Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

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Here Dallin H Oaks, at the time an apostle, said this re gospel teachings about lying:
My brothers and sisters. I am glad to be with you tonight. Before I get to my prepared remarks, I want to say something about the faculty of our Law School. Soon after I went into law teaching, Edward H. Levi, who was then dean of the University of Chicago Law School (later a distinguished attorney general of the United States), became provost of the university and appointed me associate dean and acting dean of the law school. During the nine months I carried that responsibility, Edward Levi gave me a lot of tutoring and counsel. One thing he told me is appropriate for repeating in the wake of the “good old days” nostalgia that has characterized the Law School's 20th anniversary celebration. “Don't refer too much to the early days and the great faculty members who were here when this law school was founded,” Levi counseled. “You have to avoid talking too much about the great faculty members of the early days, lest the students and the public conclude that the great people who have taught at this law school were all in the early days and overlook the fact that the really great ones are those who are here now.”

I concur in that counsel as applied to our own circumstance. We have a marvelous faculty at the J. Reuben Clark Law School. I pay tribute to them—those who are here and those who have gone before. That concludes the informal, unprepared part of my talk. Now I will share what I have written for this occasion.

II

There are few words in the English language with any more beautiful connotations than the word truth. The scripture teaches us that “The glory of God is intelligence” and then adds “or, in other words, light and truth” (D&C 93:36). The Psalmist referred to God as the “Lord God of truth” (Ps. 31:5).

The children of God have always been commanded to seek the truth and to say what is true. The Ten Commandments the Lord gave the children of Israel include: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbour” (Ex. 20:16). The 13th Article of Faith declares that “We believe in being honest [and] true.” To be “true” includes appearing to be what we really are. To speak the truth is to give an accurate account of the facts (see D&C 93:24).

There is no more authoritative or clear condemnation of the dishonest and lying person than the Savior's description of the devil as a liar and the father of lies (see John 8:44). Modern scripture refers to Satan as “that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning” (D&C 93:25). Jacob, the Book of Mormon prophet, declared that the liar “shall be thrust down to hell” (2 Ne. 9:34). Similarly, in the great vision on the three degrees of glory, the Prophet Joseph Smith listed those who were to “suffer the wrath of God on earth,” and be cast down to hell to “suffer the vengeance of eternal fire” (D&C 76:105-105). He included “liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie” (D&C 76:103). Elsewhere in the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord commands, “Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out” (D&C 42:21).

Our General Authorities have spoken repeatedly and sternly about the importance of telling the truth. Elder Mark E. Peterson called honesty “a principle of salvation” (Ensign, Dec. 1971, p. 72). In his stirring sermon titled “We Believe in Being Honest,” Elder Marion G. Romney quoted Oliver Wendell Holmes' lines from “The Chambered Nautilus”: “Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all” (Ensign, Nov. 1976, p. 60).

Elder Gordon B. Hinckley preached against the widespread and fashionable dishonesty that threatens governments, institutions, and our personal dignity. His talk was titled “An Honest Man— God's Noblest Work” (see Ensign, May 1976, p. 60). Satan is the great deceiver and the father of lies, but he will also tell the truth when it suits his purposes. Satan's most effective lies are half-truths or lies accompanied by truth. A lie is most effective when it can travel incognito in good company or when it can be so intermarried with the truth that we cannot determine its lineage.

Suppose, for example, we referred to Paul of Tarsus as “an apostle who went about to destroy the Church.” Or suppose we referred to King David as “an adulterer who was also a prophet.” As students of the Bible we can recognize the elements of truth in each statement. Yet we know that each statement, by itself, conveys a lie. These examples show how easily a deceiver can discredit an individual or an organization by mixing different events or different times and packaging the mixture in innuendo.

Satan can use truth to promote his purposes. Truth can be used unrighteously. Severed from their context, true facts can convey an erroneous impression. True statements made with an evil motive, such as to injure another, are used unrighteously. A person who preaches the truths of the gospel “for the sake of riches and honor” (Alma 1:16) commits the sin of priestcraft. Persons who receive facts under obligations of confidentiality, such as lawyers or bishops who have heard confessions, are guilty of wrongdoing if they reveal them. And a person who learns an embarrassing fact and threatens to reveal it unless he is paid commits a crime we call blackmail, even if the threatened disclosure is true. It is not enough merely to refrain from lying. We must be righteous in the way we use the truth.

Up to this point, I have stated what I understand to be the point of doctrine of our Church. I will now suggest some applications of that doctrine, relying on my personal and prayerful conclusion.

III.

I had a sobering duty as a judge. During my period of service on the Utah Supreme Court, the first case that came before us for the disbarment of an attorney involved a graduate of the Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School. What had he done? Not to put too fine a point on the sordid matter, he had stolen money from a client, and to conceal the crime he had repeatedly lied to his client and the court. That disbarment made an impression on me. I will never forget it, and I hope you won't either.

