About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

A non-hysterical response to the Trump refugee ban

(Warning: this post will present many different viewpoints on a complex issue.)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints clearly wants its members to have charity for refugees.

Go to lds.org.  Put in the word “refugees” in a search.  87 stories came up emphasizing the importance of Christ-like love and support for refugees.

Take a look here.

In my stake in Colorado, the stake presidency has emphasized creating welcome baskets for any refugees in our area.  The Church has put out two statements in the last 13 months asking members to have charity for refugees.

And then there is this video from Elder Uchtdorf:

I think it is impossible to watch this video and not feel heartbreak for refugees.

Now having said all this, I have seen a very large number of normally reasonable people go   over the edge on Trump’s refugee ban.   Way too many people are reacting with hysteria, scorn and hatred.   Don’t get me wrong: you can oppose the steps taken by Trump.  You can march and hold peaceful protests.  But it is a sure sign you are being motivated by the wrong forces if you respond with outrage and anger.

Meanwhile, there are some things to consider.

Continue reading

Church issues statement on refugees

I quote from this Deseret News story:

Amid the controversy swirling around President Trump’s executive order banning refugees from seven Muslim countries, the LDS Church issued a statement late Saturday night urging solutions that relieve refugee suffering.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned about the temporal and spiritual welfare of all of God’s children across the earth,” the statement said, “with special concern for those who are fleeing physical violence, war and religious persecution. The church urges all people and governments to cooperate fully in seeking the best solutions to meet human needs and relieve suffering.”

On Friday afternoon, Trump signed an executive order that suspended the U.S. refugee resettlement program for four months. It also cut the number of refugees the United States will accept this year to 50,000, down from the 110,000 set by President Barack Obama.

A federal judge blocked part of the order on Saturday.

The order barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocked entry to anyone from countries with terrorism concerns for 90 days. The State Department said those countries are seven predominantly Muslim nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

That led religious faiths throughout the United States to voice concerns about religious freedom.

This is the second time the LDS Church has responded to Trump’s calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a strong statement in December 2015 soon after Trump on the campaign trail called for a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States.

Like Saturday’s statement, the December 2015 statement did not name Trump or refer specifically to the controversy, but it said that while the faith is neutral in regard to party politics and election campaigns, “it is not neutral in relation to religious freedom.”

 

President Kimball on Church discipline

President Spencer W. Kimball, counseling priesthood leaders, said:

“We are concerned that too many times the interviewing leader in his personal sympathies for the transgressor, and in his love perhaps for the family of the transgressor, is inclined to waive the discipline which that transgressor demands.

“Too often a transgressor is forgiven and all penalties waived when that person should have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated. Too often a sinner is disfellowshipped when he or she should have been excommunicated. …

“Do you remember what was said by the prophet Alma? ‘Now,’ he said, ‘repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment.’ [Alma 42:16.]

“Ponder on that for a moment. Have you realized that? There can be no forgiveness without real and total repentance, and there can be no repentance without punishment. This is as eternal as is the soul. …

“Please remember these things when somebody comes before you who has broken the laws of God.

“It is so easy to let our sympathies carry us out of proportion; and when a man has committed sin, he must suffer. It’s an absolute requirement—not by the bishop—but it’s a requirement by nature and by the very part of a man.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p. 116; or Ensign, May 1975, p. 78.)

Thoughts from readers?

The MoTab member who refused to sing at Trump’s inauguration is interviewed

Jan Chamberlin, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir member who refused to sing at Trump’s inauguration, is interviewed.

A few quick thoughts:

1)Sister Chamberlin seems like a nice enough person.  It is useful to put a face to a name and to see her express her views calmly.

2)I strongly disagree with her comparison of Trump to Hitler, and I think she will be embarrassed by this comparison over time.  Trump is certain to do bad things just like all presidents, but he will leave office in four or eight years, and all indications are Trump actually wants to avoid a world war, not start one.  If I were Jewish, I would be deeply offended by comparing Trump, who is notably pro-Israel, to Hitler and his concentration camps.

3)Not all MoTab members are singing at the inauguration.  Sister Chamberlin could have quietly told the leadership she didn’t want to go for this concert.  Instead, she deliberately took this issue public.  I suppose she would say her motives were in the best interests of the country, but I am skeptical.  I mostly see her actions as virtue signaling to her friends.

4)The choir is an important missionary tool and public symbol of the Church.  The MoTab also brings the Spirit of the Lord. Many people feel the Spirit in different ways and in different situations. You may not feel the Spirit every time the MoTab sings, but you may have felt it once or twice. I very often think of choirs of angels with I see the MoTab sing. I find myself thinking how extraordinary it is to see these people sing together in harmony and how great they sound. Everybody needs the Spirit of the Lord, even (and perhaps especially) President-elect Trump. If you are opposed to Trump’s politics, why wouldn’t you want him to be exposed to the Spirit of the Lord? What harm could it do?  Aren’t we supposed to spread the Gospel to everybody?

I am wondering if Sister Chamberlin is already regretting her decision to take this issue public. Or is she enjoying this 15 minutes of fame?  I honestly don’t know, but I think there will come a time when she regrets her comparisons of Trump to Hitler.  She has already taken down her Facebook post in which she makes that comparison.