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Introduction

The recent American 2016 presidential election was one of the most divisive in modern history. The fissure that spread with ugly campaign rhetoric and constant, negative news coverage has continued to open cracks across America along foundational fault lines like race, religion, gender, and class. Issues that perhaps had been considered dormant before grabbed the nation’s attention with a wrath meant to be felt. We feel the growing racial and religious divide with the increase in hate crime.[1] We feel the growing gender divide in the publicly accepted and down-played forms of harassment[2] and the movements flourishing in resistance.[3] And we feel the growing class divide as “level of education obtained” became a chief explanation of the unforeseen election results.[4]

The effect this has had on families and individuals is manifest in many ways, including higher stress levels than the American Psychological Association has seen in a decade. A member of the APA’s “Stress in America” team remarked, “it likely has to do with this global sense of uncertainty, divided-ness and… unprecedented speed of change.”[5] No one can argue that it is a time of commotion, but what is increasingly discussed is what we should be doing in response to the growing turmoil. And, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, how do our religious beliefs shape that response?

The Question

Shortly after the election, some members of my extended family and I were discussing the political tumult. Tensions were high—there were people passionate for both political sides, literally bringing home the divisions festering right now. There were varied reasons for clashing perspectives, but foremost among them seemed to be belief in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, as some were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and others no longer active members.

For those who were members of the Church, the prevailing thought was what is currently happening in the world has been prophesied of in the scriptures. Therefore, we should not be surprised by the turmoil around us as we have been told we are living in the last days; we should combat fear with faith. One member even discussed how the divisions we see today are much like the people in the Book of Mormon and recommended all re-read the book for a glimpse of what is to come.

Yet for those outside the gospel in our discussion, there was pushback against accepting the current state of affairs as foretold circumstances. That seemed to imply the situation was beyond an individual’s ability to influence. They felt only through intense discussion, advocating, organizing, and resisting will our country be able to progress. Perhaps they even saw religious answers to what they felt was a secular problem as irrelevant and unwarranted. Inserting religious beliefs about the last days into the equation irked these family members, as it seemed to provide an “out” to personally generating change. One family member with this perspective exasperatedly remarked, “How do people with your view not disengage?” Or in other words, why bother trying to change the political scene (or any scene currently falling apart) if you think these are the last days and that is just how it is going to be?

That question has stuck with me. As the world increases in commotion, as we continue to feel the tremors around us, how does our understanding of the gospel and our role within it influence how we engage with life’s current challenges? Are our beliefs a call to action or a reason to disengage from the falling world?

To address these questions, it helps to examine what the gospel teaches us about this last dispensation, the perils of disengaging, and our mission as Latter-day Saints.

The Latter Days

The scriptures describe a day when there “shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them.”[6] Men’s hearts will fail them “for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.”[7] Such things are prophesied to include “fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands…wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places…great pollutions…murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms.”[8] A day when there will be “many who will say, do this, or do that, and it mattereth not,”[9] a day of moral relativism and “a great division among the people.”[10] The Apostle Paul summed it up by saying that “in the last days perilous times shall come.”[11]

Not only did ancient prophets speak of the last days, but so have modern prophets, apostles, and general Church leaders. In the October 2016 General Conference, President Nelson said:

These are the latter days, so none of us should be surprised when we see prophecy fulfilled. A host of prophets, including Isaiah, Paul, Nephi, and Mormon, foresaw that perilous times would come, that in our day the whole world would be in commotion, that men would “be lovers of their own selves, … without natural affection, … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God,” and that many would become servants of Satan who uphold the adversary’s work. Indeed, you and I “wrestle … against the rulers of the darkness of this world, [and] against spiritual wickedness in high places.”[12]

In the same General Conference, Bonnie Oscarson, Young Women General President, further confirmed that “we live in ‘perilous times.’ The conditions of our day should not be a surprise to us. They have been foretold for millennia as a warning and admonition so that we can be prepared.”[13] The latter days are not a future time, but our present circumstances.

However, the scriptures and Church leaders do not portray the last dispensation[14] as only one of doom and gloom. Bonnie Oscarson further shared at General Conference, “Despite the conditions of our day, we have many reasons to rejoice and be optimistic.”[15] Elder Gary Stevenson said, “Heavenly Father’s generous compensation for living in perilous times is that we also live in the fullness of times.”[16] The scriptures prophesy that in the last days, the Book of Mormon would come forth and the gospel would be restored.[17] It would be a time of gathering and teaching as the gospel would be preached to all people.[18] Temples would be constructed and the work of salvation done for the living and the dead.[19] A New Jerusalem would be built.[20] And the crowning event will be when Jesus Christ returns, in which “He will establish a government of righteousness.”[21] Each of these marvelous works will be accomplished with the help of faithful Latter-day Saints.

