Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Delusions of Candor

“Truth” is a core concept in Mormonism. Just think how often you hear one of these statements. 1) “I know the Church is true” 2) “I testify to the truthfulness of the gospel” 3) “I know the Book of Mormon is the truest book on earth” 4) “I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet” and 6) “I know President Monson is a true and living prophet.”

Before I mislead you, this post is not about whether Mormonism is true or not. It’s about what, if anything, Mormon use of the words true/truth/truthfulness have to do with truth’s synonym – candor.

For purposes of this discussion, I use the following definitions.

Truth (as understood by Mormons)

The LDS conception of truth does not fit any of the categories in which it has been discussed in the Western philosophical tradition…In the Western philosophical tradition…some have said [truth] is the correspondence with reality that true statements possess…[F]or Latter-day Saints, as their scriptures and everyday discourse reveal, truth is not primarily a matter of the correctness of ideas or statements...Though they do speak of the truth of statements, they most often use the word "truth" to signify an entire way of life—specifically, the way of life exemplified, prescribed, and guided by Jesus Christ.

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism Volume 4, title, TRUTH.

Truth (as understood generally)

A universal, unchanging, provable fact that is applicable to all persons and all things at all times.


A frank, open speech or expression

For me, truth and candor are hard to separate. When I ask a question, I consider the response to see if it rings true. I assess not only veracity, but openness and frankness. An assertion may be technically correct, but if it’s not forthright, it may also lack truth. If I sense that I am only getting part of the story, I can’t help but question the truthfulness of the speaker. Consider: Once in an institute class at the University of Utah, we studied the violence committed against Mormons in Missouri in the late 1830s. I asked my instructor why Mormons had been so poorly treated. He responded that it was because of their beliefs. I asked if there was more to it than that. He repeated it was because of their beliefs. Feeling that was not the whole story, I asserted that there must have been more going on. He repeated yet again, somewhat testily, that it was persecution based on their beliefs. His tone let me know the discussion was over. While his answer may have not have been false, it was far from true. His refusal to give a candid and thorough answer was a type of falsehood.

For a church that relies so heavily on truth, I often find candor in short supply. Sometimes individual members will discuss their ideas and feelings about the Church openly and honestly, but I think most are pretty guarded with their thoughts. And institutionally, official presentation and communication focus more on indoctrination than discourse. Questioning is frowned upon and exploration of sensitive topics is discouraged.

The challenge for me is that my concept of truth is much closer to that used outside the Church. In the Church, truth is a path or a way of life as opposed to a matter of correctness of ideas. When I suspend my conventional idea of truth and consider the Church approach, Mormon truth claims make a lot more sense. But when I view Mormonism with the general definition of truth, church rhetoric and curriculum seem selectively propagated.

This leads me to the central question of this post: Are the Mormon Church and its members candid in the pronouncement and discussion of their beliefs, history and practices? I think the answer is no but reasonable minds can differ and I am open to differing conclusions.

If I view the truth as provable fact, the answer is no, the Church is not candid. The Church presents a glossy image of itself. For the most part, it discloses only facts that cast it in a favorable light. It rarely acknowledges flaws or mistakes. If Church leaders themselves have doubts, you don’t know it because they don’t voice such reservations. The Church makes a case the way a lawyer would – it presents information that is favorable and downplays the rest. The movie Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration is an example of this. It presents an idealized picture of Joseph Smith with nary a mention of his problematic actions like polygamy, treasure hunting and secrecy.

The Church’s lack of candor is particularly notable when discussing its history. I am not accusing the Church of falsifying the truth; I’m saying that its statements, curriculum, and communications generally lack openness, frankness and balance. You won’t hear much in Sunday School or in general conference about polygamy, blood atonement, the Adam God theory, or the priesthood ban.

However, if you consider the issue of candor in the context of the Church’s definition of truth, then the Church fares much better. If truth signifies a way of life – one prescribed and guided by Jesus Christ -- then Church pronouncements and curriculum are arguably pretty straightforward. The Church advocates its version of how to discover truth through living a Christ-like life and downplays or omits information that it thinks will detract from its mission. With this framework in mind, one might argue that if the Church were more candid, it might actually cause people to hear less of its Christ-centered message and instead focus on matters which the Church deems superfluous to living a Christ-like life.

