the disenfranchised, the sick, the women, the social outcast, the poor, the seemingly unclean. His mission was the epitome of love – thus, if we are to be church of charity, we must be bringing everyone to play in God’s orchestra.

So, I ask: “What does it really look like to bring people in that look, act, think, or speak differently?”

More directly: “How do we bring them in when what they believe, think, or do is contrary to my core beliefs?”

More concretely: What would Mormonism look like when we invite back those who, perhaps:

  • Are in a same-sex relationship?
  • Disagree with what the prophet preaches?
  • Want to speak as openly about their liberal political beliefs as openly as people can speak about their conservative politics in an overwhelmingly Republican congregation. (Hello, Mormonism in the US)
  • Want to shake up a ward’s Mormon culture by introducing some popular religious practices from their ethnic culture or former religion?
  • Doesn’t believe that the Word of Wisdom is something they need to follow?
  • Doesn’t believe in the Book of Mormon as historically factual; who feels uncomfortable attending the temple; or perhaps feels that women or other minorities are given second class status in the Church?

How do we bring these people in and sit with them, minister with them, rather than reject them?

Requirement Service vs. Need Services

In the social work world, there are calls to make the move from a service-oriented practice to a needs-oriented practice, or what some call “No-Reject programs.”

Usually, non-profit centers have a list of requirements of who can access resources. When you, as someone in need, comes to a program they’ll conduct an intake. They’ll make sure you fit their age range, that you meet the requirements for what needs or problems you have, that you are willing to agree to a list of rules and requirements. They might also make sure you don’t fit any exclusionary criteria. For example, in the homeless non-profit world, some services refuse pregnant teens, or families with children, or males, etc. If you do not fit their inclusion criteria or you match one of their exclusion criteria, they’ll dismiss you from their services. Let me read from a a report on services for youth experiencing homelessness to explain why this is a problem:

“Most of the time, exclusionary criteria in community-based programs exist because a youth’s needs fall outside the scope of available services. In these programs, the epicenter of the intervention is the available services, not the youth’s needs.”

I’ll read it again: “In these programs, the epicenter of the intervention is the available services, not the youth’s needs.” Meaning, what is central to the organization and to the intake is themselves, not the youth whom they serve.

The report continues:

“Programs that adopt no refusal intake policies, on the other hand, make the youth’s needs the central priority, and adapt traditional services to meet those needs or create services where they don’t exist. Shifting the priority from the services to the youth enables the community to serve more and a wider range of youth.”[ii]

If we believe that the Church holds the keys to salvation, or at least will bless someone’s life, we agree that setting up our religion as a “Must be this person to enter” or “Must have these beliefs to come” is problematic and reduces the amount of people that can come into our fold. This way of setting up a ward and a religion is what I consider a “Requirements Ward.” God implored of us in D&C 18: 10 – “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” – if our ward is a “Requirements Ward” and is restricting who and how many people can enter, are we truly fulfilling God’s mission?

Let’s apply this to our Church or our ward: What would a Requirement ward (or orthodox ward) look like? And how would a “No-Reject” ward look?

Any time we create a list of requirements for entry into a group, we create an orthodox ward—you must believe X or do Y. As a sociologist, I study how groups create “requirements for entry”– we create boundaries as social beings both intentionally and unintentionally. In-groups and out-groups are common in every social organization, religious or not. And these boundaries are not always explicit and you may be creating these boundaries without knowing it.[iii] For example, think of what boundary is set when you hear so many stories at church that would require wealth to relate to: perhaps they talk about lessons they learned while traveling abroad, perhaps they discuss their process to buy a new car, how much money they donate as an example of their charity, etc. Repeated often, this might seem like this Church is meant for the wealthy—even if that wasn’t an intention. Think of how this might be made worse when, in a testimony, someone says they started obeying the commandments and God blessed them with an amazing job and they were finally financially independent. What kind of boundary do you think is felt by someone who can’t find work, who is homeless, or otherwise finds difficulty making ends meet?

What boundaries might be felt by people with clinical depression or bipolar when multiple comments are made that God helps people get over their sadness with obedience?

What boundaries are set when more speakers in the ward are male or when leadership decisions are made mostly by men?[iv] What about when lessons on the family are constantly taught by married men? What boundaries might be experienced by women, mothers, and especially single women or single mothers?

What boundaries are set when conservative politics are often tangled with doctrinal comments in Sunday School, but when someone makes a politically liberal mention in a sacrament talk or Sunday School lesson, people complain and speakers or teachers gets censored for being too political?

