Thursday, January 21, 2010

Divisive Politics

This is Senator Harry Reid.  I just thought I'd point that out because most pictures I've seen of him lately depict him monstrously, flipping the bird, scowling, in one he even had horns.  I don't think the horns were because he's a Mormon either.  And clearly the depiction of his extended middle finger was not intended as an expression of the disgusting sign I loathe.  I was concerned that you might not recognize him with a smile and kindly look.  There isn't one of us, if we were photographed 1000's of times, that wouldn't produce some fodder for our opponents to mis-depict us.

I'm writing about this because Harry Reid probably has a higher percentage of opponents among his fellow Latter-day Saints that he has among any other group.  I've spoken to Mormon's who've even considered the merits of having him assassinated if you can imagine.  I didn't take their vitriol literally and I seriously doubt if any of them would actually act upon their wishes, but the fact that they even mentioned it troubles me big time.

I have a brother-in-law who lives just outside of Washington DC.  He has been in the Stake Presidency of his Stake and has served as a Bishop.  He has lived near the Capitol for many years.  He pointed out an interesting tidbit of fact - Harry Reid has a reputation for being one of the best Home Teachers in the Church.  Does that startle you?  It got me to thinking.  We have lots of folk in my ward who are not the least bit timid about expressing political views in Gospel Doctrine class or from the pulpit.  If Harry Reid lived in our ward he would undoubtedly be persecuted unmercifully, by such people.  Even when I agree with their politics I am very uncomfortable with them using church as their forum.  I am also very uncomfortable with the oppositionally defiant attitude of so many church members.  I'm constantly hearing them berate people of a liberal bent for listening to the liberal media.  If they'd just listen to themselves they'd hear canned conservative mantras that are equally spawned by conservative media.  The polarizing effect of this is damaging to both the country, the church and the individuals caught up in this contention.

Alma 2:5 - And it came to pass that the people assembled themselves together throughout all the land, every man according to his mind, whether it were for or against Amlici, in separate bodies, having much dispute and wonderful contentions one with another.

If you cross reference the word contention in that verse you'll discover what we all know in the Kingdom, that contention is of the Devil and is to be avoided.  That the adjective wonderful was used to describe it in this context implies astonishment rather than pleasurable excitement.  The observer here, to my thinking is clearly dismayed.  He probably had friends on both sides of that issue, just like we might here.  He probably heard them not only disagreeing with one another, but calling each other names.  He probably heard them casting aspersions on one another's character and making unkind reference as the their parentage and know the drill.  Pretty soon rather than fellows of different persuasions, they've become enemies who are willing to kill one another.

Now I'm not suggesting compromise is the answer, sometimes we just have to take a stand and stand our ground.  But we are also commanded to love our enemies and to do good to those who despitefully use or abuse us.  Further we are commanded to pray for them, not against them.  Conservatives, when was the last time you prayed for Harry Reid?  He is after all your brother in the Kingdom.  Or have you spitefully suggested he have his Temple Recommend revoked because he doesn't see things the way you do.

I might remind you that on July 20, 2009, Harry Reid introduced President Thomas S. Monson and Elder Dallin H. Oaks to President Barak Obama in the White House.  Those brethren presented a fine gift to the leader of our nation.  There was no vitriolic rhetoric, no oppositional rancor.  Do you think President Monson, or Elder Oaks agree with President Obama's views on everything?  Of course not.  Did that prevent them from having influence with him?  Absolutely not!  We are lead by example, but generally speaking, we are not following that example very well.

I believe we have got to learn to express our views in the positive manner in which the Church has shown us.  If we cannot, despite the efforts of our leaders, we will be marginalized more and more and our influence will be felt less and less.  When the church interacts with other religions, it is not in a spirit of compromise or opposition and look what that has accomplished.  So much collaborative humanitarian work has resulted in blessings across the globe.  The other day in the Deseret News I found an article in which Jewish Rabbi, David Rosen suggested that The Quorum of the 12 Apostles should be key players in Middle Eastern Peace talks!  Why would he even consider such a thing if they were as contentious as the general population of the church appears to be.

For many Harry Reid just might be the litmus test for whether or not you've chosen to follow the Prophet. Scroll back up and take another look.  What will you do when you see that face across the prayer circle in the Temple?  I've decided.  I will remain.


Utah Mom said...

I have to admit that I really do not like Reid's politics and I sincerely hope that he is unemployed next year. However, I agree with you that he is probably a pretty nice guy in real/nonpolitical life.

Several years ago, Randy and I had the privilige of having Senator Bennett as our home teacher. Even though he spent so much time in DC, he still came to visit us each month in UT.

Love Life and Learning said...

I learn from you...every time....thank you so much!


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