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: heytiff
In the days and weeks following Sister Beck’s recent general conference address, titled “Mothers Who Know”, some sites in the bloggernacle threw a temper tantrum, expressing frustration and disapproval of her remarks.
However, the flames of frustration have been fanned by a few “women who know” who have organized a web site containing their declaration of “what women know”. The web site has garnered additional attention, as Peggy Fletcher Stack, a SL Trib reporter who jumps at any chance to stir the Mormon pot and call it news, wrote an article about the site.
The introduction to the website explains who these women are and why they’ve organized as one to reject Beck’s statements. One of the closing lines of introduction to the site states:
Several ideas within the body of President Beck’s talk conflict with our inspiration and experience.
To the orthodox Mormon (or TBM, “True Believing Mormon”, as some liberal ‘naclers like to call us), this statement reeks of pride and borderlines on apostasy. To state that the over-the-pulpit words of an ordained and sustained general authority “conflict with [one’s own] inspiration” is revelatory rebelliousness at its finest.
The comments section for the SLTrib article is quite telling: most of the pro-Beck comments (those voicing support for the statements in her talk) have been buried through numerous negative votes, indicating the number of people on that website who disapprove of such comments, and thus disapprove of Sister Beck’s words. One buried comment on the first page reads as follows:
I love that the “What Women Know” women manage to squeeze in every plank of the Democratic platform and still expect us to believe it’s a response to Beck’s talk. Anti-war, health care reform, employer family-leave policies, and “affordable, high-quality child care”? Beck didn’t oppose any of these in her talk. The only things these Hillarys forgot they know are Kyoto and ‘Roe’.
I recognize four names on the list. One of them is a prominent writer who was excommunicated for apostasy, one is a disaffected member who lost their job as a seminary teacher for anonymously attacking the church on internet message boards and no longer attends church, and two are Sunstone contributors who seldom have anything good to say about the church. I find it unsurprising that excommunicated and disaffected people take exception to conference talks, or use them as platforms to publicize Democratic talking-points.
And so the list of those who oppose Sister Beck’s talk contain excommunicated members, disaffected axe-grinders, and liberal Sunstoners, among others. These people declare, on the website to which they’ve attached their name, that they are the “authors of our own lives”. I am reminded of similar arrogance found in the words of a poem titled Invictus, in which the author declares he is the “captain of [his] own soul.” In rebuttal to such a notion, Orson Whitney wrote:
Art thou in truth? Then what of him
Who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?
Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but him could bear.—
The God who died that man might live,
And endless glory share?
Of what avail thy vaunted strength,
Apart from His vast might?
Pray that his Light may pierce the gloom,
That thou mayest see aright.
Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree.
Thou, captain of thy soul, forsooth!
Who gave that place to thee?
Free will is thine—free agency,
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto Him
To whom all souls belong.
Bend to the dust that head “unbowed,”
Small part of Life’s great whole!
And see in Him, and Him alone,
The Captain of thy soul.
These types of prideful manifestations are not new; they have occurred throughout the world’s history, as God’s children have flat out told Him that they know better than He. Of such persons, Jacob commented in the Book of Mormon:
O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. (2 Ne. 9:28)
I am saddened to see such a display of pride and rebellion, wherein a few members have rejected the counsels of God and declared that authorized instruction runs contrary to their own “inspiration” and “experience”.
I do understand that Sister Beck’s words may be troublesome for those who disagree, but we have been instructed regarding what to do during such circumstances:
Put difficult questions in the back of your minds and go about your lives. Ponder and pray quietly and persistently about them. The answer may not come as a lightning bolt. It may come as a little inspiration here and a little there, ‘line upon line, precept upon precept’ (D&C 98:12). Some answers will come from reading the scriptures, some from hearing speakers. And, occasionally, when it is important, some will come by very direct and powerful inspiration. (Boyd K. Packer, via Quoty)
One wonders if any of these people knelt down in prayer about this subject before attaching their name to a declaration that spits in the face of established and sustained Church authority.