On the subject of what lawyers should know about lying, I wish to quote the words spoken by a prominent lawyer in a law school graduation this spring.

The reputation you develop for intellectual and ethical integrity will be your greatest asset or your worst enemy. [quoted in Washington Post National Weekly Edition, August 23-29, 1993, p. 7]

Following the bar exam, your most difficult test will not be of what you know, but of what is your character. Some of you will fail. The Class of 1971 [this was the speaker's own class and he had ranked first in it] had many distinguished members who went on to achieve high public office. But it also had several who forfeited their license to practice law. Blinded by greed, some served time in prison. I cannot make this point to you too strongly. There is no victory, no advantage, no fee, no favor which is worth even a blemish on your reputation for intellect and integrity. [quoted in Salt Lake Tribune, July 27, 1993, p. A6]

Those words, spoken at the University of Arkansas Law School graduation, are true. The sad sequel is that just a few months after he spoke those words, Vincent J. Foster, Jr., left his law office in the White House and drove to a lookout point over the Potomac River, took out a revolver, and ended his life. We may never know the exact reason for his action, but his words and his action provide a poignant reminder of the vital role of truth in the life of the law and its practitioners.

While no one deplores lawyer lying more than I do, I believe that the sins of the legal profession should be seen in context. In our society the members of many groups are notable for lying, but none is punished more severely than lawyers. What is unique about lawyer lying is not that it is more widespread or more important than the lying of members of other groups, but that it is more severely condemned and more severely punished.

We have no way of measuring the extent of lying among the members of society's different groups, but it is probably true that the category of lies most highly publicized are those told by public officials. Hardly a day passes without a newspaper article concerning deceptions by public officials, including (to cite only a few examples that come to mind) law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, county commissioners, mayors, presidents, governors, legislators at every level, and an assortment of government administrators too numerous to list. The lies of public officials may be the most damaging lies in terms of the number of people that they mislead and the consequences of the deception.

The lies of public officials, like the lies of religious leaders, are also extremely damaging in the way they degrade the moral tone of the entire community. Officials' lies and clergymen's lies are especially damaging to impressionable young people.

Dishonest business practices are also widespread. From time to time, someone speaks out on that subject. A recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece gives this harsh assessment:

Deception and dishonesty in business surround us. We find them in the half-truths and distortions of fact in advertising, in package labeling, and in merchandise markdowns. We find them in shoddy goods that fail when still new. Is there any wonder that business has garnered a reputation for being less than honest? [“Do the Right Thing in Business,” Wall Street Journal, June 21, 1993, p. A10]

A petroleum industry publication responded to this editorial by predicting that global competition will compel more honesty in the practices of both industry and service companies:

Companies are discovering that when they do the right thing, their integrity is beneficial in subtle ways. . . . Employees feel proud of their companysimply because they can feel proud of themselves. An honest company is one you can depend upon. While it may keep some doors closed to new business, your current customers will give repeat business, and your client list will grow.

Half-truths, distortions of fact in advertising, package mislabeling, merchandise markdowns, and shoddy merchandise are no longer acceptable business practices. In the new world of globalized markets, only those companies which incorporate integrity and honesty as a by-product of their goods and services will survive. [“World Energy Update,” June 30, 1993, p. 12]

The same should, could, and I hope will be said of lawyers and law firms.

IV.

Some have suggested that it is morally permissible to lie to promote a good cause. For example, some Mormons have taught or implied that lying is okay if you are lying for the Lord. There is ancient precedent for this argument, and it will not surprise you to know that Professor Hugh Nibley brings it forward and condemns it in his discussion of the use of “fabrication” in the writing of early Church history. I quote him:

Just as physicians must sometimes tell fibs to patients to help them along, and as those tending small children or the feeble-minded can handle them and help them more effectively by making up stories as they go, so the Christian priest was to cultivate a useful deception as an essential tool in dealing with the laity, according to John Chrysostom. “When Jacob deceived his father, “ he explains, “that was not deception but oeconomia [economy].”


Jerome admits to employing “a sometimes useful deception,” and admires others for the same practice: “how cunning, how shrewd, what a dissimulator!” And he cites Origen as teaching that “lying is improper and unnecessary for God, but is to be esteemed sometimes useful for men, provided it is intended that some good should come of it.”

Nibley condemns this theory and then describes some of its manifestations.

It was common practice for Christian scholars in the Middle Ages both “without scruple [to] put forward older texts, with slight alteration, as their own compositions,” and to put forth their own compositions without scruple as ancient texts. [Mormonism and Early Christianity, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, vol. 4 (Salt Lake City, Deseret Book Co., 1987) pp. 220-221]

As far as concerns our own church and culture, the most common allegations of lying for the Lord swirl around the initiation, practice, and discontinuance of polygamy.

