Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Persecution

How grateful I am to belong to a church that does not persecute others because of their beliefs! As I walked through Millennium Park in Chicago I noticed people dressed as ghouls, goblins, and others with gas masks, and one with a poster that read Tom Cruise does not equal Top Gun. I almost asked if I could borrow a gas mask because there were some pretty putrid stenches emanating from the manholes and vents in Chicago every few blocks or so.

Though I do not believe that the Church of Scientology contains the fullness of God's gospel, I would not stand and protest against their beliefs. What I really thought about was how peaceable followers of the Lord would act. I recalled the public policy of King Mosiah in Mosiah chapter 27:

2 And it came to pass that king Mosiah sent a proclamation throughout the land round about that there should not any unbeliever persecute any of those who belonged to the church of God.
3 And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be an equality among all men;

I then found these words in Alma 1:

19 But it came to pass that whosoever did not belong to the church of God began to persecute those that did belong to the church of God, and had taken upon them the name of Christ.
20 Yea, they did persecute them, and afflict them with all manner of words, and this because of their humility; because they were not proud in their own eyes, and because they did impart the word of God, one with another, without money and without price.
21 Now there was a strict law among the people of the church, that there should not any man, belonging to the church, arise and persecute those that did not belong to the church, and that there should be no persecution among themselves.
22 Nevertheless, there were many among them who began to be proud, and began to contend warmly with their adversaries, even unto blows; yea, they would smite one another with their fists.
23 Now this was in the second year of the reign of Alma, and it was a cause of much affliction to the church; yea, it was the cause of much trial with the church.
24 For the hearts of many were hardened, and their names were blotted out, that they were remembered no more among the people of God. And also many withdrew themselves from among them.
25 Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.

It made me think of how I have reacted when I've encountered protestors and how I should act in the future. It is important to have patience and to not lash back against persecutors, but to have faith and trust in God, and act as the Savior would act. This is taught best in Mosiah 24:

8 And now it came to pass that Amulon began to exercise authority over Alma and his brethren, and began to persecute him, and cause that his children should persecute their children.
9 For Amulon knew Alma, that he had been one of the king’s priests, and that it was he that believed the words of Abinadi and was driven out before the king, and therefore he was wroth with him; for he was subject to king Laman, yet he exercised authority over them, and put tasks upon them, and put task-masters over them.
10 And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God.
11 And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death.
12 And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.
13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.

3 comments:

Bryce said...

I enjoyed this post Bob. I was wondering if I could publish this post of yours on a new blog I started. Let me know if that's alright.

Bobby said...

Yeah, definitely. You'll have to let me know about your new blog.

Bryce said...

it's at http://findthepolarstar.blogspot.com/