Mormon apostle Elder Quentin L. Cook urges 'restoration of morality'

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  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 24, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    Dear Censors, there is NOTHING in the below that violates your posting guidelines. This topic and Ms. Huguenin's actions have been discussed before. You may support her and TheWalker's position, but your job is to make sure we all play fair. It is NOT to take sides and sway the discussion.

    The secularists to which Elder Cook refers are a major force in redefining marriage and silencing those that don't agree with their philosophy. One such example is Elaine Huguenin, who in 2010, was fined $7000 by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission for refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony.

    When Ms. Huguenin got her business license, she had to agree to being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. She then chose to violate that promise and was fined. She broke the law. Period. If she doesn't like the law, she should move to a state that doesn't have such laws. She has no right to complain. She knowingly violated the law. She was free to choose her actions but not free to chose their consequences. That's how Agency works.

  • TheWalker Saratoga Springs, UT
    Dec. 20, 2011 6:37 p.m.

    The secularists to which Elder Cook refers are a major force in redefining marriage and silencing those that don't agree with their philosophy. One such example is Elaine Huguenin, who in 2010, was fined $7000 by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission for refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. Following the court ruling, she stated:

    If it becomes something where Christians are made to do these things by law in one state, or two, its going to sweep across the whole United Statesand religious freedom could become extinct.

    Elder Cook was absolutely correct when he stated that we need to be more than observers.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 20, 2011 12:41 p.m.

    LSA$: I disagree with you on the rights issue. Again this is not a civil rights issue. It never has been and never will be except for those who want to make it so. It is strickly a moral issue and such the Church has the obligation to speak up and be heard. You failure to understand this is very disturbing.

    Secondly, where do you get off in saying the Church was blackmailed into making a statement on immigration.

    It seems it is you who are at a loss as to why the LORD would want this to be. Marriage has eternal consequences and such same-sex marriage is not defined at all in scripture. In fact, just the opposite is true. The Church has taken a stand that it has every right to do. The Family Proclamation is a referendum and all who have heard it, read, and seen it will be held accountable for it.

  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 7:25 p.m.

    Restoration of morality?

    Or does he mean restoration of Mormon morality?

    Mormons do not have the market cornered on morality. Mormon morality is not the sine qua non of morality.

    And, like the fictitious "falling away" (apostasy) Mormons claim happened, this is also a fictitious "departure" from morality. Morality, humanity, and ethics in the world are at an all time high. There is much more to do, but the moral sky is not falling as this article would have us believe.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 2:51 p.m.

    Stay the Course,

    Not at all.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 2:22 p.m.

    Moderators - There is nothing in here that even comes close to violating any of your stated prohibitions.


    You criticism appears valid. I think the Church MAY be putting pragmatism over principles. The Church was threatened by some Latin American governments that if it didn't do something favorable on the illegal immigration issue, that these countries would no longer let American missionaries in. So the Church apparently may be abandoning principle in order to achieve a greater good.

    The same thing appears to be true regarding my signature issue - Prop.8. The Church likewise seems to have perhaps bypassed the scriptural prohibition of allowing one's morals to justify infringing upon the rights and liberties of others (1 Cor. 10:29, D&C 134:4) in order to avoid a negative consequence. I don't think we should be "steadying" the word of God by apparently rationalizing our actions in order to avoid possible negative consequences.

    These are simply my own perceptions. I'd love to hear others' views.

  • milojthatch Sandy, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 10:19 a.m.

    @MyChildrensKeeper & @anti-liar

    Please grow up and start acting like Christians. I wonder if this is how the Mexicans of the 1800's felt when those routy Texans invaded their property and then coming in illegally after they passed laws to kick them out? God will clean His house, but you may be surprised what that actually means.

    @CHS 85 In a blog from I believe a year ago, Elder Cook did in fact mention working with Muslims. So yes, he and the rest of the Brethren are well aware of non-Jewish/ Christian religions and love the people of those respective faiths.

