Monday, March 29, 2010

Political Ranters Need Not Apply

April 1.
Thank you all for your contribution to what has turned into a lively discussion over here. I'm turning off the comments now, for good, and I respectfully ask that you let this end. I'm not a political blogger, and I have been increasingly uncomfortable with the exposure my little tantrum has received. Along with the rest of the LDS church, members of my stake are now preparing for General Conference. This is a wonderful time for introspection and refocusing of priorities, and I look forward to a more positive climate here and in other parts of the country when Conference has ended. Have a peaceful, restful Easter, everyone. ~DeNae

I am mad.

Seriously, there isn't some adorable punch line coming. I'm freaking livid. And some of you reading this may well de-follow-ify yourselves after this post, which will be kind of sad but I just have to say this. I promise, in a day or two we'll return to the normal vapid nonsense you've come to tolerate from this blog.

A little background for those of you just joining us. In case you haven't figured it out in the last 154 posts, I am a Mormon. I also live in Nevada. Which means Harry Reid is one of our U.S. senators, the other being the illustrious Republican John Ensign - you know, the guy who is in tepid water on accounta that little misunderstanding about having an affair and then paying off the girlfriend's husband (who decided that blackmail was the best revenge) by giving him a "consulting" job, so, gosh, aren't we all proud to belong to that Grand Old Party.

Anyway, Harry Reid is also a Mormon.

Now, Senator Reid was invited to speak in our stake (which is like a diocese only, you know, stuffed with Mormons) on the subject of "Why I Believe." Invited. Did not lobby for the opportunity.

The entire content of his message - which has been delivered several times in other stakes - was the story of his conversion to Mormonism and his desire to share his love for God and his faith with his family, something he rarely gets to do in public.

That was it. Period.

As soon as word got out that Senator Reid (or might I remind my fellow Latter-day "Saints," Brother Reid) was speaking in our stake, the e-mails and phone calls began pouring in. Furious complaints about the "political" nature of this presentation. Righteous indignation over the Senator's politics. Messages, threats, that if he were permitted to speak, members of my church would heckle him from the audience. Would load signs into their pickups with the words "Mormons Against Harry Reid" painted on them, and park the trucks outside the chapel.

Are you people out of your everlovin' minds?? Seriously, do I go to church with a bunch of crazies? Cuz I'd like to know right now, before I invite any of you over for dinner.

One man said, "If I see Harry Reid in the temple, I'm going to hit him." Another told our stake president, "Harry Reid is the most evil man on the earth, and you and your counselors are next."

Imagine Iranian President Imanutjob's relief at having been bumped to fifth place! Kim Jong-il, congratulations, you are now numero six. African dictators, slave traders, and murderers? Cheer up! Harry Reid and our stake presidency are waaaay more evil than y'all.

There were even people weighing in from out of state. One woman called from St. George, Utah; my husband took the call, and she gave him a message for our stake president: "You're a wicked man for allowing this to happen."

The outcry was so virulent, they cancelled the fireside. For security reasons. The man was fearful for the safety of his family.

Fearful! Of his fellow Mormons!

Well, I have something to say to all of you who made this happen, and any of you who agree with them. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. I'm disgusted with the whole lot of you.

Week after week and year after year, I have been permitted to teach you in my Gospel Doctrine, Seminary, and Institute classes. You have entrusted your kids to my religious and secular instruction. You e-mail me with questions about the scriptures, confident that I can help you understand things more clearly, certain that I am a person of faith and integrity.

And you don't know one damn thing about my political views.

How do you know I'm not a registered Democrat? How can you be certain I didn't help put this "evil" man into office? Gosh, what if, along with my tithing and fast offering, I exercised my constitutionally protected right to donate to his campaign fund?

Why am I permitted to express my faith, but Harry Reid is not? For that matter, why should I listen to anything you have to say on a given Sunday? What guarantees do I have that when it comes to your views on the way the government should be run, you and I are in agreement?

Don't start in on the whole "it's because his votes impact the entire country" whine, since that's my point exactly. He answers to the constituency that elected him, not to the Mormon church. Good grief, when everyone was slobbering over getting Mitt Romney elected, we couldn't holler loudly enough that he wouldn't be the puppet of the president of the church, honest, we totally pinkie-promise, and if you can't trust us Mormons, gee, who can you trust? But, what? Harry Reid is Beelzebub because he, too, is a representative of his constituents, and not President Monson?

One guy e-mailed me and said, quote: I would rather hear from a minion of Satan himself than from Senator Harry Reid.

Unbelievable.

I won't put the comment moderation on for this one, but watch it. If you have a political squawk you'd like to get out there, feel free to keep it to yourself. I have a 'delete forever' option and I know how to use it.

I don't want to know why you feel justified in declaring another member of this church unfit to hold a temple recommend when his bishop and stake president say otherwise. I really could not care less about your definition of "hypocrisy" or "worthiness" or even "right" or "wrong."

Just know this: If the day ever comes when you no longer feel safe participating in a religious service of your own faith, surrounded by your 'brothers and sisters' of the church, all because of your political opinions or voting record, do NOT come sniveling to me.

You'll have no one to blame but yourself.

150 comments:

Kristina P. said...

AMEN!!! I find this whole thing so sad.

I wonder if people would have the same reaction to Glen Beck speaking at a fireside?

I'm so glad that people are able to be Christlike and welcome people with open arms, despite their political leanings. (Blech)

Garden of Egan said...

Wow DeNae!
Awesome.
Thank you!
You sorta hit the nail on the head.

Now are you telling me that this seriously really truly happened? Seriously?
Cuz if it did....UNBELIEVABLE.

Kazzy said...

Embarrassing. Sheesh. It bugs me to no end that there is such an assumption about parties. I once went for a manicure and was told immediately upon sitting down that Obama was evil, and his people fixed his birth certificate. Give me a break.

My hubs (bishop) only authorized the youth attending political caucases last week if half went to the democratic one. It was a hard sell.

Ugh.

Loralee and the gang... said...

I understand how you feel about this situation. But I also understand how the outraged members feel, too. You mentioned several times that he is only representing his constituents. I think that a LOT of the rage stems from the fact that, no, he has not represented them; in fact, he has blatantly ignored the majority (of Nevadans, not Mormons).
And as for feeling threatened, I don't believe that those people would ever follow through on those threats (well, most of those people; there is always a crazy or two in any crowd). I think it's possible that the fireside was not cancelled for that reason, but because the stake leader realized their mistake in inviting him in the first place and were embarrassed.
Just my opinion, here.

veronica said...

That's just sad. And disappointing.

Jeannetta said...

I happen to NOT be a Harry Reid fan; however, to judge a man's standing before God, whether I agree with him or not is not my place. If I didn't like the firesid-I won't go; if Mr. Reid being in the Temple bother's me, then I have two options, get over it, or go to another session.
I don't like the man's politics AT ALL, and I think he's wrong A LOT, but as for his Testimony, it's not my place to decide.
I'm ashamed of my fellow Saints, and it's quite possible that Harry Reid will have a place in front of them in line if they continue to try to know better than Heavenly Father who is and who is not worthy.
Just my .02 :D

Jen said...

Wow. Maybe because of the environment I grew up in, I am just astounded that something like this could actually go on.

See, I grew up in a ward full of Senators and Congressmen. Including BROTHER Reid. And you know what? In a ward where all levels and leanings of political opinion (and power) were amply represented, so was the Spirit. If the people in that ward, who spent the majority of their time battling each other in Congress, could see past their own opinions and objectives and come together to worship and serve the Lord, why can't the rest of us?

I may not agree with SENATOR Reid's political opinions. But I know that BROTHER Reid is a good man who loves the Lord. And your stake is missing out. The man can give a great talk.

Mallory said...

Politics really do give me a headache. People turn stupid when they talk (and sometimes even think) about politics!! Well, at least people who are dedicated to one party or another.

You would probably be interested in a community website that my friend is getting established. http://libertydiscussions.com/

I can't believe that there are "saints" out there who are passing just harsh judgments. I am sorry!

Perpetual Mommy Exhaustion said...

You can disagree with someone and still admire them for thier character, or other admirable qualities. There are a lot of politicians I don't like ( high ranking ones, if you get my drift) but I really admire the love they have for their families, and their fidelity to their wives. I may not agree with Sen Reid, but he doesn't deserve any level of the contention its stirring up! (Contention is of the devil. You'd think we'd know that.) Kudos to Reed for still being in the church at all, given the level of venom sent his way.
Maybe someone missed President Monson's talk at the priesthood session, "School Thy Feelings, O My Brother."

MommyJ said...

The problem is that so many people equate political leanings with righteousness. There side is the right way to do things, and anything else is evil. Now, I'm not saying there aren't some issues that have clear lines between right and wrong, but to place that line in between two political parties? It's just silly.

I think it's horribly embarrassing when things like this happen...

I am Lorinda W- you can call me LoW said...