That’s quite a stretch for me. If the Church disregards the conventional notion of truth and candor, it subjects itself to a great deal of misunderstanding and runs the very real risk of being seen as deceitful. Acculturated Mormons might get by with a definition of truth that is at odds with its generally accepted meaning, but even members fully versed in Mormon jargon can suffer conviction whiplash when they discover information at odds with what they have been taught in official discourse. And as for outsiders looking in at the church, it’s not hard to see how they can see the Church as disingenuous and even deceitful when the Church opts to use only facts it finds helpful while ignoring the rest.

So I guess what I am saying is that I can understand why the Church and most of its members feel that they seek, share, and possess the truth. But I also see why many outside the Church view the Church’s claim to truth with pronounced skepticism. I hope that we can bear in mind that the Church’s idea of truth can be hard for some insiders and most outsiders to comprehend. And with that realization, we can opt for a more conventionally candid discussion of our history and beliefs.


kframpton said...

Well stated. I now understand why you ask me to elaborate when we talk. I feel like I give fast, usually uneddited, and honest (maybe too honest sometimes)answers to your questions.

I agree that the mormon church is very honest with their answers as well, but they are not very forth coming with extra information. People believe what they believe in because of what the LDS church has told them. Maybe, just maybe, some people would believe differently if they were given the whole, uneddited, honest version of the history of the religion.

Just like I believed in Santa when I was little because my mom told me it was true. Until I realized there was a reason to doubt her, I didn't.

This all reminds me of something I wanted to post about. Thanks!

reddirtgirl said...

When I read this post, I thought "Amen!" which I seem to be think alot since I started reading your blog. Then I thought "EEK!!!! What if Sanford gets excommunicated. I don't think that's what he really wants."
And then I had to say to myself "If you can be cut off from spiritual salvation for speaking the truth or having a candid conversation then something really is not quite right."

The one analogy that I can find in favor of the churches lack of candor is this. Student led parent teacher conferences. I hate them. When your child is sitting right there of course you are going to be truthful about how they are doing in school, but are you and the teacher really going to be candid--lay it all out on the table. NO.
So perhaps the church, or those in authority positions see it like that. We are the children, or the flock (I always hated being called a sheep) and only need to be shown the path not the whole mountain.

To kframptons Santa comment--It's funny that when I was a little girl because of the way Mormons talk about "believing" in Jesus I thought that Jesus was kind of a made up thing like Santa or the tooth fairy that you got over when you grew up. I was pleased to find out as an older teenager that he was a REAL person. Not just a mystical being.

pb said...

In my favorite version of the gospel Pilate and Christ have the following exchange:

Pilate: Listen, King of the Jews, Where is your Kingdom? Look at me. Am I a jew?

Christ: I have no kingdom in this world. In this world I am through. There may be a kingdom for me somewhere. If you only knew.

Pilate: So you are a king?

Christ: It's you who say I am. I look for truth. And find that I get damned.

Pilate: And what is truth? Is truth unchanging law? We both have truths. Are mine the same as yours?

I buy into the mormon view of truth to some extent. Truth can be seen as a guiding principle, and it does not necessarily have to be connected to factual reality. But unlike the mormon view, which postulates One Truth, I tend to side with Pilate. I do not believe that truth is unchanging law, and I do not believe that my truth has to be -- or likely will be -- the same as someone else's.

The Faithful Dissident said...

It will be interesting to see how or whether the Church will react to all the candid discussions going on on a daily basis in the blogosphere among Mormons searching for truth. Particularly among the younger generation, there is a hunger for more knowledge and truth. I feel that most in my generation have a desire to learn the truth about the Church in the past and how we can reconcile it with the present.

I think about how much I never would have known without the wealth of information on the internet. I think that we are much more educated than before. However, spiritually speaking, I'm not sure whether this knowledge equals power. Sometimes I actually find myself envying ignorant people.

Fifthgen said...

A couple of thoughts:

1) I find the definition of "truth" from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism to be kind of odd, and I doubt that the question, "What do you mean by 'true?'," would elicit anything similar from the average Mormon. My guess they would give you responses ranging from Webster's definition to pb’s. The Encyclopedia definition sounds like some rhetorical statement by the Correlation Committee, to me. I guess what I am saying is that, while I agree with the Encyclopedia’s definition on some levels, I am not sure it really represents some “Mormon view” on the definition of truth.

