Meditations on New York City's Street Corner Mutilations.
Since most of you aren't in New York, you probably have never heard of Falun Dafa. Now I'm sure they are nice people, and from what I understand, they have a good cause. But they have taken over Manhattan sidewalks with their "demonstrations." These usually consist of five or six normal looking asians peacefully meditating. If this were it, then I'd have no problem, but surrounding these people are usually ten other people acting out the various tortures the Chinese government subjects followers of this group to. To compliment these budding broadway stars, this group has chosen to litter the area with incredibly graphic pictures of flesh wounds and body burns. This afternoon I was walking to lunch thinking about the pleasures of acquatic pesticides and how they may or may not kill lobsters when I was assaulted by these disturbing scenes of medieval torture. Needless to say, the whole thing just wierded me out. If meditation is your thing, and you want converts, hey, tell me about meditation; don't try and get me to pity you.
So this led me to another thought. A lot of groups point at persecution as a sign of the rightness of their cause. The early Christians did it; Jews do it; Mormons do it; Republicans do it; African-Americans do it. The list could go on. But the idea that persecution lends credibility to your movement is just a false one. The fact that plenty of American Communists were persecuted during the McCarthy era shows that idea is wrong.
So my question is this: If past persecution remains in the past, why bring it up? Why should LDS people even worry about the fact that there was an "extermination order" in Missouri, or that the United States government sent troops in 1857 to occupy Utah? I see a big difference between remembering the past so it doesn't repeat itself; and remembering the past so we can all feel sorry for how bad we had it. I imagine the Falun Daufa people are attempting (in an incredibly roundabout way) to enact change within China as much as they are looking for converts, but how do you guys think this applies in other circumstances?