I am SO not a fan of Hary Reid or democrats beliefs, but that has nothing to do with how we treat others.

Motherboard said...

Did you hear that? It was my jaw hitting the floor.

I heard from someone that this is WORSE than when the civil rights was happening.

We should be so proud, as a collective religion, that WE are being bigots. (because if one Mormon does it, then ALL Mormon's believe it. according to the world) Isn't that what chased us out of Missouri, Illinois AND Ohio? Bigotry?

How awesome that a church member fears for his safety in his OWN church. It sort of sounds like the 60's again.

I just had delete about 6 paragraphs because apparently I have A LOT to say on this. I guess I just found my next blog post.

~Shauna~ said...

wow this is nuts, well said! I'm not a fan of Harry Reid but this was way over the top! I can't pretend I would have been inclined to go here him speak BUT everything you describe is so OPPOSITE of how we believe we should act! Seriously- WOW! Those were some strong words breathed out by your stake and I'm very surprised. It's a sad day, and embarrassing.

Jenn said...

This is my first time reading your blog, and I'll be back for more. I am not a Harry Reid fan myself, as others have said too, but protesting him speaking about his conversion and testimony is certainly not Christlike. What a pathetic example of mormonism from such intolerant! Unbelievable. It's embarrassing.

swearingelder said...

"As I have loved you...love one another..."

Or not.

Momza said...

I simply cannot fathom that much hypocrisy in one place.
My heart aches for Sen. Reid--and it has nothing to do with politics.
I hope he has opportunities to share his testimony in other places that are not as stupid.

The Giles said...

YIPEE!!!!!! AMEN!!!!!! I have shared it on Facebook and so has my hushand! THANK YOU for just telling it like it is!

Motherboard said...

PS. Not to cause arguing in your comments, BUT.

Shauna: Why wouldn't you go and hear someone speak of their TESTIMONY simply because they have a different political view from you?

That is just perpetuating the same problem.

Braden said...

Wait, you're a democrat? Oh, uh, well, JUST KIDDING!

That is stunning and really disappointing to me for so many reasons. I kept hoping that you were going to say "Then it turned out to be anti-Mormons pretending to be Mormons to make the Church look bad."

You know, I realized a few years ago, you can go extreme and leave the Church and lose the Spirit by falling off the path to the left or to the right. Either way, you're off! It doesn't matter who you hate if you hate people.

Annette Lyon said...

I'm stunned. And disgusted. And disappointed. So many of us Mormons have worked hard over the years to dispel the myths about us and change people's views, and then idiots like this do their thing. Awesome. Grrr.

I wonder what some of those folks would do if they ever figured out that some of their beloved Apostles have been *gasp!* Democrats.

Jillene said...

I am new to your blog via Motherboard. First--AMEN!! You said it beautifully. When I read this post I was literally disgusted. We are all brothers and sisters. What one believes politically need not matter. It's his testimony that matters. He wasn't coming to do a political campagin fireside--he was coming to do a FIRESIDE. In the Church we all know that a fireside is of a spiritual nature. Get a grip people and take a LONG and good look in the mirror and ask youself--who's judging who?! And then remember who's job it is to judge--NOT yours the Lord's.

Cynthia said...

I am totally saddened by this yet not at all surprised. We have a CULTURE (note I did not say 'religion' as this is NOT condoned by the church) that encourages people to be mindless sheep. I have seen 'group think' in action many times- I live in Utah for Pete's Sake.

I wonder if the same Mormons villifying Reid are justifying the 2 guys in our State Legislature who just disgraced themselves, their party, and their religion. The Senate President in Utah, a Mormon, was just busted for drunk driving. His Father had been killed by a drunk driver and he himself had lobbied for tough DUI laws-then broke them. The Speaker of the House was just busted for paying $150,000 hush money to a girl he was naked in a hot tub with years ago when she was 14 and he was 28 married, her boss, and her former Sunday School teacher. I wonder if those same folks in your Stake would give these 2 men a pass because they claim to be conservative/republican?

I am the Statewide Volunteer Coordinator on a US Senate Campaign trying to replace one of our Senators with a better alternative. I'm NOT politically uninvolved or ignorant. I am adamantly against the healthcare legislation and YET I see no problem with Harry's worthiness as a result of a political action.

Are we really going to turn into the 'mob' ourselves? SCARY! I hope the Church comes down hard on this- horrible!

Chrissie said...

I don't know whether to laugh at the ridiculousness of that story or cry at it. I am British (live in South Wales), and have to say that 90%+ of the LDS members here are stunned at these sort of right-wing political views we hear all the time from that part of the world. I'd even go as far as to say people over here LAUGH at them. Scary, scary, scary behaviour. Do those hate-mongers even understand the gospel the claim to follow???????

I lived in Utah for a couple of years in the late 80s and when I was back visiting in 2008, I had to call home in the middle of the night because a conversation I'd had with a couple of Republican friends of mine had freaked me out so much, I felt I had to speak to someone 'balanced' to feel normal again. There's something not right there!!

The saddest thing of all is, even when you try to explain to people how nonsensical their attitudes are, they just think you are misguided, stupid, badly informed or a combination of the three. I wonder if it will ever change or whether it's just going to get worse? I'd just like to say for the record, if Harry Reid as a Democrat is going to hell, then James E Faust is as well (very active in the democrat party) and a huge proportion of the members in the rest of the world!

*sigh*

InkMom said...

BOO-yah! (That was my cat's name when I was growing up.)

Ahem.

For a bunch of people who claim that we are "allowed" to think for ourselves and not forced to choose the "Mormon" lifestyle, eschewing alcohol, immorality, and other damaging behaviors, we sure do seem to be pretty close-minded about seeing politics from a less common perspective, don't we? I am not a fan of Harry Reid, either, but to suppose that I am a greater judge of his worthiness than the actual judge in Israel (bishop) who presides over Brother Reid? Well, that's just about an abomination. In fact, it is absolutely an abomination, and it's probably a good thing your fireside was canceled because I can't imagine that the Spirit could have dwelt in a room full of so much contention anyway.

2/3 of our Stake Presidency are democrats. I have had stimulating conversations with both of these men. They love the Lord. They love their country. They are well educated, intelligent, professionals who have carefully considered their political beliefs and chosen according to THE DICTATES OF THEIR OWN CONSCIENCE. Aren't we all supposed to be able to do that?

AND. If we don't have TWO sides, we may as well be in Iran. And being Mormon does not -- should not -- prescribe on which side your political chips fall. Again, it's according to the DICTATES OF YOUR OWN CONSCIENCE.

Venting finished. Thanks for the outlet.

MarieC said...

Just sad. As a former Nevadan and current Latter-day Saint, I couldn't be more horrified at what Bro. Reed was subjected to.

April said...

Are you kidding me?? That's ridiculous!!! How incredibly dissapointing. I hope members of your stake read this and feel ashamed. Very ashamed.

jayedee said...

*applause*
well said!

Becca said...

*shaking head*
Thank you, DeNae. THANK.YOU.

This honestly makes me so sad that I am going to have to go eat some green jello, read some scriptures, and yell "OH MY HECK!" a few times to bolster my testimony back up a bit.

East of Eden said...

I'm not a Harry Reid fan for many reasons, and they are my own. I'm not surprised at this reaction though. People have a hard time seperating politics and religon, maybe that's why we shouldn't talk about either in mixed company. Perhaps next time though the stake leadership will forgo inviting any political/public/polarizing figure to speak. I'm sure had they invited Glenn Beck it would have been just as divissive.

Amber said...

I'd like to add a 'standing ovation' to the previous applause.

Thank you.

Kristina P. said...

East of Eden, I can't imagine that all of the hateful thing that were said about Brother Reid, to the point where they had to cancel the fireside, would have been said about Glenn Beck, or Mitt Romney, for that matter.

Serene said...

I confess, I'm not super surprised.

Remember when the prophet stepped forth and asked us to stand up for 'morality' and vote on prop 8? Geez, I can't tell you how many comments I read along these lines, eh hem, "I am a stalwart member of the church and I would listen to the prophet when it comes to things concerning our church. But nothing else, he had no right, who does he think he is, yadda yadda yadda."

I guess people have forgotten what a prophet is. They should try wikipedia-ing it sometime.

After all the prophet bashing from so-called "good LDS people", I don't think anything could surprise me as much as that did.

The whole thing is so sad. And yes, embarrassing. With all the examples in the scriptures about how Christ treated people, even people with different views... *sigh* I just find it all so disturbingly sad.

Well said DeNae.

Carol said...

Thank you for your clear and cogent essay. This whole thing is really making me angry. How can people question Harry Reid's faith because of this? I see some of my friends and even my own mother going in a frenzy over this. In a way, I feel like they're questioning my faith, too. Aren't there many liberal-leaning Mormons? In my experience there are a whole lot of us. We may be a minority, but I still think we should be able to express our opinions. I was told by my own cousin to bite her *** when I posted an article that said that there was a possibility of the health care program being a good thing. It's not just Harry Reid, it's all of us.

