Sunday, October 28, 2012

10 Days

Elections are in ten days.

I've already voted.  Some of my votes may matter (local issues, etc.)  Some don't (any vote where the candidate has an "R" next to his name--heck, even if it's a future General Authority like Larry EchoHawk, voters in the Eastern Idaho section of the Mormon Corridor won't vote for a Democrat).

I like getting involved in politics, but the radical stance people take on issues--and how uninformed they are about the issues they're fighting for--has always bothered me.  This goes for ultra-liberals as well as ultra-conservatives.  The other guy running for president isn't ever as bad as he's made out to be.

But the thing that bothers me the most this year is how convinced many members of the church are that God wants Mitt Romney to win.

Email petitions go around asking people to fast and pray for Romney, with the unsaid assumption that fasting and prayer will help him win, because that's what God wants.

I hear people make comments like "You're not voting for Romney?  You better pray about that," with the assumption that, of course, God will tell them to vote for Romney.

We're told, repeatedly, by the leadership of the church, that the church takes no stance on which candidate should win, and that good can be found in both major political parties.  If only the members would listen...

There have been some attacks made on Mormonism--initially, in the primaries, by conservatives who didn't want Romney to win the primaries, and now, primarily, by liberals who don't want him to win.  Most of these attacks are silly and misinformed.

But there is one attack that would be both valid and potent.  "Look at how many Mormons "know" that God wants Mitt Romney to win the presidency.  See, they really are fanatical crazies."

Time to humble ourselves (as a people) and stop putting words in God's mouth. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Teaching Primary

I have lived in four different wards in Idaho.

The first was our first year of marriage.  We were called to teach the Sunbeams.

Second was right after law school.  I was called to teach 10 and 11 year olds (mostly boys).

Third was after that stake was reorganized and we were assigned to a different ward.  I had three different callings in this ward (all at the same time), including one where April and I taught 9 and 10 year olds, although we only did that calling for our last month or two.

Fourth is now.  We've been in our house for almost two months, and we finally get callings.  5 year olds.

I accepted the calling, but it's frustrating.  I don't know anyone in this ward.  We don't have hometeachers assigned to us (as far as I know), and I don't have a hometeaching assignment.  And now that I'm being placed into primary, I won't get much chance to interact with other men in the ward.

What is it that makes Idaho bishops throw the new guy into primary, where he'll be isolated from other men, and as a result will have difficulty making friends?  You can tell me that every calling is inspired of God, but I've spent enough time in leadership positions to know that's not the case (unless things operate differently in Idaho).  Sometimes you have a need and a potential person to fill that need, and inspiration plays no part.  And sometimes the calling is just wrong.  (I spent six months of my mission in a ward where most of the leadership--Bishop, RS Pres, EQ Pres, etc--had, ten years before I got there, been excommunicated or disfellowshipped--do we really want to say that their callings were inspired?) 

But smart bishops should realize that isolating men by placing them in the primary is a good idea only if the man already has friends in the ward.

For the record, the only ward in Idaho where I've truly made friends is the last ward, where I had two other callings.  Being an EQ teacher, even if it was just once a month, allowed me to get to know other guys in the ward.  And having time to wander the halls due to a very active pre-nursery kid didn't hurt either, as it gave me a chance to talk to other hall wanderers.

So I'm dreading this calling.  Not the part about teaching the class, because I'm sure that will be fine.  But the part about not getting to know any other guys in the ward.  I've been there before, and it sucks.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Happy Conference Weekend!

I've always wondered if President Uchtdorf had the same politics as just about every other German member of the church I've ever met--in other words, if he could vote in the U.S., if he'd regularly vote Democrat.  (And yes, having served a mission in Germany, I've met a ton of German members of the church).

Elder Jensen, who was church historian and is now being released as an active member of the 70 (having aged out), is well known as being a Democrat.  He's received pressure from several people to run for political office in Utah.  A Salt Lake Tribune article on Elder Jensen (an excellent article, by the way), originally stated that even President Uchtdorf had encouraged him to run, according to Elder Jensen's wife.

If that's true, that makes it even more likely Elder Jensen and President Uchtdorf share political views.

Interestingly, I just returned to the article in order to link to it, and the language has been changed from "President Uchtdorf encouraged" to "First Presidency greenlighted."

Elder Jensen isn't planning on a life of politics.  But it's nice there's political diversity at the top.  (And the political diversity hasn't decreased with the retirement of Elder Jensen--Elder EchoHawk, who recently became a Seventy, served in a prominent position under President Obama, and ran for governor of Idaho as a Democrat.  Of course the Mormons in Eastern Idaho chose to vote for a non-Mormon Republican than a future General Authority, but that's a topic for another day).