Comments about ‘Getting Life: Elizabeth Smart case shows best and worst of religion's influence’

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Published: Wednesday, Dec. 22 2010 11:00 a.m. MST

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Tremonton, UT

Great article. Very well written. Very straight forward and clear.

  • 12:51 p.m. Dec. 22, 2010
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Kaysville, UT

I completely agree with this article. It is truly amazing to know all the things Elizabeth has been through, and yet she has such strong faith, and attributes her ability to cope with it all because of that. Definitely a "best" of religion.

Colchester, CT

There are extremists of all different kinds of "shatterproof beliefs." The notion that it exclusive to religious beliefs is erroneous, though a great many atrocities in this world are "shatterproof beliefs" that mention some form of deity. There are always opposites, especially in religion. There is the good, pure, and meek - and then there is the aggressive, obsessive, and controlling - Both can be housed under the same named religion. Pure religion seeks not to control. One of the greatest pieces of doctrines I've learned as a lifetime Mormon is "Teach correct principles and let them govern themselves."

Littleton, CO

Thank you for recognizing Ms. Smart and the great influence of a religion, even her religion that's been critized by both so called Christian and non-Christian groups.

Bountiful, UT

Well put. Not only she moved forward but as a parent, I know I wouldn't be able to move forward too if my kid was behind. She not only helped herself, she helped her family. She is an extraordinary woman and her parents are good ones. They taught her well.

Salt Lake City, UT

I am in awe. Elizabeth is a remarkable woman.

Salt Lake City, UT

Religion's influence....

*'Ex-seminary principal Michael Pratt pleads guilty in sex case' - By Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Deseret News - 06/02/10

*'2 leaders of church charged in teen's rape' - By Lana Groves, Deseret News - 08/18/10
'MAGNA Two leaders of the religious sect Church of the First Born and the General Assembly of Heaven were charged Wednesday with the rape of a teenage girl in 2005 after telling her they were following instructions from God.'

*'Victims: child sex abuse is crime against humanity' - By Nicole Winfield - AP - 10/29/10

'ROME People who were raped and molested by priests are gathering in Rome this weekend to launch a petition...'

Florissant, MO

I believe that most Christian religions would never condone this kind of behavior from a member of their church and claiming that they were doing it in the name of religion. So the Catholic church didn't molest boys, the Mormon church didn't molest Elizabeth, sadly people from those churches have done these kinds of things. Now, if a church condones it or looks the other way, then they are to me as much at fault.

I really liked how this article points out how some people will do wrongs in the name of religion, but also because of the strength of religion, those wronged can overcome the trauma.

Belching Cow
Sandy, UT

Religion is not bad. However, people who misuse religion are bad. There are bad people in the LDS Church no doubt. Michael Pratt is a good example. That does not mean the LDS religion itself is bad. I for one am of the opinion that the world is a much better place because of the LDS Church.

John Charity Spring
Alloway, NJ

It did not take long for the resident left-wing atheist to use this article to attack all religion whatsoever. He (or she) apparently intends, like the rest of the left, to use any excuse whatsoever to attack religion.

Pagan ignores the irrefutable fact that in every one of the proposed examples, it is the violation of religious principles which led to the harm. In every case, if the perpetrator had followed true religious doctrine's, no harm would have ever occurred.

Pagan also ignores the fact that the whole reason that Ms. Smart is doing as well as she is is because of her devotion to religion. It is the very place from which she receives her strength and comfort.

In short, the absurd attack against religion simply proves that religion is a positive good.

  • 4:11 p.m. Dec. 22, 2010
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ute alumni
Salt Lake, UT

Here we go again, paganette. No point, just rants and cut and paste headlines. I guess it was a good thing not to have recieved any religious influence, p. I guess only people that had any contact with religion are criminals. p, I'm glad you follow the D News, but I would watch it because it does occasionally report on religon.

Stockton, UT

Seems the usual haters are attempting to make it appear that religion has some special propensity to cause problems.