Shawn said...

It is amazing to me that from a religion so dependent upon others opening their doors to hear a different view of the gospel, many can be so intolerant. I enjoyed my mission in a country where there were less members in the country than in our Washington Stake, and appreciated the opportunity to share our beliefs even when each of us would part ways in the end but were able to communicate our differences.
We have lost the art of communication over the last 20 or so years it seems as people either assume the worst of another's beliefs rather than discussing the issues. I love a good debate on issues in a calm and organized fashion. There is always other views that may have some merit but doesn't mean I have to change my overall position simply to listen. Harry Reid wasn't coming to preach his political views any more than Glen Beck did when he shared his conversion story. The miracle of the gospel is that we can have such opposing political views as to things of the world but be unified in Miracle of the gospel conversion.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Hmm, I guess I wasn't signed in when I left my comment. Sorry.
Here I am, loud and clear, standing by DeNae in all she said!

Just SO said...

*sigh* This is such a sad situation. The fact that people think it's okay to call in with threats against him. It makes me shake my head. Crazy.

The whole political scene makes me crazy. Because no longer is there a striving to work together or find a compromise there is only "My way or no way". There is such tunnel vision in our government it's sickening. It's not about what is right or best for the people of this country its about "I am right and you will choose my way.!" (Sound familiar??) And like I said it's on both sides of the fence...not just one or the other. And frankly it scares me.

I hope that this post reaches those who are really need to hear it.

I applaud you.

Jessica G. said...

I avoid discussing politics as much as I avoid housework. Everyone has the right to their personal opinions and I really don't like the debating/arguing that ensues.

However, it's pretty unfortunate that your stake (and others) responded as they did. They missed out on an opportunity. I can't imagine what would happen to my testimony if I was were in Brother Reid's shoes.

(And I totally didn't know he was Mormon!)

Wonder Woman said...

For goodness' sake. Have these people never heard, "If you don't have something nice to say, DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL."?

If you don't want to hear him speak, JUST DON'T GO TO THE FIRESIDE.

Sounds like there's lots of motes and beams.

Thora said...

Sometimes, I wish Mormons were perfect, because then I wouldn't have to be publicly embarrassed when I read stories about things like this, that my fellow religionists are so intolerant, not to mention religiously innappropriate. Not that I'm perfect, by any means - but certainly I am ashamed that fellow covenant bound LDS people would...ok, so I keep thinking up endings to this sentence, but then they all sound too judgmental. Anyway, this makes me sad.

Anonymous said...

Wow... I am ashamed and amazed that someone (or, in this case, many someones) would treat anyone invited to speak at a Stake Fireside that way. I have to say I agree with your stance on this point.

I have my own political opinions about Harry Reid. I know his stance on many many issues out there (it's hard to turn on the radio and NOT find out his views), but I know nothing of his personal feelings of God and family. All I know is he is LDS. That allows me to make assumptions about his personal spiritual beliefs, but to be given the chance to listen to him share his testimony is an opportunity I would jump at.

You cannot judge a man, or his spiritual beliefs, based solely on his political actions. And to judge a man's testimony by political affiliation and public image is a shame, and not Christ-like in any way. Even Christ allowed the politically active and powerful of his time to speak and share their thoughts, and he was courteous enough to listen. He then taught and corrected as needed.

People should go, listen, and THEN decide if it is inappropriate to invite him. If he gives a political speech, walk out, and feel free to share your disappointment in an appropriate manner. If he gives a strong testimony of his conviction in Christ, and his love of the Gospel, and if the Holy Spirit touches those in attendance, then be grateful for the experience. To show that much hate toward anyone is not of Christ in any way.

Anonymous said...

Seriously?!?!?! People are so lame! I've been a Mormon my whole life...raised in Utah (and a Democrat too...apparently I'm the devil)...I've always disliked the self-righteous indignation that members often display, that's one of the reasons I left the state as an adult. Perhaps they should open up their hymn books and start singing...Love One Another, Lest Us Oft Speak Kind Words, Nay, Speak No Ill, School Thy Feelings...etc. These who feel it is their right to judge need to stop and take a step back and check their "natural man" at the door because they're acting like idiots who don't make God happy.

-Natalie

Happy Mom said...

wow, wow, WOW!

I'm just shakin my head and don't even have words!

Whatever happened to the whole, "I may disagree with you, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it" mentality?

And that these were members of the church, as you pointed out?!?

THAT is just plain scarey!

InkMom said...

Okay. I've been thinking about this all morning, and I'm wondering if there's not another thing to consider here.

What, exactly, qualified Harry Reid to present a fireside to a gathering of church members? Was it because he is a stalwart member of the church who has a really great story to share? Or was it because he is, in fact, a very public figure?

I think you have to be careful sometimes because right now, Senator Reid (not Brother Reid) is vying for reelection. Even though Brother Reid is the one who would have stood before a congregation (of his constituents) and delivered an absolutely non-political address, it's very possible that Senator Reid may have earned a few votes from it. Because the line is so easily blurred, when a Senator speaks somewhere, even in a non-political forum, even in a spiritual meeting, it begins to smack of Jesse Jackson campaigning in black churches when he was running for office.

So. The more I have thought about this, the more I think the situation should have been avoided in the first place. This is not to say that those who protested in such an ugly way were right -- exactly the opposite. But. It's too easy to misconstrue Brother Senator Reid's most likely sincere efforts (and those of the leadership who asked him to speak in the first place) into a politically-motivated expedition to change over some of those Mormons who didn't vote for him before.

I'm going to get it for this one, aren't I?

(WV: pandopoo. As in, this political crap is just a bunch of pandopoo anyway.)

JBSquared said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I cannot say it enough times. Just reading this helps restore my faith in mankind - if there are people like YOU in the world, all is not lost. I share your outrage and want you to know that there is at least one other Mormon out there who right there with ya. :)

Mallissa said...

Wow! Im not a democrat and dont follow a lot of that thinking. But that is absolutely absurd that people would act that way. It blows my mind.. Also I LOVED when you wrote this

Why am I permitted to express my faith, but Harry Reid is not? For that matter, why should I listen to anything you have to say on a given Sunday?

Hello people. Your political stance has nothing to do with your faith.

Jess said...

I didnt read thru all the comments.. I will have to come back.. but reading this post.... made me embarrassed for our fellow saints.... and all I can think of is :

Thank Goodness the GOSPEL is perfect... and this is a perfect example of how the people are NOT...

And wo to them who ever commit some sort of sin/grievious error of judgement... and want or need forgiveness from Heavenly Father/their friends and family and so forth.....

Sheesh!!! This was a sad day in the history of our church for sure...

"The whirlwinds will reap the stakes of Zion..."- unknown...

Mama Smith said...

My daughter, Serene, sent me your link...We are a HIGHLY POLITICALLY MINDED family...Advocates to our beloved CONSTITUTION...

Your SENTIMENTS are WELL STATED!!! As PASSIONATE as I feel...in what is happening to AMERICA...our FIRST RESPONSIBILITY is to REPRESENT CHRIST FIRST...and apply HIS TEACHINGS to BRING PEOPLE unto CHRIST...Then, as we are converted to the GOSPEL PRINCIPLES...we can, like in the Book of Mormon, drive out the 'Gadianton Robbers'...through the GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST...

I am so sorry...that the SAINTS forgot WHO THEY REPRESENT...Christ NEVER THREATENED anyone who APPOSED Him...or our Father...The greatest gift Father gave us was AGENCY...to BELIEVE and EMBRACE whatever we choose...

I am as AGAINST the POLITICS of Harry Reid as anyone who has a CONSERVATIVE IDEALS...but, he is still my BROTHER FIRST...It will be between HIM and GOD...when Brother Harry reports BACK his stewardship here on earth...He won't be reporting back to ME...thank goodness...(smile)

Thank you for posting a well written statement on this sad situation...

DeNae said...

InkMom, you're not going to get it at all. In fact, the church agrees. This is the end of the "Why I Believe" series.

But when I consider how many "firesides" Mitt Romney was and is invited to present - including during the time that he was running for president - I just have to wonder about our priorities.

I do think it's unfortunate that we weren't able to hear what Senator Reid had to say, ESPECIALLY because he's such a prominent and - yes - controversial public figure. Considering that this is hardly the first batch of hostility he's received, I would like to think I could learn something about resilience, faith, and spiritual focus from him. I doubt I'll ever be faced with this kind of opposition, particularly from my fellow church members. But if I were, it might have been nice to have remembered whatever counsel he might have had to offer.

Pippi Longstocking said...

Beautifully said.

I think that politics and religion have no place in the same room, and no matter what my political leanings I would have loved to hear Brother Reid speak. (I can't help it, I love a good conversion story).

It saddens my heart that those around you were so, might I say, Satan-like in their views. Heaven forbid we be allowed to choose for ourselves what politics we follow, firesides we attend, and people we befriend.

