Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Conferencegoers arrive at the Conference Center for the Sunday morning session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 1, 2018.

Our politics didn’t always feel slimy. However, since the Access Hollywood tape splattered onto the national stage in October of 2016, we have endured a litany of revolting revelations about prominent men who have sexually abused numerous women and children, grievously violating their trust as employer, religious leader and even doctor. The #MeToo movement has begun to show us how prevalent this criminal, immoral conduct is and how incalculable is the damage and hurt women have endured from unconscionable harassment, assault and rape. Slimy is not too harsh a word.

Still, the persistent drip-drip of the pre-presidential Trump/Stormy Daniels soap opera brought a new low, washing filth over our already expanded tolerance of public sleaze. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has knocked over several POTUS chess pieces by outing their lies and connivances; he seems now to be hovering over the Oval Office itself. Add to this Slough of Despond the crass, self-serving antics of various Cabinet secretaries, and one sees that the swamp is not being drained at all, rather the polluted muck is rising fast.

By the starkest contrast, the spirit of Easter, like the scent of spring blossoms, wafted in the air last weekend celebrating that singular person, Jesus Christ. He was the mortal figure tramping dusty roads to uplift, teach, heal and love all humanity, but especially to minister to obscure and lowly people. He was also the Lamb of God, the Redeemer, whose excruciating death and glorious resurrection brought Easter about. He rose from the grave, giving humanity hope that life will conquer over death and good will triumph over evil.

The holy thoughts and feelings of Easter meshed with the general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which featured women and men of the highest caliber, with stellar backgrounds, who adhere to the highest standards of morality and honesty. They are rational, intelligent, articulate, with no thought of personal gain, prestige or standing.

The contrast with national political affairs was no more strongly underscored than by Elder David A. Bednar’s masterful talk about meekness — what it is and why it’s essential. Yes, meekness — something you won’t hear in a business, professional or sports setting.

Speakers repeatedly urged listeners to show greater love and compassion for the unfortunate, the suffering and the needy. They urged us to pray for guidance in ministering to others and to befriend, help and uplift our neighbors. They exemplified and spoke of lofty values like virtue, unselfishness and morality — words not used to describe the current national administration. There was no political comment, no criticism, no assumed superiority — personal or institutional — no appeal to any worldly institution to do this or that or fund some project or another. It was all about one person serving another — multiplied by the millions.

The 93-year old prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, showed energy and acumen beyond most 70-year-olds. He called two new apostles, men of character, proven leaders, who bring diversity to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

In his first conference as prophet, President Nelson installed a visionary new system of ministering — out of love, compassion, pure charity and concern for every single individual, in lieu of that check-a-box kind of duty we sometimes fall into. He urged church members to “Stand Up” and go about doing good works — the Savior’s works.

Jean B. Bingham, the president of the women’s General Relief Society, gave extensive guidance to the entire church about the new initiatives of ministering rather than administering. Two other impressive women gave impactful addresses.

12 comments on this story

Easter gave me a vacation of the spirit and refreshed my heart and mind. It cleansed me of the toxic effluent oozing from the political swamp, which can spatter each of us. I am grateful to be renewed to face other days.

Note from the author: Recognizing that many readers do not share my faith, I beg their indulgence for sharing these personal religious feelings to illustrate the theme of this article. I ask them not to take offense, but to accept these comments in the respectful spirit in which I intend them.