April 3, 2009 by Gsmith
Crystal Busenbark is an observant Latter-Day Saint and a serious activist for peace, equality and social justice.
This inspirational article first appeared on the facebook social networking site and was reprinted with her permission.
Over the past few weeks, months and even years I have watched as my friends and I have been ridiculed, made fun of and personally attacked because of our beliefs, our activism and our determination to make the world a more peaceful and just place for us all to live in. After a few very brutal and completely uncalled for personal attacks that have come my way this week, I have decided to write up this response.
First off I am going to talk about Christianity and Mormonism. I think it’s very convenient how people pick and choose when they are going to be religious, which commandments they are going to keep and in which aspects of their life’s they are going to follow said commandments. The Lord told his saints to “renounce war and proclaim peace” (D&C 98:16). The Lord has given us much guidance when it comes to such matters as war and retaliation towards our enemies: “Blessed be the peacemakers,for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9), “Turn from evil; do good; seek peace; pursue it” (1 Peter 3:11),” Do not return evil for evil”l (1 Peter 3:8), “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18), “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. “(2 Corinthians 10:3), “Love your enemies; bless those who persecute you” (Luke 6:27). I mean there are countless others scriptures that repeat these same teachings over and over again. But yet when we feel threatened, when we feel that our comfortable and over indulged American way of life is at risk in any way all these scriptures are thrown out the window. We conveniently forget that we’re all brothers and sisters.We justify the killing, torturing and abuse of the Lords children because they are no longer our brothers and sisters, they are now our enemies. Christ knew that there were things worth dieing for. The very teachings of the cross are those of sacrifice, loving our enemies “Forgive them father for they know not what they do”, and for responding to violence in a non-violent way. Most of us reading this agree that when we die and leave this world it will not be the end so why are we so why are we willing to sell our souls, dirty our spirits and give up everything we say we hold true just to protect what we have here in this temporal state?
Selfishness. “It’s not my responsibility to take care of those people with my tax dollars”. I have heard this more times than I can count. “Let’s take care of our people first”, really, who’s our people? Universal health care, guaranteed jobs, food stamps, medicaid, foreign aid……”I have my own family to take care of, those people need to take care of themselves”. This is another instance where you will see Christians conveniently abandon the teachings of Christ and Mormon’s have no problem brushing off their church’s doctrine. “Jesus answered, If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor,and you will have treasure in heaven.'” Matthew 19:21, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33,”When Jesus heard this, he said to him, You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'” Luke18:22, and my personal favorite, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him,how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18. According to Heavenly Father it is your responsibility. You have houses, cars, access to food, clean water and education and your not willing to pay some extra taxes to help others that have nothing? I don’t know about you but that doesn’t seem very Christ like to me. I think my friend William Van Wagenen said it best in his article “An Introduction to Mormon Anarchism”,
“In one of the most significant sermons in the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin preaches about the atonement of Jesus Christ and what is necessary to receive forgiveness for sin. He describes us all as “beggars” who depend on God for all that we have, including the breath that sustains our life (Mosiah 4:19, 2:21). He describes the hypocrisy of begging Christ for forgiveness for sin, while at the same time refusing to give to the beggar who asks us for food, money or other assistance. To walk blameless before God, Benjamin explains, “I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.” If we seek to please God, we “will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to [us] in vain, and turn him out to perish (Mosiah 4:14 -29).” Benjamin is harshly critical of those who refuse to assist others, and who justify this by saying, “the man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just (Mosiah 4:17).” It is interesting to note here that assistance for the poor is to be given according to need, not according to merit. The question of whether someone deserves help is rendered irrelevant. Keeping or using resources that others need to simply survive is contrary to the most fundamental teachings of Mormonism, namely having love and charity for God’s children, who in fact are our brothers and sisters.”
When I hear Christians say things such as “illegal aliens” or “country first” I cringe inside. There are no “illegal aliens” and country’s are a man made concoctions. We are all children of God and we are all equal regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. It is our greatest responsibility as Christians to proclaim peace, care for the poor and destitute and love our fellow man, even when it’s inconvenient! I welcome any comments or thoughts that you might have on these subjects 🙂
Future Rantings: Believe it or not war is not the only option! Genocide can be stopped and it’s not a waste of time. Working for peace and justice is not a joke and more…..