Saturday night the big boys and Ben went to the Priesthood session of conference. We had managed to watch both sessions of conference earlier that day, so by the time they left the church with their dad, they had watched six hours worth of sermons. They eared their dinner at Red Robin!! Layne looked at me and said, “Tomorrow is Sunday AGAIN isn’t it?” By that he meant, “General Conference is a marathon and it isn’t even half over. We have another day of church.” I looked at him sympathetically and replied, “At least there are only four hours tomorrow.”
He looked dazed for a moment and said, “I don’t know if I will survive.” I love Layne! He has this way of being hysterically unintentionally funny. We did survive conference. Devin shared pictures of the new temple in Rome with his girlfriend who is Muslim. (Devin tells me they are just friends) He has been answering her questions about our church. She was appropriately impressed with the intensity of our worship. She gets it since her faith is the one with Ramadan.
Between the dog, the toddler, and the teenager, I didn’t get a whole lot out of conference. There were a lot of times when I would sit down to listen, hear a phrase like, “We must remember to always…..” interrupted with a scream followed by, “That’s cheating!” After breaking up the conflict, I would sit down again and hear, “The gospel plan of happiness can help us….” just as Austin would decide the dog wanted to slide down the back of the sofa. “Momma, she LIKES it!”
Between the scuffles and distractions, I did hear a few things. My overall impression of this conference and the last one is that there is a tone of urgency and intensity. Gone are the days of laid back talks full of reminiscing. The leaders of our church are saying things like, “We are at war,” “I plead with you to repent,” and “time is running out.” After a glance at the daily headlines, I see exactly why.
Whether you get your news from the right and believe that there is vast conspiracy involving Hillary Clinton, the FBI, and former President Barak Obama to invalidate the 2016 election (groaning inwardly)–or you take the more mainstream media narrative, that Russia, China, and their allies are succeeding in creating division and chaos through targeted online propaganda campaigns supporting dangerous candidates and extreme policies, resulting in the election of our most divisive and mercurial president in modern history. Regardless of your perspective, the investigators are investigating, the investigations are being concealed, the investigators are being investigated, the lawyers are scheming, the misinformation is flowing, the civility is draining from our body politic like a dead deer carcass. Upon that we should all be able to agree. We are teetering on the edge of an abyss. Isn’t it time that Christians remember the being that we worship?
Jesus Christ was not a political leader. He did not seek to take from the wealthy to enrich the masses. He didn’t need their money. He took a loaf of bread and fed five thousand. Do you think that your social welfare programs and bureaucratic behemoths can compete with his miraculous power to save and provide? If he were partnered with you, then perhaps these programs would be capable of benefiting society, but without Him, you are building a Tower of Babel. You will not succeed. There is no compassionate, prosperous future in secularism, humanism, and socialism. It is a dry and withered reed compared to the firm and green stem of Jesse. The left must find the Savior.
On the left there is too much outrage and too little faith. The white male is elevated to Godlike status. He is seen as all powerful; both to blame for everything and simultaneously capable of fixing everything. He is seen as selfishly withholding the resources of society within a culture of white privilege. Although this perspective has some truth to it, it is fundamentally flawed. There is one God, and he is no respecter of persons. He is the source of all good things. Only through obeying his commandments can one secure the blessings of liberty and prosperity upon their descendants. He is the source of salvation, not the white male. Even the multicultural collection of citizens with honorable intentions and vast resources pales in comparison to His might. It is only through Him that we will find the way through this web of evil we are in.
Now to my friends on the right, a message of repentance. It is not too late. It is still possible to open your eyes to the destruction before us. You have trusted in the arm of flesh. Your fear blinded you to the scriptural and historical fact that when the wicked rule, the people mourn. You decided to vote for a man who has shown over and over again through his own words, the words of journalists, the words of confidants and friends, that he is a liar, an adulterer, and a bully. He lacks the qualities of the Master, and yet many who claim the title of Christians laud him and claim divine sanction upon his rule. He turns his back on the weak and the oppressed and causes his people to do so as well. It is time to turn away from this evil. Whatever your reasons for supporting Trump in 2016, there is another election in 2020 and another opportunity to choose a righteous leader who can thwart Satan’s designs and deliver us from the evil day. We should all exert our best efforts to find such a leader to vote for in 2020.
It is politically unpopular to stand on principle. Power is measured as a finite resource to be hoarded and defended at all cost by the puny men who wield it. The trends of public favor are scented and discerned by political pundits stylizing themselves as oracles divining the future. Let us be like Daniel of olden days and cast aside the heathen’s ways. Is there not a God in Israel that can protect us from the maw of the lion? How so, if we cast him out of our voting decisions? Have faith! Through small and simple things, the Lord bringeth to pass that which is great! Let us stand upon principle, let us open our hearts to the poor beggars at our southern border and around the world who come to us for asylum. The Master would not have us turn them away. He will multiply our efforts and our country will be better for it.
Our President insultingly referred to certain countries as “shithole countries.” In his mind, bringing people in from these countries is a terrible idea. As a gardener, I can see the value of shit. (Please pardon the language.) Manure, as I prefer to call it, is fertile and can produce incredible results when added to soil. As a gardener, I seek out manure, and add it to my soil to restore vitality and fertility to stagnant low producing garden beds. America has traditionally accepted the dross of humanity from the darkest places in the world and found them to be worthy countrymen, even a blessing to us. Saying, as our President so unwisely did, that our country is full is not only untrue, it is incredibly calloused. Shutting our doors to immigrants at a time when the number of displaced persons is at the highest point in sixty years, is as cruel as it is stupid. To give such policies divine sanction is blaspheme.
And now I leave the subject of politics. Maybe I won’t write about it ever again. That would be a relief for some, I’m sure! This is a time of extraordinary anxiety for me. I find my mind racing as I try to go to sleep. Even my sleeping pill seems to have little effect anymore. I suppose it is natural to be afraid when you are standing at the doors of Armegeddon. This is it. The last days of the last days. Tough times are ahead, so I choose to live in today.
My little Pepper sits calmly in my lap fast asleep. Her warm body sends calming waves over my mind. The warm sunshine heats the soil of my flower beds. The pungent smells of fertilizer and fresh cut grass fill my nose. I feel the tender embrace of my little boy. For today, for this moment, I am at peace. I am happy. The people I love are safe, and all is well.
The future is the hands of my God who is mighty to save! He will not leave me comfortless in the days of my affliction. He knows in whom I have trusted. I fear not the power of the wicked in high places, for he is above them all. Though times of trouble are upon us, even at the doors; I will not fear, for He is by my side.