Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why I want to be persecuted

A recent speaker in my local Sunday services quoted a recent reminder from one of our Twelve Apostles: We Latter-day Saints haven't been persecuted for many years, but scripture foretells the day will return when we again will be. Of course, I believe we might yet avoid this, and both we and the rest of humanity could repent of our various evils and avoid destruction--as Nineveh did after Jonah's call to repentence--but if this is true (and I don't doubt it is a possibility) then I want to say what I hope we will be persecuted for.

I hope we will be persecuted because we mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. Because we reach out to the downtrodden and the marginalized. Because we sup with the sinner and walk among the unclean. Because we make a place at the table for those who don't really belong amongst us--the impure and those we fear--and because we are vulnerable enough to turn the other cheek when they take advantage of our goodness and abuse us.

I hope we will be persecuted because we lay up treasures in heaven and reject the riches of this world. Because we refuse to sell our power for gain, and instead use it to uplift the poor rather than defend and maintain the rich.

I hope we will be persecuted because we believe in God and Science. That those who only see the spiritual will call us unfaithful materialists, and those who only seek the tangible will call us superstitious fools. And despite this we will proclaim the value of religion and science. We will embrace the new revelations of each as we seek out all truth and gather it into a grand view of Mormonism, whatever lowly or impure source might share it with us.

I do hope we might be persecuted for testifying of Christ. His atonement and resurrection, and every one of us partaking in them and making them real for all generations of humanity, are the way for humanity to live on. I hope we will be persecuted for taking on us all the sins and pains and evils of humanity, and willingly bearing them just as far as we can--whether anyone accepts our gifts or not.

If we are to be persecuted, let it not be because we fight change. Let it not be because we assume we know and cease seeking further light about anything. Let it not be because we elevate cultural norms to be the will of God. Let it not be because we construct ideological fences for fear of losing our identity or to protect our fragile hero worship of dead prophets, or our egotistical clinging to creeds outworn. Let it be because of our positive actions in blessing the poor, comforting the rejected, abused, and powerless, endlessly seeking truth, and fearlessly seeking at-one-ment with all humanity.

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