LDS author says modern shame culture was illuminated by New York Times' President Monson obituary

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  • KevinSim Springville, UT
    Jan. 14, 2018 5:51 p.m.

    Silver Stingray posted:

    =Here we go again with the persecution complex. Time to wake up and realize that
    =the world does not look at the LDS church through the same rose-tinted lenses
    =that the followers do.

    The problem is that almost EVERYBODY looks at the LDS Church with tinted lenses. The ones with rose-tinted lenses are biased in favor of the Church; most of the rest are biased against it. It's extremely difficult to find someone who isn't either polarized way for or way against. The writers of the New York Times obituary were obviously way polarized against.

  • Mowgli54 Santa Rosa, CA
    Jan. 12, 2018 2:00 p.m.

    Ironically, were Pres Monson to have read the NYT obit, he would likely have not taken offense. Doesn’t mean the obit was right, but he was above that kind of thing.

    That said, we have not only the right but the duty to defend the prophet’s good name when we see it under attack. The issue here is that, if what the Times said was unflattering, in poor taste and obliquely slanted as criticism of some church policies, was Pres Monson under attack?

  • Cactus Pete Centerville, UT
    Jan. 12, 2018 10:09 a.m.

    RanchHand - Huntsville, UT

    Not everyone agreed with President Monson’s teachings on morality. He wasn’t the first prophet to offend those who don’t live up to God’s standards and he won’t be the last.

    At the end of the day I have to ask myself if my choices bring true happiness.

  • storm3033 Vernal, Utah
    Jan. 11, 2018 9:47 p.m.

    The framing of the NYTimes obituary may have been a little long in stating the facts, not overly emotional while still acknowledging the loss. The obituary was a detailed look at Monson's entire body of work. Why is that considered shaming? Why would Mormons feel shame for holding their tenets dear? Why is it shameful for your deeds to be published? Monson's accomplishments were highlighted and the personal side of the obituary, the last third was written very nicely.

  • Klaus2012 Rexburg, ID
    Jan. 11, 2018 1:53 p.m.

    "With great power comes great responsibility" I like that. Did not Uncle Ben say that to Peter Parker?

    More seriously though, we LDS folks can be involved in some shaming ourselves. I remember when my oldest was about 3, walked up to my neighbor said, "You smoke, you're going to die!" I was mortified, but, looking back, who did she get it from?

    The examples could go on. We can have standards, but we do not have to be weiners about it. We can be kind.

    As Abraham Lincoln said in in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: Be excellent to each other....

    If the NY Times hands what we percieve as a slight, be cool.

  • Sanefan Wellsville, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 12:54 p.m.

    Like I stated, if you can't see the truth, you're part of the problem. Enough said!

  • amagnetick AV, CA
    Jan. 11, 2018 11:02 a.m.

    LOL, does anyone expect anything else from the NY Slimes. Talk about fake news, they're one of the leading organizations that perpetuate it. I don't see what all the hubbub is over this, just more fake news from a fake news organization that is trying desperately to hang on to their shrinking base.

  • Chessermesser West Valley City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 10:04 p.m.

    I agree with the author of the article. Many in our society worship inclusion and acceptance and tolerance, unless these same disagree with you. Then they disparage, attack, and attempt to embarrass. Adult bullying so that all join the herd and no one acts contrary.

    President Monson lived a great life, despite the NYT’s pettiness.

  • Marigold Provo, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 8:53 p.m.

    Loved reading the story and the comments. I think President Monson would say, "Let your light shine" as per the messages in the January 2018 Friend magazine. Being a happy person of faith drives non-believers crazy, but so it was and ever will be. The NYT obit about President Monson says more about the writer(s) than about the subject. I'm profoundly grateful for prophets, seers, and revelators...who testify of the Savior Jesus Christ.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Jan. 10, 2018 4:46 p.m.

    >>When a person's public life includes harmful actions to others, those things should be noted. Just because they may be good in their private lives, that doesn't diminish the actual harm and damage they do to others in their public lives.

    President Monson didn't hurt a soul. He defended religious beliefs that have endured for millennia when society demanded he toss them aside into the garbage bin of history. Prophets aren't here to rubber-stamp whatever society wants and the scriptures show that people always get mad at them for it. Nothing in that regard has changed.

