The Problem with Tolerance

Hawkgrrrlapologetics, Asides, catholicism, Charity, christianity, church, Culture, curiosity, diversity, doubt, General Authorities, inter-faith, LDS, Leaders, liberal, media manipulation, Mormon, mormon, Mormons, obedience, orthodox, prophets, questioning, racism, religion, theology, thought 133 Comments

The church has a history of high level leaders making sweeping pronouncements that are later deemed incorrect, speculative, or unauthorized, yet in each case, church leaders are reluctant to make public correction of those presumptions.  This tolerance sometimes results in dogmatic voices flourishing, drowning out those same tolerant voices that have graciously granted them access to the open mic.

This problem is similar to the problem of freedom of speech.  Do you only allow freedom of speech until someone says something you don’t like?  Those with less dogmatic viewpoints are also less likely to condemn the sweeping pronouncements of others for the same reason they don’t make them.  They may be more self-critical and more reluctant to express their opinions when those opinions will affect others.

Here are a few examples of this problem (many of these are included in the book David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism):

  • Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine.  This was published without prior authorization from the FP under the most presumptuous title imaginable.  While Pres. McKay was highly incensed over it, requiring two apostles to research and find over 1000 errors in the book, no public correction was made other than to tell BRM that the book should not be republished.  BRM accepted the private correction, but repeatedly requested that the book be allowed to be republished.  Eventually, in his dotage, Pres. McKay gave a sufficiently cryptic response that BRM took it as license to republish.  Among the worst criticisms of the book:
    • It referred to the Roman Catholic church as the Church of the Devil, stating that this was what was meant by the Book of Mormon’s “harlot of the earth” reference.  It was so harsh that it caused RC Bishop Hunt, a friend to Pres. McKay, to come to Pres. McKay with tears in his eyes asking if this was what McKay thought of him.
    • It propounded the inaccurate “Cain” doctrine (borrowed from Protestantism) as justification of the Priesthood Ban.
    • It prohibited all caffeinated beverages from the Word of Wisdom (despite Pres. McKay’s own personal affinity for Coke).
    • And many many more . . .
  • Ezra Taft Benson’s association with the John Birch Society.  As an apostle, Benson was staunchly anti-communist.  He quickly became enamored with the newly formed John Birch society and was repeatedly courted by founder Robert Welch to join the society and to use his apostolic influence to encourage other Mormons to join.  Pres. McKay refused to consent to both Benson’s membership and endorsement of the John Birch Society, but Benson persisted and even resorted to trickery to try to convince Pres. McKay to be featured on the cover of the monthly magazine of the society.  Again, no public disavowal of the organization or Benson’s tactics was ever made, and many members were led to believe that the church endorsed the John Birch Society.
  • Joseph Fielding Smith’s Man, His Origin and Destiny.  The book states authoritatively (yet without authority) that evolution is false, a matter of Joseph Fielding Smith’s personal speculation.  David O. McKay specifically said he believed evolution was a true scientific principle; yet no corrective action was taken to diminish the book’s significance.
  • Paul H. Dunn’s stories.  While not dogmatic, they are riddled with hyperbolic glurge that purports to “prove” the church is true, which can be faith demoting when individuals discover the stories are fictional.
  • The Priesthood Ban.  This is a pretty basic one.  While David O. McKay was the first to acknowledge this was a policy (therefore “of man”) and not a doctrine (no originating revelation), there was no public repudiation of the rampant racist rhetoric of the time until much later when the ban had been removed, and the rhetoric had continued in justification.  In fact, this is a great example of a time when Bruce R. McConkie (much later) fell on the sword publicly, apologetically stating that the things they had said were all wrong.
  • Spencer W. Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness.  This was written in 1969 and contains errors that are potentially harmful to those who read it if they are in a vulnerable emotional state or prone to take things far too seriously, such as:
    • It’s better to be killed than to be a rape victim.  This also implies that those who don’t die as a victim of a rape attempt were somehow willing participants, a particularly disturbing notion for both victims of rape and children of incest.
    • It states that wet dreams are sinful, implying that they are voluntary and not biological.
    • It has been criticized alternately as too harsh (by internal critics) and as un-Christian (by external critics) in diminishing the power of the atonement to redeem by focusing on human efforts.

In the above cases, the standing prophet was unwilling to make public correction, instead preferring to hope that the inaccurate information would die out on its own over time.  There was a desire not to reduce the influence of the General Authority who had erred in speculation through public correction.  The actual effect seems to have been that the tolerance and generosity of the standing prophets has caused these individuals’ voices to be the loudest of all, to the point that their doctrines and interpretations are mainstream or orthodox over the more tolerant religious views.

Is this the way of the world?  Do the loudest voices always win?  Are the loudest voices always the most harsh and dogmatic?  Was it always this way, or is this simply the current trend?  Or is this how we learn humility?  Is this a human condition that is just a natural byproduct of all organizations or a particularly Mormon trait?  Is this an example of those who act (those who prefer to take charge and define requirements for others) vs. those who are acted upon (those who prefer to “go with the flow,” or be passive & tolerant)?


Comments 133

  1. There are also examples of excommunicated GA’s and apostles (George P. Lee, Lyman Wight, William E. McLellin), where they weren’t tolerant.

    Perhaps it depends on how much they are more contrite and willing to work with the authorities or if they are unbending in their misguided beliefs.

  2. Isn’t it possible that sweeping de-nouncements could be just as dangerous as sweeping pronouncements. Either one requires revelation to know what the truth of the matter is.

  3. What I believe happens is that they agree from an early age to respect and not criticize leaders no matter what and to not criticize the Church but defend and uphold it as an institution of good. Even with current local leaders one is clearly taught that it isn’t our place to declare the ‘brethren’ wrong in any way or incorrect in any policy or doctrine. That while the church organization is inspired and perfect the people aren’t. Why then would it be any different once they reach the 1st presidency? I do think they freely and openly discuss issues in the top councils of the church as President Eyring said in his press conference when called, but it isn’t made public at all since they believe that enemies of the church could use it against the church too.

    I think it is ingrained in their blood forever, it’s in the leadership culture, a rule that all agree with. In this culture is also the belief that the defense of the church as an institution is of utmost importance, so if a subordinate does seriously fall out of line he is dealt with within the culture, with most details secret from the general public, only in rare cases with a statement be issued to the church, not the public, that this person was ex’d, as will Lee, but that’s it.

    The ” desire not to reduce the influence of the General Authority who had erred” is also because it may reduce the influence of the church as a whole, the church they passionately defend. So the prophet’s tendency (McKay above) will be to sweep things under the carpet to also hamper the use of anything which the enemies of the church can find to be critical of it as an institution. Why, they may ask, give the opposition any fresh ammunition to use against us?

    And so it continues today with the famed First Presidency Vault hiding anything controversial. Plus they will say that matters of church discipline wont be made public etc even if a Stake President goes to jail for underage sex…well especially not in that case.

  4. Re: Priesthood ban.

    “there was no public repudiation of the rampant racist rhetoric of the time until much later”

    Although true there is something that still bothers me a bit about this. The actions of the church and church leaders since then has been anything but racists yet we tend to overlook this fact. Many have sacrifice time and effort, and even health sometimes, to take the gospel and priesthood blessings to all races. Nigeria and Philippines are booming with local leadership at stake/ward levels. Sure there is no black apostle yet but that’s more of a problem the Lord has for not calling one and how does one constructively criticize Jesus??

    Anyway, although they did say many bad things in the past the current church isn’t racists at all. Maybe a bit elitist and unfair at times but not racists.

  5. @KG McB – I don’t believe any of your examples illustrate HG’s point about “doctrine,” but they do highlight what happens when a GA challenges authority or becomes an embarrassment. Do you have doctrinal examples?

  6. I find such criticisms of church leaders to be inappropriate and can lead to apostasy. Sure, our leaders are just as human as we are, but when we discuss their faults, we enter into the danger of feeling resentment toward them. We then begin to discount their instructions to us simply because “that’s their opinion” or that they “aren’t that inspired”. This is a dangerous topic that only leads to doubts and distrust toward the Lord’s called servants.

  7. Post

    FoshaBen – please clarify. Which “criticisms” do you mean? To which “faults” do you refer: the fault of overreaching or the fault of not correcting overreaching?

    And when their opinions differ and have been expressed publicly, which opinions are you suggesting it is dangerous to discount? In the above examples, the higher ranking person had the more heterodox perspective and felt it unwise to correct the more strident view expressed by someone junior to him. So, which view are you suggesting we not dismiss?

  8. I think it is a “damned if you do and “damned if you don’t” scenario. Most members either don’t know or don’t care about the situations Hawk describes. if they do know,w they are content with the explanations of the lack of explanations. It is mainly those on the Bloggernacle that demand the retractions. Not 100% of the time, but mostly. And if they did get a retraction or explanation, they would be just as critical. I.E. The expression of regret over MMM was not enough for some because it wasn’t an out and out apology…..

  9. Interesting to read about JFS’s dismissal of evolution on a day when one reads reports of the discovery of a missing link.

    Great post Hawkgrrrl and one must of course remmber Ronald Poleman whose 1984 talk on the difference between the Church and the gospel was not only heavily edited when published but re-recorded as if it had never been given.

  10. Excellent post, Hawk.

    The default for the Q12 & FP is unanimity prior to public announcement. Contrary to the belief of some members, they don’t sit around debating doctrine all day, and they don’t spend all their time in the temple seeking revelation on every point of doctrine. This means there is relatively little stated as the “official Church position” on most doctrinal issues.

    Apostles teach radically different things occasionally, and slightly different things constantly. For every Elder McConkie, Elder Maxwell and Pres. Uchtdorf (dynamic public speakers) there is a Hugh B. Brown, Joseph B. Worthlin and L. Tom Perry ( . . . not so dynamic public speakers). Elders McConkie and Wirthlin are great examples of what happens when the words of someone with an extraordinarily forceful presentation style (BRM) differ from someone with a more moderated, less dynamic style (JBW). The words of the former are remembered decades later, while the words of the latter are forgotten after only a few years.

