Remembering the Stranger

This is part of the General Conference Odyssey.

Perhaps the best irony about the GOP candidates’ rhetoric against the refugees is that it technically, according to the Bible, makes them Sodomites.

This was my friend Stephen Smoot‘s Facebook status a while back, referring to Ezekiel 16:49-50: “Behold this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it” (ESV). I was reminded of this with the launch of the Church’s new relief effort “I Was a Stranger.”

This is in the wake of the Church’s statement following Trump’s anti-Muslim remarks and the Utah governor’s acceptance of Syrian refugees. I’ve posted before about increasing immigration, seeing that it is one of the greatest anti-poverty tools available. The gospel of Jesus Christ should challenge our nationalistic and often racist attitudes. The 1972 address by (ironically)1 Harold B. Lee touches on this very theme:

One thing more I should like to state. We are having come into the Church now many people of various nationalities. We in the Church must remember that we have a history of persecution, discrimination against our civil rights, and our constitutional privileges being withheld from us. These who are members of the Church, regardless of their color, their national origin, are members of the church and kingdom of God. Some of them have told us that they are being shunned. There are snide remarks. We are withdrawing ourselves from them in some cases.

Now we must extend the hand of fellowship to men everywhere, and to all who are truly converted and who wish to join the Church and partake of the many rewarding opportunities to be found therein. To those who may not now have the priesthood, we pray that the blessings of Jesus Christ may be given to them to the full extent that it is possible for us to give them. Meanwhile, we ask the Church members to strive to emulate the example of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, who gave us the new commandment that we should love one another. I wish we could remember that.

As do I.

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