rameumptom

The Church, Immigration and Refugees

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This is a copy of a blog post I posted at MillennialStar.org: http://www.millennialstar.org/the-church-and-immigration/

In a world where many are afraid of terrorist attacks from radical Islam and drugs from Mexico, some think the Church is insane to have its current pro-immigration stance. However, there are two important points the Church considers in establishing its stance.

First, immigration has long been the lifeblood of the Church. When Joseph and the Church were struggling in Kirtland, Missouri and Nauvoo, he did not hunker the members down to weather storm. Instead, he sent out missionaries.

In the middle of the Missouri trials, Joseph sent one of his staunchest supporters, Heber C. Kimball to England. While there, Heber converted hundreds of people, the majority of whom immigrated to join the Saints.

Parley P. Pratt traveled to eastern Canada and converted John Taylor, the future third president of the Church. When Joseph Smith was slain at Carthage, 10 of the 12 apostles were off on missions, mostly in the eastern United States.

Brigham Young would continue the missionary work, sending elders to Europe, Hawaii, and into Asia.  All of this, while Johnston's army and anti-polygamy forces were continually buffeting and threatening the Church.

All of those immigrants that braved the Atlantic crossing, only to then hitch wagon teams or pull handcarts, became the heart and soul of Deseret. Without all of those immigrants, there would not be a Mormon Church today.

So important was this early immigration period that Isaiah prophesied about it:

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:1-3)

But what about now and into the future?  This is where the second point on immigration comes into play.

The Lord foresaw a point of massive immigration from around the world of a people that would join the Saints and build the city of Zion in the last days:

Quote

 

"And the Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh. And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.  And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. Their enemies shall become a prey unto them, And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land.  And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.  And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim. And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows" (DC 133:25-34). 


 

Here we see the lost tribes of Israel, and perhaps others, coming to the Americas from the "north countries", which were lands north of the country of Israel, to receive a blessing from Ephraim (the LDS Church). This must occur as part and parcel of the establishment of Zion, as the lost tribes are to help build the city and temple.

The very core of the gospel revolves around immigrants. It is a repeated story of the children of God seeking the Promised Land. Enoch built a city for refugees from the violence of Noah's time Noah escaped the wickedness of the world and the Floods, as a refugee on a boat.  Melchizedek built the city of Salem as a refuge from Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham wandered from Ur to find a land promised to him by God. The Jaredites escaped the Tower of Babel and traveled across the sea in barges. Lehi and Nephi were guided from the evils of Jerusalem to a Promised Land in a ship built by Nephi. The Pilgrims were guided by God to the New World, where they could worship God as they saw fit.

The problem with much of today's immigration is that we allow people to immigrate without having them embrace their new life and culture. When Muslims are not integrated into western society, they retain the best and worst of their previous culture. When we do not let Hispanics enter and join our society fully, they remain on the edges, encouraging the darkest parts of culture to come forward.  We see the same occurring with those forced to come to America in the bounds of slavery, often left on the edges of society, where they do not feel like a part of the Promised Land.

The new call for the Relief Society to reach out a hand to refugees and immigrants is not a new call. After World War II, the Relief Society sent train car loads of grain, food, clothing and blankets to the refugees in war-torn Europe. When the immigrants in the Willie and Martin handcart companies were brought in from the storms, the sisters were ready to take them into their homes, often for years,

There is a consistent pattern in how the Church invites refugees and immigrants. They are the children of God. As such, they deserve a chance to be loved and helped.

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I have no objection to immigration except for a couple things.  One is what the Dear Leader is attempting to do and that's an end run around Congress and the Constitution by using illegal executive orders to get his way.  We do need immigrants, but do it legally.  I attempted to get my wife a green card, but encountered some obstacles.  We came back to Australia for four months to straighten out those obstacles and will be coming back.  We are doing this legally.  Why can't the rest of the immigrants immigrate legally?

Second is the Dear Leader's unwritten policy to favor Muslim refugees over Christian refugees.  As of Feb 16, the number of persecuted Syrian Christian's granted refugee status is a whopping 605.  That's it.  As of Nov 2015, there have been 680,000 Muslim refugees admitted to the U.S.

The big difference between the early immigrants to Utah and other persecuted religious people is that one particular religious group has a tendency to radicalize some of the disaffected portion of that particular religion.  Yes, I'm referring to Islam.  You don't have Jews or Christians being radicalized and running around committing mass murder, doing suicide bombings, committing rape, and beheading those who don't agree with their perverted view of their own religion.  Only in Islam do you have this type of radicalization. 

Are all Muslims radicals?  No, not even close, but something needs to be done to check on those imams who are radical, themselves.

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In 1994, I joined an effort spearheaded by the Baptist Church to work with Bosniak Refugees (from the Bosnian war in Yugoslavia).  My job was to integrate them into American life.  When I get somebody assigned to me, my first job was to prepare their apartment (usually put them as a room-mate to other Bosnian Refugees all in this one apartment complex who are farther ahead in the assimilation process) and then equip them with basic necessities (a lot of them set foot in the US with only the clothes on their back).  I set up doctor and dental appointments (a lot of them have shrapnel wounds, broken bones, etc.), then I organize social activities which is where they start to learn to speak English.  I have a few refugees that speak passable English so they help with the translation.  I take them to the movies, restaurants, free concerts and events in the city, etc. so they get to have a feel for American life.  Most of them are late teens/early twenties, most of them injured soldiers.  All of them Muslim.  After a period of adjustment, then we find them jobs.  When they get a stable job, they move out of the apartment and integrate with American society.  The people I worked with didn't huddle around the same neighborhood.  They're all over the US now and several opened up their own businesses.

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Jojo,

There was a time when Christianity was militant. Remember hearing about the Crusades? How about the Inquisition? Just a few decades ago, Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland were killing each other. In Bosnia, Christian Serbs were killing and  burying Muslims in mass graves. So Muslims are in company with Christians of the recent past. 

Most who want to immigrate far waiting decades to come here. Not everyone has an American spouse. Eventhen, I have a friend who waited eight years to get his wife in. The system is broken. Many come illegally, whether we like it or not. They are not integrated properly, which leads to many of the problems we now see. The current system does not work and it is insane to think that doing more of the same will yield a different outcome.

We can control our borders and open up legal immigration tomore immigrants, especially refugees.

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10 hours ago, rameumptom said:

We can control our borders and open up legal immigration to more immigrants, especially refugees.

If the first clause were true, we could agree. But until that is the case, the second should make us wary.

Lehi

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