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The biggest setback is our nation's loss of trust

Published: Sunday, Oct. 12 2008 12:38 a.m. MDT

I was once on a panel at the Grace Baptist Church in Bountiful when a woman in the audience expressed regret that people believed the Temple Square protesters represented the entire Evangelical community.I simply told her I wouldn't hold her zealots against her if she wouldn't hold my zealots against me.We all have to answer for our zealots.An old saying claims we judge the members of other groups by the actions of the worst members of those groups. In other words, we think all doctors must be arrogant, all movie stars are vain and all businessmen are, by nature, greedy. We do the same thing with religions, races and nationalities.Of course, when we think of the groups that we personally belong to, we don't see ourselves in such a negative light at all. I'm a journalist, so I must be pushy, unfair and carry an ulterior motive.But I don't feel that way.When I go to Mexico I don't feel like an Ugly American either.When I vote I don't see myself as either a snooty liberal or a stodgy conservative.I've never seen myself as an insulated, self-righteous Mormon.But I'm sure other people must make those judgments about me.And why do we spend so much time trying to decide what we think about other people? And why do we always paint their motives with a big black brush?Let me hazard a guess: I think we're all afraid of being taken advantage of. We think people will put one over on us if they get the chance.We're by nature suspicious.We lack trust.My father was a bit like that. As an old Air Force officer, he was forever sizing other people up. Will this person follow me? Will he help me? Will he oppose me? And if he opposes me, will I be able to "walk through him"?I could often hear those cogs clicking in his brain whenever he'd meet somebody new.Dad had a lot of trust issues.But then don't we all?And today, with the world teetering and the economy reeling, trust is a scarce commodity.But finding trust is the only way we'll get through.Let me quote Abraham Lincoln: "The people, when rightly and fully trusted, will return the trust."I believe that.But somebody has to go first. And right now, I don't see a lot of volunteers.A lot has been sacrificed in the war in Iraq. The stock market has undermined the confidence of millions. Lincoln's "people" have felt betrayed left and right by the left and right. But the biggest loss of all is not money or power.The biggest loss has been the loss of trust. And getting that trust back will take some doing. It will take a bigger miracle than anything seen on 34th Street — or on Wall Street.Let's hope there's a miracle worker in the building somewhere.But more than that, let's hope people will look beyond the roof and search the heavens for the trust that's so badly needed.

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