At the age of 63, I have finally selected a path that is built on a rock solid foundation. I’ve decided to place my faith in Jesus Christ, specifically in His teachings and example. Furthermore, I have also chosen to follow Christ as a member of the Mormon Church.
One of His most beautiful instructions is that we are to be vitally concerned with “the least of these.” The marginalized. The vulnerable. The undefended, the unguarded, and the unprotected. Not just concerned. Rather, Jesus made it clear that entry into heaven will ONLY be granted to those who actively take care of “the least.”
Frequently, we pass them by. Often, we don’t even see them. Never-the-less, “the least of these” are all around us in society. For the purpose of this article, they also surround us in our very own LDS Church.
Who Are the Marginalized Mormons?
To follow Christ’s mandate, it’s certainly appropriate that we start with our own ‘fellow citizens in the household of God.’ We, as Saints, should minister to marginalized members. Various categories of ‘the least’ are listed below. Of course, this is not a comprehensive compilation. It includes those who many of us are concerned about at present.
- Those in Extreme Slavery. Details below.
- Our LGBT brothers and sisters.
- Children of LGBT married couples.
- Families headed by single parents, especially by single mothers.
- Members with questions, doubts and transitioned faith.
Are LDS Men Marginalized?
Let me ask 2 questions.
Would you consider those in SLAVERY to be marginalized?
Would you consider those in EXTREME SLAVERY to be marginalized?
Hopefully, most would answer YES to both queries.
SLAVERY? I don’t know anyone in this condition. But, I would put them squarely in the category of “the least of these.”
SLAVERY in the EXTREME? What is that? Who are they? It turns out that I know many, many men in this unfortunate state. Today, I view them as marginalized in the EXTREME.
So, who among us are bound by the fetters of EXTREME SLAVERY?
Consider this citation from an early and official church publication—The Millennial Star. Many ascribe this quote directly to Joseph Smith.
“We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them — even if they knew it was wrong. But such obedience as this is worse than folly to us. It is slavery in the extreme. The man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise this idea.”
Do you know anyone in Extreme Slavery? Members who would do anything their leaders tell them to do—even if they knew it was wrong?
Early church doctrine designated such obedience as degrading. IT IS!!!
“A man of God would despise this idea.” I don’t qualify as a ‘man of God.’ But, I do despise the idea of doing anything I am told, even if it’s wrong. Thus, I claim my rank among intelligent beings.
Based on this early church definition of “slavery in the extreme” there are myriad members who are marginalized by being in this ‘degraded’ condition.
Ministering to the Marginalized
The list of “the least of these” within the church continues to grow. Many of us have been actively speaking and looking out for those in categories 2-5. Now, I add category #1—those in EXTREME slavery. Likely the biggest marginalized group that surrounds us at church. One more parcel of people to stand up for with our votes of disapproval.