Question: Is a Mormon disciplinary council really called a "court of love?"

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Question: Is a Mormon disciplinary council really called a "court of love?"

The term "court of love" was used in a general conference talk by Elder Robert L. Simpson in 1972

The term "court of love" was used in a general conference talk by Elder Robert L. Simpson in 1972. [1] At that time, disciplinary councils were referred to as "priesthood courts." The purpose of these courts was not to convict someone of a crime, but rather to help the person on the road to repentance and bring them back into full fellowship in the Church. Elder Simpson noted:

Priesthood courts of the Church are not courts of retribution. They are courts of love. Oh, that members of the Church could understand this fact.

The adversary places a fear in the heart of the transgressor that makes it so difficult for him to do what needs to be done; and in the words of James E. Talmage, “As the time of repentance is procrastinated, the ability to repent grows weaker; neglect of opportunity in holy things develops inability.” (Articles of Faith, p. 114.) This simply means that doing what needs to be done will never be easier than right now. As in all other paths and guideposts that have been provided for us to achieve our eternal destiny of exaltation, there are no shortcuts. [2]

The term is rarely used among active Latter-day Saints

The phrase "court of love" has become a favorite phrase of ex-Mormon critics as a way to mockingly describe any Church disciplinary council. The term is rarely used among active Latter-day Saints. The term has even made it into popular media: One example is a reference made by a character in an HBO series to a pending disciplinary proceeding that she (quite seriously) referred to as a "love court."


Notes

  1. Robert L. Simpson, "Courts of Love," Ensign (Jul 1972), 48. off-site
  2. Robert L. Simpson, "Courts of Love," Ensign (1972)