I am sincerely torn about the refugee problem. On one side is my common sense that says to stop the refugee programs and stop refugees from coming into our nation, particularly those of Muslim persuasion. Why would anyone put a poisonous snake in their pocket? It just does not make sense to invite sworn enemies into our nation. I do not want to provide anything – money, homes, clothing, food, access – to people who will abuse the gift. We already have plenty of people in our own nation that need help. Why can’t we use our money to help them instead of bringing more needy people into our nation?
Then there is my other side. I feel great empathy for parents who are striving to take their children to a safe place. I feel great empathy for people who have had to leave their homes and all their belongings and now have nothing except what they are wearing or carrying. I feel a great need to help people who need assistance.
This side includes the part of me that desires to be obedient to God and His prophets. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency spoke at the “Volkstrauertag” gathering on November 15, 2015, at the Fort Douglas Military Cemetery in Salt Lake City. Germans at home and abroad celebrate “Volkstrauertag” annually; it is their national day of remembrance to commemorate all war victims. German-Americans and their friends gathered to pay tribute to 41 German prisoners of war and others who are buried at Fort Douglas Military Cemetery. This marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II as well as the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Germany.
President Uchtdorf knows well what it is like to be refugee as he was displaced twice during his childhood in Germany. He has great compassion, empathy, and love for the millions of refugees and emigrants today who need assistance. He declared the “Volkstrauertag” is a day to speak out for peace as well as to mourn the dead.
“This is our responsibility [for] our children and their children. It takes empathy and action to influence the future of mankind based on dignity, honesty and eternal values – regardless of differences in politics, religion, race or cultural traditions.”
President Uchtdorf encouraged his listeners to love those who suffer, including many innocent children and their families. He said that we have responsibilities as Christians – or any other religion – to reach out and help. He counseled us to follow the example of Jesus Christ and show compassion and empathy for all.
Can you see my conundrum? I know President Uchtdorf is a prophet, seer, and revelator, and I know that he sees and understands things that I do not. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent $5 million in cash or goods to help the refugees in Europe, and I supplied some of that money. The leaders of the Church desire to help all of God’s children. How can we do it safely?
Then I realized as I was writing this post how it can be done. President Uchtdorf was speaking to individual people. As individuals we are responsible to care for each other, no matter who they are or what they might do. We are commanded to love God and to love our fellowman. Many of us are under covenant to do so. God expects us to help care for His children. At the same time, one of the purposes for our federal government is to protect us from enemies both within and without our borders. Individuals can show love, empathy, and compassion at the same time that governments take the necessary steps to safeguard their people. This is the answer to my conundrum!