There was a great article in the New York Times this week: Who Can Mock This Church? While it was about Catholicism reeling in the wake of the pedophilia scandal, it raised a few points relevant to critics of any church.
From the Op-Ed (you can mentally replace some of the Catholic references with “Mormon” if that helps):
there seem to be two Catholic Churches, the old boys’ club of the Vatican and the grass-roots network of humble priests, nuns and laity in places like Sudan. The Vatican certainly supports many charitable efforts, and some bishops and cardinals are exemplary, but overwhelmingly it’s at the grass roots that I find the great soul of the Catholic Church
It’s because of brave souls like these that I honor the Catholic Church. I understand why many Americans disdain a church whose leaders are linked to cover-ups and antediluvian stances on women, gays and condoms — but the Catholic Church is far larger than the Vatican.
And unless we’re willing to endure beatings alongside Father Michael, unless we’re willing to stand up to warlords with Sister Cathy, we have no right to disparage them or their true church.
Personally, I find the highs are often higher in Catholicism because of the nature of “vocation”; nuns and priests literally give their whole life to God in a way that Mormons, who consider family life central to God’s plan, simply don’t. But the lows are also lower, due to a few things Catholicism doesn’t share with Mormonism: an almost two-thousand year history (and its accompanying baggage), the unhealthy sexual repression of a celibate clergy, an extremely strong anti-birth control stance (that many of its adherents ignore), and the belief in Papal infallibility (a notion that some Mormons like to flirt with).
So, what do you think? Is the church its organization and leadership or is it the people, its adherents? Do people get lost in the criticism of the organization and forget the good done by individuals? Discuss.