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In the 1969 speech “The Loneliness of Leadership“, Gordon Hinckley discusses the loneliness that leaders feel-both spiritual leaders and secular leaders and how true leaders stand up for what they believe to be right regardless of consequences. Examples he uses include Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and recent converts to the Church who are ostracized and cast out for their belief.
He concludes with the following:
I like these great words of the Lord given to those who would go out and teach this gospel:
I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. [D&C 84:88]
I think that is a promise to each of us. I believe it; I know it. I bear testimony of its truth to you this day.
After reading this, I thought about times in my life when I’ve had to stand up for what I believed to be right, according to what I felt that God had put in my heart.
Joining the Mormon Church
When I was 9 years old, my parents divorced and I moved with my mother to another state. We had been raised members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), but after the divorce we gradually quit attending church.
I remember my mother inviting people over and having study sessions on why the Mormon religion is false and although I don’t think she knew I was listening, it did have an affect on me. Also, she confided in me a lot of negative information about my father that influenced my opinion of him as a person. He remained a practicing Mormon, so as a child, I blamed the Mormon church as well as all of the negative things that I heard in my home about Mormons. I hated Mormons.
At school I would bully them. Tease them. Gradually, it evolved into where I was not only teasing Mormons, but all people of faith. I was very young-11 years old- but I was getting involved in drinking, vandalism, and heading down a very negative path.
One day my mother came to me and told me that I should go and visit my father as I hadn’t seen him in 2 years because of my hatred for him and his religion. I told her I didn’t want to go, but she told me that legally I needed to and also it would be good for me. Looking back, I think she recognized a lot of the negative things in my life and thought I needed a father figure.
Before I left, she sat me down in the my bedroom that was in the garage of our old house and told me that when I visited my father that he would try and make me go to church with him. She told me that I didn’t have to go and to make sure that whatever I do I didn’t become Mormon. I looked at her confused and wondered why she would even worry about that because that was the last thing I wanted to do. I just wanted to have the 2 week trip over with.
To make a long story short, I visited my Dad. I noticed a very peaceful feeling almost immediately when I was in his home. Something I didn’t realize I had been craving. I also noticed that he wasn’t as bad as I had been told and that he was actually a very sincere and fun person to be around. He had remarried and my new step-mom was very kind and patient.
The other thing I realized was that the Mormon church wasn’t bad. In fact, I felt peace there that I hadn’t felt anywhere else (when we left the Mormon church, we went “church shopping” to a bunch of churches like Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, non-denominational, etc). After only a short time, the Holy Spirit shared with me a vision of my life and what would come of it if I stayed with my mother in that situation at the time, or moved in with my Dad. It was clear to me and I feel blessed that the Lord put it into my heart that I needed to join the Mormon church and also live with my Dad.
When I had the conversation with my mom, I knew that if I came back home with her, I was too weak at the time to stand up for what I had felt in my heart and I would fall back into my bad friends and behavior. I told her I was staying with Dad. She and I had a big blow-out conversation on the phone that ended with her telling me that if I went back to the Mormon church and my Dad she wouldn’t talk with me again. That hurt me deeply, but I knew what God had put in my heart and I had faith that I should follow that. So I chose to stay with my Dad.
Years later, after I had experienced a lot of psychological and emotional pain (which I wrote about in my book Discovering Light: 12 Steps to Overcoming Anxiety and Depression without Medication), I realized I needed to make amends with my mother and forgive her. Funny thing was that she put the blame back on me by saying I imagined that she had said that. I’ve forgiven her regardless and I’m very glad that I made that difficult decision years ago because it has changed my life a lot.
Since becoming a Mormon, I have had to walk a lonely road at times. I haven’t been perfect by any means, but largely the Lord has blessed me.
There were times in college when young ladies wanted to sleep with me and I turned them down because of what I believe.
There were times in Europe when I was working after having served a mission in Germany where I was ridiculed and cast out of a home I was staying in because I wouldn’t drink with them.
In my career, I’ve found that people are very accepting for the most part, of my beliefs and I’ve made some great friends as I don’t shy away from my faith, but stand up for it. I’ve found that for the most part, people are drawn to that.
