Monday, July 20, 2009

He Said: Judging Righteous Judgment

As a Latter-day Saint I have seen a dichotomy about this concept of judging one another. I think BiV and her friends have some merit in discussing the term “omniscience mechanism”but I don't think they are totally correct in how operationally judgment works in the Church. We have commandments and standards that tell us that certain sins are an abomination to the Lord. We don't tell gay people they can't be in the church we just say they can't act on those sins. As to a gluttonous person that goes back to the gradations of sin. Our leaders don't consider gluttony on par with sexual transgression. These people talk out of both sides of their mouths. One day BiV tell us there are victimless sin like gluttony then the next day she tell us all sin is of the same value so why should one be treated less than another one.

On the one hand we are told by LDS leaders as every day members not to judge others and to be kinder and gentler in our treatment of others. Jesus told us he who is without sin should not to cast the first stone. Most of the time I don't have a clue if there is a gay person in my ward since it is not something we discuss. It doesn't matter what the sin is we have a series of judgments in this church. God has outlined them throughout the Bible and they have consequences.

On the other hand Joseph Smith in the JST changed the scripture in Matthew 7:2 to read: " Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged: but judge righteous judgment." In the church we have bishops and stake presidents who constantly judge certain sins and mete out disciplinary action. We have wives and husbands who enter in to a covenant relationship with us. We have stewardships in which home teachers and visiting teachers are supposed to help us and encourage us to better gospel living.

I don't know but maybe the gluttonous person needs to be chastened also by our leaders if that is a sin that is holding them back from entering the kingdom of God. In operation how is judgment really conducted in the Church and how does it work. I would be more inclined to trim down if I knew I couldn't get a temple recommend. But the reality is that there are many fat leaders who still have the Spirit. It isn't on the temple recommend questions yet.

As a young missionary serving under M. Russell Ballard he taught us that there is a series of judgments or accountability in which our bishops, stake leaders, general authorities and righteous priesthood fathers would give an accountability to the Lord in his making a final judgment. If if Christ is the final judge we are constantly being judged in the church by those with stewardship over us.

Joseph Fielding Smith in The Way to Perfection describes a prophetic accounting or judgment process:

Not many years hence there shall be another gathering of high priests and righteous souls in this same valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. At this gathering Adam, the Ancient of Days, will again be present. At this time the vision which Daniel saw will be enacted. The Ancient of Days will sit. There will stand before him those who have held the keys of all dispensations, who shall render up their stewardships to the first Patriarch of the race, who holds the keys of salvation. This shall be a day of judgment and preparation. Joseph, the Prophet, in speaking of this event, said:

Daniel in his seventh chapter speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our father Adam, Michael; he will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him (Adam) and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family.-D. H. C. 3:386-7.

Like Russell Ballard says there is a series of judgments up to the person's final reckoning that includes individual accountability and stewardship accountability by leaders responsible for us. If you can't make judgments than how is this possible and why does it happen?

BiV likes to quote trendy people who have interesting ideas like “omniscience mechanism.” She and her philosophical friends tend to place a framework over LDS doctrine and practice that just doesn't mesh with our operational procedures that make priesthood judgments. She doesn't take in to account that in Mormon doctrine we have developed a system in which righteous judgment is made on the basis of having the Spirit and discernment. It is the very thing that LDS leaders use in declaring a person is not in compliance with the standards of the Gospel or is in compliance with Gospel standards and about worthiness to partake of the sacrament or go to the temple or hold membership in the church.

Finite people make decisions that are bound in heaven throughout Old Testament, New Testament, and Latter-day times. If we were to say no one can make a righteous judgment only God than the practices of our religion would be nullified such as sealing people and worthiness issues. Christ and his leaders determine sin and its progressive discipline. Even Joseph Smith understood this when he set up the organization of the Church with a system of stewardship with accountability. Prophets and church leaders are constantly giving us advice and determining our status or worthiness. To me that is making righteous judgments.

I don't disagree that in the end the individual has to stand before Christ. I just disagree that that is the only judgment taking place on the way to the final reckoning.

Harold B. Lee said:

I sat with a youngster yesterday who is in his early twenties, and he is wondering now, worrying, he is fretting for fear he is not in the niche where he can give the best service. And I said, "Son, all you have to worry about is that you are doing your best in the place where you are today. That is all you have to be concerned about. You are not going to be judged by how you measure to someone else who has achieved a high station in the industrial or financial or religious world. The only measure by which you are going to be measured is, How will you compare with what you had the capacity to do? That is the measure the Lord's going to measure you by, to see whether or not you have done, to the best of your ability, whatever came within your hands this day, and if you can answer the same honestly day by day. And the only day you have to worry about is today. There is nothing you can do about yesterday except repent. That means if you made mistakes yesterday, don't be making them today. Don't worry about tomorrow, because you may have no tomorrows. This is the masterpiece you ought to be thinking about today. And if you can always witness honestly that whatever you did, you did to the best of your ability, and next day try improvement on that, when your life's end comes, of you it can be said in truth, his was a successful life because he lived to the best that was in him. That's all the Lord expects of any one of His children. We are all born with different capacities, some to do one thing, some to do the other, and all He asks is that we do our best; and that's the measure by which we'll be judged when that time comes."
As if to point a finger at control as being a bad thing is to miss the whole point of judgment. God controls who gets in the various degrees of glory. No unclean thing can enter in to the kingdom of God. The standard works are replete with scriptures that talk about what happens and there are numerous scriptures that talk about prophets and holy men judging righteous judgment or giving counsel. There is in the LDS church a series of judgments or accounting by everyone from parents to church leaders to the prophets of dispensations to the final judge Christ.