    Fwiw, Elder Wirthlin’s recent talk, “Concern for the One” currently is my favorite of all time. It should be superglued to the bedroom wall of every member who struggles in some way with the Church – and it addresses subtly what Hawk addresses in this post. Elder McConkie and Pres. Uchtdorf are great examples of piccolos among the apostles – the instruments that are the easiest to hear. Elder Wirthlin was a great example of a french horn or oboe – a beautiful but muted sound that is easy to miss among the louder instruments but which adds a wonderful counter-part that would leave the symphony less vibrant if it was missing. The issue is that the french horns and oboes – by their very nature and construction – can’t compete in volume level with the piccolos, trumpets and alto saxophones. Therefore, what the audience hears and remembers tends to be the loudest voices – and only the trained ear ends up hearing the full richness of the entire orchestra.

    The orchestra would be much poorer without those supporting instruments, just as the Q12 & FP would be without the Elder Wirthlins and Elder Andersens (my initial impression), but the Uchtdorfs and Hollands will be the voices most remembered simply by nature.

  11. “hyperbolic glurge”–gotta love that (had to look it up)

    The institution, rightly or wrongly, protects itself. Pres McKay said Elder McConkie’s “career” would not outlive the deserved public dressing down over Mormon Doctrine. The brethren were protecting the reputation of one of its leaders, not only for the leader’s sake, but because he was one of “its” leaders.

    Truth would be nice, but I guess we don’t really want out weaknesses out there either.

  12. I could not agree more Ray. Do you think his teaching and talk were especially noticed in the Church at large, or did it mainly strike a chord for those of us who occasionally feel out of harmony I speak for myself.

    I try to mention it whenever I teach High Priests Group in my blue-striped shirt

  13. Post

    “It is mainly those on the Bloggernacle that demand the retractions. Not 100% of the time, but mostly. And if they did get a retraction or explanation, they would be just as critical.” I agree with this statement. The BOM also talks a lot about “if there are weaknesses, they are the weaknesses of men.” There’s something wrong-headed about assuming our own weaknesses are less glaring than others that we find unacceptable. Which is why this is problematic for leadership in the church – what do you do when someone wanders off the reservation when it wasn’t really fenced in the first place?

    I think Ray is spot on as well. I have long suspected that we have to tune our ear to hear the quieter voices and the silences if we really want to understand the gospel, even finding ways to tune out what predominates at times.

    I have pointed this issue out to observe and understand it. Something as wonderful as “tolerance” has a downside. And that’s fascinating to me.

  14. Great post Hawkgrrrl.

    I think it is a simple cost/benefit analysis. To publicly call out the mistakes of leaders simply brings more attention to the mistakes. I think the Church has avoided doing this because the benefit (clarifying the mistakes) is outweighed by the attention that will be given to the mistakes if they are specifically addressed and corrected. From a practical perspective, it is also probably the best strategy. Perhaps some incorrect principles will be remembered by many members but they will fade with time. I think this is akin to a bishop interrupting and putting a stop to a member who is bearing testimony which contains some false doctrine, it’s not worth the trouble unless it gets really bad. Correcting minor errors is not worth offending the member.

    However, in the case of Mormon Doctrine, I think that one may have been a big enough deal that the Church should have acted more aggressively in clarifying it.

  15. Haven’t I read something to the effect “Whoa to those who claim all is well in Zion”? (see 2 Nephi). If they are leading people astray with silly doctrine, they ought to be called out not followed blindly.

    @Jeff Spector – I find your trivialization of MMM a bit disturbing. The problem was that when the Church was asked if their prepared statement constituted an apology, they said NO. (Paraphrasing “we don’t have anything to apologize about we just regret that it happened”). It’s not as if they tried to apologize and it didn’t come out right, they purposely and carefully crafted that statement.

    Truly, this MMM point illustrates the heart of HG’s observation: the apostles can’t/won’t admit their wrong, even when its glaringly obvious. So if they won’t admit fault, apologize, or correct inappropriate teachings, their credibility suffers. And if you can’t trust your leaders how can you dare follow them?

  16. BEMG, what else could they do with regard to MMM and still be true to the evidence? They apologized to the Indians who took the blame for so long, and they admitted the action by the local saints was horribly wrong. They expressed regret that it had happened. All they “failed” to do was admit blame from the institutional Church in SLC – and there is no evidence that the institutional Church in SLC was to blame.

    No other incident like MMM happened anywhere else, even though multiple wagon trains went through the territory. There is no solid evidence Brigham ordered it, and there is every indication that he did not want wagon trains attacked as they passed through the area. Seriously, they are being asked to issue a formal apology from the Church for something that appears to have been done by local members. That’s like asking asking a corporation to issue a formal apology for the embezzling of a mid-level manager. All the corporation can be expected to do is express regret over it happening – not apologize in a way that makes them appear culpable.

    Iow, MMM has absolutely no bearing on apostles “admitting they are wrong” – and the entire last paragraph is ridiculous. The leaders have jettisoned WAY too many former teachings (and stated bluntly that they were wrong) for that statement to go unchallenged.

  17. @RAY

    You’ve proved my point. Jeff said that the statement was an apology. I said it wasn’t intended to be an apology because the church doesn’t think they need to apologize. Thank you for confirming that. But then, for an inexplicable reason, you launched into a defense of the church without solid footing.

    Now Ray, I would highly suggest that you expand your reading of MMM.. I suggest a collection of primary documents put together by Bagley for the Kingdom of the West series. Then you can judge for yourself.

    “He did not want wagon trains attacked as they passed through the area” — giving away the cattle to Indian chiefs (that they had seen on their trip up) and repeating statements that he wouldn’t hold back Indians any longer as a threat to the feds is in direct contradiction to that statement. That’s just for starters. But as I admire Hawkgirl and her posts I will restrain myself from further hijaking her thoughtful thread.

    Now this is a great example of hierarchy misfires that should be set straight, in keeping with the thread. As reproduced in Bagley’s book, the hierarchy gave repeated fire and brimstone sermons threatening extreme violence. GAS went on a speaking tour in southern Utah just before the massacre using the same rhetoric (also carrying oral instructions with meeting dates later culled from church records). That rhetoric was repeated ad naseum from bully pulpits around MMM. SO, CASE IN POINT, the apostles should apologize for the hierarchy’s teachings of extreme violence and the role that played in MMM. Those teachings were obviously wrong and require sincere apology. Those sermons lead to MMM, no doubt about it. To say that the hierarchy doesn’t need to apologize for middle-level managers carrying forth the company mission sounds more PR than common sense.

    As an aside, I notice you qualify the standard of evidence for BY’s involvement as “solid” and I think that’s cute.

  18. BEMG, I’ve read every bit as much about MMM as almost anyone, so let’s let this drop. I’ve always said MMM should be evaluated and analyzed fully in light of all the circumstances at the time – including the tensions inherent in a “wartime” environment. Charges of “cuteness” aren’t worth discussing.

  19. BEMG,

    “@Jeff Spector – I find your trivialization of MMM a bit disturbing.” I used it as an example, that’s it. I don’t trivialize it in the least. It was a horrible thing.

    “You’ve proved my point. Jeff said that the statement was an apology.”

    No, I didn’t. Read it again, please.

    “I suggest a collection of primary documents put together by Bagley for the Kingdom of the West series”

    Bagley has a POV and wrote to that POV. Others do not agree with his POV.

  20. It appears to me that some people are more interested in heckling than discussion. If you can’t state your opinions with respect, please comment somewhere else.

  21. #22 ouch!

    Ray #10: “Elder McConkie, Elder Maxwell and Pres. Uchtdorf (dynamic public speakers) there is a Hugh B. Brown, Joseph B. Worthlin and L. Tom Perry”

    Ha? Say what? I always found McConkie boring, Maxwell slightly boring but Perry (and Uchtdorf) dynamic! Further proof that you must be from Venus and me from Mars? 🙂

    #18 The MMM ‘expression of regret’ is a good example of how the church handles controversy. They apologized to the Indians for taking the blame but didn’t bend the knee to the critics from Little Rock. But most of all they didn’t condemn the past leaders especially Young’s rhetoric or any GA’s war cry. That is the way Mormon management functions: express empathy to victims if possible but never criticize past leaders, or current leaders, publicly.

  22. Fwiw “Spencer W. Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness”; Kimball did add into the preface a note that the work was his and his only and not the church’s doctrine… Today I doubt he would include those words.
    Also his view that masturbation often leads to homosexuality was a bit baffling.

  23. “…one must of course remmber Ronald Poleman whose 1984 talk on the difference between the Church and the gospel was not only heavily edited when published but re-recorded as if it had never been given.”

    Are you saying this was a bad thing? Or that the brethren should have done the same in other instances–as per the topic of the thread?

  24. As a “family man” I’ve learned not to highlight the “failings” of my immediate or extended family members. When a brother in law, son, niece, nephew, uncle, and etc have success we praise them. When they fail at something, or do something wrong, big or small, we are tender towards them. I have extended family members recovering from serious addictions and even crime, we let them know they are loved and that our prayers are with them. This creates harmony–it’s the Lord’s way.

    The church is an institution and not exactly like a family, but in many ways the leaders treat one another like family. My point is that those things pointed out by Hawkgrrrl can be dealt with in many ways, and the leaders have a way to deal with them that promotes harmony at all levels. Shining a spot light on faults is a fools tool, as is lying about it. Working behind the scenes to correct errors is most often the best for all concerned.