    And "you won't do what I want" is hardly inflicting harm, especially when there are a thousand other denomination out there that people could attend, which are perfectly willing to change their doctrine to accommodate society's desires. As any parent will tell you, sometimes you show more love for people by *not* giving them what they demand than you do by giving it to them.

  • Austin Coug Pflugerville, TX
    Jan. 10, 2018 4:20 p.m.

    @Thomas and Ranchand,

    Just because something is factual doesn't mean it can't be disingenuous or a misrepresentation. How facts are organized and which facts are chosen (or left out) certainly make a difference in the overall portrayal of any situation. President Monson blessed millions of lives of mormons as their prophet. He blessed millions more who weren't mormons through LDS charities and programs designed to help others. Helping after natural disasters is just one example. I had the opportunity to spend four weekends helping gut houses in Katy, Texas this year. Mormons were everywhere helping anyone of any faith, gender, sexual orientation, race, etc... Being a prophet not did make him a great man. He did that for 80 years previously by selflessly serving others his whole life. The stories and examples would take volumes. I have no problem with the Obituary listing controversies that were a part of his time as prophet. However, the NY times skipped the opportunity to share much of any of the good he did in this world. That is where they missed the mark on his legacy as man who loved God and his neighbor as i have seen few men or women do before.

  • Johnny Triumph Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 2:43 p.m.

    Mr Boyd has clearly misread the NYT editor's response. NYT issued a backhanded excuse to the obit but did nothing to refute any of it or to clarify any of the good Monson did. I'm ashamed that Boyd would choose to praise NYT.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 2:40 p.m.

    When a person's public life includes harmful actions to others, those things should be noted. Just because they may be good in their private lives, that doesn't diminish the actual harm and damage they do to others in their public lives. When someone holds as much power and sway as does the president of the LDS church (esp in Ut), the line "With great power comes great responsibility" needs to be kept in mind.


    What about this was "...hate, distortion, lies and bigotry."? It was factual. He *did* those things (and you think it wasn't bigotry when he did them?).


    What was reported was what he DID, not what he didn't do.

  • John Valentine in Denver Brighton, CO
    Jan. 10, 2018 2:37 p.m.

    Three cheers for prophets who don't bend!

  • Freba American Fork, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 2:11 p.m.

    No matter who it is, it does seem kind of strange to make their obituary about what they did NOT accomplish rather than what they DID accomplish while alive. Isn't that the point of obituaries anyway? To summarize the highlights of a person's life and accomplishments? But to make it about what the beloved leader of a large religion did not do is a very obvious social statement; and, I think, a purposeful slight to him and his extraordinary life. But everything is all about Social Justice these days. A person who did not get on board with social issues, or give in to social pressure as Pres. Monson did not, deserved to have that pointed out by this NY Times writer, I guess. Members of the LDS Church should not expect a NY Times writer to understand what being a latter-day Prophet means; but whether the writer lacks this understanding or not, it still seems strange to have the obituary for a beloved religious leader, of millions of people worldwide, focus on what he did not do rather than his lifetime of service and devotion .

  • nancybLV Saratoga Springs, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 2:09 p.m.

    Thomas S. Monson would probably shrug this off.......He would have had more important things to do than read what writers or editors would say about him or the church...nothing new here and would not worry about it people will say what they will.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 1:48 p.m.

    Your first mistake was reading the NYT.

    Your second mistake was being surprised.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 1:43 p.m.

    Is it shame culture, or more oversensitivity in today's society that views mostly innocuous reporting or stories as harsh criticism? Many Christians think valid critiques are a war on Christianity and a form of religious persecution. Apostle Dallin Oaks compared the backlash against the church support of Prop 8 in California to the opposition and persecution faced in the Civil Rights Movement. The obituary in the NYT truthfully reported changes, doctrinal stances, and admissions of past history under President Monson. If that is seen as unfair, then maybe the problem is with the reader, not the messenger.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Jan. 10, 2018 1:22 p.m.

    First of all, shame culture is not even close to new. Aretino wielded it against Michelangelo, Athenians wielded it against Socrates. In colonial America, they literally chanted "Shame! shame!" at public figures when they wished to change their behavior. Shame has always been society's primary means of voicing its distaste of another's belief. So let's not pretend this is somehow unique or new.

    The article also suggests that somehow Monson's obit was largely negative, while those of others like Hefner and Castro were glowing. In his obit, Castro was called a "tyrant" "totalitarian" who "personally sent many men to prison." Meanwhile, in Hefner's, is quoted the following: “The role that you have selected for women is degrading to women because you choose to see women as sex objects, not as full human beings.” Not exactly glowing.

