At the Detroit airport tonight, waiting for a late flight, I just wanted to crawl under my chair as I and about 100 other people near me watched the lengthy CNN special report on Warren Jeffs, the polygamist wanted for several serious crimes. The story did little to explain the difference between Jeffs and the LDS Church. His group was described as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his Texas compound/temple was shown and then followed with images of the Salt Lake Temple. Ugh. But they did fail to show photos of Gordon B. Hinckley surrounded by girls at Young Women’s events – let’s be greatful for that.
Don Krakauer, author of the nasty rantings in Under the Banner of Heaven, was the expert brought in to discuss polygamy. He did have the decency to note that the LDS Church has long abandoned polygamy, but the editing by CNN would probably have confused a lot of people. As all these people watched this story in fascination, I really felt very little desire to do any missionary work tonight. I guess I could have stood up and said, “Hey, everybody, I’m a Mormon, and I promise I’ve only got one wife. Just one, really! So, any of you want a free Book of Mormon?”
Well, my poor attitude in the face of perceived public opposition gives me something to ponder. There will be more of this, on other issues. We will be painted in negative light for our stance on the family and on morality, for example, and done with such effectiveness that others will want to cringe and crawl under their seats rather than be identified as a member of a “hate group” or anti-woman cult or whatever the spin will be.
Plus I really don’t like polygamy and can’t really explain why it would have ever been implemented in any dispensation – too far outside my cultural values and personal paradigms to make sense. There are plenty of things I don’t understand, especially when it deals with remote events that can be interpreted in several ways, which is why I really need to rely on the core things I can understand and experience now: the divinity of the Book of Mormon, the reality of prayer, the power of the Priesthood, the goodness of God, the incredible power of the Atonement of Christ, the small but clear miracles that occur when we seek to serve God and follow His commandments, and so forth. Maybe some day other things will make more sense to me, but for now, a lot of faith is still required.
I just hope I can have more strength in dealing with whatever negative publicity and public opposition lies ahead for the Church. It won’t be easy. Matthew 24 indicates that even the very elect will be deceived, and I seem to recall that a footnote there indicates that some will also want to just crawl under their chair.