I have no shortage of opinions on societal issues yet I often keep them off of social media out of respect for others. However, there is an issue involving the New York Times and the leader of the church that I choose to be a part of, that I cannot in good conscience ignore.
President Thomas S. Monson, the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, died earlier this week at the age of 90. He dedicated his entire life to serving other people and to serving God. The New York Times released an article about his death and posted the link on Twitter. The Twitter post reads: “Thomas Monson, the president of the Mormon church who rebuffed demands to ordain women as priests and refused to alter church opposition on same-sex marriage, died Tuesday at 90”
It’s true, as a member of the Mormon church this struck a chord with me on a personal level. However, taking emotion out of the equation doesn’t change my view that this post is ill-conceived, insensitive, poorly written, ill-informed, and downright pathetic.
The words that stick out to me most are ‘rebuffed’ and ‘refused’. Since when are we a society that doesn’t support a person or an organization that sticks up for their beliefs? As a child I remember being taught that it is admirable to stick up for yourself and what you believe in and that it was equally admirable to respect the beliefs of others. But these days it seems that if you don’t believe what the media or the elite want you to believe then you’re wrong. (That’s how Hitler ruled, in case you were wondering.) We have enough people in this world who aren’t capable of making their own decisions or forming their own opinions. So why aren’t we celebrating those who do? Thomas S. Monson stood by his beliefs that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. Never once did he ridicule or speak an ill word towards those who believe in same-sex marriage. In fact, he offered his love to all he encountered. He maintained his beliefs while remaining respectful and loving of others. And yet, the New York Times chooses to point out only that he ‘refused to alter’ the church’s stance on a controversial topic. The New York Times claims to be a prestigious organization filled with only the educational elite. But if that’s true then one would think that they could come up with a twitter post that was at the very least well-researched and unbiased. After all, they did have 280 characters to work with.
It is sad for me to see this twitter post and know that now many people are led to believe Thomas Monson was intolerant simply because he would not conform in a way that society thought he should. Society is filled with cries for tolerance. I hear people pleading to be tolerant of homosexuals, minorities, atheists, selfish football players, and a myriad of others. And I must add here that I wholeheartedly believe that EVERYONE deserves to be loved and that people should absolutely tolerate beliefs and lifestyles other than their own. HOWEVER, tolerate does not mean condone. Love does not mean agree. (See dictionary)
It’s true that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not condone many lifestyles that society as a whole does condone but it doesn’t mean that the church doesn’t preach love and tolerance. As anyone in attendance of a church-affiliated meeting would know, love is the driving force of the religion; the glue that keeps it all together. President Monson was a pillar of light and a radiator of love on this earth.
The issues that are mentioned here are very sensitive and sacred topics for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, so why the New York Times felt remotely qualified to comment on such matters is beyond me. It’s difficult to properly form an opinion about a subject that one knows nothing about. For example, I’ve never tried tapioca pudding therefore I cannot have a well-formed opinion about it. I can assume that it is disgusting but I’ll never truly know for myself until I taste it. I understand that The New York Times is a prestigious organization but no matter how educated they claim to be, they can’t be knowledgable about a person and/or topics that they don’t personally know or aren’t willing to research.
If anyone out there is reading this and doesn’t understand why our church operates the way we do or why we believe what we believe, please message me. I’m more than happy to have an open and loving conversation to offer an inside perspective.