These common situations placed altogether might make it seem that this is Church for wealthy, American, conservative males. Let alone other common stereotypes of race, sexual orientation, etc. Our unintentional, and sometime intentional, actions create stereotypes of who is on the ‘in-group.’ This is what Elder Wirthlin talked about in the earlier quote: “They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.”  

We then can start to take these stereotypes as requirements for entry and turn our ward into a “Requirement Ward.” Similar to the previous example, these stereotypes can make it seem like only a certain type of person is allowed in. Other boundaries make it so only certain beliefs or actions are allowed in: You can only be Mormon if you believe in X; or you can only be Mormon if you don’t get married to someone of your same-gender or if you don’t drink tea; or you can only worship with us if you’re actively looking to get baptized.

A church or ward focused on these requirements wouldn’t see a reason to be creative or adaptive: this makes it harder to tailor each of our pastoral activities towards the individuals that need it. It also might make us not see all the beauty the Gospel has to offer—we focus on a narrow vision of what the Gospel is, rather its how deep, expansive and beautiful nature.

No-Reject Gospel

So, let’s create a no-reject ward to match Christ’s no-reject Gospel. We must start by listening to those who feel on the outside—they are the ones who see and experience the boundaries most clearly. When discussing the inclusion of gay and queer members, Elder Ballard said:

“We need to listen to and understand what our LGBT brothers and sisters are feeling and experiencing. Certainly, we must do better than we have done in the past so that all members feel they have a spiritual home where their brothers and sisters love them and where they have a place to worship and serve the Lord.”[v]

The intake process for a No-Reject ward would be less: “Who are you?”, “Do you fit in?”, and “Are you willing to conform?” and more: “What do you need?” and “How can Mormonism help you?”

If we spoke honestly to each other, we might be surprised at how many of us have nuanced beliefs that do not match the orthodox norms of Mormonism. Some of us feel that God is bringing us down a different path than what mainstream Mormonism purports as God’s will. But this isn’t unheard of – God calls unorthodox people to do unorthodox things often.

  • Joseph Smith broke many of the norms of what was appropriate in 19th American Christianity.
  • God called multiple female prophets in the Old Testament despite the cultural patriarchy.
  • Nephi and countless armies were commanded to kill despite the commandment not to.

Our first step, then, in approaching a No-Reject Gospel should be in considering that 1) our beliefs are our own and not everyone’s; and, 2) other people may have received personal revelation for their lives that makes it look differently than yours.

In my research with many LGBTQ Mormons, many of them feel a pull from God to pursue same-sex relationships. Might this be similar to the spirit’s prompting to kill Laban? Or perhaps it is similar to a misunderstanding of race or racism that led to a century of priesthood exclusion? Regardless of why one might feel this prompting from God, the issue is that they feel that God is directing them down this path as deeply as you may disagree.

Perhaps more concretely:

Might I give a picture of how a Requirements based ward looks vs. a No-Reject Ward for someone who is gay? This is my personal experience, so obviously some of the themes and particulars will look differently for a different marginal position. What I’ll show in the Requirement Ward is how often members push gay people away by assuming they know what is right for them, without helping that person develop a positive relationship with God and allowing God to direct their paths.

In a Requirements-based ward:

  • When I tell someone that I’m gay, they might remind me of the law of chastity or show me stories of other gay-Mormons who are ‘making it while single’ or married a woman.
  • Perhaps if I told someone that I was thinking of dating men, I’d be told that I wouldn’t be able to participate in future church discussions. Perhaps they’d remind me that I was breaking up my eternal family possibilities.
  • When I tell people that I’m struggling with Church or maybe my relationship with God, they’d assume it’s because of my sexuality or because I’m breaking the commandments. They often forget that my life is more than my sexuality and that, similar to them, we have full lives that complicate our spirituality.
  • When I bring up struggles in Sunday School or Elders Quorum with how the Church has or currently teaches on homosexuality, the teacher and others might ignore the comment or even make a passive aggressive comment on how “we’ll always be blessed if we follow the prophet.”

Notice the lack of listening in each of those stories. The focus is on them and their beliefs, not on my needs and my concerns. They assume to know that their vision of the Gospel is what my life should look like.

