Friday, November 7, 2008

Love Thy Temple-picketing, Anti-Prop 8 Neighbors?


Yesterday the Los Angeles temple was picketed by a large number of people who oppose Proposition 8. Looking at pictures of that event, I was deeply troubled to see derogatory signs with ugly words hanging on the gates surrounding that sacred building. (I have chosen not to post those pictures due to the fact that they are inflammatory.)

On the internet, I have seen many LDS people respond to this and other hostility directed at us with fear and indignation. While both feelings are understandable, it is my sincere belief that neither will serve us well as we go forward. It is important that those who stand for truth and righteousness exhibit righteousness in their defense of truth. One woman I know pointed out that the Savior showed righteous anger in clearing the money changers from the temple. Perhaps that is true (He did overturn the tables), but I would add to that observation the fact that He, as a perfect Being, was able to bless and heal the blind and lame immediately afterward, indicating that the Spirit (as always) continued with Him. We are imperfect beings, and with our core beliefs so deeply involved, the task of keeping whatever anger we feel "righteous" may prove difficult. On that basis, I am convinced that we would do better not to entertain anger at all. Today, I am actively pursuing that goal, and I am having to work hard at it. I know I will prevail because I am determined to do so, with the Lord's help.

Anger is a reactive emotion, and no one is free from experiencing it. Choosing to entertain it, however, is a different matter. Justifying our angry responses so that we can invite them into our hearts to stay is not Christ-like and never will be. If our intent is to serve the Lord well, we need to be careful to emulate Him in our service. That old question, "What would Jesus do?" is an appropriate guide for us in navigating this difficult and painful circumstance. We are more likely to act as He would have us act if we remind ourselves that those who profess and exhibit animosity toward the Church and its members because of their stance on Proposition 8 are being deceived by an adversary so devious and insidious that every man, woman, and child on earth falls prey to his efforts at one time or another. We are not immune, and empathy for brothers and sisters who have lost their bearings on this issue is appropriate.

Does this mean that we fight any less hard for the preservation of marriage as ordained by God? No. It simply means that we fight the good fight, the worthy fight, the fight in which we are fighting for ALL of Father's children, even and especially those on the other side. Such an action on our parts requires both love and compassion. In that spirit, we leave the judgment to God, who does not see through a glass darkly (as we do) but knows the end from the beginning. Only He can be trusted to judge fairly, and that is why we, and the entire universe, trust Him.

Let us strive to be disciples of Christ by disciplining ourselves. There is a reason those two words have the same root, a reason we should take to heart. We have much work to do in building up and preserving the Kingdom, and we need to be above reproach in our efforts. Prop 8 has passed in California, but that passage is already being appealed by detractors on the basis that it supposedly violates existing constitutional law and must therefore be termed a "revision" rather than a proposition. Unlike an amendment, a revision requires a 2/3 vote in order to be incorporated into the constitution. In other words, this movement to define marriage as between a man and a woman is far from over. Even if this appeal fails, there will be others, and we must stand ready...and worthy...to fight.

"Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest, let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good..." (Alma 37:36-7).

PS. On a completely different note, I just saw that the post I sent in about my "favorite NieNie post" is featured on NieNie Dialogues today! Read it here.

3 comments:

bird said...

thank you for this.

i reacted with anger. i feel so sick and tired of standing aside and letting all of these awful things be said! but you're right, i need to be more loving, more forgiving, more gentle. and refuse to invite that anger in to sit down and stay awhile.

i'm keeping this post open all day on my computer so i remember because this is going to be hard.

and perhaps i'll post a retraction on my own blog.

Heather Anderson said...

Seeing the images all over the internet and receiving endless emails from those on the "No side" makes my heart heavy. The dark cloud that covers my thoughts makes it difficult to react in a Christ-like manner. But, even before reading your pot I knew I needed to find a way. A way to remain christ-like and a way to continue to stand up for and protect the family. It is not easy and I am emotionally burnt out in this area... but your post has inspired me to keep fighting the good fight. Part of that for me will be not looking at the images on the internet for a while. Another part I think is to look for strength in the pioneers of the church. The Redlands temple was closed yesterday due to protesters ... so it is not only in LA.

emily said...

LOVE your insights, as always:-) p.s. on another tangent, i was the one who wanted to go back to her natural hair color b/c of your post on hair, update: slowly but surely my brown locks are growing themselves back in. i didn't want to die another brown on top of everything i already have so i'm slowly phasing the color out and feels SOOOOO good.

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