Why us?

(California's Proposition 8, and the Siege of our Temples)


     Remember the siege of the LDS temples, perhaps most notably the L.A. temple, back in 2008 over California's Proposition 8? Did anyone ever stop to ask, 'Why us?' After all, California is a largely Catholic state, and always was. They outnumber us 10:1, at least. And the Catholics were far more visible and financial in their support of H8, having even produced a very well-made youtube video in support of the bill. But it was OUR temple that got besieged, and that for about an entire year, NOT any cathedral or old Catholic mission (and there are still many there).
     Why?
     Well, as it turns out, an estimated 90% of those 'protesters' were LDS, many even former missionaries themselves, and/or close 'associates' of current or former/inactive members.
     How can this be? The Catholics, after all, also have an analogous sub-set among their ranks. Where were they? Why weren't they protesting the Pope?
     Why us?
     Could it have something to do with an outlook, a perspective on what it means to be Christ-like which has taken hold in the church today? I notice many people, for example, posting the recent official church statement on their facebook pages, adding comments like, 'See? I told you so! Love! Respect! So there!'
     They don't seem to have read/listened to the whole thing, and, if they did, it doesn't seem to have registered with them at all.
     Have we grown a bit myopic, perhaps?
     There is a story of Aristotle growing a bit annoyed with one of his students. (Nibley used to love to tell this one.) (I think he'd have loved to try it a few times, too.) The kid was like any, typical LDS kid, 'dragged' to church against his will by his parents, or, in this case, sent to Aristotle's school by his wealthy father, who wanted his boy to actually learn something worth knowing. And the boy, of course, would rather be out partying away his father's success, so he, interrupting, asked Aristotle how one could 'acquire such wisdom'. In other words, can it be bought? Is there a Cliff's Notes available for purchase for this subject? Do I really have to go through all this?
     Aristotle invited the youth gaze upon his own reflection in a nearby fountain. Aristotle then shoved the kid's head into the water, and held it there until the bubbles and the struggling stopped. The others were terrified, and didn't dare even challenge their teacher on his behavior, but when the limp body hit the ground, they all rushed to his aid. Aristotle walked off with the charge to the rest of the class to revive their unconscious comrade, and then to tell him, 'When he wants wisdom as much as he wanted air, he'll get it.'
     Curiously, and counter to what I hear coming from the mouths of practically everyone else at church, I see in Christ's behavior pretty much the same approach to training those under him and around him as Aristotle employed.
     His disciples, the scriptures are very clear, were often, literally, afraid to ask him almost anything. The woman who touched the hem (and only dared touch just the hem, and nothing more) of his garment, the scriptures plainly state, cowered in fear once found out. She was clearly not surprised by his reaction. She knew enough of him to know her efforts would pay off, so why be afraid? Precisely because she knew that much about him! And she knew the law. A Rabbi (and they called him Rabbi) (He was NO carpenter) may not so much as touch any woman but his wife, mother, daughter, sister. (Remember who anointed him? Who washed his feet with her tears?) Likewise may no non-related woman touch him. The penalty was stoning.
     His famous answer to his mother at the wedding is routinely mis-interpreted. Here's a clue: Try answering your wife/mother with those words sometime. Let me know where you're sleeping after that.
     The Canaanite woman he alluded was a dog? Even the best scholars routinely try to explain that 'uncharacteristic' behavior by saying that the word used meant a small dog, whatever that means. I'll tell you what it means. It means the very same thing it does today when you call someone a small/female dog. That's right! You all know the word. And it meant the same thing then as now. In fact, knowing that that word is not profane, not obscene, one must ask why it has come to be regarded as so offensive in the first place. It's just simply that there is a very old custom of offending humans by likening them to animals: A dog-faced soldier, a ham-handed manager, an old nag, a war-horse, a snake. In German, for example, you don't offend an Italian by suggesting mafioso affiliation. You offend them by calling them 'Spaghetti fresser'. (Essen is when humans eat. Fressen is when animals eat.) You offend not so much by telling someone to shut up (Sei ruhig!), which is already pretty rough. You deeply, mortally offend them by telling them to 'hold their muzzle' (Halt's Maul!).
