“Almost like a bacillus to which they have no immunity”

“Almost like a bacillus to which they have no immunity” January 12, 2018


Gilbert AZ Temple
The Gilbert Arizona Temple is a magnificent and very visible structure.    (LDS.org)


A person who wishes to remain anonymous kindly passed a pair of quotations on to me that he found “very relevant to church members encountering new information about the past.”  Especially, he said, the highlighted portions.


The quotations come from the famous psychologist and psycholinguist Steven Pinker:


The other way in which I do agree with my fellow panelists that political correctness has done an enormous amount of harm in the sliver of the population that might be, I wouldn’t want to say persuadable, but certainly whose affiliation might be up for grabs, comes from the often highly literate, highly intelligent people who gravitate to the alt-right, internet savvy, media savvy, who often are radicalized in that way, who swallow the red pill, as the saying goes, the allusion from The Matrix. When they are exposed the first time to true statements that have never been voiced in college campuses or in The New York Times or in respectable media, that are almost like a bacillus to which they have no immunity, and they’re immediately infected with both the feeling of outrage that these truths are unsayable, and no defense against taking them to what we might consider to be rather repellent conclusions.

He then lists a few uncomfortable statistics and continues . . .

Now let’s say that you have never even heard anyone mention these facts. The first time you hear them, you’re apt to say, number one, the truth has been withheld from me by universities, by mainstream media, and, moreover, you will be vindicated when people who voice these truths are suppressed, shouted down, assaulted, all the more reason to believe that the Left, that the mainstream media, that universities can’t handle the truth. So, you get vindicated over and over again, but, worst of all, you’re never exposed to the ways of putting these facts into context so that they don’t lead to racism and sexism and extreme forms of Anarcho-Libertarianism. So, the politically correct Left is doing itself an enormous disservice when it renders certain topics undiscussable, especially when the facts are clearly behind them because they leave people defenseless the first time they hear them against the most extreme and indefensible conclusions possible. If they were exposed, then the rationale for putting them into proper political and moral context could also be articulated, and I don’t think you would have quite the extreme backlash.


I think that, by analogy, these comments point to the need for frank teaching on and discussion of “difficult issues” among faithful members of the Church.  I’m confident that there are intellectually honest ways for believing Latter-day Saints to take such issues in their stride and to remain deeply committed to the restored Gospel.  (If I didn’t think so, I myself wouldn’t be an active believer.)

More of Steven Pinker’s comments can be found in the very interesting Daily Wire article “Harvard Professor Steven Pinker Points Out How Political Correctness Drives The Alt-Right. The Idiot Left Responds By Using Political Correctness To Rip Him.”


I know that this has grown tiresome.  But it’s Friday and, so, a new article has appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:

“Not Just Sour Grapes: Jesus’s Interpretation of Isaiah’s Song of the Vineyard”

We hope that you’ll enjoy it.

Posted from Phoenix, Arizona



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