Gratitude for people kind about the LDS Church

April 5, 2008 at 8:11 pm (LDS)

In October 2007, Elder Quentin L. Cook was ordained as apostle of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his first talk as apostle (“Live By Faith and Not By Fear”, November 2007 Ensign, pp. 70-73), he gave an amazing talk. I say it was amazing because it was very powerful and, like all good talks, cuts through to sting and challenge us. (Nephi says in 1 Nephi 16:2, “And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.”)

At one point, the point that struck me the hardest, he said (“Live By Faith and Not By Fear”, November 2007 Ensign, p. 72, emphasis added):

Some mission presidents informed us that many wonderful members are in camouflage to their neighbors and co-workers. They do not let people know who they are and what they believe. We need much more member involvement in sharing the message of the Restoration.

Yes, he was talking about me. I hide my membership. There are two reasons why: one is that I did not want family and relatives to know that I am still a Latter-day Saint. The second reason is because I do not want to engage in the inevitable disparagement and opposing comments that will come when someone finds out I’m a Latter-day Saint.

So far, the latter has turned out to be somewhat true. I have told three classmates I am a Latter-day Saint. One, a Christian from India with Evangelical leanings, said that Latter-day Saints are not Christians. He had theological disagreements with Latter-day Saints. But the relationship between him and me improved as he realized that, like Latter-day Saints, I honor Jesus Christ and am positively disposed towards Christians. Another, a Catholic, made a few jokes about Salt Lake City but was respectful and did not make any comments, really, about the Church or its members. (Which is strange because of the three, he has the most exposure to Latter-day Saints: he worked for Bonneville Communications, which is owned by the Church, and his son lived in Salt Lake City.)

The third, a Wiccan woman, began to mock and disparage not only the Church’s beliefs but also its history and its members. She painted us all with a broad brush as intolerant misogynist stupid silly weirdos. She made some errors on what we believe and do. For some reason, she was adamant that Latter-day Saints hate and disparage and put down women. (She got much of her information from a book, and I am aware that book has been proven to be full of inaccuracies.)

(To be fair, she also began to rip the Catholic Church, also accusing it of hating women among other things.)

Sobek and I have commented over at Innocent Bystanders that while various IBers may have significant theological disagreements with us, and while strong theological debates may go on, everyone is very kind to us. They do not mock our faith nor do they attempt to bring or tear us down. They simply want to demonstrate how we are wrong, as they understand Christianity. I am always amused when Ace talks about us. He doesn’t agree with us, nor does he get our beliefs and practices always right. But he speaks up for us.

I find is amusing that a Wiccan would rip into us but the Catholic did not and the Indian had a tepid theological disagreement.

I am so much more grateful for people who are kind to and about us, even if they disagree with us.

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7 Comments

  1. Theresa Chaze said,

    I was not appropriate for anyone to harass you because of your beliefs. Everyone’s spiritual path is individual and personal, no matter how one labels one self. However, not as an excuse but an explaination, you have just received a minor version of the treatment many Wiccans and Pagan live with every day. Not only are we threatened but the threats are carried out–with physical violence, loss of home, jobs and children. Police single them out for harassment. Christians go out of their way to try and convert us. I have a live and let live pollicy when it comes to religions, life paths and spiritul following, but I have a knee jerk reaction when people try to convert me–come to my house, stop me on the street to tell me about your one true God and tell me how evil I am and I have no issue with blooding my verbal claws.

  2. nicedeb said,

    I’ve never met a Mormon I didn’t like.

  3. PattyAnn said,

    My experience with Wiccans is that they are ‘live and let live’. Sorry your experience was with a Bitchan.

  4. Kevin said,

    I have to admit that I’m horribly jealous of you. I am incapable of believing in the Book of Mormon, as is my wife. Yet every single Mormon I have ever known is so happy and filled with life. It’s intoxicating and wonderful. It’s clearly the best way to live, regardless of what happens when we die. Such loving families. Of all of the people I’ve ever met, the Mormons are all at the top of the ‘happiest’ list.

    Yet neither I nor my wife can join in. Believe me when I repeat: I am horribly jealous of you.

  5. sulla said,

    Solid post, Mushiloon. I don’t shy away from my Mormonism online, but I can’t say I’m a “flagrant Mormon” as often as perhaps I should be. Thanks for the reminder of Elder Cook’s talk.

    I’m never entirely sure how much to jump in when the LDS church becomes the topic, especially in the way it often does on HotAir. I’ve noticed lately the inner conflict between the desire to avoid contention, the desire to defend obvious untruths or mischaracterizations, and the desire to reply sarcastically to someone who seems in dire need of a horsewhippin’. The older I get, the more I lean toward Door #1.

    Anyway, good piece. Thanks.

  6. Michael said,

    while various IBers may have significant theological disagreements with us, and while strong theological debates may go on, everyone is very kind to us

    I only put up with Sobek because his wife is so cute.

  7. B Smith said,

    Here in America, you’d think that, although you might not AGREE with another’s faith, you’d at least be disposed to RESPECT it. Maybe it’s just another sad, sorry sign o’ the times.
    Back in my ‘chat room days’, I used to visit the Wiccan rooms fairly regularly, and I’ve also had a few Wiccan friends over the years. This is in large part due to the fact that the ones I met were unfailingly respectful and polite, provided you extended them the same courtesy. It’s odd for me to hear of one disparaging another religion, because they don’t really recruit (evangelize?)…they always advise you to, “follow your own path”, whatever it may be. I guess I’d advise you to chalk that one up as a bad apple, and a poor representative of Wicca

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