“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Why did no BYU staff or students respond to this incident while it was happening?
The BYU athletic department issued a statement after the story went viral, apologizing for the incident.
Did BYU officials need time to consult with the Kirton McConkie law firm prior to making an apology?
– Tom Irvine
A fan walks into a BYU, hosted volleyball tournament, sits in the student section, and each time some of the players serve the ball that fan yells, “Give women the priesthood!” Or “Polygamy should have never happened!” Or, “The priesthood ban was not of God!” Or “LGBTQIA+ people are not honor code violations!” How long does that go on before action is taken by BYU officials?
As the saying goes, historic behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. I personally have seen folks escorted out of the church’s conference center for yelling, “I object.” I also saw a person tackled, pinned down, and then forcibly removed for cheering, “It’s about time!” and similar comments regarding addressing the racial history of the church, prior to the event even starting while folks were still milling around, chatting, and finding seats. I have seen folks escorted off of BYU’s campus for asking students questions about social matters. These experiences lead me to believe that our hypothetical volleyball fan wouldn’t make it very long before being stopped.
So why then did Black Duke Volleyball players have to endure an entire game of racial harassment without anybody taking action? Not BYU, not their own university, not NCAA officials, not other students, not other adults.
Why can The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it’s institutions, and it’s members act so swiftly when they are the target of the comments or the jeers, but not when a child of God is being called a nigger in their house? How does that go on an entire match?
In 2018 our church announced it’s relationship with the NAACP, we’ve got photo ops, church news articles, tours of welfare square, speeches, and monetary donations. What I want to know is, what is the impact? What is our church learning from the NAACP if despite our relationship this is what continues to happen? If it’s not a general leader of the church giving racist firesides, it’s a Black person being released as a temple worker for having locs, if it’s not that it’s racist dogma showing up in brand new church manuals, if it ain’t that it’s students having to create whole TikTok accounts just to mentally and emotionally survive having the audacity to be Black at BYU, and if that ain’t the thing it’s folks getting called a whole nigger in 2022, while everybody else gazes at their shoes and cringes.
Nobody wants to unpack WHY racism keeps showing up in Latter-day spaces despite all that diverse stock photography on our church website, despite giving money to the NAACP to fight racism in the world while we over here with racism in our wards. We can continue to purchase the optics of being good, but it will never buy us the impact of becoming better. It’s like we don’t want the work we just want the glory, but that’s not how true change is brought to pass. We cannot spend more time and money as a church trying to not be CALLED racist than we do becoming ANTIRACIST. The opposite of racist isn’t “not racist”, the opposite of racist is “antiracist.” So, we don’t have to be a racist church to be inviting to racists or foster racism, we do that if we refuse to be an antiracist church. Which is work, acknowledgment, action, repentance, and restoration. Listen, if we don’t start “rooting out racism” like the prophet called us to do then the racism in our roots will continue to be our reality.
Your sister in the Gospel,
Over my 61 years, I have heard or read about numerous, contemporary scandals and cover-ups of scandals. One U.S. president, a recent UK primer minister, numerous CEOs, university deans, athletic coaches, Catholic Church Cardinals and so many others have resigned from their positions accordingly. Some did so to avoid or minimize legal, political and financial consequences. But I like to believe that most others did so to preserve the honor of the church, business, university or other institution. Such resignations open a way for needed reform and in some cases healing, although these can be long, drawn-out processes.
Just yesterday, a college football coach resigned over some apparently hurtful language. I do not know the whole story and am uncertain whether this incident really warranted his resignation. But I respect his integrity and decision in which he put the honor and reputation of the university and its football program above his own career.
No, I am not calling on any LDS leaders to resign over the sex abuse coverup scandal. But I would hope that they would give this option some prayerful consideration.
… all things which are hid must be revealed upon the house-tops. Mormon 5:8
Nearly All Men Can Stand Adversity, But If You Want To Test a Man’s Character, Give Him Power.
– Tom Irvine
When Brutus is defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, two years after orchestrating the
assassination of Julius Caesar, rather than run away he takes his own life. As Shakespeare
has him say: “Hold then my sword and turn away thy face/ While I do run upon it.” Finding
his body, the victor Octavian says: “Within my tent his bones tonight shall lie/ Most like a
soldier, order’d honourably.” From this tale and many others from Roman times we take the
phrase to fall on one’s sword as accepting responsibility for a calamity.
