Friday, October 4, 2013

205: FALL CONFERENCE WEEKEND 2013: CHRISTIANITY vs CHURCHIANITY


Conference Weekend is now upon us. Downtown Salt Lake is bustling with people from all around the world. Leaders and members alike descend upon Temple Square for this weekend's two day event to hear messages carefully written and then read to us over the pulpit. Since we are a world wide church, the talks have already been translated into many languages  for all those to be able to hear the messages. LINK

Most members will watch the sessions via their television sets, including Priesthood Session which for the first time can be viewed live on television by all the Priesthood holders, as well as provide the opportunity for all those who have always wanted to watch (and have been campaigning for permission to attend) this "Priesthood Only" Saturday night session.

Centered around this conference weekend, there is an open house at the Church History Library that will extend through this weekend, ending on Oct 10. For those interested, the open house showcases memorabilia from all of the 16 Presidents of the Church. Here is one of many advertisements you can see on the streets of downtown.

 
 

It might be hard to read the text at the very bottom. This is what it says: (emphasis mine)

"From the time The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in 1830, a prophet, seer, and revelator has been called and sustained as the President of the Church. Sixteen men have been called to serve in this position. Wilford Woodruff, speaking of the Presidents of the Church, said, "We have the living oracles with us, and have had from the commencement. The Lord will never leave his kingdom without a lawgiver, leader, president ... to direct the affairs of his Church on the earth". (Deseret News Weekly, May 3, 1876, 212). Each President has left a legacy of faith."

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In addition to this open house, there is another interesting display at Deseret Book. There are huge creative stacks of the latest released books written by the Brethren (including one book written by the wife of one of the apostles.) From Left to right here are the book titles and authors:

Consider the Blessings by President Thomas S Monson.
One Drop at a Time by Elder M Russell Ballard
An Uncommon Life: Years of Preparation by Elder L Tom Perry
For Times of Trouble by Elder Jeffrey R Holland
The Not Even Once Club by wife of Elder Russell M Nelson


    
 
Sidenote: In reference to the above advertisement for the Presidents of the Church open house, I found the placement of all 16 Presidents photographs to be interesting. It is a diamond shape.  I think it is wonderful that Joseph Smith is at the top of the diamond shape. He is our dispensational head.
 
I have often wondered, as we progress  through the years, from one President to another, are we progressing upward with further light and knowledge?  Or perhaps have we been falling farther and farther away from what Joseph Smith taught and originally tried to restore? If the first is true, then why wouldn't we put President Monson at the very top of the pyramid? If not, the advertisement might be symbolic of the direction/situation we find ourselves.  
 
That being said, most main stream Mormons would probably say we are increasing in light and knowledge. With our emphasis that we place on our current living prophet, some might  wonder why President Monson's photo doesn't appear at the very top of the diamond. Case in point, a friend of mine sent me this photo below of the positioning of these two framed images hung in their Church building. Usually the higher we place something, the higher of importance. Thus, are we members of Christianity or of a Churchianity?