Hilary Weber, online instructor for BYU-Idaho, spoke at devotional Jan. 22. She spoke about using our nanosecond of mortality to create peace. She also focused on the idea of pluralism, which is the idea that people who disagree can live peacefully in a society together because they are tied together by a shared moral framework.
When asked about the idea for her devotional, Weber said, “Pluralism has been on my mind ever since I read an article back in 2014 from the Church Newsroom titled Difference and Dignity.“
“It seems like when you become aware of a topic then you start to see it everywhere,” Weber said. She noticed that although the idea of pluralism appeared everywhere around her, it wasn’t always expressed well. She even noticed the idea of pluralism popping up in her favorite class to teach — American Foundations. Because of seeing it so much, she tried to find the best ways to explain and discuss it to others.
Devotional talks are only so long, and Weber has been working on this talk since November, when she was first asked to speak at devotional. Weber said, “I really wished I could have shared a story about the Saints in Ghana because they showed us how we can promote pluralism, or follow the rule of law, back when they faced an unjust law in 1989.”
The Latter-day Saints Weber referred to lived in Ghana in the late 1980s. In June of 1989, the Ghanian government banned all organized church worship and activities, which meant the members of the Church there couldn’t meet anymore.
These Latter-day Saints “followed the law and continued to live their religion and worship, but as families in their own separate homes,” Weber said. “(They) responded to this unjust law by following the law with civility, which allowed for the government to not be threatened by them. Although that was a huge trial for those people, an argument could be made that they showed us the way and became a precursor for our shift to ministering and more of a family-home centered teaching.”
She also shared a favorite quote of hers from one of the Church members who experienced the ban: “We realized that the Church is not the meetinghouse that had been taken away by the authorities, but in our own hearts.”
Weber loves teaching about the government and the constitution, and her love of the two are the reason she originally went to law school.
“When you are born into something, it is easy to take it for granted because you do not know anything else,” Weber said. “We live in the most amazing time period in human history with unprecedented prosperity and personal liberty for the ordinary masses. The U.S. Constitution plays a big role in both. I love teaching about how and why it does.”
If she could teach any other class, she would love to continue teaching about the government and teach U.S. Government and Economics. She would want to incorporate economics into a government course, because of the role it plays in everyday decisions.
When asked about the one thing she’d like us to take away from her devotional, Weber said, “God created us differently and has asked us to be one by being peacemakers. We can accomplish this and prosper in the process if we choose pluralism or a system that allows a diversity of cultures to live and engage together under a shared moral framework.”
Hilary Weber has been an online adjunct professor for BYU-I since 2011. She is also an Attorney at Law and lives in Texas. Weber enjoys taking family history vacations, like her trip to Cavendish, Vermont last year. She enjoys these trips because they “give (her) a window into each of these person’s lives.”