    I think the most difficult issue the church has dealt with in modern times is the MMM, even though the church is not directly responsible for what happened. As far as I can tell the church is generally respected by most of those who are descendants of those who were murdered. That says something about the church. The movie that came out last year about the MMM was a flop. Thankfully, the public didn’t buy into the cheap portrayal the movie makers wanted to hang on the church.

    Nearly my last point, the churches history, both current and former day, is for the most part, outstanding. Those things Hawkgrrrl listed are relatively minor problems. How many scandals can be laid at the feet of the apostles and prophets. The fact Elder McConkie–in hindsight–may have done a better job with MD is certainly forgivable. Elder Kimball’s book may not have been a master piece, but it contributed many important approaches to the miracle of forgiveness. Elder Benson’s association with the JBS was his business and I don’t know of anyone who suffered from it. Elder Dunn’s deceptive story telling is sad, very sad. The Priesthood ban shows the church is led by the Lord. The revelation on the Priesthood is a testimony to the divinity of the church for those who love it, and seen as a man made accommodation by critics and naysayers.

    Making a mountain out of a mole hill is a favorite tool of the adversary, as is making a mole hill out of a mountain. Lucifer blinds the minds and eyes of those who fall for his skewing of reality. The bloggernacle needs to rise above this failing and I am confident it will, given time.

  25. My impressions and memory of the Church during the 1960s and 1970s (and perhaps earlier, but I wasn’t around then) is that some of the leaders (JFS, BRM, in particular) seemed to have a desire to explain every scripture and every possible doctrine, leaving no doubt in anybody’s mind what “this or that” meant in the scriptures. My favorite example is JFS interpreting “it remaineth in the sphere in which I, God, created it” (Moses 3:9) as meaning man will never go to the moon because the earth is our “sphere”. Beginning in the 1980s, the “we know everything and will tell you about it” posture seemed to lessen and continues to trend down. My personal opinion is that this change occurred primarily because of Pres Hinckley’s influence. Nowadays, the messages we hear seem more focused on Christian living, encouragement, and honoring our covenants. I think this is a natural progression as the church matures in an increasingly secular world where the concerns about sustaining church growth have more to do with science, technology, and the near global collapse of family-centered morality than they do about exotic doctrinal points. JFS and BRM were men for their time serving the members of the church as they deemed best. Today we have a different type of leadership because there are different problems. All are doing the best they can as they strive to serve the Lord. While somewhat interesting from a church historical perspective, there seems to be little reason to drag these incidents and (perceived) grievances up from the past. It kinds of reminds me of people who ward-shop when what they should really be doing is working hard to make their own ward better!

  26. Sparsile,
    I like your point and think that at different times there were needs for different types of leadership. That is one thing that I have thought of as we take time to dissect BY or JS words or actions, we are looking through our perspectives in our day and age with our influences and our technology and our education, and projecting these things on to people who acted in the 1800’s with a completely different environment and state of progression.

    I don’t think there is one way to be right and that would be a constant successful leadership style through all eons of time. 15 men called to apostleship will bring different things to the round table to move the work forward. It should not become dictatorial where the prophet comes into power and has all say and seeks to discipline or suppress his “subordinates”. However, I think Hawkgrrrl is stating sometimes maybe from our perspective it should have happened and it didn’t. Who knows what went on behind upper room temple doors? Michael Jordan didn’t talk bad about teammates outside the locker room but was known to come down hard in private to his teammates. Why should the brethren be different?

  27. Your comments regarding the church position on the Birch Society are not quite accurate:

    January 4, 1963, the Salt Lake Tribune ran an article which was captioned, “L.D.S. Presidency Issues Stand on Birch Society.” This was issued in the formal statement and stated the following:

    The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Thursday issued a formal statement to “correct the false statements and unwarranted assumptions regarding the position allegedly taken by leaders of the church on political questions in general and the John Birch Society in particular.”
    THE STATEMENT follows: “The Church recognizes and protects the rights of its members to express their personal political beliefs, but it reserves to itself the right to formulate and proclaim is own doctrine.
    “WE BELIEVE IN a two party system, and all our members are perfectly free to support the party of their choice.
    “We deplore the presumption of some politicians, especially officers, co-ordinators and members of the John Birch Society, who undertake to align the Church and its leadership with their partisan views.
    “WE ENCOURAGE our members to exercise the right of citizenship, to vote according to their own convictions, but no one should seek or pretend to have our approval of their adherence to any extreme ideologies.
    “WE DENOUNCE communism as being anti-Christian, anti-American, and the enemy of freedom, but we think they who pretend to fight it by casting aspersions on our elected officers or other fellow citizens do the anti-communist cause a great disservice.
    “WE AGAIN URGE our bishops, stake presidents, and other officers of the Church to refuse all applications for the use of our chapels, cultural halls, or other places for political meetings, money-raising propaganda, or to promote any person’s political ambitions.”
    THE STATEMENT was signed by President David O. McKay, Henry D. Moyle and Hugh B. Brown, counselors in the First Presidency of the church.”

  28. sparsile – I appreciate you bringing in the historical perspective, as it is vital to this conversation. Even so, regardless of the time in which leaders live, it is interesting that some feel obligated to define doctrine through opinion and are very confident in those opinions while others feel obligated to demur until the Lord compels them. Both have righteous desires, doubtless, but their methods result in one set of views getting more airplay.

  29. “…others feel obligated to demur until the Lord compels them”

    examples of demurring? That sounds so passive for being in such a powerful position, I’d like to understand more of what you mean by that and who seems to act that way. Is it a zealousness you speak of? Some are so intent in doing all they can in the service of God they push for perfection, progress, results, knowledge? Is it pride?

    While others are more humble and seek God to deliver the message and until then, just don’t rock the boat? Would you say Pres Hunter was that way?

  30. In the examples above, David O. McKay specifically felt compelled to demur until the Lord compelled him, even when it went against his personal feelings. All his corrections of others were made very privately. Yet, at the time, he was very angry about some of these overzealous exertions.

    Interestingly, (the plot thickens), Benson was one who was overreaching in his strident anti-communist views as an apostle, and many were leery about him being church President, but when he actually got in the role, he was just a kindly man talking about his love for the Book of Mormon. So, perhaps the top job softens even those who were kind of over-the-top in the one-level-down slots.

    Pres. Hunter was pretty mild all around from what I recall.

  31. One thing that some of you are over looking in your defense of the general authorities not criticizing each other is that the mistakes they let pass do hurt people and they hurt people’s testimonies. For example, I worked as a counsilor for rape victims and President Kimblalll words about it it is better to die defending yourself than to be raped caused extreme damage. I can’t tell you the hours it took me explaining that the man simply did not know what he was talking about. My clients then doubted my faith because it HAD to be church doctrine and true or the church would have said something. Many of my clients left the church over his words. Some had attempted to fix the situation that they would have been better off dead than surviving by attempting suicide. The church had this mistake repeated many times in the church lesson manuels until fairly recently. There are some mistakes that are just too serious to ignore and say that it will do more damage to the respect for the apostle to criticize and correct him than his misguided words will do. By not saying something the church condones the words. Yes, it might draw attention to them if the church tries to correct them, but to not draw attention to it leaves it there to hurt people and cause them to leave the church. Some ideas are just too dangerous to leave out there for people to believe.

  32. #33 “My clients then doubted my faith because it HAD to be church doctrine and true or the church would have said something. ”

    Yes, that’s what most members will say because it comes from a senior apostle. Imagine trying to tell a bishop that his thoughts on rape are incorrect when they are just repeating Kimball’s message?

    But this rape issue is much more critical since it does effect people in the way you describe here so if it was up to me I would issue some church wide statement to repudiate this although there isn’t any need to bring Kimball’s name into it. It could be done. They actually do something similar to this in training sessions on abuse but that may be every 5 years or so which makes it all very ineffective. The least the Kimball family could do today, or the publishers or whoever holds the rights, is delete that paragraph from future editions and issue a correction, plus send that paragraph of to the first presidency vault! I’m not sure if its the church that owns the rigths to Miracle of Forgiveness but certainly this is too serious a matter to ignore anymore.

    Note that Elder Scott said something along these lines when he said in conference ’92 “At some point in time, however, the Lord may prompt a victim to recognize a degree of responsibility for abuse. Your priesthood leader will help assess your responsibility so that, if needed, it can be addressed” (?@&*say what???) but, when he talked about abuse again last year he didn’t say this at all or even close -apostles learn too like we all do.

  33. by the way, problem with Kimball’s language is this:,5143,515039389,00.html

    “The man took her inside his car and drove to Kiwanis park where he raped and sodomized her and threw her out of the car. It was nearly two years before the woman was emotionally stable enough to talk to Lemmon about the rape. “She said something that blew me away. She said, ‘I should have died before I let him do that to me,’ ” Lemmon said. “I was troubled that she had to believe that.”

    etc etc,

  34. Hawkgirl, another great post. In our High Priest Quorum three out of four weeks we have brothers that think the books written forty years ago by President Benson are part of the Standard Works of the Church. As we were having the lesson out of the Joseph Smith lesson book on peace, one of our members jumped up and read to us out of one President Bensons’ books about how the Elders of the Church will rescue the Constitution. That lead to a commentary how the present administration is moving us to communism. I wanted to ask this brother where he had been the last eight years. But this is not the time or the place for these types of discussions, especially with one of the best lessons in that manual

  35. I will try to be more tactful/helpful/friendly from now on, I apologize.

    @JEFF KOW is a collection of primary documents, it illustrates murders that occurred apart from MMM, it illustrates the violent rhetoric. This is not his Blood of the Prophets book, which has an agenda.

    These are my thoughts: We live according to the teachings of men who demand strict obedience and will not admit fault, with very few exceptions over the history of the church. We put them on our walls and incorporate their teachings into every aspect of our lives. And I guess that is the basis of the tension on this thread, I want some accountability.

