Please share your thoughts about two recent issues related to the Mormon Church. The first is the Church’s controversial purchase of the block of city property between North and South Temple Streets and on either side of Main Street at that juncture. The second, more recent issue, deals with the Church’s original position that Light Rail should not operate on Sunday, which became policy, and subsequent request that the Utah Transit Authority make an exception for travelers to General Conference, on Sunday, with an attached price tag of about $35,000.
With both issues there appears a certain audacity that smacks of favoritism and hypocrisy, especially to our non-Mormon friends. Divisive issues of this sort serve to polarize our community, not unite it, and I am surprised that the Brethren would even consider such proposals. Of especial surprise is the Church’s sense of justification with its Light Rail proposal, knowing that operation on Sunday would involve people working who otherwise would be at home with their families, possibly even watching Conference. All of us know what the Church has taught about Sunday employment, and on the face of it, what is being proposed by the Church is contrary to its own doctrine. On these two matters I would appreciate your thoughtful comment.
What do you mean, controversial purchase? If you would look into the matter you would find that the proposition was put before the city council and there received a favorable vote before it was ever decided to go ahead with. Although the Church developed the entire city, and much more, a generous price was paid to the city for the purchase of the street. Furthermore, it will be a significant addition to the beauty of the city. There is not anything that the Church could do, no matter how beneficial to the community, that militant non-Mormons would not take objection to. I don’t call that type of thing controversial, but rather more like venting a vendetta.
Concerning the light rail issue. Let’s carry your line of thinking a little further. Perhaps we shouldn’t drive to conference either, since in some cases it may be necessary to involve public services–from running out of gas, or having a flat tire on the way. We should also never involve police protection or traffic direction on the Sabbath day, nor should we require any member to stand outside of the tabernacle to act as ushers, as that would cause people to work on the Sabbath. Certainly no one should be employed to provide simultaneous translation services during conference, as they would also be taken away from attendance at the meetings. Perhaps none on the Church officials, who have responsibility the world over, should use the airlines on Sunday. It may also be appropriate to turn off all electricity to the homes so that power plants could shut down on Sunday. Certainly no newspapers should be delivered to the homes. The list goes on. . . .
There are legitimate services that are appropriate to provide on the Sabbath day. They would particularly be those services that would facilitate the proper work of the Kingdom. It seems perfectly logical to provide transportation to come to conference, which is certainly an approved Sabbath day activity, whereas to provide public transportation or other incentives to promote activities that are contrary to the law of the Sabbath would certainly be something that the Lord’s people should legitimately speak out against.