Those of us who go to church know that most active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are generally good people who spend a lot of their free time with their families or doing service, either at the temple or in their callings.
President Gordon B. Hinckley famously said that the primary symbol of our faith is not the cross, like other Christian denominations, but instead “the lives of our people,” meaning that President Hinckley was betting that most Church members lead exemplary lives. And in fact I can report, and I am sure all readers can report, that you often hear from non-members that church members “sure are nice,” even if they don’t accept the doctrines of our faith.
It also happens to be true that the vast majority of Church members are conservative, at least socially. Most Church members are against elective abortion and are traditionalists on the issue of same-sex attraction and gender issues. Utah and Idaho, the most LDS states, are heavily Republican.
This creates a dilemma for Progressive Mormons (many of them call themselves ProgMos). How can it be that Church members are 1)nice people and 2)not social justice warriors like they are?
I have lived this reality for 20 years in the LDS on-line world, and one of the things I have discovered is that there is a huge amount of cognitive dissonance among ProgMos. It just can’t be true that your average member, the man or woman in your ward with the four kids and the job and the difficult calling and the monthly temple visits — it just can’t be that these are good people. So, what ProgMos do, and I have seen literally hundreds of examples over the years, is make up stories showing how these members are really racists or sexists or transphobes or whatever the latest really, really bad thing is.
Let me give you a recent example. Check out this tweet today:
NOTE: READ THE COMMENTS OF THIS POST FOR SOME CONTEXT AND SOME CORRECTIONS.
I am a follower of the Prince of Peace, and I believe in forgiving those who made mistakes, but the first step is an apology. I am happy to report that I have received some private apologies in the last few weeks. But a lot more needs to be done. When the Republicans retake the House, and almost certainly the Senate, they need to investigate — in detail — how and why public health officials pushed a false narrative from March 2020 until recently. And a lot of my fellow Latter-day Saints need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why they acted like tyrannical lunatics over a virus with a 99.7 percent survival rate.
Just a reminder of what you did: you prevented people from hugging each other for no reason:
You supported the police beating up innocent people who objected to the mandates.
Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt, 1st counselor in the YM presidency, warned in a recent talk that activism against the Church is an “effective tactic Satan is using to blind and mislead the young, those transitioning from other religious traditions and cultures, and even longtime and lifetime members of the Lord’s restored Church.”
“In my humble view, it is one of the great mists of darkness of our time. I speak of our enemy’s effort to transform disciples of Jesus Christ into activists toward or against the Lord’s Church and its leaders,” said Brother Corbitt.
“The United States was founded on and through activism and advocacy by activists,” and “you and I are beneficiaries of this activism,” Brother Corbitt said.
“But activism or advocacy directed toward or against the Church is a secular, worldly device misapplied in a spiritual, otherworldly context,” he said. “Change in the Kingdom of God is not accomplished in the same way as change is in, say, government.”
Brother Corbitt continued: “When activism or advocacy is directed at the kingdom of God on earth or its leaders, especially prophets and apostles, it is the wrong tool for the wrong job in the wrong place. Why? Because it effectively but subtly undermines the doctrine of Christ, which is God’s plan for changing, saving and exalting His children.”
I take notes at funerals. I don’t know if I’m the only that does that, but I find when I’m attending a funeral my heart and mind are more inclined to listen to the Holy Spirit and what he has to tell me.
Last week my Uncle Don passed away at the age on 97. He was my grandmother’s twin brother, she having preceded him in death in 2006. Uncle Don was a frequent presence in our family’s life, even though we lived in Arizona and he lived in Utah. When Uncle Don would come to visit, you could count on a fun time, lots of good, thought provoking conversations and the inspiration to be better and do better. He always called life a “spiritual high adventure” and lived that way. These themes were repeated in the many tributes that his family gave of him during the service.
“The Bridge on the River Kwai” is on its surface a movie about tremendous courage and tenacity during World War II. The movie, made in 1957 by Director David Lean, tells the story of mostly British POWs overcoming hardship to build a bridge for their Japanese captors in Burma (now Myanmar). The movie won the Academy Award for best picture in 1957 and has been widely praised and studied by film buffs.
The real message of ‘River Kwai’ is how human beings lose their ability to reason under pressure. War causes even virtuous goals like courage and integrity and discipline to be twisted into evil purposes. The real message is that human beings can quickly descend into insane and destructive behavior while claiming they are doing “something good.”
The last few words of the movie are “Madness! Madness!” said by one of the few sane observers, the Dr. Clipton (James Donald).
The movie’s first act involves a heroic battle of wills between the Japanese concentration camp commander Col. Saito and the British commander of the POWs, Lt. Col. Nicholson (Alec Guinness). For you younger folk, you may know Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi from the older Star Wars movies.