Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Sad Story and Observations on Morality

I hadn't planned on posting today but after seeing a story on the Internet I just couldn't hold it in. Go to this link and read.

For those that don't have time to read this the story is about a toddler in Foshan City, China that wandered out into the street and got hit not just once but twice by cars.  Neither driver stopped and 18 people passed by a bleeding 2 year old either not noticing or not caring, one of the two.  This story was very disturbing because we were just there and it would have happened about the same time we left.  Our Hyrum was cared for in that city for the first 4 years of his life. 

While in China I was unsettled by some things.  It was bothersome that people in general didn't take turns, wait in lines, follow traffic lights or even smile at someone that smiles at them.  While in China, we as westerners were always the last one on the train, bus, elevator, etc, even if we got there first and had young children with us. (There were a few exceptions of both men and women giving up their seats on the subway - that was very kind and appreciated.) On the sabbath we were scheduled to do some activities, which is not unusual even here in a basically Christian nation, and had to decline.  We spent some time wandering around on Sundays to get out of the room. On the first Sunday I came to the realization that we were in a very Godless country. The feeling of the country in general is "all about Me" and money.  Over the rest of the next two weeks we saw the fruits of such a way of life. 

I talked with a hotel worker a few times and was given a very clear picture of what is happening in a society that at one point was steeped in traditions that included politeness and a basic sense of morality.  This young adult girl was very open about many things.  She wanted to know how we deal with moral issues with our children, however, she wasn't that tactful about how she put it.  She explained to me that her grandparents' generation believe that a person needs to wait until they are married to share themselves, but her parents are allowing it and in her generation it is just expected.  She asked me what I thought.  I clearly told her that the US is pretty much the same way but I believe that everyone needs to wait.  I was incredulous when she said proudly "this is not my first boy!" I was sad to see that she thought I was so wrong.

Back to the news story.  Most streets in the cities we visited in China are small, about two car widths, and yet 3 cars driving side by side is normal.  The markets are tiny with an open front.  Many people live above or behind their shop.  Children are there with the parents until they go to school at 5 years old. It was not unusual to see a small child hanging out in one of these shops.  To have a two year old wander out is reasonable, especially when mom and dad are both busy. I place no blame on the parents as that is how things are done there. It is a quickly changing world for the people in China and the way of doing some things hasn't caught up with others. As we read the story we were not surprised in the least by what happened.  When people say you take your life in your hands on the streets of China it is true. Drivers will not stop for a pedestrian even in a crosswalk with a green walk sign.  Pedestrians walk across roads with large barriers and fences and weave in and out of moving traffic because no one wants to wait. There is no order entering and exiting the Metro or subway.  Yes, it is clearly marked where to exit and enter but no one cares.  You have to literally push your way in and out.  The attitude of those that did not stop and help this little child was evident in a lot of people that we saw.

We had many experiences to show us the more tender side of some in China as well.  Those that gave up their seat on the Metro because we had little children. People that stopped us to give directions from overhearing we were lost. Others that would stop to tell us good job for adopting the children. And those that truly wanted to communicate with us for some reason but we couldn't because we knew no Chinese.  Some others humbly overcame their fear and nervousness to speak with us just to practice their English. 

I am not China bashing here, I think there are many good things about China as a country and it's people.  We enjoyed our time there and love our children. I am just so sad to see the decline in the world and the lack of charity throughout all societies.  It is a sad state that we have come to as a people in general.  We see these kinds of things all over the world and in our own backyards.  I often think about what can be done. The scripture about how Alma stepped down from the judgement seat to preach the gospel because of the wickedness of the people comes to mind.  The only way that we can change things is by teaching about Christ then living a virtuous life ourselves.


  1. I have never been to China, but my recent experiences in chile came to mind upon reading this blog. My last week there, my companion and I were rushing to drop off our laundry, trying to make it home in time, when we passed a man, completely passed out on the side of the road. I am ashamed to admit that my time in Chile, and especially in big city sectors, had jaded me to this occurrence. My companion, however, was new to the mission. When we passed him by she looked at me and said, "Don't you feel like the priest passing on the other side?"

    On our way back from dropping off laundry, the man was still there. We stopped and helped him sit up, asked him what his name was and what was happening. I had immediately assumed that he was drunk, and possibly a danger to two young gringas at ten o'clock at night in a lonely street . Turns out he hadn't eaten anything in three days, and had left his home town for some reason but couldn't find his family that resided nearby. (He may also have been a bit sloshed, but that's beside the point, he was certainly not a threat).

    Unfortunately, we were out of money and had no idea what to do. The man was so out of his wits that he couldn't tell us where he lived or who to call, and his spanish was slurred. And there was no homeless shelter in this sector to drop him off in as I had done in other sectors. we ducked into a nearby shop and asked for bread that we would willingly pay back later.

    The woman in the shop gave us the bread for free, and what is more some ladies, and a couple of gents stopped by the give us a hand, getting us in contact with the proper authorities. It had started to rain, but we got him into an ambulance and that was that.

    For all intents and purposes, Chile really isn't that immoral in comparison to what you have mentioned here. But we weren't the only ones to have passed by him once without stopping. And those that did stop to help only did so because we had taken the initiative.

  2. We are coming into the fullness of times.Good is being called evil, and evil good. It used to be that missionaries could assume a knowledge and understanding of Christ, and could start right into the first vision. But we found more and more the necessity to explain that yes there is a God in heaven, even to people in a supposedly Christian country. And don't get me going on the law of chastity -- I found very few couples out side the church that were actually married to one another. And the Sabbath day? Oh dear. You were quite the zealot in Chile if you actually WENT to church EVERY Sunday. They found it easier to commit themselves to baptism then to commit to actually come to church every week (until we explained to them that that was part of the baptismal covenant). But who can blame them in a world where priestcrafts abound? I can't tell you how many people I'd run into who'd been swindled by pastors who'd called the donations, "Tithing."

    However, I found that my mission made me more, rather than less, hopeful for humanity. Perhaps it was the kindness and hospitality of the Chilean people. Perhaps it was seeing the change that the gospel can have in such good peoples' lives. I think most of all it was feeling the pure love of God for his children as I acted as an instrument. never in my life did I imagine I could love a drunk, or a prostitute, or a drug addict with such fervor as I did. --To see how much God loves them, and wants to take them out of the pit they or past generations have dug for them. --To see the seeds of Godhood in every one of them. I mean...I had always believed that we are his children, but to see it and to feel it with such intensity changed my vision of the world and of myself.

    I have determined that people are generally good. Despite it all. People are generally Good and just don't know where to turn to be clean. But that is why, as it states in preach my gospel, Missionary Work is the only thing that can save the world from eminent self-destruction. The restored gospel is incredibly powerful. And we are so blessed to have it.

    Sorry to be so longwinded. This sort of stuff lights a fire in me.

    oh, by the way. Hi! I'm back from Chile!