This week was wonderfully warm! It was summer for a few days, and it was most blissful. I had the delightful opportunity to serve in both Gävle and Uppsala this week in the fantastic weather. Those cities are most beautiful and the people are most kind (probably on account of the weather) and all of it was simply splendid. (Is that too Anne Shirley again for you Jessica?)
Back in Borlänge, we kept on fighting on, but throughout the last several weeks I’ve been awfully troubled and have to return to the topic of bigotry again. I’m sorry…. I have to again…. It seems the reoccurring topic of my mind here in Borlänge, probably because there is a great deal of it in this town particularly and seeing it every day gets under your skin until you have to release it all out in a blog post or some other medium. My medium is the written word. So……….I am a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as such I will say no political statement whatsoever……. but I will defend Christian morals….the things I try my best to live and preach every day.
I’m not supposed to report anything negative in emails but when a Nazis banner is hung over the pedestrian tunnel outside your apartment you feel sick to your stomach. When refugee hate slogans are spray painted in the town centre and you meet white supremacist skinheads on the streets, you have a battling mixture of downheartedness and passion to stand against such evil. I can’t simply say nothing. Of course, I am contained within my calling in what I can do about this, but I can’t pretend everything around me is wildflowers and red painted farm houses…. well it is, but under that lovely layer there is a disease growing in the shadows. We thought we killed it with the last Nazis punished for his war crimes……but you can’t kill an idea….and seventy-one years later that sick idea is spreading again because of one of Satan’s greatest tools; fear. There is no ounce of God in the emotion of fear. Certainly greed, lust, and sheer nihilism are responsible for a great deal of the world’s tragedies, but if Satan cannot get us with the lure of gaining something he most certainly finds power through our fear of losing something. Fear of losing what we hold dear can lead good men to wicked actions. Fear of losing one’s current state of paradise leads nations to bigotry, to war, to holocaust, to genocide, to sins they would never dream of doing just for good sport, but nonetheless find themselves committing under the harness and whip of fear. This increase of white supremacy and neo-Nazis activism in this iron platted factory town has everything to do with fear. This town has a great many refugees. War-torn refugees. They come with their foreign cultures, their foreign customs, and through the lens of narrow minded unchristian selfishness, this invasion of Somalians and Eritreans and Syrians and Iraqis is scary. It will create a most certainly different future. Life will not just be classic peaceful Swedish paradise.
Any act of Samaritanism, whether on a personal or a national level, requires a degree of sacrifice. Good works always require such and life will never be the same again for anyone in perfect presumably problem-free Sweden…… and so fear steals the hearts of some of the people. Orphan refugee camps have been burned down, children have been massacred, and every day the works of darkness grow in numbers and what do I have to say to this dreadful news? I only have to say the words of Albus Dumbledore:
“Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.”
Now is the time to stand for the right, raise Moroni’s title of Liberty against bigotry, and “maintain the courage to defy the consensus. (and) Choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong.” as President Monson put it last General Conference. Remember, Moroni’s title of liberty was not originally crafted against the foreign enemy (the Lamanites) but the oppressive and persecuting within his own people. We must conquer our fear before we can conquer our enemy. That does not call for fighting fear with fear of fear or holocausting those who wish to holocaust, but it does mean taking a stand, fearlessly. As Elder Patrick Kearon, my area president, said last general conference in regards to bigotry against refugees; “ We must take a stand against intolerance and advocate respect and understanding across cultures and traditions.” We must be the ensign to the nations as advocates for righteousness, justice, love, charity and our Saviour, Jesus Christ who preached:
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me.” Otherwise, to our horror, we will discover one day that we are only as the Pharisees who “pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weighter matters of the law, judgement, mercy and faith.” (Matt 23:23)
As of here and now, I must reserve any strong Gryffindor defiance against these death eaters for after my mission and in the meantime smile at the faces of such malicious hate and preach the gospel with my whole heart to all who will listen for as President Ezra Taft Benson preached; “Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family.”
Sometimes I find myself frustrated that I am not allowed to do more to stand up and advocate against the surrounding evil forces of bigotry and racism but in those times I forget that I really am doing the greatest thing I can possibly do against the works of darkness- I’m spreading the light of the Gospel! And, where any light is lit, darkness must flee.
I am spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ who “inviteth (…) all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” (2 Nephi 26:31)
I love my mission, I love the message I have to spread, and I love my Saviour and redeemer Jesus Christ.
Much love and peace,
Äldste Erik Scott