    @Hutterite Not so, people doing bad things in the name of religion are not really religious, but are rather politicians using religion for their own means. The truly religious will be the most peace loving, kind, moral people you'll ever meet. Despite what John Lennon said, you can't find real peace without Christ. He is after all, the Prince of Peace.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 10:19 a.m.

    m.g. - It is interesting to read from some posters that Elder Cooks basic message of "be good and work with others to achieve goodness" is found to be so objectionable.

    KLK - The problem is that "goodness" is subjective. Is allowing women to show their faces "good" or should they wear bhurkas? Is allowing people to shop on Sundays "good"?

    Us libertarians state that men should choose for themselves what they do as long as their actions exert no objective harm on others. Murder, rape, theft, fraud all exert OBJECTIVE harm and must therefore must be banned. Shopping on Sundays, playing penny ante poker, drinking a beer, etc...objectively harm no one else. Some may be subjectively harmed (offended), but no one has a right to not be offended.

    Elder Cook seems to want a generic Christian view to be the standard of goodness and seems to be calling on people to use the power of government to force that standard on others. This idea runs counter to the scriptures and our own experiences of having others' ideas of right and wrong foisted upon us.

  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 9:37 a.m.

    It is interesting to read from some posters that Elder Cooks basic message of "be good and work with others to achieve goodness" is found to be so objectionable.

    For you secularists and liberatarians, mankind has never shown itself to be basically good. A guidepost of rights and wrongs does not come from humanity naturally. The natural man is an enemy to God, and man by nature is carnal, sensual, and Devilish. Oh sorry, that last statement might be too religious for you. Sorry.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Dec. 19, 2011 6:24 a.m.

    What confuses secular people, or rather, what causes them to stumble, is their false belief that there is no absolute moral authority anywhere in the universe. They either don't believe in God or if they do, believe that God is a "do whatever you want, it doesn't matter" type of being.

    Both ideas are absolutely false, and therefore, are destructive when hung in the balance, i.e., examined in their totality.

    You simply can not fight against truth/reality and come out happy and fulfilled on the other end.

    BTW, to some of the posters on this comments board, Elder Cook was talking to you.

    How long, Lord, how long?.....

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 5:44 a.m.

    Intellectual atheists are vulnerable to the Marxist philosophy of dialectic materialism.

    Therefore they line up on the side of the Marxist Socialist objective of slavery of all opposition and the seizing of their assets to be owned and controlled by an international collectivist government.
    Their strategy is to keep the knowledge of God and his commandments from humanity.

    Judeao-Christian objectives are simply: Liberty and freedom to all individuals through obedience to Gods law namely the Ten Commandments and Christs Sermon on the Mount.

  • Larry Lawton Wan Chai, Hong Kong
    Dec. 19, 2011 2:57 a.m.

    Before I retired about five years ago, I practiced law in San Francisco for the better part of twenty years. Since then, family and friends have kept us pretty well informed on whatâs really happening on the ground.
    I hadnât been in the bay area long before I found myself thinking, âBoy, you almost need to carry your passport around here. If youâve trying to live traditional values, youâre an alien.â As the intellectual climate deteriorated, it appeared to me that the first amendment right of free speech existed only for politically correct speech.
    The later came into sharp relief in the aftermath of a recent campaign for Prop 8. Those who exercised their precious first amendment rights by contributing to the winning side found themselves in real difficulty. Businesses were picketed and customers deflected until they contributed an equal amount to gay causes. Several were forced to resign their jobs, many more intimidated into silence. Houses of worship were vandalized.
    Two brief quotes from our last general conference make the point clearly. Neil L Anderson stated, âOnce the standards of the church and of society were similar. Now, they are not.â Boyd K. Packer put it this way: âYoung people today are raised in enemy territory.â
    A recent survey asked a representative group of young people to respond to some simple ethical questions. The results were shocking, as more and more children are raised without the guidance of our traditional religious values simply cannot effectively make moral judgments.
    In an intellectual vacuum, it may be possible to conceive of a society where values and morals are taught without the anchor of religion, but in the observable world, it just ainât necessarily so. You might just catch a nice trout fly-fishing in my front lawn, but youâll do better if you go down to the river.

