Turning Something Very Good Into Something Very Bad

Jacob Z. Hess

This is the fourth of a seven-part series, “Recruiting Alma the Younger” (see earlier essays on attachment injury, the pain of separation from the Saints and historical claims against the Church). Appreciations to Public Square Magazine and Meridian Magazine for sharing this previously. 

When a divorce takes place, something else almost always happens before:  whatever had once been earnestly, easily embraced as good and beautiful comes to be experienced as definitely not good and anything but beautiful. In the place of previous preciousness, new feelings of aching animosity often arise, alongside a new understanding of one’s partner, the relationship, and its history – as old memories are swapped out for a very different story.    

This happens with a dissolving marriage. And it does with the end of other kinds of unions, including in relation to faith communities. 

In a talk earlier this month, Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, outlined some of the humanitarian work the Church had been able to accomplish in a single year with the help of member contributions, including:

  • 400,000 food orders given out to hungry individuals
  • 300,000 people in 35 countries receiving vision care 
  • 50,000 people in dozens of countries receiving wheelchairs
  • Thousands of mothers in 39 countries receiving newborn care
  • Over 100 disaster-relief projects around the world helping victims of hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, and other calamities

Since these efforts began, hundreds of communities in 76 countries have also received clean water, with a total of more than two billion dollars provided in aid to people throughout the world independent of “church affiliation, nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender, or political persuasion.”

To many observers—even those who wouldn’t consider themselves religious—such efforts would be reliable markers of a people and an organization that is “good.”But especially over the last decade, more and more have come to see this faith community (along with other religions) in a very different light. 

How does something good on its face, come to be experienced as bad?  

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Pres. Nelson meets with NAACP leadership

This morning Pres. Nelson and other church leaders met with the leadership of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Watch the press conference from this morning HERE.

Pres. Nelson spoke about this meeting today on his Facebook page. He said,

“It was my pleasure today to meet with national officials of the NAACP to affirm the fundamental doctrine—and heartfelt conviction—of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that all people are God’s precious children and are therefore brothers and sisters. Nearly a quarter century ago, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles proclaimed that “all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.”

Today, in unity with such capable and impressive leaders as the national officials of the NAACP, we are impressed to call on people of this nation and, indeed, the entire world to demonstrate greater civility, racial and ethnic harmony, and mutual respect. In meetings this morning, we have begun to explore ways—such as education and humanitarian service—in which our respective members and others can serve and move forward together, lifting our brothers and sisters who need our help, just as our Savior, Jesus Christ, would have us do. These are His words: “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27).

Together we invite all people, organizations, and governments to work with greater civility, eliminating prejudice of all kinds, and focusing more on the many areas and interests that we all have in common. As we lead our people to work cooperatively, we will all achieve the respect, regard, and blessings that God seeks for all of His children.

Considering the toxic environment of most social media, the online public square and the real public square, this is good council for all people to follow. Latter-day Saints can and should lead the way in promoting civility. Let’s get to it!

Russell M. Nelson Called as 17th President of the Church

If you missed this morning’s announcement about the newly organized First Presidency, you can watch the video below. The First Presidency announcement starts at the 52 minute mark and the press conference, which began at 10am this morning starts at the 1:51 (one hour, fifty-one) minute mark.

President Russell M. Nelson was called and set apart on Sunday as the 17th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Dallin H. Oaks has been called as the First Councelor and Henry B. Eyring has been called as the Second Councelor. Elder M. Russell Ballard has been called to be the acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Elder Christofferson conducted the meeting and took a few minutes to explain the process of how the new president is chosen and how things are organized, he also bore his testimony of the meeting, “As a participant, it was sweet, sacred experience in which the Lord’s will was clearly manifest and all were in full accord. This experience confirmed once again that Jesus Christ directs His church.”

He also explained that by choosing the senior most apostle to be the president of the church, posturing or campaigning for position is eliminated, that this process provides continuity and that the one who becomes the new president has been prepared for this calling. He also quoted Elder John A. Widtsoe, “This is a wise procedure. It places at the head of the church the apostle who has been the longest in service. He is known well to the people and trusted by them. He himself knows the procedure of church affairs. He is no novice to be trained for the position.”

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