In 1994 I attended a qausi-beauty pageant (it actually had more depth aside from dimensions and attire). I was supporting a lovely young woman in the pageant (now my wife). Each of the contestants, and if I remember right there were over sixty, had to answer a question for the audience. I still can repeat the question without any variance: If you could give the world one gift, what would you give, and how would you give it?
I recall my wife being contestant #47. Every time a girl came to the microphone the question was repeated. Every time she finished her one minute response, music played as she strolled off stage. Admittedly I was nauseous by the time ten of them had spoken; partly because I couldn’t take it anymore, and partly because I had something to say other than love and peace. But my now wife, was locked away in some holding chamber with the other contestants so they couldn’t hear the question or answers.
I must admit that I am tiring of beauty pageant Christianity—where we reduce the Savior’s teachings solely to love and peace—as if He said nothing else. I think the societal crisis we are watching unfold in America right now is a reflection of too many people not knowing what Jesus Christ said as recorded in the scriptures.
Why did the Savior draw a distinction between five wise virgins and five foolish virgins in one of his most well-known parables? Jesus gave several other commandments. The five foolish virgins had not obtained something the five wise virgins had responsibly and individually obtained. Beauty pageant Christianity is failing us. Love and peace can only be obtained by understanding and responsibly living the principles the Savior taught.
Our nation is experiencing a decline in morality. More and more people are belligerent, violently confrontational, and contentious. And more bothersome is that people are becoming more fearless in breaking the law. Of course there are a handful of police officers who may be egotistical, power hungry, and over-bearing in their duties. But the fact is, those in law enforcement are at a crossroads because the citizenry is growing more lawless; citizens who disregard not only civil law but God’s commandments.
We want to hold police officers accountable, but not ourselves. If this continues then chaos will ultimately undercut government and order.
Rather than peacefully (or violently) protesting, maybe it’s time we start considering personally how much we love God and how devotedly we keep His commandments. “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God: (James 1:20). A hard-hearted people require hard changes, personal changes that reflect a change of heart and mind.
Abraham Lincoln observed, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will because we destroyed ourselves.” At present, a growing number want to blame someone else and not take responsibility or accountability, thus destroying self and community. This is a serious indicator that we are faltering and need to become more decided in a moral path that will lead to love and peace.
Postscript: My answer for the beauty pageant question: The gift of the Holy Ghost. How? By the laying on of the hands (See Acts 8:13–20).
Start the Music.