So how do we respond to the prophecies being fulfilled? And how do our beliefs converge with political and social activism? As faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what role should we have in seeking stable governments, peace, and equality? Or do we disengage and cast it all on the Savior to resolve when He someday returns?

Deceptive Disengagement

Disengaging is somewhat of a loaded concept, multi-faceted in motive, intention, and implementation. I speak here specifically about disengaging from the public sphere. Consider the Prophet Ether in the Book of Mormon. Members of his society were bent on destroying each other, and when Ether called them to repentance, they tried to kill him. Therefore, Ether hid in a cave and recorded the destruction of the people.[22] His disengagement, in this instance, allowed us to have his people’s history in the Book of Mormon, which is “of great worth unto the children of men.”[23]

But modernly, as religion has been increasingly rejected from the public sphere,[24] disengaging has become largely appealing to the religious on a voluntary basis. In fact, some, like proponents of the “Benedict Option,” would argue it is necessary to maintain one’s religiosity.[25] The Benedict Option is a movement advocating “a communal withdrawal from the mainstream, for the sake of sheltering one’s faith and family from corrosive modernity and cultivating a more traditional way of life.”[26] Instead of religious beliefs being a motive for political and social involvement, in this light, beliefs are a reason to dissociate. However, those who are a part of the movement suggest that this is not a retreat or disengagement, but the way to be “in the world, but not of the world.”[27]

I would argue we should be wary of this reasoning. Strength often comes from opposition and always from turning to the Lord. Fortunately, as a religious people, we have a prophet to help us know what Heavenly Father would have us do in our specific time—like Ether did when taking refuge in a cave, or the early Saints did when seeking refuge in the Utah wilderness.

For now, Latter-day Saints have been instructed to make our homes and families a shelter and refuge from the world,[28] while still remaining among those of other faiths and perspectives. Our Prophet Thomas S. Monson has counseled us “to be good neighbors in our communities, reaching out to those of other faiths, as well as to our own.”[29] We do not know what the outcome would be of a religious vacuum in communities, but as mentioned earlier, part of living in the last days is knowing what we as Latter-day Saints have been asked to do – teach, preach, and gather. The Lord is clear that we should be “anxiously engaged in a good cause,”[30] strengthening individuals through the gospel of Christ. These missions, specific to us at this time, cannot be fulfilled by withdrawing from society.

In this frame of mind, consider the parable of the talents that Christ shared with His disciples. This parable is found in Matthew 25, the chapter following Christ’s foretelling of the destruction of Jerusalem and calamities preceding His Second Coming (a placement that I do not believe was haphazardly made.) The parable is about a man who is leaving for a time, so he delivers his goods to his servants to care for while he is away. To one servant he gives five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent. The servant with five talents multiplied his stewardship to ten talents, the servant with two increased his talents to four, while the servant with one talent buried and hid away the one talent he was given. After a long time, the lord returned to see what was done—the servants who had increased their talents were praised for being good and faithful, and were blessed. The servant who buried the talent told his lord what he had done on the grounds that he was afraid. This servant was rebuked for being wicked and slothful, and lost the talent that he had. [31]

Within the Church, we generally think of the term “talents” in this parable in a literal sense, as the gifts and abilities the Lord has blessed us with to use here on Earth. Another layer to the “talents” could be to view them in terms of our latter-day missions, like missionary work. The talents that were put to work in the world gathered in more talents for the master when he returned. I ponder this when I think of my children—the darker the world gets, I feel the pull to hide them away like that third servant, perhaps telling myself that I am only keeping them safe and when the Lord returns I too will say “There, thou hast that is thine.”[32] But would that help them fulfill their purpose on Earth? Is merely trying to last enough? The parable lord’s response to the third servant is vital for us to remember – acting out of fear and disengaging created an unprofitable servant, who in the end lost what he had.

A great challenge for our day is not acting out of fear. For Latter-day Saints, the way forward requires faith, which is “a principle of action and power.”[33] Perhaps that is another reason why the third servant was deemed wicked and slothful; the lack of action could be a reflection of lack of faith. Similar terminology is used in Doctrine and Covenants to describe servants who are compelled to action instead of being anxiously engaged of their own will.[34] These repeated messages from the Lord are important to ponder and can lead us to identify ways we unconsciously disengage and thus fail to fulfill what has been asked of us as Latter-day Saints.

