Optimism among pessimism

Well the wait is almost over, I will be moved to Missoula next week so by Friday I should be on track once again with regular posts.  This moving thing has made posting next to impossible until now.

This weekend I found myself many times locked in conversation with my brother-in-law.  He is a great person and seems to have similar interests which means I can speak to him on subjects that the rest of my wife’s family just have no interest in.

The other side to this is that he is not a member of the church.  So he does not view the church through the lens of understanding the culture.  So he constantly has questions.  Most interesting I find is his view on what is good and bad about the church.

This week he suggested that one thing he does not like is the view that the world is the worst it has ever been.  He sees this as wrong headed.  He sees the expansion in technology, civil rights and freedom as a good thing which has improved over the years rather than gotten worse.

In his view this pessimism is completely wrongheaded and makes him distrust Christian religions.

As I thought about this I thought about some of the things said by President Hinckley , “What a wonderful time it is for each of us to do his or her small part in moving the work of the Lord on to its magnificent destiny.”

“Now, what of the future? What of the years that lie ahead? It looks promising indeed.”

For me President Hinckley did not look at the future as a dark place getting darker.  I would say looking at the world, yes there are terrible things happening.  Some have happened from the beginning and continue to the present.  While the love of men (and women) wax cold the joy found in small things and large are still there.

To see the world as totally prepared for destruction, you may as well dress in white and wait on a hill side somewhere.  We do not know and we cannot really tell when Christ will come again, we should be careful in assuming that the world will ever worsen.  Even when Christ came to Bountiful and so much havoc had been wreaked on the population there were still good people throughout the land.

I think it is incumbent upon the people of Christ to be optimistic.  We need to be to serve and I think it creates a better world.  To say that the world is worse than it was yesterday today is not acknowledging God’s hand in all things in my opinion.

We are as people of the Latter-day constantly on Defcon 1 ready for the end of times.  It seems like any wind of gossip or “authority story” sees us get carried away to great millenial heights.  Haileys comet, Millenium, War on Terror, and inumerate others are used to create a sense of end of times panic.   For me it seems unseemly and almost negative.

So as I concluded thinking about this discussion and saw it reiterated through a talk in church where the fine talk had this jarring idea of a world full of nothing but wickedness.  I remembered once more the comments of President Hinckley and how he viewed the world so optimistically.  It gave me a great deal of comfort.

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4 Responses to Optimism among pessimism

  1. Great post – I agree completely.

  2. tk says:

    I believe there is a tendency to pessimism among LDS members in the United States that our culture is declining. I believe there is a belief not only among members in the LDS church, but other Christian churches that the Second Coming will stop the civilizations of the earth from spinning out of control. There is truth in that statement, however I believe many people sense that this is bound to happen and we have no influence to stop it.

    The Second Coming isn’t based on how wicked the wicked get, but rather how righteous the righteous get. What I mean by this statement is the Lord can’t come to the earth until there are enough righteous people ready and prepared to serve Him. These are people who believe in Him no matter their religion.

    That means things have got to continue to get better. We have more temples then ever all around the world. That means more countries are willing to open their doors to religious freedom. More world leaders are looking for ways to make their countries better; with more freedom for the people and better standards of living. Science and technology are improving and helping the people of the earth to understand how to make lives better.

    Because things are improving doesn’t mean there aren’t horrible problems. Yes there are many; there are still leaders that commit genocide or line their bank accounts on the backs of their people. There are serious social ills that are undermining marriage and the well being of children.

    I have faith that things are getting better. I can fly across the country and don’t need to walk like the pioneers. I live in a better house then what I was raised in. More education is available. My children know more and learned more at an earlier age then I did. Remember the 60;s when we were bombarded by smoking, that has improved. This country was founded on freedom and yet slavery was allowed. Not any more.

    I believe as the Church grows and more temples are built; it will continue to have influence on people who are not of our faith. I believe as we continue to become a better, more faithful people we will have greater influence. As a result more people will be seeking good things and looking for peace.

    I believe the gospel is a wonderful message of optimism for the people of this world.

  3. Jon W says:

    TK I would agree with that 100%.

  4. […] This past week I was asked to teach Priesthood.  The lesson was on the Second Coming.  I wanted to focus on something other than the negatives.  To help, in some fashion, others come to a similar understanding that I had recently reached.  […]

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