This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice ( Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.

”Dallin H. Oaks made the following disturbing comment in the PBS documentary… ‘It is wrong to criticize the leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true.’”

(CES Letter)
Criticism Is Good – The premise of this argument is false. Mormons do not believe anyone is immune from criticism and scrutiny. Everyone is entitled to personal revelation to confirm that priesthood leaders are teaching the right message. Mormons believe in critical thought, not blind faith.

Misquote – This quote by Dallin H. Oaks is taken totally out of context by a fake news organization, and CES Letter passes off a short phrase within a sentence as a complete sentence. If you look at the entire sentence and the context around it, he was actually advocating for providing fair context and bias instead of dwelling solely on personal attacks of historical characters. Somebody who repeatedly brings up the allegation that George Washington had an affair with a teenage woman in a discussion about the revolutionary war obviously has a bias. Likewise, those who nitpick every little negative thing about priesthood leaders in discussions about Mormon history have a bias. They are only interested in personal attacks and shaming, not a sincere discovery of truth.

The fake journalists at PBS took Dallin H. Oak’s quote out of context, snipping this short phrase as if it were a complete sentence. PBS was promoting fake news. This shows how careful Mormons must be about dishonest media. These rat journalists will do anything to attack Mormons.

Here is what Dalin H. Oaks actually said: “The talk where I gave that was a talk on ‘Reading Church History’ — that was the title of the talk. And in the course of the talk I said many things about being skeptical in your reading and looking for bias and looking for context and a lot of things that were in that perspective. But I said two things in it and the newspapers and anybody who ever referred to the talk only referred to [those] two things: one is the one you cite:’Not everything that’s true is useful,’ and that [meant] ‘was useful to say or to publish.’ And you tell newspapers any time (media people) [that] they can’t publish something, they’ll strap on their armor and come out to slay you! I also said something else that has excited people: that it’s wrong to criticize leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true, because it diminishes their effectiveness as a servant of the Lord. One can work to correct them by some other means, but don’t go about saying that they misbehaved when they were a youngster or whatever. Well, of course, that sounds like religious censorship also. But not everything that’s true is useful. I am a lawyer, and I hear something from a client. It’s true, but I’ll be disciplined professionally if I share it because it’s part of the attorney-client privilege. There’s a husband-wife privilege, there’s a priest-penitent privilege, and so on. That’s an illustration of the fact that not everything that’s true is useful to be shared. In relation to history, I was speaking in that talk for the benefit of those that write history. In the course of writing history, I said that people ought to be careful in what they publish because not everything that’s true is useful. See a person in context; don’t depreciate their effectiveness in one area because they have some misbehavior in another area — especially from their youth. I think that’s the spirit of that. I think I’m not talking necessarily just about writing Mormon history; I’m talking about George Washington or any other case. If he had an affair with a girl when he was a teenager, I don’t need to read that when I’m trying to read a biography of the Founding Father of our nation.” (Mormon Newsroom)

Yes, it is wrong to harp criticism on someone and not look at the all-around character of that person without bias, even if it is true. This is especially true for Mormon priesthood leaders. It is so easy to criticizer their decisions, but few have any kind of understanding the difficultly and effort it takes to be a Bishop or General Authority. It is very draining. Like historical figures such as George Washington, we should temper our criticism before we have walked a step in these people’s shoes.

Quentin L. Cook: The Internet Exaggerates & Invents Shortcomings

“Some have immersed themselves in internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed.” (Elder Quentin L. Cook)

Absolutely true. Quentin L. Cook’s statement is excellent and on point. CES Letter incorrectly says he was talking about ‘Researching “unapproved” materials on the internet,’ but where does he say anything about information being ‘approved’ or ‘uanpproved’? He was simply saying we should not exaggerate or fabricate history.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf: Not Everything In The Media Is True

“…Remember that in this age of information there are many who create doubt about anything and everything at any time and every place. You will find even those who still claim that they have evidence that the earth is flat. That the moon is a hologram. It looks like it a little bit. And that certain movie stars are really aliens from another planet. And it is always good to keep in mind just because something is printed on paper, appears on the internet, is frequently repeated or has a powerful group of followers doesn’t make it true.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

Again, absolutely true. What about this upsets CES Letter? Does CES Letter think the earth is flat, or the moon is a hologram? What could possibly be wrong about this statement from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf? How was he promoting anything but critical thinking?

CES Letter says:

“Who cares whether you received the information from a stranger, television, book, magazine, comic book, napkin, and even the scary internet? They’re all mediums or conduits of information. It’s the information itself, its accuracy, and its relevance that you need to focus on and be concerned with.”

(CES Letter)
See also:Mormons Lose Testimony From Learning Church History?

Nobody ever said the internet is scary, or that it matters which kind of medium you get information from. However, it would logical that more fake information is to be found on the internet, as it is so easy for anybody to publish whatever they want on the internet.

But then again, the sources CES Letter quotes to make their point–PBS and Reuters–are supposed to be credible large news organizations and instead they are spreading fake news about Mormons. So you can’t even trust credible large media corporations today. I agree, fake news is found in books, magazines, and combic books as well as the internet. We need to be very skeptical and critical of all media.

CES Letter Logical Fallacies

CES Letter misquotes Dallin H. Oaks by taking a short phrase and passing it off as a complete sentence. To be fair, they probably just copied what was portrayed by the fake news journalists at PBS. There is no mention from church leaders of information being “unapproved” or approved.
Appeal To Ridicule“scary internet”
Ad Hominem“disturbing”
Non SequiturCES Letter took quotes about critical thought and analysis of the media and said it had to do with “unapproved” information or not using certain kinds of mediums.

Skeptics’ outrage over these three quotes is weird and disturbing. Are Anti-Mormons openly promoting illlogical thought now? Exaggerated and invented information is now good? Any kind of criticism of Mormons must be true now, because they think it’s good. This explains why CES Letter links so much to Wikipedia and gets information from fake news organizations. It shows an inability to gather truth and apply critical thought.

Categories: Apologetics