Meet the new Schoolmaster, Same as the Old Schoolmaster
Last night, before I went to sleep, I got the distinct impression from the Lord that he had something important to reveal to me. Many times this happens while I am asleep, and the information is communicated to me either unconsciously, or in a dream. This time it was both.
Now, maybe you already know what I am about to say, or you think you know what I am about to say. If so, then why haven’t you shared it? Or, quite possibly, you only think you know what I am about to say and you think it’s a repetition of what has already been said that you didn’t understand in the first place. Or, maybe it’s a new take on something you know already.
In the dream, I was reading Facebook — page after page, idea after idea of peoples’ theories of what was wrong with the Mormon Church. There were lots of creative ways to presenting the problem, but no solution. I got the distinct impression that I was being smothered. I felt claustrophobic — closed in. I was coughing from breathing all the exhaust fumes. You know how you are trapped in an airplane cabin, and the same old air gets circulated and re-circulated, but no new air is coming in? That’s the way I felt.
I remarked to somebody yesterday that the doctrine of the Church was indeed evolving — or perhaps devolving if you consider evolving as a step forward, and devolving as a step backward. Instead of moving from the Law of Moses forward toward the Law of Christ, the official doctrines of the church appeared to be moving backward from the Law of Christ back to the Law of Moses.
The freedoms and reforms of the Restoration that began with the teachings of Joseph Smith are systematically being rolled back, until there is little difference between the church claiming to be the “one true church”, and the rest of Christianity, whom the Mormons claim are apostate.
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Gal. 3:24-25
This was nearly 2,000 years ago. Christ had given our his teachings and had left the scene, but people back them, as they do now, still needed this concept explained to them.
Another woman wrote a poem and posted it on Facebook. In the poem, she lamented about how people went to the temple and gave false promises to obey covenants they knew they couldn’t keep, and how they beat themselves up inside when they caught themselves breaking these covenants. Several commentators stated that this was exactly how they felt.
It is strange to me how humans tend to look outside themselves for the source of their problems. And, since the source of their perceived problems is from the outside. they assume that the solution must also lie outside them, if they look for a solution at all.
Ain’t It Awful?
There is a social game called “Ain’t it Awful?”. It used to be played by a group of people all sitting around in a parlor exchanging gripes about the problems of the world. But the root meaning of the word “parlor” derives from the French “parler” (to speak) as in “Parley vous Francais.” In short, a parlor is a room for talking, but not a room for doing. In modern times, we don’t have parlors. We don’t talk to each other. We go to terribly mis-named family room, where we don’t spend time with the family. Unless you count mutual passive entertainment from the TV as spending time. But, we now chat on talk radio, and over the Internet. The medium is new, but the content is basically the same — sit and gripe, but accomplish nothing.
This might seem a bit tedious, but in order to understand this, we need to revisit the original meanings of a few words.
Back to the “schoolmaster”. In Greek times, a schoolmaster (a “paidagogos” or a pedagogue, Literally: one who leads children.) was a tutor i.e. a guardian and guide of boys. Among the Greeks and the Romans the name was applied to trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before arriving at the age of manhood.
The purpose of the schoolmaster was to educate those in his charge. The original purpose of education was to train via discipline (hence the word disciple), to impart knowledge, and something forgotten today: to evoke or bring out the best of what is in each person. The original goal of education wasn’t primarily to stuff information into a student in order to fit him or her for society, but it was hoped that training would help bring stuff out of the student, who would then use it to fully participate in society. Remember, we are talking about an elite class, and we are only talking about the males, Today, the goal is to educate both males and females in all classes of society, but unfortunately, we have concentrated more on the “put in” and less on the “bring out” aspects of education.
Now, relating this to both education and experience as a church member, people mistake both as a passive experience.
Fill them up with enough new knowledge, or the same old knowledge, repeated over and over each week, but with no active participation and no evocation of that which lies within each of us, Gods in embryo though we are. The assumption is that this will eventually bring a person to Christ where they begin to truly follow Christ, take on the Name of Christ, take on the attributes of Christ, and fully act in the Name of Christ.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The purpose of the Law isn’t to lead you step by step along the way, until the next step in the logical flow is to accept Christ and live by the Spirit.
Instead, the purpose of the Law is to lead you step by step along the way, until you see that the next step ahead of you is not a tiny step, but a giant leap of faith, where you have to jump into an entirely new paradigm, a new way of thinking about things. The old pedagogical ways have only prepared you to appreciate your new-found freedom, and they have taught you the practice of discipline so that you can maintain that freedom. And, they may have also given you insights so that you can, in turn, lead others to freedom. But, other than that, the Law of Moses has little to do with the Law of Christ.
Instead of telling people what to, the Spirit changes them. It changes their nature so that they have no longer a desire to do evil, but to do good continually. And, it’s no longer a struggle to keep temple covenants, or any covenants. Keeping true to ones covenants becomes part of their new nature.
Think about it another way in comparison to education. Some student plod along, get good grades, memorize the information, play the game, and graduate. These don’t usually turn out to be the leaders. Some of the most well-known leaders, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, dropped out of school. They got enough information to see greater opportunities, and realize that they were ready to take that giant leap of faith. Being a college graduate and having a Master’s degree, I would not denigrate the value finishing college because it shows that a person can set a goal and see it through to completion. Gates and Jobs also found goals and saw them through to completion.
And that’s the point: In the long run, it doesn’t matter WHEN you see that point of crisis, but that you DO see it, and ACT upon it.
“Watch that last step. It’s a doozy.” These are not idle words.
Relating this specifically to the Church. This is one schoolmaster who is blindly doing his job. He thinks his job is to gain more and more students, more and more dependents. He doesn’t see any of his students graduating. He doesn’t know what a graduated student looks like. In fact, if he his students them taking that leap of faith for themselves, he will kick them out of his school.
Students: don’t see this an an expulsion. See it instead as a forced and undignified graduation. You have graduated. You have moved ahead. You are ready for the next level.
Here’s what a graduated student looks like: He looks like Christ.
If the schoolmasters were even slightly acquainted with the Being in whose image they were trying to remake us, when they saw progress in that direction, they would reward it, instead of condemning it.
I had a bishop who one stated that once people really know who Christ was, they wouldn’t have to be told what to do and when to do it, they themselves would move heaven and earth to do whatever had to be done.
I’m at the end of this article, and I realize that I haven’t spelled out a solution. Real leaders and potential leaders will do with I have suggested, and see through all this pedagogy.
What’s the solution? The solution is you.