Monday, October 27, 2008

Sermon on the Mount

Teaching the Sermon on the Mount last week in sunday school was tough. I wondered HOW we are supposed to be meek, pure in heart, peacemakers, not judge, turn the other cheek, live the golden rule, and on and on. The verses didn't say, "and this is how you do it." I thought about what it meant to be that kind of person -- someone who never gets angry, never lets pride creep in, and only considers treasures in heaven (even while in debt).

And then, during yesterday's lesson I wrote the things Jesus taught when he visited the Nephites on the chalkboard (from last week and this week). We studied ch. 17 of Third Nephi which begins: "I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words..."

And then, we ended with an answer to my question of HOW to do what Jesus taught.

ch. 19 verse 33:
"And the multitude did hear and do bear record; and their hearts were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed."

This is what I taught my students as my hands swept across the board showing them all that Jesus had said and done -- we can only do these things if our hearts are open.

The process of teaching taught me.

My heart knows how to do the things he taught, so why am I weak?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The freedom to vote as we choose.

My nephew recently moved to California for graduate school and posted a blog about the gay marriage proposition that is on the ballot this fall and the Church meetings he has recently attended. His post encouraged me to write my own.

I have been struggling with the idea that Church leaders are telling members of their congregation to send money and call people to vote a specific way in an election. I can appreciate when they tell members to get involved in the political process and to exercise their right to vote, but I have a hard time with them telling people how to cast their vote. I believe the voting process is personal and, dare I say, sacred.

Every time politics is brought up in a Church meeting it feels awkward to me. I can look around and see other people who believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ as I do, but we have vastly different opinions when it comes to political issues. Opinions, opinions, opinions - some informed, some ill-informed, some wacko, some clueless, some hurtful, some silent, and some inspired.

The argument is that this proposition is a moral issue and the LDS Church leaders have a responsibility to speak out against gay marriage. If so, fine, they can preach doctrine and whatever else they desire, but then leave it up to the people to decide. I would prefer they tell them to study the issue and vote according to their conscience.

My issue in this post is not about whether gay marriage is right or wrong, but rather it is about the voting process. Yes, people still have the right to step into the voting booth and make their own choice, so perhaps this is a moot argument. Nevertheless, it still bothers me.

As for gay marriage....well, I am a sociologist.