Remembrance Sunday

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.

Comments

  1. Ross – While I heartedly agree with your message, I believe U.S. Mormons are deaf to it. Our history as a church shows us institutionally and culturally on the wrong side of history in regards to civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights. The recent presidential election shows that Mormons voted for Trump more intensely than any other religious demographic. Mormons are Trump people in action and sadly there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon.

  2. Pen Dragon says:

    “We don’t establish a Zion community if any of us have racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist or xenophobic attitudes.”
    And yet, if any of you DIDN’T have racist views (prior to 1978), sexist views (always and forever), or homophobic views (full stop since last November, but pretty much for a long, long time before that), the church would view you with, at best, suspicion.
    If you dispute this, go up in your next testimony meeting and declare your firm belief that women deserve the priesthood and/or that gay couples deserve eternal marriage, and see what happens to you.

  3. Indeed, Pen. Which makes the path forward for Mormons particularly challenging. So pray for us, please.

  4. Rulon – yes, and that’s why we haven’t established Zion yet.
    Pen – I get what you’re saying. Putting aside advocating for changes in policy, the fact that some Mormons feel that it’s acceptable to be racist, sexist etc show how far we’ve got to go.

  5. Aussie Mormon says:

    Rulon: “Mormons voted for Trump more intensely than any other religious demographic. ”
    White Evangelicals still have us strongly beat on the Trump-o-meter.

  6. Aussie Mormon – Thanks for that clarification. I double checked the stats and Mormons are second to Evangelicals in supporting Trump. Evangelicals win the gold medal there and Mormons take home silver.

  7. Howard W. Hunter basically said the same thing in a lesson most of us had just a few weeks ago.

    “[The pure love of Christ] does not countenance evil or ill will, nor rejoice in iniquity; it has no place for bigotry, hatred, or violence. It refuses to condone ridicule, vulgarity, abuse, or ostracism. It encourages diverse people to live together in Christian love regardless of religious belief, race, nationality, financial standing, education, or culture….We are called upon to purify our inner feelings, to change our hearts, to make our outward actions and appearance conform to what we say we believe and feel inside. We are to be true disciples of Christ.”

  8. Maybe our fellow Mormons need to listen to more A Tribe Called Quest. Seriously, check out their new album, it is very well done and highly relevant to our times. There is a cuss word free version for those with sensitive ears.

  9. JLM, yes.

  10. So, if you believe that homosexual acts are sinful, you are now “homophobic”? What if you believe that sex acts between two persons of the same sex will not result in the continuation of the species? Does that also mean you’re “homophobic”?

  11. Mark B., if you don’t condemn non-procreative heterosexual sex with anything resembling the same ferocity as you condemn homosexual sex, then yes, you’re a homophobe.

    As for being worried about the continuation of the human species, this is as risible as Boyd K. Packer’s now blessedly disowned “little factory” spiel, and leads me (and others, surely) to question both your knowledge of human nature and your psychological stability.

  12. Well, APM, at least I know where you stand. And, frankly, I’m glad I don’t stand either on the ground where you apparently stand or on the ground where you assume I do.

  13. This is lovely. I have hope that things are very different for LDS members outside the US, because here those views are pretty darn liberal and you are given the side eye (or worse) for expressing at least some of what you’ve written. Also, we were read a letter from the First Presidency the week before the election here telling us exactly how to vote on a proposition – they use the old “we’re commenting on a moral issue not supporting a particular candidate” loophole to do that one. I don’t care, it annoys me no matter if I agree with their opinion or not, I still think it’s wrong. For many members anything said by a church leader automatically carries more weight than their own opinion and feelings.

  14. I have two major concerns with this post, the use of such labels as racist to silence debate and the constantly shifting definitions of these terms.
    Perhaps in other parts of the country people can still express conservative opinions, but in the San Francisco Bay area we can be fired or sued for these things. Even expressing Biblical beliefs in church on Sunday has gotten people fired on Monday at work. And I know of three people who lost their jobs strictly for donating to Prop 8. This has a more than chilling effect on discussions where one might find themselves on the ‘wrong side of history’, a definition the liberal majority feels only they can make. I also believe this silencing of dissenting opinions was a major factor in the election of Donald Trump, a pushback in the voting booth.
    Second, the constant modifying of the meanings of these words. If you do not support a woman’s right to choose abortion, even late term abortion or abortion used simply as a method of birth control, you are sexist. Should those who are pro-life begin labelling those who support late term abortion as deathists? Would the creation of a new label to shame and silence people contribute to the solution?
    You are anti-LGBTQ if you do not want men in women’s showers or restrooms.
    Why are you not sexist for failing to recognize the real fears women have about entering a rest room where men might be present if the woman has previously been raped? We women who worked in large office towers before they began giving us restroom keys remember how rapists entered women’s restrooms about 3 or 4 pm and waited for women who were working late to come in. Now we cannot refuse entry to a man following us in for fear he is transgender and will sue us. Are we homophobes?
    One of my friends was told by her gynecologist that he would have refused to deliver her child if he had known the baby was only going to live half an hour. Why is he not the one labelled sexist?
    Today’s news contains a picture of a protester with a sign proclaiming that patriotism is racism. If everything is racism, will people even recognize real racism? Will they care?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s