Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mormons in the News

                    With Mitt Romney campaigning for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, there has been much talk about his church and its religious practices.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized nearly 200 years when the authority to do so was restored to Joseph Smith in 1830.  I am surprised that people are so fascinated by it today.

                    There are many news articles that are not favorable toward the Church.  It is always a pleasant surprise when there are any that are fair and unbiased, and to see two such articles in during one week is out of the ordinary. 

                    The first such article was written by Bob Lonsberry, a talk show host and was entitled "Mitt Romney's Underwear."  Lonsberry explained that there are numerous faiths that wear religious garments; some of them are outer garments and some are worn under regular clothing.  He ends his article with this statement:

                    "The point of all this is that religions around the world have various types of religious garments.  If you do the math, most believers on earth belong to a religion that commands its followers or leaders to wear religiously significant clothing.
                    "Mormons are part of that majority.
                    "And Mitt Romney is a Mormon.
                    "And he lives his religion.
                    "So, yes, Mitt Romney wears a religious garment, beneath his outer clothes.  He does this for the same reason almost all religious clothing is worn - to remind the believer that he is a believer, and as a token of promises the believer has made to God.
                    "Promises which, like the garment that represents them, are sacred, and should not be made fun of.
                    "At least not by decent people."

                    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has recently completed the construction of a new temple in Liberty, Missouri, near Kansas City.  The Church held an open house at the temple last week in order for children and youth, less active members of the Church, or non-believers to see the inside of the temple.  Episcopal Priest Danielle Tumminio took the opportunity to tour the temple and wrote a fair and unbiased review of her experience entitled "An Episcopal priest tours the Kansas City temple."   Tumminio's review was very thoughtful and listed numerous questions that she had about the temple.  She ended her review with this statement:

                    "Like Dante, who saw God face to face but had no words to describe the encounter, I have few words to describe what I felt in that moment.  But I can say this:  While it did not convert me, nor did it make me want to be a Mormon, the silence and peace I felt reminded me of the many other times I've felt close to God, whether in an Episcopal cathedral, in a clear, warm ocean or in my ratty old car.  And because of that, I came to understand why temples exist and why they are so important to Mormons across the world.
                    "And along the lines of Mormons being across the world:  As I wrote earlier, Mormons were ironically driven out of Liberty, Missouri and the surrounding region nearly 175 years ago.  It cannot be lost on those who visit the new temple that almost two centuries later, Mormons are often still held in suspicion by society, but they are far from being as vulnerable as they were in their early years.  They are building stronger foundations every day, and striving, as they do so, to catch a glimpse of heaven."

                    I thank Bob Lonsberry and Danielle Tumminio for being sensitive to our sacred beliefs even though they do not believe the same as we do.  I hope and pray for the day when we will all be sensitive and respectful to the religious beliefs of other people.

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