It is clear from the record of history that Joseph Smith introduced the doctrine and practice of polygamy to a select few in the 1830s and 1840s, but it was not announced publicly by the church until the revelation was read aloud at a Church conference in Salt Lake City in 1852. It is also clear that during the federal prosecutions of the 1880s, numerous Church leaders and faithful members were pursued, arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for violations of various laws forbidding polygamy or cohabitation. Some wives were even sent to prison for refusing to testify against their husbands, my grandfather's oldest sister being one of them.

It is also clear that polygamy did not end suddenly with the 1890 Manifesto. Polygamous relationships sealed before that revelation was announced continued for a generation. The performance of polygamous marriages also continued for a time outside the United States, where the application of the Manifesto was uncertain for a season. It appears that polygamous marriages also continued for about a decade in some other areas among leaders and members who took license for the ambiguities and pressures created by this high-level collision between resented laws and reverenced doctrines.

The whole experience with polygamy was a fertile field for deception. It is not difficult for historians to quote LDS leaders and members in statements justifying, denying, or deploring deception in furtherance of this religious practice.

My heart breaks when I read of circumstances in which wives and children were presented with the terrible choice of lying about the whereabouts or existence of a husband or father on the one hand or telling the truth and seeing him go to jail on the other. These were not academic dilemmas. A father in jail took food off the table and fuel from the hearth. Those hard choices involved collisions between such fundamental emotions and needs as a commitment to the truth versus the need for loving companionship and relief from cold and hunger.

My heart also goes out to the Church leaders who were squeezed between their devotion to the truth and their devotion to their wives and children and to one another. To tell the truth could mean to betray a confidence or a cause or to send a brother to prison. There is no academic exercise in that choice!

I do not know what to think of all of this, except I am glad I was not faced with the pressures those good people faced. My heart goes out to them for their bravery and their sacrifices, of which I am a direct beneficiary. I will not judge them. That judgement belongs to the Lord, who knows all of the circumstances and the hearts of the actors, a level of comprehension and wisdom not approached by even the most knowledgeable historians.

I ask myself, “If some of these Mormon leaders or members lied, therefore, what?” I reject a “therefore” which asserts or implies that this example shows that lying is morally permissible or that lying is a tradition or even a tolerated condition in the Mormon community or among the leaders of our church. That is not so.

I suppose most mortals employ some exaggeration and a little of what someone called “innocent after-mindedness.” But does this mean we condone deliberate and important misrepresentations of fact in a circumstance in which they are clearly intended to be believed and relied upon? Never! Lying is sinful, as it has always been, and there is no exempt category for so-called “lying for the Lord.” Lying is simply outside the range of permitted or condoned conduct by Latter-day Saints—members or leaders.

V.

Some of those who have commented on the alleged lies told in connection with polygamy have failed to distinguish between the wrongfulness of asserting something that is untrue and the very different circumstance of not telling everything one knows. I wish to comment on that distinction because it is an important one for the legal profession and indeed for all participants in commerce and public affairs.

I begin with an example from Church history. About ten years after the event, a friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith recalled a statement Joseph made on the morning of the day he was murdered. According to Cyrus Wheelock, the prophet said their lives had been jeopardized by revealing the wicked purposes of their enemies. He counseled that they not make such complete disclosures in the future. Joseph affirmed that all they had said was true, but he observed that it was not always wise to recount such truths. (Cyrus H. Wheelock to George A. Smith, Dec. 24, 1854, Church Historical Department; the substance of this statement is found in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 392.)

When I read this suggestion of the prophet, I thought of the Savior's teaching his disciples: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matt. 7:6). The Savior also instructed his newly called apostles: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). Also important on this subject are the many instances in the scriptures where a prophet was instructed by the Spirit not to teach or write some important truth (e.g., 1 Ne. 14:28; Ether 3:21; D&C 10:34-37).

These scriptural instructions establish that the obligation to tell the truth does not require one to tell everything he or she knows in all circumstances. The scriptures teach that there is “a time to speak,” and “a time to keep silence” (Eccl. 3:7). Indeed, we may have a positive duty to keep many things secret or confidential. But this principle does not condone violating the ninth commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Ex. 20:16). When the truth is constrained by other obligations, the outcome is not falsehood but silence for a reason.

Nibley discusses the Christian origins of this distinction. While criticizing the clergy's censorship of early Christian documents, Nibley quotes St. Augustine as saying:

It is permitted for the purpose of building up religion in things pertaining to piety, when necessary, to concealwhatever appears to need concealing; but it is not permitted to lie, of course, and so one may not conceal by way of lying. [Nibley, Mormonism and Early Christianity, vol. 4, pp. 228]

(I believe the statement that St. Augustine would have been clearer if he had said, “so one may not lie by concealing.”)

In a quoted document, to omit parts of the quote without noting the omission is to perpetrate a lie. Earlier standards of authorship may not have required this, as the above quotes suggest, but the standard is clear today. A lie is also furthered when one remains silent in a circumstance where he or she has a duty to speak and disclose. In other words, a person lies by concealing when he or she has a duty to reveal. Some relationships and some circumstances create such a duty.

