This is Not Us

“The president’s order, enacted with the stroke of a pen at 4:42 p.m. Friday, suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

“The Department of Homeland Security said that the order also barred green card holders from those countries from re-entering the United States. In a briefing for reporters, White House officials said that green card holders from the seven affected countries who are outside the United States would need a case-by-case waiver to return.” — New York Times

“Civil rights and refugee advocates around the world have sounded the alarm over Trump’s executive order after a draft copy was leaked late Wednesday.

‘These actions taken by Donald Trump are tantamount to a Muslim ban,’ Abed A. Ayoub, the legal and policy director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. ‘This is the Muslim ban that was promised by him on the campaign trail.’” — Fox News

Who we are:

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked, and ye clothed me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” — Matthew 25:35-40

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” — Ephesians 2:19

“We each have the invitation as women and young women to open our eyes and our hearts to see those among us who may feel alone, afraid, or uncertain so that we are no longer strangers  (see Matthew 25:35–36Ephesians 2:19). We are invited to share our love, our confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, and our hands to strengthen others and love them as the Savior would have us do. This is not a program; it is who we are.” —“I was a stranger”

“As we consider the ‘pressing calls’ of those who need our help, let’s ask ourselves, ‘What if their story were my story?’ May we then seek inspiration, act on impressions we receive, and reach out in unity to help those in need as we are able and inspired to do so. Perhaps then it might be said of us, as the Savior said of a loving sister who ministered to Him: ‘She hath wrought a good work. … She hath done what she could.’” —Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” — King Benjamin

“Additionally, each one of us can increase our awareness of the world events that drive these families from their homes. We must take a stand against intolerance and advocate respect and understanding across cultures and traditions. Meeting refugee families and hearing their stories with your own ears, and not from a screen or newspaper, will change you. Real friendships will develop and will foster compassion and successful integration.

The Lord has instructed us that the stakes of Zion are to be ‘a defense’ and ‘a refuge from the storm.’ We have found refuge. Let us come out from our safe places and share with them, from our abundance, hope for a brighter future, faith in God and in our fellowman, and love that sees beyond cultural and ideological differences to the glorious truth that we are all children of our Heavenly Father.” — Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy

“In my lifetime I have experienced and worked in times of grim challenges and uncertainty. I was a refugee twice, and I have witnessed how opposing political systems impacted the life of a large number of people in very divergent ways. I am indeed grateful for my friend, our German general consul here in L.A. who can relate with me in what Germany had experienced during the time when it was divided. I learned by experience how important high moral and ethical values are in leadership, irrespective of political systems.

We need only to open a newspaper to realize that we are living in a cynical time. Trust in public institutions, corporations, and organized religion is declining. Almost daily, media reports describe the decline of moral decency and the erosion of basic ethical conduct.

In this time of uncertainty, mistrust, fear, rumors of war, and political road rage, is there still hope for integration and openness across different cultures, different religions, societies, and political interests? Is there still hope for virtue, moderation, and divine moral principles?” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in regard to party politics and election campaigns. However, it is not neutral in relation to religious freedom. The following statements by Joseph Smith from 1841 and 1843 are consistent with the Church’s position today:

“If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a ‘Mormon,’ I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul — civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race.”

—Joseph Smith, 1843

“Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo, that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Episcopals, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohammedans [Muslims], and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges in this city …”

—Ordinance in Relation to Religious Societies, City of Nauvoo, [Illinois] headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, March 1, 1841

Mormon Newsroom, December 8, 2015

Comments

  1. If I hear any of the dumb rednecks in my ward praise this policy over the pulpit or at the front of a class, I will stand up, give them a death stare, and walk out as conspicuously as possible. Unfortunately, I think there are a few who will.

  2. Thank you for grabbing all of these quotes and calls to help. I’m speaking in church on Sunday and these will come in handy.

  3. More Mosiah: “And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

    Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

    But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

  4. Chad, thank you for that addition—yes! And if others have quotes and scriptures to add, I’d love to see them accumulate here.

    It strengthens me to know that there will be Saints like you giving talks like yours tomorrow, MaryAA.

  5. Thank you, I went to church this week before the ban was signed (so I obviously don’t live in the US), but I still had to listen to a speaker tell me that my fears about Trump were unfounded. I need to hear from Mormons who know this ban is immoral.

  6. rainyjane says:
  7. For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
    –Deuteronomy 10:17-19

  8. And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

    He said unto him, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?”

