Politically Unprepared Mormon Virgins

The LDS Church has made another statement about illegal immigration, emphasizing their disapproval of “mass expulsion,” among other things.  I saw a news story yesterday about it and how, apparently, Church headquarters is being inundated by calls from conservative church members who are outraged by what they see as a betrayal of their principles. 

I won’t rehash what I’ve said about this before, but here’s a scripture-based illustration of my point:

In my neck of the woods, our Sunday School lesson next week will be about Jesus’s parable of the ten virgins.  In this story, ten women were going to meet their bridegroom.  Five had prepared, and five hadn’t.  When the surprise announcement was made that the hour for the wedding was at hand, the prepared five got to go in, but the other five were left with no groom but regret. 

The interpretation of this parable for Latter-day Saints has always been pretty standard: it’s meant to teach us about preparing for the Second Coming.  Since all ten women had clearly accepted the invitation to go to the wedding, they all represent members of the Lord’s church.  The sobering warning in the parable is that only about half of us–even half of those who are at least nominally on board with the Church–might be ready for the rewards we want when the final day comes. 

There are plenty of reasons why those five virgins (and many more Latter-day Saints) might be slack in their preparation for the Lord’s return, but in light of the blowback over the Church’s recent political stances, I wonder if some of those virgins might represent good people who let their faith be compromised by being offended by the Church’s positions on gay marriage and illegal immigration.

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A Scriptural Warning Against Navel Gazing and Hand Wringing

In our Sunday School class today, the parable of the nobleman and the olive trees in Doctrine and Covenants 101:43-62 was brought to our attention to help teach about following the prophets.  I hadn’t paid much attention to this story before, but it strongly underscores some things on my mind lately. 

This parable is meant, in the strictest context, to illustrate to the early Latter-day Saints the importance of helping to gather and establish Zion, as opposed to their general reluctance to do so previously.  The story has a nobleman with a field of olive trees, which he gives to the care of a staff of servants who are charged with building hedges and towers around it for security.  The servants promptly overanalyze their orders, debating its merits; after all, they say, this is a time of peace, and couldn’t the money be better spent on humanitarian projects (D&C 101:47-49)?  While they discoursed with each other, an enemy did come in and destroy the trees. 

Like all parables, this one would seem to have a broader application, as well.  If the Lord’s intention in telling this story was to impress upon us his “will concerning the redemption of Zion,” we could extend this to mean Zion in general, as in each of our families, wards, stakes, and the church’s spiritual condition overall.

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