This week I saw a video trailer for a painting by an artist whose work I find offensive. He falls into the group of cultural leaders whose views, words, and actions I am unable to reconcile with charity. It is constantly puzzling to me how people can profess to follow the lord and at the same time embrace the values of these leaders. My desire was to write a post asking these people to go away and let the church grow without the burden of their ignorance, hate, fear, and greed.
As I gathered my thoughts I kept returning to a story I heard in conference years ago. It was the story of a boy who in his desire to be popular chased away another boy who was in need of friends. With a little searching I found that story. It is The martyrdom of Andy, by Ben Burton (Look for Powerful Stories from the lives of Latter-day Saint Men, Leon Hartshorn, comp.)
Clearly I have no right to ask people who are doing bad things to leave the church. It would be the wrong thing to do. I understand that their hate had called up my hate like one rotten banana left in a basket will ripen a bunch of green bananas overnight.
Still, it makes me sad that children will see the followers of these people and think that they represent the gospel. They will grow up thinking that pictures born of hate and fear are symbols of the right and the books based and published through ignorance and fear teach the truth. They do not. It makes me tired and embarrassed to think I will not only have to explain to people why the church I belong to is different, but why it tolerates stupid, greedy, and deceitful people. When I think of Lehi’s dream I think these are the people who make the fog we must wander though. (And, to be fair, I wonder how much I’ve contributed.)
I have no right to ask these people to leave, it is the Lord‘s church and he will do as he sees fit, but I will have to work long and hard to understand why I should stay with them.