2) I agree that the LDS Church is not always completely open about its history, doctrine, etc., and that it has a tendency to put its "best foot forward." I wonder, though, if that is different from anyone else. I don't see the Catholic Church saying. "Before mass this morning, we need to make a few disclosures regarding the Inquisition and the priest sex abuse scandal." I don't see people telling casual acquaintances, "I know I seem really normal, but I actually can be very needy. And I have food issues."

It is merely human nature to me to accentuate the positive, and I think the LDS Church does that (with a vengeance) when it comes to its history. On the other hand, although there may not be a gospel doctrine lesson on polygamy anytime soon, it would be pretty difficult not to stumble across the topic in any cursory review of Mormon history. And it seems that anyone who really wants to delve into almost any subject in Church history or doctrine could find lots and lots of information at Deseret Book, the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU, and even the Church Office Building and - - - and that is before even clicking on Google. I also see little to no evidence of efforts by the LDS Church to actively conceal information. Efforts to frame the discussion around the issues it wants to emphasize, absolutely; concealment, no.

Now, maybe the LDS Church should be held to a higher standard than other churches and organizations. I don’t know - - but I am open to argument on this point. I agree that the Church should be more open about its history and doctrine. It is in its own best interest to be so - - its members are better served by being informed. But while I do not see the LDS Church’s approach as ideal, I don't see it as unusual or remarkable, either.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Fifthgen, you're right about all those resources you mention, that are available to Mormons who want to delve into the history. However, as I wrote about in my blog a while back (see "When Knowledge Becomes A Burden"), non-English speaking members of the Church, particuarly those outside the US, don't have those resources, either because they're not available, don't have the internet, or can't communicate in English. Most would not even know of their existence. In some areas, I bet that not even bishops or stake presidents know much about the most controversial subjects in Mormon history. And even if you're English-speaking, if you live outside the US, it's easy to be totally oblivious to all the great resources that are out there. I know that they're not Church-sponsored, but I hadn't even heard of things like The Bloggernacle, Sunstone or Dialogue until I read "Mormonism for Dummies." I did, however, grow up with full access to Bruce R. McConkie's "Mormon Doctrine." Lucky me. :)

Sanford said...

To reddirtgiril:
Your analogy of children and the flock makes sense. As an institution, the LDS Church has responsibility to lead a huge group of members. Just by virtue of the numbers involved, its' procedures and communications are impacted and perhaps dictated. It’s not hard to imagine those in leadership positions viewing their flock as being best served by simple and childlike guidance. In fact, maybe is irrational to think they would lead in any other way. But for someone who hopes to move beyond childlike direction, is the LDS Church or any large institution for that matter the best vehicle for exploration? If you stick with the LDS Church, do you attempt to move beyond the collective experience and pursue a more individual one by having an increasingly marginalized religious existence outside of the chapel? Do you simply accept that your expansive religious explorations will be on the internet? Or do you struggle with getting the balance right while many around you wonder what the problems is? Or do you do what I do, all of the above.

The Faithful Dissident said...

All of the above for me, Sanford. :)

DMI Dave said...

I think your comments on candor are right on the mark, Sanford. Too often Mormon rhetoric takes on a life of its own, and Mormons often employ it without much thought to what they really want to say. Ironically, blogging tends to force one to think more about what one is really saying, and actually being frank about what one thinks is coin of the realm in the blogosphere.

reddirtgirl said...

We all have truths. Are mine the same as yours? I prefer this philosophy also. My problem with the way that Mormons use the word truth is this: The one true church. The one way to spiritual enlightenment and salvation. The one "exact; precise; accurate; correct; legitimate; unfailing; etc." way to get to the next step after this life. Really? Maybe my problem with this phrase has more to do with the word "one" rather than the "true" so I might be off topic.

Just for fun let's take the mountain analogy all the way. Let's say the top of the mountain is the celestial kingdom and the path to the top is the LDS doctrine (truth) and the rest of the mountain candid discussion. Now we are all sheep and if we follow our leaders to the top then we get to be shepherds, not just shepherds but creators of our own mountains. Who's going to be better equipped to create a whole new mountain? And what about the guy who grabbed his climbing gear and made it to the top on his own (something the church says is impossible).

Anyway, truth should NOT be affected or threatened by candor. It seems to me that candor and questioning are essential especially if you are working within the LDS framework of progressing towards being a creator yourself, not just sitting in glory at Jesus' feet. Adherence to rhetoric doesn't seem like it would get you there. So in that way I do hold the LDS church to a higher standard. And adherence to rhetoric seems to abound in the LDS church.

