Ross has been serving as a bishop in the United Kingdom for the past 8 years. In his spare time, he attempts his best Poldark impression on the cliffs of Cornwall. Here are some of his remarks, made earlier today.
Today is Remembrance Sunday when we honour and remember the sacrifice of those who fought against the tide of extremism and fascism over two world wars. The aim of this day is to enable us to remember what happened, so that those kind of sacrifices will never happen again.
We live in frightening times. Across Europe and on the other side of the Atlantic we see a tide of rising extreme nationalism and populism that, if left unchecked and unconstrained, might threaten to throw us back into the dark areas of fascism that threatened the world in the last century. If that happens, we have learned nothing from our history.
We, as Latter-day Saints need to make sure are on the correct side of history. We do this in our attempts to establish a Zion community.
In the recent referendum in the United Kingdom, members of the church voted on both sides of the issue, as is their democratic right. The same goes for the recent election in the United States. However, following both of these events, there was a marked increase in recorded hate crimes against minorities. In the UK, recorded hate crimes surged up to 60%.
From this pulpit I don’t declare how you should vote, it wouldn’t be right and would be beneath the dignity of the office I hold. Everyone is entitled to vote their conscience. It is thanks to the sacrifice of those we remember today that we are allowed this freedom of choice in our democracy. However, I would be shirking my responsibilities if I didn’t condemn in the strongest possible terms hate crimes, speech or other evil acts against anybody.
If we care about religious freedom, we must care about the freedom of all religions. We should be just as concerned by acts threatening the freedoms of Muslims to practice their religion as we are by ours.
If any Latter-day Saints condone, in any way, hateful acts against those of a different colour, sexuality, religion or race to them, they have no right to define themselves as being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
We don’t establish a Zion community if any of us have racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist or xenophobic attitudes.
When Jesus said “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”, he didn’t just mean the guy next door.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is our safe place. Through our Saviour’s atonement, we can be healed of all our hurts and struggles. We need to make sure, that loving comfort is available to everyone that needs it, and that we don’t build walls that prevent others from partaking in this heavenly gift.