Friday, December 31, 2010

Words as Beacons of Light

"Let me be clear that all voices need to be heard in the public square. Neither religious nor secular voices should be silenced." 
-Quentin L. Cook

"Let There Be Light!" the title of Elder Cook's talk loudly proclaims. This made me think-- what am I doing to make this world a little brighter? What can I do better?

As a writer, I rely on my words. I form them, mold them, to most closely represent my feelings. When I feel strongly about something, I write it. Why should I avoid writing about my religion?

I  know religion and journalism don't often mix, however, my job, as a journalist, is to be a watchdog. I am expected to herald democracy and protect it with every word I have. How can I protect such a divinely guided institution without getting a little religious? Elder Cook mentioned a comment made by Clatyon Christensen (this is a beautiful article by him) about democracy. In Elder Cook's words:
"He pointed out that in societies where the citizens are taught from a young age to feel accountable to God for honesty and integrity, they will abide by rules and practices that, while unenforceable, promote democratic ideals."
I'd never quite thought of it that way. I've learned, through my religious beliefs, to do some things because I know they are right. This has spilled over into my secular life also. I do not obey the laws of my democratic nation because I am afraid of the punishment. I obey them because I know they are good, or at least, know I should. 

I'm trying, in the roundabout fashion I know I should avoid, to say this:

Words can be used as clear and shining beacons guiding those in the darkness to the light. As a Journalist, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an American, I will use words to guide others. It is the least I can do.

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