Unfortunately, it goes both ways.

 

Bishops and their counselors don’t appoint themselves, but are called from among ordinary members of a local congregation to serve for relatively limited times.

 

Fresh from recommending an article by Peggy Fletcher Stack in the Salt Lake Tribune, I’ll comment briefly on part of another one, published today.

 

Speaking of active Latter-day Saint women affiliated with Ordain Women, the article notes that

 

In a barrage of brutal online insults, they have been called “mean-spirited,” “misguided twits,” “heretics to be burned at the stake,” “arrogant,” “self-centered” and “anti-Christs,” who believe that “all men are pigs.”

 

So who are these so-called demons?

 

It will astonish some to hear it, but I very much dislike name-calling, and I dislike the epithets that I read above.

 

Latter-day Saints shouldn’t hurl insults — people claiming that title should act appropriately — and they shouldn’t be the targets of insults.

 

My concern for balance and fairness, though, requires me to point out that the priesthood leaders who have been involved in recent disciplinary matters (not to mention the Church’s general leaders in Salt Lake City) have been the targets of comparable language (and worse) from a few of those on the other side.  I’ve watched with sorrow as good, sincere men been maligned, mocked, and defamed by (generally anonymous) online critics.

 

I’m told that some of the leaders of Ordain Women may even have received death threats or threats of violence.  Sadly, if this disgusting thing is true, it wouldn’t surprise me.  Nor would it surprise me, again, if priesthood leaders have also received such threats.

 

I receive hate mail pretty frequently myself, and I’ve sometimes received thinly veiled threats of violence.  On two occasions, I’ve regarded the situation as so so specific and so serious that I’ve called the local police and they’ve visited my home to take a report.  Not because I thought they could really do anything at that moment but because, in case I actually ever die under suspicious circumstances, I wanted them to have a list of potential suspects already on file.

 

These things ought not to be.  But they are.  I just want it to be clearly understood that passions and intemperate language and even unjustifiable and cowardly actions don’t arise only among mainstream, believing Latter-day Saints.

 

 


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