In contrast, when there is no duty to reveal all and when one has not made an affirmative statement implying that all has been revealed, it is simply incorrect to equate silence with lying. Nibley explains this distinction. He justifies the withholding of some religious knowledge, such as the Savior directed when he told his disciples not to cast their pearls before swine. Nibley writes:

A well attested Logion preserved in the Clementine writings quotes Peter as saying, “Let us remember that the Lord commanded us saying, 'Guard those secret things [mysteria] which belong to me and the sons of my house.'” . . .”The Mysteries of Faith,” says Clement of Alexandria, “are not to be disclosed indiscriminately to everyone, since not all are ready to receive the truth.”

Nibley continues:

There is a sound pedagogical principle involved here: “The teaching of all doctrine,” says Peter in the Recognitions, “has a certain order, and there are some things which must be delivered first, others in the second place, and others in the third, and so all in their order; and if these things be delivered in their order, they become plain; but if they be brought forward out of order, they will seem to be spoken against reason.” That is why he rebuked the youthful Clement for wanting “to know everything ahead of time.” [Nibley, Since Cumorah, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, vol. 7, pp. 96-97]

Consistent with that direction, there are many sacred things that we do not discuss. I will give two illustrations, and you can easily supply many more.

Before the Saints came to the Rocky Mountains, Wilford Woodruff saw in a dream that he would come west with the Saints, that a great temple would be built out of cut granite stone, and that he would attend the dedicatory services. He wisely kept that knowledge confidential—even when his file leader, Brigham Young, was speaking of building the Salt Lake Temple of adobe or brick. He revealed his dream in 1880, when a granite temple was under construction. (See Journal of Discourses, vol. 21, pp. 299-300). As we now know, it was Wilford Woodruff who had the high and holy duty, as president of the Church, of dedicating the Salt Lake Temple. I suspect this was also part of his dream, but he left it unsaid in 1880, since another was then president of the Church.

To cite a more personal example, many of us have had the experience of having the spirit whisper what we would be called to a particular position. Quite a few of the stake presidents I have installed, and some of their wives, have had that foreknowledge. Did they tell me in the initial interview? Obviously not. To share that knowledge out of season would be seen of men as aspiring and could be seen of God as trifling with sacred things.

These examples contain important lessons for Church members. There are things we simply should not discuss or reveal. Sometimes we are silent out of loyalty to those we love. Sometimes we are silent because the Lord has confided in us, and we know we are not appointed to be the means of disseminating the knowledge to others. Sometimes there are other reasons.

There is an important scriptural instruction on this subject. It appears in revelation the Lord gave the Prophet Joseph Smith about the loss of the initial 116 manuscript pages from the Book of Mormon translation. Here the Lord warned the Prophet Joseph Smith not to retranslate those manuscript pages.

The Lord explained that the “wicked men” (D&C 10:8) who had taken the manuscript had altered the words from whatJoseph had caused to be written. “And on this wise, the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work: (v. 12). Specifically, if Joseph retranslated the record and brought forth the same words, the plotters would produce what they would say was the original, show contradictory words, and say “that he has lied in his words, and that he has no gift, and that he has no power,” all for the purpose of destroying Joseph Smith and his work “that [they] may get the glory of the world” (vs. 18-19; also see vs. 13 and 31).

The Lord used these words to describe Satan's plan:

Yea, [Satan] saith unto them: Deceive and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy; behold, this is no harm. And thus he flattereth them, and telleth them that it is no sin to lie that they may catch a man in a lie, that they may destroy him. [v.25]

The Lord's answer to Satan's teaching is, as the lawyers say, “on all fours” as a precedent on the subject of lying versus not telling all you know.

First, the Lord said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, wo be unto him that lieth to deceive because he supposeth that another lieth to deceive, for such are not exempt from the justice of God” (v. 28).

Second, the Lord instructed the Prophet what he should do next. He should not retranslate the words that had gone forth out of his hands (v. 3). Then the Lord gave this interesting instruction: “show it not unto the world until you have accomplished the work of the translation…that ye may be preserved” (vs. 34-35). “Hold your peace,” the Lord concluded, “until I shall see fit to make all things known unto the world concerning the matter” (v. 37).

Here we see that although a man is not justified in lying to detect a liar, he is justified (indeed, Joseph Smith was commanded!) to withhold things from the world in order to preserve himself and safeguard the work in which he is involved. In other words, we must not lie, but we are free to tell less than we know when we have no duty to disclose.

It should hardly be necessary to point out that these principles also apply to the legal profession. If you tell everything you know about a client's affairs, you will not be praised for honesty. You will be disciplined for professional misconduct. The attorney-client privilege and the comparable privileges of other professionals safeguard confi-dential disclosures and give legal recognition to the principle that one is not a liar when one remains silent in a circumstance in which there is no duty to disclose.

