As I mentioned yesterday, Steve invited me to his ward. (Mormon name for church or congregation) This morning found me walking against 25 degree 30 mile an hour headwind. No running would be done today, and making it to church on time wasn’t going to be possible. My luck, Steve picked me up, he had wanted me to stay the night at his house, but when I told him I wouldn’t be able to get there before dark he offered me his hay barn. He didn’t think that I would take a ride, so he didn’t offer it, and lamented that fact later.
We went to church and immediately everyone was very kind, inviting, and welcoming. I realize I don’t cut the most familiar or normal figure. Beanie, Peace Artist Tunic, and running clothes didn’t fit the normal dress code of short sleeved white shirts with short ties. But, this didn’t stop everyone from being very kind and greeting me genially and sincerely. This wasn’t the first time I’ve been to a Mormon Church, but it was only the second church of any kind I’ve attended on this trip.
As it happened it was testimony day, and quite a few persons and children got up to tell of their experiences as of late and how “The Great Father” had manifested in one way or another to meet their needs. They were genuine and heartfelt appeals for prayer and comfort as well as admonitions for faith and and trust. I had a great time.
Steve is a very humble and kind man. He does the right thing, not because it is expected but because it is the earnest desire of his heart. It is the same reason he asked me yesterday in the Tastee Freeze if I needed any directions. It is the same reason that he is a cub scout den leader. It is why he takes in young people that have been having a hard time in life or at home. It is also the reason that he took me along to go and see a shut-in 85 year old lady. The same reason he took his cub scouts over to her house earlier this week to rake her leaves. Steve is good people.
After that he took me up to his house where he blessed me with a shower, french toast, food for the road, and drove me into town to find a starbucks. I wish I could have spent more time with this wonderful man and his family.
There are a lot of doctrines and history of Mormons that I have serious disagreements about. That being said, of all the students I’ve taught throughout the years, none have been as nice as the Mormon kids I’ve taught, every Mormon friend I’ve ever had has been extremely kind and nice especially my best friend Dave, and the people I met to day including Steve his family and wife. I believe the Dalai Lama’s approach to world religions is best. We can all pick, prod, and poke all the things wrong with every world religion. People have been doing that for centuries, and it has been the source of much hate, bloodshed, suffering, war, and sorrow. I will not contribute to that.
No matter what your religious affiliation, or like me lack of one. Preeminent within all religions is the “Golden Rule”. Treating others with love is the most important and essential and key cornerstone to our peace. The lack of it confirms our assured mutual destruction. Recently, when Ron Paul was booed for endorsing a golden rule, my heart sank as it only furthers to demonstrate that we have so far to go in maturing. So sad.
Perhaps rather, we look at the example presented by Steve and his family. Stevelived rather than talked about what is written:
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Lucky, lucky, lucky am I to have met the walking incarnation of kindness. My prayer is that we all know a Steve, even more I pray that we all become one.