Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mormonism and the Orthodox Tradition

Today, class, we are going to discuss why LDS meetings are so blasted low-church (not a pejorative) protestant / evangelical in nature. We share very little tradtition with older faiths like Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy (which I will lump, for convenience, into the classification of "Orthodoxy"). Why is this? Are we afraid of ritual or ceremony? Certainly not! Have you ever been to the temple?

Let me offer a suggestion: of all the things that are mutable in the Church (and there are many) one of which is the rather basic nature of our meetings and our lack of liturgical year. I also would suggest that this is the case not because of some specific revelation, but merely because the Church was restored within an evangelical cultural milieu.

Can you name a good reason why we should not adopt some of the beautiful traditions of our fellow priesthood-authority-acknowledging brothers and sisters?

The following is a good question from "Answers to Gospel Questions, Volume 5" by Joseph Fielding Smith:

Question: "Can you please tell me why members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not observe Good Friday as other Christians do?"

Answer: The reason why we do not observe Good Friday should be clear enough.

Easter is taken from a pagan spring holiday, that was governed by the moon. The Roman Catholic Church connected the birth of the Savior with this pagan ceremony. As you know, Easter is governed by the moon, and this spring pagan festival was celebrated according to the moon, any time in March and the end of April.

Now as you well know that the resurrection did not vary and it is foolish to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord at the end of March or the first of April, or middle of April or near the first of May, and put Good Friday the Friday before the Easter Sunday. I think you are wise enough to see the foolishness of it. The resurrection of the Savior does not vary year by year but it is a constant thing. Why should we follow the silly custom rather than to have one day for the resurrection?

Lovely, but by the same logic we shouldn't celebrate Easter either!

So what say you? I think we ought to push at least for Holy Week. Comments?