  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Dec. 19, 2011 12:12 a.m.

    Vanka your comment is meant to be hyperbole right?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 18, 2011 6:37 p.m.

    We have fifteen men on Earth that are recognized as prophets, seers and revelators. They are the Lord's mouthpiece. Whether you want to believe this or disagree with it. IT IS STILL A FACT. As in the past the words of the Prophets were laughed at, mocked, pit upon and even killed for what they've said. The world has not changed in this regard. Yet, we still have the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to look forward to when there will be no wickedness upon the earth, where all knees shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. Until that happens the majority of the people will continue to call good bad and bad good. They will declare that the secluarists have done more good than any prophet. However, in the end their words will fall upon deaf years and be destroyed.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 18, 2011 6:33 p.m.

    Iwas reading the other day and this is where things have changed.

    There was a time when the morals of this country coincided with the standards of the Church of Jesus Christ. Today that is not true. Today as has been mentioned we have seen the decline of marriage because of the so called no-default divorce, unwed mothers, and of course to top it off same-sex marriage. We have seen an increase in children borne out of wed-lock though this has declined it is still prevelant amount those below the poverty line. We have seen where society approves of co-habitation and the birth of children with or without both parents. True some will say we now require an absent parent to pay child support but does that really help the child.

    Same-sex marriage is a moral dilemma that some in the Church appear to approve without understanding the eternal perspective of it. The only thing is that it this moral decline will only continue to do so until it is at a point that a religious person will not only be persecuted but killed for their beliefs. How many are willing to suffer death?

    Dec. 18, 2011 4:57 p.m.

    @Vanka - talk about irrational, illogical, and laughably fallacious. Let's hear the long list of non-believers who have advanced civilization.

    Do you mean those who founded our nation as a better system of government than anywhere else in the world at that time? Oh wait, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, etc. were nearly all believers.

    Do you mean the one who held our nation together and freed slaves? Oh wait, Lincoln was also a believer, as were those who operated the underground railroad.

    Do you mean scientific advancement? Oh wait, Einstein was a believer.

    Do you mean human rights? Oh wait, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and their followers were believers.

    I daresay that most reforms leading to more humane legal and social institutions have been led by believers with a more enlightened perception of human relationships than their believing and non-believing contemporaries.

    I'm curious about all the advancements to civilization that were led by non-believers.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Dec. 18, 2011 4:16 p.m.

    The irrational, illogical, and fallacious nature of the religionists' rhetoric is becoming increasingly transparent and laughable. Meanwhile, nonbelievers continue to advance more humane and moral legal and social institutions, without having to wait over ten years for a so-called "revelation" from any god or his self-proclaimed "mouthpieces".

    When religious hegemony is broken, nonbelievers in society do more in a few decades for the advancement of morality and improved quality of human life than a thousand religionists have provided in two millennia.

  • George Bronx, NY
    Dec. 17, 2011 10:18 p.m.


    perpetuating the same lies that have been proven time and agin to be false does nothing to establish your moral authority.

    @the truth

    your propaganda speaks for itself. no real need to comment beyond that.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    NeilT -

    "Does everything have to be about illegal immigration?"

    Yes, it does. Not only is it is hugely important, since it effects everything else: the economy, jobs, education, security, etc., it also is hugely relevant to the article at hand -- especially given the recent, official Church statements which clearly and plainly oppose efforts to enforce immigration law. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned that any state legislation that only contains enforcement provisions is likely to fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God." So stated the Church on June 10th, 2011. In other words, enforcing the law is immoral and inhumane.

    This is where those responsible for promulgating such false doctrine -- and that is exactly what that is: false doctrine -- ought to be taking Elder Cook's advice to heart, and repent.

    People rob banks in desperation. That does not make it right. The notion that desperate bank robbers should be given a pass in the name of "compassion," is, again, a lie.

    MyChildrensKeeper -

    Thank you. You are absolutely right. The country is in jeopardy, for the reasons you named.

