Monday, July 29, 2013

As the Pharisees

I remember so many lessons in church about the Pharisees. They were the leaders in Jesus' time and were very concerned about the outward display of propriety.  They would help the poor, but only when their charitable works were seen of others. They made sure their Sunday piety was seen by others when they fasted, they made sure others saw their drawn out faces and the hunger pains on their faces. They made sure others saw them attend to the strict Sunday observances.

I have to wonder how little things have changed. People in the mormon church are still judged by their outward appearance rather than by the content of their heart. I know many people who have chosen to stop believing in the mormon church, yet they are still wonderful fathers and mothers, wives and husbands. Yet they are accused of not being good people simply because they do not believe in a particular religion. This is very perplexing to me.

They are judged by an outward show of behavior, of whether they drink coffee or alcohol, or if they stop wearing garments, if they choose to have sex outside of marriage.  These behaviors do not define them as a person or determine whether they are a good parent, how much they love their kids, how well they provide for their family, how kind they are to others, how compassionate they are. Yet, these outward displays are easy for others to see and judge them.

It is as the pharisees, an outward display of piety, yet it does not define a person's goodness or moral character. A person can be very good at wearing garments, of attending church, of paying tithing and not drinking coffee and tea; yet they can also cheat their neighbors in business and neglect their children and verbally abuse their spouse in private. Does this make the person a good person; just because they have the outward appearance of piety?

I purpose that a person's moral character is defined not by the outward displays of whether a person wears garments or drinks coffee or alcohol or even attends church, but by the content of their heart. I purpose that a person's moral character is defined by their kindness, their love, their acceptance of people who disagree with them and are different than them.

Just the musings of someone who is rejected by pharisees.


A Reader said...

Very good. I agree with what you write here. I remember when I was teaching the New Testament in the Gospel Doctrine class, and the more I studied, the more I couldn't help but see the similarities to many mormons, if not most, to the Pharisees.

anonymous said...

I think the comparisons can't be helped because of how the church teaches the concept of perfection and blessings.

Be ye therefore perfect, a person must at least appear perfect...if that isn't possible then tear down your neighbor through gossip and judging so you can feel superior.

If you are perfect god will bless you with material possessions, if you are a sinner, god will condemn you through making you poor....

It is all sad that this is believed and that it fuels the pharisee roles.