Thursday, April 1, 2010

Harry Reid Fireside In Nevada Cancelled Because Of Alleged Threats Of Disruption And Violence...From Other Mormons

Here's a story which shocked and angered me, even though I don't share the politics of Nevada's Democratic U.S. Senator Harry Reid. A fireside in which Senator Reid was scheduled to speak about what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meant to him was cancelled because of threats of disruption and even violence from other Church members in the same stake where Reid was to be present.

The initial story was posted on The Millenial Star, but it points to an even more detailed account posted on The Backordered Life. Incorporating information from some of the comments posted on both sites, we get this picture. The First Presidency of the Church became concerned about fellow church members’ judgments of Senator Reid’s personal worthiness. They thought that if members could just hear his testimony, they would lay off the vitriol in that regard, though they may well continue to disagree with his politics. So they prevailed upon a local Stake Presidency in Nevada to invite Senator Reid to speak at a fireside. The subject of his address was to be "Why I Believe" The entire content of his message - which has been delivered several times at other stake gatherings - was the story of his conversion to Mormonism and his desire to share his love for God and his faith with his family, something he rarely gets to do in public.

That was it. Absolutely nothing political was planned. On that evening, it would be Brother Reid, not Senator Reid. But that didn't placate a number of politically conservative Mormons who confused political worthiness with spiritual worthiness. What happened next? The story from The Backordered Life:

As soon as word got out that Senator Reid (or might I remind my fellow Latter-day "Saints", Brother Reid) was speaking in our stake, the e-mails and phone calls began pouring in. Furious complaints about the "political" nature of this presentation. Righteous indignation over the Senator's politics. Messages, threats, that if he were permitted to speak, members of my church would heckle him from the audience. Would load signs into their pickups with the words "Mormons Against Harry Reid" painted on them, and park the trucks outside the chapel.


One man said, "If I see Harry Reid in the temple, I'm going to hit him." Another told our stake president, "Harry Reid is the most evil man on the earth, and you and your counselors are next."


There were even people weighing in from out of state. One woman called from St. George, Utah; my husband took the call, and she gave him a message for our stake president: "You're a wicked man for allowing this to happen." The outcry was so virulent, they cancelled the fireside. For security reasons. The man was fearful for the safety of his family.

Fearful! Of his fellow Mormons!

What we should really be fearful of is this spirit that spawned this outbreak of contention and acrimony. I have no doubt that there was a similar reaction among Latter-day Saints in southern Utah in 1857, prior to the Mountain Meadows Massacre. While I'm not suggesting that Harry Reid would have actually been harmed, a similar spirit of vigilantism preceded the 1857 massacre.

Of course, the attitude by many progressive Latter-day Saints towards Glenn Beck is not much better, although I don't believe Glenn Beck has been forced to cancel any firesides. Nevertheless, it serves as a lesson to all of us Latter-day Saints that, regardless of political persuasion, we are to leave our politics outside the chapel before we walk in. Can't do it, you say? Fine...then don't show up at all until you can do it. We don't expect perfection...but we can't afford dissension. Dissent all you want OUTSIDE the Church environment. But don't do it at church.


Elton said...

The saddest part about all this is that we as a Church are the most scrutinized Church by the Media. They are always looking for something that will prop us up or tear us down.

Other sad things:

1. Harry Reid's actions have caught up with him.

2. A lot of Mormons are not acting their religion. If Harry Reid came to speak at the Hunter West Stake, I'd probably go and check my feelings about him at the door. Or better yet, change my feelings about him for a just cause.

The whole thing stinks of typical human behavior. To say a man is unworthy of Christ's Love and Support is being the person with a "beam in his eye."

Yes, I thought he was Apostate. And I did speak out to my family my feelings, but when I read this, I felt a tear in my eye. I seriously thought about how I would act if I met the man.

I am for Personal Liberty for all Americans (eph. on personal liberty). Everyone has a right to govern themselves how they see fit. I do not support Politics that would take away someone's freedom and violate the Laws of Attraction and the Harvest.

But for Personal Liberty to exist, we need to treat each other as adults and brothers and sisters of God. This incident is really beyond imagining for us. No doubt that the Anti-Mormons have some new fuel for their fires.

Anonymous said...

THE FIRST PRESIDENCY DID NOT ORDER THESE FIRESIDES!!! THAT IS A FACT! THEY ARE NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF DISCUSSING ANY MEMBER'S WORTHINESS - THE ARE WITNESSES OF JESUS CHRIST AND THAT IS WHAT THEY GO ABOUT DOING! This article makes me sick! The individual or "Church Authority" who spawned this mess is James B. Gibson, former mayor of Henderson and a former Democratic candidate for governor. He is also a long time supporter of Senator Reid.

He has used his "Church calling" as Area further his political agenda and should be removed.

If protesting evil is so objectionable, you may want to consult with Capt. Moroni, Nehemiah and others who didn't have a problem discerning good from evil.

I have read so many of these blogs, posts, comments about this Fireside firestorm...and continue to be amazed at how gullible members are. We cannot ignore wrong actions, statements and destructive behavior to go unchecked! God bless those good members that didn't shirk their beliefs in fighting Prop. 8 in California. Perhaps you would give the opposition time in a fireside to give their "side". Shame on all of you!!!!!

Adam S said...

Elton- While Sen Reid is a great voice for the church and his testimony as valuable and any other. He is not testifying to constituents in the Hunter West Stake. Sen Reid has had many other alleged inproprieties with the church during election years. I can say I am fine with him coming in every year to do something similar, with some presidence, but No, when he's got a great chance of loosing, he wants to get to as many stakes as possible and they aren't outside of his state. It's a very poor choice and I for one am glad that he will not be giving any other fireside around her until perhap 2016. It's not personal, Just shady. Not to mention he's best friend with the total antithesis of what I believe and feel the church embraces. I am very concerned about our rights as a church to exersice our right to speech and freedome for taxtion from Sen Reid side of the isle. Hold on to your horsesm i believe we have a fight on our hands.

Tina said...

In the end, this may help Reid more than any political rally ever could have. Voters like me, who don't even live in NV, are so ashamed by the actions of these members who threatened to disrupt the planned fireside that we are now donating to his re-election campaign, whereas we never would have thought to do so before.

It's backfiring at the Church, too, unfortunately. All the anti-Mormons who think Reid was actually going to give a political speech are abuzz over the idea that the Church should lose its 501(c)3 status. (Of course, if anything, it should have lost its tax-deductible status over its involvement in Prop 8, but that's another story.) So now there's a whole new bunch of feul added to the fire of those who would like to bring down the Church and kill its status as a tax-deductible organization. I don't think they'll be successful, but it does get them riled up. The Church needs to distance itself from these uber-rightwing protesters. It hasn't done enough to do so, imho. It issued a press release last Oct on civility in our discourse, but I bet nobody read it. I had never heard it read in my ward or stake. I wish they would give the same message at Conference. People only seem to really listen up if it comes directly from the mouth of Monson.

Anonymous said...

reed is a tool...good riddance.