Sunday, July 22, 2007

Confessions of an LDS Free-thinker (3)

This is the third of my confessions. I think. Lately, one of the things I have been wrestling with is the meaning of the words sustain and emulate. This is simply because my Bishop of my Church congregation (called a ward) has been giving me some grief over what sustain and emulate actually mean. As a free thinker, I'm an agent unto myself and I am capable of creating as God does. Same as any other human on the planet.

However, in my quest to learn more, I am frustrated by my Bishop's understanding of what it means to support the Leaders of the Church. I support the leaders of the Church, I really do, but as far I understand things, my support can go only so far as sustain is defined. However, my bishop is only interested in "sustaining" the Leaders as so far as emulating them as examples of how we aught to live our lives. And this gives me a headache since I do not believe in blind obedience.


Transitive Verb.
Pronunciation: \sə-ˈstān\
Function: transitive verb
Middle English sustenen, from Anglo-French sustein-, stem of sustenir, from Latin sustinēre to hold up, sustain, from sub-, sus- up + tenēre to hold — more at sub-, thin
13th century
1: to give support or relief to
: to supply with sustenance : nourish
3: keep up, prolong
4: to support the weight of : prop; also : to carry or withstand (a weight or pressure)
: to buoy up <sustained by hope>
6 a
: to bear up under b: suffer, undergo <sustained heavy losses>
7 a
: to support as true, legal, or just b: to allow or admit as valid sustained the motion>
8: to support by adequate proof : confirm sustains our contention>

Now, emulate.


Listen to the pronunciation of 1emulate
\ˈem-yə-ˌlāt, -yü-\
transitive verb
Inflected Form(s):
em·u·lat·ed; em·u·lat·ing
Latin aemulatus, past participle of aemulari, from aemulus rivaling
1 a: to strive to equal or excel b: imitate; especially : to imitate by means of an emulator
2: to equal or approach equality with

So, are we supposed to bear up our leaders, to buoy them up, and to support them as legal and just? Or are we suposed to imitate them? Really, I have no idea at what my bishop is trying to get at. If it is the former, I do that wholeheartedly. The latter, I'm not to sure about. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are taught that Jesus' life is our example, and that Jesus is our exemplar. Jesus is the Master of all the masters; His teachings supercede Buddha's, Lao Tzu's, Confucius', Moses', and Joseph Smith's. These other masters all complement their Master in their teachings on how a person can reach his or her fullest potential. So, why is emulating President Hinckley more important than living the Life of Jesus? I have no idea; but I'm beginning to feel that I'm being pulled this way and that way with my relationship to my bishop.

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