Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Drift From God in Churches

Yesterday, I read a talk given by Harold B. Lee in the October 1963 General Conference.  The talk is entitled, This is Our Gospel.  I found this talk on the LDS Scripture Citation Index site.

What caught my attention from this talk were his quotes of a couple of newspaper clippings he read. 

Below are the quotes he cited in his talk.

A short while ago in Philadelphia I was handed a clipping from a Philadelphia newspaper reporting a statement made by the Associate Secretary General of the State of Churches of the Assembly of National Churches representing thirty denominations. The article was entitled "Drift from God in Churches." I shall read but a few sentences:

"American churches in many cases were described today as being too 'public relations conscious'—more eager to please the crowd than to please God."
* * * * *

"Many churches, yielding to secular practice have become public relations conscious. There is as much if not more concern for the attractiveness of the package and the effectiveness of the marketing techniques than for the quality of the product."
* * * * *

"Modern churches too often have put the accent on secular yardsticks of success—size, statistics and outward attractiveness—rather than spiritual dedication."
* * * * *

"Many congregations would rather have a minister who is a 'good administrator and promoter' than one who is 'a loyal and humble disciple of Jesus Christ, a thinker and a fearless prophet of the sovereign and redeeming Lord.'"
* * * * *

"Too many people speak vaguely of the need of `faith and religion' rather than of the real need—of God, of a `return to the Father.'"
* * * * *

Then I picked up a clipping also while I was in Philadelphia about a year ago from Dr. Henry P. Van Dusen, president of the Union Theological Seminary, in which he said this, as quoted in the paper:

"A sharp and strange contrast between the upsurge of religion and a decline in morality was noted by Dr. Henry P. Van Dusen . . .

"It is a disturbing, confounding contradiction that the revival of religion has no parallel resurgence in morality. If the complex and illusive data could be plotted on a graph, it would show curves of religious vitality and of moral health moving in opposite directions.

"Thus far, the return to religion in our day has produced no corresponding moral fruitage. It raises the question as to the quality and worth of the religion.

"Either there will be moral revival flowering from religious revival, or the latter will fritter into futility. And our final state will be a religious sterility to match the moral anarchy.

"Interest in religion appears to be at an all-time high, with church membership over 100 million, but delinquency, (I remind you) immorality, and social confusion also are at peaks."

As I made note of those articles I thought to myself, it is time for us to make a critical self-analysis of ourselves to see how much of this applies to us as a Church and to us as individuals.