You know what was awful? Sitting through Gordon Hinckley's General Conference talk on war.
In case you forgot, the first semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2003 came about three weeks after the United States declared war on Iraq.
The war was on everyone's mind, so it was an awesome feeling to hear the prophet announce that he was going to address it. It was controversial, to say the least. We all had questions and doubts. We wanted answers. Who better than the prophet - the Lord's mouthpiece on Earth - to provide those answers?
For me Hinckley's talk was the talk that conference. No one could have anything more relevant to say. He was our man. He was going to set the record straight. We members were going to walk away proud to have a living prophet, grateful to understand our inspired position with regards to such a significant current event.
Here's what he said:
1. I have a great story about a Mormon dad who died!
2. Okay, anyway, so I really sought the Spirit about this whole thing because, you know, the Church is so global it's hard to know what to say to keep everyone happy. Let's face it, this is some emotional shit.
3. Here's the thing, war is old news! It's pretty much what we do.
4. We like to glorify it but really it's pretty fucking ugly.
5. Some of "our own" are fighting in this one! Yikes!
6. Here's a sad letter I got... things are sad and people don't like it!
7. So where do we as a church stand?
8. We don't hate Muslim's but (un)fortunately we're really under our government's thumb on this one.
9. Just keep in mind that we're all about peace!
10. And keep in mind that, like the Nephites, we're "inspired by a better cause"!
11. By the way, the Book of Mormon totally justifies wars like this...
12. And, look, even Jesus said he was going to bring "the sword"...
14. In case you were wondering, military personnel are just pawns and bear no responsibility for this shit show.
15. To be honest, God might actually get pissed off if you oppose this war.
16. Don't hate.
17. Let's pray our people come back safe.
18. Let's pray for the people we're gonna kill. (Sorry, guys, we love you!)
19. People die, but comfort comes from Jesus.
20. Let's hope the Millennium comes soon.
21. Let's also keep Jesus in our hearts and keep on preachin' on!
22. It's important to remember that our earthy existence is nothing in comparison to the eternities, so who cares how or when you die as long as you're cool with the Jeebs!
I couldn't believe what I had just heard. Here's the recap: War happens and our scriptures say it's cool sometimes, and besides, maybe God wants this one because, holy shit, those dudes over there are evil, so I wouldn't oppose this one. Stay safe out there and trust in Jesus! Amen.
I thought we were all wondering about the existence of weapons of mass destruction and whether or not the war was really, truly justifiable based on evidence, not whether or not we should be converts of Christ.
Wouldn't it have been wonderfully prophetic had Gordon said something like "You know, I've been praying a lot about this conflict and my impression is that we need to take our time and look more closely at the evidence and consider more carefully the implications of waging war"? And wouldn't it have been truly amazing had he said "Dear brothers and sisters, this war is being waged on a false premise. This will be the greatest American scandal since the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Our endorsement of this war will greatly tarnish our reputation and credibility abroad"?
Instead we got some bullshit talk about how we have to submit to the government, fight against evil, and, you know, BLESS OUR TROOPS! With prophets like this, who needs 'em?