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