Now before you read this, please realize that I’m not calling any one person “dumb”. I’m calling the actions of one person in this article dumb and the actions of others that act in like manner.
On October 5th 2014, my family and I attended a religious event in Salt Lake City Utah. It was our first time ever attending a General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What an experience! I was taking it all in and just trying to observe the scene. We had to walk quite a way to get from the parking structure to the Conference Center. As we got closer to the Conference Center, I was excited to see some real life protestors. I’d never seen that in person before. I really wanted to sit down and talk with some of them and get there feedback on things but the conference was going to start soon.
So we attended the conference along with 21 thousand of our closest friends and then exited in droves. As we were taking the long walk back to the parking structure…I heard a strange sound coming from a car that was driving toward us and a woman’s head sticking out the window. It was tough to decipher, but finally I was able to make it out…
bahhhh, bahhhhh, bahhhh, bahhhh!!!
What the heck! She was bahhhhhhhhhhing at us! At first it didn’t register. I’m a little slow sometimes! But then I got it. We were jam packed on the streets moving as a herd and dressed similarly. But the real reason she was bahhhhhhhing at us was because she knew that all of us had just come out of general conference and that we had just received instruction from a few proverbial “shepherds”. She and so many others would look at us filing down those streets and think that we’re just ignorantly moving along as dumb sheep…doing whatever it is that the shepherd tells us.
As I thought about it silently…I had to admit she had a point. We probably did look like a bunch of sheep…moving in a herd, in the same direction. But as I considered it…I determined that really…all of us are sheep. The only difference between any of us in this life is based on which shepherd we decide to follow. But make no mistake about it…every last one of us follows a shepherd of some sort.
See…we (all those Mormon sheep) had just come from learning about Jesus Christ. We learned about hope and faith. We learned about God having a plan for us. We learned about being better missionaries and better friends to others. We were taught that our actions were indicative of which master we served…or which shepherd we followed. All of us were walking down the street having just been taught to be a positive uplifting influence to mankind.
So as I continued to walk down that street… I wondered… who was the dumber of the two sheep. The sheep that had just finished listening to the words of some of the wisest and kindest men and women in the world or the sheep that decided to make fun of a bunch of Mormons on a Sunday afternoon driving down North Temple?
You know…it’s not just Mormons that are being ridiculed and made fun of for their faithfulness. It’s not just Mormons that are reviled against for trying to be good people. There are a lot of people out there like the lady in the car making sheep noises. They’re in our classrooms. They’re in political offices. They’re occupying our streets and dominating our news and media outlets. There’s an abundance of them in the entertainment industry. They’re constantly “bahhhhhhing” at people of faith from their intelligent and lofty positions.
These types of people call us sheep because they think we’re dumb. But are we?
Is it dumb to go as a family on Sunday to learn how to be better people? Is it dumb to abstain from dumping harmful and addictive substances into our bodies? Is it dumb to abstain from sex until you’re married? Is it dumb to learn how to serve others first, work hard, and be industrious? Are we captured and enslaved by a vengeful and jealous God who doesn’t want us to be free and have fun?
Those that ridicule people of faith, believe that we can’t think for ourselves but that they themselves are so independent. They think we’re held back and oppressed by our faith and that we’re missing out on life. That we’re not free and we’re missing all the fun.
But is it fun to make decisions that leave you utterly and completely alone? Do the people that are addicted to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco look free to you?
I had the unfortunate opportunity to work day in and day out for two straight years right next door to an abortion clinic. Have you ever seen the faces of a string of moms walking out of the abortion clinic one by one? Do they look happy? Do they look independent? Go witness for yourself.
What the lady in the car doesn’t understand is that all of us are sheep…including her. Some shepherds enslave their sheep through various tricks and illusions and then leave them stranded in times of need. But other shepherds lead their sheep by example and the sheep are happy to follow. Those sheep are as independent as they come.
It’s up to us to choose a shepherd…and all of us do in fact choose a shepherd. It may be a person, a religion, an idea, or a philosophy, but each of us make a choice to follow something. The shepherd this lady was following led her to get in her car on a Sunday afternoon and make fun of some really good families that are trying to follow some really great shepherds.
So my natural inclination is to say… “right back at ya lady…. bahhhhh, bahhhhhh, bahhhhh.” But I don’t learn that in church. I’m taught to “bless them that curse me…do good unto those that hate me, and pray for them which despitefully use me and persecute me.” so that I can be more like my Father in Heaven.
…and He is a Shepherd that I am proud to follow! I’m happy to be one of His sheep (bahhh) …and I love listening to His voice. It makes me want to reach out and serve those that find pleasure in making fun of me for believing in God or for being a Mormon.