Brother X is a pretty good guy: he served a mission, married, served his country, multiplied and replenished the earth, became a teacher and a reservist, sent kids on missions and off to be married. You get the idea–you’d probably be happy to have him as your home teacher or neighbor.
Last year, though, he did something that surprised some people. Brother X became a supporter of a Democratic presidential candidate, largely due to his feelings about the ongoing wars. His support took the mild forms of small monetary contributions and bumper stickers. But it was not unnoticed in Brother X’s ward. I am not in his ward, but I have to believe it is a pretty normal ward. Even so, he did receive an anonymous letter last fall warning him of the evils of Obama.
And more recently, he got this letter, reproduced for your inspection:
“My feelings are such that in my heart I feel heavy and have no desire to associate with your family. Especially when I hear [Brother X] boast and celebrate that evil man. In my heart I feel that the vote given to this man is a turn from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Obama walks the evil path and will take every thing that we love about this country away from us. Including the freedom to worship the way we desire. He has already started that process. Listen to his arrogance in his voice and body language how he derides his VP choice and others in public. Look at his choices in his cabinet. My word they are crooks- so much for cleaning up WA DC. He is adding [sic] and supporting the continuation of such corruption. My dad and my family has [sic] sacrificed tremendously to keep our nation free and yet [Brother X] in one vote has destroyed this work.
“I love you but I hurt every time I hear [Brother X] boast of his choices. They are choices of looking out for #1- him. Not the gospel of Jesus Christ or of building the Kingdom up. He has assisted in tearing it down. I have lost all respect in what he has done to me and this nation.
“I will continue to go to functions with you in attendance but I can’t be around [Brother X] anymore. I thought I could get through this with much prayer and forgiveness, but every time I hear Obama I think of how we have been betrayed by [Brother X] and his choices along with his worshiping of the man.
“I have struggled many months on this and just when I feel a lightness, something happens and I feel the heaviness of my heart again. I am sorry about causing you pain but I have felt for a long time I can’t keep avoiding you or your family. I need to clean the wounds and pray that I can go forward in Christ with you.
I find this letter fascinating. A few things that jumped out at me:
- The writer’s faith in the power of ONE vote, blaming Brother X for destroying the work of the writer’s family to “keep our nation free.”
- The writer’s characterization of President Obama as “that evil man,” “[walking] an evil path,” supporting…corruption,” and of course the insinuation that supporting Obama goes against the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- The writer ascribes moderate support for the “opposing” candidate as “worship.”
- The writer’s clear and sincere distress about Brother X’s actions.
- The writer’s decision to include the whole family in his embargo.
So maybe we can shrug off this letter with a chuckle and say that there are loonies in every ward. I believe there are loonies in every ward. But this one certainly seems to feel he has the weight of right on his side. I wonder if a loony of a different political persuasion would have felt quite as certain in condemning one member’s political choice in such religious terms. I get the distinct impression that the writer has confidence that ALL good Mormons are also good Republicans. This is clearly a serious issue to the writer and when I say he is likely loony I do not believe he has any diagnosable mental defficiencies; I think the writer is simply enormously complacent that his political opinions should be shared by all. It is interesting to me that he feels his Mormon community would support the kind of feelings he has, and I hope the writer is wrong.
Poor Brother X is one friend down.