Peggy Stack has a new story out, titled: “Some Mormons say their church needs a culture change, after watching the sex abuse scandal at the Missionary Training Center unfold.” As I write this sentence, I have not yet read the story, but only the headline.
I hope other readers can catch the subtle sophistry at work here. What is wrong with this headline sentence? 1) There are “some Mormons” especially among the dissidents, gay activists, and extremist feminists, that you can contact, that will say anything you want your story to say. All you have to do is shop for your biased quotes in the right places—Peggy’s email list and inbox. “Some” (rebellions and contrary) Mormons is a far cry from most Mormons, which have a much different opinion. They are not caught up in her liberal and worldly causes. 2) There is NO sex abuse scandal unfolding at the MTC. The publicized events (the scandal) took place 35 years ago; the investigations 8 years ago, and several months ago, and some more now—but none of it is taking place at the MTC. The former mission president lives elsewhere, out of state. The woman accusing him is not at the MTC and lives in Colorado. There is no scandal at the MTC. This headline is a lie. Whether Peggy wrote it or someone else on the Tribune’s staff, it is the purest falsehood and tripe.
I have now read the story. Peggy immediately starts with innuendo, gossip, and bad opinion. “Some read the statement from the LDS Church” negatively, she proclaims. Who are the “some”? Again, you can easily search dissident online forums to find a few some’s to help get your piece cooking with juice, but it is bad journalism. Then we learn who some of the “some” are: a couple of apostate therapists, using the publicity of the story to stir the pot and push their private agenda’s. They are tapped into groups of people who want to use this situation for their own ends and they are doing so for all they are worth. A quotation from the piece: “Hanks, who is Mormon, .. . .” The problem is that Hanks is a disaffected Mormon that hasn’t been excommunicated yet and so Peggy can still categorize her among the “some” Mormons. But what help or meaningful representation of Mormons is that?—it’s useless.
Following that dissident’s opinions, Peggy gives another dissident’s (Haglund) opinions of the Church’s statements about the affair. Again we ask, what meaningful representation does dissident opinion give of the thinking of the majority of Latter-day Saints, or of Church leaders? These are extremist feminists looking to use this publicity to push their agenda, not steady thinking, reasonable, informed Mormons who understand how the process really works, and who know that on rare occasions serious mistakes are made.
Peggy now deftly shifts the subject of the story away from the woman’s accusations and the Church’s response, to her current favorite theme: using her large podium to pressure the Church to direct its bishops to stop interviewing youth about their moral transgressions. She rehashes the same dissident opinions and extremist activist voices who want to do away with worthiness interviews where immoral sexual conduct is confessed to a common judge in Israel. As she knows, but doesn’t care, these interviews are scripturally mandated and have a great influence in helping the Church’s youth repent of their sins and become or stay morally clean. It is a device of the adversary to adopt the philosophies of the world about what is allegedly “healthy” (but really isn’t) and attempt to shove it on the Church. Thank goodness prophets lead the Church and not Peggy or her cronies.
So…Peggy continues her quest to criticize the practices and policies and doctrines of the Church, hoping to affect change. Her efforts are offensive to me and the faithful Latter-day Saints I talk to. Many people I speak with wonder why she hasn’t been excommunicated yet, as do I. She comes out in open public opposition to the Church in most every story she writes, fitting well the definition of an apostate. She ought look to herself before pointing her finger of blame at Church leaders. As expected, this latest story is another superb example of Salt Lake Tribune Tripe.