Well, it does...if we define religion broadly as belief systems. Look at those "religions" (or belief systems) that eschew any belief in deity to see what harm a belief system can do.

Since 1900 the religion or belief system known as communism has murdered some 75 million persons.

Since the early 70s some 38 million people have died from malaria that might well have been prevented save for a ban on DDT. The religion or belief system of extreme environmentalism places more value on plants and animals than it does on the life of a poor African living in a malarial climate.

On the flip side, about half of all persons in Africa who have AIDS/HIV are being cared for by the Catholic Church. In this nation most of our best universities and hospitals were started by men of faith.

I'm still looking to find the great charity work done by groups of atheists.

Curtis Hight
Anchorage, AK

May the Lord protect and defend you.
May He always shield you from shame.
May you come to be
In Israel a shining name.

May you be like Ruth and like Esther.
May you be deserving of praise.
Strengthen them, Oh Lord,
And keep them from the strangers' ways.

May God bless you and grant you long lives.
(May the Lord fulfill our Sabbath prayer for you.)
May God make you good mothers and wives.
(May He send you husbands who will care for you.)

May the Lord protect and defend you.
May the Lord preserve you from pain.
Favor them, Oh Lord, with happiness and peace.
Oh, hear our Sabbath prayer. Amen.

Sheldon Harnick. "Sabbath Prayer." Fiddler on the Roof.
"The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that [girls] might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His."
George McDonald, Unspoken Sermons. First Series. Cited in C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (1940; New York: Macmillan, 1977), vi.

Salt Lake City, UT

Wendy has reported well on Elizabeth's faith and on the positive influence that religion has had in her life.

But we must make an important distinction here. Wendy mentions it herself: "quasi-religious."

As we know, "quasi" means resembling but not actually being. This is a very important distinction because it means that by definition, religion itself was not the source of negative influence on Mitchell.

Mitchell was influenced by some concept OTHER than religion. He then took religion and distorted and transfigured it into something that it is not. He then used this false representation of religion in order to disguise and rationalize the non-religious concept.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, has in fact been influenced by religion (or, she has allowed it to influence her).

Therefore the situations of these two people are not at all analogous. By no means do they represent opposite sides of the same coin.

Salt Lake City, UT

It could be argued that the non-religious concept which influenced Mitchell is itself a religion. That may well be. But at least in the sense that it is being used in this article, I do not believe that religion has both a positive and negative influence, that influences one positively and another negatively. Instead, it's influence is and can only be positive. If there is a negative influence, it is coming from some source other than religion.

Jonesboro, AR

This is a very insightful article that highlights the different ways that religion has influenced the world. Thank you for this thoughtful article!

Henderson, NV

All I know is that I saw Good versus Evil... and Good prevailed.

SLC, Utah

Religion is easily expropriated for illegitimate purposes such as was done in the Mitchell case. Why? Because much of it is man-made, all of it ethereal and tenuous, and the author rarely if ever shows up to set things straight that have gone awry.

SLC, Utah

@John Charity Spring:

"In every case, if the perpetrator had followed true religious doctrine's, no harm would have ever occurred."

The perp was merely trying to follow the religious principle of plural marriage... a principle found in a variety or today's religions. The problem is, his methodologies was extremely gross.

Salt Lake City, UT


Three replies to my 3:33 p.m. post.

Must have hit a sore spot.

So glad the moderator isn't allowing any personal attacks.

Sarcasim off.

I never said religion was bad. That was projected onto me by others.

I simply posted what some religious leaders do with thier authoirty.

How does that mean I am against religion or I am a 'hater?'

Believe what you wish.

However this article had 1 paragraph and 2 lines about the wrongs of religion.

And then, followed it up with almost 2 pages of examples of how religion is good.

That's about as 'fair and balanced' as Fox News.

'I'm glad you follow the D News, but I would watch it because it does occasionally report on religon.' - ute alumni | 4:21 p.m. Dec. 22, 2010

Not that I expected something different from a paper, funded by a religion...

but thanks for supporting my point ute alumni

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