@timpClimberFirst of all the man's name is Richard Dawkins
(Richard Dawson was the host of Family Fued for many years). Secondly, Dawkins
views are in the minority among atheists. Don'y mistake the fact that
because he has a loud voice that he's popular. The man has said several
things that atheists have called him out for and are just utter garbage. There
are many of us (yes I am a proud atheist) who see Dawkins as harmful to the
perception of atheism as a whole because of what he says. I'd also like to
point out that I am an atheist and the father of a wonderful child with Down
syndrome. I strongly support the rights of people with disabilities and
recognize the great joy they can bring to our lives and the joy they can
experience in their own life.
They don't need to have the ordinances because they are in the same
position as children who die before the age of 8, they are considered to be
without law and will be saved in the celestial kingdom without the ordinances.
The atonement of Christ already fully covers them. When we do ordinances, we
are making covenants. That requires the ability to understand the covenants.
Sealing to parents is about the only one that doesn't require
understanding, but is not necessary if a child is born in the covenant to temple
married parents. As for those who get married, if they can understand marriage,
then most likely they would have sufficient understanding to go through the
temple and receive their endowment and be sealed. But that would be decided on
an individual case between that individual and their family and priesthood
If these individuals who face challenges 'here' will have them removed
in the next life according to LDS doctrine, why wouldn't they need to have
all the normal ordinances performed here on their behalf? If not individual
things like the LDS endowment then at least baptism and sealing to parents and
family. I have seen many here in California developmental disability homes go
on to get married. Are they denied LDS temple marriages? This seems to fly in
the face of being inclusive of those who are disabled.
And Richard Dawson and other evolutionary atheists would have all such people
aborted and not ever experience mortality. Having been a substitute teacher in
schools for the disabled in Utah valley I can also add my voice to other readers
that I have learned much about gratitude and innocence from these people and
that God loves them deeply.
My 22 year old son has autism and lives in a similar facility in Orem. He and
the other members of the "Mesa Vista" family have been incredible
blessings in my life. They have an amazingly positive outlook on life, enjoying
each little thing. We take our toy poodle with us on visits. A few residents
who never speak and seem to have "blank emotions" just come to life when
they pet our dog. When we have attended Sacrament meeting with Charlie, it is
beautiful to watch the love that the residents have for one another. Some
residents can't pick up the bread or water, so, another resident will help
them, even setting the bread in their mouth. In seeing these beautiful people,
I can honestly say that I have seen angels.
I'm really curious as to why most media coverage relating to those with
disabilities usually only provides the perspective of those without the
perceived disability and not the perspective of those with the disability. If
there are members of this ward who hold the priesthood and are baptized I'm
sure they can express themselves and I would love to hear of their perspective
of being in a ward like this and what they gain. In other fairly recent
articles I noticed the same thing. There was maybe one reference to someone
with a disability or maybe a parent or family member. But they are people too.
I'd love to hear their voice in these matters.
We have family members that served missions there. We visited the ward a couple
of times. I will never forget how precious and wonderful all of the ward
members are. We were so impressed with the valiant youth and others who
faithfully serve each Sunday, and other days too. It was a wonderful experience
for us. One that will live in our pleasant memories forever!
I grew up in Lehi and we had multiple opportunities to serve in this amazing
Ward, mostly pushing wheelchairs and getting to interact with the residents.
This service left a memorable impact on me and how I view those with
disabilities. We were even able to participate in Ward 'Dances',
having fun and being part of things. Between this service opportunity and that
of holding Sacrament Mtgs at local nursing homes for the elderly I feel that I
received, and our youth today continue to receive, chances to expand our mental
and spiritual horizons.
How wonderful! I am in a wheelchair due to multiple sclerosis. I taught in
Relief Society, but I often felt left out of activities. I was talking to my
bishop one day and he asked me if I felt included in the ward and did I feel the
ward was utilizing all of my abilities. I simply answered "no" (with a
smile.) Well, be careful what you wish for - I now have new opportunities to
serve and teach in the Primary (which I absolutely love.) I have made new
friends, but I don’t like leaving my electric wheelchair at home and
having my friends push me in my manual chair. Well, people have come up with
creative ideas to try to get my electric wheelchair to special events (like
Pioneer Day), and I just learned that a brother in the ward is looking into
purchasing a lift that transports electric wheelchairs. His plan may not come
to fruition, but just him thinking of *me* and trying so hard to provide me more
independence and participation touches me beyond description. I’m very
grateful that the Church has become more aware of the disabled.