Mormons hear that word a fair bit. I’d wager that that we hear most in these two context: The Great Apostasy, andpersonal apostasy.
In case there are any non members reading this blog (which is highly unlikely) the Latter Day Saint (LDS) community considers the time after the martyrdom of the apostles the ‘great apostasy’. The authority to govern God’s affairs here on earth was taken with their deaths and no replacement was made by the apostles (who had the power).
A personal apostasy is when someone decides to leave the fold of God and make theit own doctrine or follow another teaching.
Each of us can have a personal falling away. Each of us may choose to not obey God’s commandments. If we do so than that is a personal apostasy. It’s easy to do with so many churches proclaiming to be the right one. It’s even easier thanks to all the people who deny God’s miracles because science proves it away (or does it prove the existence of miracles?) And it is simpler yet with so many telling us that it doesn’t really matter what you do. There either is no God to condemn you, or if there is He is too loving to do so.
In the New Testament, through Paul’s epistle, we meet a saint who was preparing for the Great Apostasy and against the possibility of a personal apostasy. His name was Timothy. Paul gave great advice that would help all of us prepare against a personal apostasy:
- Remember why God gave laws: for the sinner. Are am I perfect? No. Are you? Don’t kid yourself. Therefore we are not the exception to the rule. (Timothy 1: 7-13)
- God calls His authority into service- not man. If there seems to be a conflict than with this and you're not sure if your leader was called of God, hold on to the doctrine you know to be true (even if it’s doctrine you’re not fond of). God’s servant will teach it with authority. (2 Timothy 1:7-13)
- Be a good Soldier and take the punches of the world. There will always be reason to break rank but if you are faithful and keep to your uniform (meaning be kind gentle, and Christ-like) God will recognize you as part of His army and add the medal of eternal life to your uniform. (2 Timothy 2:1-2)
- Be faithful to the knowledge you have gained of truth and build on it. Seek for more knowledge and truth from your trust scriptures. (2 Timothy 3: 10-17)
- Share what you know. The other team is working hard to get followers- including you. Don’t let them fill your ears with their garbage. Be an advocate for truth. By doing so you will find others who can help hold the banner. (2 Timothy 4:1-8)
I have found that taking a hard stand to defend and honor what I do know helps me to accept and understand concepts or doctrine that I don’t quite comprehend. I have had moments when I needed to ask myself if being a discipline of Christ was worth the uncertainties and worth defending the aspects I didn’t comprehend. I think back to what I know. Jesus DID perform the atonement, Joseph WAS His prophet, the Book of Mormon IS true, and President Monson Is His prophet. So yea- it’s worth it.