Most Mormons probably do not have a lot of stake patriotism anymore. We move around too much, and the stakes change too much.
So we forget that they aren’t just administrative conveniences or levels in the priesthood hierachy.President Harold B. Lee spoke about stakes at the April 1973 General Conference. It made me think about my own memories of the stakes I had belonged to. It made me think about what was meaningful about stakes.
President Lee speaks of the stakes as units of salvation. Here is the deep truth that stakes reflect. People are not individuals. Individual salvation is incomplete salvation. We are saved as families, we are saved into the grand eternal family, but belonging to and working in larger groups is part of our human nature too. Belonging to larger groups is an eternal part of our human nature. It is right and proper that we have these local ties.
President Lee speaks a lot about the Enemy that these local ties, these stakes, give us refuge from (this is as authentic Joseph Smith Benedict Option concept long before there was a Benedict Option). It is curious that the Enemy not only attacks these local institutions–everything these days tends toward individualistic universalism–but that the devil’s main institutional presence is widespread but is not clearly organized into units and divisions. Progressivism needs a Pope, someone once said, but it lacks one. It is like a building without foundations. It does not accurately reflect the eternal reality that humans belong in families and in groups.
Finally, President Lee quotes Elder McConkie:
“The place of gathering for the Mexican Saints is in Mexico; the place of gathering for the Guatemalan Saints is in Guatemala; the place of gathering for the Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; and so it goes throughout the length and breadth of the whole earth. Japan is for the Japanese; Korea is for the Koreans; Australia is for the Australians; every nation is the gathering place for its own people.”
We might also say that America is for the Americans.
Other Posts about the Friday morning session of the April 1973 General Conference
- I cannot go back by Marilyn Nielson
- Individual Testimonies of the Divinity of this Work by Daniel Ortner
- So Simple a Call by SilverRain
- It must begin with you personally by Marilyn Nielson