Plain Jame said...

I have people very close to me that I love so much. Some are extreme Democrat Liberals. Some are extreme right wing Republicans. ALL of them are members of the LDS church. The most extreme cases are so extreme in their thinking they cannot even be friends.

I was talking to my husband last week after attending our Caucas, and I said that I was seeing the Satan has found his way into politics, and I didn't mean by the politicians themselves.... I meant the hatred and hissing that people experienced when discussing politics. There are such heated emotions; such contention. I talked to loved ones that were celebrating the passing of the new Healthcare bill, and others that said it was time to gather your flocks for it meant the end was near.

I came away utterly confused because I see the points that they all had to offer, and just decided to be grateful that we all have the freedoms to believe what we want.

I definitely see what Inkmom is saying. An insightful perspective.

Beka said...

Like I said in the comments of the last post...people are crazy!

The thing is that we hear about the crazy terrorists and the crazy druggies in the news and things like that. It takes things like this for us to realize that the crazies are closer than we think sometimes.

I love the comments like "dictates of our own concience" and "contention is of the devil". I just want to throw one more in the mix: "Opposition in all things." I guess sometimes, though I am disappointed and disgusted, my testimony is strengthened because of these events. It's unfortunate that a great many of our brothers and sisters have it all figured out and refuse to learn and grow any more because they know it all already. They fail to even see the test or trial that is being offered to them right now, to make a good choice. EPIC FAIL

How unfair is it that they got to excercise their agency, but did not allow others of your stake to have any agency at all in the choice to hear the man speak?

You make perfect sense, keep up the good fight.

Lisa said...

In reading your article, I have to say that I am truly saddened! We live in a time now where as Mormons we have to stand apart from the world and stand (together) for our beliefs regardless of political views. Aren't we constantly reminded by the First Presidency of the church that we have a duty to vote for what we believe in and also that the church does not back any specific political party? There are forums for expressing political views, just as there are separate forums for expressing religious views.

Don't Mormons believe that "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" (D&C1 18:10). So what of the souls of these "mobsters", what of the soul of Harry Reid? I applaud him and the courage that he possesses, I feel that he conducts himself honorably and pray that he continues to do so, even though I disagree with his political view! At the end of the day won't our testimony define us, not our political agenda? It's horrible that he should be treated so fiercely by men and women who share the same Christ-like beliefs.

Thank-you for your article, I hope it brings awareness to the fact that our behaviors in such difficult times truly effect how we are viewed in the eyes of the world. Is there such a thing as humility anymore? I hope so...

Devon said...

Good heavens. How embarrassing and unfortunate for those who were acting so ridiculously. As many others who have commented, I am not a Harry Reid fan. In fact, I can't stand the man. But would I ever *protest* him speaking? Heck no. I just wouldn't go see him. It's that easy. No one is twisting any arms to go to firesides, and it would have hardly been a captive audience, even if he had wanted to share his political views. What nonsense, and totally unworthy behavior of church members.

InkMom said...

I totally agree, DeNae, and in fact, I took issue with so-called firesides when Mitt Romney was gunning for the R-nomination. Sure, ask the guy to give a Sacrament talk in his home ward where everyone knows him anyway and no political minds will be swayed. But it's hard for a forum that large to NOT have political ramifications.

Love this debate!

Anonymous said...

Sorry that you're so upset; however, Reid is a bad guy. He has a history of working to bring about bad laws that conflict with church doctrine (e.g., abortion). Now he might say he's pro-life, but his leadership record does not support this. So, like in the BOM (Moroni, Pahoran), faithful members are refusing to keep their mouths shut about the hypocrisy. I applaud those members who took a stand against the soon-to-be-ex-senator.

Karen said...

I'm not a fan of Harry Reid, but this just disgusts me to no end.

There's a reason the church rarely involves itself in political debates or issues, and that's because we have the RIGHT to vote however the hell we want.

Thanks for this post. I had no idea that such a terrible and embarrassing display of un-Christlike behavior happened within one of our own stakes of Zion.

Jami said...

Late to the game, but amen. Contention is the tool of Satan not Brother Reid.

Doofuses. Doofi. Doofus x many.

Jami said...

Speaking of which not a real Reid fan here.

Kristina P. said...

I think that the bottom line for me is that if we decided to prohibit people from speaking who may have viewpoints that aren't completely in line with every church teaching, then we would never have any speakers.

Marie Osmond did not support Prop 8, but she is still loved in the LDS community and still gets asked to speak at firesides.

Bob Bennett doesn't always vote in line with all the church teachings. And quite frankly, I hope he doesn't. He's not a senator for the Mormon church. And neither is Senator Reid.

So to say someone is a "bad guy" because they don't always vote in line for what the chuch believes seems to contradicting what the church says about politics and not telling people how to vote.

I may judge Reid as a politician, but I am not going to judge him as a church member. If he is able to get a temple recommend and his stake president feels he is worthy, who am I to judge?

And of course people who are famous and well known are going to be asked to speak. Church members are not above being star struck and being interested in hearing what famous people have to say, especially at a time where Mormons are rather unpopular with the media.

I guess I have a lot to say on this subject!

Kimberly said...

Wow.

That is so unbelievably sad. I think the persecution spoken of in prophecies regarding the latter days refers to persecution within the church as much as without. Those angry "saints" you speak seem to have an almost mob mentality to them. Sad indeed.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is the church should not schedule firesides for politicians. Period.

In this case, the potential for controversy is clear: (http://www.independentamerican.org/2010/03/24/mormon-priesthood-leaders-actively-supporting-harry-reid/).

From the comments at the above link. "Ultimately, is the LDS church going to be so accommodating if others wish to share their testimonies? What about Brother Chad Christensen, or Brother Mike Montandon, or Brother Rory Reid, or Brother Jim Gibbons? Maybe the area Stake Presidents should start organizing firesides for Brother Joel Hansen in his run for Attorney General."

And, regarding Senator Reid being a 'bad guy:'

"Personally, I consider Senator Reid a bad representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not only has he, in the course of his political career, demonstrated disdain, even contempt, for constitutional principles in government, but he criticized President Ezra Taft Benson, accusing him of leading members astray while talking to members of the media following a speech at BYU in 2007, and more recently criticized the Church’s recent active support of California Proposition 8."

Again, no firesides for politicians, whether Reid, Romney, Hatch, or anyone else.

Annnnnd, yeah, Reid is a 'bad guy.' As in I would not trust him to drive my 10-yo daughter to the grocery store. No way.

The Woolsey's said...

I completely agree with you! Thanks for saying something. That is completely ridiculous. I am APPALLED

Homer and Queen said...

Sorry, I agree with Inkmom, Harry or Mitt should not be given firesides in a election year. And yes I agree with you DeNae, it was out of control! If you don't agree...don't go!

Joel & Rebekah Greenway said...

I am only here because my sister Sarah Serene Heiner sent it to my mom and my mom sent it mass e-mail to everybody so I read it. I just want you to know that from someone who doesn't even know you and read your blog here for the first time, I applaud your boldness and well written statement. I 110% agree with you. ROCK ON!

Brenda said...

You made me smile! I'm a non-Mormon living in the middle of Utah. Even I totally get what you're saying.

It must be great to be those folks who complained without even really knowing the reason for the talk to feel like they can judge others. How powerful they must feel... in their own little world! I wonder how they would feel if their temple recommend was under someone else besides their bishop's control...like mine (just as irrelavent as thier opinion of of Mr. Reid's temple standing)...I bet they would be all indignant at that thought! I can't imagine any of my Mormon friends even saying they would be violent in the temple~!

It's sad that he felt his family was in danger among Mormons. My family feels safe among our neighbors... and we only have a couple who aren't Mormon. I have friends, though, who feel very different about their Mormon neighbors. Maybe it is more about your stake/ward human temperment than about "being Mormon".

M-Cat said...

For a second, I thought, DeNae is making this up. She's doing a great, funny post....then I realized that no one can make this shit up.

Do I like Harry Reid the Senator? Nope. Not in the least. I disagree with him politically on just about every account.

Do I like Harry Reid as a person? I don't know. Never met him. I am one for a good conversion story and if that is what the fireside was intended to be, then I think the members missed a great opportunity. I would have enjoyed to hear his or ANYONE's spiritual conversion.

That being said, I am with Inkmom on this. No politicians doing Firesides. Not even if it's an OFF year. I think when they are retired, it's a great opportunity, but when there are votes to be had, I think it's best to seperate campaign trail and church.

If Sen Reid felt it important to get his conversion story out there, let him write a book. I would read it.

Just my thoughts. Love the debate!

Mark H. said...

I think your stake president should say a couple of words about how ashamed he was by their behavior at the next stake conference. I'm no fan of Harry Reid but if I were in your stake I'd be tempted to move out of it in sheer embarrassment. If you accuse Harry Reid of misinterpreting the gospel in his public life and take it to this extreme, haven't you just committed the selfsame crime?

