Conservative, Liberal, and Intellectual Mormons

For most of my church life, I’ve thought of members as being either active or inactive. Nowadays, I view members as being conservative, liberal, or intellectual.

The church has always had diversity in its members. The standard works provides an interesting cast of characters to help us understand just how wide and deep the diversity of God’s children is. Whether we look at Lehi’s family or a thousand years of Jewish and Nephite history we encounter diversity and variety.

We are the Gathered of the Last Dispensation

The Lord taught, He …shall gather together his elect… Mark 13:27. We represent the gathering that has been going on from the day the Lord appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith. We’re gathered because we hear His voice, and we know Him because we followed Him before. We’re even numbered, and none that Heavenly Father has given Christ will be lost (John 10:14, 27, D&C 50:41-42).

Many, if Not All of Us, Took Substantial Risk

The scriptures teach we shouted for joy at the prospect of coming to earth (Job 38:7). However, I believe that as we came to understand better the challenges and risk of mortality our shouting turned into humilityeven great concern when we saw some of the great ones, who preceded us, fall short of their expectations.

We took risk coming to this particular earth. There is reason to believe that this earth, out of all the earths the Lord created, is perhaps the lowest kingdom ever created by Heavenly Father for the testing of his children (Moses 7:36). Consequently, those who come here may be subject to greater challenges, and blessings. [1] The Savior came to this earth out of all He created to accomplish the atonement; the scriptures teach He descended below all things in the process (D&C 88:6, 122:8).

Another kind of risk some of us appear to have taken, by choice or by calling, was the family we came to. Some have learned by the workings of the Spirit that they elected to be born into circumstances where they would be a messenger; a missionary of sorts to members of their family. Carlfred Broderick calls them saviors on mount zion

The Gate Swings Both Ways

The gate to the kingdom of heavens is open to all. It also swings both ways, for those entering, and for those exiting. I’m saddened when someone in the Bloggernacle relates the sense of freedom they felt leaving the church and starting a new life without the oppressive need to follow the Savior.

I’m sure that some of them will do just fine in this life because they never really made their way along the gospel path. They hung around the gate and never partook of the fruit, therefore, they won’t miss the church because they never really feasted on the gospel. Their still candidates for the missionaries; they might know a lot about the church, but they don’t know the Savior. I use the word “know” not referring to so-called head-knowledge, but to know someone intimately, as a friend. 

Spiritually Getting Caught Up in the Thick of Thin Things

We look “beyond the mark” when we spend the bulk of our spiritual energy to obtain those things of least importance. Goethe put it this way, “things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

The question needs to be asked: what matters most?[2]

I hope all who read this post will answer: fulfilling our baptism covenant by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. There is nothing a member of the church can do that is more important! We need to understand the difference between good, better, and best when it comes to the opportunities the Lord makes available to His followers. For example, being called to a high profile calling in the church is good, magnifying our calling is better, and seeking diligently to be led by the Holy Ghost is, best. A common pitfall in the kingdom is to mistake good for best, and better for best, and in doing so find that we have been  busily engaged in secondary efforts.


This post started out exploring the idea there is great variety among church members. Many Bloggernaclist like to think of themselves as being a conservative, liberal, or intellectual Mormon or a mix thereof. The point of this post is best summed up by Elder Dallin Oaks, “I find some wisdom in liberalism, some wisdom in conservatism, and much truth in intellectualismbut I find no salvation in any of them.” “Criticism,” Ensign, Feb. 1987, 68

Click here to read: How Do I Know if I’m Experiencing the Holy Ghost?

[1] We are inhabitants of a world of sin and sorrow; pain and anguish, every ill that can be heaped upon intelligent beings in a probation we are heirs to. I suppose that God never organized an earth and peopled it that was ever reduced to a lower state of darkness, sin and ignorance than this. I suppose this is one of the lowest kingdoms that ever the Lord Almighty created, and on that account is capable of becoming exalted to be one of the highest kingdoms that has ever had an exaltation in all the eternities. In proportion as it has been reduced so it will be exalted, with that portion of its inhabitants who in their humiliation have cleaved to righteousness and acknowledged God in all things. In proportion as it has been reduced so it will be exalted, with that portion of its inhabitants who in their humiliation have cleaved to righteousness and acknowledged God in all things. In proportion to our fall through sin, so shall we be exalted in the presence of our Father and God, through Jesus Christ and by living the righteousness of his Gospel. All this the people will understand in due time through their faithfulness, and learn to rejoice even in the midst of afflictions. Brigham Young, May 24, 1863. JD 10:175

[2] This question is being asked with the assumption one is already a member of the church in good standing. This would mean they have fulfilled the requirement for baptism by following the 4th Article of faith: We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

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