Sunday, November 8, 2015
Mocking the Lord’s anointed
(by Daniel Peterson patheos.com 10-4-15)
Sadly though predictably, the calls to the apostleship extended to Elders Ronald Rasband, Gary Stevenson, and Dale Renlund have been met in certain circles with indignation and snorts of derision.
Boring. White bread. All from Utah. No diversity. No fishermen. No carpenters. All middle-class to upper middle-class. All educated. No poor and illiterate peasants. Three businessmen. (Actually, one of them is a cardiologist. And, by the way, one speaks fluent Japanese and has lived for nearly a decade in Asia. Another grew up partly in Sweden and Finland, speaks excellent Swedish, and has, I’m told, spent five of the last six years living in Africa.)
I’ll probably respond to some of this, indirectly, in a column a couple of weeks from now.
For the moment, though, I want to comment on one recurring sneer that I’ve been reading:
Those who weren’t chosen to join the Twelve, some have said, are probably bitterly disappointed. And those who’ve been called are thrilled because their ship has come in. Their ambitions have been realized. They’re now going to have all of the perks and glory of the apostleship. Yippee!
Such sentiments, I think, are very likely more self-revelatory about the souls of those expressing them than they are indicative of the character of Church leadership.
A friend of mine who has served for many years now in the Seventy confided to me one day that “99.9% of the glamor connected with this position comes during two weekends in Spring and Fall.” Another friend in the Seventy once remarked rather wearily, when I ran into him overseas and asked him how he was doing, that “the law of consecration is a check with an unlimited number of zeros.”
And I’ve seen enough of the responsibilities of the Twelve, and of their daily schedules, to know that it doesn’t get any easier on their level, nor, really, much more glamorous.
Can you imagine reaching the age of the three men just called to the Twelve, learning that you will spend the rest of your life in meetings, on planes, at airports, sleeping in guest rooms or hotels, living out of suitcases, dealing with weighty issues, confronted with urgent situations, facing difficult decisions, bearing enormous administrative loads? That you will never be permitted to retire? That you will age on full public display, into your late sixties, your seventies, your eighties, and perhaps even your nineties? That, at home, you’ll never again be able to go to a restaurant or a movie or a sporting event purely as a private person? That, everywhere you go, there will be people watching you, either to deride you or to write reverently in their journals or excitedly on their blogs or Facebook pages about seeing you? That your words will be dissected, criticized, venerated, for the rest of your life? That you will always be on assignment, always under direction?
Who in his right mind would seek that?