This time the (less blatant) tripe comes from Ann Cannon, a Dear Abby-type columnist for the Tribune, instead of from Peggy Stack. From what I have seen over the years, Cannon is much less of an activist than Stack, and is not so blatantly biased against the Church. She has become more liberal since she moved from the Deseret News to the Tribune several years ago, but still seems to avoid the unashamed false statements we get from Peggy.
Having said that however, Ann misses the mark here, and allowed others to speak ignorance and negative activism through her column. So perhaps we might describe this particular Salt Lake Tribune Tripe as Ann Cannon’s multiple friend’s tripe, proclaimed by the Salt Lake Tribune.
First we get comments from people wanting to hear messages of love, tolerance, and inclusion. And all of that sounds like wonderful requests, and they actually are wonderful and each have been talked about already many times. The problem is when people turn these virtues into vices by using them as code words for extreme behavior (see President Oaks explanation of this problem here).
Activists want “tolerance” to have no limits, meaning they think Mormons should tolerate most any kind of behavior. To them tolerance is useful code for seeking acceptance of sin; acceptance of deviant behavior; acceptance of whatever our telestial society and popular opinion or political correctness insists be accepted—and that inevitably covers a lot of unacceptable behavior.
Likewise with the word “inclusion.” When the General Authorities speak of inclusion they are talking about including and loving and being respectful and friendly to all people regardless of race or religion or other differences. They are not talking about what many activists want them to mean when talking about inclusion: acceptance of gay sexual behavior; acceptance of apostate movements like Ordain Women; acceptance of false doctrines that pollute pure church doctrine; acceptance of addictive drugs, abortion, gambling, porn. Misled people often want to embed all or some of these into Mormon life and practice. We must never “tolerate” sexual abuse/assault, and when it is discovered that someone is guilty of such, and it is proven to be factual and not a false accusation, then such perpetrators are not tolerated or included, and should be sent to prison, though they may still be loved by those with better hearts than mine.
One person Ann quotes wants to hear a General Conference talk about unconditional love. People often use this term to shame or blackmail faithful Mormons into “tolerating” or accepting deviant behaviors such as homosexual relations or other kinds of moral transgressions (such as adultery or fornication). Others use the term to justify getting a parent to accept or tolerate ignoring prophetic counsel (avoid tattoos, bad music, porn, drugs, smoking, premarital sex, etc.) “If you really loved me unconditionally,” a teenager might say to a parent, “you would let me do what I want.” The unwitting acceptance of such clever manipulations could result in serious sin and church discipline and a long hard repentance process for the one making such a mistake. The term “unconditional love” is not found in recent church publications and those who prepare such material for the church are directed not to use it. It is simply too easy to misapply, misinterpret, and misunderstand—and the term is not found in the scriptures.
Issues with being “different” are then mentioned. There may or may not be a large difference between being “different,” and being sinful or apostate. Some people are different because they have seeped their lives in sin and evil. That kind of different is not welcome in the church unless and until the person repents. Then they can qualify for baptism and hopefully, eventually, all the blessings of the gospel. But then they are no longer different in that sense and are fellow citizens with the Saints and of the household of God. Other kinds of different or differences in people may be entirely acceptable, and have probably already been spoken about.
We then learn that one person wants to hear that “it is okay to be gay.” Let’s look a little closer at that request for a moment. This is another clever and manipulative way to say something in order to (seemingly innocently) press for change that will never happen. If stated this way: “It is okay to feel same-sex attraction, but not to act on it” then the statement is correct and has already been said in General Conference and by official church statements and spokespeople. If stated this way: “Its okay to participate in the gay lifestyle and sexual behavior” then such is false and will never be said in general conference or by anyone speaking for the church. The prophets and apostles will never give license to members to sin. If they did, they would be diving into apostasy. They will never give members permission to live the gay lifestyle. On the contrary, those gay people who marry are considered apostates and are subject to church discipline.
Those wanting to hear the church denounce racism and like terms and activities have already heard it, though they could hear it again if one of the Brethren felt so prompted in their talk preparations.
Then someone makes a cunning and manipulative comment: “Another said, ‘I’d like to hear that asking questions is really OK and not tantamount to apostasy — that we should stop judging each other’s faithfulness quotient.’”
As the First Presidency has already stated, it is ok to ask questions, but it is not ok to constantly question everything the church does that conflicts with personal views or societal norms. Members can feel free to ask questions when they are genuinely seeking further light and knowledge, but many doubters and dissidents use the strategy of supposedly asking innocent questions to disrupt and agitate and create doubt in themselves and others. Honest and sincere questions to learn about the gospel are welcomed; clever questions meant to dispute a policy or doctrine or create contention are not. Faithful members know the difference between these approaches and can often spot faithless doubters at their game. If someone wants to call that judging, so be it, but it is really the gift of discernment in action; detecting counterfeit questions and those false members who ask them.
Cannon’s column then states:
One commenter was not alone in his desire “to see two new apostles who are not white Americans.” Another said, “I’m hoping new apostles will be called that better represent the diversity of a worldwide church.”
What is the glaring problem with these comments? Simply that they do not reflect an elementary understanding of how new apostles are called. These comments come from the perspective of how a university president or political/social organization leader might be chosen—by the current standards and methods of the world; by elections or voting or appointment or the like. But that isn’t how God does it. He reveals to President Nelson who should be chosen. The selection is made by revelation to a prophet, not by affirmative action or any other method or standard. People betray their woeful ignorance when they ask such a question. I tend to wonder if they may have been influenced by one of Peggy Stack’s misleading or false declarations found her fake news stories.
Next, the usual feminist advocates make their plea, to hear about our mother in heaven. Again, another betrayal of ignorance of how general conference talks are prepared. Promptings, inspiration, divine guidance, not caving to feminist pressure and philosophies. If the Lord wants a subject spoken about, He will inspire one of His servants to speak the truth about it; the philosophies of the world won’t have place in the process.