Outsiders can’t disturb our peace

My brother Michael drove up from Las Vegas and stayed with me for the weekend of General Conference (the Mormon church’s bi-annual worldwide conference) earlier this month. We watched four of the General Conference sessions on TV and attended the Priesthood session in person. We didn’t have any tickets so we were fortunate to be given one by a stranger, and then we ran into Dave Blake who gave us a second ticket.

I enjoyed the talks in the Priesthood session quite a bit, especially Elder Hales on “being there,” Bishop McMullin on “unencumbering our lives,” and President Hinckley on being clean. The music by the BYU Men’s Chorus was phenomenal.

Right before the Priesthood session started, the big screen flashed a message I hadn’t seen before (roughly): “We realize there are people outside the Conference Center that may try to disrupt the special spirit that you will feel during this meeting. Therefore we urge you to be courteous to those people.”

This statement referred to anti-Mormon protesters who always gather outside the Conference Center, but the most interesting phrase was “we urge you to be courteous to those people.” (It didn’t say, “We wish they would be courteous to us so we can enjoy this Conference.”) The phrasing seemed to imply that feeling a spirit of peace depends only on us, not on outside influences. Arguing with a street preacher would most certainly disturb one’s peace, but being courteous protects it.