In a No-Reject Ward, where we center our spiritual practice on the person:

  • When I tell someone that I’m gay, they’d say, “Thanks for sharing that with me. I’d love to hear your story and how I can make things better for you at this ward and maybe strengthen your relationship with God.”
  • Perhaps if I told someone that I was thinking of dating men after praying about it, someone might say: “Tell me more about how you sought out God. I’m so glad you are working with Him to know His plan for you.” After listening, she might suggest: “While you start dating, it might be hard to know what you want. I hope you feel comfortable talking to me about things.” At this point, she might even counsel him to follow the law of chastity while dating: “For me, it was helpful to know that the people I was dating were interested in allof me, not just my body. So, following the law of chastity assured that we were an emotional match, not just a physical one. That’s something to consider as you start dating men, too.”
  • Maybe when I tell people that I’m struggling with Church or maybe my relationship with God, they’d respond with, “I’m really sorry – tell me more. Where do you think that’s coming from? What would you like to do?” They’d consider how struggles with spirituality could come from anywhere and that I need to be looked at holistically.
  • If I talked about my struggles with how the Church has or currently teaches on homosexuality, the students would ask me to explain the struggle: “Tell me more about what brought you to that conclusion? Perhaps then our class can give their thoughts and maybe something said can help you make sense of it?”

A reminder that since we all have different needs and personalities, a No-Reject response would look different for every person. Some people won’t want you to talk to them at all—and that’s fair. Some others will want to be very involved—and that’s also fair.

I’m often asked when I mention my vision of a No-Reject Church: But there has to be something unique about Christianity and Mormonism…wouldn’t that unique belief or action be the one thing that you have to rally around to be a part of the group? Going back to the orchestra metaphor, I’d say: If an orchestra requires a piece that we all rally around (some unifying theme), I would submit that ours, Christianity and Mormonism, is the two commandments: love God/Christ; love our neighbor.

So, a couple of concrete suggestions:

  • Reflect on your beliefs and how charity can bridge the space between differences in beliefs with others.
  • When preparing a talk or a lesson, consider what boundaries and messages you might be sending to the unorthodox. Consider asking those on the outside to give their perspective on these issues: have women give their thoughts on the priesthood and family, have gay members teach about marriage, have someone with clinical depression talk about the blessings of obedience, and perhaps someone who has never reaped a tangible or explainable blessing from tithing to give that lesson.
  • Recognize the limits of orthodoxy and, as a ward, discuss creative ways to engage in the community with other faiths.
  • As leaders, when people come into the ward, ask them simply: what can we do for you? What do you need? How can we make sure you feel valued and that you are growing in your relationship with God?
  • When speaking to people in unorthodox paths, rarely is a “call to repentance” speech helpful. Gay members who struggle with the Church’s rejection of same-sex relationships will rarely be edified by a lesson on the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. Perhaps, the lesson that needs to be given, is one that recognizes the difficult space they are in and promotes a discussion on how to help LGBTQ+ members thrive in their ward.

Ending One?

I’m going to close with some final New Testament reflections on the importance of charity:

Cor  12

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that partwhich lacked:

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

Honor, of course, is a human concern and one that is constantly in flux. Society often constructs who is worthy of our love and who is despised—this is a constant political concern as well, as we see various sides of the political divide arguing is respected and who is rejected.

But notice that Paul argues that we as a Church are called to bestow honor on those who come into our Church without. We are called to be a Church that ministers specifically to minority groups who are outcasts. Too often, our Church has reproduced the social boundaries of the world around us, rather than actively looking to disrupt society’s problems.

Two final quotes from Paul and Peter:

Romans 13:8-10

“Do not owe anyone anything except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. … Love does not wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the Law.”

Peter 4:

  1. Above all things, continue loving one another, because love hides a multitude of sins.
  2. Show hospitality one to another without complaining.

Perhaps, some of you are worried that my suggestion is in some way condoning sin and colluding with those who are justifying it. These two scriptures, where charity and love is argued to both fulfill the law and hide sin, could be read in a different way. Perhaps loving others is our fulfillment of the command to bring people to Christ. It helps us avoid looking at people as “sinners,” and instead as siblings working to meet Christ. Charity itself fulfills our requirement to bring others to Christ—for, through our love and charity, people can feel that love and pull from our Savior.

Ending Two?

I’d like to end with a beautiful example of what Paul’s directive that when “one member suffer, all the members suffer with it”[vi], I’d like to read this story of Elder Talmage given by Elder Gay in a 2018 conference. As I read, you’ll hear a story about diphtheria, but I’d invite you to think of what Elder Talmage’s example can teach us on loving others who are in an unorthodox position than us:

“I recently learned about an experience in the life of Elder James E. Talmage that caused me to pause and consider how I love and serve those around me. As a young professor, before he became an Apostle, in the height of the deadly diphtheria epidemic of 1892, Elder Talmage discovered a family of strangers, not members of the Church, who lived near him and who were stricken by the disease. No one wanted to put themselves at risk by going inside the infected home. Elder Talmage, however, immediately proceeded to the home. He found four children: a two-and-a-half-year-old dead on the bed, a five-year-old and ten-year-old in great pain, and a weakened thirteen-year-old. The parents were suffering with grief and fatigue.