To return to the topic we began with, the 2016 presidential election offered a glimpse of how we may deceive ourselves into withdrawing from the public sphere. For example, I know several Church members who did not like either main party candidate, so therefore chose not to vote at all. I do not pretend to know how one should vote in such circumstances, but I know our Church leaders are clear that we should be active participants in the voting process.[35] We have been counseled that we “bear an especially important and sacred responsibility as citizens to raise [our] voices for good and right causes, including the fundamental freedoms of conscience and religion.”[36] Increasingly over the past decade, the apostles, such as Elder Dallin Oaks, Elder Jeffrey Holland, and Elder M. Russell Ballard, have implored us to defend religious liberty in the public sphere. If we do not and choose to disengage now, we could lose the ability to make that choice again.

The Mission of Latter-day Saints

We must not deceive ourselves into thinking we can sit on the sidelines and wait out the turmoil, waiting for easier times to get involved. Sister Bonnie Oscarson shared in the last General Conference, “I don’t believe that conditions are going to improve going forward. If current trends are an indication, we need to be prepared for the storms that lie ahead.”[37] We may also be deceived as Latter-day Saints by failing to see the specific role we play in bringing about true and everlasting peace. Political peace!

How? When The Prince of Peace returns, “the kingdom of God will be both political and ecclesiastical and will have worldwide jurisdiction in political realms when the Lord has made ‘a full end of all nations’ (D&C 87:6).”[38] And yet such an answer would surely bring mocks, scoffs, and a firestorm of negative comments about being fanatical from the world. Does this cause us to disengage? Do we allow the busyness and fear and precepts of men cloud our mission as Latter-day Saints? Are we clear on what that mission is and how it applies to the social and political problems we are struggling with?

Under Mission of Latter-day Saints in our scriptural Topical Guide, there is a compilation of scriptures highlighting what we have been asked to do. They include actions like blessing all families of the Earth, being saviors on the mount, teaching and baptizing, gathering, being a voice of warning, and a light to the world.[39] And why are these missions specific to Latter-day Saints? Because it is our assignment to prepare the Earth for the Savior’s return.

Primary General President Rosemary Wixom said in 2015 General Conference, “We have come to this earth to help build His kingdom and to prepare for the Second Coming of His Son, Jesus Christ.”[40] The Doctrine and Covenants is replete with calls to prepare the way of the Lord.[41] It is the time to labor in the vineyard. The establishment of the Church and the work we do to build up Zion is preparatory for the return and millennial rule of Jesus Christ,[42] a time when all social ills, strife, and chaos will cease.

Yet “preparing the Earth” is not something we do only in hopes of future peace with no tangible evidence of current solutions. As we engage in ways the Savior has taught, we create change. In fact, engaging with the world is an integral part of membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of the covenants we make with Heavenly Father when we are baptized is that we will serve Him. Alma taught this means to be “willing to bear one another’s burdens…and [to be] willing to mourn with those that mourn.”[43] Kindness and compassion are Christ-like virtues we strive to emulate—President Monson shared that “love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar.”[44]

The challenge, then, is to be able to hold up unpopular views and standards in the public sphere where the actions and rhetoric are anything but kind and compassionate. While certainly difficult, we cannot let this challenge be a reason why we back out of the public discussion. Our culture could certainly benefit from the adage “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” however, what we really need is for people to keep speaking up, but nicely. We can disagree, but remain courteous and civil as we ground ourselves in the foundational truth that we are all children of God. And when discussion turns toxic, we can let our actions do the talking as we engage in humanitarian efforts, refugee service, community projects, and a host of other opportunities we are given to put our beliefs to work. If the decision to engage or not in the issues at hand is half the battle, the other half is deciding how to engage. As clear as the scriptures and our current leaders have been on the necessity of engagement, they are equally clear that we must do so with love and charity, emulating the Savior in relieving the suffering around us. Among the calamities foretold in the last days is that because “iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”[45] As emissaries of Christ, we cannot lose the ability to advocate with love—even when we are breaking new ground in trying to do so.