    And he answering said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”

    And he said unto him, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”

    But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

    And Jesus answering said, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

    “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, ‘Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.’

    “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?”

    And he said, “He that shewed mercy on him.”

    Then said Jesus unto him, “Go, and do thou likewise.”
    –Luke 10:25-37

  9. A federal judge in Brooklyn has ordered the U.S. government on Saturday to stop the removal of refugees and immigrants who had been detained at airports across the country, blocking the enforcement of parts of an executive order issued by President Donald Trump Friday.

    That is us.

    We still have a constitutional system in place with two other branches of government and a fourth estate. The government as a whole, not one man, should decide on laws and policies. The Trump presidency offers America an opportunity to rein in the imperial presidency, which has been growing ever more powerful with each successive administration.

    Meanwhile the Church, individually and as a body, can still help those stranded or sent elsewhere. We are, after all, a world-wide Church with most members living outside the U.S. I am writing this from outside the U.S.

  10. anon nona, please don’t clog these threads up with anti-Muslim propaganda. Much less anti-Muslim propaganda that is neither relevant nor true.

    Unless you somehow think that an alleged—and uncited—quotation has anything at all to do with the parallels between 19th-century Mormons and contemporary refugees.

  11. anon nona, Martin Luther King, Jr said once, “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

    Your comment leads me to think that you don’t know many Muslims; perhaps I am wrong. I have a hard time thinking that you could post a comment like that even after knowing individuals of the Islamic faith. Omar Ahmad has denied saying that exact quote, by the way, but even if he did say it or something akin to it, is the sentiment so different from what Mormons say to each other about the church being as a stone that has been “cut out of the mountain without hands,” rolling forth until it has “filled the whole earth”? (D&C 65:2). When I was a missionary in Japan, we would say almost identical things as the quotation above, in spite of the fact that we were in a mostly Buddhist nation.

    Your comment is a fear-based red herring that attempts to draw readers away from Christ and his teachings to help those in need of help, to open our doors to strangers and foreigners, to families and children. They aren’t coming to take over America—they are coming to have futures and lives.

  12. Don’t forget that Jesus was a refugee and an illegal immigrant early in his life. That experience must have shaped him in ways that we are just beginning to understand. Matthew 2:13-15: “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.”

  13. Well, it is 61% of you.

  14. On February 15, 1978 the First Presidency of the Church issued the following declaration: The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals…. Our message therefore is one of special love and concern for the eternal Welfare of all men and women, regardless of religious belief, race, or nationality, knowing that we are truly brothers and sisters because we are sons and daughters of the same Eternal Father

  15. Cathy Cann says:

    This is exactly “us”. The Church is becoming more and more strongly entrenched in a Conservative agenda, and 61% of “us” went to the polls, fully aware of Trump’s intentions, and cast our ballots to bring them to pass.

  16. 61% of American Mormons voted for Trump, but they do not speak for all of us. Christ speaks for all of us, and that is who I follow. I am not one of the 61%. They do not have exclusive possession of Mormonism.

  17. Utahn in CT says:

    AMP, let us know what happened in your ward today.

  18. I’m an immigrant to the United States. I have lived in this country on a student visa, and as a green card holder. I became a citizen at the earliest opportunity. I love my home country of Australia, but I hope it’s ok – that you will believe me – when I say that I also love my adopted country, the United States of America. I have studied it’s history and I am inspired by it’s heroes. America has proven to be the greatest platform for human achievement this world has ever seen, and I look forward to the many great achievements that are still to come from the men and women that make this country great. I’m fully aware that my acceptance into this country was a gift – not my right – and I’ll forever be grateful that it welcomed me in.

    I don’t know that people here often see me as an ‘immigrant’. The thing is, I’m a white, middle-class immigrant from an english-speaking, predominantly christian country, with the same accent as Hugh Jackman and the Hemsworth brothers. Many other immigrants look different, have some difficulty speaking english (the hardest language in the world to learn), and were raised in cultural and religious traditions that feel alien to many americans. I can’t help but sympathize with them, and feel a little embarassed at the happy accident of the place of my birth, for the privileges, opportunities and ease of life it has given me.

    I can’t help but think, what if I had been born in Syria? What if I had watched my neighborhood, my city, my country, fall down around me; watched my family and friends suffer and die; lost all that I owned and become homeless, afraid for my life? It pains me to think that people who are now living in this very situation are denied the opportunities that came so easily to someone like me, someone who already enjoyed the privileges of safety and freedom of opportunity in their home country.