That said, I wouldn't blame anyone for staying home from the fireside. As long as they didn't say anything behind Mr. Reid's back that they would be ashamed to say to his face.

Wendy said...

A counselor in my stake presidency is a member of our House of Rep in Utah and used to be my Bishop. NEVER did I think of not attending church when his vote was affecting my husbands job, retirement funding or health care--things that make or break our family. But then, I've always thought of myself as someone who is OUT and away from the High School mentality, which seems apparent in this sad situation with Harry Reid.

When we walk into a church or temple--we must leave the political agenda's at home... whether we're a constituent or in a Public Office!

Thank you DeNae for putting yourself out on a limb and reminding us of the core of what we Mormons stand for...remember "SWEET is the PEACE the GOSPEL BRINGS"

bon said...

I am with InkMom.... this was the wrong forum (for ANY politician), but most especially the wrong time. Such a volatile figure, and at a time when so many who disagree with Mr. Reid feel like they are being ignored, mocked and outright slapped in the face with his actions and the actions of so many in Washington. Having him address you from the pulpit seems a bit much. A Stake Fireside is not Fast and Testimony meeting, y'all.

Obviously the reactions of these people are wrong. Obviously I am embarrassed as a member of the LDS church. But I question the wisdom of putting this guy up there especially NOW. I agree with the stated ends of folks who want to cut the edge off of the hateful and polarizing rhetoric going around right now, but I think they really got the wrong guy... and you say that this fireside was endorsed by the First Presidency? Huh. I honestly find that hard to believe, but I also find the churches enmeshment with the BSA a little creepy too. Can't all make sense to me I guess.

wendy said...

Oh man I loved that. AMAZING...seriously, that really happened.
I think PEOPLE in general....are idiots (including me most of the time)

Judgy judgy judgy.....people love to do that.

and I am sure THEY are totally 100% sure of who should and who shouldn't have a temple recommend.

anyway, I could go off, but I won't.
but hey DeNae-YOU SHOULD RUN FOR POLITICS.

Motherboard said...

If you accuse Harry Reid of misinterpreting the gospel in his public life and take it to this extreme, haven't you just committed the selfsame crime?

Amen, Mark. You hit it on the head. These people who are throwing death threats at congressmen because of their votes on the Health Care bill are hypocrites. They are pointing fingers at others, accusing them of not being Christian-- when they neglect to see the other 4 fingers pointing right back at themselves.

My cousin said it best-- we can (and I think should) be different, it's a big enough tent for all of us, isn't it??

Watson & Co. said...

while i think that situation is insane, i also think you are out of line for being so condescending to your fellow peers so openly. they may protest him and not like him, but don't lower yourself to their level and degrade them. you are just asking for a lot of torment until you move out of your ward. we must forgive and forget.

Melanie J said...

Just wait til I get Inkmom alone in a dark alley.

Kidding.

I'm glad you posted this because it's nice to see all the people in the comment trail who can disagree with Reid's politics and still see this situation fair minded-ly (I made that word up).

I'm offended any time someone preaches politics from the pulpit, regardless of party affiliation. That's when it becomes a bully pulpit. But I think people can have a testimony that transcends politics. It's too bad so many people tried to silence Brother Reid's.

And were so ugly about it. Fail. EPIC fail.

Amber said...

I just had a thought for those who think that he shouldn't speak from the pulpit since he's highly involved in politics...

Did Ezra Taft Benson speak in conference when he was both a General Authority and the Secretary of Agriculture?

Also- I think it's very brave to stand up and say 'you're wrong' to your peers when they are. Kudos.

Anonymous said...

Well said! I think those people have made the LDS church look bad, and that it might cost the area converts, especially if they're supporters of Reid. Even if one doesn't agree with someone, you don't threaten a spiritual leader like that, and violate the freedom of speech by causing the event to be canceled. It just adds to the notion that the right-wing is full of those who would incite violence.

Shantel said...

I believe it. When my husband was on his mission is the early 90's. He was in North Carolina. He had his life threatned by some ward members beucase he was teaching a black family. Mormon or not - people are people, and stick with the traditions of their fathers. Its sad.

DeNae said...

Anonymous, you're thisclose to being bounced off of here. I said keep it civil, I said keep the political diatribes out of it, and you can't seem to understand plain English. Don't come back if you're just going to mouth off about who is a "bad guy" and who isn't. Save it for your own blog.

Anonymous said...

DeNae,

What did 'anonymous' say that was so bad?

Or, is this one of those blogs that only allows comments that fall right in line with the blogger's original post?

Anonymous expressed an opinion. Anonymous did not threaten violence or in any way libel Sen. Reid.

A debate requires two sides.

Best,

Anon.

Janice said...

The political climate is so crazy right now that something like this was bound to happen. It is sad but does show how intense people's feelings are about what is going on in Washington now.

Circe said...

AMEN!! Sheesh, can I please be a Democrat and a Mormon at the same time? This is exactly the kind of thing that makes me scared to go to church. People's crazy, ludicrous opinions scare me and make me a little bit embarrassed for my church. A little more Christlike, a little less self-righteous, please, people.

NG said...

Well, fortunately you're not the only one who thinks so.

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/the-mormon-ethic-of-civility

My favorite line:

"Latter-day Saint ethical life requires members to treat their neighbors with respect, regardless of the situation. Behavior in a religious setting should be consistent with behavior in a secular setting. The Church hopes that our democratic system will facilitate kinder and more reasoned exchanges among fellow Americans than we are now seeing."

Hilary said...

You guys should come to the bay area.
We live just down the street from Satan's minions.
I'd rather curl up with Harry Reid.
It's disgusting though, and I hope your stake president comes down HARD at the next stake conference. I think the guy would have a lot to say about church PR and about sharing info about our church.
What a shame he couldn't.

I feel the fires of hell burning at their toes....

InkMom said...

Last comment from me today, I promise.

I think it's easy for people to look at Senator Reid's political decisions and outcomes and make inferences about his personal religious life, when what should be happening is just the opposite. Based on our shared faith, I like to assume that Senator Reid gives as much thought and careful consideration to his decisions as I do my own, because I am aware of the great responsibility that comes with agency. Instead of looking at the political outcome and assuming bad things about Senator Reid or his personal faithfulness, I choose to look at his example of faith and assume that even though his politics are different than (even opposed to) mine, somehow he has reconciled religion and politics and has chosen his stances based on an intelligent internal dialogue rather than political expediency.

(By the way -- Secretary of Agriculture is not an elected position. It's the election part of being a public servant that changes the dynamic. If even one person comes away from a fireside having decided to vote for the senator, the spiritually-intended meeting has made a political impact.)

I'm done.

(Love you, Melanie J.) (You too, DeNae.)

Peace out.

InkMom said...

And one more thing. (For reals.)

PLEASE don't think that all people from North Carolina hate black people and harass the missionaries for teaching them. PLEASE. PLEASE.

Because otherwise I'll sic my peace-marchin' civil rights fightin' born 'n raised Carolina mama on you . . .

Jenny in Utah said...

What a shame ... looks like a lot of our members need to go back and re-do primary ... those graduation certificates might need to be revoked!!!

Afterall ... everything I ever need to know I learned in Primary. For example, The Articles of Faith and The 10 Commandments and the songs ... oh the songs ... "Jesus Said Love Everyone" and "Kindness Begins With Me". Looks like the church could benefit from some refresher courses for our adult members.

I am truly, deeply very saddened to hear this story.

Missy said...

Amen!!!

Anna said...

That's incredible. Awful. Wish I could say it was unbelievable. It SHOULD be unbelievable. They should all be ashamed of themselves, in a very serious way. While I may rather agree that elected politicians shouldn't be giving highly-publicized firesides (Sets wrong with me, I'd probably avoid anything of the type), that sort of protest is very wrong. Wrong enough that I hope their bishops and stake presidents extend the next interview they have with them. Something about how you treat your fellow man.

Anonymous said...

Well, the worst thing I can say about that Stake Presidency is that they have rather poor timing. And we all know poor timing is one of the deadliest of sins--so. . .Whew! Glad I'm not in your stake! ;)

--Jan

Melanie said...

OH MY GOSH!! 90 COMMENTS and some of you have got it (cussing here) *#@% backwards! I'm so sorry Denea, you should seriously get out your delete button and go to town. And for some of you, you know who you are, get off your super duper high horses (you're not perfect) and find the GINORMOUS beam in your eye and remove it!!

Karen said...

I think it would be RAD if President Monson invited BROTHER Reid to come and bear his testimony at General Conference this weekend.

Again, I'm not a fan of the guy, but now I'd LOVE to hear his testimony.

Motherboard said...

I second what Karen said!

Anonymous said...

So how productive is it for you to blog about it? How will this blog entry benefit other peoples' lives? How will this benefit everyones testimonies by spreading this story around to the members (and non members) of our church that read this? In your anger you have spread more negativity and a perspective where everyone has to be offensive or defensive.
Reading your entry didn't make me feel love and compassion for anyone. All it made me feel was more anger.