I will conclude with some summary thoughts suggested by the familiar oath by which a witness in a formal proceeding is sworn to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

To tell the truth is a general religious obligation, whether we are sworn or not. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Ex. 20:16). The apostolic letters command: “Lie not one to another” (Col. 3:9) and “Wherefore, . . . speak every man truth with his neighbour” (Eph. 4:25). In his condemnation of the lawless and disobedient, the apostle Paul listed liars and perjured persons (see 1 Tim. 1:9-10).

To tell “nothing but the truth” is a clear and invariable application of that principle. Proverbs says, “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape” (Prov. 19:5: emphasis added).

In contrast to the obligation to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, the obligation to “tell the whole truth” is subject to an important qualification. In a judicial proceeding, the sworn duty to tell the whole truth is confined to matters relevant to the proceeding. It does not extend to other subjects. The duty to tell the whole truth is also limited by special legal protections, such as the privilege against self-incrimination.

Whether a speaker is morally or legally obliged to speak “the whole truth” is therefore determined by the extent of the speaker's duty to disclose. Such a duty can be imposed by the speaker's relationship to the person(s) addressed or by other circumstances. A lawyer obviously has a duty to his client to reveal the whole truth about any matter pertaining to the representation, such as a potential conflict of interest or the receipt of settlement offers. Failure to do this can result in professional discipline. A public official has a duty to reveal to the public the whole truth about many matters of public concern.

A trustee has a duty to make full disclosure to the trust beneficiaries of all matters pertaining to the trust property. Many other examples could be given.

In the matter of lying, the essential question is not whether we have a duty to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. We clearly have that duty. We must not lie. I know of no category of justified lies.

The difficult question is whether we are morally responsible to tell the whole truth. When we have a duty to disclose, we are morally responsible to do so. Where there is no duty to disclose, we have two alternatives. We may be free to disclose if we choose to do so, but there will be circumstances where commandments, covenants, or professional obligations require us to remain silent.

In short, my brothers and sisters, the subject of lying is clear-cut in a majority of instances. But there are a lot of situations where people are sometimes charged with lying where the charge is not well founded. You will read that kind of charge in the literature and in current commentary, as if a person were under a duty to tell everything he or she knew, irrespective of any other duties or obligations.

I urge you who are lawyers and lawyers-in-preparation to be sophisticated as you think about these subjects. Be unqualified in your commitment to the truth. Be unqualified in your determination to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. But also be prepared for circumstances that may be painful and contrary to your personal interest and comfort where you must keep confidences, even if someone calls you a liar. It requires sophisticated analysis of the circumstances and a finely tuned conscience to distinguish between the situation where you are obliged by duty to speak and the situation where you are obliged by duty, commandment, or covenant to remain silent.

I'm grateful to be with you tonight. I know that the work in which we are involved as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the work of God. It is a work carried out by mortals, and is therefore bound to have a fringe of imperfections around the edge that may unravel here and there because of mortal weakness or mistake. When this happens, I am glad that the whole garment can be put back together by the glorious principle of repentance, owing entirely to the atonement of our Lord and Savior.

May God bless you in the wonderful work you are doing. May we also be committed to the truth and to duty and to service, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


So how does Thomas S Monson's passing off incorrect details of a story as if true measure up to this standard?

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Chap
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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Chap »

That's all very well, sockpuppet, but you're quoting all that out of context, so your point is moot.
Zadok:
I did not have a faith crisis. I discovered that the Church was having a truth crisis.
Maksutov:
That's the problem with this supernatural stuff, it doesn't really solve anything. It's a placeholder for ignorance.

sock puppet
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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by sock puppet »

Chap wrote:That's all very well, sockpuppet, but you're quoting all that out of context, so your point is moot.

You're right, Chap. How could I expect Mormon general authorities, even its 'prophet, seer and revelator', to adhere to the same high standards of honesty that the COJCOLDS expects of Mormon lawyers and Mormon lawyers-in-training? I guess I'm just being a silly idealist again. (Trying to beat stemelbow to the punch of calling me silly for having quoted such an outdated--18 years+--position of COJCOLDS, as delivered by one of its FP/12.)

Yoda

Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Yoda »

Sock Puppet wrote:So how does Thomas S Monson's passing off incorrect details of a story as if true measure up to this standard?


Based on the circumstances of the inconsistencies and what actually did occur, I think that it is pretty clear that President Monson genuinely got some details mixed up due to his age. The man is 87 years old.

This was not a case of Monson intentionally lying. He thought he was telling the truth. His mixing up some event details is what is known as an honest mistake.

sock puppet
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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by sock puppet »

liz3564 wrote:
Sock Puppet wrote:So how does Thomas S Monson's passing off incorrect details of a story as if true measure up to this standard?