    I understand the value of boundaries, even checkpoints and walls where they are necessary and prudent. What is a country without geographical, legal, moral, and cultural boundaries to define it? I see the value of taking due care to protect the interests of a country through well-thought out immigration policies. Immigration is key to the future success of a nation, it is in some ways the privilege of a country to welcome in the best and brightest around the world and give them every opportunity to make the most of their potential. It is also, I believe, a moral imperative to welcome in those that are homeless, to extend our hand to those who have suffered unimaginably and have no other options available to them. Many of our forefathers were in precisely the same situation.

    With no opportunity for deliberation or debate, two days ago our country closed its borders to seven nations. It is possible that we may have made passage to this country more difficult for those wanting to do us harm. We can be sure though, that we closed our borders to countless genuine refugees, many of whom had already received or were on the path to legitimate status. We also closed our borders to students, entrepreneurs, and skilled workers who were ready to make great contributions to this country. We sent a message of isolation and fear to the rest of the world, and may have done lasting harm to our perception across the globe, whatever the outcome of this ban.

    The greatest achievements of this country were based on faith: faith sustained a revolution, built an unparalled system of government and industry, won two world wars, and landed men on the moon. Our darkest hours were ruled by fear: fear saw us delaying the ending of slavery, locking citizens of japanese descent in concentration camps and engaging in communist witch-hunts. We have the choice, as individuals and as a nation, to choose faith over fear. I hope we choose faith.

  19. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” ! John 4:18

  20. Thank you for that comment, sdr. Beautifully put.

  21. “Christ speaks for all of us, and that is who I follow. I am not one of the 61%. They do not have exclusive possession of Mormonism.”

    Amen to this forever.

  22. sdr, thanks. This is what I have been thinking about over the weekend – the happy accidents of our situations that we take for granted all too often.

  23. 61 percent of Americans did NOT vote for Trump. But of active LDS who voted, a large majority voted for Trump. This is who we are, like it or not, and it disgusts me.

  24. I’ve seen so many different points made. Some people point out Bill Clinton having done something similar when he was in office, and others point out all the bombing Obama did while he was in office. Still others point out a basis for this in previous laws that have been made. And there’s so many more nuances. We want to be able to allow refugees in but not terrorists. If someone’s attitude is, “keep all Muslims out” then that is clearly a problem. If their attitude is, “keep out the terrorists” that is an entirely different thing. We need to love all of God’s children and be open to receiving refugees. Maybe Trump’s plan is misguided, but *something* needs to be done about vetting people for connection to terrorist groups. Ignoring that does not somehow equal “love.”

  25. Homer, there already was an extremely strict and successful vetting process in place. Of the actual acts of terrorism that have occurred in the past several years (9/11, Boston Marathon bombing, etc), none of these perpetrators came from any of the countries affected by the ban. Here’s a list of high-profile terrorist attacks since 9/11 and the perpetrators’ countries of origin. Note that none of them come from the countries Trump has banned. http://people.com/politics/donald-trump-refugee-muslim-ban-terrorist-attack-us-statistics/

  26. Posts like this give give me pause with regard to the separation of church and state.

  27. Andrew Hardwick says:

    As for the refugee, you shall not wrong or oppress them, for you were refugees in the land of Egypt (Exodus 22:21)

  28. “This is exactly “us”. The Church is becoming more and more strongly entrenched in a Conservative agenda, and 61% of “us” went to the polls, fully aware of Trump’s intentions, and cast our ballots to bring them to pass.”
    I’m afraid I have to agree with this. The majority of my ward supported and continue to support Trump. Almost all of my extended family who are members either supported Trump or voted 3rd party (which basically supported Trump). My daughter is at BYU and she was in the very smallest minority of those who didn’t vote or support Trump and she couldn’t find anyone to “mourn” with after the election. AND “we” sent the damn MOTAB to sing for Trump. I am very afraid that this IS us. And if it’s not, it sure the hell feels that way.

  29. Cathy Cann and Grover–it is not true that 61% of Mormons voted for Trump. You’re misinterpreting the exit polls. The correct interpretation of this statistic, which likely came from an exit poll, is that 61% percent of the Mormons WHO VOTED voted for Trump. The statistical population of people who voted is much smaller than the population of Mormons writ large in the U.S. I know it’s semantics but it changes the meaning.

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