It’s been a long day … made even longer by several emails and Facebook messages back and forth between the friend I mentioned earlier who commented negatively about my recent post on Gladys Knight joining the Mormon church. It’s another whole discussion that I’ll save for another day—the question of passages found in The Book of Mormon that some feel are racist and whether the Church should “take these verses out” of the book or not; I won’t even attempt to address this question right now … but count on me doing so later.
With my friend, I did apologize for not “paraphrasing” him as perfectly as he would have liked—for “misquoting” him, as he put it, and I even made a few edits to the post so I would more accurately communicate what he was apparently trying to say. I have to admit, though: the whole process has been pretty exhausting. I like this guy and I do love sharing my testimony of the gospel with others but I find it to be depleting a lot of the time, walking on eggshells with every Mormon critic I meet, including this friend. Why is it that people have to get so offended so easily, I just don’t know. All the Church, its members, from the top down to the youngest primary child are trying to do is three things: (1) live good lives, (2) serve and minister to each other, and (3) share what we feel is a message that can bless people’s lives and help people however we can along the way. I guess that’s four. Is it really worth all the energy and zest with which so many seem to love attacking the Church. Do you really have nothing better to do with your time?
My dad put it well I thought in an email he wrote me this morning. This is part of what he said: “I reckon that even if people don’t agree with other people, they should respect their right to believe what they want. I’m sure I don’t concur with what Muslims believe, for example (especially those who have opted to be “terrorists”), but I would fight to the death for their right to think differently from me. I don’t have to join them, or even sympathize with them, but I would expect them to afford me that same right. If they can’t do that, then maybe they should consider living elsewhere. This country was built on mutual respect for all,” concluding with, “Mom and I have had close friends from all walks of life and religions. I would be mortified to come out in open criticism of them for believing what they do.”
I have to say, I feel really emptied every time people attack our faith. I feel the same as my dad. I don’t care who you are or what you believe, be ye atheist, evangelist, ex-Mormon, or anything in-between. I think you’re disrespectful, short-sighted, immature, un-Christlike (the list goes on, I’m afraid) if you say anything critical about another’s belief, and not just mine. I just don’t understand what the appeal is at all. I know I’m no one to criticize, condemn or complain about another. I’ve got PLENTY of shortcomings and weaknesses of my own. Believe me, I am far from perfect. If anything, I’m a good example of the “weak and simple” people referred to in Doctrine & Covenants 1: 23, which reads:
23 That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.
I don’t know about the “kings and rulers” part but I can definitely relate to the weak and simple designation.
Personally I’m appalled by the lengths that otherwise good people go to desecrate the name of this Church that I love. It saddens me, the folks—even a few close friends and loved ones—who have given up the faith for one reason or another and turned their back on the truth they once loved, and even fight against in thereafter (typically, they did/do so for 1 or more of the 5 reasons mentioned in the Greg Trimble post below, in my experience).
My friend who I’ve been writing. I’ll keep trying to help him, I pray for him and I do respect him … but I also hurt for him. Ultimately, I just want everyone to be happy, whatever they believe. As they say, “some will, some won’t, so what.” (That’s a statement about sales, but it applies here too. You can’t force anyone to believe something and, personally, I would never want to). It’s a deeply personal journey between each of us and our Father above … as it should be. Period
Me? I’m tired and I’m going to bed. It’s been a long day and I have a very early morning tomorrow. In the meanwhile, I encourage you to read Greg’s post. It’s entitled, You Should Not Leave Mormonism for Any of These 5 Reasons and it’s an excellent read. Personally, I’m really enjoying reading his posts and hope he continues them for a very long time.
Click Here to read the post
Until then, I’ll keep praying for my friends who need it, and others, try hoping that this post doesn’t offend anyone too badly, and most of all, keep picturing and hoping for a day, someday, maybe, when we all know the truth and can if nothing else all try to get along. I believe it can happen and I hope that it does.
Until then, I’ll keep trying to do my small (weak and simple) part.
Have a great night everybody,
Patrick Laing – Portland, Oregon USA
PS – Here’s that link again to Greg’s article if you’d like to read it. Just Click Here to do so.
PPS – I also kind’a like this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. I think it’s applicable to this discussion as well, in ways (no offense, you know who, or anyone else. This isn’t about you personally and isn’t directed toward anyone in particular; it’s just a general observation). It’s pretty insightful though and a good reminder for us all, including me. I would add … “small minds criticize other people’s beliefs.” I think it’s the lowest form of feedback.