Based on the circumstances of the inconsistencies and what actually did occur, I think that it is pretty clear that President Monson genuinely got some details mixed up due to his age. The man is 87 years old.

This was not a case of Monson intentionally lying. He thought he was telling the truth. His mixing up some event details is what is known as an honest mistake.


Monson was 45 in 1969 when he got some of those details mixed up. Has he had mental difficulties since he was 45?

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Steve Benson »

In his 1969 General Conference sermon, Monson claims he looked out the window down at the Coral Sea while on a commercial flight from Australia to California, at which time he and the rest of the passengers were told by the pilot over the intercom that this site they were gazing upon was the location of a great WW II sea battle.

Armed with that information, Monson proceeds to falsely tell his Conference audience that Arthur Patton went down on the U.S.S. Lexington, in the Coral Sea, in 1942.

That falsehood of Monson's remains uncorrected by Monson until 2007, when he finally changes his story to claim that Patton had died in a naval battle against the Japanese off the coast of Saipan in 1944.

In his latest 2007 latest version of events, Monson also says he received a letter from Patton's mother shortly after Monson had given his 1969 sermon (the one in which he had wrongly declared that Arthur Patton had died in 1942 in the Battle of Coral Sea aboard the U.S.S. Lexington). In that letter, Monson reports that Mrs. Patton told Monson that her son had died on 5 July 1944.

First of all, why did Monson wait so long--nearly 40 years--to make his correction? Why did he not quickly follow up in a subsequent Conference talk while his 1969 version was still fresh in faithful Mormon minds and amend his demonstrably untrue record of events?

Another question: Could it be that Monson not only got it wrong in 1969 on Patton dying aboard the U.S.S. Lexington in 1942 but that he did not have access to reliable information at that point in 1969 for later revising his sermon to claim that Patton had died in the Saipan theater battling the Japanese in 1944? Monson otherwise inexplicably waits almost four decades to publicly deep-six the bogus Coral Sea story--but then goes on to complicate matters by making new claims of an arguably questionable nature.

Whatever Monson's source, with his new death-at-Saipan revelations in hand, in his 2007 talk Monson proceeds to definitively declare that Patton was killed while fighting the Japanese off Saipan in 1944. But if, for the sake of argument, Monson did have in his possession information by 2007 that proved Patton had died during combat operations in 1944 against the enemy off the coast of Saipan while aboard the U.S.S White Plains, where did he get that information?

It is certainly unlikely to have come from the U.S. military itself since the official U.S. Navy casualty compilation list of July 1946 fails to show that Arthur Patton was among those killed in action during WW II. Could the military's death notifiers have told Mrs. Patton that her son had died in a sea battle near Saipan? Possibly, but if they did then why did she not seem to have passed on that basic fact to Monson, given that Monson says she and he were so close?

Could Monson, in fact, have gotten that information from Mrs. Patton? In his covertly corrected 2007 talk, Monson finally gets around to updating his inaccurate 1969 talk and, in the process, informing his new and unsuspecting Conference crowd some 38 years later that Mrs. Patton, in her 1969 letter to him, told Monson that her son Arthur had actually died on 5 July 1944. One would think that if Mrs. Patton had also shared with Monson where her son Arthur was killed in combat, Monson would have eagerly shared that notable piece of information with his Conference audience. Yet, Monson does not tell his 2007 audience that Mrs. Patton told him in 1969 that Arthur's death occurred in battle off the coast of Saipan. (Monson also does not tell his 2007 audience that he, Monson, was wrong in fundamental ways in his 1969 version of events on the time or place of Patton's death, or on the actual ship on which Patton is said to have perished).

Monson also does not inform his 2007 audience that according to the U.S. Navy's own crew transfer log from the U.S.S. White Plains that was compiled by that ship for the date of 4 July 1944 that Patton was "missing" due to "his own misconduct." On that same log for 4 July 1944, the word "transferred" is crossed out on the line for Patton's status and the word "missing" handwritten in over it. That particular crew transfer log appears to be the only currently available U.S. military characterization of Patton's personal circumstances in the area of Saipan that can be contemporaily associated with his status around the time of U.S. Navy combat operations in the Saipan area. Recall that Patton's status is described by the U.S. military at that time as "missing" due to Patton's "own misconduct"--not because of Patton being (as Monson claims) "lost at sea" during "battle" with the enemy. Also recall that Patton's status as "missing" was noted in the U.S.S. White Plain's list on 4 July 1944, two days after the vessel had set sail for an atoll outside of the zone of combat operations in which the ship had been immediately previously engaged.

Now, perhaps Monson did not know in 2007 that Patton had been officially designated as "missing" in July 1944 due to "his own misconduct." But how did Monson know by 2007 that Patton had supposedly died in naval combat against the Japanese in operations off Saipan in 1944? Monson doesn't claim to his 2007 audience that Mrs. Patton told him that Arthur was killed off Saipan in 1944. All he shares with the audience is Mrs Patton's 1969 notification by mail to Monson that her son had died on 5 July 1944, where she does not mention to him the location of where he was killed. Remember that the U.S. military casualty compliations for WW II do not list Patton as having been killed during combat with the Japanese enemy near Saipan (not to mention killed at all)--and that his own ship's crew log lists him only as being "missing" around Saipan due to his "own misconduct."

