A few quick thoughts on GC

I have a few quick thoughts on General Conference I’d like to share.

1)What was Pres. Hinckley referring to in his warning to priesthood members to avoid statements that can be interpreted as racist?
2)I thought Elder Wood’s talk on Sunday afternoon was especially applicable to the Bloggernacle.

On the first issue, here’s Bryce’s summary:

Thank you for your faith and prayers. As a man grows old, he develops a softer touch, a kindlier manner. A question I have been pondering: Why so much hatred in the world? Wars, jealaousy, anger. Racial tension even within the chruch. There was rejoicing in the 1978 revelation in the temple. I was there. There was no doubt that it was inspired.

No man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ or in harmony with the teachings of the church of Christ.

Throughout my service as a member of the 1st Presidency, I have spoken a number of times about the diversity in the world. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves each of his children. If you hold hatred and prejudice, repent.

Bryce pretty much captured the essence of the Prophet’s reference to racism. But it seemed to me he was referring to recent events, something that has happened in the last few weeks that has him worried. He seemed visibly upset.

I have no clue to what he was referring. Is this a reference to the immigration debate? Is it possible the prophet is concerned about people who oppose immigration for racial reasons and that some of them may be members of the Church?

Ronan makes the argument here that this is a reference to publicity on racial struggles in the Church. Perhaps he’s right.

I am aware that immigration is of particular interest to me and I’m willing to be convinced that the prophet was worried about something else entirely besides immigration. Please convince me.

On 2), I thought Elder Wood’s talk is particularly applicable to the Bloggernacle. Here is Guy’s summary:

2:04 Robert S. Wood Quorum of the Seventy. Voices are growing ever more strident. God has warned us that Satan would stir up people’s heart to anger. Deluded and wicked men in Book of Mormon stir up men and women to anger. The time of Christ’s birth and second comming will be days of vengance.

Be aware of those who stir us up to anger so that calm reflection and thought are lost. Andrew Jackson said, elevate your guns a little lower. Many of us need to do the same. We need to raise the level of public and private discourse. We need to uphold wise, honest, and good men and women–wherever they are found. Culture of slander, stereotyping. Spirit of mocking of those with whom we disagree, are those who occupy the large and spacious building. There are mockers in the last times who walk after their own ungodly lust.

Cynicisim closely related to mockery. Display disblief in sincerity.

When your polictics cause you to speak unkindly of your brethern, you are on dangerous ground. It is not our duty to find fault in others. But, in kindness and love we help them find truth that God has revealed in latter days.

We cannot be caught up in a world that takes and gives offense. We should rejoice in the truth, and the pure love of Christ, which we represent. President Hinckley has counseled that we may give opinions; but, to have hatred or ill will as a result of political differences.

Blogging can sometimes be an emotional thing. People are expressing opinions and can take offense quickly when others disagree with them. People sometimes seem inclined to write things in a blog that they would never say in person.

I must say I’ve encountered a fair share of mean-spirited responses to my posts over the years. Elder Wood’s talk is a good response to some of the snarkiness in the Bloggernacle.

At the same time, it’s also a warning to tone down my own rhetoric, which has never had the humility and charity it should. Once again, my faith in modern revelation being pertinent to these times is reaffirmed.

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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.

12 thoughts on “A few quick thoughts on GC

  1. I thought of the Bloggernacle during Elder Wood’s talk too. I also thought of a post that I’d been planning regarding calls I’d seen on the Bloggernacle for more pagentry and ritual in our Easter celebrations. This post that I thought would be so snazzy and witty stood revealed for what it truly was: an example of mockery, of straw-men arguments and “more righteous than thou” attitudes. I’m grateful for Elder Wood’s talk. That Easter post will be heavily revised if it’s written at all and I too will be striving harder to keep love, humility and charity in mind when I post.

  2. I really thought of Blogging during Persident Hinkley’s son’s talk. Richard Hinkley? He said keep a notebook about what your membership in the church means to you. Sounds just like a blog to me.

  3. Blogging never once crossed my mind during Elder Wood’s talk. I can see how it could apply, though. What I thought about was politics and international relations and how hostile and cruel it can be to the participants.

  4. I TiVo’d conference. At the end of Elder Wood’s talk he gave a marvelous quote from President Hinckley that I backed up and listened to at least 5 times. The point of it seemed to be that no matter what differences may lie between members of Church in our politics and allegiances to certain governments, there is no excuse for us to demean or criticize each other.

  5. Geoff–I agree 100% with your analyis of Elder Wood’s talk and its applicability to the bloggernacle. It has application in every day discourse (private and public) outside the ‘nacle as well; however, I think it has particular applicability to blogging–LDS blogging in particular–a good reminder we all have room to improve. I have room to improve. Thanks for posting your thoughts.

  6. Geoff, regarding President Hinckley’s remarks, I wondered if some people had been making harsh statements about Muslims or Middle Easterners or something to that effect. What with all the commentary in the news about the Iraq war and about homeland security and racial profiling and all, it struck me that that may have been something he was referring to–hateful talk about those from the Middle East.

    Of course, it may be a combination of things–immigration, blacks, Native Americans, Asians, etc. It could be that he’s been consulted by stake presidents from different places about different racial problems. I’m just guessing, of course, but racism can raise its ugly head anywhere over anything. That’s a sad thing, so I am glad he addressed it.

  7. Hi all- I’m new to the ‘bloggernacle.’ I’ve read for a while but President Hinckley’s comments on racism have prompted me to write.

    As black member of the church, I’m perplexed and I wish he would have gone into further detail. I moved to Utah from eastern Texas to attend BYU. Before coming here I heard all kinds of stuff about Utah Mormons and racial discrimination. However, I was very surprised when I got up here at the acceptance and love that was shown me. I haven’t experienced any discrimination in 2 plus years, racial or otherwise. Yes, people look at you a little differently when they first see you, but I think that may be because a black person in these parts is rare. It’s not out of discrimination. To be honest, Utah Mormons have been some of the most accepting people I have ever met.

    So I’m a little confused as to what President Hinckley meant by his comments. It did make me think a little about Africa, how some tribes back there are still enemies. Some districts are composed of members from rival tribes, and many times there is hostility within the branches.

  8. Aaron –

    that’s good to hear.

    I wonder if perhaps Hinkley’s comments were somehow realted to BYU firing Darron Smith – perhaps as a way to head off some criticism in that area?

    I don’t know. They were welcome remarks nonetheless – in Alaska growing up, I know I was taught some rather racist doctrines. Luckily, our ward got over when an African family actually moved into the ward (the wife became Relief Society president). So perhaps one possible cure to the subtle and not so subtle racism that sometimes happens in the church is more service alongside each other.

  9. “there is no excuse for us to demean or criticize each other”.

    Obviously “you are stupid” is demeaning and/or critical and “your opinion/idea is stupid, because …” is rather blunt, and even if logically argued is rather demeaning.

    Another way to but it is more poetic or flowery: “I fail to understand or agree with your point X because…”, nevertheless IMO most people read this the same as “you are stupid”.

    So the question is how much effect ought to be put into the ‘niceness’ of an logical disagreement?

  10. I attended a leadership training session today and we talked about communication. One of the things we discussed is how email is a non emotional type of communication and unless we use symbols like 🙂 or 🙁 we do not communicate feeling with just text. Some phraseology that we use does not translate well to our posts. We would do well to remember that we may sound course, turse, or full of anger when the emotional expressions of language and body language are not present for the reader to see.

    I think one of the verses that was quoted on saturday and I forget who said it was:

    “30 But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not. (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 4:30)”

    We need to be watchful!!

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