Anonymous said...

Maybe some of the "members" are jealous, as they have not their own "conversion story" to share.... baptized as a child, still not converted?

To be converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ - would we not understand that there is only ONE we are to pattern our lives after, that being Christ himself? Would we not understand that keeping 99 commandments and breaking one, is the same level of sin as keeping one and breaking 99?

I have recently attended 11 ward conferences in which the lesson given taught...what manner of man ought ye to be?...

WE all, including myself, will be in a long line on judgement day.. then and only then will we receive the greatest outpouring of love and mercy. Will any of us be worthy to experience the fullness of the Glory of God, or will we only be able to look upon his back side?

When we judge each other, whether it be in church, the home, the community, politics, ethics, etc. etc. etc. we are sinners, every last one of us.

I don't like contention, I tend to get myself wrapped up in it all too often, but I don't like it. I don't like it when people speak ill of others, or when those others defend themselves back. I don't like that my kids get bullied at school, I would like to defend them. I don't like being bullied myself (especially at CHURCH!) and would like to strike back... would I be any better than the bullies? no.

Thank you DeNae... I love you.
Please continue teaching, caring, sharing and inspiring. You are an example to pattern our direction after as we strive to be like our Brother Jesus Christ. I enjoy your testimony and the manner in which it is presented. Bless you.

A different "anonymous" than has commented yet. Just gonna choose to leave my name off this time.

One Cluttered Brain said...

AMEN!
I am here because of Motherboard.
Wow.
Just because we have difference political values does NOT mean we are bad Mormons or Christians.
I mean, WOW! Hate mail? Really?
I think it would have been interested to hear him speak. i am sorry I missed it.
I am a new follower here, THANKS to Motherboard. Are you going to be at Casual Blogger Conference this year? I'd LOVE to meet you, democrat or not, you have ALOT to say that is good!!!!

THANK YOU.
I will be back!

Emily said...

Chiming in to add my opinion that these hate-filled members don't represent the church I attend or the Christ I follow, even if it is the same church. Very disappointing.

One Cluttered Brain said...

97 comments? REALLY? You just ROCK!!!
You go girl. I must say, I also LIVE in Nevada. Just moved here.
So Harry Reid is my senator too.
He must have done something good while in office.
Anything?

Despite that, we cannot judge him on his religion. He might be as righteous as one of our apostles.

Anyway, more 2 cents, for what it worth.

One Cluttered Brain said...

oh wow! i feel somewhat silly.
Denae. oh that is right. You are one off the LUCKY speakers at CBC.
Duh.
I will see you!
Good.
i am excited.
in the meanttime, I have a couple of months to read some of your blog posts. YEAH!

Heather O. said...

Awesome. TOTALLY awesome. You rock. Thanks so much for posting this.

Margaret said...

Amen to that! I don't agree with his choice but I am not going to not see him speak about his conversion story. He is a member of my church and because of that I respect him but that doesn't mean I agree with his religious views. I couldn't have put this any better than you did!

DeNae said...

Anonymous, I owe you an apology. And anonymous, thank you for coming to anonymous's defense. And a special thanks to anonymous for your kind words.

I'm just being silly, of course.

But I'm sincere about the apology. Anonymous II pointed out, rightfully, that you didn't say anything threatening about Senator Reid. You did say he was a 'bad guy', but then I said something about 'crazies' and not inviting them to dinner, so I guess we're both guilty of a little name-calling.

And I suppose that the commenter who accused me of fomenting controversy has a point, too. I deliberately didn't tell you everything that has been happening here, but let me assure you we are talking about HUNDREDS of hate-filled messages, terribly hurtful and personal, delivered to our stake president, his counselors, and anyone who supported his decision.

I felt it was time there was one voice that said, "Hey, wait just a darn minute here..."

To all of you who have used civility to express your opinions on this subject, thank you.

The comments on this post will be closed out at 6:00 Pacific Time. Tomorrow, I'll be posting something far more meaningful, like the fact that I'm afraid to wax my chin in case I have a beard for the Storymakers conference.

When you consider that the only post where I've received nearly this many comments had to do with falling down in public, it's time I got back to giving my readers what they want!

DeNae said...

BTW, I would like to point out that I never actually claimed to be a Democrat.

I'm currently a registered Fudgnik, although I recently voted Donutratic at a PTA meeting.

alexis said...

Well, I am now your loyal follower. i love it when i find someone who has a bigger mouth than i do (lol no offense, it's totally a compliment).

I cannot STAND intolerant people, especially intolerant LDS people. how can we feel comfortable preaching a gospel of love and tolerance (of people, not necessarily their beliefs) when some of our members are such flaming hypocrites with nary a whit of sense in their peabrains?! UGH! I am a proud member of the church, but I feel just a wee bit (ok, a lot) embarrassed when I hear about crap like this.

thanks for the post, it was a good read and i'm glad to find a kindred spirit.

Motherboard said...

I have been assimilated into the Borg. So I usually vote Borg. Or Klingon. But, Klingon's tough because all I can say in it is:
nuqDaq 'oH puchpa''e'

(or roughly translated where's the bathroom)

Shawna Faye said...

Fantastic post. I'm always completely baffled at how members of our church can justify such extreme hatred when the scriptures teach us otherwise.

p.s. Love, love, love your blog.

Amber said...

For those who have said they would like to hear Harry Reid's conversion story you can read it here:
http://byudemocrats.org/?p=32

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

DeNae, as a friend, I have to say I'm sorry that you've had to sit through a contentious spell. I hate it when ANYthing like this happens and leaves groups of people sick to their stomach. Since it's not my Stake or even state, I feel like it's not really much of my business, but I'd like to think that if my own Stake hosted a fireside by someone I completely disagree with on political issues, I would simply show my "disapproval" by not attending nor promoting it among my neighbors. I hope I'd have the courage to be civil even if I felt burned. A wise friend once told me, "Make your own contribution one of total integrity and that's all you have to worry about." My own integrity is all I have to face when I kneel down each night. Love you, DeNae. I broke out of my Spring Break to make a comment on your thread that apparently has surpassed the Wall Street Journal's readership today. :)

Ken Knickerbocker said...

Started a FB group today to counter some of this madness and to celebrate Senator Reid's inspirational life story. Please join us if you're so inclined at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=109201745770220.

Gma Lores said...

I'm not sure what brought me to your blog, but I'm glad it did. Thank you for your comments, and I'm sorry so many "Saints" feel they have the right to decide what the rest of us should hear or not hear. Sad that we can't hear Bro. Reid's testimony because of the noise from his detractors. I'm not sure I can share my testimony with anyone inside or outside the Church. Do I have the right political beliefs? Do I wear the right shoes? Neither of these statements should matter, but it seems only members of one political belief system can have testimonies. What does that make the Testimonies of those who don't share that political belief? Is it a real testimony? Who decides? Sad day in the Church when members cannot share their love of the Gospel with each other.

Natasha said...

Amen!

And I'm not surprised either.

I know, not a fabulous comment but I will link to your post on my blog.

Sher said...

Wait. I don't understand.
I guess I didn't reid (ha ha) the back story or the headlines or whatever, but I don't understand why having a MORMON politician speak about his MORMON conversion in a MORMON venue would make people mad.
Am I just slow?

Natasha said...

Chrissie,

Some of my best friends are from Wales. I wonder if we know the same people, as my Welsh friend sent me to this post.

Yes, some of us NOT in the US just shake our heads at the breed of Mormons who think that true Mormons are Republicans. And some extreme Republicans are just scary, whether LDS or not.

I sometimes have to take a break from my Repub. Mormon friends and talk to more moderate people, too, so that I don't write a post like she has here. I wouldn't be as nice as she was.

Also: SwearingElder: FUN-NY.

Natasha said...

Anonymous: One CAN be pro-life but also pro-agency.

At the very least, it's possible that if he has done a wrong thing in helping to bring about pro-life legislation, that it was not because he's an evil, careless liar, but because he's confused about what's more important: The right for people to choose themselves whether or not they are going to sin, or the right for babies to be born. It may seem like a straightforward issue but there are bigger philosophical questions than "is it wrong to kill an embryo". And while they might be questions that you or someone else can easily answer, Reid might not be able to answer them easily, or he may just answer them differently and that's hardly the same thing as being blatantly evil or stupid.

DeNae said...

I don't know what's up with Blogger, but the last 6 comments or so aren't showing up. I want you to know I haven't pulled a single comment.

Thank you all for your input. I've learned a lot about reconciling my faith with the political issues of the day.

And I appreciate the civility you've all maintained today. Enjoy your evening, my friends. Tomorrow will be far more boring over here at my backordered life, I promise!

Amber said...

Wow, Denae, I am late in this comment game but it sounds like you have your hands full!