How many more excuses are going to be heard from devoted defenders of Monson's pious penchant for spectacular storytelling --one that, in this case alone, is being riddled with more and more cannon fire the more it is scrutinzed?
Last edited by Steve Benson on Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:45 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by moksha »

No one ever faulted inspirational speaker Napoleon Hill for his made up stories. Whether fictional or not they added to the point he was making and the audience enjoyed them. Why worry about these bits and flecks of unreality, when the purpose they served was real enough. Stories help advance the point the teller is trying to make and hopefully serve to enlighten and entertain us.
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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Steve Benson »

This is exactly the same lame defense employed by former General Authority Paul H. Dunn who, when confronted by undeniable proof that exposed his war stories as being largely fabricated, insisted that their intent was not to be seen as literally true accounts but, rather, as faith-promoting stories offered up as a testimony to the life and mission of the Mormon Savior.

Trouble is, Dunn never informed his audiences when he was telling these yarns that they were designed as faith-building fables or metaphors; rather, he spun them as actual historical events. Indeed, the power and popularity of Dunn's fairy tales was that Mormons believed them to be real-time events in every particular.

Kinda like Monson's.

And why lower the bar for "prophet" Thomas S. Monson to the level for non-Mormon fiction writer Napolean Hill? Monson is supposed to be telling the truth for and in behalf of God. At least Jesus gave a heads-up to his listeners by informing them when he was about to deliver a parable. Why shouldn't Monson do the same?
Last edited by Steve Benson on Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:31 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Yoda »

interested wrote:This is exactly the same lame defense employed by former General Authority Paul H. Dunn who, when confronted by undeniable proof that exposed his war stories as being largely fabricated, insisted that their intent was not to be seen as literally true accounts but, rather, as faith-promoting stories offered up as a testimony to the life and mission of the Mormon Savior.

Trouble is, Dunn never informed his audiences when he was telling these yarns that they were designed as faith-building fables or metaphors; rather, he spun them as actual historical events. Indeed, the power and popularity of Dunn's fairy tales was that Mormons believed them to be real-time events in every particular.

Kinda like Monson's.


Who did Dunn's stories hurt?

Dunn was actually the one who suffered the most...when the truth came out.

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Steve Benson »

They certainly did hurt Dunn, as they should have, since he was the one who told the untruths.

They also hurt those who had sincerely believed them to actually be true but who then eventually found out he had made them up.

Again, kinda llke Monson--as the truth comes out.

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Yoda »

interested wrote:They certainly did hurt Dunn, as they should have, since he was the one who told the untruths.

They also hurt those who had sincerely believed them to actually be true but who then eventually found out he had made them up.

Again, kinda llke Monson--as the truth comes out.


In the grand scheme of things, how were those people hurt? If Dunn's stories uplifted them, and inspired them to live righteously, or have hope, how were they hurt?

How was their comfort or strength in getting through a difficult time any less real?

I can understand someone feeling tricked...but I can also see that same person weighing things out from a big picture perspective as well. If Dunn's story inspired that person to do good, then how is the situation all that horrible?

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by jon »

liz3564 wrote:
Sock Puppet wrote:So how does Thomas S Monson's passing off incorrect details of a story as if true measure up to this standard?


Based on the circumstances of the inconsistencies and what actually did occur, I think that it is pretty clear that President Monson genuinely got some details mixed up due to his age. The man is 87 years old.


Liz,
The problem with the defence of age in this case is that Monson got nearly everything wrong in 1969, when he was in his mid forties.
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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Steve Benson »

"In the grand scheme of things, how were those people hurt? If Dunn's stories uplifted them, and inspired them to live righteously, or have hope, how were they hurt?

"How was their comfort or strength in getting through a difficult time any less real?

"I can understand someone feeling tricked...but I can also see that same person weighing things out from a big picture perspective as well. If Dunn's story inspired that person to do good, then how is the situation all that horrible?"


People can get uplifted, no doubt, even when pseudo prophets tell lies during the Uplift Moment.

People can also get deflated when they later discover those lies. Any "inspirational high" they may have felt simply means that some people can be emotionally manipulated by a story that they thought was true in all respects (and that was presented by the fabricator/exaggerator as true in all respects).

It also means that this fabricating/exaggerating "prophet of God" simply lied or played loose with the so-called "events" in order to achieve the desired emotionally reactive result.

Your defense of the indefensible does not come across as much of an inspiring fight song for purported "prophets" who peddle fabrications in order to build faith, hoping that in the process they won't be discovered (but then, as in Monson's case, who resort to changing their story when they are eventually exposed. Exhibit A: the differences between his first failed run at it in 1969 and his second in 2007, when he went back, changed the script and didn't bother to tell anybody).

