Saturday, April 03, 2004

The resolution recently passed by the state legislature of Illinois brought back some interesting memories for me, as well as some feelings.

As a Mormon, I’ve been taught since I was a child about the persecutions that the saints faced in both Illinois and Missouri. I’ve always been amazed that in the “Land of the free, and the home of the brave”, that governments would allow things like that to happen. The governor of a state signing an official document ordering the extermination of a people. Could you imagine someone doing that today? Up until about a couple of decades ago, it was legal to shoot a Mormon in Missouri.

Not that people were taking advantage of that law, but still.

I grew up in Indiana, and though my life was never in danger, and nobody beat me or burned my house, I felt a significant amount of persecution from well-meaning Christians who wanted to “save my soul”.

I’ve visited Nauvoo a few times. It’s quite a place, with quite a story. I’ve seen a lot of the other Church historical sites, like the Kirtland temple, the sacred grove, the Hill Cumorah, and the Joseph Smith Home. They can all be quite moving places to see, and I think that every member of the church should “make the pilgrimage” to see these sites and know their heritage.

I guess that’s why I liked the resolution that Illinois passed. I’m glad that it passed unanimously, too. All my life I’ve had this heritage of strength in persecution, and It’s sure nice to see someone else acknowledge it, too. And for them to step forward and ask forgiveness for something that taints their heritage was very courageous.

The world at large might not notice or even care about it, but it sure touched me. Thanks, Illinois!

Mark Hansen

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