Too often our reactions are knee-jerk. We rise and defend the faith before understanding the worldview of the critic. Worse, we often defend the faith instead of acknowledging our error or how we may have unintentionally offended.
…Federal Way Conservative somehow saw defamation and inaccuracies important enough to criticize. But when I read his complaints, I couldn’t help feeling that he was making a mountain out of a mole hill. If nothing else, he doesn’t understand where the Economist is coming from.
Maybe I’m expecting too much from The Economist. Maybe I overestimated their seriousness or capacity to actually get facts right. Maybe they are just trying to grind a political axe on behalf of one of their sponsors.
I understand where the author at Times and Seasons is coming from. As members of the church, we’d much rather smile and shrug it off than confront people who do harm to us, intentionally or unintentionally.
The more I look around the world though, and the more I realize that the LDS Church is growing from a large sect to something that is going to challenge the Catholic Church in size and scope of mission, the more important I realize it is to hold those who misrepresent our church—intentionally or not—accountable, and correct the record. Not to answer tit-for-tat, but to make sure that the innocent bystanders don’t get the wrong idea. We certainly can’t convince those who are set on defaming our church, but we can correct the record so that those who don’t care won’t misunderstand.
If The Economist published an article that simply stated that Mormons believe God talks to them through the prophet, and they do some weird things but they also do perfectly sensible things like giving up smoking and alcohol, focusing on working hard and developing one’s own talents, preaching the gospel to all the world, saving the dead, building up families and reaching out to help the poor and sick, then I wouldn’t mind, because that’s what Mormonism is really all about.
But the Economist is trying to like Huntsman and Romney’s political aspirations to the religion, when Romney was perfectly clear in enumerating how the one doesn’t have anything to do with the other, and in a just society, should never have anything to do with the other. In fact, why didn’t The Economist spell that out, and point out how trying to represent Romney or any other candidate as “The Mormon” candidate is not only incorrect, but expressly forbidden by the church? The last candidate to try that got his own press release from church HQ telling the world that that man is acting against church policy and reiterating that the church doesn’t endorse any candidate and candidate’s should pretend otherwise.