But how will it be saved? Through provident living and civility.
It seems to me that the major theme of the April 2009 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was encouraging us to conduct our temporal affairs in such a manner that we will be able to support not only ourselves, but also our neighbors who might fall on hard times. Elder Robert D. Hales, a member of the LDS Church Quorum of Twelve Apostles, refers to such individuals as "provident providers". He says
All of us are responsible to provide for ourselves and our families in both temporal and spiritual ways. To provide providently, we must practice the principles of provident living: joyfully living within our means, being content with what we have, avoiding excessive debt, and diligently saving and preparing for rainy-day emergencies. When we live providently, we can provide for ourselves and our families and also follow the Savior’s example to serve and bless others.Part of provident living is spiritual; in the context of this discussion, provident living includes understanding--through reading the words of the prophets, as well as studying for ourselves--what the Constitution means and how it should be applied in order to maximize liberty.
In the most recent LDS General Conference in October of 2009, the major theme seemed to be the importance of civility. For example, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve warned
Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.LDS Presiding Bishop H. David Burton said
We need only look around us to see what is taking place in our communities to realize that personal traits of virtue are in a steep decline. Reflect on the behavior of drivers on crowded highways; road rage happens all too often. Civility is all but absent in our political discourse. As countries around the world face financial and economic challenges, fidelity and honesty seem to have been replaced with greed and graft.A few days after the October General Conference, Church leadership reminded us that
...we need not be a part of the virtue malaise that is penetrating and infecting society. If we follow the world in abandoning Christian-centered virtues, the consequences may be disastrous. Religious influence in society will be lessened, and the rule of law will be challenged and perhaps even set aside.
The Church views with concern the politics of fear and rhetorical extremism that render civil discussion impossible. As the Church begins to rise in prominence and its members achieve a higher public profile, a diversity of voices and opinions naturally follows. Some may even mistake these voices as being authoritative or representative of the Church. However, individual members think and speak for themselves. Only the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles speak for the whole Church.Another focus of the LDS Church, which has been more emphasized lately, regards the importance of being saviors for our ancestors by performing in temples dedicated to that purpose the necessary ordinances for them that they were not able to receive while they were on earth. I can think of no other work that is more calculated to engender civility in those who perform it than to dedicate our time, patience, and love toward the performance of saving ordinances for those who no longer have the ability to do these things for themselves.
Saving our dead not only shows that we are provident providers, but it also engenders in us the civility that will be indispensable for ably defending of our God-given rights and liberties.
The traits of provident providing and civility will be extremely helpful to members of the LDS Church who hope to help in saving the United States Constitution, which, it has been prophesied, will at some point stand on the brink of failure.
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As a missionary for the LDS Church several years ago, I enjoyed "bible bashing," or the art of attempting--while I enmitized the person I was "talking with"--to show them how much smarter I was. Interestingly, I never converted anyone with my supposed intellectual prowess.
Half a life later, I think I've grown out of such childishness. I no longer think that it is either Christlike or productive to "Argue with Idiots" or make fun of supposed morons that I have intentionally set up for certain trivial failure. Because in my book, there are no idiots and there are no morons. There are only children of God.
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The only way members of the Church will be able to save the Constitution from disaster is to be ready when the opportunity comes. That preparation is two-fold.
Primarily, we must be economically and spiritually able to take care of not only ourselves, but also our neighbors. How can we hope to stand up for what is right with regard to the proper role of government if we are only turned inward, fighting the fires of our own temporal and spiritual carelessness?
Secondarily, we must be civil--even when someone vehemently disagrees with us. How can we hope to persuade someone of the correctness of our views when, by our own uncivil actions, we demonstrate that we are not ourselves sure whether we are correct?
A former President of the LDS Church, Ezra Taft Benson, promised that
We, the blessed beneficiaries, face difficult days in this beloved land, "a land which is choice above all other lands" (Ether 2:10). It may also cost us blood before we are through. It is my conviction, however, that when the Lord comes, the Stars and Stripes will be floating on the breeze over this people.How can that hope become reality? Certainly not by Latter-day Saints ignoring their neighbors or bashing them with political brickbats. I hope that the blood Benson worried about will at least not be American blood shed by American hands. We are today, however, in danger of that very peril. Only one course exists for ensuring that our country is saved without a maelstrom of violence--the course of provident living and civility.