I heard of this comment by the Russian Count Leo Tolstoy many years ago, when I was still a new member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I lived in Italy. Mormons are not well known in Italy and it was particularly important for me at that time to have something good about Mormons to share with relatives and friends (who were not Mormons). Not that there are not enough good things to share about the Mormon religion, or what some call the “American religion“, but many have the tendency to look for the endorsement of some famous person to approve of something, before even being willing to look into it.
Obviously a quote or story is not enough for those who decided not to investigate seriously Mormonism, but this is the story about Count Leo Tolstoy and I love it, and I think it is becoming every day more true.
Count Leo Tolstoy, Russian author and statesman, in conversation with Andrew D. White, United States foreign minister to Russia, in 1892 said, "I wish you would tell me about your American religion."
"We have no state church in America," replied Dr. White.
"I know that, but what about your American religion?"
Dr. White explained to Tolstoy that in America each person is free to belong to the particular church in which he is interested.
Tolstoy impatiently replied: "I know all of this, but I want to know about the American religion. ... The church to which I refer originated in America and is commonly known as the Mormon Church. What can you tell me of the teachings of the Mormons?"
Doctor White said, "I know very little concerning them."
Then Count Leo Tolstoy rebuked the ambassador. "Dr. White, I am greatly surprised and disappointed that a man of your great learning and position should be so ignorant on this important subject. Their principles teach the people not only of heaven and its attendant glories, but how to live so that their social and economic relations with each other are placed on a sound basis. If the people follow the teachings of this church, nothing can stop their progress--it will be limitless."
Tolstoy continued, "There have been great movements started in the past but they have died or been modified before they reached maturity. If Mormonism is able to endure, unmodified, until it reaches the third and fourth generation, it is destined to become the greatest power the world has ever known." –Shared by Elder David B. Haight in the May 1980 Ensign, emphasis added.
Luca is right. In fact, I was reading some of the comments to an article reporting what happened in Cambridge, and I found this comment:
God hath casted his awful verdict upon the heads of heretic! Repent or be astonished by his terrible anger, o you heathen!
How many signs do those people need?
I do not think they know yet the cause of the fire, but some people attribute to many things to God. The most probable reason was an accident, the second most probable reason was that someone -not God- did it on purpose.
To explain this kind of facts by saying that the wrath of God is on the Mormons, is the same like saying that God is responsible for killing thousands of innocent children every year around the world because of natural disasters or wars.
Probably there is another and more natural explanation.
These are excerpts from Cnn.com about the recent “scandal” involving Rev. Alberto Cutie.
The Rev. Alberto Cutie was removed from his duties after pictures showed him bare-chested with a woman… The Rev. Alberto Cutie — sometimes called “Father Oprah” because of the advice he gave on Spanish-language media — said Monday on CBS’ “Early Show” that he is in love with the woman and is considering his options: Whether to break up with her or leave the priesthood and marry her. The woman, who has not been publicly identified, wants to get married, Cutie said.
In a message posted on the Miami, Florida, archdiocese Web page last week, Archbishop John C. Favalora apologized to parishioners and radio listeners for what he called a “scandal.” “Father Cutie made a promise of celibacy and all priests are expected to fulfill that promise with the help of God,” Favalora said. “Father Cutie’s actions cannot be condoned despite the good works he has done as a priest.”
This happening really caught my attention, because before becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) I was involved in the catholic church, and in spite of never considering seriously the possibility of becoming a priest, I never liked the idea that priests were not supposed to get married. I had the feeling that it is was wrong.
It is not my intention to discuss policies of the Catholic Church, but I simply want to quote a scripture from the Bible, from the book of Genesis, and comment it briefly.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth..(Genesis 1:27-28)
From this scripture it is clear that God intended marriage to be part of life and to be good, not something to be avoided. He did not say that some men are more blessed because they do not marry. He did not say… “be fruitful, and multiply… but not all of you, just the normal people, the most special among you will live the higher law of celibacy..” He did not say that.
There is a lot of confusion about what happened with Adam and Eve in the Christian literature, and many believe that in order to live a more spiritual life (like priests are supposed to live) marriage can be an hindrance and should be avoided. However, this is a mistake; marriage is ordained by God and it is a higher standard than celibacy. Moreover, celibacy is unnatural and may become a serious problem, has it has become for Rev. Alberto Cutie.
In the Church of Jesus Christ (Mormon Church), nobody is expected to avoid marriage to pursue a religious life. On the contrary, marriage and families are of extreme importance in God’s plan and Mormons believe that a religious life is better pursue by living a full life, as was intended by our Creator.
I am glad to have such knowledge now, and I am glad that I can live with my family and still pursue a religious live at his best, without having to give up any of the blessings that our God intended for us. I am confident that those who wants to know what really God wants for them, will be able to find the answer, if they have the faith and the courage to look for it.
Can a person really see God? This and other questions are constantly raised by people who attack the Mormon church and the Mormon doctrine trying to prove that we are hoping for too much and that we are misguided. This is really sad, how many Christian people do not have the courage to understand the promises of the Lord.
Whenever and wherever men had faith, they saw the face of God, entertained angels, and performed miracles; they healed the sick, raised the dead, and wrought righteousness. Enoch and his whole city so perfected their lives that they were taken up into heaven. A whole generation of Nephites walked so perfectly in the light that every living soul among them was saved. In the meridian of time, Jesus marked the course and charted the way. The apostles after him built up the kingdom as they were guided by the Spirit.
And thus for more than four thousand years there were men who had received revelation, believed the gospel, and walked uprightly before the Lord. He in turn had poured out his Spirit upon them so that they “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” (Heb. 11:33-34.) They had power “to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; to put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.” (JST Gen. 14:30-31.) (Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, p.37-38)
This is a nice, simple but touching video produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church). Teenagers talk about the wonderful things their mothers do. This Mother’s Day – Mormon messages suggests – let your mom know how special she is. Share this video with your mother and express your love.
I have discovered Twitter not long ago (as many others) and I have been tracking a few hashtags such as Mormon. Today I noticed that someone posted the following:
Mormon leader of NOM appears to advocate overthrow of US government “by whatever means necessary”.
Then several others repeated the same over and over again. I tried to post something explaining the position of the Mormon Church, but it is a useless endeavor. There are several people out there who simply repeat over and over again anything they can find to attack the Mormon Church. I wonder why they do not talk about something positive and uplifting instead.
In any case, it is obvious that Twitter is not a good place to have a serious discussion about Mormonism because it is based on short messages that can easily become slogan thrown out there to attack Mormons.
Other attacks-slogans sound like this:
These Mormon girls are so east to manipulate!
Does a “Well Behaved Mormon Woman” keep trying to impose Mormon dogma on the rest of the country, and use our laws to do so?
and so on…
I wonder if Twitter is here to stay, and probably it is. I can see the positive side of it, but at the same time it is obvious that it can easily become an instrument to spread rumors and attacks against people and organizations. However, the problem, as usual, is not the new medium, but some of the people who use it.