Membership – What does this word mean to you? What do you think of when you hear it? Church membership? Membership in the Democratic Party? Membership in the NRA? Recently I have heard the terminology used and described as being a “card carrying” member. Does a recommend, a credit card, a checkbook, a Masonic ring really make you a member? It seems that more and more if you are a member of this group or that, then you are defined solely by that membership. The concept is that you are a homogeneous member of the basic guidelines of the group, that you are one solid core or thought.
Even if this isn’t the actual case, the manner in which we act would lead us to believe that this is so. How often in church do we see other members as “fitting the mold.” When you meet a Mormon from Utah County do you not think of 1 key type, a member of a particular set of homogeneous guidelines?
I ruminate upon this because a while back I discovered that the word “member” as used in the ancient Greek by Paul, means an “organ;” An essential part of the whole. Today we see membership as belonging to a “unit” like membership as a storm trooper or of a member of the Borg. (picture) We see membership and each member as one replaceable cog in the collective machine.
I feel that this is how membership in the Church on a Ward, Stake and worldwide level, how most people see “membership” in the church. How uninspiring is it to be a replaceable cog in the machine of the Church when Paul produced such beautiful imagery to describe how we are all organs int eh body of Christ, and in the body of the Church. We each have our own vital role that is no less important than any other organ’s job. We might be a tiny Nephron, filtering out waste, or a Nueron transmitting essential commands of higher thought. Regardless of our role in the body of His Church, we are vastly important to Christ.
How sad is it that in our modern world of machinery we grow up learning that to question is wrong; that those whose opinions within the Church were wavering or off from our own were succinctly bad or evil. This happens all around us, if you doubt it just bring a sunstone magazine to Sunday School or speak up in priesthood with a viewpoint that is different from the status quo.
If we looked and saw someone doing something different from us we assume that our model, our way is right, that it is the best way to do it. If a Nueron saw a Nephron filtering waste, wouldn’t it wonder and think (after living only with other Nuerons) that that Nephron was a foreign entity, that it was wrong, or evil and that it was not doing things correctly. And yet, when looked at from a distance, with an all-encompassing view, are they not both equally important and necessary for the maintaining of the body? If we are all members in the organization of the Church then should there not be the diversity of thought and opinion and of people as seen by Paul?
As a Gay Mormon I now know and feel that there is a place for me in Christ’s love and I while I know that there is a position for me in membership of his Church organization I hope that others begin to notice it and realize that even though I might be a nose hair follicle, a stem cell, or a pituitary gland it doesn’t matter. Each individual cell has a place; each organ is essential and each member essential to the Body of the Church. I know that the Lord sees me, as he made me, as an integral part of the overall body of the Gospel.
Regardless of what others say, I believe that MoHo’s have a place int eh organization of the church. Whether our place is to cleans the system of the waste of prejudice and inequality, to help the church grow out of stagnancy, or to serve as a line of defense against the outside world we have a place. I do not know what or where it is, but I have faith in the Lord, the Master that he is. He has placed us precisely in the position where I need to be and at the end of the day he will tell us “well done my good and faithful servant”