First off, we are experiencing similar things where we live (Utah). The discussion boards on our local TV's site is full of hatred towards any person who is not a Republican and Conservative. The sad thing is, it mostly comes from Mormons. I am saddened by the hatred that is spewed out of Member's mouths. Especially since Obama has been elected. (Lots of it comes from my parents. It really makes me angry.) E-mail me sometime and I will send you an awesome post my husband wrote a while back regarding this issue. (hereeverymomentcounts@gmail.com)

Ian said...

Thanks for this post. People need to just calm down a notch you know? I wish senator Reid would come to our stake. :-(

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I came back with an addendum to my comment. A political disconnect with someone isn't by necessity a reason to sit out, but I would probably do so if I were morally opposed to a person. I wanted to restate that since my original comment wasn't quite what I really meant to say.

Lara said...

Wow, DeNae.

This is what I get when I neglect blogs for 24 hours?

First off, you are a wise woman in many matters, and this case is no different.

It is somewhat sickening to read that people who have taken Christ's name upon them are acting in such a manner. I'm sure they are caught up in politics, but that is just th problem. We can't let anything get in the way of how we treat our fellow brothers and sisters (and I don't just mean Mormons). It makes it all the worse that Senator Reid actually is a Mormon.

I don't like his politics. Don't like them at all. But I don't know if I like him as a person, since I've never actually met him. And even if I didn't like him as a person, I certainly wouldn't threaten to punch him out were I to see him in the Celestial Room! Amazing.

I can see the point of many of the commenters that perhaps it isn't the wisest thing to have a politician speak in a fireside. Especially in the political climate right now. And, I suppose, especially if that politician is Harry Reid.

But the reaction is ridiculous. I do hope your Stake President finds a way to address this. But then that makes me kind of sound like the tattle-taling child that hopes to get others in trouble, doesn't it?

Tough situation all around. But I'm standing next to you.

queendeni said...

HI DaNae! Wow, this really brought out a lot of feelings didn't it? These times are very trying and we have very much to be concerned about, from the right and the left ways of thinking. But for this reason I am so grateful to live in this country founded upon freedom of speech and freedom of religion! So in spite of differences of opinion, it is really wonderful we can express ourselves so freely. The real enemy is losing those priviledges, so hence it makes it all the more important to study out in our minds the policies of each individual and vote our conscience hopefully using the spirit as our guide. In my mind, losing my "free" dom of choice is a huge concern these days no matter who is doing it. I don't agree with Senator Reids' policies but I do respect his office. As we all should. I really pray for continued civility and help for the future of this country.
Thank you for listening!

Kaylie said...

Hey, thanks to you and all the positive comments. It's good to know there are some sane people out there.

yarrlydarb said...

You're so right-on! I often think, as strong as my testimony is, I do not belong to the same church as so many who call themselves by the same name as I. "No, Brother or Sister Ranter, I do not believe in the kind of 'brotherly love' you seem to think exists. Let me tell you; what you have is anything but brotherly and it's so far from love that even the thought 'makes reason stare.'" Love your enemies, but not a Democrat! Give me a break! Wasn't it the Pharisees who accused the Savior of 'hanging around with the wrong crowd? All one needs to do is to get out the Standard Works and read what the Son of God truly taught! It wasn't "Love your Right-wingers and hate the progressives and Democrats!"

Kiwimommy said...

THANK YOU! I hope this post goes viral.

melsebourn said...

You have done such a great job of expressing exactly how I feel.

Reading this post and some of the comments gives me hope that there are other reasonable Mormons out there among the throngs of Mormons who act in such an unchristian way.

It makes me so sad that many of our faith, despite their claims of belief, are fundamentally incapable of understanding what the gospel is actually about.

cd said...

If this is really true(and I tend to believe you) then yes, you really do go to church with a bunch of crazies. This is such an ugly way for humans to be.

tuxgirl said...

I agree. Living in Seattle, I spent most of my growing-up life as a conservative in an extremely liberal school. I learned a few things about life from that time -- first, that I needed to make decisions for myself, rather than listening to everyone around me, and second, that it's not fun when everyone thinks you're an awful person because you have a different view from them.

Fast forward a few years, and I found myself at BYU for college. I heard a couple people on my floor making some rude comments about the college democrats (which I did not realize at that point that one of our floormates was a member of). They were, in essence, saying that anyone who votes democrat can't be a good Mormon.

I'll admit that I was furious. I wasn't a democrat, but it still made me furious that they would say that. I ended up going and finding out which of the general authorities I was thinking of who had been openly democrat (there is one, but I've once again forgotten which one). I also pointed out that our church is very openly in favor of democracy and the idea that the people should have a choice. Sure, I don't agree with everything that some democrats are in favor of. I also don't agree with everything that some republicans are fighting for.

Anyway, I'm firmly of the opinion that any member of the LDS Church who tries to judge another person because of that person's political leanings does *NOT* understand the doctrines of the Church, or Christ's command to "judge not that ye be not judged".

yarrlydarb said...

I find it more than just interesting that seemingly a great majority of these Mormon ranters focus on their pocketbook thinking unless they keep fanatical attention to their hip pocket they're going to end up in the "poor house" and all their "spirituality" will be drained away. I'm oblivious as to what twist of logic they would place on Matthew 6:25, 31
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

They're so atuned to "here and now" that you wonder what part faith plays at all in their lives especially in view of Mosiah 4:16-18
And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

blogging and bliss~ said...

A Nevadan here and I dislike all of Harry Ried. This post has made me think though. I think it is true that hate speech is unacceptable. We can disagree. Had I been a member of that stake I would have chosen not to go. The gospel is perfect not the members. I am far from perfect and confess to having ill feelings toward him. However that is my problem and I will be held accountable. I feel bad anyone would go to those lengths to make him feel unwelcome. Good debate. Just sorry that this had to happen sure makes the church members seem untolerable.

yarrlydarb said...

SEEM INTOLERABLE! What would it take to be FOR SURE INTOLERABLE?

Kat said...

I think I love you!!! You captured exactly how I feel. I actually have been attending significantly less because I'm tired of politics in my relief society meetings and I don't mean before or after - DURING the spiritual part of the hour. The fact that there is a division in my mind at all between the spiritual time at church and that time where I'm wearing a pasted on smile while biting my tongue because I'm desperate to hold onto the spirit between meetings is sad enough. Thank you again and again for saying what should only be common sense.

Anonymous said...

I am in your stake, and did not hear a peep about this until reading your blog. I asked a friend about it today, and she had not heard anything either. (Maybe we are insulated from this in YW???)

At any rate, I am pretty dumbfounded by this. While I may not always agree with Harry Reid, I would have welcomed an opportunity to hear his conversion story and to respect him from that standpoint. Since moving here from Utah many years ago, we have felt that the members we rub shoulders with have been far less judgmental and small minded. I would hate to think that this attitude is representative of everyone here. This really shocked, surprised, and saddened me that people would be so vitriolic. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, people.

I think that we could all use a reminder to actually follow the Savior's example in loving our fellowmen (including those that some may deem to be their enemy).

I seriously hope that people will not allow this to affect their testimony of the gospel, or to prevent them from sustaining our dear Stake President.

~LHM

Heidi Garvin said...

whether it's Mormon on Mormon, Republican on Democrat (or vice versa), youth on the elderly (or vice versa), Protestant on Protestant, one race against another, or one belief against another, it saddens me that this type of close-mindedness, discrimination, and hatred exists. Our society is so quick to label, and so quick to judge a person negatively based on one of the many labels they bear. Harry Reid: Democrat, Mormon, American, Nevadan, son, husband, father, Senator. Which labels make him "wrong" and which make him "right" and which carry more weight than others? We are all many things and are labeled many different ways and should not be quick to judge others for the labels our society have given them or for those they have taken upon themselves.

Harry P said...

If this thing really went down as you said, it's truly wrong (although I'd need more evidence to believe my fellow Mormons could really be THAT petty). However, a guy in power who uses his position to publicly call people like me "evil-mongers" isn't the type of guy I want to hear talking about the beauty of the gospel. I don't mind a liberal for being a liberal, but a demagogue who heaps disdain on ordinary people like me is not very inspirational. That doesn't excuse the alleged actions of some of the members, but he was a bad choice to begin with.

Kate said...

I think that this post perfectly highlights that as moderate, liberal or radical Mormons, it is time to make our voices heard WITHIN Mormonism. I for one am weary of hearing Republican talking points pass for Gospel truths. The Gospel is for everyone, not just Republicans; guided by the spirit, liberal and radical interpretations of the Gospel and scriptures are just as valid as those made by Conservatives.

The Idea:

*On May 1st 2010, International Workers’ Day, or May Day, we will participate in local May Day festivities and organize 'Social Justice and the Gospel' Teach-ins/Firesides all across the country.

*On Sunday May 2nd, during Fast and Testimony Meeting, we will hold a special fast for those who are working all over the world to advance the causes of the Gospel, social justice, environmental sustainability and fighting the root causes of poverty. Then, we will attend our local Wards and, guided by the spirit, bare strong, sincere and non-confrontational testimonies on these themes.