When viewed in this light, how important it is that we remain engaged as the scriptures and modern prophets and apostles have counseled us to do. When we understand that we are to help prepare the way of the Lord, we see how deceptive it is to believe we can withdraw from the world and let darkness have full sway until the Savior returns and rights it all. While He has the capacity to do so, that is not the order of things—not the plan. Similarly, we cannot reason that “gospel” engagement and political/social engagement have no correlation. Society is pushing hard to make it seem that way, but as Latter-day Saints we know differently—this is the very reason why we are counseled to fight for religious freedom and participate fully in the political process. By doing so, we take upon ourselves the role we have been given in this great work. It is our blessing and mission to know that by building up the kingdom of God, through love and compassion, we can ultimately achieve stable governments, peace, and equality.

Conclusion

So to answer my relative’s question, while we as Latter-day Saints know these are the last days, we do not view that as a reason to disengage from the public sphere—in fact, the opposite is true. Now is the time for us to dig in, be involved, raise our voices, although in an undoubtedly different manner than other groups and organizations combining around us. We do not coordinate our actions and comments defensively and out of fear, in response to the growing turmoil. Instead, we should choose to be engaged in the concerns around us with our mission as Latter-day Saints in the forefront of our minds.

Our way of seeking peace and prosperity should be a true grassroots effort, with involvement starting in our own hearts, then homes, then communities. While it is not as flashy as marching or a social media debate in attempts to bring about change, consider what Elder Richard G. Scott had to say about affecting peace in the world:

As you dedicate time every day, personally and with your family, to the study of God’s word, peace will prevail in your life. That peace won’t come from the outside world. It will come from within your home, from within your family, from within your own heart. It will be a gift of the Spirit. It will radiate out from you to influence others in the world around you. You will be doing something very significant to add to the cumulative peace in the world. [46]

The world might not find that significant in the least, but we must not allow others to dictate the terms of engagement. Only our Heavenly Father has the ability to show us our specific, individual course in these days of commotion. We need to cast off the pull to “pre-emptively surrender”[47] and begin our public involvement by praying for direction in what we can personally do. He will show us where to start in our families, our communities, and our nation—how to show integrity at work, raise our children to be lights at school, share the gospel, get to the temple, defend all religions, and be part of the political process. We can trust the Lord when He says He will not ask us to do something without preparing a way for us to accomplish it.[48] Even when that “something” is preparing the way for Him.



NOTES:

[1] Yan, Holly; Sgueglia, Kristina; Walker, Kylie. “’Make America White Again’: Hate speech and crimes post-election.”CNN. Cable News Network, 22 Dec 2016. 3 March 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/10/us/post-election-hate-crimes-and-fears-trnd/
“Critics accused Trump of fostering xenophobia and Islamophobia during the divisive presidential campaign. Recent days have witnessed ugly episodes of racist or anti-Semitic, pro-Trump graffiti along with threats or attacks against Muslims.”
Quigley, Aidan. “Clinton criticizes Trump on hate crimes, travel ban.” Politico. Politico, 27 February 2017. 3 March 2017. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/hillary-clinton-trump-hate-crimes-235444
“President Trump has previously been criticized for avoiding condemning anti-Semitism when asked about it following a string of anti-Semitic incidents across the country, including the vandalization of Jewish cemeteries.”
Farber, Madeline. “Hillary Clinton Says President Trump Must ‘Step Up’ After Kansas Shooting.”Time Politics. Time, 27 February 2017. 3 March 2017. http://time.com/4684468/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-hate-crimes/
“Just five days after Trump was elected, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy group that tracks hate crimes, reported more than 30 cases of anti-Muslim incidents. Separately, the Pew Research Center also reported that the number of physical assaults against Muslim-Americans saw an increase in 2015, the second highest levels since Sept. 11. The New York Police Department has also seen an uptick in hate crimes: Between the election on Nov. 8 and Feb. 19, the NYPD received 143 hate-crime complaints—a 42% increase from the same period a year earlier, according to Bloomberg. The department has linked the surge to the 2016 presidential campaign.”[Back to manuscript].


[2] Salazar, Alejandra Maria. “Organizers Hope Women’s March on Washington Inspires, Evolves.” NPR. KANW New Mexico Public Radio, 21 Dec 2016. 3 March 2017. http://www.npr.org/2016/12/21/506299560/womens-march-on-washington-aims-to-be-more-than-protest-but-will-it
“Trump created firestorms when it came to women's issues during the campaign. Upset with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly bringing up in a debate his past crude remarks about women (calling some "pigs," for example), he responded that she had "blood coming out of her — wherever." Trump was also caught on tape bragging about grabbing women by the genitals. "[W]hen you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything," Trump said in the leaked 2005 video. Trump has a long history of making sexist or offensive remarks, and his candidacy happened to take place while running against a candidate who would have been the first female president.”[Back to manuscript].