While this sounds like an archaic act of chivalry, the reason that the phrase is still with us
more than two millennia later is that there is an expectation that the person at the top of an
organisation is accountable and will take responsibility for a collective failure – even if they
are not personally to blame. While there have been some honourable examples of this, they
are outnumbered by the occasions when those at the top have hung on.
At a time when chief executives, presidents, and managing directors are remarkably well
paid, it is especially important that when something goes wrong under their command, they
accept that the buck stops with them and that they do not try to pass the blame on, or hang on
— on the basis that they are “best-placed to clean up the mess” but instead offer to resign.
The offer may not be accepted — but all the more reason to offer it before it is demanded.
— Jonathan Harris CBE, FRICS
I am an active but very nuanced member of the LDS Church in the Seattle area. I went to the Saturday morning cleaning assignment at our ward building this morning. I talked with two very faithful brothers at the end. They were outraged that the trash in the outside dumpster is piling up. The trash removal company is no longer providing service because…. they have not been paid since last October! Apparently, the LDS Church has some company in Atlanta, GA that is supposed to pay the trash collection bill.
The tithing that my wife and I pay would more than cover the trash removal fee. What is going on?
Is this how the LDS Church drums up investment funds for Ensign Peak using the interest on float / pending payments?
The Church teaches its members to be honest and financially self-reliant. I assume this means that members should pay their bills on time. Why does the Church exempt itself from this counsel?
– Tom Irvine
Have well-intentioned but misguided LDS Church members and leaders formed a cult around the gospel of Jesus Christ? Teaching for doctrine the commandments of men? Do we ever speak of getting our “muskets” out to defend the Church against its heretics?
– Tom Irvine
Brad Wilcox is a “man of his time” who has echoed themes from past and current hardline LDS leaders. The difference is that we have changed. We have become more tolerant of diversity and less accepting of bigotry, sexism, etc. We are holding our leaders accountable in ways that we never have before. Wilcox’s talk and the resulting outcry may well be an historical turning point.
I currently work at a private company owned by a very well-known, secular individual. The yearly “diversity” training at this company is far more Christlike than the “musket” fire rhetoric coming from the Brethren.
If only the First Presidency would make an official apology for past racism and the priesthood ban… Even the Southern Baptist Convention has formally apologized for its past racism.
– Tom Irvine
Post from Lindsay Hansen Park
A lot has already been said about the (now infamous) Brad Wilcox fireside talk. Mostly about his egregious remarks defending the priesthood/temple ban, his disgusting sexism and more. I feel like that talk contains all the worst parts of my childhood church.
I’m still struck by the fear and anger in his voice. The intensity and urgency behind how he talked about apostasy and doubt. It was binary. This splitting, black and white thinking: The church is either the most true church or completely false. You stay or you leave. You don’t question god, and if you do, walk away from everything.
Whenever I hear such reasoning, I’m reminded that logic like this is a result of a traumatized brain. Unprocessed trauma leads the brain to be unable to see other choices, nuance and options.
The most generosity I can give Brother Wilcox (although I don’t think he deserves it after spewing such hatred to youth, especially in a position of authority), is that he’s clearly spent a lifetime traumatized by his own faith. It’s so obvious in his logic and reasoning that he confuses fear with love. He’s adopted a theology of pain, passed down from generations of Mormon trauma that accepts that God asks cruel things and it is us who has to call cruelty like that, love.
One of the biggest tragedies in Mormonism for me (mostly because I live in its wake) is all the unprocessed generations of trauma that has been codified as theology. It’s unnecessary and dangerous. If you look at the history, it’s the same- our leaders take their unprocessed trauma and preach it over the pulpit as God’s love.
Patrick Mason, the Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University, wondered if Wilcox was trying to protect the legacy of Brigham Young, who instituted the ban on Black men holding the priesthood.
“When he’s talking about the race-based priesthood temple ban he clearly does not want to impugn the motives or even actions of Brigham Young,” said Mason. “For him that’s a dangerous road. It erodes the foundations of faith in the Church’s leadership, both then and now.”
See also: Elder Holland’s Salt Sermon
February 20, 2022 Fireside