Most importantly, I’ve found that I feel the Lord’s comfort and Spirit come over me in a way that I can’t describe as I’ve been all alone and decided to stand up for what I feel is right. I’ve found that Heavenly Father surrounds us with love when we do this and we come to know Him as a father more deeply in these times.
I’ve shared a few examples of standing up for truth and your beliefs and how God blessed my life.
I’m sure that you have some stories as well. We would all love to hear them, so please share.
- Romney lost the election. I had spent a year volunteering for his campaign and truly thought he had a good chance of winning. He nearly pulled it off, but him losing was like me watching the Seahawks lose in Super Bowl 40. Not fun.
- Washington State legalized marijuana. Not only for medicinal purposes, but also for daily use.
- Gay marriage was passed in our state as well.
All of these things hit me like a tidal wave on election night and I had a hard time sleeping as I considered my children and the hearts of people around me in society. I wondered where we are as a society in putting God first. Obviously, we’re not where we need to be and it scared me.
As I saw what my friends and family members where writing about on Facebook the next day, I saw quite often comments such as “I’m moving to a different country” or “I like the idea of living like the Amish do” and “Let’s move away from society and have a compound”. These were written out of frustration and not in complete seriousness (I hope), but it caused me to think.
Do I want to raise kids in this environment? If not, where and why would we run?
How can I support my new leaders of the country, even though I do not hold the same political views?
What do we do Now?
Other concerned citizens provided great examples of how we should unite as a nation and make the best of the situation. Also, the scriptures have excellent recommendations too.
My first example is Mitt Romney. In his concession speech, he set a very good example of being a gracious person. He discussed his love for country and the people who had supported him. He gave some advice and most importantly, he told Obama that he would pray for him.
When he said this, I was very impressed. This man (Obama) had slandered his (Romney) name up and down and painted him as a beast to the American people for most of 2012. Obama had attacked Romney as a person, not his policies. Romney showed what we as citizens should always remember to do and that is pray for our leaders of the country.
The next example I have is a less-known citizen in my state who was running for Congress. His name is John Koster. I had supported him in the elections as well. I’ll quote some of what he said in an email I received from him today:
Like many Americans, I am stunned at the tough night so many on the conservative side had around the country on Tuesday, and that Barack Obama was re-elected as President. Sean Hannity remarked yesterday that he wondered if the “allure and appeal of socialism and redistribution of wealth has taken hold.”
I hope he is wrong.
I am equally stunned that we have legalized marijuana right here in our home state of Washington; and if the slim margin favoring the pro Referendum-74 vote holds up, we will have legalized same-sex marriages as well.
It seems obvious to me that we have swung wildly in the wrong political direction and that we are now at a point where our society WILL suffer the consequences inherent with bad law and liberal representation.
Ben Franklin challenged future generations of Americans when he said “we have given you a Republic if you can keep it”. To heed Franklin’s wise words, it will be important in the coming days that each and every one of us continues to do our part in defending the Republic – as we are likely in for some difficult times!
We must, however, keep the faith and keep our chins up. We must dig down deep and continue the battle for truth wherever possible, working to defend our values and way of life through our community involvement, church outreach, clubs and social gatherings. We must remain in the battle if we intend to win the war.
Hard as it may be at this moment, we must also pray for our leaders at all levels of government as we are commanded in the Holy Scriptures. Pray that they would govern with honesty and integrity; that they would understand and implement justice through constitutional law as endowed by our Creator.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior…” -1 Timothy 2:1-3
Again, I humbly thank you for your loyal support as well as your continued friendship. It has been an honor to have run for the United States Congress intent on representing people such as you. May God continue to bless this great nation and may we as a people remain worthy of those blessings for many generations to come.
Both of these men are excellent examples of how we as concerned citizens should support our leaders. I intend to heed their advice and pray for our leaders, even if I do not support all of their views politically.
As I pondered things on election night, my thoughts were turned to the scriptures.
Although society is not even close to the events that happen in the Book of Mormon, during the prophet Mormon’s life, I thought about him. His whole society was collapsing and his people were being wiped out. He was tempted to leave them, but he chose to fight with them and pray for them and he even gave his life along side them, never giving up hope that they would repent and turn towards God.
I also looked up scriptures in the Bible and there are numerous scriptures that talk about our role as citizens is to support our leaders of the nation, yet continue to lead moral lives and be a “light on the hill” as Jesus says.
