Politics at the Pulpit

I was once a conservative activist. When I tell this to people, they rarely believe me.

Thanks to my aunt, I now have some archival evidence. This comes from a letter my mother sent to my aunt at the end of my freshman year at Ricks College.

Dated April 16, 1995

Christopher will return April 30. We are looking forward to seeing him again. He has accepted an internship with a research group that corrects inaccurate statements in the media. They are quite conservative, so he will fit right in. The guy who owns the place is in our ward and Rick thinks that he considers Christopher to be his “alter ego”, because Christopher is so openly “to the right”. I remember a testimony meeting when one of the sisters got up and said she was an active woman in the church, inspite of the fact that she was democrat [...] Christopher got up, hymn book in hand and he stated in front of the entire congregation that he wanted Sister Freeman to know that all her questions would be answered in the scriptures, He then opened his song book and made this point:” Choose the right, when a ballot is placed before you, choose the right etc. etc. People were absolutely in stitches, it was so funny. It was episodes like that which endeared him to many of his fellow conservatives, It will be good to have him home.

I am still friends with Karen Freeman, the sister mentioned in the story. I am also still friends with Don Irvine, the brother I worked with that summer. I am just not so much “to the right.”

BTW, the event mentioned in this letter changed me quite a bit. After church that day, Larry Rickertsen, who had been one of my youth leaders came up to me and expressed his disappointment in what I had done. God was neither a liberal or conservative, he told me. I deeply respected Brother Rickertsen. I have not made partisan comments at the pulpit since.

NOTE: I previously posted this at a now defunct personal blog.

About Chris Henrichsen

Chris Henrichsen has moved Approaching Justice off of Patheos. Find his latest posts and the new Approaching Justice. Thanks!

  • http://www.mormonmentality.org/author/orwell Orwell

    So, in Sunday School, just yesterday, the teacher used the word “liberal” as a synonym for “wicked” on several occasions. It was mostly used to describe the Gadianton robbers.

    I moved back to Utah from the East Coast a couple of months ago. There, I would have challenged this instantly. Here, I still don’t feel like I have to street cred to call people on crap like this. Or maybe I’m a coward. I’m sure my wife appreciated my keeping my mouth shut, though. It probably saved me a lot of angry calls to repentance.

  • Eric

    Remarks like that should be challenged.

    A few years ago, I challenged something similar in Elders Quorum on my very first Sunday in the ward; it was something I just couldn’t let slide. Afterward, I had people thank me privately. Challenging garbage like that may actually give you street cred, at least with some people.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithpromotingrumor/ Chris H.

    Nah, I tend to let most comments go. It is part of forgiveness.

    Now, do I tweet and blog about it later? Well, of course!

  • Don

    For some people, politics seems to be their religion.

  • Karen

    Yes, we are still friends, and I still remember that day after all these years!! And I’m so glad that you have come to your senses and have moved to MY side of the fence!! LOL!! As far as class comments go, since I teach the Gospel Doctrine class in our ward, I am very careful to maintain a no-politics rule unless we are commenting on or laughing at something of a general nature. It is almost always those on the far right who want to (or do) interject comments or labels that are not part of a Sunday worship atmosphere. It happens quite often, unfortunately.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithpromotingrumor/ Chris H.

    Karen, I am glad you agree that we are still friends. :)