George and I became RINOs this year. We registered as Republicans so we could have some voice in the government of our one-party state. But I can’t tell you how uncomfortable we were at the caucus. A few ward members we knew were in attendance. One neighbor asked what we were doing there, “I thought you were dyed-in-the-wool-Democrats?” We are not traditional Democrats although I have carried petitions for clean air, ethics reform, and fair voting-district boundaries—not issues I consider partisan. I smiled at Sister Neighbor and said, “We’ve come to Jesus.”
Actually, George and I were so uncomfortable during the meeting that I think we would give up Jesus rather than endure another caucus. After prayer and pledge, the county platform was read. Every nutty bill brought up in this year’s state legislature was enshrined as policy of Davis County Republicans: Taking federal lands from the federal government (lots of luck winning that one). No sex education in the public schools (ignorance is bliss). Volunteerism to meet air quality standards (does anyone see British-owned Kennecott as a willing volunteer?).
The budget deficit was a major consideration by attendees as was their resolve to prevent the closure of Hill AFB. Closing unnecessary military installations within their own state is never popular with deficit hawks.
Well, we shouldn’t have expected to meet like-minded folks at a Republican caucus in Utah. But last night our new home teachers showed up, and we found ourselves in the same uncomfortable situation.
When Brother Faithful pulled out his Ensign to give us the lesson, I asked him to please discuss it rather than read it. Bless his heart, he did. He told us that prophets are as important now as in the days of the Old Testament and bore testimony to the blessing of having them to give us direction in these troubled times. I stared at my fingernails, hoping he wouldn’t ask for my agreement. Both he and his 14-year-old companion are devout believers, and I have no desire to challenge their beliefs with my own opinions.
After they left, George said he felt like, not only are we RINOs, we are also MINOs—Mormons in Name Only. Here’s the dilemma. From the ward’s point of view, we should have our names taken from the church rolls if we don’t care to participate. But we like our neighbors and enjoy contact with them—but in our neighborhood that contact centers around church. George and I don’t need to be taught the gospel. We were active, believing members for most of our lives. An intellectual discussion of religion is not an option. Devout members must defend their beliefs. I understand that. Their faith may be essential to their emotional health.
We just don’t know how to handle the situation without being offensive.