Rules and Laws including moral laws bring agency. Kings make laws and their knights or loyal warriors guard or protect the integrity of the kingdom through maintaining those laws. Rules bring order and safety. Rules can bring freedom or bondage depending on whether a rule is followed. Suffering consequences for free exercise of agency is part of Gods plan. Gravity is a great example of this. The potential to die from childbirth is another. There are many diseases and heartache born of agency. My mom had a spot on her ear she suspected was skin cancer and she ignored it for 6 years against doctor’s advice. She nearly lost her ear yesterday.
In my High School, the school motto was freedom with responsibility. This goes with man’s law, and God’s law too. Natural law has the strongest of consequences for the natural man. Sometimes folks try to legislate away their consequences. Insurance is another form of trying to alleviate natural consequences. Someday, choices come back to haunt us either way. Higher laws may not have immediate consequences, but as we have been taught and sometimes experience in this life, failure to observe higher laws result in devastating consequences.
We do not know what certain choices made popular through the media like same-sex marriage or gay parenting through adoption means for our society. We do not know the consequences. We have been warned by church leaders, some of which are called seers of the future, and when we raise our hand to the square or say we sustain them in temple recommend interviews, we recognize that they are entitled to revelation for the world. When we kneel in prayer, we receive revelation regarding their counsel and decisions. Many did not like the directives related to plural marriage, word of wisdom or blacks receiving the priesthood, yet they humbled themselves and complied.
Whatever happens in the future, we must be humble and willing to be obedient. In the words of Elder Bednar, we must be quick to observe. Through being quick to observe, we receive the spirit of discernment and revelation. Thus, obedience through observing the counsel of our leaders brings a humble heart, a heart prepared to receive revelation, a heart that is sanctified.
As the online community coordinator at North Star, I am charged with working with the moderators to create a safe and supportive environment where folks can share ideas and experiences within the bounds of the rules. Every member of or online discussion groups has pledged to each other to abide by these rules. Most abide by them, some walk the line or even try to push the line. Some believe the rules need to be broken or changed. Some believe and have told me they do not believe certain rules apply to them because they are somehow special or above the rules.
In any case, when a rule is breached, my job is to support the members in accountability. Sometimes this requires, in the words of Marshall Rosenberg, protective use of force. Some might cry what about my agency? In rule 8, we all agreed to this protective use of force up to and including removal from the groups. This applies to all the rules.
With Justice, comes mercy. Accountability is a means of affording mercy. Someone can choose to move back into fellowship with the groups. At north Star a person who is removed or put on moderation can return to the group(s) through accountability. An accountability form can be completed, and new terms of membership can be established. Making it possible for members to return to the group. Each situation is different, so this form is revisable to meet each situation or type of situation appropriately.
Here is an example of an accountability form
State the rule/commitment in question (please refer to previous email and/or attached rule document):
Name the person or group/s in which this occurred:
State specifically what you did that resulted in you being placed on moderation:
Describe the choices that prevented you from keeping your commitment, or put you in this position. Be searching here, looking for the deepest, most basic choices. Remember that, other than cases of true loss of control, there are choices behind everything we do:
State the self-deception or belief system behind the choices. You may want to consider the parts of yourself that you hide, repress, deny, split-off or blame in others:
Describe the impact that your choices have had, or might have, on you:
Describe the impact that you believe your choices have had, or might have, on others:
Consider the feelings of others harmed or jeopardized by your actions please list them below:
Consider the needs of others harmed or jeopardized by your actions please list them below:
State whether or not you want to be reconciled and begin to reestablish trust with the other person or group:
If so, offer a simple act of service or gesture of your intention to get back into accountability and reestablish trust. An act of service is something more than fulfilling the original expectation:
Describe what would be appropriate for North Star to consider in order for your to be reinstated:
Recognize that failure to complete this form in a timely manner is a choice to leave the group and/or based on formal review your membership may be revoked.
Above all, may we recognize the importance of observing and use our agency to bring about God’s will.