Sunday, May 28, 2017

Why is Martin Luther King Junior thought of as a most influential person?




 A most common name that comes to mind when it comes to who is the most influential person is Martin Luther King Junior. Our lifestyle has largely been influenced by him. The society that Doctor King described in his speeches are unfathomable today, and the change in the civilization of the United States of America due to Martin’s work was practically instantaneous. The following quote is an excerpt from his most famous speech at the Alabama State Capital Building:
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. (King 1963)
Since Martin Luther King Junior was murdered on April 4, 1968, he was only able to witness his dream become reality for about three years. The revolution was still an infant. This literature will evaluate the types of influences that he used. The construction capstone class curriculum exposed several. There are ways to influence people that are not motivating, and these were revealed to the author before he made the list of Mister King’s powers. It is interesting that he did not use the powers are not truly motivating. These powers are reward, coercive, legitimate, information, and ecological power. The powers that Martin Luther King did not use will not be explained. His truly motivating powers is his notoriety of his personal power and position. Referent power comes from his integrity, and his expert power come from his intelligent exercise of his scholarship. The proceeding paragraphs will address his powers in the order given next: expert, personal, position, and referent. Expert power will be the first power addressed because it is easily separated from the other powers, and the power is least influential without it being combined with others.
“Unique knowledge of how to perform tasks or solve problems is at the heart of expert power.” (Sessions 2014) Martin Luther King’s journey for equality started at age seventeen in the church, giving his first speech, where his father was a pastor, as he was studying Sociology at Morehouse College. Benjamin E Mays was the president of the college, inspiring him to pursue social justice. After a second bachelor’s degree, the first was Sociology and the second was at Crozer Theological Seminary, Martin achieved a PhD in Theology at Boston University. He developed his expertise in social action since his teenage years. His social justice agenda had the right to vote as the solution to all of Jim Crow laws and persecutions. At that time Lyndon Johnson was the President of the United States of America. The following quote from the Selma movie paints the image as he spoke to President Johnson, proceeding a church bombing, which killed four young girls:
Because there have been thousands of racially motivated murders in the South, including those four girls… And you know the astounding fact that not one of these criminals who murder us when and why they want has ever been convicted. ... Not one conviction because they are protected by white officials chosen by an all-white electorate. And on the rare occasions that they face trial, they are freed by all-white juries. All-white because you can't serve on a jury unless you are registered to vote. (Selma 2014)
His expertise in Sociology, Law, and Theology as he was a pastor gave him great skill in writing speeches. He knew how to inspire a congregation, but his power could not come without his personal integrity. The following paragraphs will describe his personal powers such as his position and referent.
The influence practiced by “personal power is directly associated with a person's behavior, traits, and characteristics.” (Sessions 2014) An example of his personal power is when Jimmie Lee Jackson was murdered for participating in a march against the persecution of black people. He visited his family personally. His demeanor was humble as he spoke to his father, saying “There are no words to soothe you, Mr. Lee. There are no words. But I can tell you one thing for certain. God was the first to cry. He was the first to cry for your boy.” Martin Luther King Junior’s personal power was also expressed in his meetings with the President of the United States of America. He would confront President Johnson with a very deliberate agenda. His persistence got the president to see that legislations needed to be given executively. The president was in a power struggle with Martin Luther King until King’s movement was so momentous that the president’s “War on Poverty” was delayed. The word “fate” in the following quotation of President Lyndon Johnson indicates that he was compelled by Martin Luther King, making “history” to force executive action:
I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy. At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama. There, long suffering men and women peacefully protested the denial of their rights as Americans. Rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. The issue for equal rights for the American Negro is that issue. For this issue, many of them were brutally assaulted. There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is only an American problem. The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting because of his race or color. To correct the denial of this fundamental right, this Wednesday, I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate these illegal barriers. The bill will strike down voting restrictions in all elections, federal, state and local. And we shall do this. We shall overcome. (Johnson 1965)
