Does the Holy Spirit guide Stanton alone into all truth? Ahh, this is the $64,000 question, isn’t it? Wouldn’t everyone nod their heads in agreement with Stanton’s claims to be the “One True Church” if this could really be proven true? Of course, but it can’t.
Thankfully, the opposite is actually possible. It is easily provable that this central claim of the church is not true. All we need to do is demonstrate clearly that the Holy Spirit has not, in fact, led either the church or any individual in the church, into all truth.
Wouldn’t that lay an ax to the root of this tree that has produced such divisive fruit for over four decades now? Of course it would. Which is exactly why so many of the Old Guard in the church are so invested in revising church history to purge any doctrinal changes from the memories of members and children of members. The accepted way of dealing with these inconvenient facts is to play word games: “We didn’t change the teaching, we just grew in our understanding.”
I’m sorry, but this is Orwellian double-speak (anyone remember the book 1984?). Changing the meanings of words and phrases to maintain control over a group is called propaganda, plain and simple.
Doctrine by any other name is still doctrine. As I’ve pointed out on this blog many times, “doctrine” simply means “teaching.” There is no meaning of the word possible such that “judgments” are not “doctrine.” If the church teaches it, it is a teaching. It is by definition, then a doctrine.
The church tries, with a wink a nod, to smugly insist that its doctrines have not changed, when we all know they have. This is disingenuous. How is it any different than a politician shading the truth to cover up their inconsistent voting record? The church’s record of changing doctrines is clear. You can’t argue with 45+ years of history (unless you don’t know that history, which is why this site exists).
Merie used to say, “If you find one contradiction in the Bible, I’ll eat every page.”
I’d like to propose a similar test. If we can find one instance of the church’s doctrines changing, they’ve judged themselves not to be the One True Church, because that used to be the standard they applied to all other churches, remember? Everyone else changes their doctrines, but the Bible doesn’t change. Truth doesn’t change. So the church’s teachings don’t change. That used to be a common refrain in non-member classes.
The church makes the assertion that it is led into all truth. But if the past is prologue, I’d certainly be skeptical of this claim. The children of Israel were told to test the prophets of old who claimed God was speaking through them. If a prophet failed the test, the people were not to listen to him. The test was if what they said came true, they were from God. If what they said didn’t come true, they were not.
Applied to Stanton, they said they were the One True Church, and that the Holy Spirit gives them unity and leads them into all truth. We now have 45+ years of history to judge whether these claims have held up.
If we find one doctrinal change, or one doctrinal error, it is obvious that Stanton has not been specially gifted by the Holy Spirit with The Truth. One error–one change in doctrine–one revision of teaching based on their “new understanding”–is all it takes to prove their status as a human organization. But let’s be safe and pick the first five that come to mind:
- Women didn’t used to be able to wear jeans with a zippered fly. Now they can.
- Families couldn’t go on vacations under Merie. Now they can.
- They used to question people about their thought life. Now they don’t.
- It used to be taught that an elder had to have a “good reputation within and without” both before and after his baptism. Now it’s correctly applied to his reputation after his conversion.
- Teachings on marriage and divorce have changed drastically over the decades.
We could come up with many other examples, but these ought to be sufficient to raise a red flag that this group does not have a lock on all truth.
NOTE: For the sake of clarity, and because metaphors can sometimes be taken out of context, I’d like to state for the record that I believe the axe should be laid to the root of the tree in the sense that we ought to completely destroy the notion that Stanton is the One True Church. This has been Stanton’s raison d’être, and it is based on completely fallacious, not to mention prideful, reasoning.