06 April 2006

The Weather and Conference

Oh, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmaaaaaaas . . . . everywhere in Provoooooo.

Sorry, family tradition. When it snows, we call each other and sing that song. :D Yes, it is snowing in Provo. And the slacker UofU has cancelled school. How lame.

So, long time no post. Finals are coming up, so less and less time to write random rants on here. But also, I've been working on a really long essay in answer to Ali's comment on my homosexuality post. Don't worry it's coming. It's already like three pages long though. I will try to finish it this weekend so I can post it on April 10th, when Soulforce is here. Then I hopefully won't have to think about that topic for a while. :D

Anyway, I've been meaning to write some comments on the General Conference talks from this weekend. There were several that I really liked a lot. I know, we shouldn't have pet gospel topics, but several of these addressed my current gospel hobbies.

First, I felt like one of the major themes of conference was agency, as mentioned by Elder Hales in the first talk. This makes sense to me, since so much in the world around us is encouraging us to blame our problems on genetics, parenting, natural tendencies, etc., and give up on changing them. While it is true that we are born with certain natural tendencies, we can choose to give in to them, fight them, or change them for good. For instance, my family has a natural tendancy towards depression. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I didn't inherit the tendancy as much as some of my other siblings, but I still have it just the same. Now, I could give in to my sadness, saying it's just the way I am, or I can fight it, which is what I choose to do. And really, how sad would life be if who you are is determined simply by your DNA? If you had no choice about it, there would hardly be any point to being alive at all. You might as well be a little machine.

President Hinckley's Sunday morning talk did freak me out. I must admit that I felt corrected when he said he didn't want us to think of this talk as an obituary. Seriously, it sounded to me like a farewell. And his last minute decision not to open the Saturday morning session also points towards that. I mean, the man is 96 years old, so I guess we should expect him to be called home soon, but still I will miss him. He is the prophet that I remember the most. The only thing I remember about President Benson was the notice of his death scrolling across the screen when I was watching Sesame Street on KBYU. It will be interesting to have a new prophet. But in the meantime, President Hinckley is the prophet and I fully support him.

Speaking of President Hinckley, from what I have heard, his priesthood session talk was good, not that I've gotten around to reading it yet. I've kind of been annoyed by the backlash of it though. One part in the talk seems particularly directed at "Utah Mormons," who are often viewed by the church as being exclusive, rude, and extremist. Ever since President Hinckley's talk, I have noticed how much criticism and stereotyping of "Utah Mormons" goes on around me each day. Personally, I don't see the problem as being just of "Utah Mormons," but general to the entire church. However, since the church population is larger in Utah, the problem seems greater here. I personally have never known a church family who would forbid their children to play with non-members. I didn't even make the distinction between members and non-members in my own head until I was in third grade (I can clearly remember the day).

Really, those who do such cruel things exist in all communities, not just the church. Outside the church, they do it for race, education level, wealth, lifestyle choices, and other factors. In some cases, I can see how it might be justified. There are some things you don't want your children exposed to. I don't feel that I am qualified to make a judgment about which cases were right or wrong, and I'm amazed that anyone would. Additionally, if you are shallow enough not to realize that one family refusing to let their children play with yours does not represent the whole church, then I am amazed that you have survived this long in society. For every one person with a particular bias, hundreds exist without it. It's like condemning all whites as racist because you happened to meet one person who was. It's a reverse-bias and just as dangerous. Really, we should all be striving to avoid stereotypes of any kind when dealing with anyone else.

Which, ironically enough, brings me to my next and final favorite talk by Elder Wood of the Seventy. He talks about something that is so true of modern society: it is viewed as cool to be extremist and to try to offend other people. He then goes on to talk about how members of the church must strive to understand other viewpoints before correcting them with love and kindness. It reminded me of Elder Oaks' CES Fireside from this summer. In that talk, he said that the members of the church should strive to be moderate in all things EXCEPT in their testimony of Christ. Here is where we differ from the worldly view of tolerance. I believe it is important to understand others and treat them all with kindness and respect; however, as a church member, and more importantly as a human being, it is my duty to stand up for standards of what is right and wrong. We condemn actions as wrong, but we should not be unkind to the people who do them, only firmly but kindly point them in the right direction. (See my New Year's Post on Relativism. PS - I Hate It.)

Yeah, so that's all. Time to go work on some homework now.

Oh, and I found a new knitting project today. Must make Ginny Weasley Hat!

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