    And God will clean His house first.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 5:43 p.m.

    RE: VocalLocal

    The seculaarists rarely if ever threaten to impose restrictions on religious expression?

    Waht are you talking about?

    They are trying to remove any and all religious expression from the public square.

    From schools.

    From public property.

    From government.

    From our founding documents.

    From our founding fathers.

    And they want all replaced with their philosophies and beliefs, all out of some misguided thinking that their ways are better, that they are elite and know better.

    it is called progressivism (and it is in both parties) and it is has been destroying our country for a century, taking away freedoms (for security, for PC, for "science", for forced equalization, compelled charity, etc), and centralizing power and dependency in the federal government.

    People need wake up to what's going on, rather than believe the lie that whatever the progressives do is good and right, that giving up a little here and a little there is all right,

    it is not.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 4:59 p.m.

    TheWalker, The only people, in this country, that were fined were those who ignored their states' laws when they refused their companies' service to gay clients. No one has been jailed and I know of no one being fired. A few quit their jobs (like that theatre executive) once their donations to Prop.8 became known and they knew that most of their colleagues were very opposed to Prop.8. Firing people for their religious or political beliefs is clearly illegal.

    The sky isn't falling. Criticism isn't persecution. Your religious rights are not in danger.

    We LDS SHOULD try to encourage people to live righteously, but using our political might to pass laws promoting Gospel principles but which infringe upon the rights of others violates scripture (1 Cor. 10:29).

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 2:36 p.m.

    Religion doesn't bring us any greater moral guidance than our inherent nature does. Indeed, what it does do is empower a lot of people to do things ranging from strange to inhumane based on an unquestionable authority they claim to have from god.

  • TheWalker Saratoga Springs, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 2:13 p.m.

    Today over 40% of American children are born to unwed mothers, the divorce rate is close to 50%, and a large percentage of society, some of them who claim to believe in the Bible, advocate that same-sex marriage should be legal. Those that oppose these trends are derided as being antiquated and out of touch with society, and in many instances, have been fired, fined and jailed.

    The morals of our society are in a swift decline, and Elder Cook is absolutely correct that unless we do something about it, those of us who have strong religious beliefs will be sanctioned in our efforts to exercise those beliefs.

    I for one plan on doing whatever I can to stop this trend and preserve the freedoms for which our forefathers fought and died.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    My childrens keeper. Does everything have to be about illegal immigration? Can't we talk about something else. The church does not support illegal immigration. The church understands that many people are leaving Mexico out of desperation. Why not reach out to those in distress instead of passing judgement on others. This issue is getting far more attention than it deserves. I don't care what some immigration status is they are still human beings and should be treated as such. Please get over it. Demonizing others is not the way to spread the spirit of Christmas.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 12:19 p.m.

    Is Elder Cook aware that people of other than "Judeo-Christian" religions are in the United States? Is he also aware that their religious freedoms are just as protected as his own?

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 12:06 p.m.

    Speaking of Secularists, Elder Cook states, "In their view, there is no 'objective moral order' and no reason to choose one goal over another,". He said, "They believe no preference should be given to moral goals." Since we cannot offer objective proof that God exists, religion based morality is definitionally subjective. The only standard for objective moral order is the libertarian view of allowing all to do as they please as long as no OBJECTIVE harm against anothers person, property or rights occurs. This would outlaw murder, theft, fraud, etc...but still allow Sunday shopping, cussing, and penny ante poker (all of which have been/are illegal based on religious morality).

    Religionists view laws being based on the "harm" standard rather than on God's alleged standard, as an attack on religion and on the freedom of religion. Not so. It is simply recognizing proper place in a pluralistic society with a secular government. Religion is losing the special rights it undeservedly had. Those special rights included having prayer and Bible reading in schools and, amongst others, banning those things mentioned previously.

    When laws are based on religion, religion is no longer a beacon, but a "tractor beam".

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 17, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    It is not so much that I believe no preference should be given to moral goals - I just don't think your moral goals should be given more preference than my moral goals.