  36. Once more from me and then I’m done, promise.

    I guess I expect prophets to be able to step outside of present tensions and provide perspective. Wartime should not cloud prophetic teachings. Now, if that happens a time or two, fine, those are failures of men. I don’t think even true prophets can be on 100%. But its the consistency and depth of the problematic teachings that troubles me.

  37. Alas/CarlosJC/BEMG – Some great points, I think, on admitting mistakes–incidentally a post I have schedule for Friday addresses this a little, but you three have covered it well.

  38. Alas – I agree that not doing anything can be damaging. It’s easy for people to say “all critics are on the slippery road to apostasy” while dismissing the fact that real people’s lives have been negatively impacted in real ways by some of these things.

    For example, on each of these from the post, there are real casualties:
    – Many of the inaccuracies in Mormon Doctrine have become part of the culture, even though some have been identified as false. Even so, statements about Roman Catholicism being “the whore of the earth” have created actual animosity between Mormons and Catholics, and those hateful feelings have been repeated over decades by naive, stupid missionaries who accepted that interpretation. As recently as last year, some Mormon missionaries took pictures of themselves making fun of an RC shrine. I suspect this derisive behavior was an outcropping of the culture perpetuated by MD’s statements. Likewise, statements explaining the Priesthood ban, simply because they were in print in MD still get trotted out and have been inculturated. I personally know of two investigators who were disgusted by these statements that members shared with them decades later and these investigators quit studying the church as a result (this was after 1978, but before BRM’s verbal statement that it was all wrong). And people have felt justified in judging others for drinking caffeinated beverages not prohibited by the WoW or have required converts to give those up based on what MD says.
    – Regarding the John Birch society, this just creates additional political tension in the church to the point that some right-wing members believe that if you are a Democrat, you are not living the commandments and should not be at church. Some Democrats feel that they are unwelcome or that they must keep their mouths shut in discussions at church.
    – Despite the Y teaching evolution, there are still many church members who feel it’s incompatible with church doctrine.
    – Paul H. Dunn’s stories shake the faith of people who “felt the spirit” when they heard the stories. Suddenly they wonder if they’ve ever really felt the spirit. These stories are also a problem for those who “seek for a sign” and considered the stories as proof that the church was true (in lieu of a testimony).
    – Alas has done a great job capturing the damage done by some of the errors in MoF. There are many examples of this, and it is probably the most damaging (although MD is a close second).

    I tend to agree with CarlosJC that the church can make corrections to these things, but several things would have to be done: 1) correct everything that’s in print and demand a recall on the bad copies (a girl can dream), 2) fix all manuals & correlated materials so that these things aren’t perpetuated, 3) provide stronger, more consistent verbal instruction that repudiates these things and eliminates the damaging teachings. Actually, I think that #2 and #3 are being done to some extent. I personally don’t care for an apology from either dead people or people who’ve inherited a hot mess of someone else’s making. The problem is really that the horse is out of the barn. We often think correlation is there to shut down the things we want in, but in reality, it can do a good job at shutting down the things (like those above) that really must go out.

    BEMG: “These are my thoughts: We live according to the teachings of men who demand strict obedience and will not admit fault, with very few exceptions over the history of the church. We put them on our walls and incorporate their teachings into every aspect of our lives. And I guess that is the basis of the tension on this thread, I want some accountability.” I agree that everyone must be 100% accountable. The problem I see with your description is that you absolve lay members of our responsibility to sift between truth & error, placing it entirely on the leadership. I agree the leaders are each 100% accountable for what they say. But only on the condition that I’m 100% accountable for what I believe.

    Also, how do you account for the fact that the current leaders didn’t say this stuff? We’re mostly talking about men who’ve been dead for decades now. Are the current guys 100% accountable for the mess they inherited? Do we give them extra credit for their efforts or just blame them as if they personally said it all? It’s a tough gig. I’ve taken over for predecessors at work and not been aware of the instructions they’d given people who now report to me until time and circumstances reveal that there is an issue.

  39. #33 Atlas said: I worked as a counsilor for rape victims and President Kimblalll words about it it is better to die defending yourself than to be raped caused extreme damage. I can’t tell you the hours it took me explaining that the man simply did not know what he was talking about. My clients then doubted my faith because it HAD to be church doctrine and true or the church would have said something. Many of my clients left the church over his words. Some had attempted to fix the situation that they would have been better off dead than surviving by attempting suicide.

    Following is the quote from President Kimball’s book:

    Also far-reaching is the effect of loss of chastity. Once given or taken or stolen it can never be regained. Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.

  40. Great post you can find a few thousand things that Pres Packer has said as well. I just rewatched an interview with him on PBS a few weeks ago and when he was asked questions about statements he had made he just smiled and said what he believed today and indicated that he probably did say what they accused him of. Which I thought was a great way to answer.

    I sometimes wonder about the quotes used in our lessons, are they truth or an over statement.

  41. Jared – Your quote simply illustrates Alas’s point. The statement in MoF is wrong in implying that a woman who was raped is complicit if she did not fight back or die trying and is damaging counsel to survivors of rape or incest. I’m sure Pres. Kimball (apostle when he wrote it) meant to provide good counsel to prevent the sorrow that accompanies sin and repentance. But he simply didn’t have the training to understand that being a victim of a crime is not a sin. The statement is not just mistaken–it’s reckless and (I assume unintentionally) callous. Perhaps in 1969 these statements were closer to the mainstream. They are certainly not accepted by psychologists and counselors today.

  42. “It is not to be thought that every word spoken by the General Authorities is inspired, or that they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost in everything they write. I don’t care what his position is, if he writes something or speaks something that goes beyond anything that you can find in the standard Church works, unless that one be the prophet, seer, and revelator—please note that one exception—you may immediately say, “Well, that is his own idea.” And if he says something that contradicts what is found in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false, regardless of the position of the man who says it.” The Teachings of Harold B Lee, P. 541

  43. Hawkgrrrl–

    I think your post is excellent and makes the point that members need to be scholars in the scriptures. And as Elder Lee points out we need to measure what we our taught by what is contained in the scriptures.

    The question now is: do the scriptures support what Elder Kimball said in comment #41?

  44. “do the scriptures support what Elder Kimball said in comment #41?”

    Abso-freaking-lutely not. No one can take away someone else’s chastity or virtue; a victim of rape has not lost her chastity or virture in any way – any more than a victim of a different kind of physical assault. That victim is no less clean or pure than before the attack – and to suggest that it is better to be dead than “defiled” (and to even use that word) is an OT concept that should be buried DEEP.

    Elder Kimball grew up with a mentality about sex that included a warped view of rape – one that we simply should not accept anymore. It was held for thousands of years; it’s now time to let it go.

  45. I agree with Ray as well. But the problem is, what is a member supposed to think who reads what a prophet said? I understand he wrote it before he became the prophet but all anyone would see now is the name of a prophet on the book. That is sad to me.

    And if this member decided on his own or determined through the teachings of subsequent leaders that Kimball was wrong about this issue, it is only natural that the member may question other seemingly antiquated teachings of the church.

    It seems the church has definitely had periods with too much doctrinal detail (Mormon Doctrine and Miracle of Forgiveness and The Doctrines of Salvation) and other eras where it’s ok not to have the answer for everything, like Hinckley’s time and when BH Roberts was seeking answers and given very few from the brethren.

  46. Jared, I think he answered your question. Unless you can find something from the scriptures that supports the quote, it’s safe to say, imo, that it is not supported by scripture.

  47. @Hawkgirl – you’re thoughtful as always. I guess I have a few points – if DHOaks is going to pronounce that apostles are never wrong and must be followed no matter what, then I think he has volunteered to assume the baggage of the past. Would I hold Bednar to Kimball’s mistakes? No, unless he backs them, of course. I would disagree with your work hypothetical, because you don’t claim perfection in instruction (at least I hope not, or else you’re a terrible boss). Also, you only control the work lives of your employees, but your not dictating their morals, ethics, reading habits, behaviors, family life, and on and on. Because of that, I higher standard is appropriate for prophets.

    @HG and Jared. At a personal level, I agree with both of you 100% that members are responsible for what they believe. But practically speaking, that will put you on the fast road to excommunication. You can’t stand up and challenge GA’s for exceeding authority or teaching false doctrine or you’ll be out faster than the Toscanos. Paul was booted for challenging authority and Margaret for speculative theology. Of course, you can believe what you choose to believe but you better keep your mouth shut (thereby killing any semblance of accountability). Thoughts?

  48. Jared, the OT supports what he said. The OT also supports genocide, death by stoning for adultery and homosexuality and all kinds of things we view as relics of the past. No other scriptures do – and even if they did, we let go of things from the past all the time in the Church.

    I held off on elaborating further, but what he said also is rooted in the long-held view that men deserve virgins to marry – and that having one’s virginity ripped away was an offense against the man who had the right to marry a virgin. The idea that a woman should die rather than be raped, at its core, is male-focused and cares NOTHING for the actual well-being of the woman. It’s an abomination.

    I am POSITIVE Elder Kimball didn’t see it that way, but I also am positive he didn’t understand its origins or question what he had heard all his life. Lots of harmful ideologies are forgotten over time, while the practices that grew out of them continue on. Just because this is perfectly compatible with the OT doesn’t mean it is right – and I’d bet my life’s savings that every single current apostle would say it’s better to be raped and live on than to die fighting it – and that a rape victim is not stained inherently by the rape.

