By Jason A. Kofoed
02 February 2014
What does it mean to be a minority? Well, there are many instances in which one could consider themselves to be a minority. We here at Silly Sheeple, along with many of our readers, can consider ourselves a minority of the population who consider themselves "awake and awakening" to our "awful situation" as a nation...and as a world in general. Bible-believing, commandment-obeying Christians can also consider themselves to be a minority, especially in the day and age in which we live. Although today is the Sabbath (for most Christian denominations) there are many still managing to set themselves in front of the television to watch what many consider a great American tradition- the Superbowl (or, as I like to call it, Stuporbowl).
Everyone is "an agent unto himself", as they should be, for agency is as essential to God's Plan for us as is our mortal birth and death. However, we have opportunity as minorities to set a better example for those who are struggling without coming across as being "high and mighty" or "holier than thou". How do we do this? Simply by doing what we believe is right each and every day of our lives. Today, I choose to not participate in the vast majority's "American tradition" and, instead, am doing my best to keep the Sabbath Day as holy as I can. I am far from perfect; I have never claimed perfection and am pretty confident I never will, but I know that I have within my power to be better today than I was yesterday...and to be better tomorrow than I am today. Slow and steady will surely win the race.
I came across an old General Conference talk today by Joseph F. Smith who was, at the time, serving as Patriarch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Although this talk was given in 1943, there are so many parallels to the conditions in which we live today as well as the tendancies many of us have toward the same weaknesses and inner struggles. One of the most striking points in this is the emphasis on the critical need for governmental leaders to be seeking Divine Guidance in the decisions they make. Surely one of the core issues in defining the root to our nation's ills is the fact that this is not being done. Rather, many of our nations leaders expend massive amounts of time and resources trying to forbid such practices. We, the minority, know better. It is critical that we do all that we can to change this.
The talk can be found HERE.
Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, October 1943, pp. 76-79
In humility and with full appreciation of my immediate responsibility, and with complete awareness of my own weakness, I call upon my Father in Heaven to direct my thinking for a few moments and to grant me profitable utterance.
THE BINDING POWER OF TESTIMONY
In the past thirty-six hours we have had eloquent evidence of the power of Mormonism. As I have sat through these sessions, considering the personnel of the General Authorities, I have been greatly impressed with the wealth of background and secular training that they bring to this work, men who, before their calling, were bankers, business men, farmers, laborers, engineers, chemists, dentists, attorneys-at-law, schoolteachers. All of them with varying secular background, yet all of them unitedly bound together with one thing—a tremendous testimony of the truth of Mormonism! Every one of us was moved with the testimonies of Brother Kimball and Brother Benson yesterday.
I have been impressed with how many times the necessity for loving one another has been mentioned in these sessions.
Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Matt. 22:37-39).
DIVINE GUIDANCE NECESSARY IN CIVIL GOVERNMENT
There is a certain disposition among a good many people, and some of our own faith are not entirely free from it, to criticize any pulpit utterance which dwells on major current issues. There are those among us who suspect insidious political intent, if, from the pulpit, even so much as mention of government is made, but religion is of no value Whatsoever if it deals only in platitudinous generalities.
We are the children of God, literally. That being the case, God's word should be uppermost in our minds in trying to bring about worth-while government. Until we as a people in particular, and the sons and daughters of God in general, realize that our civil governments will be failures so long as they are not based upon divine guidance, so long will we continue to have strife, conflict, and bloodshed.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD BASED UPON LOVE
We are facing a time when, unless men repent and accept in very deed the Gospel of Christ, we shall see revolution in our own country. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. . . . Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Upon these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matt. 22:37-40).
Until we can be big enough, individually, to love our neighbors, and together love each other, we shall fail. That has some pretty practical and definite applications. It means, for one thing, that men who call themselves employers and men who call themselves laborers must get together and work together and love one another, literally. So long as we have on the one hand employers who are motivated only by profit, and who, for their profit, are willing to exploit labor at any cost, and so long as on the other side of the fence we have men who call themselves laborers, and who band themselves together, and make unjust demands at any cost, so long as we have groups like these fighting each other, we have no hope for establishing the kingdom of God upon the earth.