    I believe in order to maintain true freedom of religion, we cannot use the law to codify the beliefs of some religious groups over the beliefs of other religious groups - regardless of how popular or unpopular the various beliefs are.

    I believe that overuse of religious symbols removes their sacredness and makes them mundane.

    I believe that there is good in Judeo-Christian moral values, but I do not believe those values only belong to Judeo-Christian worshippers. Many of those values can be found in every religion and most of those values require absolutely no religion.

    I don't need to fear punishment or crave rewards in order to respect others. I don't need punishment or rewards to respect myself.

    I don't believe that claiming to be religious and have moral values is the same as being religious and having moral values. The world would be a much better place if religions worried about the beam in their own eye before worrying about the mote in mine.

  • George Bronx, NY
    Dec. 17, 2011 9:39 a.m.

    speaking of Secularist the Elder states "In their view, there is no 'objective moral order' and no reason to choose one goal over another," he said. "They believe no preference should be given to moral goals."

    So apparently mischaracterizing those that disagree with you with one large brush stroke is know a civil and respectful way of conducting yourself in discourse.

    Many Secularist people think there are reasons to choose certain goals for the betterment of the world and society based on logic and science. I know its hard to imagine but you can be an ethical person without religion. If religion helps you be a more ethical/moral person then great but don't mischaracterize those of us that do not believe as you do.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 9:32 a.m.

    Humanity is better now than it's ever been. A higher percentage of humans live in societies with more liberties, freedoms and most important, civil rights, than ever before.
    I simply do not understand or agree with the notion that society is getting worse. For a person to admit that is for that person to agree they've never actually studied any history.
    I would like to hear one ancient culture who provide better and more human rights than our current one.

  • VocalLocal Salt Lake, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 8:50 a.m.

    While I think there is great value for many in the practice of their religion and I always certainly hope our society will allow the freedom to practice religion I don't see large groups of people threatening religious freedom. Secularists, though they may ridicule religion (and I would hope even religious people would want to preserve their right to do so) rarely if ever threaten to impose restrictions on religious expression.

    Also while there are great Judeo-Christian values we have to recognize there is an evolution of values independent of the Bible. Moral ideals we all share came about in many areas of the world that never had access to the Bible. Also the Bible, though it contains great moral teachings also contains teachings we would find appalling today-such as encouraging slaughter of people who worship other gods(example: read Numbers 31).

    Last Elder Cook seems to encourage the unified effort of religions in maintaining religious values. I find it ironic that he is concerned about preserving religious freedoms yet wants religious people to unite in defeating freedoms secularists would like to allow in our society.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 8:17 a.m.

    I support the thought of moral living, but restore to what point in time? When we had slavery and lynchings? Pre-civil rights? There have been some bad things done in this nation, many of which were covered up, glossed over or not open discussed. I really don't know if we are better, worse, the same or similar to the past. There are lots of good things about the world, and the need to exhort people to live better lives has always been there.

  • MyChildrensKeeper Taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 3:59 a.m.

    I hope he is talking about and referring to his congregation of Mormons to give up their immoral ways of encouraging and harboring fugitive illegal foreign nationals to plunder and loot the taxpayers of Utah and the nation. I hope he is referring to the illegal Hispanics and Mexicans to return to their homeland and obey the laws of the United States. I hope he is referring to all church members to stop using sympathy as a weapon of deception to encourage foreign occuaption and subversion of our rule of law and law and order.

    Yes, I do hope he is talking to his flock to be good and responsible Americans and not to support breaking our laws or disobeying law enforcement and declare the Utah Compact a criminal collaboration of oppression of the American people and their jobs. It is time we all put our country ahead of our religion and sympathy because if we don't preserve our country and laws we cannot practice our freedoms to be independent, self sufficient, and be honorable in our religious endeavors.

  • Munk Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 17, 2011 3:18 a.m.

    I very much like what I have just read. This is not just good advice for those that are LDS but for all. Understanding and learning from others of different faiths, beliefs, etc. can only improve and strengthen bonds that will be needed to step forward to the future.