 Elder Talmage dressed the dead and the living, swept the rooms, carried out the soiled clothing, and burned filthy rags covered with the disease. He worked all day and then returned the next morning. The ten-year-old died during the night. He lifted and held the five-year-old. She coughed bloody mucus all over his face and clothes. He wrote, “I could not put her from me,” and he held her until she died in his arms. He helped bury all three children and arranged for food and clean clothing for the grieving family. Upon returning home, Brother Talmage disposed of his clothes, bathed in a zinc solution, quarantined himself from his family, and suffered through a mild attack of the disease.

So many lives around us are at stake. Saints take the Savior’s name upon themselves by becoming holy and ministering to all regardless of where or how they stand—lives are saved as we do so.”

Without regard for himself, Elder Talmage lost himself in the pain of others and allowed the needs of this family to take precedent. Whether it be a sickness, an income disparity, racial differences, or the difference of whom we love: we need to make sure we are a “No-Reject” ward, by doing what Elder Gay said: “Saints take the Savior’s name upon themselves by becoming holy and ministering to all regardless of where or how they stand.”

I waited to tell my parents that I was gay until I was about 24. It went about as well as I expected for orthodox parents to learn their son is gay and is no longer seeking marriage so that he can have time to figure out God’s path for him. My mother responded with her hope and testimony that I would find a woman to marry anyways. She and my father responded with other comments that would probably be typical of loving parents who felt that same-sex relationships were a sin. Mostly comments about staying true to God and the church, hope in eternal blessings, etc.

My mom and I would discuss this often. Instead of dismissing me when we disagreed, she was open to me discussing my struggles with how the Church would treat LGBTQ folks as well as other minorities that didn’t quite fit the narrative. We rarely agreed on anything and we were both often frustrated with each other. But no matter how heated it got, she continued to engage with me. No matter how painful for her, she came along my journey.

About two years after coming out and after so so many disagreements, arguments, a suicide scare (on my end) that she did not handle well, and so many other things, I had a tonsillectomy. For the unfamiliar, a tonsillectomy when you’re an adult is an unpleasant experience. I was in bed for about a week or so and not at 100% for a good three weeks. My mom, without prompting, drove the six hours to be with me during the surgery and most of the recovery.

It was rough time, both physically and in our relationship. We argued about religious and sexuality matters more. I remember telling her how distant I felt from God’s love. All the things I thought I knew had to be reworked. She couldn’t understand why I felt that way. In addition, physically, I was numb, drugged, and always vomiting and bloody. I had to return to the ER three times from uncontrolled bleeding. I hated showering while I was so miserable, so I probably didn’t smell or look that great either.

I was as unlovable as one could be. I was angsty, uncomfortable, and I was showing it. My poor mother was working with a wretch of a child (at least for that moment).

After one particularly bad vomiting spell, I went back to lay on the couch. Despite the blood on my chin and probably on my shirt, my mom looked over at me and said,

Erik, I want you to know that I love you. And that no matter what happens or where you go in life, I will always love you.

I don’t know what prompted her to say that, and I’ll never know. I felt a deep yearning to do right by my mother – A desire to show her that same respect and love. I still am involved with the Church right now because she loved me more than she preached to me. She walked with me more than she commanded me.

I honestly believe God spoke His love through and with my mother. My mother was able to channel and directly show how God loved, unconditionally and in a way that produces a desire to follow Him. At that moment, I decided and made a pact that I would try my best to be a disciple of Christ. While the Church, Church leaders, and members might not agree with how my discipleship looks like, I’ve felt supported and encouraged by God that this is His path for me.

So I conclude with the invitation to consider what a No-Reject ward would look like. Go to your neighbors, not with the prescription of how they must follow the Gospel to be blessed, but asking what they need to improve their relationship with God. How can we creatively provide the space for all who wish to worship with us to feel the love and support in their journey to Christ?

Ending Three?

