Walking the Tightrope
Pure knowledge. Seeking our own confirmation from the Holy Ghost before we presume to teach others, instead of immediately trusting in our own "neat ideas" or the teachings of the world.
Few of us have a calling that allows us to reprove anybody -- and even fewer of us are ever moved upon by the Holy Ghost to do so. However, sometimes our ideas will seem to others to be a rebuke, and therefore we must be sure that we show them an increase in love, lest they esteem us to be their enemy.
The Saints will not listen to an enemy. Why should they? But they will listen to people who are demonstrably loyal, believing Saints. You can have far more influence in the Church if you never utter a word of criticism, but instead teach your values positively, in circumstances that affirm faith in the gospel and commitment to the Church. If the Saints -- particularly the Church leaders -- know that "your faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death," they will learn to trust that your stories are told out of " charity toward the household of faith." Then their confidence in you will strengthen, and your righteous influence in the Church will increase.
I can imagine some of you thinking, How wimpy, how weak -- has he no commitment to telling the truth?
Well, "telling the truth" is a much overrated virtue in America today. It is the all-purpose excuse for verbal cruelty and domination. How many of you would find much virtue in parents who said to their child, "You were the least talented person on that stage. It was excruciating to watch you." Or, "I always thought you were dumb, but this much stupidity surprises even me." Or, "Face it, you're deeply ugly and no amount of make-up is going to change that." All these statements might be true; but saying them to a person who will be deeply hurt by them is not virtuous. The noble course is to maintain a discreet silence, gently teaching the child to overcome, avoid, or live with his or her shortcomings.
Shouldn't we love the Church as good parents love their children? Shouldn't we be as gentle and careful in sharing our scant wisdom with them as we hope they will be in teaching us from their great wellsprings of wisdom? And if, like children, they sometimes stingingly reject what we offer, shouldn't we be patient, our commitment to the Church unwavering? Instead of being outraged when they read Sunstone and Dialogue, shouldn't Latter-day Saints open these pages to be fed? Isn't it worth keeping silence about some "truths" in order to earn their trust in the far more important truth that we have vowed to help them bear their burdens?
If Sunstone or Dialogue are forums for people who have left the community of believers and now scorn it, or people who have succumbed to their sins and hate the Church for not pretending their weakness is acceptable, or people who have embraced heresy and wish to proselytize for it, then how can Sunstone and Dialogue hope to be taken seriously -- by Mormons -- as journals of Mormon thought? These people may need a magazine of their own, but if Sunstone or Dialogue chooses to be that magazine, no one should complain if people with positions of trust in the Church are expected not to contribute to them.
Does this mean that I think Sunstone and Dialogue should only publish items that could clear Correlation Review? Of course not. Between official publications and heresy there is a vast area for serious speculation and passionate discussion. Many -- perhaps most -- of the articles in these magazines fall within this vital range.