This is sort of Mormon inside baseball. I'm sorry for those of you that this excludes. I generally don't do too much of this on my blog. But I feel it's kind of important. Please tune back in again for the regular amalgamation of book stuff and middle school living.
Update: Wow! I checked my traffic this morning and this post seems to be getting a lot of visitors. Welcome to my blog. I like to keep things civil and polite here. I also will not have much time to moderate or reply to comments over the next few days.
Dear Mormon Folks:
One of my favorite plays is Fiddler on the Roof. In that play, which deals with how believers in a traditional faith cope with a changing world, there is a scene at a wedding. In this scene, a progressive young man scandalizes the more traditional guests. A fierce debate ensues about whether what he did was a sin. As everyone shouts at each other, someone suggests they ask the Rabbi.
Everyone turns to the Rabbi who thinks, then says, "I say--I say--Let's all sit down."
My friends, co-religionists, sisters and brothers: may I say the same thing? In love and sincere warmth: Let's all sit down.
We have difficult issues right now, challenges as we try to move forward, individually and collectively.
People feel deeply about these issues, and emotions are high. I understand that, and I'm not casting stones, or even aspersions at or on anyone. But I feel like I'm seeing this pattern: One group does something, and then the blogosphere is alight with reactions by a second group. Then the first group responds to the second with more blog posts and back and forth--and suddenly, we are yelling at each other on Facebook, calling each other out for various things, and ultimately restating our opinions with more and more volume.
May I suggest we all sit down, virtually speaking?
Conference is upon us. Would a period of quiet reflection hurt anything? Could we spend the next week and a few days just praying and pondering? Praying for the Prophet and those who will speak? Praying for those who are suffering around the world? And praying for each other? The Savior said we should pray for our enemies, and surely we are not yet enemies. So if we are not, then should we not feel an even greater imperative to pray for each other? Real, honest, true, charitable prayers?
I think that everyone's positions are pretty clear right now. I don't think one more blog post is going to change anyone's mind, or be the difference-maker in terms of scoring a decisive hit. But I do wonder how much damage continued talking at and over each other might do.
Surely there is still more that unites us than divides us.
So please, can we all sit down? Can we declare a truce of sorts? A Conference truce--a Mormon version of the famous truce on Christmas Eve during WWI.
Instead of arguing and advocating and lobbing rhetorical shells at the other side, can we just listen for a bit, and not talk? Will we lose anything important in a short period of silence?
Any decisions made will not likely involve us. This is not a referendum. So our input, while it might be gratifying to express, is not really going to make a difference in the final outcome. But it might make a big difference to the fabric of the Church, and the spirit that dwells among us.
I love and support our leaders--but they aren't speaking right now. We are. And very loudly, with growing frequency. Are we ready to hear the voices of those we believe can speak for God?
At this point, expressing my opinion will probably generate some heat, but not much light. Might my loving, patient silence be of greater value than my voice right now, no matter how deeply I feel my convictions?
The voice of the Lord came to Elijah not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire--but in the still, small voice (1 Kings 19: 11-13)
I wonder if we can perhaps have less wind and fire, and a bit more still, small voice. It certainly can't hurt.
Please note I'm not saying, "Sit down and shut up." I'm simply suggesting that a mature, reflective period of silence, preparing to listen and learn from General Conference would not hurt any of us.
Please, let's sit down.
My Sincerest Love,
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Thoughts about raising and teaching adolescents. You can read the complete series here. (What in the world are Middle School Mondays?) Click here.
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