Today we will partake of the emblems of the sacrament in our homes, whether administered by a family member ordained to appropriate priesthood office or someone ministering to our homes.

I thought of the second stanza of a poem my husband wrote for friends who married in the temple and were sealed into the New and Everlasting Covenant:

Grant us the firm, enduring faith
to meet commitment’s need:
To face affliction side by side;
To seek the spirit’s constant guide
’Til heart and mind are purified,
Of every evil freed.

May your Sabbath be a blessing to you and your household.

Spring has been cancelled

Not really, of course. But the Church announced that the public has been invited to watch 2020 General Conference from home. Church meetings worldwide are suspended until further notice. Many universities have cancelled in-person instruction and will conduct the rest of their semesters via remote instruction.

Summer events such as the June conference of the Mormon History Association may be cancelled, depending on the COVID-19 precautions recommended as weather warms. [Current expectation is that COVID-19 will *not* be slowed by the advent of warm, humid weather.]

Even those of us without a tradition of spring cleaning are purchasing the products that get rid of 99.99% of viruses and wiping down surfaces that many hands touch. I and others have been offering outstretched elbows to bump in lieu of the traditional hand shake.

A few years ago a bad flu season blew through, and I switched our household from using common cloth towels for hand drying to paper towels – reportedly more hygienic than common air dryers. It’s a switch which I am glad to maintain in the face of this season’s challenge.

This isn’t the worst disaster. Even the worst projections I’ve seen for COVID-19 pale in comparison to the numbers who died from the Spanish Influenza a century ago.

But this is the disaster of our day. What tips do you have for how to adjust to the social distancing we’re all having an opportunity to practice?

What do readers think of #DezNat?

I don’t use Twitter, so I have completely missed the #DezNat phenomenon until now.

What is #DezNat? It is a Twitter hash tag used by people wanting to defend the Church. The reference appears to be to “Deseret Nation,” which I guess is meant to promote faithful members of the Church.

Why did the movement start? Here are some links that may describe some of the history:

To sum up what I have been able to discover, Twitter has long been dominated by questioning/left-wing/or anti-Mormons when it comes to issues related to the Church. People who post things that support the Church have been consistently derided or attacked, often mercilessly. (This is one of the many reasons I don’t use Twitter).

Sometime in the last two years or so, people began to fight back. They adopted the hashtag #DezNat. To hear supporters tell it, this finally created a sense of community where defenders of the Church (always in a minority) could find common cause. There finally were social media members willing to defend the people defending the Church.

Critics of #DezNat appear to make various claims: 1)#DezNat people are often rude and sometimes use vulgar language. 2)#DezNat people are homophobic, sexist, encourage death threats, etc. 3)#DezNat people are alt-right. 4)#DezNat people create mean-spirited memes. 5)#DezNat people sometimes go overboard and use some of the same tactics as the anti-Mormons they dislike.

This is a post that offers people the opportunity to either 1)defend #DezNat or 2)point out specific examples of bad behavior. I will be moderating comments, so no profanity and please look at M*’s comments policy.

Anybody who has followed this blog knows that I constantly have defended the Church. The tone police have often accused me of being too harsh at times. But I don’t use profanity, and I try to be as fair as possible, and I try to follow these guidelines (the link is a talk by Elder Von G. Keetch, a General Authority Seventy, to students at Brigham Young University–Idaho):

In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul teaches that members need to be an “example of the believers.” However, Elder Keetch explained that being an example “is much more than just living the principles of the gospel for others to see. … Those same principles need to be part of our conversations, of our love for others, as part of the spirit we convey, as part of the faith that defines who we are.”

When confronted about beliefs it is easy to want to “sound a hasty retreat,” or “become defensive in a point/counterpoint debate,” said Elder Keetch, who gave several suggestions on how to become an “example of the believers.”

First, he told students that whenever there is a heated argument or contention, “the best way to proceed is with love, respect, and understanding, while never abandoning the conviction of truth that we hold in our hearts.” Furthermore, it is the most effective to follow the Savior’s example and to engage people one on one, he said.

How does the above apply to social media? I think we are all working that out. Does #DezNat defend the Church in a way consistent with the above advice? That is what I am trying to find out.

Is anybody willing to defend the people defending the Church?

I have been in the on-line latter-day Saint world for almost two decades now. And in that time, I have seen several trends. One trend is that the vast majority of people active in the on-line world tend to move left over time. There are exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of people I have interacted with in the on-line latter-day Saint world are more left-wing today than they were 20 years ago.

To define terms: by left-wing I mean more willing to criticize Church leaders rather than to support them. And I also mean more willing to criticize your typical traditional, conservative latter-day Saint. I personally have observed the sad process of more than 100 people on-line transitioning from active, temple-worthy Church members to inactive, open critics of the Church. And for these people, the bad guys are always some “conservative TBM” who offended them in some way. (TBM: “True Blue Mormon” or “True Believing Mormon.”)

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