What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: Randi T.
In a stinging rebuke of the LDS Church and the recent request of its leaders, self-labeled “Mormon progressive” Joe Vogel has unabashedly declared the church to be on the “wrong side of history” by supporting Proposition 8 in California.
Molding his accusation around a litany of issues describing what he perceives to be a failure to promote “social justice and equality”, Vogel counsels God’s servants, in his wisdom, what they should be spending their time on instead: universal healthcare, government-mandated corporate leave policies, child predators, public education, and global warming. Progressive indeed—Vogel would rather see prophets become political pundits championing the entire Democratic platform.
This opposition from within the Church’s ranks is further evidence of something I came to understand yesterday: not all Mormons are Saints. The two labels are not mutually exclusive, of course, but one does not necessarily imply the other. Again we are reminded of then-Elder Benson’s words on internal division within the Church:
Sometimes we hear someone refer to a division in the Church. In reality, the Church is not divided. It simply means that there are some who, for the time being at least, are members of the Church but not in harmony with it. These people have a temporary membership and influence in the Church; but unless they repent, they will be missing when the final membership records are recorded. (Ezra Taft Benson, via Quoty)
Another recent example is Nadine Hansen, editor of mormonsfor8.com—a website that aims to “out” all Latter-day Saints who donate in support of Proposition 8. As this article notes, she too has turned against the Church to oppose its involvement in politics:
“Any group that gets involved in the political arena has to be treated like a political action committee,” said Hansen, 61, a Mormon who lives in Cedar City, Utah, and has stopped going to church. “You can’t get involved in politics and say, ‘Treat me as a church.’ “Hansen said she focused on Mormons because she is one. She said Mormons have contacted her to shut the site, saying it was being used by the Daily Kos campaign in a “witch hunt.”
Vogel and his fellow Mormons who have publicly opposed the prophetic invitation to support Proposition 8 consistently demonstrate a myopic outlook on the traditional cause-and-effect model. Ignoring the law of unintended consequences (and refusing to believe that men we sustain as seers can know of those consequences), they feign ignorance by asking such questions as “how does [same-sex marriage] hurt the average Mormon family?” Vogel is an intelligent individual who weakens his position by publicly pretending that far-reaching and long-term consequences to a major shift in the societal structure do not exist.
The axe-grinding diatribe ends with Vogel’s call to action: “Today I voice my public support in favor of treating my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as equals, and ask my fellow Mormons to do the same.” (This after encouraging Mormons to spend their time watching a movie, going for a drive, or watching a baseball game instead of doing what the Prophet has asked.)
Well, Brother Vogel, today I voice my public support in favor of sustaining God’s chosen servants in both word and deed, and ask my fellow Mormons to do the same. Individuals with limited understanding may accuse those on our side of being on the “wrong side of history”, but time and God will vindicate those who stand for truth and righteousness. When the line is drawn in the sand and, as Elder Benson said, the “final membership records are recorded”, self-labeled Mormons who oppose their leaders will, sadly, be the ones who are really on the wrong side.