Please pass the word along and start organizing events.

Kate said...

btw I am currently in Senator Reid's ward. He is a very kind, meek and spiritual man. He has done so many amazing things for the church... like helping to secure the land in WY for the church to have a memorial to Martin's Cove there.

Not to mention the fact that Reid delivered a devotional at BYU on Tuesday, October 09, 2007... seems like if he can speak to a huge audience at the church school, he should be able to talk in his home state.

DeNae said...

Harry, may I very respectfully point out that your statement "he was a bad choice to begin with" is just what I'm talking about? There are a lot of speakers whom I would rather not listen to, for a dozen different reasons. But unless I knew something DIFFERENT from what his priesthood leaders knew, I would never presume to tell anyone that "this guy should never have been asked to speak." I would simply stay home.

I do thank you for being so civil in your response. All of this controveersy has been kind of unnerving for me. Read the rest of my blog; you'll see this is NOT the norm.

Anonymous said...

This just makes me SICK to my stomache...

So much for Free Speech, Free Religion, and the rest of what Senator, Bro. Reid does to build up the Kingdom for his Brothers and Sisters.

Mormon History 101
(1844)

Tolerance
Inclusion
Dancing (was considered sinful)
Environmentalism
Freeing the Slaves
Unorthodox (Non-Traditional) Marriages
Socialism - United Order
Women’s Rights (prior to Women’s Suffrage)
Progressive Immigration policies
Universal Welfare Programs
Free Speech
Free Religion (who, where, what they may)
Sustaining Vote


Liberal concepts then -- Liberal concepts now.

Peace

Lisa said...

This is so sad, but given some of my own experiences, not terribly surprising. I recall being told by my zone leader that I wasn't a true Christian if I voted for John Kerry. The Church teaches that we can have absolute answers to life's big questions and that we are not only entitled but actually obligated to share these convictions. The line between politics and religion gets blurry. Consider the church's involvement in Prop 8 in California. True, their language was far more diplomatic than the language of many of the Nevada "Saints" you've talked about, but in the end, the Church was still taking an absolute stance on a political issue. If I had lived in California at the time, my conscience would have required me to vote AGAINST the Church's mandate.

Melanie said...

I can't stand Glenn Beck but I can listen to anyone share their testimony even him. I didn't hear one member mention concern that Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts when same sex marriages became legal there. But, someone did say I would be a pillar of salt if I lived in California and voted on Prop 8. Stuff like this makes it hard to be Mormon; I think it is my testimony that I am despite it all.

Anonymous said...

Reid is a good man. His family are good people. His daughter and wife were recently in a wreck.

People threatening him are silly idiots who need to get a life. Seriously, even if you dont agree with the political points, who cares? Everyone voted and it passed... and it will either work or fail. The end.

Kristin Fabbi said...

As a Las Vegasian, it makes me sick to think I could possibly know some of the people who said these things...

Erstwild said...

In the New Testament, Simon was what you could call very right wing or Conservative. Matthew was a Tax Collector, what you could call left wing or Liberal.

I wonder if the Savior had something in mind to Teach when called people of politically diverse backround to help his work.

Lawerence said...

The LDS church has made it clear that politics are not a topic to be discussed in a church setting. Period.

It's that simple. If we are to respect and love one another, his political views (and others) shouldn't matter. Sad.

Melanie said...

Okay, so after reading all 143 comments before, I have one more thing to say. I live in Michigan. One of my non-Mormon friends emailed a Buzz link to me (so that's like three degrees of separation there). One, I'm glad for Harry Reid. It's really nice to know that I'm not the only Mormon that would vote that way. He was very right when he said this church lost a lot of good will on Prop 8. So, I'm also very glad for this post. It adds to a more realistic and fuller picture of the members in this church. My friends know that there are Mormons with different political opinions, not just me. I really like that he's the Senate Majority Leader but I don't live in Nevada and so I know that I don't vote on it.

J said...

Great article DeNae.

Even though I strongly disagree with Harry Reid and the things he's done in Congress, what happened in Las Vegas was embarrassing for LDS members everywhere.

He should have been allowed to speak and I would have had no problem with him speaking.

As a politically conservative Mormon myself, I am saddened, ashamed and pissed at other conservative Republican Mormons who acted so childishly, foolishly and rudely towards Harry Reid.

Harry Reid deserves my respect...even if I disagree with him.

Lynn said...

Well, I'm not in NV, but I have been supporting Harry Reid for a while now, and I have been impressed with his integrity as a member of the Church. This fiasco just makes me want to go to his page and send him another donation for his campaign. I am LDS, and I am shocked at this kind of bigotry against one of our own.
I used to be Republican, until the extremists took it over. If they don't straighten up and quit hating everybody, I may never return to that party.

RSmpknz said...

I loved it! Thank you for your voice of reason! Beck is pretty much a total embarassment to me.
I was just as excited to support Romney and what he aspired to, as anyone. I'm having trouble staying on board with him, as time has passed. I have no such reservations about Reid and would take a bullet for him. I have been connected enough to high political office holders in Utah and Idaho to truthfully dish plenty of dirt that is not commonly known, that I could bring some of our politically bigoted, right wing fellow church members to reality. Quit pretending to be real Mormons and pull your head out.

Donna Tagliaferri said...

Harry certainly is a lightening rod isn't he? We get "the talk" every 2 years no politics at church. Seems simple. If Harry gets to speak at a fireside then all LDS politicians should be able to. There was a silent endorsement felt that made people very, very mad. People usually react badly when they feel forced into something.
Since my life has been turned upside down by the economy I would love for Harry to try and help us, and I have called his office many times with that request....every time I get treated pretty badly. The only time I had a call returned is when I said I was a seminary teacher. Then a nice LDS woman from his office called and wanted to know what stake I was in, how the members felt about Harry and what I thought he could do to insure them voting for him....I refused to answer anything, it was way too creepy.
Harry has been around for 40 years...he has a reputation during campaigns of doing a lot of things like this.
And thought the big news yesterday was that Ricky Martin was gay...wow.

Donna Tagliaferri said...

Harry Reid gave a forum speech at BYU not a devotional. There is a difference...

Plainbellied said...

I just wanted to say kudos for your courage. I mostly feel like I can't talk about my political views (or even allude to them) because people get so angry, judgmental and offended. I choose not to talk politics with my sisters because when we have discussed politics, we can't find any common ground, but even those disagreements were filled with love and mutual respect. I don't dare discuss it at church, or with the general public because I live in a red state and apparently belong to a red church. (I used to be a Republican, but pretty much switched to Democratic views on most issues in the past presidential election.) I don't even feel like I can say much on my blog because of how worked up people get in the current political climate. It takes guts, DeNae, and I'm glad you've got 'em. I might follow suit.

DeNae said...

This from Karen:

"Cynthia's comment is wrong about who was busted for a DUI recently. I'm not sure what legislative position he held but I know he is NOT the Senate President. I happen to personally know the Senate President, Michael Waddups and it wasn't him. I'd just hate for people to think poorly of him for a DUI. Hey, if you don't like his political view and you think poorly that's fine (I have a few issues with him myself) but the DUI statement was wrong."

HarryFromMA said...

Actually, opposition to Harry Reid goes further than just Reid being a Democrat.
* Ever know the corruption & political control he has in his state?
* Since it's now 2014 - Reid has smeared and trashed FELLOW Mormon/LDSer Mitt Romney for not being "the face of Mormonism". Gee, I can compare & I'd take Romney over Reid ANY day. BTW, I have not now nor have never been Republican or Democrat & have voted for Dems, Repubs & '3rd party' in all levels of gov't.
* Reid made recent anti-Koch talking points. Dems in trouble - bring out the boogymen, right? Strange in his Big Biz Bashing - (1) Koch gives loads to charity, (2) In studying who gave to which party from 1989-2014:
#1 - ActBlue: Solid Democrat donator
#2 - (forgot name): heavy Dem donor
#3 - (Forgot name) - about 1/2 & 1/2.
All first 16 are either heavy/solid Democrat donor or a few about 1/2 & 1/2 Dem/Repub.
Almost all of those were unions donating heavy/solid to Democrats (Reid/Pelosi etc wants money out of politics, right? As long as it's the cash going to Repubs and not the coffers of the Dem Party), (3) Koch was waaaaay down to #59! Horrors of the top dollar Koch gives to the Repubs! #59!, (4) Harry Reid seems to take Koch money himself in 2003.
Reid's poisoned mouth has trashed and smeared - born false witness - many times. He can say it very calmly, but it is still as false and vile as if he blasted it from the rooftops.
Harry Reid should get his honesty and integrity in order and some deep 'repentance' before he takes to the podium. I would walk out of anytime he spoke anything about his 'faith'.
I wouldn't do that to someone just because they are Democrat.