Dear 100 Hour Board,
I recently posted the following story to my Facebook timeline:
[quote]I was at Target a few days ago, standing in line at the pharmacy, when a guy with full arms spotted an empty shopping cart, alone in the middle of an aisle. He started putting his items into the cart when an older gentleman finished at the pharmacy and walked to the cart.
"Oh, is this yours?" the guy said.
"Yeah, but it looks like you need it more than me, you can have it," replied the older gentleman. "Are you sure?" "Yeah." The guy finished putting his items in the cart, including two cases of apple ale.
"Is that alcohol?" asked the older gentlemen. "If that's alcohol, you can go get your own cart." The guy simply replied with an "Uh, okay" and proceeded to gather up all of his items. Older gentleman walked away with the empty cart.[/quote]
I then asked for the thoughts of my friends. Now, I'm not one to use Facebook much so it's not like I had a flood of responses but the responses I did get ranged from outrage that the older gentleman would retract his act of service, to speculation that he had an experience like an alcoholic past or an alcoholic son, to praise that he would have the courage to stand up for what he believes in.
This got me to thinking (and strengthened my resolve to get the heck out of Happy Valley), what role does tolerance play in religion? Especially in the situation where you believe your religion is the only thing that will one day save mankind?
Your religion will not save mankind. No religion will. No organization or dogma can bring about salvation. We are only saved by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. While obeying the commandments is an important aspect of having the Atonement work in your life so is serving others and being charitable. Why should we expect others to live up to our arbitrary standards for keeping the commandments when we fail to keep all the commandments ourselves? Personally I think we should tolerate others' actions unless it directly affects us. We also do not need to directly support, encourage, or finance activities that go against our beliefs.
I think about this all the time and have yet to find anybody who can give me good guidelines. I think the question extends as the crux of modern politics: when is it proper to allow someone to exercise their rights even when it is morally wrong? Similarly, when is it proper to intrude on someone's rights to coerce them to do something morally right? To me, this is a fundamental disagreement that even the most politically opinionated people I know cannot explain well when really pressed to answer.
I could wax eloquently about opinions and tests and examples of Republican vs. Democrat vs. Libertarian viewpoints and the scriptures and modern revelation... I really want to, but don't have time. And to be honest, I'm still forming my own opinions and my opinions are very malleable. Instead I will point you to Elder Oak's 2011 BYU Devotional entitled "Truth and Tolerance" where he discusses religious tolerance in detail. He even gets into the nitty-gritty at the end and discusses government's role in regards to tolerance. It doesn't answer all of my questions but it is a great starting point and might answer many of yours.