Kaimi made an interesting post recently at Times and Seasons about Times and Seasons. He was writing about the benefits of being an inter-ideologically diverse group blog. He mentioned how many group blogs are places where birds of a feather flock together. I suppose he could have been talking about Blogger of Jared and similar blogs. The contributors here tend to be fairly similar, and from my understanding this is intentionally the case. When I was first invited to join this blog I asked a couple of my blogging friends for their advice. One comment was made that ‘I can’t tell those guys at BofJ apart’. Well, just scroll down a couple of posts to see an example of a strong difference of opinion! But generally speaking, we are similar people. Is this such a bad thing? Does it make BofJ boring and irrelevant?
This has caused me to think a bit about whether or not there are benefits to diversity in a group blog when what is being discussed is so often the doctrines and practices of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Is diversity within a blog and within the church in these areas a desirable thing? For now I think the answer is no, it is not.
Now don’t get me wrong. (I say that a lot). I delight in the differences of personality, style, knowledge, experience, etc. that I find in the bloggernacle, and in life. I like what Brigham Young said about stereotype Mormons, although I could not find the reference today (little help?). I’m talking more about ideological, or perhaps more specific, theological diversity as it relates to the doctrine, and to a lesser extent practices, within the church and within Mormon blogs. Should we not in general be a united people in these areas?
Brigham Young had a lot to say about unity. In fact there is an entire chapter on the subject in Discourses (Chapter 25). This chapter starts out with the following paragraphs:
Be of one mind and one heart – I pray, my brethren, the Bishops, the Elders, the Seventies, the Apostles, yea, every man and woman and child who has named the name of Christ, to be of one heart and of one mind, for if we do not become of one heart and mind we shall surely perish by the way.
If we were one, we should then prove to heaven, to God our Father, to Jesus Christ our Elder Brother, to the angels, to the good upon the earth, and to all mankind that we are the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are not one, we are not in the true sense of the word the disciples of the Lord Jesus.
And quotes like that continue throughout the chapter.
The writings of Paul are filled with pleadings that the saints in various areas are united. I will give just one as an example ‘Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.’ (1 Cor. 1:10) Look in the TG under unity to get quite a list of similar verses. But this is not all.
In the intercessory prayer Jesus himself says. ‘Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:20-21).
During the wonderful time after the Saviors visit to the Americas it was said of the people:
And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God. There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. And how blessed were they! (4 Ne. 1:15-17)
The D&C states, ‘I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.’ (D&C 38:27)
Also, ‘Hearken, O ye elders of my church whom I have called, behold I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall assemble yourselves together to agree upon my word.’ (D&C 41:2)
To ultimately agree upon the word of God. Should that not be the desire and goal of those who gather with saints here or elsewhere? Sure, it may be fun for a time to debate and speculate regarding certain gaps in the revelations – but to what end?! Should we not seek to become a united people?
And if I have not beat the horse quite dead yet, There is verse three of ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ (Hymn 246)
Like a mighty army Moves the Church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the Saints have trod.
We are not divided; All one body we:
One in hope and doctrine, One in charity.
Well, I did not seek the bloggernacle out for argument or debate. It seems to me there are plenty of sources for ideologies and theologies that are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Life is challenging enough for me. I hope for peace and unity within the gospel. Greater understanding, not additional confusion. I am sincerely grateful for all the uplifting, faithful, interesting, and uniting contributors out there. Perhaps there are some who find BofJ a tad boring. Well, there are also those who find the scriptures boring. And conference. And the Ensign. And prayer. We certainly do not put ourselves in the same category as those sources, but hopefully the similarity you may see in us here in some way represents a type of unity which comes from being part of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We are not divided; All one body we: One in hope and doctrine, One in charity.