If This is True, We Mormons Have a Ways to Go in the Charity Department

Somehow I missed this one. I was checking my site on Technorati, and I came across a post from Cliff Lyon at OneUtah that surprised and frustrated me. This time it was because I agreed with it. Except that now I'm not sure if Cliff's perpetrator really exists--or if he's an agent provacateur.

Cliff's article linked to a letter to the editor of the Deseret News by one Marvin Carlsen. The letter went like this:

I am ashamed of the members of the LDS Church who opposed Proposition 8. I am sick and tired of reading comments by members of the church saying they are ashamed that the church got involved. If you believe Thomas S. Monson is a prophet and this is the Lord’s true church, then shut up and let the inspired
leaders lead us where the Lord inspires them to go. If you don’t support the church’s stance, keep your opinion to yourself.

Marvin Carlsen - Sandy
Cliff then asks why the Deseret News would allow

Mr. Carlsen probably got his mind full of mush from an overdose of Rush Limbaugh. Neither LDS Church doctrine nor its leaders would ever expect us to "shut up" and "let the inspired leaders lead us" wherever they want to.

such tripe to be published. I agree that it is tripe, but I disagree that DesNews should censor such opinions, and I suspect that Marvin Carlsen from Sandy does not exist--at least by that name.

I checked on DexKnows.com to make sure that a Marvin Carlsen lives in Sandy, Utah. And, unless Mr. Carlsen has an unlisted number...he doesn't live there (Dex does indicate one "Carlsen" in Sandy with an unlisted number). I'm not sure what kind of fact checking occurs by Deseret News before they publish letters to the editor. But I know this: of every one of at least 15 letters that I have had published by DesNews over the years, I have included my phone number and my e-mail address (as required) with every one of them--and I have never been contacted by DesNews staff to verify that I am who I say I am.

It wouldn't be the first time that someone with a hate agenda posed in hateful satire as one's enemy.

I know members of the church who are hateful of homosexuals (ironically, Cliff thinks I am one of them), as well as others who are different than them, but I can't imagine that there are very many members of the LDS Church who would think it appropriate to tell people to "shut up" and to let the church hierarchy do all of their thinking for them.

Church doctrine teaches that we should have charity for all, even if we disagree with them. Church doctrine teaches individual members to stand up for what they believe in. While Church doctrine teaches us to find out for ourselves whether something is true, it also teaches its members to respect other points of view.

Marvin Carlsen from Sandy, Utah scores a miserable 1 out of 4 on this basic scale, and he scores that measly 1 for the wrong reason. Mr. Carlsen probably got his mind full of mush from an overdose of Rush Limbaugh. Neither LDS Church doctrine nor its leaders would ever expect us to "shut up" and "let the inspired leaders lead us" wherever they want to.

If a certain Marvin Carlsen from Sandy, Utah exists, he clearly does not understand in the least the doctrines of the LDS Church. But contrary to what Cliff Lyon thinks, he's certainly entitled to share his doleful opinion.


  1. Most people don't realize how much money there is out there. During economic times like this, there is more money to be had than ever. Because of the bailouts and economy, lenders are bending over backwards to bail you out too. Believe it or not, there is people getting tons of cheap money nowdays to start businesses, buy homes, pay off debt, and more. Bailout is for You Too!

  2. Every time I've written an e-mail letter to editor in the Salt Lake Tribune, they have called me to confirm. It's been a long time since I wrote to the Deseret News.

  3. I've been busy with a few different projects the last couple months, and purposefully avoiding most of my blog roll to avoid the temptation of being distracted. Now that it looks like I'll have some free time, I may well be plaguing your blog again;)

    Whether or not this particular Des News letter writer is real, the sentiment the letter promotes is indeed alive and well within our faith. There are many who believe we should blindly follow the prophet, and that among our core doctrines is the infallibility of our leaders. More than a few members have challenged my worthiness and testimony because I'm willing to take a stand contrary to that of the Church on homosexual marriage. I've been told in a variety of ways to shut up and let the Prophet do my thinking for me.

  4. Derek,

    Glad to have you back! I've noticed that "A Liberal Mormon" was not being as actively updated in the last month or two.

    Aside from the question as to whether Marvin Carlsen actually exists, I should perhaps make it more clear that I am on your side on this one. If Mormons think that our leaders are infallible, then we don't understand one of the core tenets of our faith--that we should find out for ourselves whether something is true. More than your worthiness being questioned because of your stand on homosexual marriage, the worthiness of those who so uncharitably disrespected you is what should come under scrutiny.

  5. You forget, Frank, that a growing number of households have only cellular phone service (and no traditional land line) ... and would thus not be listed in the white pages.

  6. It is in general a dangerous tendency to categorize people. In this case to put them into two groups, those who blindly follow the Church Leaders, and those who are apostates. Any categorization limits coherent, intelligent judgment.

    It is, of course wrong to blindly follow anyone, even if he is a prophet of God. Although there are many among those who are good people.

    It is similarly wrong to blindly oppose anything coming out of the Church Officials.

    One needs to always exercise his Light of Christ, his intelligence, his capability of coherent judgment to discern what is right and what wrong.

    Even though the Church has gone very far astray from the true Doctrine, reaching to a point where only pseudo-doctrinal principles are being taught and practiced rather than the Doctrine, where the true Doctrinal principles are intentionally overlooked, where true Priesthood holders are labeled heretics, apostates, or advocates of Satan, or even embodiments of Satan, the church Officials were on the right side this time by supporting the Prop 8. Although their spineless, and public pleasing, lukewarm declaration concerning the matter was repugnant to read.


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