Friday, March 2, 2012

Pruning Our Bitter Fruit (And a Lesson From the Osmonds)

Some of my favorite insights have come from fellow bloggers, and Ray/Papa D once shared what I believe to be a significant insight in #3 of the following summary: 

1) God works with prophets in their own limitations all throughout history
2) The Restoration is a process not an event
3) The "Dispensation of the Fullness of Times" refers to the condition at the end of the dispensation--that the Jacob 5 concept of pruning will be accomplished fully only at the end. (There will be "bitter fruit" in the Church even after the Restoration – fruit that could be pruned only according to the strength of the root.  I don’t think that bitter fruit has been purged completely yet).

Just as Mormonism does not have a monopoly on truth, Mormonism also does not have an absence of error.  Naturally we taste bitter fruit whenever there is racism (such as the priesthood/temple ban and lingering folklore), inequality (women in the Church), or simply bigoted people who make it awfully hard to establish Zion (lack of compassion for our gay brothers and sisters comes to mind).

The goal of establishing a Zion community is a worthy goal, even if we must occasionally taste the bitter in order to know the sweet.  John Adams' July 3rd 1776 letter to his wife Abigail can be adapted to our day as well: "Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of light and glory; I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph, although you and I may rue, which I hope we shall not."  

We must be charitable and patient as the strength of the root grows so that bad fruit can be pruned and more good fruit can come forth.  Sometimes our "labor in the vineyard" may even seem more monotonous than joyful--something like what Jenkins Lloyd Jones wrote and which President Hinckley liked to share:

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. Most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise… Life is like an old-time rail journey — delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

I also suspect that another trick is to appreciate the good fruit without letting the bitter fruit make us bitter ourselves.  I take comfort in knowing, as we prune the bitter fruit, that one bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch.  

Related videos (on a more lighthearted note):  

1 comment:

Papa D said...

Thanks for the citation, CC.

One thing I've learned over the decades is that it's MUCH easier to recognize and reject the incorrect traditions of THEIR fathers than it is to do the same with the incorrect traditions of OUR fathers. (I think I'm going to make that point now over at BCC.)