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Oasis Mailbag: A Matter of Priorities

[This arrived in the mailbag, and I figured I'd forward it along.]

Hello there. I went to a nice Methodist church yesterday at my mom’s.

So when we were gone, the lady of the older missionary couple in our branch called and left a message. The message was that this other couple who live about ten miles from here would be willing to drive my two youngest children to church so they could go to primary. She said she knows it’s so expensive to drive. If it was the money that was stopping us, I would be paying my tithing so I could get the free church groceries. It’s nice that she called, that she cares, but it doesn’t help in my efforts to just quietly go away from the church.

Then on that Mormon Matters blog, they posted a copy of a letter that’s going to be read in California wards and branches next Sunday about how they are in the fight about gay marriage there. That’s bad enough, but then someone posted how Romney said in an interview that the president of his church (Hinckley at the time) met with JERRY FALWELL to discuss strategy on this. I just don’t see how any of this is important and it certainly belies the assertion that we don’t get involved in political things.

At my mom’s church, they talk from the pulpit about Darfur and the immigration raid that happened a month or two ago in Postville, Iowa with hundreds of Guatamalean illegals being arrested. They talk about the floods in Iowa and what individuals can do to help. has over 4,000 hits on the word “Darfur” on their website; they even have two about “Postville” which is pretty impressive as it is so local. There’s FIVE hits for “Darfur” on and two are from the Liahona so they are just repeats of something elsewhere. FIVE!!! Obviously there’s nothing about Postville. Oh, we don’t get involved in political things, like the 400,000 people killed and 2 million displaced in an ongoing genocide, but by golly we don’t want those gays marrying! THAT would be downfall of civilization as we know it!

And it’s hard to be anything but jaded when the church did nothing in Massachussetts – if they believe gay marriage is so wrong, why not fight it there? I’ve heard of the law that kept gay marriage in MA isolated, but jeez, if this is that big of a threat to civilization, shouldn’t it have mattered in Massachussetts, too? Could it possibly be because Romney was governor and he was going to run for president and it would look bad if the church tried to stop it and couldn’t?

I mean, the reason for me not going to church is not because of gay marriage, though it doesn’t help. It isn’t because of the lack of interest in Darfur, though it doesn’t help.

I really love this sister missionary, I do, and I’m happy that someone cares if we’re there or not. But that’s not enough, obviously.

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  1. Jonathan Blake said,

    June 23, 2008 @ 8:56 am

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the LDS church had sent aid to Darfur, so that’s good. Yet the feeling I get from the church is “Send us your money and we’ll make sure—with God’s guidance—to use it wisely.” That’s all well and good (especially if you believe the claims of prophetic authority), but it fosters a distance from concern about world affairs. Not everyone will be affected this way, but when I was a believing member, I tended not to think about the suffering of the poor much because I knew the church would take care of it. There’s something good about taking personal action that helps me to feel greater concern for my brothers and sisters across the globe, more Christ-like as they say.

  2. TAG said,

    June 24, 2008 @ 9:37 am

    Jonathan – What do you know about the Danzigs? I read about them a bit on the Mormon Matters comments; I’d never heard of that case. Threatened with church disciple, resigns his membership because of a letter to the editor. And then the church wrote up a very specific press release about the case! Astounding.

  3. Jonathan Blake said,

    June 24, 2008 @ 2:08 pm

    I learned about them on Equality Time where the Danzig’s account of the events was published. Kind of shocking. It’s not like he was preaching—God forbid—polygamy.

    Those who feel that the church is wrong on its stance about same-sex marriage better keep their objections private if they value their membership. The LDS church is a no-free-speech zone.

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