Sunday, October 5, 2008

General Conference, the Spirit, and Protesters

We attended General Conference this weekend (Saturday afternoon to be exact). It was an overcast, somewhat rainy day, but beautiful nonetheless.

Once inside the Conference Center, we heard prophetic discourses by Joseph Wirthlin and Jeffrey Holland. I must admit, I love listening to Holland speak. His command of language and emotion is exceptional, and his messages are always inspiring. Lawrence Corbridge, a member of the Seventy, also gave an exceptional talk on Christ's eternal roles.

After exiting the Conference Center, and snapping a photo or two,

We happened upon the protesters. While I wouldn't normally post about this stuff, I think this is important, so bear with me.

The one holding the "Read the Bible" sign informed us "When you get before the bar of God, He'll recognize you as lower than the Sodomites. You're all dishonest. You're so dishonest you won't even tell your families that you're lying to them." Needless to say, being called a liar and lower than a bunch of gay gang rapers was, shall we say, an unfortunate occurrence.

In the midst of this, however, there were some glimpses of true Christian service. For example, see this picture.

Notice the man with the two umbrellas standing left of the protester. His look (suit, tie, etc.) and demeanor (standing quietly) tells us he's a Mormon holder an umbrella for the man proclaiming he's going to hell. What a beautiful example of serving those who despise you. Only the truly humble could ever do such a thing. May we all follow this man's example. And here's another great example to follow.

This is a group that obtains permits and sings hymns to passersby. This is an ingenuous idea that has two main strengths: (1) it takes permits away from protesters, and (2) it brings a starkly contrasting spirit to the sidewalk. Whoever first came up with this idea deserves a medal.

Now, this might seem an odd thing to say, but I'm actually grateful for these protesters. They are doing what they believe is right, and that is honorable. While I don't agree with them, and I find their tactics distasteful (I mean, honestly, who would put up with this sort of thing outside, say, a Jewish temple. No one), I love the fact they are free to express their religious views. God bless America for this freedom.

This last thought brings me to the only guy who annoyed me:

He was very vocal about Mormons being cast into the infernal pit of everlasting damnation, so on and so forth. Fine. Who cares. What got me was when a man walked by with his wife and smiled, the protester yelled the following at him: "Don't you smile at me. I'm being serious." Apparently, the protester thinks it's okay to express himself by verbally denigrating Mormons, but Mormons shouldn't be free to express their emotions by smiling. Such a view is unacceptable. If you freely exercise the right to express your beliefs, then afford the same right to others.

After Conference, Dem had a lesson with her voice teacher, Ariel Bybee. We then dropped my mom at her brother's house in Magna, and drove back to Provo, where we stayed in Denis and Lisa's apartment (thanks again Denis and Lisa). The next day, it was home after six hours of driving, passed largely by listening to "New Moon" by Stephanie Meyer.


Daven and Savanna Lake said...

I enjoyed your post. With extreme protestors it seems like freedom of speech goes only one way. Too bad they didn't get to hear Elder Hales talk.

Mike and Rachael Hohmann said...

Well, while you were in SLC being holy - we were in Texas being heathens at the state fair. :) We're catching up slowly, thanks to the internet. Thanks for your views. I agree whole heartedly. It does seem that free speech is only beginning to be a one way thing. I will never forget a high school history teacher who taught that you have a right to swing your fist until it makes contact with someone else's nose.