Sunday, August 07, 2011

Dear Mr. President

A few months ago I clicked on a link that took me to this article. I'm not very politically inclined, but I read it anyway, out of curiosity. As an LDS I like to know what people are thinking and saying about us... to an extent.

To sum it up, the author is LDS and was invited to The White House along with a bunch of other LDS people for a round table discussion. The White House wanted to know "in what ways do Mormonism and this administration share the same goals and how can The White House better communicate these overlaps with the Mormon demographic?"

The article ended up concluding that the President should recognize the positive contributions that LDS people make, and if we know about any, we should pass the word along.

Since reading this article I have thought about it on occasion, and this morning, while putting on my mascara before church, I finally decided what it was that bothered me about the whole thing.

LDS people believe in doing good. We more than believe, we do it, we live our lives trying to make a positive impact. We love this about ourselves.

Here's the glitch though. We believe that good works should be done in secret (see Matthew 6:3-4) (and yes the Matthew in the bible, there is no Matthew in the Book of Mormon.)

This belief doesn't just cover charitable contributions. It's about making sure that we are doing good for the sake of good and not to be seen doing good.

When I think of something nice to do for someone, I do it. I don't want to be thanked, most of the time I go to a lot of effort to not be seen. I want the glory to go to God for the good I do because, let's face it, if I'm a good person it is all God's fault.

Just having the opportunity to give is reward enough. Knowing I helped someone is enough. I know people want to return thanks, and that's a good thing, but I would really rather not be thanked, it's embarrassing.

So... well meaning as the conclusion of your round table discussion was, it kind of missed the point. LDS people don't want recognition for doing good, we just want it to be generally recognized that we are good.

We don't want to be pointed out in speeches, we don't want awards or certificates.

What we do want is very simple, to not be mocked or vilified.

To tell you the truth, I don't think there's much you can do about that, not even you President Obama.

Thanks for trying to understand though, I appreciate the gesture.



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