We are taught in the church from a young age to do what is right, no matter the consequences. We even learn to sing, “do what is right; let the consequence follow” from the old protestant hymn that the church has adopted and number 237 in the current hymn book.
Do what is right; let the consequence follow.Church Hymn #237 – Do What Is Right – Chorus
Battle for freedom in spirit and might;
And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.
God will protect you; then do what is right!
This combines nicely with the concept that things will arrive in each of our lives that can be difficult, either by chance or as a result of our choices. LDS Apostle, Joseph B. Wirthlin shared the phrase “Come what may, and love it” in General Conference.
When I was young I loved playing sports, and I have many fond memories of those days. But not all of them are pleasant. I remember one day after my football team lost a tough game, I came home feeling discouraged. My mother was there. She listened to my sad story. She taught her children to trust in themselves and each other, not blame others for their misfortunes, and give their best effort in everything they attempted.
When we fell down, she expected us to pick ourselves up and get going again. So the advice my mother gave to me then wasn’t altogether unexpected. It has stayed with me all my life.
“Joseph,” she said, “come what may, and love it.” …
How little I knew then of what awaited me in later years. But whenever my steps led through seasons of sadness and sorrow, my mother’s words often came back to me: “Come what may, and love it.”Joseph B. Wirthlin, LDS Apostle
General Conference, October 2008: Come What May and Love It
He encourages us to let these consequences follow our actions, but to be positive about it. They will be consequences and hard things but let it be, let it come. This is great advice that can help anyone be more happy in their life and situation. There are consequences to our actions, and we should simply do what we think is right. When we do what is right, there may be results that lead to difficulties in our lives. Consequences be damned! We shouldn’t fret or shy away from doing what is right because we are afraid of the consequences, let them come. Come what may, and love it. Doing what is right, regardless of the consequences, is virtuous and reflects integrity, trustworthiness, and respect for others. It fosters personal growth, positive influence, and self-respect.
Walking the Walk
Is this what the church leadership does? Not quite. We have from Dallin H. Oaks that his duty as an Apostle is to first and foremost defend the church rather than tell the truth or do what is right. He’d sacrifice anything and everything (including doing what is right) to promote and retain the authority of the priesthood. He has a vested interest in keeping the priesthood authority sacred, it’s ultimately his authority, as an Apostle in the church. He and his Quorum, are upholding their own authority above all else. They are focused on, “Do what keeps them in charge, let the consequence follow.”
We also have from another apostle, Boyd K. Packer that what is true is not really useful in many instances. He’s not interested in telling the truth, he only wants to say what will keep people in the pew. His main focus is that people believe in the church’s truth claims and whatever current narrative the church claims as truth. He wants members to stay, and not to worry about the truth, as it isn’t useful for promoting faith. He wants the church to be teaching propaganda, rather than the truth. Maybe he sings, “Do what is self-serving, let the consequences follow.”
The leaders also focus a lot on obedience, they aren’t as interested in having members decide what they think is right and do that, they want members to do what they tell them to do. They want to have the authority to decide right and wrong. In that context, they don’t believe they can do wrong. They want members who focus more on doing what they are told than doing what is right. But that is obedience, rather than morality. Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you are told, while obedience is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.
So, what is a doubting, struggling member of the church to do? We can see that the church is not doing anything to fix these problems. What do we do when we discover that the church has lied to us? The church has spun a false narrative to teach a white-washed and faith-promoting version of church history. But this narrative is not true, and the real history, once found, is not faith-promoting, and not useful to staying in the church. The history of Joseph Smith and his “translation” of the Gold Plates by placing a rock he called a seer stone into his hat. The history of Joseph Smith and his “translation” of ancient papyri which are today confirmed and admitted by the church to not be a translation of the papyri. The history of Joseph Smith spiritually coercing and manipulating dozens of girls and women for sexual acts, some of them teenagers, some of them married women, and marrying them in secret polygamous ceremonies. The history of the extreme racist doctrines and leaders in the church. The closed-minded and harmful views and policies on LGBTQ individuals and families. The history of the Word of Wisdom and its development from “not a commandment” which allows barley drinks to a commandment that forbids them since the prohibition. The history of tithing and the mismanagement of funds by the church and the intense focus on growing wealth rather than serving people. The list is endless and the examples of the church don’t measure up to even the simplest of hymns. No matter how many times the
Mormon Tabernacle Choir (at Temple Square) sings the phrase, the church shows that as an organization, they don’t do what is right, they do what serves the corporate organization and the current leaders.
But if we were paying attention, we learned the lesson of integrity, and still yearn to do what is right and are prepared to let the consequences follow. But, what is right? What do we do, now that the church has lost the right and authority or moral ground to tell us what to do? What to do when the shelf has collapsed and you no longer have faith in the church you once did? Many feel that the right thing to do is to speak up. Many want to protect and defend the marginalized. Many choose to separate themselves from the organization that they now see as lacking integrity and favoring obedience over morality. Many don’t want to leave quietly, because they have been taught that when they have been warned, they should warn their neighbor. Many want to expose the lies and the secrets. There are many options. Some share the story of their journey, some become a whistleblower, others might start a podcast, or create a safe space to discuss the issues of the church and the trauma people face because of it, some write reports, books, or letters, but the beauty is it is up to you. You get to choose what is right for you.
There will be consequences, but let them come. Consequences to speaking up and voicing a perspective that challenges the status quo. Consequences to leaving and living with the potentially damaged family relationships that follow. Consequences to standing up for what you believe is right, but damn the consequences!
Did you have a similar experience with the cognitive dissonance caused by the teachings of the church and the behavior of the church? Consider creating an account and sharing the story of your deconstruction and faith crisis at wasmormon.org. Read the stories of others who had enough and decided to leave the Mormon church.
- Elder Packer’s Mantle Is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect
- Some things that are true are not very useful to the Mormon church
- Mormon Apostle Knows The Truth Is Not Uplifting
- Elder Oaks Claims Apostolic Duty to Sacrifice Anything That Makes The Church Look Bad
- When an honest man discovers he is mistaken, he will either cease to be mistaken or cease to be honest