Recently someone attacked me for being overweight. They were absolutely correct in their assessment that I need to lose some weight. In fact an apostle told me the very same thing that I needed to get control of myself. We all know that the body is a temple of God when you feel sick from diabetes or high blood pressure you can't minister as well as when you are healthy. The apostle told me what he said out of love. Sometimes we make judgments even if they are not fully informed and they help a person to be more in tune with the Spirit or help them to fulfill their mission better here on this earth.

As to the example about an overweight person I will use myself adding I am not gay though. My wife is not very accepting of the fact that I am also overweight and constantly encourages me to eat better and exercise more. If she were to just love me by being less judgemental would I all of a sudden become thin? I don't think so. Loving the person has nothing to do with acceptance of them in a less than perfect state. She knows that I would be more effective in terms of my service in the kingdom if I were thinner. People would not be putting down my posts on non-weight related subjects based on who do I a chubby person think I am to discuss retiring to thy bed early. Yadda Yadda Yadda.

Sometimes we have to have the Spirit and render righteous judgment. Some of us are lazy and we need to be called to repentance. Passive love doesn't always conquer all, there has to be action on the part of the person who is not in compliance. The Lord may in the end declare we didn't measure up and we find themselves on the outside looking in after the final judgment.

Harold B. Lee says it in that we need to be better each day that comes from the previous day so we can perfect ourselves. A little righteous judgment from loved ones and leaders might be the nudge we need in overcoming damning behaviors to overcome our carnal natures.

BiV and her friends are correct in that is that Christ is the final judge and the keeper of the gate. He makes the final decision. Harold B. Lee also said:

The only judge who can render a righteous judgment will be the Infinite Judge who knows all things from before the beginning of man upon the earth, even to the end of man. He will take all things into His view, and the judgment that will be rendered, you may be sure, will be a righteous judgment where mercy tempers justice, and yet justice has its part. If that were not so, it would make mockery of the laws that God prepared for us to obey if we are to inherit His glory
But in our journey as church members a series of judgments are made that influence us on the way to the final judgment. Since even church leaders and prophets can make mistakes we have a final reckoning where everything is revealed and made right. Lets hope that those in positions of responsibility over us render righteous judgments that help us prepare for the final one.


  1. Why do I feel like there's an attempt to draw others into a personal discussion gong on?

  2. Anonymous:

    The whole concept of this blog is that we both have differing opinions that are polar opposites many times. Sometimes I am conservative other times liberal and vice a versa. Different topics build on each other. We both post a day apart now so we can think about what the previous topic is. Gradations of sin caused me to reflect on a concept several liberal Mormons took with being judgmental. I just spun it a bit differently looking at a series of judgments in the accountability by leaders over members. Of course I use personal examples as a counter-point.

  3. "People would not be putting down my posts on non-weight related subjects"

    I think your posts are terrific, and the idea for this blog is wonderful. It is one of my favorite blogs. Keep it up!

    The righteous judgment business goes beyond Christ and church leaders. The judgements we ourselves make every day on matters of right and wrong are unavoidable. That is what it means to live in a moral ambiguous world. Thus avoiding judgment is impossible; to sit passively by or resist judgement is itself an act of judgement. If we change the words "judge righteously" to "choose well" or "chose rightly," we have about the same idea.

  4. It seems to me that tact plays a large role in the process of judging righteously. The task is not only to know how to judge, but to know what to say about you know, and when. That takes considerable skill. Not all judgments I form about other people ought to be expressed. The "righteous" part is not only a matter of cognition--forming the right opinion--but in deciding the best course of action.

  5. "...putting down my posts on non-weight related subjects based on who do I a chubby person think I am to discuss retiring to thy bed early."

    The argument this person is the hypocrite's fallacy. It makes no sense. The quality of one's opinion has nothing at all to do with whether the person who opines actually abides by his opinion. The case to give up alcohol is no more or less true when made by an alcoholic or a teetotaler. The messenger is sound if it is sound. If so, we do well to head it regardless of the messenger.

    As for large men, I doubt it matters much with men of genius. I hardly think Churchill was less of a thinker or a strategist because he liked his cream tarts. Further, why should we believe that obesity inhibits the capacity for spiritual direction? Shortness of life, yes; shortness of breath, yes; preoccupation with things of the flesh, perhaps. But what does this have to do with the capacity to feel and receive and respond to revelation? Surely if one's mind is always on food, that could lead to distraction; assuming concentration remains in tact, however, what exactly is the "big" deal? I don't see the evidence for it.

  6. Nice post but I think we must always remember that "Righteous judgement" of any kind is only authorized by those who have the authority to do so. Stewardship and priesthood keys are given for this purpose, YOU (the individual) are able to make "righteous judgement" on YOURSELF and possibly your family as long as you are living worthy enough to make such judgements. A Bishop who holds the keys of judgement can do so for members of his ward as needed just as can a Stake President for his Stake members. Final judgment will by by our Savior who will judge us perfectly because he knows us completely!