I’ve written about this once in each of the last three years (here, here, and here), and as the Church’s position keeps getting clearer, the reactions of many of my fellow political conservatives keeps getting more hostile. A posting on the Church’s official web site last week makes it clear: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints favors some kind of amnesty–including guest worker programs, at the very least–for illegal aliens.
Conservatives in general may blanche at this, and they’re welcome to–their suspicions about the Church’s motives in this don’t hold water, anyway. (Pandering to Hispanic populations? If the Church wanted to pander to politically sensitive groups, we wouldn’t have recently offended everyone who supports gay marriage. Between that issue and this one, now we’ve alienated everybody!)
But for those of us who accept the divinity of the LDS Church’s claims and the authority of its leadership, there should be no argument. In too many comments on other blogs and quotes in other news articles, conservatives are bristling about this to the point of rebellion. (One article I saw about this quoted a man saying that he knew of people who were cutting back on paying their tithing because of this.)
Someone outside our church might ask, “You’re willing to sell out your political principles just because your church wants you to?” To which I’d reply, “Yes. Absolutely. If I believe what I say I believe, what else should I do? I’m happy for a chance to sacrifice something important to me so I can follow the Lord.” In things like this, the real question isn’t, “Is the Church’s opinion right?” It’s, “Is the Book of Mormon true?” If so, then the leaders of this church are prophets, inspired by Jesus Christ in their work. That’s good enough for me.
In our last General Conference in October 2010, two unrelated speakers each based their remarks on the same, old address: Ezra Taft Benson’s “Fourteen Fundamentals In Following The Prophet” (here and here). A coincidence like that is never a coincidence, I think. Clearly, we were supposed to pay attention to this teaching. Some of those fourteen principles included:
“Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.
“Fifth: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
“Sixth: The prophet does not have to say ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to give us scripture.
“Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
“Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
“Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
“Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.”
I strongly suspect that it was we conservatives who were being prepared here. It would be a stupid tragedy if anyone’s faith or activity suffered because they disagreed with something the Church was doing in the civic realm. To those who might be tempted to react that way, I’d plead: Pray for strength to swallow your pride and accept the blessings that come through obedience and sacrifice.
I don’t know how this will all work out, but I trust that it will be for the best.