Monday, November 10, 2008

Firm In My Convictions

Those who know me best know how I dislike stepping on toes, or ruffling feathers, or stirring the pot, etc. I don't usually voice a real strong opinion about many things, unless I really feel strongly about them. Religion is one of my strong convictions. I firmly believe in mine, and I WILL stand firm when necessary. And I'm coming to realize that my little voice SHOULD be heard when it comes to what is important.

I came across this article by Elder Neal A. Maxwell. It was an address he gave at BYU on Oct 10th, 1978. Wow! Thirty years ago, I just realized! Amazing. His talk was titled A More Determined Discipleship and you can find it here. I've always loved Elder Maxwell. Reading this has made me realize what prophetic counsel it was back then. I've added some of my favorite portions from his talk, and the italics are my own to emphasize what I found the most applicable to our day. I've been thinking so much lately about this Proposition 8 in California that passed last week. I will admit, I was nervous about it. I saw so many good members who were really bothered by the fact that our church took a stand on this. It saddens me to see people's testimonies wavering because of this issue. But it was delightful for me to see THE MAJORITY of people across all different religious and political backgrounds, that STOOD TOGETHER united to bring about such good. I love how inspired Elder Maxwell was when he gave this address 30 years ago, that is so applicable today:

Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. (See 1 Kgs. 18:21.)
President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had “never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ!
We are now entering a time of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: We will see a maximum, if indirect, effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism which uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of western civilization to shrink freedom, even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage.
M. J. Sobran wrote recently: ...“What the secularists are increasingly demanding, in their disingenuous way, is that religious people, when they act politically, act only on secularist grounds. They are trying to equate acting on religion with establishing religion. And—I repeat—the consequence of such logic is really to establish secularism. It is in fact, to force the religious to internalize the major premise of secularism: that religion has no proper bearing on public affairs.” (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 51–52, 60–61.)
Brothers and sisters, irreligion as the state religion would be the worst of all combinations. Its orthodoxy would be insistent and its inquisitors inevitable. Its paid ministry would be numerous beyond belief. Its Caesars would be insufferably condescending. Its majorities—when faced with clear alternatives—will make the Barabbas choice, as did a mob centuries ago when Pilate confronted them with the need to decide.
Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. M. J. Sobran also said, “A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it” (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 58–59).
This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.

And here's the part (in bold, especially) I find to be the most prophetic. Can you see any correlation to the events of the past week??

Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.
...Am I saying that the voting rights of people of religion are in danger? Of course not! Am I saying, “It’s back to the catacombs?” No! But there is occurring a discounting of religiously based opinions. There may even be a covert and subtle disqualification of some for certain offices in some situations, in an ironic irreligious test for office.
If people, however, are not permitted to advocate, to assert, and to bring to bear, in every legitimate way, the opinions and views they hold which grow out of their religious convictions, what manner of men and women would we be?
Our founding fathers did not wish to have a state church established nor to have a particular religion favored by government. They wanted religion to be free to make its own way. But neither did they intend to have irreligion made into a favored state church.
Notice the terrible irony if this trend were to continue. When the secular church goes after its heretics, where are the sanctuaries? To what landfalls and Plymouth Rocks can future pilgrims go? ...Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel.
There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself.

So true! And wow! I am so glad we have a living Prophet today to help point us in the right direction. It just makes me want to jump up and fight for what is right!


Lydia said...

Thanks for sharing. That was an awsome talk. It's great to know that the church doen't change it's stand on thing because the world does. What the Lord says is true now 30 years ago and forever!

Janice said...

Amen sister~

Wookface said...

Thank you thank you thank you for finding this article and sharing it, Becky. I have been sickened and disgusted by what is going on right now in the aftermath of prop 8, not just among the homosexual community, but within the church as well. Elder Maxwell was inspired and this talk was prophetic. Thank you, it enlightened me in a way that few other sources have been able to do on this subject.

Sarah Coyne said...

Wow, I can't believe this talk was from the late 70s! Thanks for sharing it!

Sheri Willardson said...

You ARE fighting for what is right by sharing things like this. Thanks! What inspired leaders we have-how can anyone doubt their divine leadership? :)

It was nice to see some other churches voice their opinions this weekend and support the LDS church after all we have been putting up with.

Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" said...

That is a wonderful talk!

I too and really upset by this whole Prop 8 on many levels. Especially within the church...when you follow the "brethern" you are following God.

Anyway...great post, thanks for sharing.

Mike K said...

Well said... It still amazes me that members of the Church did not support it after the first presidency asked us to put our time and money into helping it pass.

Melissa said...

Thanks Becky, you really found what I needed to hear. I can't believe what the church is facing right now. We have to be so much stronger so that we truly believe in what we are standing for. This is not a time to sit on the fence we have to decide now.

Nurse Heidi said...

I saw this posted somewhere, I think on babycenter, and I was totally amazed by it. So timely.

Casey said...

couldn't agree more! we have had hard feeling right within our family because of this topic, and it's been difficult! people have been so short sighted, and don't seem to understand the ramifications long term! we lived in CA in 2000 when we supported (and helped pass) prop 22, which was basically the same as prop 8...then the supreme court in CA overturned it! so frustrating! I hope it "sticks"!