Here are just a few thought’s I’ve had this Sunday afternoon, they are in no particular order.
Thought One: I posted a meme with a quote by Pres. Howard W. Hunter on the Millennial Star Facebook page a few weeks ago which said, “We need to be kinder with one another, more gentle and forgiving.”
Along the lines of forgiveness and kindness, in my Gospel Doctrine class today I included a story of Edward Partridge, the first bishop of the Church. He was one of the leaders of the Church in Missouri and in charge of helping people settle into land and life there. He was a target of mob violence and suffered a tarring and feathering. He said of the incident,
“I told [the mob] that the Saints had suffered persecution in all ages of the world; that I had done nothing which ought to offend anyone; that if they abused me, they would abuse an innocent person; that I was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ; but, to leave the country, I was not then willing to consent to it. I bore my abuse with so much resignation and meekness, that it appeared to astound the multitude, who permitted me to retire in silence, many looking very solemn, their sympathies having been touched as I thought; and as to myself, I was so filled with the Spirit and love of God, that I had no hatred towards my persecutors or anyone else” (Our Heritage: A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chapter 4).
In the age of social media mob violence, we need to be kinder, gentler and more forgiving of each other. We will be more effective as Latter-day Saints by being kinder to people than by being argumentative and rude.
Though two: This weekend I read an article in BuzzFeed (I know forgive me!) about the rise of the Mormon alt-right. I was very saddened by this for several reasons. First, we’re supposed to love everyone. I will admit, it’s not easy to do that – but I do know I can at least be nice to people, both online and in person, even if I don’t love them. I have people in my life, I struggle to love. I work on loving these people – it’s a struggle. I’m sure some of you might be able to relate. We do our best and keep working to have our hearts softened.
Second, if we choose to participate in the kind of division that the alt-right and similar groups on the left preach we’re not building Zion. Again from my lesson today, we read Doctrine & Covenants 38: 24-27 which says:
“24 And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me.
25 And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself.
26 For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?
27 Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”
If we are not one, we are not the Savior’s. So that means we have to look past the politics, the church culture, people’s pasts, and help each other live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thought three, General Conference is next week. We will be live blogging it here on The Millennial Star, we invite you to come share your thoughts with us.
Along these lines, today, I posted a meme on the Facebook page with a quote from Pres. Uchtdorf which said, “Whatever we seek, that we will certainly find.” I had a few differing thoughts about how to interpret this quote. One, if we go looking for the negative we will find it. Conversely, if we look for the good, we will also find it. What will you be looking for in General Conference?
For a few years, as controversies have raged in LDS circles, I would hear a Conference talk that was bold or direct about a hot topic and think. “That’s going to upset this group, or that group.” It really took my enjoyment away from Conference because I would see the murmuring aftermath and just feel frustrated and angry with the people and the contention they were creating.
However, I have, over the last few Conferences tried to not think about other people’s reaction to Conference and tried to concentrate more on my own needs and reaction. I’m sure you are like me and have many questions about life, the gospel, people, the world and your place in it. Take your questions to Conference and pray to have them answered. If you’re not sure what to ask, then ask what questions to ask. It will give you focus as you listen to Conference this time around. I’m in the asking to ask stage as we start the week. I’m hoping to have some clarity for myself by the time Saturday morning comes. I hope that with some specific answers to questions I can move forward in the next six months and do better at loving and forgiving as Pres. Hunter counseled us, and do a better part at building up Zion.