    Please, let it go. He was wrong. (and anyone who suggests what he taught to any of my four daughters is going to get more than an earful from me)

  49. I think Jared’s question raises another good question, which is, so what if his comments are supported in the scriptures? I don’t mean that in a flippant way, and I apologize if this was discussed in earlier comments. What I mean is, I could kill my son for being disobedient and justify it by the scriptures. There are thousands of instances of behaviors in the scriptures that we would never endorse or condone, even among active members of the church. Now, you may be restricting your analysis to the BOM only, which would be somewhat of a different matter, but I think it’s still an issue. In my opinion, even if there are scriptures supporting president kimball’s comments, it doesn’t change the fact that in the light of history and education, his comments are simply wrong. Even if you aren’t willing to concede that his comments are patently wrong, I think we could all conceive of something said by a prophet that is supported by scripture that eventually has proven to be false or harmful. (I’m looking at you brigham young) I understand the need in the church to make sure that what’s being taught is harmonious with the scriptures, but I think it’s not enough to stop there. That does not, in my opinion, make a teaching per se correct.

  50. #51 I think Pres Lee’s quote above (#44) is something to be memorized. It is sound counsel.

    When I read Elder Kimball’s remark he says: “There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation.” I wish he would have taken the time to elaborate on this thought, then I don’t think we would be having this same discussion today.

    The rest of his remark comes across harsh and it just doesn’t seem like something he would say. I’m not aware of any other general authority supporting what he said.

    I’m looking up a few scriptures to answer my own question.

  51. Jared – you’ve got a fairly progressive quote by HBL (esp given the speaker), but it seems to assume scriptural literalness. There are things in the OT that are contradicted (upgraded?) in the NT. Parts of the NT contradict other parts of the NT. And basically, the scriptures don’t say anything definitive or instructive about rape (although some rapes are recorded) or about incest (although incest occurs, too). To quote HBL: “if he writes something or speaks something that goes beyond anything that you can find in the standard Church works, unless that one be the prophet, seer, and revelator—please note that one exception—you may immediately say, “Well, that is his own idea.””

    So, these things can be said to go beyond what is covered in the standard works (although if you include GC, you might find more coverage), but the HBL quote has another problem which is that even prophets have made speculations while standing in that office that were mere opinions. Also, that we sustain the Q12 as prophets, seers and revelators, not just the top job.

  52. #53 & 54 & 56

    We are not under the law of the OT. The birth of the Savior changed that. The Book of Mormon and D&C are our main source of scripture (don’t read too much into that).

    If we change the victims status from rape to murder and ask ourselves some of the same questions it helps to create understanding. If someone is murdered as they walk down the street, by an unknown killer, then there is no question the victim is without fault. But if the victim is murdered because they did some wrong to the killer then the pictures changes.

  53. # 59 Hawkgrrrl–

    I think Pres Lee was referring to issues that the scriptures clearly state. As you said, many issues are not answered precisely by consulting the scriptures.

    When it comes to the crime and sin of rape, the scripture clearly teach that forgiveness is available through repentance. The scriptures also teach that we are required to forgive all who have sinned against us.

  54. I’ve got to leave for a few hours.

    The point I am trying to make is that as members of the church we are lead by men/prophets. We live in a fallen world, a very dark place because we are spiritually dead.

    We have been given all that we need to navigate back to Heavenly Fathers presence, but we need to be diligent, especially when it comes to fulfilling our baptism covenant wherein we can have the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

    We are taught that he will show us all things we need to know to get back in Fathers presence.

    #52 AdamF–at this point I agree with you. If I find something different I’ll pay it forward.

  55. Jared, this is getting very close to blaming a victim for being raped. I also am getting uncomfortable with the direction it’s headed.

    Just to be crystal clear and not jump to conclusions, the following is my view:

    Raping someone is a terrible sin. Being raped is not. No victim of rape has to be forgiven for being raped – even in the most egregious case of someone who gets drunk at a party. At worst, in that situation, the person has to learn to change their behavior and stop getting drunk in that situation (so, technically, “repent of” – meaning “change” – that action). That, however, is a FAR cry from having to be forgiven for being raped.

    If you don’t agree with that statement, I am going to bow out – since I’m not sure I will be able to remain calm in a debate over that central point. There really is a problem with tolerance of certain things, and, for me, this is one such topic where I simply can’t tolerate what I hope you are not saying.

  56. Maybe it is best to review my comments on Hawkgirrrl’s post. It appears that some of my comments have been over looked or misunderstood:

    1. # 26 …the churches history, both current and former day, is for the most part, outstanding. Those things Hawkgrrrl listed are relatively minor problems. How many scandals can be laid at the feet of the apostles and prophets.

    2. #26 … Making a mountain out of a mole hill is a favorite tool of the adversary, as is making a mole hill out of a mountain. Lucifer blinds the minds and eyes of those who fall for his skewing of reality.

    3. #41…I quoted #33 Atlas’s comment and inserted a quote from Pres Kimball Book MoF

    4. #44…I quote Pres Lee’s message about using the scriptures.

    5. # 45 & 40 I asked a question: do the scriptures support what Elder Kimball said in comment #41? I wanted to see if anyone had insight on this issue.

    6. #60 …responded to comments about the old testament

    7. #63 …Had to leave and left a summary remark

    #64 Ray said: Jared, this is getting very close to blaming a victim for being raped.

    Let me state clearly that I don’t feel a rape victim needs to repent when they had nothing to do with it.

    I hope that will settle the concern.

    My concern with post that deal with perceived failing of our leaders is that unless it is handled carefully the impression created can be the equivalent to making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    I see inspired men of God who have led the church forward to the current greatness we are now enjoying. Their failing are minor in comparison to their contributions. I hope to see the Bloggernacle flourish and grow. One way this can be realized is to provide a greater focus on our church leaders immense contributions. If we fail to do so we are making mountains into mole hills.

    I’m not saying that we should ignore the things this excellent post highlighted. I’m saying that it needs to be put into proper perspective, however. Take Elder McConkie as an example. In the last few years I have seen disparaging remarks about him on many blogs. In my opinion, the few problems that can be brought up about him are very tiny in comparison to the marvelous contribution he made. Why do we spend 95% of our focus on his faults and 5% on his contributions?

    I think I’ve made my point. Your thoughts…

  57. Great men (without the inspiration of God) can be right a lot of the time and teach wonderful and great things.

    So I am troubled when so-called inspired men, men who allegedly walk and talk with God, are wrong more often or just as often as regular people.

    How many mistakes would it take for you to doubt their level of inspiration?

    I am not trying to be smug or sarcastic, I am asking an honest question? Is the history of the church something that could make you doubt their calling as prophets? If BY had ordered MMM would it change your view? Is there some possible historical wrong that if proven true would be enough to no longer claim them as prophets? Or is the personal testimony you have received sufficient that no matter what they did, no matter how atrocious, you would revere them as prophets?

    Again, I’m asking a hypothetical question. I am not saying they did atrocious things. I’m saying, if they did, would it change the way you feel?

  58. Dexter–

    Fair question. Two part answer:

    There is nothing in the history of the LDS church pertaining to the apostles and prophets that even comes close to reaching a level of financial malfeasance, intrigue, murder, secret adulterous liaisons, and abuse of followers as been seen in other “churches”. We don’t need to look any further than mormon fundamentalist to see examples of blatant evil. None of these things have manifest themselves among the apostles and prophets.

    I have experienced many of the promised manifestations of the Spirit made by both the living and dead prophets. I’ve written a brief testimony about this on my blog. If you’re interested, click my name and see Jared’s Testimony.

    You asked what it would take for me to no longer claim our leaders as prophets.

    I would no longer call men prophets of God who renounced Him by their conduct or words and thereby became like those in 4 Nephi.

    …they did not dwindle in unbelief, but they did wilfully rebel against the gospel of Christ (Book of Mormon | 4 Nephi 1:38)

  59. “Let me state clearly that I don’t feel a rape victim needs to repent when they had nothing to do with it.”

    Jared, your comment above as a qualifier in it. “when they had nothing to do with it”. I hope you’re not implying what I think you’re implying. Do you understand anything about rape? Do you realize the kind of hell victims go through in blaming themselves and accusing themselves for being responsible for the rape? It’s hard enough for qualified counselors to help these good people deal with the nightmare without “well meaning” church members throwing in qualifiers. Ecclesiastical abuse starts with this kind of uneducated, ignorant, self-righteous, BS.

    Jared, you can believe whatever you want and even make all kinds of statements about how you think you’ll be blessed for following the brethren and how close you think those men are to never making a mistake of any real importance. I’ll suppress the urge to call out all the idiotic statements made by pass leaders in an effort to show how silly some of the statements you’ve made on this thread are. But when you go off on rape victims insinuating that they may have something to repent of, I draw the line. With comments like that, you destroy any creditability, either perceived or real, in your writings.

    Ok Ray, go ahead and delete my comment. He just struck a nerve… Sorry, I’ll repent tomorrow.

  60. “There is nothing in the history of the LDS church pertaining to the apostles and prophets that even comes close to reaching a level of financial malfeasance, intrigue, murder, secret adulterous liaisons, and abuse of followers as been seen in other “churches”. We don’t need to look any further than mormon fundamentalist to see examples of blatant evil. None of these things have manifest themselves among the apostles and prophets.”

    This is debatable in the first place. In the second place, “hey, at least were not as bad as the FLDS” isn’t exactly a great defense. The Church has been largely (not entirely) scandal free since the early 1900’s, but most of what drives these discussions is the unexplainable behavior that came in spades with some of the most revered leaders from Church history. Once David O McKay became President of the Church quality control started to become a bigger issue, to where today almost everything that comes from Church leaders is either a PR dodge, or it has been through several layers of editing (correlation), so the fact that they are better at managing the brand isn’t exactly a case for arguing that the leaders have improved. They say very little that wouldn’t be obvious to the average Christian, they provide no clarification on almost anything. On occassion when a GA does step out of line the Church immediately takes action by placing ambiguity over the whole situation, ie, the recent rumors surrounding another talk given by Boyd K Packer that *may* have been misinterpreted (Forest Bend ward – Last days talk). In other words, maintaining corporate safeguards and PR strategies have done a lot to protect the Church from continuing in the same destructive path leaders were apt to follow in the early days by speaking their minds and being “wild Cards”, but while this may have protected the brand it really doesn’t bode well for the claim that God and Christ are at the head of the Church.

