Thursday, April 30, 2009

This Week In Mormons In The Media

It's been a while and this is hardly even news anymore, but it's an issue worth discussing.

The USA Today posted a story recently about the influx of illegal immigrants in the church, and our efforts to bring them into the fold. I promised myself I was done dwelling on the whole gay marriage issue, but I couldn't help but find numerous hypocritical statements made by church leaders in this article that remind me of Prop 8. I'll keep it all on the up and up, but here's a breakdown.

Unlike most of my Democratic brethren, I am passionately against illegal immigrants. I've mellowed out over the years a little, I get now that they do the jobs American's won't do, but I feel we are on the verge of losing our culture. So, the article makes the case that the church basically has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy when it comes to baptizing illegals. It also says we're sending more and more Spanish speaking missionaries into the country to convert them. I'll tackle these one at a time starting with the second issue.

I'm not aware of any additional efforts or specific marketing agenda laid out by the church meant to appeal to these people. The church has always been attractive to Latin Americans and, with more and more coming into this country, my guess is the effort has expanded as demand has dictated it. Latins are probably joining the church in America at rates that equate to their entrance into the country. The increase in Spanish speaking missionaries is, I suppose, a response to the need, as are the increase in Spanish speaking branches and wards in heavily populated Latin areas. So, I think they're stretching on that one.

Now, for the first issue. Why are we knowingly baptizing people who are breaking the law? Maybe it isn't seen as a "life or death" type of law, but we are still inviting people who are, basically, known criminals. I can't quite remember, but isn't one of the questions in the pre-baptism screening interview something about whether or not they're obeying the law? I remember it asks about abortions which, while not being favorable to any Christian religion, is not technically "unlawful" in most states, but is still raised as a red flag. It seems to me we're picking and choosing our own lawfulness. We won't allow you to be gay and married, whether you want to join our church or not, but we feel we have a moral obligation to help and support all the illegal immigrants saturating our country. What hypocritical BS. Granted, this article focuses on Arizona and not California, but where was your "so-called" compassion last fall?

My favorite is the quote from Mesa Mission President Mark Bassett, "We don't know what their immigration status is. We are not the government or the police." Riiiiiight. Pull this leg and it plays "Jingle Bells". (Name the movie!) The other gem comes from a Mesa Spanish Branch President, Pablo Felix, "The Lord doesn't look at documentation. He just looks at our faith as members." My guess is, the Lord does look at your criminal record. Maybe you just haven't been caught yet.

If we see this as an issue of compassion and helping families stay together, why are we stepping in when it was the family itself that tore itself apart when it chose to high-tail it for the border in the first place? It isn't like there was a war and we're looking after the widows. So, as long as moral issues aren't being compromised, it looks like we're happy to be on the front lines? But, if "perverts" are involved, we hang back judging and demanding repentance? Whatever.

If we truly handled this situation logically and fairly, we would teach them, but then expect them to make changes before baptizing them. That's what we do if someone is living in sin. You can't get baptized until you get married. We wouldn't allow it if someone hadn't quit smoking. We wouldn't allow it if someone hadn't quit drinking. So, again, we place our moral laws above the laws of the land. The 12th Article of Faith, which every child is expected to memorize, states emphatically that is not the way we claim to live. Yet, we're doing it anyway.

Bottom line: we're as full of crap as anyone else.


mindy said...

I visited Spain some time back and was told that the missionaries there were having a lot of problems. The people that were most receptive were the immigrants, but many were illegal so they could not be baptized. I do not know the difference between Spain and America.

I just read Steve Martin's Born Standing Up and loved it! Last night I started the Lonely Guy and I got Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid and The Man With 2 Brains. I'm also searching for All of Me and Pennies From Heaven. He's great. Jon, can I take this quiz in 2 weeks?

David Carruth

freshfoodfarmerNC said...

Good argument Jon - refreshing as always to hear your take on things. I personally have no problems with illegal immigrants. I think if they can make it across the border than they should be allowed to stay here, so long as they continue to keep the other laws of the land. I am against their receiving welfare however, since I do believe that is a huge strain on our tax system. But I am okay with their children being enrolled in our public schools - they just want more options for themselves. If their country was more equitable than they wouldn't be risking their lives to come here. I think the Church's position at this time is sound. The ultimate goal of the Church is to bring all unto Christ. Sure, they discriminate. Sure, they don't condone same sex marriage. Sure, they don't give temple recommends or baptize people who aren't committed enough to stop breaking the Word of Wisdom. But I don't think that makes them a hypocrite. Either the Church is run by a prophet or not, either it's true or it's not. If Heavenly Father thought that their immigration status was a moral wrong, it would be an issue.

AnnieB said...

I agree with FFFNC (who is that by the way?) Our country is based on immigration. If true "American culture" were still intact, this country would be full of tribes and tee-pees and native americans and beautiful natural forests and unpolluted lakes...I digress. Anyway, nay on welfare, but yay on hard labor and education and making something for yourself. And what's wrong with going to a different country than the one you were born in to make a life for yourself? I get that they should then become legal, but it's not that simple. Wouldn't we all love the opportunity to live in France or Greece or Norway (personal fantasies) and perhaps stay for however long our hearts desired and drive and work and even raise kids for a while, without legally changing our citizenship? (because truly, you don't know how long you might stay?)
Anyway, you can get all caught up on the politics of the church and why they take a stand on certain things, or you can just accept that we have a prophet, a true prophet, and have faith. (not that I'm questioning your faith, per se. Actually maybe I am, but only cause you seem to question it yourself so often.) I love you!!