Wednesday, 21 September 2016
The dreaded DISCOURAGE word and what it means
Ah, the word 'discourage' when spoken by general authorities of the church. I hate it when I hear them utter this word. I find myself exhaling in a 'here we go again' fashion.
Quite obviously, if a warning, directive or piece of advice is coming straight from the Lord through the revelation of the Spirit, there is no room for 'discourage.'
However, when a person has a personal opinion on something which they feel others should comply with, they will 'discouarge' the object.
The following link provides the latest apostolic discouragement:
Now, I sustain the apostolic leadership of the church, which means I know of no indiscretion that would prevent them from serving in their callings. What it doesn't mean is that I agree with every word they speak in various settings and to differing audiences.
This very issue draws into focus the question of when an apostle is speaking on behalf of the Lord Himself, and when he is merely offering an opinion. It has become challenging for some to differentiate between the two scenarios.
Is the general church membership deemed so spiritually immature as to be unable to decide what is too much? When to start and when to stop something? To be so dull to personal spirituality as to allow Pokemon Go to destroy their lives?
Elder Ballard self-admittedly doesn't understand Pokemon Go but has discouraged us from playing it. Why would he do that? Perhaps he has our best interests at heart? He wants us to focus on more spiritual things?
“Some years ago, in Nauvoo, a gentleman in my hearing, a member of the Legislature, asked Joseph Smith how it was that he was enabled to govern so many people, and to preserve such perfect order; remarking at the same time that it was impossible for them to do it anywhere else. Mr. Smith remarked that it was very easy to do that. ‘How?’ responded the gentleman; ‘to us it is very difficult.’ Mr. Smith replied, ‘I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.’”3
Quite obviously, Pokemon Go has nothing to do with the principles of Christianity as contained in the Mormon Church. Extreme at worst, unwise at best, I think all that Elder Ballard was trying to say was that we need to exercise moderation while playing this game, just as we do in all other things. We don't want to get so consumed in video games, the internet, TV, unhealthy eating habits, that we stop finding time for family, the scriptures and other spiritual matters.
The delivery of this discouragement has raised a few eyebrows as not everything he described as effects of the game, are true. People do go outdoors playing this game and do see more of the world, sights and nature. It has actually brought some families together and been very educational.
Instead of discouraging members from things, I wonder if it would be more effective to encourage members to do good?