The Healer's Path

I have often heard church compared to a hospital, a place for sinners seeking redemption. I preemptively understand that this is said to help those less willing to attend because they feel unworthy to do so. Although one could look at it this way, I choose not to do so for my present purpose. Many churches can accurately be compared a neighborhood hospital, but mine has a more pointed and priestly mandate.

If we continue with the medical analogies, I think the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) can be better compared to a medical school, more focused on the training of spiritual analogues to doctors. Extended further, Christ himself can be seen as the ultimate doctor and his charge to us is beyond being healed but to follow him toward becoming a healer ourselves. This is the point of a priesthood - to do the work of Christ beyond being recipients of the Lord's blessings. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not to stay "hospital" patrons for very long -- we are to become "medical residents" who run the church "hospital" as trained and skilled "doctor" ministers.

This may very well be an essential difference between the LDS Church and most other Christian denominations. While many churches are peopled with congregants and are shepherded by one or a handful of trained "ministers", the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is filled with people who would be considered ministers in other traditions. It is a goal that all Latter-day Saints actively minister as Christ would in the lives of others. More casual Christians who want a pleasant place and group to connect with like-minded Christians and pay a professional to minister to them can become quickly intimidated by the Latter-day Saint push to personally fill unpaid pastoral roles. Even if local leadership works with new congregants gradually, the end purpose becomes very clear: every member is expected to eventually become a spiritual and administrative leader, an experienced "doctor" within the "hospital staff" of the church.

It is not surprising that there are many people seen as "inactive" Latter-day Saints, baptized without an understanding of what will be expected of them over time. It should be anticipated that a large proportion will prove uninterested in concepts such as exaltation and embracing the rigorous journey of becoming like Christ. Most take years to fully comprehend the opportunity presented by the Lord. To a person versed only in the interest of avoiding hell and punishment and discomfort, "the healer's path" is far too demanding and, as has been foretold numerous times, many who enter the path through baptism will eventually fall by the wayside. Although this is sad, it should not be surprising.

I understand that it is desirable to start new LDS converts on the "milky" pablum of the traditional concepts of Christianity. At some point in the development of those desiring exaltation, one must eventually take on the more challenging "meat" of active ministering as Christ, the spritual "doctor", would do. Recent changes in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be seen as a push to get committed "milk drinkers" who prefer watching and light participation in canned spiritual programs to step up to the demanding work of serious scripture study and motivating themselves and others to more Christ-like living and understanding - to becoming a "doctor" in the spritual "hospital" rather than continuing on and on as a sinner "patient".

The latest word from prophets and apostles appears clear: Rise up toward Christ; Become like Him and gain exaltation!