I accidentally came across this recent post by LDS President Nelson today. Immediately I began experiencing a toxic reaction. President Nelson informs his audience that, “In a coming day, you will present yourself before the Savior.” He continues to give a play-by-play commentary of how this meeting will go down. Those who experience it will:
- be overwhelmed with tears
- struggle to find words to express gratitude
- thank him for helping them to do the impossible
- experience catharsis regarding his atonement, etc.
He then tells his readers that they “don’t have to wait until then. Choose to be one of His [sic] true disciples now.” Well, I have some questions. Is he speaking from personal experience? If not, how did he come to understand minute details of the nature of this meeting? Will not this meeting be highly personal and range widely from personality to personality?
In a coming day, you will present yourself before the Savior. You will be overwhelmed to the point of tears to be in His…
Have we forgotten or do we intentionally choose to believe fables about Jesus? He was a partier and a wine bibber. He was a rebel. He broke rules with a sense of impunity. He chose to hang out with riffraff over those who believed and behaved like President Nelson. He had no tolerance for the spirit of religiosity that was prevalent in his day and that is still being peddled by those claiming to be his disciples today.
What if President Nelson’s meeting goes a lot more like meetings went while Jesus was here among mortals (according to scriptural accounts)? What if he asks you for a glass of wine and proceeds to trample on your traditions and notions of what “holy” is? What if he offends you in your own home like he did to the self righteous Jews? What if you expect him to be pure but instead he tells you that your lies are more damaging than his unwashed hands.
President Nelson was addressing his audience who is apparently inspired by that kind of talk. I don’t want to pretend that the mainstream church alone is guilty of fabricating holiness. I was exposed to similar religious teachings. For instance, I was taught that in order to meet the savior, I would have to be free of any mannerism or appearance which would be deemed offensive to a holy, sanctified being. Having never met a holy, sanctified being, I was taught that I should essentially conform to Victorian standards of gentry and nobility. Again, I just can’t understand what that has to do with Jesus.
People are welcome to their fantastic notions of who Jesus is or was. Perhaps finding the right words to express their gratitude and experiencing catharsis at his appearing are highly important to them. However, I would like to propose something a little more useful to ordinary people. If we ever see Jesus again, I think it’s going to be much more important how we treated each other. He never struck me as the kind of person who liked hanging out with self-righteous assholes. Be cool, okay?
Image of Christus statue take from here.