Frankly, I’m offended by the former policies on polygamy in both the 1800s and in Old Testament times. I’m offended by the former restrictions on the Priesthood in the modern era and in ancient times. I’m offended by some things Brigham Young and others have said. I’m especially offended by the actions and writings of Moses. Half of the Old Testament offends me. I’m offended by some Nephite attitudes about Lamanites in the Book of Mormon. And then I find myself bristling even at some of the words of the New Testament and some of the events therein. For example, did God really have to kill Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 for donating a little less than they could have?? Would not a gentle lecture been sufficient? Or perhaps one of the less desirable callings?
There are long lists of things that offend me. Some of the things that offend me may be due to human error (prophets are fallible, all men are fallible) and certainly, in at least several cases, some of these things are due to God’s perplexing failure to do things my way.
Unfortunately, if we are looking for a religion that doesn’t offend us, a Judeo-Christian faith is not going to cut it. Certainly not what I consider as Restored Christianity.
How often the scriptures teach that God’s ways are offensive! In Matthew 11:6 and Luke 7:23, Christ gently tells good people that “blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” In the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, Christ warns of those who don’t develop deep Gospel roots: “Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”
Christ offended the religious leaders of His day. From Matthew 5:21: “Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?” He offended those who knew of His seemingly ordinary roots: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him” (Mark 6:3). In the last days, Christ warned that “then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another” (Matthew 24:10). Even His own disciples were offended by Him (John 6:61; Matthew 26: 31-33).
Shall we be offended? I certainly have been. It may be necessary to recognized that some of the causes of offense are from human error, but there are things from God that will offend us to the core. The story of Abraham and Isaac – it offends me deeply. And yet it is a cause of great inspiration, one of the most powerful teaching moments in the scriptures.
May we be less offended and more open to the ways of God, and less dependent on human perfection.