    Here's my take: If you believe the person to be a saint before reading, you will notice all the bad parts first and foremost. If you believe the person the devil beforehand, you will notice all the good parts as out of place. What you're seeing is your own bias.

  • frugalfly PULLMAN, WA
    Jan. 10, 2018 1:18 p.m.

    Thomas S Monson is the Mormon version of "Mother Theresa". It stings to see a man dedicate his life to the service and care of others and then be vilified. President Monson's death is just a great opportunity for the NYT to criticize the church by poking at it's dead leader. Shocking? Nope. The New York pole in 2012 showed that Discrimination of Mormons is one of the most common bigotries in the country. 80% of New Yorkers said they wouldn't vote for a president who was mormon...shocking? Nope! If they counted all the hours of service of all the employees of the NYT over the last 60 years, Tommy Monson would probably have more hours of service. Think about that.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 1:15 p.m.

    It's interesting to see the cultural rot in America where evil is good and good is evil. That didn't exist 50 years ago. Many of the writers in the New York Times and other secular pop culture papers are immature 20 something year olds stuffed full of the Socialist, atheist, bias from their college professors. Their shallow bias leaks into their articles in predictable fashion as they attempt to quantity a man of deep Christian faith and a lifetime of service. They simply don't comprehend much of anything deeper than pop culture Twitter tweets or iPhone gaming. Expecting the New York Times to treat Christians fairly is like expecting Nazi's to write a fair minded account of Jewish history. Not gonna happen. So as the old saying goes...just consider the source. Finally it's really quite silly to pigeon hole Latter Day Saints into some smallish cult with 16 million members across the world consisting of US Senators and Congressmen, Governors, Actors, Musicians, Scientists, and all sorts of very popular professional athletes. I think this o-bit article speaks more to the "smallness" of the NY Times writers more than anything else.

  • wgirl Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 12:59 p.m.

    Still? Let it go.

    Only 2% of Americans are LDS, we should be grateful that a paper as far away from Utah as the New York Times, bothered to write an obituary at all.

    There were no lies, no name calling, he didn't disparage the faith.

    People that are not Mormon, and probably have very little interaction with members, are not going to write the same things about him as his followers would. That's o.k. Let's just be gracious.

    Are our feelings really so easily hurt? What impression does it give when we throw a fit about such petty things as being addressed as "Mr." instead of "President?" What impression does it make when we make insinuations about the author's character and motives and spurt out negative accusations about one of the most respected Newspapers in the world? We look weak, defensive, childish, and ignorant.

    What is it I've read about turning the other cheek?

    I think this has more to do with the fact that it was written by the New York Times, a paper our President mocks as "failing," than it does our love for President Monson. Which to me, is really disappointing and makes me worry that the attack on our free Press and The First Amendment is working.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 12:49 p.m.

    There were no women in the original 12 apostles so that makes Jesus a "sexist" in today's heathen culture. The Apostle Paul condemned homosexuality as sin (Romans Chapter 1) so that makes The Apostle Paul a "homophobe" in that same culture. I know that if Jesus were alive today preaching the same gospel he preached over 2000 years ago He would be sued and shamed on CNN, NBC, Oprah and the rest of modern cultural media rot. Jesus taught "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15: 18-19) .

    The New York Times and the rest of secular America hates Christianity, especially the commandments. To be hated by secular heathens is not new. Actually as Jesus stated this venom traces its roots back 2000 years. Some haters change their view when they actually make an "honest" attempt to understand Christian teaching but that is the exception not the rule. Jesus was crucified and Joseph Smith shot to death. Satan is alive and well.

  • Holy-Schamoly-What Baloney Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 12:40 p.m.

    Are we still worried about what the New York Times printed? Let's move on, we know what is worth reading and it isn't from anti- newspaper editors. Our history in Nauvoo should be enough to convince anyone of that. Look at Warsaw today and see how they've prospered and compare it to all the LDS settlements Brigham Young started for a real eye-opening contrast. Let the Times just do their own distorted reporting about everything. We don't need them in any fashion.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Jan. 10, 2018 12:36 p.m.

    >>That obituary seemed to me to be entirely factual, and largely complimentary to the late Prophet. What am I missing?