  61. Jared,

    To piggy back on Dexter’s comments, do you have any qualms with Joshua claiming God told him to kill every man, woman, child, and animal while destroying Jericho? I have a problem with that.

    (Dexter, please correct me if I’m wrong), I think it’s fair to say that Dexter thinks this would disqualify Joshua as a prophet. I’d prefer to call it a case of mistaken revelation. So, what I’m saying is that I can understand and appreciate Dexter’s position, and I understand I am walking a fine line in calling Joshua a prophet, yet denying that this particular revelation was spoken by God.

    So, it’s not just modern prophets that have the problem Hawkgrrrl illustrates in this post.

  62. Doug G. – I second that emotion. It’s funny that this is even an issue, though, because in the examples above these issues just seem so outrageous and dated. The fact that we’re still hearing some holdover on them is exactly my point. Once a thing is in writing, it’s much harder to correct. And now that so much time has elapsed, even harder. Thank goodness we’ve got the good sense to be able to discern truth from error, right? 😉

  63. Doug G–

    I’ve made it clear how I feel. You’re in a one man argument.

    The only contact I’ve had with a rape victim was a college student raped in San Francisco in the 1960’s. She publically forgave the man and that made headline news. He was black and that made it even more sensational at the time. As I recall the newspapers talked about her mormonism.

  64. Cowboy–

    The church leaders are tuned in to society and the issues of our day. Their smart about public image and that seems to offend some. I don’t agree with that assessment. I think being smart is good policy. Yes, PR isn’t the tidiest business in the world, but entirely necessary.

    The men who lead this church are worthy, sensible, well educated men.

    Most important, they hold the authority of God and are doing His work.

  65. MH–

    Your question is more difficult for me to answer. No, I don’t like the way things transpired in the OT. I would like to use scripture to answer this question.

    I will ask a question in the meantime, should a man defend his family when threatened, even to the shedding of blood?

    I’m out of time for now, but will attempt to share a few thoughts on this tomorrow.

  66. Thanks Hawkgrrrl, I appreciate the support. 🙂

    “Thank goodness we’ve got the good sense to be able to discern truth from error, right?”

    I actually wrote about that on the polygamy thread (Comment # 96). See, some of my LDS upbringing still rumbles around inside this head of mine.


    I’m not having an argument with you, I’m in the process of repenting. So in the spirit of Ray, (may god bless his soul) I’d appreciate it if you just drop it, before I have even more to repent of…

  67. Jared:

    It doesn’t offend me at all how they manage their brand. For the sake of being scriptural, Enoch was labled the “Wild Man” because he completely brushed aside popular etiquette, and even with his short comings of speach he delivered God’s message and made no excuses. That inspires me, quality control on the other hand doesn’t. That’s all I am really saying. Sure, it keeps them out of trouble, but it doesn’t score points either.

  68. I have a hard time seeing the issue raised in the OP as one of tolerance. I think its more correctly ascribed to what happens when institutional leadership understands its purpose as being to create a monologue. The effect is even more dramatic in an institution where leadership is believed to hold ultimate human authority.(A fact that is often used to describe and justify the monologic status of institutional discourse.) It’s the structure and function of monologue that prevents the “correction” of earlier statements, also made as part of a monologue. If one corrects a previous statement, then a dialogue has opened and structural questions are invited in, as is an unending cycle of statement and counter statement. The institution of the church seems to have a strong distaste for such questions. Otherwise a statement such as DHO famous remark on criticism wouldn’t make any sense. Oaks perhaps ironically takes full advantage of his own discouragement of critical engagement by being very willing to use his position to advocate ideological beliefs and structures of thought, that can be quite removed from theology and doctrine, despite being dressed in the latter. But monologue allows this, and in the Mormon contexts insists upon it.

    I think if we had dialogue (in all the word implies) at the institutional level (thinking broadly about what the institutional level is and does) things could be different.

  69. I’ve only just woken up here so I’ve missed a lot but reading through it I’d say that this would be one of the better discussions on mormonmatters.

    Re Hawkgrrrl: “But he simply didn’t have the training to understand that being a victim of a crime is not a sin”… point worth repeating; as well as saying today that they are ‘survivors of crime’ more than victims. The preferred terminology also changes with time.

    I remember Nick Literski writing here in MM somewhere that ‘rape’ is defined as the absence of consent (or similar) so it’s therefore impossible to contribute to the crime. But maybe what Kimball was talking about is best understood if we change the crime to, say, murder as in #60 Jared. Then one can be naive by leaving the front door always open or unsafe by walking in dangerous areas at 2am alone etc but even then we wouldn’t have to repent for getting ourselves murdered since no one deserves to be murdered. But then Elder Kimball, probably, expressed the leaving a front door open as us ‘contributing’ to the crime. They used to say back in ’70’s that a girl in a miniskirt is looking for trouble but we have all matured and dismiss that as false today. Today with out history and current society such words are very out of place and inappropriate and should be corrected to bring them into line with the 21st century. Hence the MoF should also be corrected to bring it up to date without necessarily any condemnation towards Kimball.

    About the scriptures supporting this, well the OT does speak about the penalties for rape hence it must have been considered a crime, and Jacobs son’s anger when their sister was raped, but I’ve never read anything at all which would blame the victim there in the OT or anywhere else. Should make for another good post since a quick google search brings up some interesting, and very long, articles (

  70. Jared, I absolutely believe in the right to defend oneself.

    However, Joshua wasn’t defending anything, he was attacking a people who had lived there for 400 years after Jacob (aka Israel) and his sons left for Egypt because of famine. I’d say the statute of limitations had run out long before. If Jacob and his sons had wanted to return to the promised land, they shouldn’t have waited 400 years to return. At this point, it seems “finders keepers.”

    Brigham Young took his people to a place nobody wanted. Why couldn’t Joshua do the same?

  71. Douglas Hunter: “I have a hard time seeing the issue raised in the OP as one of tolerance. I think its more correctly ascribed to what happens when institutional leadership understands its purpose as being to create a monologue.” Your point is an interesting one worth considering. When I refer to this as the problem with tolerance, it is specifically in recognition that the more tolerant a person is of diverse viewpoints (as David O. McKay is credited), the less likely s/he is to correct others’ statements that s/he considers incorrect, even when those statements are in and of themselves intolerant. IOW, tolerance, by its very nature, tolerates intolerance. (Of course, only some of the above examples are individual leaders using their free agency to preach intolerance while others merely made incorrect statements that were not directly refuted).

  72. #70 MH–

    The question you bring up here has been on my mind for sometime. I haven’t taken the time to research it, ponder on it, and etc. So I am still forming my thoughts.

    Nephi gives us some interesting scripture that relates to this subject. I am getting ready to leave but I wanted to leave a few verses for you to consider.

    1 Nephi 17:23-43 Note the summary in verse 37.

    Hawkgrrrl, Douglas G, Cowboy, and others–

    I’ve enjoyed the exchange of ideas and the opportunity to focus on issues that I don’t generally consider. I’m still puzzled by Elder Kimball’s comment on rape. It just doesn’t seem like him. I think there is more to the story.

  73. Jared, verse 37

    ” 37 And he araiseth up a righteous nation, and destroyeth the nations of the wicked.
    38 And he leadeth away the righteous into precious alands, and the wicked he destroyeth, and curseth the land unto them for their sakes.

    Then if the USA is that righteous nation then Vietnam, oops, Iraq is a nation of the wicked? And all illegals from Mexico and Columbia in the USA are righteous? with the Katrina dead people all wicked?? How would it work?

  74. Here is one answer your question:

    The principle of judgment was operative in the premortal estate, is continuously operative during mortal life, and will continue in the spirit world and beyond, through resurrection and final judgment. In the premortal state Satan and “a third part” of God’s children were denied the opportunity of mortality because they rebelled against God (Abr. 3:24-28; D&C 29:36-38). In mortal life nations and peoples have been destroyed or scattered when they have become ripened in iniquity and the judgments of God have thereby come upon them (1 Ne. 17:37).
    Encyclopedia of Mormonism, P. 773

  75. Jared, I respectfully disagree with Nephi and your interpretation of Ency of Mormonism. While God does act through men, I’d rather he destroy a wicked city like Gomorrah, than have Joshua do the dirty work. I just can’t understand why children and animals need to be slaughtered, instead of trying to preach the Gospel of Repentance. It seems like the children were guilty of their parents transgressions, which goes against one of our articles of faith. I don’t recall that Joshua ever attempted a peaceful solution here. It was “convert or die”, which sounds suspiciously like the Crusades or Jihad, which I think you’ll agree are not Godly acts, despite their adherents beliefs to the contrary.

  76. Post

    MH – I agree. Does it make me a fair weather follower that I’m all cool with revelation when it says to love my neighbor or drive a different route to work, but skeptical of divine commands to kill, even if “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one”? Or does that just mean I’m a rational human being? Of course, if I were going to put out a hit on someone, I wouldn’t hire someone squeamish and lukewarm like me. Surely there are people who specialize in this sort of thing, and I guess God can find them just like the rest of us. On Craig’s List.

