Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Respect for the Sacred

My sophomore year of high school in San Antonio, Texas, a small group of boys made my life uncomfortable. They thought they were very clever for their anti-Mormon taunts, and took delight in picking on me (and the few other LDS kids) for our beliefs.

One day in Latin class one of the boys clumsily asked, "Hey, Becky, how's John Smith?"

Confused, I said, "John Smith? Isn't that the most common name in the United States? Maybe you should open the phone book and call one of the 2000 John Smiths to find out."

He looked flustered and said, "You know. The JOHN SMITH that's your Mormon leader? Gold plates and all that?"

"Ohhhh," I said. "You mean Joseph Smith. Yeah, he's great. He's dead, of course. But thanks for asking."

But things didn't always go that smoothly.

One day I entered the Language Arts wing to discover that my Student Council campaign posters had been defaced with the hastily scrawled RICH MORMON B---- all over. That really, really hurt me. I was embarrassed to be the target. I pulled my posters off the wall and asked my English teacher for some white out, trying to control my tears as I attempted to erase the epithet. But the damage was done. There was nothing I could do to save them and I had to throw those few away.

(But guess what. I won.)

Another day, someone passed me a tiny comic book in Band class. I started to read and realized it was an anti-Mormon tract about two incompetent missionaries who get tripped up on simple Bible questions and begin to doubt their faith. I looked back at those boys, knowing then they were the ones who passed it to me, and they snickered and laughed to see my reaction.

I can't explain it, but I felt punched in the gut.

I ran to the bathroom, locked myself in a stall, and sobbed my eyes out.

Later that night I asked my dad what I should do . . . I was angry and I wanted to DO something. But my dad wisely counseled me to let it roll off my back. He read this scripture to me:

Matthew 18:6

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

And you know what . . . he was right.

I certainly didn't wish anyone to be drowned in the depth of the sea, but I gained quiet confidence in my conviction.

I became stronger as I ignored them. They became weaker as their feeble jabs lost their intended effect.

Eventually, they left me alone.

Why do I mention this? Two words.


The writers of the show are really no more sophisticated or educated about their mockery than my high school tormentors were.

Figuratively, they're sitting at the back of the room, snickering as they call out, "Hey, YOU, put on any weird clothes in the temple lately?"

It doesn't hurt me.

They can show their version of a temple ceremony, something I hold dear, and it doesn't hurt me.

Why? Because blaspheming the sacred doesn't change the sacred.

The temple is still God's house. The saving ordinances performed there--coupled with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ--are still essential for eternal life, and the work will go forth regardless.

This is the deepest conviction of my heart.

It can be paraded for the masses in the name of free speech. It can be sensationalized in the name of exposing the truth. It can be mocked in the name of retaliation. But make no mistake--the beautiful work performed in the temple will not be stopped.

Joseph Smith declared:

"The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldy, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."

And I say AMEN to that.

In the meantime, I'm taking my dad's advice again.

Let it go.


I realize that there are many who believe differently than I do. I respect that.

If you'd like to know more about why Mormons build temples, you can find out here.


Laura H said...

Holy cow that was so well said. Thank you for sharing, that was deep.

The Hardy's said...

Ditto to Laura's comment. You definitely have a way with words. I've wanted to post something on my blog about "Big Love" but haven't quite known how to do it and what to say. It makes me so sad that you were taunted so heavily in school. Way to stand up for yourself. And thank goodness for parents who understand and can advise in good ways.

Emmy said...

Thanks for that, you said it very nicely. I stumbled upon you blog today, common BYU interest lead me here. I have enjoyed reading it, you have a beautiful family.

jessenpetty said...

Rebec! I want to be just like you! I wish I had a gift for words and trying to explain myself through words. Can't. Probably never will! Thank you! I love reading your blog and really miss your family!