According to Lyndon Johnson comprehensive legislation was passed more than six months earlier to resolve the persecution of black people; however, it had little influence on state practices. As “history,” which the author analogizes to refer to Martin Luther King, and “fate,” which he analogizes to refer to President Lyndon Johnson, Martin’s “personal power is directly associated with [his] person's behavior, traits, and characteristics,” (Sessions 2014) compelling this speech by the President of the United States of America.
“Position power is a person's authority in connection with his or her position or title in an organization.” (Sessions 2014) As Martin King researched the best location to start his march to a state or national capital, he found that Selma, Alabama was the city. He sought a coalition with The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in Selma to gain a greater following. The leaders of the SNCC resisted Martin Luther King’s team, saying “Maybe we should just leave Selma...” (Selma 2014) One reason that the SNCC resisted is that MLK’s team failed in Albany. After the team’s negotiation fizzled, Martin observed the situation. Approaching the leaders of The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, he said the following Selma film transcript quote:
Enough of this now. I haven't the time for this. None of us got the time for this. John. James. The way our organization works is straightforward. We negotiate. We demonstrate. We resist. And on our best days, our adversary helps the matter by making a mistake. Now, we were in Albany for nine months and we made a lot of mistakes. But their sheriff, Laurie Pritchett, he never made a mistake. Kept his cool, kept arresting us in a humane way, carried people to the jail-wagons on stretchers. Day in, day out. There was no drama.
You mean there was no cameras.
Exactly. Now I know, we all understand, that you young people believe in working in the community long-term. Doing the good work to raise black consciousness. It's good grassroots work. I can't tell you how much we admire that. But what we do is negotiate, demonstrate, resist. And a big part of that is raising white consciousness. And in particular the consciousness of whichever white man happens to be sitting in the Oval Office. Right now, Johnson has other fish to fry and he'll ignore us if he can. The only way to stop him doing that is by being on the front page of the national press every morning and by being on the TV news every night. And that requires drama. Now... John. James. Answer me one question. I've been told the sheriff in this town isn't like Laurie Pritchett in Albany. He's a big ignorant bully like Bull Connor in Birmingham. Well, you tell me. You know Selma. You know Sheriff Jim Clark. Is he Laurie Pritchett? Or is he Bull Connor? (Selma 2014)
In this meeting Martin Luther King displayed a few influences. Informational and position powers was shown as well as a rational persuasion. Another influence that was expressed is that Martin was the higher management support that his team needed to achieve the coalition. MLK told James and John what happened in Albany; said their appreciation, revealing his personal friendly nature; and taught the methodology of his campaign. It took a while to win the full support of The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, but Martin’s input in the negotiation was a good start compared to leaving Selma. A personal scene in the movie had showed the referent power and personal relationship with a leader of the SNCC.
 “Referent power occurs when a follower wants to be like or closely associate with the leader and demonstrate strong loyalty towards the leader.” (Sessions 2014) The campaign was straining on Martin King. Sometimes he would express discouragement in difficult times. After a march demonstration failure, he went on a drive with John Lewis, the SNCC leader. The following quote is a display of his loyalty towards Doctor King:
When I was working with SNCC on the Freedom Rides, the Montgomery bus reached the city limits. We got off. And out of nowhere, from all directions, they came. There was men, women. Kids, too. They had just about every makeshift weapon you could think of. I mean, bats, bricks, tire irons, pipes. I remember... I remember this little girl just clawing her nails into the side of my friend Jessie's face while her daddy... Her daddy beat him with an ax handle. Jessie was unconscious, and they just kept beating on him and beating on him. I must've passed out on the asphalt somewhere. Next day, I found myself patched up and sitting in a church. I could barely hold my head up, but I needed to be there. You were gonna be speaking. And I needed to hear you. And I was feeling down, but you got up there. I'm about to tell you right now. And I hope you hear me. You said that we would triumph. That we would triumph because there could be no other way. And you know what else you said? You said, “Fear not. We've come too far to turn back now.” (Selma 2014)
King’s referent power reflected through John back to him, yet John Lewis was not one of Doctor King’s main team members. The next quote will illustrate the comradery between Martin and his close associate. After a demonstration landed MLK’s team in jail, he asked downheartedly. “What are we doing, Ralphy?” (Selma 2014) Martin’s conversation with his team member is as follows according to the film:
We take it piece by piece. Like we been doing. We build the path as we can. Rock by rock.
This cell is probably bugged.
It probably is.
Oh, Lord. They're gonna ruin me so they can ruin this movement. They are.
Look at the birds of the air that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father doth feed them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
(Selma 2014)

