In Saturday’s “Faith” section of The Salt Lake Tribune (30 Nov 2013) is a wonderful column by humorist and theologian Robert Kirby. (For my money, he is Mormonism’s best definer.) The column is titled “Why it’s better to cooperate than to obey”:
There’s a negative connotation to the word “obedient” when it comes to ecclesiastical authority. It’s way too Old Testament for me: Obey or I’ll kill you. That’s not willing cooperation. That’s hostage taking.
Any church really only has dominion over you that you’re willing to give it. If you’re automatically willing to obey just for the sake of being obedient, then you’re wasting a perfectly good brain because a cerebral cortex would have sufficed.
If God gave me free will, then I prefer the word “cooperate,” as in “I cooperate with the law of tithing” or “I cooperate with the bishop.” Cooperating makes it my idea rather than authority’s.