We seek consensus about the Book of Mormon. Joseph F. Smith wrote, "If you have built for a man a better house than his own, and he is willing to accept yours and forsake his, then, and not till then, should you proceed to tear down the old structure. Rotten though it may be it will require some time for it to lose all its charms and fond memories of its former occupant. Therefore let him, not you, proceed to tear it away. Kindness and courtesy are the primal elements of gentility."
The prevalence of a spirit of contention amongst a people is a certain sign of deadness with respect to the things of religion. When men's spirits are hot with contention, they are cold to religion. - Jonathan Edwards
“The Book of Mormon does not supplant the Bible. It expands, extends, clarifies, and amplifies our knowledge of the Savior. Surely, this second witness should be cause for great rejoicing by all Christians.”
- Joseph B. Wirthlin
imagine the pain that comes with a memo like this one I recently received. These are just a half-dozen lines from a two-page document:
“You should know,” the writer says, “that some people in the extended community are feeling abandoned and betrayed by BYU. It seems that some professors (at least the vocal ones in the media) are supporting ideas that many of us feel are contradictory to gospel principles, making it appear to be about like any other university our sons and daughters could have attended. Several parents have said they no longer want to send their children here or donate to the school.
“Please don’t think I’m opposed to people thinking differently about policies and ideas,” the writer continues. “I’m not. But I would hope that BYU professors would be bridging those gaps between faith and intellect and would be sending out students that are ready to do the same in loving, intelligent and articulate ways. Yet, I fear that some faculty are not supportive of the Church's doctrines and policies and choose to criticize them publicly. There are consequences to this. After having served a full-time mission and marrying her husband in the temple, a friend of mine recently left the church. In her graduation statement on a social media post, she credited [such and such a BYU program and its faculty] with the radicalizing of her attitudes and the destruction of her faith.”
Fortunately, we don’t get many of those letters, but this one isn’t unique. Several of my colleagues get the same kind, with most of them ultimately being forwarded to poor President Worthen. Now, most of what happens on this campus is wonderful. That is why I began as I did, with my own undying love of this place. But every so often we need a reminder of the challenge we constantly face here.