A follower, sustaining their leader, is evident of their devotion. It is also evident of Martin Luther King’s referent power.
In conclusion Martin Luther King Junior set the foundation of his life by studying society with his first bachelor’s degree during his teenage years. He was only thirty-nine years old when he was murdered, yet he practiced influencing social justice for more than twenty years. He became an intentional leader, using meekness with his powers. Martin was a powerful expert, knowing how to execute influential events, protests, and movements. He had the integrity to lead his life and other’s lives, saying “I'm no different than anybody else” (Selma 2014) as he refused government protection. His position gave him authority to use many types of influences to accomplish what he knew what needed to happen. Martin Luther King’s dream is still a referent power that people feel today, promoting equality among all races, cultures, and peoples.


Humility Talk

My wife asked me what doctrine that I will teach about humility. I turn straight to the beatitudes that Jesus Christ taught his disciples. I will also be quoting a lot from Ezra Taft Benson's speech "Beware of Pride." The talk that was given to me to ponder is "Be thou humble" by Elder Steven Snow.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven... And blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost."

Humility is the first step to accessing the principles of the Gospel. We must "desire, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word." (Alma 32:22)

"Think of the repentance that could take place with lives changed, marriages preserved, and homes strengthened, if pride did not keep us from confessing our sins and forsaking them. (See D&C 58:43.)"

"Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion." Zion is the residence of the pure in heart, where "there was no poor among them." "And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God" as the people and city of Enoch. Is this not our hope for the whole world? The second coming is soon. Let us prepare the way of the Lord by establishing Zion. "The Saints are counseled to build up Zion wherever they are living in the world."

I want to discuss these doctrine, applying to our personal lives.

"Pride adversely affects all our relationships—our relationship with God and His servants, between husband and wife, parent and child, employer and employee, teacher and student, and all mankind. Our degree of pride determines how we treat our God and our brothers and sisters. Christ wants to lift us to where He is. Do we desire to do the same for others?"

I am prompted to speak on how we should be humble to yourself, your spouse, your children, neighbors, family, and community. We also should be humble to your God, callings, priesthood, employers, and teachers. If I were to address each relationship, I will be speaking for an excessive amount of time. The following quote from Matthew 22 will simplify my message:

But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

We should be humble and loving to ourselves, loving other people the same way. Also we ought to understand and work well with yourself. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves. There are many ways that people have relationships with themselves. We have to face our weaknesses, strengths, temptations, natural man, bodies, minds, backgrounds, upbringing, and spirit. There are many ways that we need to be humble to ourselves.

I like to have personal definitions for words.

  • The recognition of our weaknesses takes humility because we are self-aware. 
  • My wife attended the strengths strategies workshop. It is based on Deanna Murphy the P2B speakers curriculum. It recommends that we lead our lives with your strengths rather than focusing on your weaknesses. Find a passion to pursue, and your weaknesses will not be as bad. 
  • Temptations are our personal struggles with specific sin. 
  • The natural man are the natural tendencies of man to achieve their unrighteousness selfish desires with the least amount of effort. Let me give you an example. In Elder Snow's talk, he said "As we raise our own children, we need to help them remain humble as they mature into adulthood. We do not do this by breaking their spirit through unkindness or by being too harsh in our discipline."
  • We have to be humble to our bodies. Our bodies have requirements to be healthy, and they are not perfect. The imperfections of our bodies require a greater humility. 
  • Our minds have habits to many times we defeat ourselves before we attempt to do something. Our minds have their personal way of interpreting the world. 
  • Each of us have our own personal experiences that have shaped us. We may be limited and may have confidence to do things based on the experiences of our lives. 
  • We have to be humble to how we have grown from a child. Understand that we have been shaped by the people around us, and people who have raised us. 
  • We need to respect and be humble to our spirit because we can forsake our spirit and become enveloped in the many aspects of what makes us who we are. We are spirit children of God, our Father in Heaven. 
  • We also have to be humble to the Holy Ghost who prompts us very privately to do things that we can only do. Do the things that you personally feel that is right for you based on your personal revelation. 

"We can choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high or higher than we are. (See D&C 38:24; D&C 81:5; D&C 84:106.)

"The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.” It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us."

We should recognize the enmity, “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition" that we have within ourselves, and we should forsake them. We should esteem all people as we do ourselves.

When we recognize ourselves as we understand our state of being, we can recognize other people for what they might be enduring. Treat every moment as a personal moment. Listen to each other, not having a loaded answer to reply.

Be willing to change. As we understand who we are, we are self-aware. We can recognize what is bad in our souls. We can face them, and try to overcome our personal challenges.

"Spencer W. Kimball, the 12th President of the Church, said: 'How does one get humble? To me, one must constantly be reminded of his dependence. On whom dependent? On the Lord. How remind one’s self? By real, constant, worshipful, grateful prayer.'"