    The obituary was factual in what it reported, but it didn't report all of the facts. Instead, it focused heavily on Church decisions made during Pres. Monson's tenure to adhere to long-standing policies regarding morality and chastity instead of changing them to match societal trends. There was no historical context given for those decisions; and the obit almost completely ignored the charitable work done under his tenure and his lifelong focus on helping others.

    If you cherry-pick a few events in a person's life and ignore the rest, you distort the public's image of that person. I think the NYT Obit editor's admission that "In 20/20 hindsight, we might have paid more attention to the high regard with which he was held within the church" is an admission that that happened here. They viewed Pres. Monson's life and work through their own social agenda prism and that showed pretty clearly in the obit.

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 12:01 p.m.

    Mormon's, myself included, are a peculiar people with standards when compared with society at large. To be happy and fulfilled, I'll take my LDS standards vs. the standards of the world any day!

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 11:50 a.m.

    So Hefner and Castro get the normal "obit" pass on sins and misdeeds.

    But Tommy Monson? Thomas Monson, the evil monster who visited sick people his whole life and encouraged everybody to go and serve and rescue the downtrodden. The man who allocated millions to homeless shelters and supplies to areas devastated by natural disaster. The man who reached out to thousands of widows. The man who said "I like to be where suffering is. I want to be there to see if I can lend a hand of love and support".

    No. Instead, the NY Times confirm the sign of the times. Evil shall be called good, and good shall be called evil. After all, Thomas Monson "didn't bend". NEWSFLASH: Most prophets never do.

    The New York Times......bahahahahaaaha

  • Sanefan Wellsville, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 11:39 a.m.

    No, the world does not look at the LDS through rose colored glasses, nor do the followers expect them to. What we do expect is to not be looked at through a prism of hate, distortion, lies and bigotry. And if you cannot admit to those currently exist, then you are part of the problem.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 11:39 a.m.

    @Silver "Here we go again with the persecution complex. Time to wake up and realize that the world does not look at the LDS church through the same rose-tinted lenses that the followers do."

    Here we go again with the persecution complex. Time to wake up and realize that not everybody looks at activists groups through the same rose-tinted lenses that the followers do.

    (see what I did there)

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Jan. 10, 2018 11:12 a.m.

    The obituary primarily mentioned what appears to be 'harsh' things that Pres. Monson did: holding fast on not allowing women to have the Priesthood, saying no to children of homosexual unions being baptized before 18, etc and nothing of any substance about all the hundreds of thousands of hours of service he unselfishly gave to his fellow man.

    When you look at how the former information was portrayed and how the latter was NOT discussed at all, especially when how prevalent the latter information is and how easy it could be obtained, this obituary was nothing more than a purposeful hatchet job.

    It makes me sad but....people like this will never stop the Lord's work from progressing. The Wentworth Letter. Go look it up.

    Keep the faith.

  • Cactus Pete Centerville, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 11:11 a.m.

    What would the New York Times have to say about Jesus and His Teachings if He were to walk among us today wearing a suit and tie?

    He would be condemned by many who call themselves Christians for his politically inncorrect teachings on morality and the sanctity of life.

  • Onion Daze Payson, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 11:09 a.m.

    "Online commentators contrasted the tenor of the Times’ obituary of Monson with the paper’s more sympathetic tone for the likes of Hugh Heffner and Fidel Castro. A senior writer for the Jewish online magazine Tablet observed: “Seems like the Times doesn’t typically lead obituaries with the implied sins of the deceased except in very particular cases. It’s a sort of selective sensitivity to sins that reveals its ideological affinities and biases. So Fidel Castro and Hugh Hefner no, Thomas Monson yes."----See full article for this and more.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 11:09 a.m.

    That obituary seemed to me to be entirely factual, and largely complimentary to the late Prophet. What am I missing?

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 10:49 a.m.

    First of all, get used to culture shame if you're a religious person. It comes with the territory. As society becomes more godless, the more ridiculous they'll try to make you feel.

    Second, President Monson wouldn't have minded the slight. His sights are set higher things than being popular in a society that is going to shambles.

    Third, I would wear "culture shame" inflicted by many activist groups as a badge of proof that I'm actually doing what's right.

  • Silver Stingray St George, UT
    Jan. 10, 2018 10:48 a.m.

    Here we go again with the persecution complex. Time to wake up and realize that the world does not look at the LDS church through the same rose-tinted lenses that the followers do.