“What You Didn’t Hear About the LGBT Pamphlet at BYU”

“What You Didn’t Hear About the LGBT Pamphlet at BYU” September 1, 2022


BYU by night
A portion of the Provo, Utah, campus of Brigham Young University by night   (Image from the BYU website)


Wow.  This article, written by the forthright and courageous Cassandra Hedelius, is both extremely important and extremely concerning:


“What You Didn’t Hear About the LGBT Pamphlet at BYU: BYU was right to remove an LGBT “resource pamphlet” from freshman welcome bags, but the public doesn’t understand why. It disturbingly promoted a drag show and gender “transition” to students.”


Another person of tremendous bravery and integrity is Robert P. George, who is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and the director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University:


“Perspective: The tables can still be turned on the marriage debate: It’s time to speak moral truth to cultural power when it comes to the meaning of marriage”


And, while we’re in the general area of those two pieces, here are a few other articles that I probably ought to share with you:


“The U.K. Turns Its Back on Transgender Ideology”


“Why Transgender Extremism Is Worse in the United States: In focusing on rights, it’s easy to forget our duties.”


“Fired for His Faith, an Austin Fire Department Chaplain Fights Back: All people of goodwill should pray for and stand with Andrew Fox in defense of our way of life and freedoms.”


“Utah professor who refused to use certain pronouns sues SUU leaders over sanctions”


The back of Timp
Mount Timpanogos looms above Utah Valley, where the Provo campus of Brigham Young University (BYU) is situated.  This, though, is the mountain’s other side, up high.

(Wikimedia Commons public domain photo by Brian Smith)


On his blog, the incomparable Jeff Lindsay has written an interesting article in response to a question that has often been posed to me, as well:


“A Tough Question: What’s the Single Most Impressive Evidence for the Book of Mormon?”


I like what Jeff has written, and I’m inclined, on the whole, to agree with his list of “most impressive” pieces of evidence.  Or, at least, not to disagree with it.  But I think that I’ll briefly summarize here at least a part of the answer that I typically give when I’m asked what I consider to be the most impressive evidence for the Book of Mormon.  I’ll do it in discrete bullet points, rather than in the form of a smoothly flowing mini-essay:


  • Sometimes the question is posed to me in a verbally similar but quite distinct way:  What do I consider the single most decisive proof of the Book of Mormon?  I always resist this formulation.  I don’t think that any single silver-bullet “proof” exists for the Book of Mormon.  In fact, I don’t think that any complex of facts or arguments is available to “prove” the Book of Mormon.  I say this not because I don’t believe the Book of Mormon to be authentically ancient and true, but because I don’t believe such decisive evidence to exist in the current state of our knowledge.  Moreover, as a faithful Latter-day Saint I don’t believe that God intends for such effectively coercive evidence to be available to us.  It’s not in the plan.
  • I also decline, in part for reasons similar to those stated by Dr. Lindsay, to name a single “most impressive” piece of evidence.  In fact, I’m not even comfortable offering a short list of such facts or arguments.  Why?  Because
  • The case for the Book of Mormon doesn’t rise or fall on a single fact or argument, or on a small assembled number of facts and arguments.  Instead, it is a cumulative case.  It is made up of a large (and increasing) number of items, no one of which, by itself, is conclusive, but which, when taken altogether, strongly suggest the authentic historicity and truth of the volume.
  • This sort of exercise is always impossibly difficult.  For me, at any rate.  I’ve tried, on various occasions, to make lists of my favorite songs, or my favorite pieces of classical music.  I’ve tried to make lists of my favorite books or (not quite the same thing) of the books that have most influenced me.  But it always comes down, to some degree at least, to such variables as what kind of a mood I’m in, and how long the list can be.  Where the line of exclusion or inclusion ought to be drawn.
  • Although I’m very interested in specifically ancient, Middle Eastern, and/or, sometimes, Pre-Columbian American evidence for the Book of Mormon — I’ve spoken and written and published very frequently on precisely such matters — if I had to choose the single strongest class of evidence for the plausibility of the claims that Joseph Smith made for the Book of Mormon and that the Book of Mormon makes for itself, I would probably go with the witnesses.  The Three Witnesses, the Eight Witnesses, and the unofficial or informal witnesses.  In my judgment, they’re extremely difficult to get around.  But, of course, they can be ignored.  The power of their testimonies can be evaded and, thus, dismissed.  And they don’t “prove” the antiquity of the plates (they weren’t trained or competent to judge such a matter) or the accuracy of Joseph Smith’s translation of those plates (though the Three Witnesses do claim to have heard the voice of God himself affirming the accuracy of the translation).  If accepted as accurate, though, the testimonies of the Book of Mormon witnesses seem to me obviously to go a very great distance toward validating the claims of the book — including its ancient provenance and the truth of the doctrines that it teaches and the events that it narrates.


Bell Tower and Provo Temple
The Carillon Tower of Brigham Young University, with the Provo Utah Temple in the background
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


I watched five [!] movies on the flight today from Amsterdam to Salt Lake City.  I need to work hard tomorrow, but I just didn’t feel like working hard on the plane.  Too tired, for one thing.  So, first, I watched The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.  I thought it funny and clever and entertaining, but, although I grew up around construction workers and mechanics, I don’t think that using the f-bomb approximately every 3.5 seconds was really necessary, or that it contributed much to the film.  Then I returned to an old classic that I’ve always loved, incurable romantic that I am: Roman Holiday, with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.  I like pretty much everything that Gregory Peck is in (because he’s in it), and, well, Audrey Hepburn was incredibly cute.  It’s achingly sad at the end that Joe Bradley and Princess Ann are obliged to part, and that there’s no happy-ending sequel.  Apparently, Gregory Peck’s contract gave him solo star billing, while Audrey Hepburn, a newcomer, was to have been listed much less prominently (after the title). Halfway through the filming, though, he insisted that she be listed as an equal co-star.  And she earned a Best Actress Oscar for the film.   Then I turned to the 2017 war film Dunkirk.  It was especially interesting because we’ve just been in Dover, looking across at the French coast and cruising the English Channel.  Next, I watched Ella Enchanted.  One of our granddaughters had wanted us to watch it with her while we were together in Switzerland, but we couldn’t make the technology work.  So I thought that I had better bring myself up to speed by acquainting myself with it.  It was hammy, and obviously aimed (quite accurately, I suspect) at little girls.  But also amusing.  Finally, I watched Enemy at the Gates.  I don’t think that it’s the kind of film that one should “enjoy,” but I liked it.  Grim times.



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