[3] Salazar, Alejandra Maria. “Organizers Hope Women’s March on Washington Inspires, Evolves.” NPR. KANW New Mexico Public Radio, 21 Dec 2016. 3 March 2017. http://www.npr.org/2016/12/21/506299560/womens-march-on-washington-aims-to-be-more-than-protest-but-will-it
“Catalyzed by a polarizing presidential race, the march aims to be a message to the new administration that there's a coalition planning to press the issue of women's rights in potentially high-profile ways over the next four years.” [Back to manuscript].


[4] Garriott, Patton O. “Race trumps class? Whiteness, social class and the 2016 presidential election.” The SES Indicator. American Psychological Association, January 2017. 4 March 2017. http://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/indicator/2017/01/race-class.aspx
“… in the aftermath of the election, there has been much debate about the driving forces behind the president elect’s unforeseen victory. While some have described the election as a “whitelash” (Ryan, 2016), or racially charged reaction to a black president and multicultural society, others have dismissed such claims, instead suggesting that the country’s college educated are out of touch with noncollege educated and working class citizens (Camosy, 2016). Exit polls have revealed that while roughly the same percentage of whites voted for Trump as did for Mitt Romney in 2012, the voting gap between those with and without a college degree reached levels not seen since 1980. Specifically, while college graduates backed Hillary Clinton by a nine-point margin, individuals without a college degree favored Trump by approximately eight points (Tyson & Maniam, 2016).” [Back to manuscript].


[5] Itkowitz, Colby. “Americans are seriously stressed out about the future of the country, survey finds.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post. 15 February 2017. 3 March 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/02/15/americans-are-seriously-stressed-out-about-the-future-of-the-country-survey-finds/?utm_term=.32177a352a41 —— [Back to manuscript].


[6] D&C 45:26 [Back to manuscript].


[7] Luke 21:26 [Back to manuscript].


[8] Mormon 8:29-31 [Back to manuscript].


[9] Mormon 8:31 [Back to manuscript].


[10] 2 Nephi 30:10 [Back to manuscript].


[11] 2 Timothy 3:1 [Back to manuscript].


[12] President Russel M. Nelson, Joy and Spiritual Survival, Oct 2016 [Back to manuscript].


[13] Bonnie Oscarson, Rise Up in Strength, Sisters in Zion, Oct 2016 [Back to manuscript].


[14] D&C 112:30 [Back to manuscript].


[15] Bonnie Oscarson, Rise Up in Strength, Sisters in Zion, Oct 2016 [Back to manuscript].


[16] Gary E. Stevenson, “Plain and Precious Truths,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 92. [Back to manuscript].


[17] 3 Nephi 21:4-9;22 [Back to manuscript].


[18] D&C 133:37, D&C 65:2, 3 Nephi 21:26;28-29 [Back to manuscript].


[19] D&C 128:24 [Back to manuscript].


[20] 3 Nephi 21:24, Moses 7:62 [Back to manuscript].


[21] Topical Guide heading for “government;” also, Isaiah 9:6-7, D&C 58:22, D&C 41:4 [Back to manuscript].


[22] Ether 13:13-14 [Back to manuscript].


[23] 2 Nephi 28:2 [Back to manuscript].


[24] M. Russell Ballard, Religion in a Free Society, Oct 1992 – “Organized religion finds itself increasingly on the defensive. Not only are people questioning the right of the church—any church—to be involved in matters of public policy, but some are even beginning to wonder whether the church is entitled to exert any kind of meaningful influence on people’s lives. As one churchgoer recently said on a radio talk show, ‘I think the world of my minister—as long as he doesn’t try to tell me how to live my life.’” [Back to manuscript].


[25] Smith, Randall B. “The Benedictine Option.” The Catholic World Report. Joseph Fessio, SJ., 6 March 2016. 4 March 2017. http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4626/the_benedictiinei_option.aspx ——[Back to manuscript].


[26] Dreher, Rod. “Benedict Option.” The American Conservative. American Ideas Institute, 12 Dec 2013. 3 March 2017. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/benedict-option/, [Back to manuscript].


