Monday, June 4, 2012

Charity Suffereth

Frustration crept over me in my own failings to express disagreement with the tone of two articles recommended to me by friends. The first from a young woman who has left behind her Mormon Faith for a better relationship with her husband who had lost his Faith, and the second from a well-intended response to the first full of apologetic refutation. A friend commented on my Facebood posting that he found the second judgmental, but not the first, acknowledging the difficulty in ever expressing personal perspective on religion or politics without offending someone. Another friend responded that while her choices have been different in choosing Faith, she still recognized that an open mind, patience, and above all charity are important if we are ever to understand each other.

My brother-in-law, AKA Anonymous/D, messaged me by e-mail providing the following:

Whether the issue is our response to those who attack our faith, or those whose moral convictions and actions we cannot condone, Joseph Smith pointed out to us our situation and the course we must follow:
“It is one evidence that men are unacquainted with the principles of godliness to behold the contraction of affectionate feelings and lack of charity in the world. The power and glory of godliness is spread out on a broad principle to throw out the mantle of charity. God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men have sinned, there must be allowance made for them. … The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), Chap. 37.*
I"m not sure it's an "attack" on Faith when someone leaves the Faith and expresses their personal reasons - it just sometimes feels that way. And I'm not certainly not saying that anyone has sinned here. It's not my place. But then part of my concern arises from the fact that the two friends commenting on my Facebook page were young people when I was their bishop. I'm very pleased that these two friends with their differences respect each other in a charitable way. Yet, with all the charity I can muster, I still can't help that my heart breaks just a little.

* Original source is: History of the Church, 5:24; spelling modernized; paragraph divisions altered; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on June 9, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Eliza R. Snow.

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!