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Date Posted: 06:36:37 06/24/05 Fri
Author: Mary, quite contrary
Subject: "reducing attacks on public officials"?
In reply to: Leif Erlingsson, heretic 's message, "If religion should be shielded from investigation, why not politics?" on 02:44:45 06/20/05 Mon

I honestly don't know what he means by this, and I think it would get even more complicated, if you were trying to translate it into another language.
I think, however, knowing Elder Oaks (he was president of BYU when I attended decades ago) as I do (and yes he has a ponderous way of speaking) that he is speaking of "manners", mostly of manners.
I don't think he is suggesting that we accept everything a "public official" says as "doctrine". I believe he is talking about civility. Our use of language, as a world, and ESPECIALLY AS AMERICANS, and he isn't speaking of LDS alone or even of us specifically, has become degraded and foul. We have become obsessed with tabloids as a culture. We attack the officials, or the tabloids do, instead of DEBATING honestly what they are saying and doing. Nobody can speak his/her mind anymore (maybe it's been this way for centuries, but a refined man still has a right to express his opinion about it) without someone misinterpreting it and slamming it on a tabloid of some sort or without "talking heads" discussing it to the point where all value of it is lost. So, even men and women who aren't knee-deep in conspiracies, dare not say a word, and GOOD men and women are staying out of politics. That is something to fear. Elder Oaks has seen it, and it is something to fear. Only the oily dare walk onto the stage.
Elder Oaks is a very refined man; he's not telling anyone not to think, and I believe he would be horrified if anyone thought that; he is a thinking man.

THIS is what I believe and why I'm taking the time to write it out:

In the New Testament Christ says (I will paraphrase) that He is bringing a sword; He will divide families, etc. He is the antithesis of Babylon. If we had been there, we would have understood in a way we can't now. But we can spend centuries debating it.
Later, Paul admonishes slaves NOT to rebel against their "masters".
We have the, found from the beginning, APPARENT dichotomy between the belief and the action.

How do we reconcile this? Is it really a dichotomy?

(Note: Christians believe in a heavenly kingdom that oversees everything that goes on down here. So, it would appear that the private arena is more important than the public. And it would seem that in the public arena, how people treat each other really does matter? Focusing on dirt isn't going to help; it just diverts the attention away from what really matters.)

I believe the reason for this is that most mortals simply can't differentiate between the belief and the action.

A few can; most can't.

Look at what happened during the French Revolution. Suddenly, it being an aristocrat WAS the evil; those among us who are egalitarians might agree, but the excesses the Republicans (ha!) went to were horrific, and even good aristocrats were destroyed. That kind of senselessness, that kind of mobocracy, that kind of violence is the very thing that could easily destroy our present society before the NWO or any of the most evil of politicians have a chance to do more than they've already done. Street violence, blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life--
it takes time to change laws, people like Elder Oaks realize, even if they are bad laws. And only an intelligent, informed people can realize the things that need to be done. IF we are informed, then we have hope. That's all any of us on this board are trying to do; we are/you are following Elder Oaks' admonition in that.
We stay away from the tabloids; we don't encourage the violence, we DO question, but we encourage the refinement, the best of civilization. We build up, rather than tearing down. I think, I believe, this is what Elder Oaks meant, because I know he is a thinking man. He's even a questioning man, but he focuses on truth of principle, rather than the tawdriness of name-calling.

Is he being oversimplistic? Maybe. What more can leaders do than urge the best from those who are listening? I'm sure he knows more than he is saying, but what would it accomplish for him to say it all? So, he urges decency, respect, caution. Even while exploring what our leaders are doing that are wrong, vile, etc., we should be decent, respectful, and cautious.

All human beings deserve a certain amount of respect; it is the lack of that which is contributing to much heartache in the world--even lack of respect towards citizens of middle eastern countries by Americans, and THAT is something our leaders are reminding us of. President Hinckley expressed his concern for the citizens of middle eastern countries, too.

Are they careful? Yes. Are they diplomatic? Yes. Even Christ was careful how he chose His words about the Pharisees. Thank HEAVEN for that. As His follower, I rejoice in that.

I hope I am understood.

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