Today, we watch as the Israeli military continues the forced abandonment of Gaza. I am reminded how I lack the conceptual tools to realize a just and peaceful ending. Like others, history and politics are blended into my amalgam, but there is also my Mormonism.
I think Mormons have trended toward our Evangelical friends when it comes to Israel. Certain strains of eschatology flavor popular thought. Waiting for the Rapture. We also have the Book of Mormon and we project its words onto the contemporary State of Israel (e.g., 2 Ne 6:12-15 or 2 Ne 10:7-8). The tendency is to associate the "gathering of Israel" with the post-WWII return of the Jews to Palestine. This is understandable when you see verbiage like"carrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance."
We have the 1845 Proclamation of the Twelve:
And we further testify, that the Jews among all nations are hereby commanded, in the name of the Messiah, to prepare, to return to Jerusalem in Palestine, and to rebuild that city…
And also to organize and establish their own political government, under their own rulers, judges, and governors, in that country.
While I appreciate modern Israel and have many grand aspirations for it, I don’t necessarily believe that the current State is the fulfillment of our prophecy. The Book of Mormon qualifies that such a gathering is predicated on the Jew’s conversion to Christ. The Proclamation also declares:
For be it known unto [the Jews] that we now hold the keys of the priesthood and kingdom which is soon to be restored unto them.
Therefore let them also repent, and prepare to obey the ordinances of God.
Israel is the closest thing to a democracy in the region. However, the concept of a Jewish state is disconcerting. We have no problem dismissing Minister Farrakhan’s precept of a separate black state. I don’t believe our Zion will ever be a separate Mormon state in mortality.
I am left with a sincere sorrow for each individual that will lose their home to the bulldozer in the coming days. I wish I could conceive of any way in which the Israeli-Palestine conflict could be assuaged. In spite of our sympathy, perhaps it is time we reconsider our perceptions of the contemporary State of Israel.