My last post received a lot of comments from both sides of the issue I talked about. I plan on responding to the comments and attention that the subject drew. I think there were good and bad arguments on both sides of the issue. But first- Oaks.
My first real impression of Oaks as a man was at BYU. I worked for the Office of Information Technology in the lighting branch of the Multimedia Events department. Our little team did the lighting for all sorts of events, from EFY dances to awards ceremonies to concerts to CES Firesides. (It is funny now to think that I ran the lighting for some of those firesides in the Marriot Center). Anyway, at one particularly high-end dinner/awards program, Oaks was one of several General Authorities in attendance. I remember watching him from the mezzanine. People were finding their seats as the program was about to start and his wife was still chatting it up with people by their table. Dallin Oaks (believing his wife to be behind him), pulled his wife's chair out and when he realized she was talking to people he just stood and waited patiently behind the chair. She was one of the last to wrap up conversation before sitting down and Oaks, of course, kindly scooted her chair in after she sat before taking his seat.
I share this story because I don't want people to think that I have completely vilified the leaders of the LDS Church in my mind. I know that many of them (maybe all?) are decent guys and if they were simply another person on the street, they would likely be likeable enough to just about anyone. However, they are not like a random person that you might happen to bump into. They proclaim themselves to be the voice of God. And people can say what they want about them being "imperfect men," but lets be honest with ourselves. We look into history at any mistake a past "prophet" made and we say, "he was only a man." Brigham Young for example. Mormons are quick to acknowledge that he was imperfect and made many mistakes and had questionable judgement. But if you even suggest that a current prophet is wrong, it is blasphemy. And not only are they treated like, as one facebook friend proclaimed during General Conference, "surrogates for the Lord," they are also treated like celebrities.
And as much a people would like to say that this is just a cultural issue, and not one that is perpetuated by the leaders themselves, it simply isn't true. You are not encouraged to question the teachings of President Monson. You are not told to read the ensign with a critical eye. What we are encouraged to do is "follow the prophet." So when someone in that position teaches false principles and ideas- it is dangerous. And as sweet as it was that Dallin Oaks pulled his wife's chair out for her, there is no excuse for an educated man who's words hundreds of thousands will interpret as scripture to say things of the nature that he did in General Conference. I don't know how his talk could be any more hypocritical.
He talks about the evils of victimizing children and selfish adult-interests while at the same time demonstrating that equation. How is re-enforcing the idea that single parents are less fit to raise children good for the children in single parent homes? How is making the already guilt-ridden woman haunted by her teenaged decision to abort her child feel evil make her feel valued and loved? And how the hell does telling people to "ASSUME" that same-sex couples with children are incapable, selfish, child-abusing parents do anything to help that child make friends in school and in their communities?
I'm sorry, are you telling us Mr. Oaks, that a child is better off in a foster home than being raised by two loving parents who spent the time in countless meetings and screenings and approvals to get the chance to provide a stable home to him or her? And sure, you were nice enough to pull that chair out for your wife, but isn't it a bit ungrateful to your mother who raised you alone in a world that can't have been very kind to her and her plight? Don't you think that if the toxic idea that she was ill-fit to raise a child wasn't so ingrained into our society that she might have had a better chance? Condemning single parents then didn't improve your situation, sir, so why do you feel it is your job to continue that poisonous teaching?
I have written much about Oaks and his discussion about what parents of gay children should do. I don't think I need to spend any more time showing how damaging his teachings about LGBT people are. But wake up people. THIS is the voice of God? How can people sit through that talk and come away feeling that it was uplifting and inspiring? I wish members were empowered to be able to stand up and say, "I'm sorry sir, but you are wrong- and there is no bell of truth that sounds when you speak."