I served 2-1/2-years in the LDS Franco-Belgian Mission in the 1960s. While it wasn’t spiritual experience that I had hoped for, it was a wonderful introduction to France and french culture. In many respects I was converted to absurdism, the philosophy of Albert Camus. I enjoyed traveling the french countryside and reading french literature. I became a Francophile.
Since my mission, I have returned to France on several occasions. Each trip has been very enjoyable. I love France, the country and its people.
So it is heart wrenching for me to hear the reports of the recent carnage in Paris. According to reports, 129 are dead and hundreds more are injured. Disturbingly, the terrorist went after civilian targets. While I emphatically condemn the terrorism, I worry about the response from France and its allies; I hope it doesn’t make matters worse.
At bycommonconsent.com, Amanda an LDS author who lives in Paris, writes:
I have a lot of hope for our future and for our capacity to overcome this tragedy. My fear, however, is that fear, hate and bigotry will poison us along the way. Anti-immigrant, anti-outsider, islamophobic factions have increased in number and influence the past few years, even among members of the Church, and I am afraid that these attacks will only add fuel to the fire. There is no easy solution and we may be headed for war, but in our fervor, we mustn’t confuse the innocent with the enemy.
Although there are no easy solutions to the recent acts of terrorism, there are long-term actions that the LDS Church can take to help ameliorate the international pain. Foremost of these are increasing activities to overcome global poverty and to deal forthrightly with issues of inequality. Pope Frances is leading the way.
The LDS Church has tremendous resources: buildings around the world, a global communication system, retirees (boomers) with skills they can share, available cash, members with incredible language skills, a motivated membership, missionaries deployed around the world, a university network, etc. The Church could contribute significantly to long-term prospects for global peace.