While it is tempting to through up our hands when we see our society choosing paths that are not consistent to what we believe to be true, the scriptures and others around us give us good examples of what our roles truly are. I believe that we should do all we can to raise our children up in truth and we need to do all we can to keep ourselves in line with the Lord. At that point, we can then be used as an instrument in God’s hand to provide light and guidance to those around us.
I recently was on a business trip where all of the reps from around the country came together and had a sales training for a few days. As usual, there was alcohol and going out after dinner each night.
Everyone knows I don’t drink and they don’t expect me to go hitting the clubs, which is great! I do spend time with them sometimes in the restaurants/bars with them as they drink. However, when it starts getting a little later, I usually decide to leave the restaurant. What I do instead is head back to the hotel and call my little daughter and tell her stories over the phone and chat with my wife for a few minutes before heading to bed.
I was surprised though with some married people who went out to the bar/dance club scantily clad and then came back the next day bragging on the people who were hitting on them. The crazy thing was that most of them have spouses and children at home.
I have absolutely no desire to do those types of things and most of the people I hang out with in the Mormon church wouldn’t do stuff like that (I hope). It got me wondering though if this is something that is normally done for people outside of the Mormon church, or even within the Church.
What are your views? Is it o.k. to hit the clubs if you’re married (without your spouse)? Feel free to vote and/or leave a comment.
Growing up in a Mormon society and household, modesty was something that was spoken of frequently. Since the majority of the population and culture I was in was predominately LDS, or Mormon, it was against the social norm to wear tight, or revealing clothing and when going out in the sun, bikinis were nearly unheard of.
When I went to an LDS, or Mormon college I found that although the school had a dress and honor code that reflected a similar dress standard as what I was accustomed to, there were many LDS girls who didn’t adhere to the standard when off-campus and especially at parties. At first, I was very shocked that an LDS girl would wear a bikini to the pool, or a skimpy dress to a party, but I heard over and over again that where they grew up (in a predominately non-LDS environment) it was o.k. to dress this way. This was what they felt comfortable in and if someone had a problem with it, so be it. I also heard girls who would dress this way act shocked that guys would be drooling all over them, or treating them disrespectfully.
I found the video below very interesting. The presentation discusses the things that happen to a man’s brain when he sees a girl in a bikini vs. a girl fully clothed. Take a few minutes to watch:
So what do you think? Do you think Christian women should continue to wear revealing swimwear and that it is up to the guys to control themselves, or do you think women should cover up more and help the guys out a little?
In a recent article I read about Brandon Davies being dismissed from the team, the author stated that BYU’ honor code was even stricter than that of the LDS church and in his words described it as the LDS church on steriods. He goes on to allude that BYU is ruthless and that if BYU wanted to help the basketball player, they would have kept him on the team and helped him with his issue.
Other people such as the broadcasters on Sportscenter the other day applauded BYU for upholding their standards in a time when many schools would not have, given all that was on the line.
I feel that the first author could have had a valid point since part of the honor code at BYU is “trivial” things (in my opinion) such as if you have shaved that day, cheated on a test, had a cup of Joe, or was dressing inappropriately. If Davies would have been removed from the team for a smaller violation such as one of these, I think that could have been justified, but it would have been much too harsh. In a situation such as that, they could have taken him in and helped him, assuming that he was willing to work on it and not do it. Perhaps suspended him for a game or something of that nature.
However, now that the word is out that he was having sexual relations the consequences are much higher and he is therefore off the team. I agree with the team for doing that because in the long run, it helps Davies if he will allow it to.
When one is baptized into the LDS church on of the covenants they make with God is that they will be sexually pure before marriage as well as faithful to their spouses after marriage. The consequences for violating this are similar to what happened to Davies in that an individual would most likely be excommunicated from the church and would need to go through the repentance process of purifying their lives before the Lord and then being re-baptized.
I am assuming that Davies could be reinstated onto the basketball team if he chooses to go through the repentance process and discontinue sexual relations outside of marriage. If he does this, and BYU doesn’t let him back onto the team for that reason, I would agree with the first author that the Honor Code is going too far. However, I must agree with the sportscenter folks for now and applaud BYU for upholding the honor code. In the long run it will help Davies become a better man, if he allows it.