That speaks volumes for trying to get away with it.

Maybe when the Mormon Church realizes the problems with Mr. Monson's myth making, his 1969 version will disappear from the archives or will be changed again. It has happened many times before in the course of rewriting and/or deleting inconvenient Mormon history. Anything goes, it seems, when it comes to defending or justifying a Mormon "prophet"-leader--even when he's been unmasked. One would expect more from cheerleaders for a Church that not only claims to be "true," but declares that it is "the one and only true Church."

Since when does posing fables as facts advance "truth"? In the end, Mormons do not seem all that concerned about truth. They seem much more concerned with protecting their wavering faith from unwanted assault by the facts.

And, again, why lower the bar for "prophet" Thomas S. Monson to the level for non-Mormon fiction writer Napolean Hill? Monson is supposed to be telling the truth for and in behalf of God. At least Jesus gave a heads-up to his listeners by informing them when he was about to deliver a parable. Why shouldn't Monson do the same?
Last edited by Steve Benson on Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Steve Benson »

from liz "I can understand someone feeling tricked...but I can also see that same person weighing things out from a big picture perspective as well. If Dunn's story inspired that person to do good, then how is the situation all that horrible?"


Official Mormon canonized doctrine, as interpreted by Mormon "prophets" like Monson and their excuse-offering supporters like "liz":

"The glory of God is intelligence; in other words, the end justifies the means."

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Chap »

liz3564 wrote:
interested wrote:They certainly did hurt Dunn, as they should have, since he was the one who told the untruths.

They also hurt those who had sincerely believed them to actually be true but who then eventually found out he had made them up.

Again, kinda llke Monson--as the truth comes out.


In the grand scheme of things, how were those people hurt? If Dunn's stories uplifted them, and inspired them to live righteously, or have hope, how were they hurt?

How was their comfort or strength in getting through a difficult time any less real?

I can understand someone feeling tricked...but I can also see that same person weighing things out from a big picture perspective as well. If Dunn's story inspired that person to do good, then how is the situation all that horrible?


I just don't get it. Sockpuppet posts an entire speech from Dallin H Oaks, explaining that it is never right to tell lies, even for a good cause.

Now liz asks what was wrong about Dunn lying in General Conference.

"How is the sitution all that horrible?"

I'll hazard an answer. It leads faithful LDS like liz to feel they need to argue that it may be a good thing to tell lies, if one is doing it in a good cause. Case in point.
Zadok:
I did not have a faith crisis. I discovered that the Church was having a truth crisis.
Maksutov:
That's the problem with this supernatural stuff, it doesn't really solve anything. It's a placeholder for ignorance.

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by jon »

Chap,

It certainly does seem that in order to argue in favour of what Dunn did on the basis of his intentions being right and it promoted good principles and action, one would have to argue against what Oaks stated.
'Church pictures are not always accurate' (The Nehor May 4th 2011)

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Steve Benson »

Judging from the pretzel antics by the faithful, Mormonism is not based on principle, except on the principles of power and convenience.

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Chap »

jon wrote:Chap,

It certainly does seem that in order to argue in favour of what Dunn did on the basis of his intentions being right and it promoted good principles and action, one would have to argue against what Oaks stated.


Yup. It would be interesting to see liz explain to us why and in what way the teaching given by that particular Apostle was wrong.

More on that 'what harm did it do if it helped people find strength and hope to deal with difficulties' argument of liz's:

I should think it knocked the bottom out of their universe when they found out that their hope and strength was based on lies. That's pretty harmful. I suspect in many cases it will have left them worse off than before.

What if it turned out that the whole story of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was a faith-promoting lie concocted by the disciples? Would it have been wrong of them to do that, according to liz? Think of all the hope and strength people have derived from it over the last two thousand years ...
Zadok:
I did not have a faith crisis. I discovered that the Church was having a truth crisis.
Maksutov:
That's the problem with this supernatural stuff, it doesn't really solve anything. It's a placeholder for ignorance.

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Morley »

liz3564 wrote:
Who did Dunn's stories hurt?

Dunn was actually the one who suffered the most...when the truth came out.


Perhaps this is the same reasoning my ex-wife expressed when she wanted to know who her infidelity hurt. She, too, maintained that I would have been better off to believe her fiction. She still believes that she "was actually the one who suffered the most...when the truth came out."

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by Morley »

Does it dilute my argument if the above is a made up story? Is it strengthened if it's real?

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Re: Does Thomas S Monson tell lies...?

Post by sock puppet »

So there must be an exemption from Oaks' understanding of the LDS doctrine on lying, so long as the lies spew forth from the General Conference pulpit.

If it produces General Conference warm fuzzies, that trumps the need to tell the truth.

Funny, don't true stories produce warm fuzzies?

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