Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chapter Six: The Principle of "Order"

Chapter Six

The Principle of "Order"

The need for a head in the home is no different than any other viable social organization known to man. The presiding principle is the foundation of order, and order stands at the headwaters of life. God’s house is a house of order. (D&C 132:8).

All life is the result of order or organization. There are no exceptions. All order and organization are the result of law. Again, there are no exceptions. Without law there is no order. Without order there is no life.

Without the laws of biology our bodies would disintegrate. Without the laws of government our society would devolve to anarchy and self-destruction. Without the laws of physics our solar system would fly into chaos. Law preserves and perfects life because law preserves the order upon which all life is dependent. (D&C 88:34).

If the eternal system of law and order were destroyed all organization would end. Life in its present form would cease. Only eternal chaos and confusion would prevail. God’s house is not a house of confusion. He would never permit this to happen. He will always honor the demands of eternal law because confusion brings destruction, whereas order brings life. “For behold, this is my work and my glory -- to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39).

When it comes to social order, every organization needs an order. Otherwise, chaos ensues. It doesn’t matter if the organization consists of 2,000,000, or 2,000, or 200, or 2. To have order, there must be an order (first, second, third, etc.), and the order must, by definition, have a first, or a head. The only alternative is to have no order. There are no other options. We either have order or chaos.

If we opt for order there must be an order. If there is an order there must be a head. If one were to say, “Our order is to have no head,” then a contradiction exists. What that really means is, “Our order is to have no order.” Calling chaos “order” does not make it so. Chaos is the absence of order.

Does every order require a head? Can we organize ourselves in a configuration requiring no head? The real question is, “Can we have order without having order?” Of course, the answer is, “No.”

Elder James E. Talmage said:

In every organization, however simple or complex, there must needs be a centralization of authority, in short, a head. [God has placed man at the head of the household, alongside his wife as full and faithful partner,] and God holds him accountable for his administration. That many men fail in their station, that some are weak and unfit, that in particular instances the wife may be the more capable and in divers ways the better of the pair, should not be considered as evidence. . . [of] unrighteousness in the established order.
Woman should be regarded, not in the sense of privilege but of right, as the associate of man in the. . . home, and they two should form the governing head of the family institution, while to each separately pertain duties and function which the other is less qualified to discharge. Weakness or inefficiency on the part of either in specified instances must not be taken to impugn the wisdom by which the organization of the home and of society has been planned [by God]. (“The Eternity of Sex,” Young Woman’s Journal, October 1914, 602, as cited by Patricia T. Holland in To Rejoice as Women, 107).

We have a friend who was employed by a company with seven directors. They were opposed to appointing a leader from among the seven directors, because none believed himself to be a better leader than any of the other seven. Their entire company organization chart was “flat,” following the latest trend in management styles. It was not to be a vertical hierarchical organization. Everyone was a competent professional, needing little direction. The employees of the firm were called “associates” so no one would be slighted by being called an employee.  The theory was everyone would have a stake in the success of the company and no one would feel inferior. No one assumed any leadership role for the decisions of the company. The teams of associates "sort of" reported to whichever director was available, then felt they had to contact at least four of the seven directors to achieve a majority consensus of the owners. As one can imagine, the result was chaos. The company folded after two years with no remaining cash to operate. They chose chaos when they chose no order.

In a group someone must always go first, be first, speak first or choose first. We can elect, appoint or the position can be taken by force, but it is the most natural tendency in human nature to want to organize. Have you ever attended the first meeting of a newly formed committee? Remember the urgent need was to appoint a leader or spokesperson? It is usually the first item on the agenda.

We know a small branch in the mission field where there weren’t enough members to fully staff every organization, so the branch president also served as the Sunday School president, the elders quorum president, the Relief Society president and the high priest group leader. He had the luxury of merely sitting down to think when he called a meeting. But in any organization with more than one person order must prevail.

A group needs organization, it needs a leader even if it is a merely discussion facilitator. Every group needs a head. Monarchies have a head, dictatorships have a head, theocracies have a head, democracies have a head, parliaments have a head, even tribes have a head. There are no organizations without heads. Without a head they are not organizations.

Is there one example of successfully organizing a group that worked without a head? Nothing in the history of the world comes to mind.

There are different kinds of heads -- permanent heads, temporary heads, revolving heads, full heads, partial heads, air heads, despotic heads, loving heads, heavy-handed heads, hands-off heads, and brainless heads without a clue -- but always there is a head to bring order out of chaos. There must be a line of responsibility. Someone has to be ultimately responsible.

Someone might say, “We will have no head. We will operate strictly on a majority vote.” That is what our friend’s company attempted to do. No one even felt enough authority to call for the vote, no one set the agenda for the items to be voted upon, everyone wondered when and how to present and discuss the issues and finally in the end one director was appointed “czar” with absolute authority and autonomy to lead. It was a desperate attempt to establish order after chaos had already prevailed.

Others would argue that being equals as saints means we should have no heads in our homes or in the Church to lead us or to appoint us to duties and stewardships. When we become perfected and sanctified, made holy and become equals as gods, they would assert, we certainly will have no heads, no order and no appointments then.

But those who would argue thus are mistaken. Even the Gods, exalted and sitting in celestial glory, dwell in order. Our God was appointed by the council of Gods, which was called by the head of the Gods.

The Prophet Joseph Smith first learned by revelation, and then taught:

In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. (TPJS, 349).

The word Eloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through – Gods. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us. (TPJS, 372).

Even the Gods operate within an order, and dwell eternally in order. Priesthood, according to the Prophet Joseph, is an order, even the holy priesthood after the order of the Son of God. It is an eternal order, not temporary in any way. (See D&C 107:3; JST Genesis 14:25-40; TPJS, 157, 158, 167).

God’s children will always be organized according to principles of law and order:

The organization of spiritual and heavenly worlds, and of spiritual and heavenly beings was agreeable to the most perfect order and harmony: Their limits were fixed irrevocably, and voluntarily subscribed to in their heavenly estate by themselves.  (TPJS, 325).

The Father called all spirits before Him at the creation of man and organized them. He (Adam) was the head, and was told to multiply. The keys were first given to him, and by him to others. He will have to give an account of his stewardship and they to him.  (TPJS, 158).

Those individuals who embrace the principles of authority and order, stewardships, laws and heads will come to comprehend God and His kingdom in its fullness.

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