I Walk The Line (With apologies to Johnny Cash and all Cash lovers.))
I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because I’m Thine, I walk the line

I find it very, very easy to be true
I know I’m not alone when each day is through
Yes, I’ll admit that I’m a fool for You
Because I’m Thine, I walk the line

As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep You on my mind both day and night
And happiness I’ve known proves that it’s right
Because I’m Thine, I walk the line

You’ve got a way to keep me on Your side
You give me cause for love that I can’t hide
For You I know I’d even try to turn the tide
Because I’m Thine, I walk the line

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because I’m Thine, I walk the line
 

 My brief foray into re-writing song lyrics aside, one of the things I’m proud of our church for doing is walking the line.  Or in some cases, drawing the line and holding it.  The subject of polygyny came up at FMH and it was mentioned that polygynists in Africa who wish to join the church must divorce their plural wives.  Some people think this is sad and a contradiction given our own fight for polygyny.  They’re right; it is sad.  I feel for those families who make such a wrenching decision but it’s not a contradiction.  At least, not in my eyes.  You see, we as a church* aren’t big believers in “moral relativity.”  There is right and there is wrong and while some things may be less wrong than others they’re still wrong.  Other churches, in some cases apparently the self-same churchs that enjoy lambasting us so much for our “evil history of polygyny” seem to have a different view of things.  Where our church has officially ended polygyny and has issued not one but two manifestos on the subject, other  churches in Africa turn a blind eye to the polygyny not only of their members but of their priests. 

Some people wonder why we don’t do the same thing; we believe in polygny too, don’t we?  It’s an obvious question but it misses the big picture.  We believe that God occasionlly commands His people to practice polygny.  We believe that we were commanded to practice it in the past but we also believe we aren’t commanded to practice it now.  This kind of command is church-wide.  There is no Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints of Zimbabwe*.

Which is not to say that there aren’t cultural differences to be found in the church.  I doubt the Japanese LDS have funeral potatoes and I don’t think British LDS are as enamored of Jell-O as some American LDS.    The important things, the Spirit and the Gospel are the same everywhere you go, though.  God’s church is a church of Order and Law and His Laws are the same in the Utsunomiya branch or the Annapolis Ward.

We all know of a few exceptions to this iron-bound, black-and-white picture it seems I am painting.  Nephi vs. Laban for one, or the story of the Dutch(?) priest who ordained an old, sick woman with the power to bless the Sacrment for herself because there was no other way for her to get it (Martha’s Sacrament.)  Our gospel is firm, organized and led by a prophet but we still have room for divine direction and compassion.

However, because we do have a firm, organized gospel and a prophet when a line is drawn, it is drawn on and by the whole church.  We know where we stand no matter where we are.  That is one of our strengths.

*Though come to think of it, there are probably people out there who feel differently. Nevertheless, this is my perception.

*I don’t know anything about the situation of the church or polygyny in Zimbabwe.  I just like to say “Zimbabwe.” 

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