And I’m a Mormon

June 27, 2014

There is so much to be said these days and by so many people!  It seems many people are experts on everything and anything and nothing all at the same time.  I am no expert.  But I do have some things to say in light of recent events, in particular with events within and without of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I was a history major with a political science minor and thus I love current events and I love discussing hot topics and politics.  What is it that I have to say in regard to current events?

THIS WORLD NEEDS LOVE & TOLERANCE [on all sides of the issues], not bickering and name calling and blame placing.

Unfortunately many of you will be disappointed that I’m not going to write a bulleted list on whether or not I think Kate Kelly [founder of Ordain Women] should or should not have been excommunicated (mostly because it is NOT my place to do so), or how I feel about the gay rights fight in Utah and across the nation (and in fact, world).  But my stand is this: I am a member of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints.  If we see the name of the church we see Christ’s name.  I belong to Christ’s church and as such I do my best to follow Christ, and Christ more than anything else, teaches love & tolerance & truth.

There is a difference between love and acceptance, tolerance and truth, love and tolerance, and truth and tolerance.  All of these things are different, and all of them are needed.  One of my favorite talks about this is by Elder Oaks, an apostle, or leader, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It discusses the need for tolerance and truth, diversity, and love.  Although you might need a dictionary to read it (I did… this man was a lawyer and former Utah Supreme Court Justice), it is well discussed and what I believe to be true.  [You can read it here.]  I believe that we can have different opinions, beliefs, and ideas and still be tolerant and love each other, even when we are very passionate and confident in our beliefs.

I know people from around the world and from a variety of backgrounds. I know people that are very similar to me in terms of religion, language, race, culture, beliefs, sports, education, finances, etc. However I also know people that hate my religion, have another religion, speak a different language, hate the Jazz, love the Lakers, are lesbian, gay, or bisexual, have/had an addiction, hate America, are indifferent to cultural awareness, are extremely rich, living in extreme poverty, and a variety of other major experiences and beliefs that make them very different than I.  Despite these differences though, I have never been in a screaming match with someone about my or their beliefs and experience, and we have been able to discuss our beliefs and opinions openly without contention or agreement.  What is it that makes this possible? Love, tolerance, and truth, on all sides and from all people.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, a former prophet of the LDS church said:
“Each of us is part of a great family, the human family, sons and daughters of God, and therefore brothers and sisters.  We must work harder to build mutual respect, an attitude of forbearance, with tolerance one for another regardless of the doctrines and philosophies which we may espouse.” [as quoted in Elder Oaks talk found here.]

So… we are part of humanity which means we all have something in common and yet what I’m saying here is that we are not going to be the same.  We are going to disagree and disagree on big things.  That does not mean that we need to force each other to change, in fact only a person can choose to change themselves.  We can stand by our beliefs and by our ideals without compromising them and without demeaning, degrading, and belittling others.  We can do as the Savior would and love people with tolerance and truth.  We can do this whether the person we agree/disagree with are a member of the church, a leader in the church, an apostate from the church, an anti-mormon, an investigator, a recently baptized member, a non-member, a less-active in the church, an excommunicated member, someone who has never heard of the church, or is simply not interested, a return missionary (RM), an early return-RM, and this is just SOME of the religious differences of people likely in your neighborhood.  We can love these people.  We can certainly love people who have even bigger and more differences than that.  We can find common ground in the fact that we are all people, and members of humanity regardless of how each other is acting.  I would hope that I can love people the way the Savior did, even if I don’t do it perfectly.  I would hope that anyone who reads this can find one small way to love a family member, friend, or even an enemy the way Jesus Christ would have us today and within the next week, even if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ. He loved unconditionally, which means without condition- something that is incredibly hard to not only understand, but to do.

And if this lengthy post didn’t convince you, perhaps a 3 minute clip on civility  or a 2 minute clip on judgement with a cool quote at the end can.  (Or find the videos here & here)

Peace and love y’all.

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