     Let's face it. Most people would not like Christ. He was a no-holds barred, shoot from the hip, unapologetic, unabashed straight-shooter. There's a reason they killed him, after all. He was calling the high-society types rude names, like hypocrite and 'generation of vipers', right in the middle of the street, out in broad daylight, and that within earshot of the commoners.
     As an aside, that alone couldn't have ended his life, but the real reason for his death actually serves to further underscore just how strict Christ could be, so we'll explore it here. Because it was his own mother who got him killed. That's why he waited until his dying breath to see to her welfare.
     What on earth am I talking about?
     Remember the incident at the temple when he was 12? Joseph actually fetched Christ, but only because Mary couldn't. But read the scriptures for yourselves. Who was really the impetus behind that little kerfluffle? His mother! She was a typical, Jewish mother. She used the gift of the Magi (a word we would all do well to thoroughly research) to ensure that her ONLY SON would be a lawyer (Rabbi), so that she would be well taken care of in her old age. She grew up in the temple orphanage, after all, and, as an unmarried mother-to-be, was raffled off to an older, previously married man (explaining how James was Christ's older brother), with not many years left in him (explaining why the temple scene is Joseph's last appearance), and that pretty well motivated her to get her life together.
     Had Mary left him in the temple to 'do his Father's work', where he was amazing the 'doctors of the law' (Rabbis), he might very well have continued on that path, winning hearts and minds in this Jay Leno, Johnny Carson, talk-show moment, where the little prodigy sassily lampoons the incredulous adults with his precocious barbs, upstaging all the adults to everyone's delight, even the red-faced adults.
     But Christ was abruptly torn from that setting by his mother, and wasn't able to get back to it until much later. A boy-genius besting the barristers is cute, uplifting even. A grown man, and an insider of the ruling elite, turning on his masters, insulting them in the public square, is no laughing matter. He's a threat to the status quo that had to be dealt with, made an example of, and not coolly, not with restraint or calculation, but rather with all the viciousness and savagery of the Assyrians.
     This could not be allowed to happen again.
     Ever.
     Anyway, recalling the fifth commandment, and his obligations as a rabbi, Christ, as is very correctly taught, was obedient to his parents, and let his mother run his life, even into adulthood. But he was never happy about it. He was very openly, even vocally displeased by some of his mother's meddling. Again, remember his answer at the (HIS OWN) (final) wedding. Remember his answer to his students when they interrupted his lesson to tell him that his mother and siblings were waiting for him. He essentially said, 'They can wait', adding, '... and, by the way, who are my (real) relatives? Those who do as I say!' (i.e.: Not the other way around!)
     And, let's not forget how he very openly, very deliberately, took the time to actually assemble a weapon, and then beat people with it, even destroying their property, not just once, but twice.
     No, Christ was very clearly far more drill-sergeant than diplomat.
     But, spend any time at all in an LDS 'Gospel Doctrine' class, and you come away with the impression of the man as some sort of winsome, pitiful victim, an effeminate, sissyfied, male model.
     This, we are told, is what it means to be Christlike.
     This 'Christ' is what our young men are told they must be like.
     Everyone, it seems, has entirely forgotten the messianic scripture predicting that, "he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."
     Is it any wonder so many changes have had to be made to the routines and oversight of our missionaries? (And mission presidents, too!) They haven't been raised by men. They haven't been mothered by women. They've been confused beyond help or hope. And, if we are to save our youth, we're going to have to do it by standing up and rediscovering what it really means to be men again (and that has nothing to do with 'man-caves' or tribal getaways), and reminding our women that they are NOT. We're going to have to shout-down the 'new age' wolves hiding among the sheep, the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews but lie, because they don't even know what truth is. We're going to have to rediscover what it really means to be Christ-like, and setting the example for our young, however unpopular that may be.
     And THAT is what it means to be a man, what it means to have Christlike love: A willingness to fearlessly, and shamelessly, speak truth to power, just like Abinadi, Jeremiah, and Joseph.
     Will this keep every kid from turning out badly? No more so than it did Cain. But we've got to remember Abel. We've got to save him. We've got to teach him how to be a man. Because that's what Christ is.
     And those who oppose us, secretly know that. And that's why we've got to do it. That's why we'll be targeted.
     That is why us.


~~ Marcus Aurelius ~~