Today, just before General Conference, we get another helping of tripe from the Salt Lake Tribune, in the form of righteous wrath from an obvious feminist activist. Michelle Quist uses the setting and prominence of General Conference and Easter as a prop, hoping to increase the decibels of her complaint. Her hope is to convince people to believe women when they claim they have been sexually assaulted—and her standard bearer and shining example is the (as yet unidentified) woman from Colorado who is at the center of recent publicity over a thirty plus year old assault accusation against her MTC president.
This piece of tripe is provocatively titled: “Easter has come just in time for the Mormon church’s sex scandal.” The fact is, the Mormon Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—has no sex scandal. A former MTC president who made a serious mistake/sin has to deal with a scandal, and the church is appropriately investigating it in order to determine how to proceed with disciplinary measures against the offender, but there is no scandal except in the minds of many dissenters and activists, like Michelle, who are trying to pin it on the church while saying they aren’t. We should recognize all of this for what it really is and not be swayed by activist rhetoric making a mountain out of a molehill, or one individuals bad actions the entire church’s.
If anyone wonders whether the church and its leaders take these matters gravely seriously and do all in their power to prevent them from happening, they have but to read over the recent letter and revised policies issued to priesthood leaders regarding policy changes meant to further reduce chances for problems to arise. But there is nothing they can do now to prevent something that occurred over thirty years ago.
I wasn’t present in the MTC room when these things allegedly occurred, and neither was Quist or anyone else now expressing their outrage. But I would still offer some thoughts meant to keep things in perspective.
It may well be, or may later become, apparent that these outraged indignant feminists have chosen the wrong person to rally around as their example of the perennially ignored victim. There are many warning signs that this is so. Are they are building their case on a sandy foundation? Ought not caution be exercised when we are learning that this woman has falsely accused many other men of sexual assault to get money from them? She has had charges filed against her for identity theft. She gained access to confront her alleged abuser by deceit; she is the one using filthy profanity and losing control in the recorded interview.
So I ask: is this woman and her shaky allegations the wisest person to use for your rallying cry to stick it to the church? Something that happened so long ago that is being denied by the alleged perpetrator? She seems to not be the best example, but when the purpose is to bash the church and to demand change, I suppose most anything and anyone will do.
Quist tells us: “Even worse, though, has been the LDS Church’s response to this woman’s plight.” I don’t know why the church says what it says, but if their investigations have informed them that this alleged victim is dishonest or a perpetrator of fraud or identity theft or blackmail or harassment, then their response to her (possibly fraudulent) claims is justified.
Again, Quist argues:
The truth is, the church never disciplined Bishop. Various leaders along the way failed to believe the woman’s story of an MTC basement room and a predatory president. Church members continued to sustain him each year in whatever priesthood calling he enjoyed. His ward members continued to sustain him as a high priest.
Nobody sustained the woman. We, as church members, abandoned her. We let her mourn and despair alone. We ignored her pleas for fairness and recognition.
It has not been shown (at least not yet) that this former MTC president was predatory. (Sorry, but bare breasts and a backrub do not a sexual predator make.) All church members did not abandon her. This is silly and unjustified rhetoric being used to shame members that knew nothing about the alleged incidents.
Again, how trustworthy is what this woman has said? What is her history in such matters? Is she a serial false accuser of men for money? Such may be the case. It may well turn out that this woman’s personal integrity does not justify Quist’s outrage. I think Quist might consider holding her tongue until a more trustworthy victim comes along to justify her rants. Quist then states: “How many more women and children have lived with such burdens, and for how long? Since this story broke last week, The Salt Lake Tribune alone has received numerous other stories of sexual abuse and harassment in church settings. Perhaps even 30-40 years’ worth.” If such is indeed the case, this is very bad and indicates much human weakness. However, we must remember that the Tribune often publishes fake news hoping to manufacture more (often suspect) news and build outrage in its readership. Their story comments sections are full of rabid anti-Mormon sentiment, posted by people who obviously lie and exaggerate to harm the church they hate. These considerations cast doubt on much of what they claim.
Quist follows with an inaccurate feminist doctrinal treatise on the prominence of women in gospel restoration, concluding: “Women ushered in the gospel of Christ at almost every opportunity. Because women believe. In return, maybe for the first time, we should believe women.” This is baloney. No, women did not usher in the gospel of Jesus Christ; prophets did that. Michelle needs to go back to Sunday School and get her gospel doctrine corrected before trying to teach it in a newspaper (albeit one that always gets doctrine wrong). And she is a little right, most of the time we should believe women. But perhaps not this woman. This isn’t the best one to believe. And I would add that many men have endured the traumatic experience of being falsely accused by a scheming or vengeful woman, thereby ruining their lives.
This feminist opinion piece also takes a shot at what might be meant to include me and my Tribune Tripe refutation pieces, though if it does they have misunderstood my intent which is refutation of their many errors and falsehoods. She says: “Many are attacking the media, as they did during the Catholic Church’s scandal, as glorifying some sort of bias against the LDS Church.” If by media she means the paper she is writing for, they are indeed in need of response and correction for publishing so much tripe and nonsense about the church. Indignant extremist feminism is not a pretty thing, and Quist, Stack, and the others do not make a pretty portrait.
If I may follow Quist’s example and make my own indignant plea to the Tribune staff and columnists: Please get your facts right; learn correct church doctrine and history; learn how church policy actually works; get things in their true perspective. Truth is defined in scripture as how things really are, were, and are to come. Truth is warped when viewed through a feminist activist lens and it does no one any good.
If you want sound and stable perspective, carefully read the recent statements and letters and policy guidelines the church has officially issued. Find out how the church and its leaders view these problems. See what they advise in handling allegations and interviews and related matters, and (to everyone) don’t get your doctrine and policy interpretations from Peggy Stack or Michelle Quist or Ann Cannon. Don’t get it from Salt Lake Tribune Tripe.