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
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
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:
food orders given out to hungry individuals
people in 35 countries receiving vision care
people in dozens of countries receiving wheelchairs
of mothers in 39 countries receiving newborn care
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?