Photo: Grace Wyler / Business Insider
In response to Richard Packham’s piece posted recently, I felt it necessary to ‘balance out the scale’ of bias that reeked in his article.As a current and active member of the ‘Mormon’ faith, more correctly named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), it is always exciting for me to see the media discuss and investigate my faith.
After all, if something really is as great as I proclaim it to be, isn’t it a good thing when others take a closer look at it? If something is amazing, it will surely look so upon closer examination.
The answer to that is yes, it will, as long as the exam is done by someone who is objective and unbiased.
Mr. Packham clearly does not meet that (low) standard of objectivity.
As a self-proclaimed atheist and anti-Mormon, he brings same level of objectivity to a discussion on Mormonism that Debbie Phelps brings to a debate on who is our country’s best swimmer.
However, he is free to write, and Business Insider is free to publish, but as any great editor would do, I hope this response to the piece is published as well.
The ‘secrets’ that Packham claims to expose are not new expositions. What is new here is that a great source of business news decided to blindly post it and give breath to his hopeless purpose – which is to somehow demonize something that is actually good.
The LDS faith is a bright ray of hope to several million people worldwide, including myself and many of my friends and family. Yes, it was founded by a boy, Joseph Smith, whose life was full of stumbling and setbacks, but also full of genius and prophecy.
Faithful members of the LDS church accept the doctrines of the church while simultaneously accepting the imperfection of its members, including and especially its leadership. Yes, Mormon faithful worship in temples, which includes ‘ordinances’ and ‘covenants’ that members are asked to adhere to.
Not to mention, the promises made in LDS temples clearly allow for any participant to freely withdraw. Surely if an individual later decides to leave the faith, should he not still honour the sacredness others hold to those worship services? Yes, the members of the church choose to refer to temple worship as ‘sacred’ rather than ‘secret’ – but there are reasons for this.
A true secret is one in which disclosure cannot be made at any cost. Temple worship in the LDS faith is actually open to anyone who truly wants to participate. The prerequisite, of course, is to be an active member of the church.
Regarding the question Richard raises about Mitt Romney’s candidacy – I would echo the words of John Kennedy, who was recently quoted by Mitt:
“But if the time should ever come — and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible — when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same.”
If that explanation is not enough for Mr. Packham or those that follow his line of thinking, then the Mormon candidate is not for them. And that is fine.
And lastly, regarding the venom that was spewed at the church I love, I would quote a former church leader Bruce McConkie:
“The Church is like a great caravan—organised, prepared, following an appointed course, with its captains of tens and captains of hundreds all in place. What does it matter if a few barking dogs snap at the heels of the weary travellers? Or that predators claim those few who fall by the way? The caravan moves on.”
And surely it has. From its earliest days in upstate New York where its members were few, to its current status as a worldwide force for good, the church certainly has the attention of admirers and detractors alike. I have had the chance to serve as a full time missionary and have seen the principles of the LDS church change lives for the better.
An objective researcher would see that while the church has had perceived bumps along the way, it truly is a source of goodness in the world for members and non-members alike. The faith,which actually views its foundation as Jesus Christ and not as Joseph Smith or any other man, proclaims in its mission to strengthen the weak and help others learn Christian principles to live a more fulfilling life. The LDS humanitarian organisation provides aid for 179 countries and to date has provided over 1.3 Billion USD in total humanitarian aid according to its own site.
The scrutiny is welcome, the questions are deserved, and the misinformation at times is understandable. For those who are looking for answers about the church and its beliefs, I would invite any emails and would also direct any to www.lds.org where a reader can find our church’s “Articles of Faith”.
Surely there are organisations that deserve the criticism of Packham and others, but in the opinion of the author, the LDS church falls low on that list.
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