Fifthgen: I see little to no evidence of the LDS church actively trying to conceal information. (Sorry, I'm on my husbands Mac and can't figure out how to cut, paste, copy, change font or anything.)

I have heard tell of a vault in the side of a mountain where historical documents are secreted away....???

kframpton said...

I had a conversation at dinner last night about how my truth may not be the same as your truth. For example we both see a series of events happen and my version is completely different from yours. We see the same thing, but we have 2 different stories of what happened. Both true, but both different. Are one of us wrong? No.

pb said...

reddirtgirl: I'm loving the vision of the guy who grabs his mountain gear and makes it to the top on his own. The great visionaries in this world have been these kind of people, not sheep following the well-trodden path. That would include Joseph Smith. That would include Jesus Christ. I suppose it could be claimed that these folks were following god, and from one vantage point it might seem blasphemous to claim that everyone should have the same opportunity -- everyone is not a prophet nor the son of god. But putting that aside for a moment, I find it interesting that even in non-god religions such as Buddhism, the attempt is still made to require adherents to cede self-direction. In zen there's the concept of "transmission" which requires complete submission to one's master until your are basically certified enlightened. But Buddha himself was never certified enlightened. He got there on his own. So if were were to truly follow him, wouldn't we also be trying to get there on our own? And perhaps we are not biological children of god, but if we are children of god nonethless, shouldn't we be connecting to god one-on-one? I don't recall Christ being told how to do this by a church leader. If we truly want to follow Christ, don't we likewise cut out the middle man?

Fifthgen said...

Reddirttgirl: I do not pretend to be an expert, but I understand that what is commonly referred to at "the vault" or the "the First Presidency Vault" is in downtown SLC. From what I have read on the web, access is surprisingly open if you can articulate a need (I myself have not really tried you "get in," although I want to track down a journal of my great-great-grandfather, which I understand is in there). I am quite sure, however, that the vault in the mountains stores microfilmed genealogical records, copies of which are available through the church's genealogical library. I think they use the granite vault because it would be essentially indestructible in an earthquake, nuclear attack, etc. etc.

But I may wrong about this. Does anyone know for sure?

pb said...

Question: "Is the Mormon Church candid in the pronouncement and discussion of its beliefs, history and practices?" Answer: No. Reason: Because if it was, it would have a very difficult time proselytizing and maintaining its membership.

Question: "Are the Mormon Church's members candid in the discussion of their beliefs?" Answer: Many are not. Reason: Because if they were they would risk disfellowship from a community that they may desire to remain within.

The above seems obvious to an outsider. Am I missing something?

As for the idea that its only human to put your best foot forward, that may be true. And certainly in casual social settings it is generally inappropriate to discuss one's neuroses -- partly because its usually a boring topic. But the church's relationship with its members is not the equivalent of a casual social encounter. I view it more like a marriage. The church exacts a huge commitment from its members. Its members have the right to expect transparency in exchange. I would feel rather betrayed if I discovered after 20 years of marriage, for instance, that my husband had only been putting his best foot forward with me, and had never mentioned the fact that he was, for instance, binding, torturing and killing young boys on the side. (Not that the church is doing that, mind you. It's just a hypothetical.) A casual social acquaintance has no such duty to me, and I would quite prefer that he keep those facts to himself.

Mormon Heretic said...

Sanford, well stated.

I will say that we just had a priesthood lesson on Pres Kimball's 1978 revelation rescinding the priesthood ban, and some of the topics in the new manual do present some newer information. There were glancing references to polygamy, so the church is putting a somewhat half-hearted effort into exposing some of the more controversial topics.

Fifthgen said...

I do not find the marriage analogy very helpful. The LDS Church is an institution, not a person. I do not expect to have a personal, mutual relationship with an organization of 12-13 million people. I more realistically expect to be a very small piece of the organization. Moreover, the LDS Church is an organization with a very strong sense of mission. While you may or may not agree with the mission, let us assume that the sense of mission is sincere. Given that, I think the question of “candor” is somewhat more complex than merely being open about all aspects of history and doctrinal development. Does it reflect a lack of candor, or a sense of priority (or both), that the LDS Church shapes its message to further its mission? What does it mean that the LDS Church does not make a priority the availability, in languages and formats accessible to the Third World, of resources that are not central to its mission? Assuming that the LDS Church sees its mission as teaching Christian gospel principles to its members and those who might be interested in becoming members, how do you propose making a presentation of those principles more candid?