[27] Smith, Randall B. “The Benedictine Option.” The Catholic World Report. Joseph Fessio, SJ., 6 March 2016. 4 March 2017. http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4626/the_benedictiinei_option.aspx -- “Dreher has insisted repeatedly that he is not advocating a strategy of “retreat” or “disengagement” with the world. Rather, the term “Benedict Option” symbolizes what he describes as “a historically-conscious, antimodernist return to roots, an undertaking that occurs with the awareness that Christians have to cultivate a sense of separation, of living as ... ‘resident aliens’ in a ‘Christian colony,’ in order to be faithful to our calling.” [Back to manuscript].


[28] Eran Call, The Home: A Refuge and Sanctuary, Oct 1997 – “Our homes can be, and should be, a refuge and a sanctuary from the troubled world we live in; may they become such by striving daily to keep sacred the holy covenants we have made.”
Richard G. Scott, For Peace at Home, April 2013 – “Yet deep inside each of us is a need to have a place of refuge where peace and serenity prevail, a place where we can reset, regroup, and reenergize to prepare for future pressures. The ideal place for that peace is within the walls of our own homes, where we have done all we can to make the Lord Jesus Christ the centerpiece.” [Back to manuscript].


[29] Thomas S. Monson, “Until We Meet Again,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 106–7. [Back to manuscript].


[30] D&C 58:27, emphasis added. [Back to manuscript].


[31] Matthew 25:14-28 [Back to manuscript].


[32] Matthew 25:25 [Back to manuscript].


[33] Gospel Topics, Faith -- https://www.lds.org/topics/faith?lang=eng&old=true —— [Back to manuscript].


[34] D&C 58:26-28 [Back to manuscript].


[35] “First Presidency 2016 Letter Encouraging Political Participation, Voting in US.” Newsroom. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5 Oct 2016. 8 March 2017. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/first-presidency-2016-letter-political-participation -- “Participation in the political process affects our communities and nation today and in the future. We urge Latter-day Saints to be active citizens by registering, exercising their right to vote, and engaging in civic affairs.” [Back to manuscript].


[36] Gospel Topics, Citizenship, https://www.lds.org/topics/citizenship?lang=eng —— [Back to manuscript].


[37] Bonnie Oscarson, Rise Up in Strength, Sisters in Zion, Oct 2016 [Back to manuscript].


[38] Bible Dictionary, Kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God, https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/kingdom-of-heaven?lang=eng&letter=k ——[Back to manuscript].


[39] Gen 12:3, Obad. 1:21, Matt 28:19, D&C 36: 5, D&C 42:12, D&C 43:15, 2 Nephi 9:2, D&C 29:7, D&C 101:22, D&C 1:4, D&C 115:5, D&C 86:11 [Back to manuscript].


[40] Rosemary Wixom, Discovering the Divinity Within, Oct 2015 [Back to manuscript].


[41] D&C 65:1;3;5, D&C 1:11-12, D&C 71:4, D&C 88:92, D&C 104:59, D&C 133:4; 58 [Back to manuscript].


[42] Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Why the Church, Oct 2015 -- “Its destiny is to establish Zion in preparation for the return and millennial rule of Jesus Christ. Before that day, it will not be a kingdom in any political sense—as the Savior said, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” Rather, it is the repository of His authority in the earth, the administrator of His holy covenants, the custodian of His temples, the protector and proclaimer of His truth, the gathering place for scattered Israel, and a “defense, and…a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth.”” [Back to manuscript].


[43] Mosiah 18:8-9 [Back to manuscript].


[44] President Thomas S. Monson, Love-the Essence of the Gospel, April 2014 [Back to manuscript].


[45] Matthew 24:12 [Back to manuscript].


[46] Elder Richard G. Scott, Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority, Oct 2014 [Back to manuscript].


[47] Brooks, David. “The Benedict Option.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 14 March 2017. 16 March 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/14/opinion/the-benedict-option.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region®ion=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=0 --“Rod is pre-emptively surrendering when in fact some practical accommodation is entirely possible. Most Americans are not hell-bent on destroying religious institutions. If anything they are spiritually hungry and open to religious conversation. It should be possible to find a workable accommodation between L.G.B.T. rights and religious liberty, especially since Orthodox Jews and Christians aren’t trying to impose their views on others, merely preserve a space for their witness to a transcendent reality.” [Back to manuscript].


[48] 1 Nephi 3:7 [Back to manuscript].



Full Citation for this Article: Zirkle, Rachel (2017) "Engaged in Good Cause: Latter-day Saint Activism," SquareTwo, Vol. 10 No. 1 (Spring 2017), http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleZirkleEngagedInGoodCause.html, accessed <give access date>.

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