Class hatred is growing, even within the confines of our own country. While many were inclined, a while ago, to laugh at the "zoot suit" riots, they were but symptoms of basic social disease. We must learn to love one another. Successful government will be impossible without it.
This body of Priesthood, together with all others holding the Priesthood, has a tremendous responsibility in persuading men to work together. The magnificent material accomplishment of fifty million cans of food, that President Clark has told us about, is of less importance in my estimation than the brotherhood, the increased love for one another, that has resulted from people getting together and working shoulder to shoulder.
PRIESTHOOD GIVEN BECAUSE OF WORTHINESS
Not long ago in one of our council meetings, President Clark called attention to the fact that there had just been called to the office of the Patriarch in a certain stake a man who was a janitor. President Clark pointed out that there was an evidence of the strength of Mormonism—a job that is looked upon by the world as a lowly job, and yet among the Latter-day Saints a man so employed, because of his righteousness and his integrity, could receive the patriarchal Priesthood, and even the men and women who enjoyed the cleanliness of the building which he cared for would go to him in reverence and respect for their patriarchal blessings.
JUST CRITICISM HELPFUL
When we can love one another, we will be well on our way to the solution of our problems. It is well for us not to be led astray by words. Calling a government democratic, does not make it so, any more than calling a man a villain makes him a scoundrel. We need vision. It is so easy to denounce without judgment.
The other day one of our young men, in most vitriolic language, was denouncing the bureaucracy of our present government, and someone asked him, to his great embarrassment, what a bureaucrat was, and he did not have the slightest idea, but in his home he had heard bureaucrats denounced. Now, that sort of uncritical denunciation is foolish.
It behooves us, as men holding the Priesthood, to examine governmental procedures and if those procedures result in the general good, if those procedures are compatible with the Gospel, the Lord's word, it is our business to foster them, and if necessary fight for them, just as it is our business to examine governmental procedures, and where we find them out of harmony with the Lord's word, to fight against them, no matter what high-sounding names those procedures may be given.
Brethren, let us not be discouraged because we are what is called a minority. What is a minority? The Latin has a motto, multum in parvo: "Much in small space." In the field of biochemistry it has been proved that one part of adrenalin—one of the endocrine secretions—in 100,000 parts of water, will cause certain live tissue to react. In statistical terms that one part in 100,000 is a minority.
Jesus of Nazareth, in terms of the census, was a pitiful, almost a ridiculous, minority; but Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, is the greatest power we know, before whom ultimately every knee shall bow (Philip. 2:10). Let us not be discouraged by the specious argument that we are of relatively little moment because we are a minority.
POWER IN THE PRIESTHOOD
We have the Priesthood of Almighty God, and if we are righteous and magnify it, and exercise it, there is no limit to what we can accomplish in the way of good, no matter how great are the mere numbers arrayed against us.
I pray that we may magnify the Priesthood, that we may have vision, that we may not be led astray by mere names, that we shall be able intelligently to examine governmental procedures, and that bringing our judgment to the matter of government, we shall have wisdom and unusual discernment in selecting men for office who will stand for government that is compatible with the gospel.
I have not heard of it, but I hope that in some of our international conferences the men who are our leaders are big enough to get down on their knees and ask for divine guidance. I have not heard that it was done at Casablanca; I have not heard that it was done at Washington; I have not heard that it was done in Quebec. It may have been. I hope it was. But when we can have men who realize that the solution to our problems must be in terms of the word of the Lord, then shall we have just government; then can we fight a just battle.
We can exercise great influence. This little numerical minority must be the leaven which leavens the lump of the world. It is our responsibility. Where much is given, much is expected. God grant that we can live up to our responsibility, I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.