Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Kirby: Attention Mormons: Beware the persecution complex

By Robert Kirby

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Apr 06 2012 01:19 pm • Last Updated Aug 05 2012 11:31 pm

To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever tried to kill me because I’m Mormon. I’m not always paying attention, though. Maybe they have.

People have tried to kill me for other things, including/mainly just because I’m me, but never because of my religion. Pity. It’s possible I’m missing an important faith-promoting experience: religious persecution.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

This is not to say I haven’t been badly treated because of my religion. To the best of my recollection, the three most notable incidents were these:

A girl who wouldn’t date me because I was Mormon.

A boss who fired me because I was Mormon.

A fight I got into in the Army over whether the LDS prophet at the time could beat up televangelist Jimmy Swaggart.

Granted, those things might not really count as religious persecution. A strong argument could also be made for self-respect in the first case, chronic tardiness in the second and youthful idiocy in the last.

I bring this up because I’m hearing fellow Mormons speculate that Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidency could result in a major social backlash against the church. We might be persecuted again.

For proof that demonic forces are stirring again, they point to an increase in mean-spirited comments about Mormons in newspapers, online anti-LDS diatribes and people who say they’d sooner vote for a Martian than a Mormon.

"The persecution is going to get worse," a friend said. "We’re in the last days. Won’t be long before there’s another extermination order."


story continues below
story continues below

Really? None of those things really counts as persecution. They’re barely even discriminatory. This is America. People are perfectly entitled to not like us. Hell, I’m Mormon and I don’t always like us either.

It’s true we were once systematically persecuted — loss of life, property, deprivation of human rights and all that stuff. It was ugly and shouldn’t be forgotten, if for no other reason than to keep it from happening again.

The concept of being persecuted is deeply ingrained in most faiths, sometimes to the point of a religious ordnance. Hey, you can’t really be the "true" faith unless you’ve been made to suffer for God.

But there’s a huge difference between being genuinely persecuted and simply being disliked.

Real persecution involves real suffering, not just a difference of opinion about what you believe and how you believe it. If you’re being shot at and hunted with dogs because of your faith, that’s persecution.

However, if someone doesn’t want to date you, go into business with you or even hang around you, that’s just biased choice. Rude, to be sure. Maybe even unfair. It could even be stupid, but it’s also just an expression of preference.

Being snubbed is the uncomfortable price every religion has had to pay for being on the world stage. However, rude treatment isn’t always about your faith. Maybe it’s just you.

The trick is not to allow being snubbed or treated badly to grow into a persecution complex, a point where you see it in everything including the weather.

A persecution complex is dangerous. It’s almost always the precursor to becoming the persecutor. If you believe in a loving God, that’s the part that should scare you the most.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/notpatbagley.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.