Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Are you a mainstream fish and swim with the current?

or are swimming a fish trying to swim UPSTREAM ?

If you are LDS, you probably have been taught many times to stay in the mainstream of the Church. I can understand the reasoning behind our leaders advising us to do this. My parents have cautioned me as well when I started to read books that were not sold at Deseret Book. We are also taught to avoid anything on the fringe since it is too dangerous and you can possibly get mislead. I won't even discuss comments I get about searching into the mysteries of God. However, I equate searching for truth as being the same as a fish swimming upstream. In my worldview, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about swimming “upstream” against ALL currents we face in this world.

 Just for reference, here are a few quotes from Church leaders suggesting that enduring to the end actually means that we stay in the mainstream of the Church. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said, “Enduring to the end means that we have planted our lives firmly on gospel soil, staying in the mainstream of the Church,” link

 A recent article in the Church News was recently published about the importance of not being deceived and staying within the mainstream. link

“Leave the exceptions to the prophets, Brother Millett counseled. “Elder McConkie taught to stay within the mainstream of the Church,” said Brother Millett. He advised class members to watch out for new interpretations of scripture or people claiming that following something outside the mainstream of the Church brings deeper spirituality.” 

Elder Carlos Asay said the following: "If the assessment of current position reveals the slightest deviation from the right course leading to eternal life or the slightest drift from the mainstream of our faith, we must make immediate course corrections.” link

But where does the mainstream eventually flow? Water always flow downstream. Most all fish usually swim downstream. It takes less effort. Water always flows where there is less resistance. Sidestream, while maybe not in the strongest current flowing down, does eventually flow downstream. However, a few fish, like the salmon and steelheads, swim upstream and return to their original hatching ground.

I have a few questions. What if in 600 BC. the religious leaders instructed the members of the Church that they should stay in the “mainstream”? If Lehi was mainstream, what would have happened to him and his family? Would he have ever left Jerusalem or would he have been carried away into cavity by the Babylonians?

What if in 30 A.D. the religious leaders taught the Jews that they should be good “mainstream” Jews, would any of them listened to the teachings of Christ?  Would they have become Christians?

 I think it is interesting to read in Luke 4 when it describes Christ’s first missionary journey in his hometown.   It is interesting that among his friends, relatives, neighbors, and fellow church members that the response was uniformly hostile. The congregation became so angry at what he taught that they attempted to cast him off a cliff. “And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.”

Christ escaped, but what is sad is that there was no hand raised in his defense (Luke 4:14-29). The truth is that, despite his family and friends exposure to his words and his works, "neither did his brethren believe in him" (John 7:5). Furthermore, “that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” (John 9: 22)
What does it mean to be “put out of the synagogue”. In todays terms.. would this mean that they were excommunicated? Cast out of the mainstream religious organization? In other words, mainstream is safe, doesn't rock the boat, but follow the masses, the majority. History shows that people like Lehi, like Abinadi, like Alma, like Christ were never in the mainstream. The mainstream usually are those who are told that all is well, those with flaxen cords, those who loveth the world. Those who are swimming upstream face strong current of opposition.

  "Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream”
W.C. Fields

Sidenote: We are told in JST Matthew 1:41 that the last days is going to be as it was in the days of Noah.  The Gospel is a net that has been cast out to gather together all manner of fish. (Matt. 13: 47-50.) The angels are going to come at the end of the world to pick through all manner of fish, they keep the good, and the wicked are cast away. What are the good fish? are they the "mainstream" fish? Do any of the "fringe-fish" get selected? What about the fish swimming upstream? Are they the fish that get preserved?

I learned this recently in a talk that I just listened to on Covenants. It describes that everything is written in the heavens including a pattern of the stars that is called a band or "net of Pisces"

"When the Lord hung on the cross, and the sun was darkened at noon, if you had looked up in the sky to see what was overhead, you would see the sacrificial sheep in the pattern of the stars; what we call Aries today. Proceeding forth from under the forefoot of Aries, we have renamed it "the bands of Pisces," but it should be more appropriately rendered as the net of Pisces. Because from under the fore leg of the Lamb, was cast out a net. This is the New Testament pattern or church. That net gathers in at least two kinds of fish. The larger one that is gathered in the net is forever circumnavigating the ecliptic, and will do so eternally. The larger group in the star field, though caught in the net cast by the Lamb will never rise up to the North. The smaller group, the smaller star field of Pisces, which also is caught in that same net, is pointed to the sides of the North, where the Throne of the Father is to be found; that place around which all things revolve and where the Father presides and sustains all of His creations."

The larger group of fish are in the mainstream. the smaller group swims upstream to the North to return to their original home.

The Band of Pisces in the starfield (the net of Pisces with two kinds of fish)



the_mormonion said...

Great piece! Love the "mainstream Jew" example.

Anonymous said...

brilliant writing, unknown.

A few things I want to 'share'.

