Thirty years ago Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who was then serving in The First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave a talk at Brigham Young University entitled “Meeting The Challenges of Today,”. It was later republished as “A More Determined Discipleship“. His words of warning that day regarding our national decline have become prophetic. A video is included below.
Our nation is following the dangerous trend to embrace secularism and irreligion, while discriminating and mocking traditional values and religious convictions. Most recently, supporters of California’s Proposition 8 have experienced violent beatings, vicious intimidation, angry protests, vandalism of individual and church property, and even death threats and acts of terror. Although thousands of Americans from every creed joined the campaign to defend traditional marriage, Mormons nationwide have often been the ones singled out and targeted.
Last week the LDS Church issued a formal statement, which included:
“…People of faith have been intimidated for simply exercising their democratic rights. These are not actions that are worthy of the democratic ideals of our nation. The end of a free and fair election should not be the beginning of a hostile response in America…Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues. People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in the public square without fear of reprisal. Efforts to force citizens out of public discussion should be deplored by people of goodwill everywhere…”
-The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, November 14, 2008
In the midst of this active campaign of intimidation and hate, there have emerged voices of reason. Many have decried the shameful attacks, and stand beside their Mormon neighbors. Americans of all races and religion boldly proclaim their convictions to protect family values and religious freedom. Last weekend, two Roman Catholic bishops released formal statements in support of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Catholics stand in solidarity with our Mormon brothers and sisters in support of traditional marriage — the union of one man and one woman — that has been the major building block of Western Civilization for millennia.
“The ProtectMarriage coalition, which led the successful campaign to pass Proposition 8, was an historic alliance of people from every faith and ethnicity. LDS were included — but so were Catholics and Jews, Evangelicals and Orthodox, African-Americans and Latinos, Asians and Anglos…
“…I personally decry the bigotry recently exhibited towards the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — coming from the opponents of Proposition 8, who ironically, have called those of us supporting traditional marriage intolerant…”
Excerpts of Bishop John C. Wester’s Statement, Diocese of Salt Lake City:
“…Like our friends in the Mormon faith, the Catholic Church has long championed and promoted the sacredness of traditional marriage and the importance of the family in our society…While acknowledging that this position is not universally held in our society today, our churches are committed to proclaiming the truth and we cherish our ability to participate in the democratic process. It is worth noting that our two churches joined with a wide alliance of people from different faiths and ethnicities including Orthodox, Jews, Evangelicals, Hispanics, African Americans, Asians and Anglos…One of the hallmarks of our country is that people of different opinions can debate neuralgic issues and at the same time demonstrate respect, civility and courtesy for the other. I pray that this will be the case going forward.”
Even the Anti-Defemation League , who fought Prop 8, released a statement:
“…To place anyone in fear of threat to their houses of worship or their personal security because they have expressed deeply held religious views is contrary to everything this nation represents…”
Sadly, Proposition 8 is not the beginning nor the end of our national crises. However, there is still hope that the “slumbering majority” will awake and arise in defense of religious conviction and freedom in America.
I invite you to listen to Elder Maxwell’s prophetic 1978 words:
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