D&C #44 – “Being a Good Citizen”

faith-and-politics

 “True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth, universal brotherhood and good will, and a constant and earnest striving toward the principles and ideals on which this country was founded.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Points to Ponder

  • What does it mean to be a “good citizen”?
  • How do we strike the proper balance between religion and politics?
  • Why do we need a plurality of government parties and platforms? Or a plurality of religions? How is the world better off by having such idealogical diversity?
  • How can we best discover ways to influence our communities while respecting the diversity of opinions, backgrounds, creeds, and beliefs?
  • What must we do to “disagree without being disagreeable”?

Material Shared in Class

Class Member Study Guide

Sermon in a Sketch: “Circles of Influence”

Joseph Smith, on preserving religious freedom:

“If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing before Heaven to die for a “Mormon,” I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.” (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5:498–99; 4:306)

Lance B. Wickman, on differing political opinions within the LDS church:

“We consider the voting franchise to be almost a sacred thing. People have a right to express themselves. If there is one fundamental doctrine in which we believe, it’s the principle that the Lord has endowed every one of his children with agency, the opportunity to choose in this life. In a political sense, that means that in those societies that allow such choice to be made, that they have the opportunity and choice to exercise their voting franchise – agency – and they do that however they see fit. You have Latter-day Saints across the political spectrum in this country and in other countries.” (Pew Forum on Religion and Public LIfe, May 16, 2007)

Quentin L. Cook, on disagreeing with others:

“As we listen to the messages of this conference, we will be touched in our hearts and make resolutions and commitments to do better. But on Monday morning we will return to work, school, neighborhoods, and to a world that in many cases is in turmoil. Many in this world are afraid and angry with one another. While we understand these feelings, we need to be civil in our discourse and respectful in our interactions. This is especially true when we disagree. The Savior taught us to love even our enemies. 13 The vast majority of our members heed this counsel. Yet there are some who feel that venting their personal anger or deeply held opinions is more important than conducting themselves as Jesus Christ lived and taught. I invite each one of us individually to recognize that how we disagree is a real measure of who we are and whether we truly follow the Savior. It is appropriate to disagree, but it is not appropriate to be disagreeable” (General Conference, April 2010 “We Follow Jesus Christ”)

Additional Material

Sunday School Podcast on Lesson #44, featuring the Mayor of Salt Lake County, a former candidate for Utah State Senate, a current Political Science professor, and an LDS political refugee 

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