Let’s return to the idea of charity being rooted in intent rather than in action. I’d like to conclude the talk with two thoughts on this premise. Let’s revisit 1 Cor. 13:

  1. If I have prophetic insight and I understand all mysteries and knowledge and I have all faith so as to move mountains but I do not have charity, I am nothing.
  2. If I give away all that I have and hand over my body to be burned but I do not have charity, I gain nothing.
  3. Charity never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will pass away; … as for knowledge it will pass away.
  4. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

First – this reflection by Paul forces us to consider that, even if we wholeheartedly believe in something, we can never be fully correct. Paul acknowledges that he, as an apostle, prophesies imperfectly. How much more imperfectly are we, then, in our understanding of the Gospel and how the Church’s rules apply to others? What matters more to Paul than prophecy is charity.

This kind of charity is difficult, because it requires us to move from comfort and security into faith and humility. When we recognize that we have imperfect knowledge and prophecy, we must rely on faith more heavily in this uncertain space. This puts more work on us, but recognizing our own imperfections, the Church’s imperfections, and prophecy’s imperfections allows us be willing to say, “I am not positive” and practice charity to those who believe differently.

Second – we usually assume that in order to show love and be true to the Church, we must persuade people to follow the Church’s guidelines on salvation. However, there are two ways that this may fall apart.

  1. Using Paul’s reflection that “good actions” like prophecy, knowledge, and giving to the poor can be charity-less, we must recognize that our ‘calling others to repentance’ can also be charity-less. It is not the action that shows charity. I would argue that, unless you know the person intimately enough that they trust you, your ‘calls to repentance’ with probably be misplaced and Our focus should be less on commanding others to live the Gospel as we see fit and instead learning who are neighbors are and how Christ could lift them up. I might add, for those who start their pleas to repentance with, “I’m telling you this because I love you…” – that is rarely how it is felt.

If charity is not tied to “good actions” as we understand it, we will probably have creatively find ways to show charity to each individual. These ways might be unorthodox. I’m not necessarily advocating finding ways to show charity that conflict with the Church, but I’m also not restricting that possibility. God is greater than the Church and we recognize that the Church is imperfect. Thus, we must be willing to sit with people on their journeys and permit creativity in how we all grow closer to Christ.

  1. We also learn from Paul that some of our prophecies and doctrines are only given to us “in-part” or imperfectly. What we may push in terms of conformity with doctrine, may actually be conformity of false-prophecies. Perhaps we should instead be focusing on helping others develop their relationship with God to allow Him to direct them in their particular circumstances and needs.

I hope that we can go forward by sitting with people, learning from them, and finding creative ways to integrate them into our Mormon community. Doing so will help achieve what Elder Christofferson noted in a discussion on diversity and inclusion:

“The diversity we find now in the Church may be just the beginning. Frankly, I think we’ll see greater and greater diversity… And its not just diversity for diversity’s sake. But the fact that people can bring different gifts and perspectives and the wide range of experiences, backgrounds and challenges will show us what really is essential in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And much of the rest that has been perhaps acquired over time that is more cultural than doctrinal can slip away and we can really learn to be disciples. So on the one hand we need to be better as a people at receiving and helping and walking together with everybody. And on the other hand, every individual needs to be determined that they are going to have a place in the kingdom of God and they’re going to have a place in the body of Christ. And others who are thoughtless, careless, or worse cannot prohibit that, can’t drive them away, can’t take it away from them.”[vii]

The better we do at practicing charity with unorthodox paths, the more clearly we will see and understand what is ‘really essential in the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ As I mentioned earlier, my guess is that this will lead us to the simple unifying theme: “Love God” and “Love thy neighbor.”

[i] Matthew 22:40

[ii]  “Safely Home” report

[iii] In fact, if you are part of the ‘in-group,’ you often do not notice the boundaries. You might even argue they don’t exist. Boundaries are most often felt by those who are excluded—for it is them who run against the social current. Similarly to how you might not notice the wind if you are running with it rather than against it. The difference in the social world, however, is that the in-group determines which way the wind blows—and it often blows with them.

[iv] See any talk by Chieko Okazaki

[v] BYU Devotional in 2017

[vi] 1 Cor. 12:26

[vii]Is There a Place For Me?” video by Elder Christofferson, 2016


One thought on ““Requirement Church” vs. “No-Reject Church” — A Sacrament Meeting Talk

  1. I love this! Thank you for sharing, and for your insightful pondering. I have been thinking a lot lately about the moral of “the good Samaritan.” I think it’s significant that the hero of the story were not the church leaders who may have been respecting cultural or religious norms/practices but lacked charity. Instead the hero was the less respected or even “less worthy” man who had charity.”

    Christ made it pretty simple – love God and love your neighbor. And I think the shifting the culture to become more of a no reject church as you’ve outlined it would help us get closer to those ends.

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