Sunday, December 7, 2008

Heresy of the Week No. 1

Nobody showed up to teach gospel doctrine. Everyone chatted among themselves for a few minutes and then a priesthood leader stood up to ask if anyone was prepared to teach. A good brother raised his hand and said he would do it on the fly - everyone was relieved.

He quickly made clear that he would teach a prepared lesson on Alma 32 even though the text for the week was somewhere in Mormon. Fair enough.

Halfway through the lesson he started on a long story repeated from an EFY he attended some 20-odd years ago (fertile ground for a heresy of the week, I might add). The originally storyteller was a missionary in Denmark where, apparently, a significant part of his mission was spent going around by train to present a play called "It Could Happen to You" in the various branches. The story was supposed to be about how the missionary had a sore throat but, through an act of faithful prayer, had his voice restored in time to reprise the key role in the play. OK so far?

Our ad-hoc teacher went on to describe what the play was all about, though. It was the sordid tale of a member of the church, the father of a family, who went down a really bad road of drinking alcohol and skipping church a couple of times. While driving to a forbidden NFL game in a drunken stupor one Sunday, he caused a car accident, died, and went to the spirit prison. He patiently waited many years for the rest of his family to die, which they eventually all did together in another convenient car accident, and plaintively asked the angel assigned to him when he could be reunited with them. The angel told him to sit down because he had to talk about that with him (never a good sign). Because he had made some very poor choices in his life, his wife and children had "been assigned" to another worthy priesthood holder. He would never see them again. At this pithy moment the curtain closes and the audience returns home with renewed dedication to living more perfect lives.

So, I ask, is the idea that the wife and children of an unworthy LDS father are simply reassigned to a worthy priesthood holder in the afterlife doctrine? Or heresy?

Never mind for now the troubling chattel-like passivity of the phrase "been assigned." And I am fully aware that pinning down LDS doctrine is more of an art than a science. So, which is it?

1 comment:

Th. said...


Can I vote for annoying?