It seems that one issue worth exploring here is whether we expect too much form the Church as an institution. What does it mean that the “Church” is “true?” That every communication it makes in any context is full and complete in the factual/historical sense? I don’t think so. I think that if most Mormons really thought about it, the statement that the “Church is true” means that it is the Church is the authorized institution for providing access to the ordinances necessary for people to return to God. In that sense, the LDS Church is the authorized provider of the best backpack, map and supplies for getting to the top of the mountain. You still need to get to the summit yourself. You need to take out your authorized compass and figure out how it works for you and where it is telling you to go. You need to read and study the map and chart your course. You need to read the study guides written of those who know the way. But you also need to observe your surroundings, assess your abilities and apply what is in the backpack to make your own climb. The backpack is not going to provide all the information you need, nor is it going to carry you to the top.

reddirtgirl said...

pb: My thanks for 5 days of Jesus Christ Superstar spouting from my mouth at odd moments. My husband does not thank you so much.

My gut feeling is that mormon leadership does censor itself and it's historical documents to its congregation. But as it has been pointed out, we all self censor depending on who we are talking to and what message we are trying to get across.

I agree with fithgen that the church relationship is not a marriage relationship. Looking for all the answers from our leaders is probably not on the agenda of anyone who reads or posts on this blog. One of the things that I have always admired about Mormonism is its respect for individual spritual experience. The church structure does actually provide significant opportunity for its members to have candid discussion IF THEY CHOOSE TO DO SO.

Sanford said...

Fifthgen asks

Assuming that the LDS Church sees its mission as teaching Christian gospel principles to its members and those who might be interested in becoming members, how do you propose making a presentation of those principles more candid?

I was speaking to a friend the other day who is conducting a serious examination of the Church. Although a lifelong member and a returned missionary, she is discovering many things about the Church she did not know. Many of those discoveries lead her to believe she has been misled by the Church. As a result, she is considering whether she wants to maintain her membership or seek truth somewhere else.

It goes without saying that this not a good thing for an organization the wants to retain its member and add more. From a very pragmatic point of view, I think the Church would be better served by educating its members about some of its trickier doctrines and history rather than have those members discover the information in a forum that doesn’t offer context or understanding sensitive to the Church.

I don’t think it is crazy to think that an Apostle could address some of these issues in General Conference. I have recently been reading comments made by Dallin Oaks in response to questions by Helen Whitney for the documentary she did on the Church for Frontline. I was struck by the candid and sophisticated way in which he discussed Mormonism. After all, he co-wrote the well regarded book, Carthage Conspiracy, which details the legal aftermath of Joseph Smith’s murder. I forget sometimes how very smart and educated and well read the bretheren are when I see them in conference with their sermons which are geared to a very basic understanding of the Church and its history. Why couldn’t Elder Oaks take on some tough topics over the pulpit? Or perhaps in a more specialized setting like a fireside? Would the Church lose more than it would gain with such an approach?

Anonymous said...

Bro. Sanford:

You post too much about mormon topics. Surely you are not so one dimensional? How about a bankruptcy topic? Come on. Give your peeps some diversity of thought.


Wondering in Wisconsin

Sanford said...

Thanks for the heads up friend from the land of cheese. Perhaps it is time to exchange views with my fellow bloggers about the joys of rejecting executory contracts and the road to fulfillment through the surrender of collateral pursuant to a plan of reorganization.

Fifthgen said...

Sanford: I would totally welcome some serious treatment of the thornier issues by the LDS leaders in appropriate settings. And General Conference may be such a setting. Maybe we are seeing the beginnings of this approach. Elder Holland's last two conference talks (on Mormonism's doctrinal differences with mainline Chirstianity on the godhead and scripture) were surprisingly direct, even confrontational. I agree that many of the Church leaders are very smart guys and fully capable of persuasively adressing the tougher topics. And I agree that it is in the Church's best interest to address these topics in a "friendly" context.

PS: I am willing to forego the bankruptcy posts.

pb said...

