Sunday, April 5, 2015

Alma 23

(April 24, 2015)
                For all of the talk about the intimidation and persecution supposedly brought about by those who believe (and, in Utah, it is centered on ex-Mormons or NOMs attacking the faithful), the pattern that exists in this chapter holds true throughout the scriptures and most of modern history (with, admittedly, a few egregious counterexamples).  Those who believe accept that those who do not believe must have the freedom to choose their way.  All the believers request, when they are ascendant politically, is that they have the freedom to share the Gospel.  Others can believe the way that they choose.

                When those who have rejected the Gospel are ascendant (as we are beginning to see now), it isn’t enough to have a fair and level playing field – they seek to actively hamper the sharing of the Gospel message.  They seek to use whatever mechanisms of force are available (the sword in the time of Ammon, the power of the State to close down florists who won’t provide flowers for a gay wedding today) to destroy those who believe.

                Those antagonistic to the faith will argue that this is the same thing that believers have historically done with laws against abortion or homosexuality or even prohibition.  They don’t recognize that the laws passed by the believers are focused on actions and consequences – people actually getting hurt (in almost every case children, even though that is cliché).  Meanwhile a florist who does not provide flowers for a gay wedding provides nearly no injury at all (especially since a dozen other businesses stand ready to perform the same services).  It isn’t about getting what you need in their case, it is about destroying those who disagree with you.

                I think this must ultimately come down to the confidence they have in their own position – they are barely able to quiet the voice of their own conscience and cannot abide any external voices that reinforce the voice inside them telling them their behavior is sinful.  Ironically we all are sinful, but that goes from a part of the human condition to a fatal flaw when we cease to recognize that the problem is with us and begin to feel the problem is with the law.

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