First, though I have been swimming (I/my family/husband, etc.) upstream for decades, and I am older--
(probably the age of your parents! LOL!)--

I can see a side of this that, perhaps, some cannot see. I agree with everything you say, but the very vagueness of 'mainstream' is infuriating, and when I have heard that in talks I want to stamp my feet and shout out at the computer, "WHAT DOES THE MAINSTREAM MEAN?!"--

You see, just recently, after considering myself an upstream swimmer for: teaching my children at home, deliberately adopting special needs kids, not having television, and investing in big gardens/eating whole foods, walking more than driving (when humanly possible), etc.--

I read about these 'pockets' of people in Utah (I don't live there and only lived there briefly as a college student)--

who do all sorts of bizarre and scary things. Did you know there is a Mormon 'sect' that believes that the church is condemned for the blacks having the priesthood restored to them? I had an open mouth all day long and was deeply troubled for days/weeks over that one?
These people believe that black people are inferior, and they aren't allowed to associate with them?!

For me, an LDS who thinks I have swum upstream and not been in the mainstream, when I read about such people (that isn't the only type; I am only listing one)--

I feel . . . fear. Fear at knowing there are people that arrogant, that prideful, that alienated from the truth.

I think they drifted from the mainstream somehow.

But, yes, I know what you mean, if you think that leaving the mainstream means doing the hard stuff--pondering the 'unknowable', really studying and applying the Book of Mormon, really seeking to know Diety/Jesus Christ.

It all depends upon what people mean, and that isn't always easy to know.

If leaving the mainstream means becoming Mormon reactionaries and separating *themselves* from people with brown skin, THAT is scary.

If leaving the mainstream means opening one's heart and mind completely and without any hesitation or exception . . . to God--

then everything you say is correct.

I have children who are not mainstream at all; I think it's interesting how, because I have opened my mind and heart, they don't feel threatened by my opinions; they are allowed to think for themselves--

I think it would be very hard to have parents like yours--

I know people like that (we're in our 60s), and I can't relate to them--

people who have a mantra: "send the kids to BYU; make sure everyone goes on missions; tell them to obey, and, for heavens' sake, do NOT take the Book of Mormon at face value--and, while you're doing all that, plan to make a lot of money, so you can live the 'good' Mormon life"--


good writing as always, unknown--

Brent Edward said...

I take this information from

The Bands, is not a constellation it is part of Pisces. The band or bridle which connects these two fishes. This intersection is made at the back of the head of Cetus, The Sea Monster. We are born in bondage to sin. Man is not free, he is bound with a chain to Satan who turns us wherever he wishes. This is the bondage that Christ has redeemed us from. The other intersection is that the foreleg of Aries, The Ram (or Lamb), is a picture of Christ with his paw placed on those Bands tied to the Sea Monster, which portrays Christ as taking the bridle in His own hand. He redeems us from the monster Satan and sets us free.

This is a really awesome visual for those that look and see. How perfect is the testimony written in the stars!

As you noted David - One of the fishes (or groups) moves toward the Pole-star and the other (group) along the ecliptic.

Those that move to the North may be those mentioned in Revelation 14:4 "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth".

Follow the Savior he has shown and knows the way and alone will stand at the gate allowing entry to those that have listened and followed the path less travelled, swimming against the current. -- Brent


Thanks for your comment. Yes, I can see how clarifying my definition of 'mainstream' would be helpful.

Mainstream "Bad"... being accepted by the world, taking polls and surveys to help make institutional changes, harmonizing with Babylon.. which might include what you said by "sending the kids to BYU..... and planning to make a lot of money, so you can live the 'good' Mormon life"-- (and everything in between that you said)

Mainstream Good: "understanding, studying, keeping and adhering to the revelations given to our dispensation through the restored Gospel.... and not altering, changing, or adding on to it with philosophies of man.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Compelling insights, and hard-hitting as usual.

Another home run. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

If it was right to go with the 'mainstream' of the Church then life would be so much easier. I wouldn't have to live Christ's high laws (for as the Church now teaches, we aren't required to live them today) and sacrifice so much.

I could just go along with socialism and get on welfare and use public schools for a break in time & money and I could divorce & remarry as much as I feel I need to, and just live for my own happiness, despite how it effects my spouse & kids.

Wow, it would be so much easier to just go along with whatever the Church leaders say, no more studying the scriptures cause that only causes questions of why it's different than what the Church is preaching & practicing. Just blindly & mindlessly going along with whatever the leaders say, for we are told they can't lead us astray, and that must mean local leaders too, so wow, I don't even have to pray about what they say & do, even if it's against all I know to be true,I can just blindly follow and stop thinking, for it's already been done for me.

No wonder hardly anyone liked or accepted Christ teachings, in his day or today, for it's so far from the mainstream of any society or church that ever existed, except the City of Enoch. His teachings require way too much sacrifice & service. Best stay with the majority, where hardly anyone even knows what Christ really said or taught, let alone lives or preaches it.

I think of the 'mainstream of the Church as lukewarm, that the Lord will spew out of his mouth. If we want to be hot or cold we must be thinking, proving, discerning, striving for perfection and not blinded mainstream mush that doesn't know which way they are going & are being carefully led down to hell..