Monday, March 16, 2009

Letting It Roll Off Your Back

For about 180 years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has endured persecution in one form or another - from the Governor of Missouri issuing an "extermination order" (legalizing the murder of the Saints from 1838 to 1976) - to people in modern times picketing outside temple open houses to the publication of attack literature that continues today.

It's nothing new.

Recently, with the controversy over California's Proposition 8 (the one that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman), Latter-day Saints became a target because of their support for the measure. Of course, the measure was supported by a broad coalition of Catholics, Evangelicals, and other faiths - as well as sweeping the "black vote" - but those in opposition found it easiest to pick on the minority religion.

Again - nothing new.

The latest poke at the "Mormons" came last night in an episode of some TV show on cable, where the producers decided it would be fun to reproduce some of our sacred temple ordinances - events that faithful members do not flaunt or talk about in detail outside the temple - in order to keep those things sacred (a concept apparently foreign to some).

Once more - this is really nothing new.

There will always be opposition, always be detractors, always be those who are willing to attack us, or trample on the things we hold sacred. But they will never be able to stop the work of the Lord.

What really matters is that we know what we know, and we will not lower our standards to get involved in a mud-slinging match.

In time, these trivial matters will be forgotten, so there's really no point in getting all riled up about it. There will always be some feelings of indignation when things that matter to us are disrespected, but the Christlike thing to do is to turn the other cheek to the smiters.

In this press release, the Church puts it all in perspective and takes the higher ground. What a great example of longsuffering and class.

Meanwhile, rather than watching a TV drama made in Hollywood to learn about the LDS temple, you could check out this brief video.

An interesting side-note on that video: there is a man interviewed (the guy in the Lutheran priest attire) named Krister Stendahl. I looked him up on Wikipedia and found this interesting tidbit:

Stendahl is credited with creating Stendahl's three rules of religious understanding, which he presented in a 1985 press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, in response to vocal opposition to the building of a temple there by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His rules are as follows:

(1) When you are trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion and not its enemies.

(2) Don't compare your best to their worst.

(3) Leave room for "holy envy." (By this Stendahl meant that you should be willing to recognize elements in the other religious tradition or faith that you admire and wish could, in some way, be reflected in your own religious tradition or faith.)

I thought that was a great set of rules! This was a man with an open mind who is to be commended for taking the high road.

I hope more people will follow that advice and come see for themselves.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Thanks for the is all so true! And Stendhal is a great man :)

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