Friday, October 3, 2014

Occupying Central Part 2: What You Need To Know Before Sharing Your Political View with Scriptural References

While we were discussing the current issue in Hong Kong, we read some posts on Facebook that members using scriptures/GC talks etc, any church-related materials to defend their views. We found it quite an interesting phenomena and we would like to do an experiment in showing how using scriptures/GC talks/Leaders’ words to defend a seemingly “truth” is not appropriate.

As Danise mentioned on her Facebook status, “research has suggested a theory of confirmation bias in which you follow your preference to search for information that confirms your view.” The sources we choose to support our personal view is not wrong in context itself. However, bias are inevitable when our minds are flooded by our personal views and cultural perceptions. Once we found those words/quotes that confirm our thought, they become the “truth” to ourselves. We should pay attention while using scriptures/GC talks/Leaders’ words in confirming our political views. The dangerous side is that we may use the “truth” we found in scriptures/GC talks/Leaders’ words to confirm our political “truth”. Scriptures/GC talks/Leaders’ words are supposed to use for teaching Gospel Principle – the eternal truth.


This occupying central movement has been a wake up call for many. 
High school students armed with plastic wraps, raincoats, 
goggles, and umbrellas grasping at straws for democracy. 
I see hope, a hope that is reignited as citizens from all walks of life 
coming together defending the same cause. 
I see an undeniable failure when the brain washing 
"moral and national education” curriculum,
the culturally ingrained sense of conformity, 
and blind obedience fail miserably. 

Charles Dickens brilliantly depicted the paradoxical feelings at the
beginning of A Tale of Two Cities.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, 
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, 
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, 
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, 
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, 
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, 
we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – 
In short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its
noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil,
in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

While being stuck in the Mormonland learning to be a social advocate,  
I do my very best to take my stand and actively participate.
Hours of monitoring the news, explaining the situation to people I know,
I feel absolutely exhausted with a robust schedule juggling 
school, work, and reading up on Hong Kong. 
What scares me the most isn’t the banner warning policing firing their weapon.
It was church members quoting scriptures,
supporting their political view.
“Facebook etiquette” is circulated among members which 
includes no disagreeing comments on other’s pages.

Granted their intention is great, preventing online disagreement 
turning into bible bashing, which backfire our public image.

Ironically, this is the very reason why high school students
are making a statement to the world.
Why do we seek pseudo-harmony (the absence of conflict)
and trade in our voices? 

This is the problem I see when the collectiveness of the Chinese
culture mixing and singling out 1 gospel principle.
Normally, it’s perfect for regular worship setting. 
When we are given a topic, for example on the Holy Ghost,
I focus on my search on related doctrine and quotes which is 
perfectly fine because they are all truths, gospel truths.

However, it goes downward spiral if the same method is employed
in a political debate. It’s okay to have different views and I hope
we have different views. The fact that different voices are appreciated
is exactly why we fight for democracy. What creeps me out is people
misquote scriptures and talks to strong arming people to ally with.
It stifles communication, healthy critical thinking, and distort the political
neutrality nature of the Church. Remember, the gospel is a holistic whole
a transformation, a conversion that not only changes a single behavior
or thoughts but our whole way of being. 

Please don't cherry pick principles of the gospel. 


1 comment:

  1. I could not agree more, Danise, or K.D., and it is not a Chinese cultural issue. It is a human issue or at least an LDS cultural issue when it comes to "cherry picking" Gospel principles in political debates. And a very old issue at that. I won't even to attempt to chronicle my problems with it in my own life -- but it has been a prickly one. You state the case with great clarity. A scholar you are and will be! Good work. Keep at it.