  77. Jared:

    I’m going to do a half cartwheel here and see if I can’t come to President Kimball’s defense. A possible exception that President Kimball may have been making is that regarding some of the questionable cases of date rape. Back in the 60’s, and again in the 80’s it became popular, particularly on college campus’s, for male students to slip some form of a date rape drug called Rohypnol (forgive the spelling) into their dates drink. I believe this drug led to a loss of consciousness and short term memory loss. The sad misfortune then became that she would be taken to some discreet location, where she was raped by either a single, or series of men. Part of the social frenzy that ensued on many college campus’s thereafter was for a similar circumstance, where a young man would take a date out to a bar and the two of them would obviously end up binge drinking, and would afterwards participate in either one on one sex or group sex. Afterwards, feeling guilty, the young woman would question whether she had been drugged, and immediately begin to level accusations. In some other cases, men would take these women to the bars in hopes that if they were drunk enough they could persuade the women into sexual activity. In such circumstances, the women often comforted themselves in the conclusion that they must have been raped, when infact they were just duped. I don’t mean to come across unsensitively by suggesting this, but if these are the types of exceptions that President Kimball was referring to, then I think he has a valid point. I completely disagree with the notion however that a woman is better off dead then to have survived a rape, or that a woman who was literally raped against her will, such as in the first example where she was drugged, somehow bares any responsibility for what happened to them.

  78. Cowboy, your comment begs this question – do you honestly feel like a woman is better off dead than to have committed the sin of fornication? Whether it applies to rape or not, there’s no question in my mind that president kimball was saying that is true, and honestly I find that almost equally repugnant. When I left on my mission, my dad, with whom I still have a very good relationship, told me that he’d rather I come home in a box than come home dishonestly. Are you kidding me? I’d rather have you dead than a dishonorable missionary or commit a moral sin? Apart from seeming unbelievably callous to me, why would someone want their child to die at 19 as opposed to having the opportunity to learn and grow and even to, in their mind, experience first hand the beautiful healing power of the atonement of christ? I just don’t get that at all. For me, whether it’s rape or just a promiscuous woman (or man), I still think the statement is unsupportable. If the point of our coming to this earth was to gain a body and THROUGH OUR EXPERIENCE conquer the natural man and make it subservient to the will of god, then I find the statement that you’d be better off dead than sinning to be completely at odds with the entire point of mortality.

  79. brjones, Cowboy never implied that in his comment. I think (hope) we all disagree with the idea that it is better to die than to commit a sexual sin.

  80. Cowboy, sorry if I implied that. My point was that I think president kimball was making exactly that point. Obviously if it’s better to be dead than raped then it’s certainly better to be dead than doing it voluntarily.

  81. BrJones:

    I think you may have misunderstood me, I stated that I disagree with President Kimball’s suggestion that it is better for a woman die in an attempt to resist rape, than to “lose her virtue”. For what it is worth, there is a famous story in Church with a former apostle who told his son the very thing you mention from dad, while at a train station awaiting his sons mission departure. This story was quoted in class, and I caused a minor disturbance by suggesting that (quote) “That is the stupidest thing I have heard in my entire life”. You want to get a reaction in gospel doctrine, don’t say that you disagree or fail to understand a GA comment, call it stupid and see where that get’s you. The case I made was just what you said, that basically this counsel fails to appreciate the atonement in the human condition, by stating that it is better to die than to make a mistake and pick yourself back up. If I remember the story correctly, after Jesus told the woman taken in adultry to go her way and sin no more, he didn’t throw his rock. Besides the fact that I can’t imagine any decent father telling his son, “well bud, to be honest I’d have preferred it if you had died on your mission instead”.

  82. I’ve convinced myself that my dad didn’t really mean that, but only thought it sounded clever and profound. In fairness, I didn’t think it was stupid at the time.

    The point of my question to you, Cowboy, was really this: if president kimball was talking about women who were pretending to be raped, does that really make the statement any more palatable? For me it doesn’t. It just doesn’t make sense to me that someone would be better off dead, than having the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and become a better person for it. I think president kimball would likely disagree with me.

  83. BrJones:

    I think we are still misunderstanding one another. I was responding to complaints against President Kimball where he claimed that sometimes rape victims are partly to blame. There was a heated exchange regarding that topic and I was postulating that perhaps President Kimball had in mind occasions where the rape allegation is questionnable. I agree that there is no circumstance where fornication is worthy of death, except perhaps in the case of forceable rape on the part of the rapist.

  84. @RAY Yeah, you’re right, i exaggerated. But saying that you have to obey regardless seems to me the functional equivalent.

  85. MH–

    I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for sharing. You bring up reasonable and logic questions. I have the same ones.

    However, I think it boils down to our concept of God. I accept what the BoM teaches (2 Nephi 9:20) and the lectures on faith. I might add, I’m am not doing so on blind faith. The Lord has given me reason to accept His holiness.

    I am not a big fan of blind faith, even though it has its place. I’m inclined to be more like you in using the reasoning capability I’ve been given. I think the Lord respects that too. But when I was presented with a problem that reasoning couldn’t solve–a crisis, I called on Him and He saw fit to answer me in a way that left no doubt of His existence. I hope each of us, when presented with a crisis, will turn to God, setting our reasoning aside, and in humility plead for a forgiveness of our sins, and by so doing open the channels of communication with our Heavenly Father because of the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ.

  86. #88 Cowboy–

    Like you I am trying to understand what Elder Kimball had in mind. I find it difficult to think he would condemn someone who was raped. The definition of rape means without consent.

    I hope one of finds something to clarify what he said. I’m looking, but nothing yet.

  87. Jared, he grew up in a time with a very different view of rape. (Read my comment #54, if you missed it when I wrote it.) It’s really no different than Brigham growing up in a time with a very different view of interracial marriage. That’s why I can’t condemn either of them. I simply have to say, “They were wrong, as we ALL are about some other very important things.”

    As I said in #54:

    “Lots of harmful ideologies are forgotten over time, while the practices that grew out of them continue on.”

    Without an understanding of the originating ideology, it can be hard to reject the subsequent outlook that survives.

  88. Post

    Ray’s right that the times they have a-changed.

    Cowboy said: “I stated that I disagree with President Kimball’s suggestion that it is better for a woman die in an attempt to resist rape, than to “lose her virtue”.” This triggers an important clarification point. Today “virtue” is defined as an intrinsic quality that one maintains through choosing to live a chaste life. But the term “loss of virtue” used to refer specifically to loss of maidenhead. If your worldview is such that virtue = hymen, you can better understand the idea that virtue has been lost (or taken) in a rape. This notion (which didn’t originate with Kimball but was commonly held in older generations) is a harmful notion to victims of rape and incest. This is one reason the book needs to be corrected. In essence, it’s another sexist stereotype of the past, but in this case it’s even more harmful by attaching theology to it.

  89. And, as I said earlier, virginity-based virtue was part of the marriage offering a virgin presented as a gift to her husband – making it male-focused, not female focused. That also is wrong.

  90. #101 Ray–

    I agree with much of what you say on this subject. My concern is that I don’t think it is appropriate to define Elder Kimball by a paragraph or two from his writings. I think there is more to this subject in his teachings and if I find anything I’ll bring it forward.

  91. Post

    Jared – “My concern is that I don’t think it is appropriate to define Elder Kimball by a paragraph or two from his writings.” Yikes. I certainly don’t think anyone is doing that. Pres. Kimball is beloved to probably all here, regardless of having written a book that has a damaging mistake in it. One can be loyal to the man while wanting to protect those who might be damaged by his error. The notion that we can’t be aware of the mistakes of leaders and try to correct those errors without falling into apostasy relies on the notion that the leaders need to be protected at the expense of the members. That’s not a very useful model for servant leadership.

  92. Jared, Pres. Kimball was the Propeht of much of my youth, and I love him dearly. His example of public gentleness was inspiring, and you have to love someone whom many members thought was the inspiration behind Yoda. 🙂 He simply was wrong on this issue.

  93. So, when the general consensus is to follow the sustained general leadership no matter what, how does one resist the title of apostate? That is, the idea of many is to follow counsel (rather than simply “hear” it out, we need to always “take” it) until proven right or worse, wrong, how do dissenters deal with it without being tossed out on the curb? I’ve been cautioned many a time to follow men I’ve sustained as leaders on a local level “no matter what” because of the threat that the devil himself is leading me astray by my disagreement. As if that were a blanket to numb many men from the effects of human error while in an ecclesiastical position. As a woman I find it difficult to be heard and even more difficult to sympathize with their positions when it involves a deaf ear backed up with rebukes from those who would follow every word that comes from their mouths. As a convert I’m finding it very difficult to reconcile what I believe is true about the church and the gospel with what I hear and am encouraged to follow. In short, I’m not finding much place for my personal agency when so much is presented as truth and nigh unto infallible. Not a lot adds up and I’m not always sure I understand what is said that has basis in doctrine and what is pure speculation or opinion. It’s just not adding up.

  94. #105 and #106 Hawkgirrrl and Ray–

    I think what you said goes a long ways towards adding balance to the post and comments.

    #107 looking for my place, is an example of MM reader who needs to see a balanced perspective. Those of us who have been learning line upon line, and precepts upon precept for years need to be aware of the various readers when we post and comment.

  95. Actually, Jared, I come here because I tend to agree more with what’s written than not. It’s a relief, really and I wonder how someone who disagrees with some things finds their place amongst those who insist on strict obedience. That’s just where I’m at right now, finding my spot in the crowd.

  96. #109 looking for my place–

    There is much to be gained reading the various blogs. In many ways, the Bloggernacle is a living representation of the vision of the tree of life found in the Book of Mormon.

    But there is nothing better, based on my experience, than gaining the knowledge contained in the scriptures and words of the prophets by prayerful daily study. It has resulted in many answered prayers for me. And that is the great blessing that can come to church members if they faithfully follow the simple course of staying close to the Lord by study and prayer.

  97. Welcome, looking. I wish you the best in your process with this stuff, and hope you find some of what you’re looking for here. You are definitely not alone here.

  98. Thanks Jared. I have followed that admonition since I converted; however I’ve experienced some deeply personal situations in which my leaders have been and are wrong about certain things, not including what I’ve read (which usually comes with a handy disclaimer preface to permit the disagreement). Figuring out what to do with that and reconcile it with my testimony of the church has been tough. That is, knowing when they are acting in their calling under the Lord’s direction vs. acting as a man/woman with opinions and personal experiences different than my own while in a position of leadership is tricky, at best. The Spirit certainly helps in creating that distinction but it’s difficult to maintain my silence when the two aren’t in agreement. Further, I find that the points of disagreement, when voiced, are without exception followed by attacks that claim my testimony to be anything but geniune. I can sustain my leaders in their callings by following them when I have felt the Spirit so guide me and I can also sustain them by voicing my disagreement, can I not?