The problem that I have, and that I've always had -- call it genetic -- is that I just don't get how any institution can wedge itself between me and God. I don't expect to have a marriage-like relationship with the church or any institution. I do expect to have a marriage-like relationship with God. That means it's one-on-one, its mutual, and its reciprocal. It also means that there is no third party that comes between us. If I have such a relationship with god (which I don't, by the way), then what institution is going to tell me that I can or cannot "return" to God. For me, the idea is not to "return" to God anyway, but to live with God, constantly, never being apart at all. If I have that, is the church going to tell me that I don't? By what authority? Many many people that have existed on this earth have lived with God in their lives in a very real and personal way, and guess what, they did not receive any mormon ordinances. Yet the church is going to have the affrontery to say that these people did not have god in their lives because they weren't a member of the "authorized institution" for access to god? Its patently absurd.

As for the candor / mission tension. My feeling is and has always been -- again, call it genetic -- that truth is the highest virtue, from which all others follow. When truth is love, then we are where we need to be, mission accomplished. But we will never get to that place if truth is compromised on the way so that in pursuit of perfect love, communion with God, whatever you want to call it (i.e., "the mission"), we start lying, dissembling, covering up, hiding, sacrificing candor, or in any other way compromising the truth. I am a very imperfect person with issues galore. If you want to talk about them with me, I'm happy to do so. My guess is you would prefer not to. If however we did have such a conversation, then I can say for sure that if I start lying to you, or otherwise engaging in conscious acts of self delusion or prevarication, I'm on the wrong path. Period. I feel the same way about my government. I feel the same way about any institution in which I am a member. Where the truth is compromised, my relationship to my government as a citizen is damaged. Where the truth is compromised, my relationship to any institution to which I belong is damaged. It's no longer a relationship of equality, reciprocity, and support, but one of authority and subservience. Someone else is deciding for me what I can and can't know -- I guess because "I can't handle the truth," as Jack Nicholson might say. I've spent too much time in a communist country that takes this approach toward governance of its citizens to be on board with such an approach to truth. And it should be pointed out that the communist party also feels very strongly about the importance of its mission, which is how it justifies rewriting history when history is unflattering (though of course it doesn't acknowledge doing so).

It is my belief that our first task as we attempt to summit the mountain (sticking with the mountain analogy) is to see, clearly and wholly. Only when we see can we even make out the path and put our feet on it to begin to walk up it. If we can't see -- because we delude ourselves or because we are deceived -- we're just wandering. I would not consider membership in an institution that actively or passively engages in any kind of compromise of the truth -- including re-writing of history, lack of disclosure of material facts, unwillingness to openly, fully and completely answer questions -- for the "benefit" of its members to be helpful in the summit venture in any way. Exploration ends when truth goes out the window, and as far as I'm concerned, so does any hope of true spiritual growth.

Fifthgen said...

I don’t disagree with anything pb said. Who could? It is hard to be against honesty and candor. They are super-nifty ideals for which all should strive. My problem is taking these human values or characteristics and imposing them upon an institution - - a corporate entity with no real volition of its own.. An example: I spent a long time studying at the university I attended. That university had a lot of information. It had successes and failures in its history. It had private information about my fellow students. It had information about the job performance of its employees, and how its funds were raised and spent. It probably had statistics for criminal activity on campus. It had some pretty good libraries, and books and a newspaper, and some smart faculty. I was actually presented a tiny fraction of all the information the university possessed. Some other information was probably readily available if I wanted to go find it. And some information was probably harder to find, for a variety of reasons. Was my alma mater candid, or not candid? And is that even a useful question?

Now, if those managing my old university were smart, they would recognize that it is just not workable to make all of the university’s information available to everyone, all the time. They would prioritize. Part of their prioritizing would include trying to assess if they (as “the university”) were being responsible in how they dealt with the university’s various constituents, and whether the university would be perceived as accurate in the representations it made, including the representations it made about itself. Let’s face it - - credibility is important to any organization. But they would have a lot of other things to consider, too. Like the university’s role. And the expectations of its students and faculty and employees and neighbors. And what information it had that was critical, or important, or interesting, or obsolete, or just silly.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I think it is in the LDS Church’s best interest to present itself in an open and accurate way. Sometimes it does a better job at this than others. But noting an institution’s failure to meet an ideal of individual human conduct does not seem particularly useful (or difficult).

Dr. B said...

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Copy and paste the following code into your HTML/JavaScript widget, then take out the # signs:

<#a href=""><#img src=""/><#/a>


Dr. B.

SilverRain said...

I must admit that this topic is a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

In the end, it is not the mission of the Church to advertise the mistakes of its members, but I don't think they do actively suppress knowledge of those mistakes, either. It's a bit unreasonable to expect that any entity would focus on their faults. What would be the point?