God Bless America…and Everyone Else
by Crystal Young-Otterstrom
The following is a talk I gave last Sunday in my ward in Salt Lake City, Utah. I thought our readers on Mormon Press might enjoy giving it a read. What follows has a few edits that are different from what I read in church.
When [my bishopric member] asked my husband and I to speak a couple of weeks ago on the topic of patriotism/America is a choice land/4th of July, etc., I laughed and replied, “Are you sure you want us to talk about that subject? You might not like what we have to say on the topic.” But [my bishopric member] is a good person and he said that he would love to hear what we have to say on this topic. So here we go.
Typically among American Mormons, this talk goes something like this: “America is a choice land, the greatest land, a land that only certain special, righteous people are led to in order to create a land of freedom for its inhabitants. When they didn’t live righteously, they got destroyed. God led the Jaredites here, they got destroyed. God led the Nephites and their cousins the Lamanites here; the Lamanites were left standing and the Nephites got destroyed. God led Christopher Columbus who brought Europeans here, some of whom became the inspired founding fathers.* These inspired founding fathers led a rebellion against England, wrote the Constitution, made America the greatest and most blessed country in the world, a country based on religious freedom that allowed Joseph Smith to restore the Mormon faith, and if this country doesn’t get back to being righteous and moral, we’re going to get destroyed just like the Jaredites and Nephites.”
* Even though the majority of our founding fathers were deists which is basically enlightenment for agnostic or atheist, but hey, agnostic and atheist people have as much of a right to inspiration as do believers!
Well, this won’t be a surprise to anyone in this ward who knows me well, but my talk isn’t going to be that talk.
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