  99. #112 – That is the heart of the struggle in a church run by lay members who are at every level of spiritual development, enlightenment and (most importantly) discernment.

    As to your final question, absolutely – but don’t expect everyone to understand that. Finding the proper balance between tolerance and agreement is not easy – but it can be done.

  100. #112 looking for my place–

    My experience may or may not be an example for you, I’ve found that trials come to new members. And by the sound of it you’re in the tick of trials. I’ve learned that trials and difficulties of varying degrees of intensity are always with us, but the Lord has promised to comfort and support us if we will diligently seek His help. Some of the most difficult challenges I’ve had, have come from the situation you describe. However, the solution has always come. For me it has been to pray for those who, in my opinion, were not filling their callings with understanding and love. Over time this approach has won the day, but its hard to do–at times.

    I suggest praying for an inspired church leader to show up as soon as possible to help you navigate the difficulties you’re experiencing. Best wishes, and God speed. You’ll most likely recognize this individual by the comfort you will feel when talking with s/he. Kind of like you might have felt with the missionaries.

    I’m leaving for family things. Take care.

  101. Looking – Based on your description of your experience, I immediately thought of this: “D&C 121: 39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. 40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.” I’ve been very fortunate in that I very seldom encounter leaders like what you describe, but it seems to be human nature for some leaders to prefer tyranny to servant leadership, and even more often I see some members who prefer blind obedience to personal accountability.

    Welcome to the site!

  102. Thanks Jared though I might add that I’ve been a member more than a dozen years now. Much of my current stand stems from my studies in the school of hard knocks. I’m easily two years into this now and am really ready for relief. We move a lot since my husband is in the military so I’ve had a fair sampling of the church – 9 wards in 12 years – and feel a bit disillusioned. I suppose I thought that the biggest trials would come from the anti-LDS parties rather than the pro-my-interpretation-of-the-LDS-faith church members. My wall was up on the wrong side.

    I’m sure it will end or at least ease up a bit and can feel that it’s making something of me (heaven only knows what) but it’s hard to endure. Damn hard.

  103. It’s much easier to tolerate that with which we disagree when it comes from “outside” than when it comes from “inside”. We expect more from those we know and love – and that’s not always a good thing. Unrealistic expectations are unrealistic expectations, and they can be especially damaging when we feel deeply invested in someone – damaging both to us and to those of whom our expectations are unrealistically high.

    For example, Doug and I know we are going to disagree on quite a few things, so our agreements are a real pleasure. 🙂 I feel the same way about Jared – only, as the one generally sitting in the middle, our disagreements are different than mine and Doug’s. Actually, since I am in the middle in a lot of discussions and view lots of things in unique ways, I have come to expect disagreement with most people on something – and I’ve come to be at peace with that.

  104. “since I am in the middle in a lot of discussions and view lots of things in unique ways, I have come to expect disagreement with most people on something”

    That’s a breath of fresh air. It really is hard to be somewhere in the middle!

  105. Hawk #115 – Thanks for the verse. I feel sometimes that sustaining leaders as they are set apart is only the beginning of my prayers regarding them in their positions and not at all the end.

  106. “The notion that we can’t be aware of the mistakes of leaders and try to correct those errors without falling into apostasy relies on the notion that the leaders need to be protected at the expense of the members. That’s not a very useful model for servant leadership.”

    This is a really good point Hawkgrrrl, I have observed on more than occasion instances where well intentioned members were caught in the crosshairs of protection for Church leaders.

    By the way, I put my comment about a “loss of virtue” in quotes because of the reasons you mention.


    Sorry for the misunderstanding on defining rape, I was a bit perplexed initially as to why you felt the need to define it for me, thanks for the clarification on what you meant (I haven’t wanted to get carried away with smiley faces, so just imagine me engaged in a hearty chuckle).

  107. Looking, I don’t suggest that the methods advocated by Jared, hawkgrrrl and others are not real or that they won’t work for you. However, I do think it’s important to look inward to establish a personal belief structure in which you can be comfortable with whatever happens in your life. If you are constantly praying and seeking that inspired leader or that perfect scripture or that great spiritual experience, it can be a great let down if it either doesn’t come or doesn’t happen in the way you are expecting. I think the only way to achieve true equilibrium and happiness in this life is to analyze the things you personally believe and establish what your core values are, and to be true to them no matter what. In fact, I believe that people such as Jared have done just that and that is why he is so confident in his faith in the gospel. I think you’ll find from reading the posts here that most everyone would encourage you to be true to what you believe, and frankly, most, though not all, of the posters would suggest that doing so will enhance and grow your faith in the gospel, as opposed to weaken it. In my opinion, the teachings of the church are not meant to tell you what is right and wrong as much as to augment and buffer those righteous values that you ultimately decide for yourself are important. In that sense, a frustrating church leader or a confusing doctrine do not have to cause major interior strife, because you’re not abdicating the establishment of your values to any other person or entity, but instead are using them to reinforce what you already believe, and if something in the church conflicts, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. I’m sure you have a strong moral compass, and did before you joined the church. Be confident in those things you believe and don’t feel like you have to question them because of someone or something else.

  108. brjones, excellently said. Spirituality needs to be pursued independent of church activity. At the personal level, church activity only can supplement what occurs outside such activity.

    Interestingly, I made that basic statement this week in a meeting with lots of Stake leaders, and every one of them agreed with it. I’m not sure they all understood exactly what I personally meant, but they all agreed with the basic concept.

  109. Cowboy: “or that a woman who was literally raped against her will” What is rape if not against her will?

    You must be from Texas? they do think strange down there don’t they?

    “the women often comforted themselves in the conclusion that they must have been raped, when infact they were just duped.”

    Cowboy, your comment in #88 just blew me away; its just a fancy way of saying exactly what Kimball said, and blaming the victim. Maybe this discussion over in Feminist Housewife can help you out here: , titled ‘The limits of consent’

  110. Wow. That was an intense discussion. Part of me wouldn’t mind seeing it carried on on this site, and the other part of me is terrified of the same scenario.

  111. Jackal:

    There is no need to take offense where none is intended. I understand that rape is a serious matter, and therefore I can also see why President Kimball’s can come across so poorly. I also agree that my comments would have been in bad taste had I been challenging the claims of specific victims in a specific case. It is however perfectly appropriate to note that not every charge of rape is true, or at least entirely true, since the fact is we have ample evidence to prove this. It does not require such a stretch of the imagination to concieve of why someone may want level a false rape charge. I was postulating that *perhaps* this is what President Kimball had intended.

    As for your question of my wording on the definition of rape, apparently this term does need clarification (smiley face). I was differentiating between circumstances where a rape actually occured vs instances where rape was alleged but unlikely.

  112. Post
  113. Cowboy “It does not require such a stretch of the imagination to concieve of why someone may want level a false rape charge. I was postulating that *perhaps* this is what President Kimball had intended.”

    Kimball was rather specific and didn’t talk about any false accusations of rape. He talked about a rape where “If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed,”. That’s the problem as one can’t possibly contribute to something where one first looses her/his consent. Even trying to trick the rapist by saying “Ok, lets go slow” to avoid further injury is still not contributing to the foul deed. Would you, when facing a loaded gun, be guilty of home invasion or robbery to an extent if you say to the assailant “take everything in here” to avoid being shot? Off course not.

    That sentence is more a logical contradiction than insult but today its become an insult to survivors of crime and especially survivors of abuse, so therefore the sentence should be, at very least, removed. But we are somewhat of topic here.

    By the way Hawkrrrl, this was one of your better posts 🙂 …….

  114. Carlos, I won’t pretend to know what exactly President Kimball meant by his comment, and under the circumstances he’s not here to clarify. I am also the last person who feels the need to try and protect President Kimball from his comments. I also recognize that he may have come from a time when the popular notions were that rape victims somehow got themselves into the position of being raped, and therefore they bare some responsibility. If that is what he truly meant then I agree he was being a knot head when he wrote that comment (book?). I am not certain however that the comments he made only lead to one conclusion.

  115. Regarding what is and is not church doctrine. As an EQ president prone to attacks of philosophy and theology serving with a Bishop who is a history nut we both have to work to not wander of in to “deep and dodgies” and make statements of opinion that will be taken as official doctrine because of our positions. As such we are very aware of the “rules” for official statements.

    According to the Handbook of Instruction the sure way to determine what is and is not to be considered The Official Position of the Church and what to be relied on for doctrine is to check the copyright. If it does not say Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints After that anything Copyright to Intellectual Reserve Inc. is the next tier of authority. Anything else, while it may be inspiring and of great value, is not doctrine. It is the private opinion of the author even if the author is the President of the Church.

    As far as I know the only things outside the scriptures copyrighted Corporation of the President are Jesus the Christ and Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Intellectual Reserve Inc. includes the Handbook, all manuals, the Magazines and the Church’s official websites. Way to Be and Standing for Something, for example, are (c) Simon and Shuster and Gordon B. Hinkley respectively.

    Regarding the quote from the Miracle of Forgiveness. I think it suffers from insufficient elaboration. As Pres. Kimball began by speaking of the los of chasity in the general case, I.E. both willing and unwilling. I think the final sentence was contrasting those who defend chastity against attack vs those who willingly give it up. But it’s not merely referring to different reactions to rape.

    Also, question: How wide spread at the time was idea that a rape victim is not at fault?

    Also far-reaching is the effect of loss of chastity. Once given or taken or stolen it can never be regained. Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.

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