Thursday, March 1, 2012

Difficult Subject Matter

Every religion, person, and nation has difficult topics to deal with.

One of the first times I remember facing one of these "difficult subjects" was when I found out about the
"contraption" that Joseph Smith used when first translating the Book of Mormon. I had often heard the phrase "Urim and Thummim" but never really thought much about it. When I found out what the Urim and Thummim supposedly was, it sounded very silly to me. Really? He used those to translate?

But then I realized something. Moses too, used an object (his staff) to help concentrate his faith to do mighty miracles. Did he really need his staff to separate the red sea? No, I don't think so. He had tremendous faith and trust in God, but God also allowed him to have something physical in his hand-something to touch-that probably helped him keep a hold on his faith.

Stephen Colbert even joked about something similar in one of his reports. He pointed out something along the lines of "Mormons must be crazy, because they think Joseph Smith received gold plates from an angel on a hill, when we all know that Moses received the 10 commandments from a burning bush on a mountain" (I can't seem to find the actual clip from the show, so feel free to correct the quote if it's off)

All joking aside, he's got a point. Sometimes we attack things without truly thinking about or understanding them from a broader, more open-minded perspective.

These thoughts are coming about now, partially in lieu of some very heated controversy at BYU right now. I have probably alluded to the fact that I'm currently taking a Mission Prep class from Professor Randy Bott at BYU. Brother Bott is quoted as saying some apparently racist remarks in the Washington Post. In class yesterday, Brother Bott gave us a glimpse of his side of the story. He said he felt that he was misrepresented and that this reporter had failed to follow BYU regulations and lied by telling Brother Bott that he would be allowed to see a copy of the article before it was published. He felt betrayed and knew that a lot of opposition was coming his way. And it certainly has.

I am not here to continue the circular argument over whether or not Brother Bott was really misquoted or misrepresented. The church has already come out to say that the supposed remarks do not align with Church Doctrine (

What I do want to say is that although I do not stand by what Professor Bott is quoted as saying (whether or not he did indeed say those things), I do stand by him and his family. There are several speculations going around about why, who, what... and I find little validity in any judgments being made (against Bott, the reporter, the church or any other person). Only God knows the reasons, and purposes for the things he does and only God knows the true motive in a person's heart. We can not know at this time.

The interesting thing about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is that it is a perfect church, run by imperfect people. Although professor Bott is not really an authoritative figure in the church, I think a similar remark can be made. Christ was and is the only perfect person to have ever walked this earth. Brother Bott is obviously not perfect. However, because he made this mistake (whether or not it was actually made or not), should not discredit his entire life. We are not the judges of someone's life, and we should stop pretending to be so. We need to love and care for him, despite his follies, just as we need to love and care for the reporter, despite their's.

What I am attempting to say, I suppose, is that when difficult situations such as these arise- we should not turn outward and attack others, neither should we turn inwards and morph an uneducated opinion. Instead, we need to turn upwards and ask and trust God and judge not.

Whatever Brother Bott's true opinion is or isn't, I will not stop going to class. I will continue to listen and learn from him and then go to the scriptures, study them, study the prophets and then ask God. Only God knows, and only God can tell me.

I know that if I decide to go on a mission, I will be faced with many difficult questions. I will need to learn to temper my emotions, and temper my opinion so that I will hopefully only speak truth. But I am not perfect either, so I have to hope that others will see past my mistakes and not judge God based only on me.

I hope we can all learn to temper our emotions and support others as the children of God that they are.

Love Always,

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