We had our Gospel Doctrine lesson on Noah & the Flood yesterday. The teacher did quite well getting to the principles about what we can do to rely on the Lord to save us from evil around us today. "Stand in Holy Places," is a good one with those places being Home, Temple, Church. Listening to and following the Prophet is good too - service, home storage (I'm good with the chocolate chips), etc.
My wincing came when he threw out the question, "What are some of the examples of wickedness that we see in the world around us today?"
Then a sister's voice a few rows ahead of me spoke up and said something to the effect that they were forcing obamacare insurance on us for abortions.
"No, they're not," I said in a clear and moderate voice.
I didn't get an elbow from my wife next to me. Maybe that's because as soon as I finished, the sister right in front of me turned around and mouthed a big "THANK YOU!" The teacher, to his credit, said we weren't going to get into a political discussion and moved on to more of the principles part of the lesson.
There also was a part the teacher had assigned to an elderly, former CES (Church Education System) leader and mission president about the size of Noah's Ark. That guy's point was that we don't know exactly how Noah did it, but that he did. He also said something about us either believing the scriptures or we don't. I thought those weren't the only two options but held my silence on that one already having popped off.
Feeling kind of bad, I went up to the sister with the comment after the class and said that I didn't mean to offend but that I do all those things up on the board that were the modern arks and that I also thought Obamacare was a pretty good thing and that I had voted for the President twice. "So, it is probably best to keep politics out of Sunday School." She was also apologetic and agreed.
I also went up to the brother who spoke about the ark. I asked if it was necessary to believe in a flood that covered all the earth for one's own personal salvation. I tried to say it nicely enough. He said he didn't think so and explained that's what he was trying to get across by saying we don't know how Noah did it. OK. Good enough for me.
Sacrament meeting was looking up. (We do that last in Zion, South Davis County.) An old friend of mine was there to speak as the new High Counselor. For those who have never attended High Council Sunday, the stereotype (fairly accurate) is that the speakers are extremely boring and go over the scheduled time. I won't say much about my good friend except that almost 30-years ago we where in the same ward where I taught Deacons and he visited as the bishopric counselor. He was great except that he used to laugh when the Deacons cut-up with their 12-year-old humor and I was trying to maintain a semblance of order in the room. As I told my wife just this Sunday at the end of the Sacrament noting the Deacon with his shirttail out, I love Deacons, I just don't like to be with them. Beehives, the female counterpart, are about the same except they giggle more and smell a lot better.
Anyway, my friend came through. The complimentary message to Sunday School from the Stake Presidency was about protecting ourselves from the evils of the world. It probably would have been more difficult for me in a ward where the other eleven spoke today. Our guys talk was in the optimistic style of President Hinkley or Elder Bednar. Sure, lots of trouble in the world and lots of good things and opportunities to do good. The theme was very much like some of the posts you might read on this blog.
The principle evils he talked about were right on. He contrasted Abraham and Lot as to how Lot faced his tent towards Sodom then eventually moved in to town. I whispered excitedly to my wife, "He going to quote Ezekiel 16!" Sure enough:
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty . . . .Seriously, that's where he stopped. Yep. A talk right on the message of the Book of Mormon for our day. Even Anonymous D would have said "amen!"
I went up after the meeting to greet him and said, "You're still a hero of mine."
Noah is too.