Recently, if we are to believe LDS Church (TM of the corporation sole) Official Voice, Dallin Oaks and Richard Turley had a free weekend, and road-tripped up to Boise (Why Not? I mean, Boise? Yeah!) to answer a few potential questions, which come up from time to time. So they called a “fireside,” which my son is still confused about the meaning of. Why is it called a “fireside,” for example? What happens at a Fireside? Who’s side is in the Fire, or is on, at maybe at the fire’s side?
In said spontaneous combustion of fire at someone’s side, Oaks and Turley explained how they interpret various texts said to speak on “apostasy.” The recording of their words can be found in various places on the Interweb.
Not surprisingly, we learn from the Boise Rescue that it is the Other Guy who is “in apostasy,” or is “an apostate.” They don’t name names, of course, but we know who they mean: that guy! In fact, these terms only have meaning when pointing at the Other Guys, from our state of Being Correct. Perhaps Oaks and Turley would be surprised to learn that every passage of text or scripture they quoted has been used to point at them and their non-church church as “being in apostasy,” and as them as being “apostate”?
What use is a term that has no definition, except in usage, and by using, cuts up the world so that those we don’t understand or cannot agree with are now, not merely wrong or confusing, but instead Opposed To God? Well, it’s pretty obvious what the use is. That’s why I don’t use it.
Now, after an hour of spontaneous reading of scripture by Oaks and Turley, and plenty of interpretation, the congregation was assigned to sing, “Who’s On The Lord’s Side?”
It may surprise those singers, that apostle, and church historian, that the song’s most repeated line is a question (so ends the National Anthem, as well: with a question).
Who’s on the Lord’s side, who?
I give you the lyrics, from the Official Hummbook:
1. Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? Now is the time to show.
We ask it fearlessly: Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
We wage no common war, Cope with no common foe.
The enemy’s awake; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? Now is the time to show.
We ask it fearlessly: Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
And now, rather than seek out an honest answer, the singers merely assert, They really know, and have known all along: We Are! Of course, only those on the Lord’s Side could actually sing this song! The Lord would stop up the mouths of those Not On His Side, for sure, for it is impossible to sing a lie in the presence of the Lord’s Servants. Who are his servants? Whosoever we can sing in the presence of, of course!
2. We serve the living God, And want his foes to know
That, if but few, we’re great; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
We’re going on to win; No fear must blanch the brow.
The Lord of Hosts is ours; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Apparently, the answer is: Anyone who can say, “We Are!” Notice how a question, a pretty good question, I’d say, about sides, has suddenly been replaced by a metaphor that comes from two sides, one winning, and the other losing.
3. The stone cut without hands To fill the earth must grow.
Who’ll help to roll it on? Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Our ensign to the world Is floating proudly now.
No coward bears our flag; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
So, they who sing, and who wave flags, too, are on the Lord’s Side. He is leading a pep rally, it seems. Yet listen to the spoils taken by the victors of this “We’ve Got Spirit Yes We Do” Battle:
4. The pow’rs of earth and hell In rage direct the blow
That’s aimed to crush the work; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Truth, life, and liberty, Freedom from death and woe,
Are stakes we’re fighting for; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Now, if those are the stakes, and maybe they are, are they won in a fight over who can wave and sing most vigorously, or by finding an answer? Have we turned it into a fight, because we have received “the blow that’s aimed to crush the work”? Suddenly a question has become a fight, won in a pep rally. Who’s on the Lord’s Side, really? Probably not those guys.
Oaks and Turley cannot answer the question in any manner, other than “We Are! We Really Are. Really!” And that means they are NOT.
Wouldn’t you expect an actual prophet to prophesy, and to reveal, say, things which are not known, and which may be known? Consider Nephi or other prophets from the Book of Mormon. Would they hold a fireside, and rant and rage (sighingly), and then sing their way to the Lord’s Side? Or would they prophecy, know the minds of their enemies, point their accusers to hidden events, and show by their works (prophecy, for example) that they are prophets, on the Lord’s Side?
Scribes and Pharisees, they speak as. What better evidence does anyone need who understands the word “prophet” than that Boise Fireside, that Oaks is no prophet? And by his own admission, no more a “special witness” of Jesus than anyone else who has heard that word and believes something about what it means?
Perhaps we have forgotten what prophecy is, because we accept its counterfeit so often, being desperate to hear that some magic remains from the Old World? Or worse, we use these words as titles for one’s place in a hierarchy of our invention? Well, should we be surprised that such men as use these titles in that corrupted manner, in the fashion of men who get a little authority as they suppose, would also be willing to spend a free weekend using another word that has no meaning other than, “We are Right, He is wrong”? There is no fire on this side.