Why Fight It?
by Nick Galieti
“Gay marriage is going to happen, so why fight it?”
“Legalization of drugs is going to happen, so why fight it?”
“Abortion is a woman’s right, so why fight it?”
While there are so many in this world who chose to ask these questions with the ringing tone of passionate disdain for those who choose to “fight it,” there are many that feel equally compelled to stand up for what they believe.
These questions seem particularly ironic when it is often this same group of moral pacifists, or as Elder Oaks referred, “moral cowards,” that also choose to fight the LDS church on every doctrine, practice, or cultural setting that may or may not be in conflict with their own sentiments on a given matter. To those who seem to feel that it is either their “calling” or desire to dedicate their time to tearing down another’s faith, I wish to offer this statement from a prophet of the Lord:
“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).”
If nothing can stop this work, the work of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then “why fight it?”
I have kept my finger on the pulse of those who have expended their efforts developing a theology based on what they find wrong with the LDS faith as opposed to espousing a theology based on something they actually do believe in, and I have found one fundamental string that seems to run through their narrative and commentary:
Some think it is easier to try and change the Church than it is for them to change themselves.
This does seem like an hyper-categorization of those who suffer from simple pride, but I say it is much deeper than that. While some seem addicted to Church controversy as if they were engaged in tabloid kind of stories, others seem to portray the image of an individual who would rather be found on the side of popular opinion than on the side of truth and righteousness. It is almost as if it is more emotionally unbearable to have someone “unfriend” over a moral position, than it is to stand up for what they believe at the loss of such a relationship. If Jesus Christ buckled to popular convention of His time, he would not be our Savior. In fact, there is no scriptural precedent that advocates following popular opinion over following God and his chosen leaders (when there is a conflict between the two.)
This “phenomenon” of True Christian counter-culture is not new. In fact, to borrow from a common phrase in pop-culture and the fashion world, spiritual counter-culture is so last dispensation.
For those that find discouragement when listening to the counter-culture, consider this passage from the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland, OH. Temple (D&C 1098:72-76):
“Remember all thy church, O Lord, with all their families, and all their immediate connections, with all their sick and afflicted ones, with all the poor and meek of the earth; that the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth; that thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners; and be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow down at thy presence, and the valleys to be exalted, the rough places made smooth; that thy glory may fill the earth; that when the trump shall sound for the dead, we shall be caught up in the cloud to meet thee, that we may ever be with the Lord; that our garments may be pure, that we may be clothed upon with robes of righteousness, with palms in our hands, and crowns of glory upon our heads, and reap eternal joy for all our sufferings.”
While history has it that the Kirtland Temple was abandoned by the early members of the LDS Church due to persecution and adversity, the Church has moved on, and this prayer and prophecy is being fulfilled everyday throughout the world. On occasion we may see those who oppose the Church, even those who oppose the church while also claiming to be members, declare victory on some members of the Church or on a social/moral issue, an appraisal of the that which is lost up against that which is gained by the Church will show that the Church has ALWAYS come out ahead.
The LDS Church is one of the few church’s that have been shutdown by the US Federal Government, yet it still stands today. Leaders have been killed, jailed, beaten, and suffered all manner of persecution, yet the Church stands today stronger than it has ever been.
I would invite all to read, listen, or watch, Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s talk, given in the October 1984 General Conference entitled, “The Caravan Moves On.” In it he offers some searching questions that can serve as a spiritual barometer of sorts. But he concludes with this sentiment that I hope to more fully assimilate into my life and perspective.
“Now, I have what every true disciple has. It is called the testimony of Jesus. In our day it includes the revealed knowledge that the earthly kingdom—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—will triumph. In this connection may I set before you this illustration:
The Church is like a great caravan—organized, prepared, following an appointed course, with its captains of tens and captains of hundreds all in place.
What does it matter if a few barking dogs snap at the heels of the weary travelers? Or that predators claim those few who fall by the way? The caravan moves on.
Is there a ravine to cross, a miry mud hole to pull through, a steep grade to climb? So be it. The oxen are strong and the teamsters wise. The caravan moves on.
Are there storms that rage along the way, floods that wash away the bridges, deserts to cross, and rivers to ford? Such is life in this fallen sphere. The caravan moves on.
Ahead is the celestial city, the eternal Zion of our God, where all who maintain their position in the caravan shall find food and drink and rest. Thank God that the caravan moves on!”