TSM New York Times Obituary

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On Own Now
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TSM New York Times Obituary

Post by On Own Now » 11 Jan 2018, 11:53

The NYT published an obituary about TSM. Many have cried foul over it. Here is the obit:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/03/obit ... -dies.html

The basic complaint is that the NYT used the obituary as a platform to renew complaints against the Church. For example, in TSM's obituary, the writer stated:
Mr. Monson displayed a new openness to scholars of Mormonism, ... allowing them remarkable access to church records. But as rising numbers of church members and critics joined the internet’s free-for-all culture of debate and exposé, his church was confronted with troubling inconsistencies in Mormon history and Scripture.
Yet, while the first sentence is about TSM, the second is not about him at all and only serves to remind the reader that the Church has historical issues.

Later, the article points to
...weathering demonstrations at church headquarters by Mormon women pleading for the right to be ordained as priests.
To which it says that TSM's response was not to bend. Yet, TSM didn't create the movement/demonstrations or really have anything to do with them other than to ignore. So, again, it is only obliquely related to TSM, but is used in his own obituary to remind the reader of the movement/demonstrations and the issue within the Church. Nowhere does the article mention the organizational changes enacted by TSM to include women in the top councils of the Church.

Now, there's an online petition asking the NYT to rewrite the obituary... detailed in this HuffPost article:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/york-times-r ... 37422.html

I'm not promoting or planning to sign the petition... I merely bring it up as part of this story. But I have to say, I found the 'obituary' to be pretty wrong-toned. I lament greatly that in our current world, no person with whom we disagree is safe from attack... apparently, not even in their obituary.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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nibbler
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Re: TSM New York Times Obituary

Post by nibbler » 11 Jan 2018, 13:41

There was also a NYT reaction to the LDS reaction:

Our Obituaries Editor on Coverage of Former Mormon Leader Thomas Monson

It didn't read much like an obit, the first 3/4ths read like a recap of what's happened in the LDS church in recent years. The last fourth was more of a traditional obit.

Points raised:

TSM held the line by keeping church doctrines and policies in the against gay marriage camp. You'd think the orthodox member would view this as a positive thing. If this tipped scales towards the negative perhaps it's an indication that the reader either isn't comfortable with holding that position in the light of day or is uncomfortable with the criticism that holding that position might draw.

TSM held the line by keeping church doctrines and policies in the against ordaining women to the PH camp. Same story.

There was a rift between the church and the Boy Scouts. When that was going on I got a sense that most members rejoiced to finally be breaking with the scouts.

And what's probably the two biggies:
1) Mentioning the growing problem of inconsistencies in history and scripture. IMO this is the growing elephant in the room that no one at church wants to openly talk about. Maybe it's jarring to see it in print and be forced to acknowledge it as an issue of our day.

2) And the out of nowhere Joseph Smith probably had 40 wives. I'm sure that sat well with orthodox members.

Hopefully it will give the orthodox an opportunity to grow thicker skin or see something outside of their walled garden.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.
― Rumi

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Heber13
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Re: TSM New York Times Obituary

Post by Heber13 » 11 Jan 2018, 14:07

nibbler wrote:
11 Jan 2018, 13:41
It didn't read much like an obit, the first 3/4ths read like a recap of what's happened in the LDS church in recent years.
That was my reaction...and I stopped reading it.

I can understand having his leadership be summarized by things in the church, as would happen with a pope passing or other org leader, but it went right into it and was negatively toned, I thought.

I was disappointed. It could have been more respectful for the circumstances.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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SamBee
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Re: TSM New York Times Obituary

Post by SamBee » 11 Jan 2018, 14:41

3/4rs surely?

It certainly ran with the gay thing and was very one sided.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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LookingHard
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Re: TSM New York Times Obituary

Post by LookingHard » 12 Jan 2018, 08:15

To me I do think it leaned a bit on the harsh-ish side, but where I live - this is how the church is seen. I saw the petition and my reaction was, "All those Utah Mormons in their bubble don't seem to get how other people see them."

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Heber13
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Re: TSM New York Times Obituary

Post by Heber13 » 12 Jan 2018, 09:30

LookingHard wrote:
12 Jan 2018, 08:15
To me I do think it leaned a bit on the harsh-ish side, but where I live - this is how the church is seen. I saw the petition and my reaction was, "All those Utah Mormons in their bubble don't seem to get how other people see them."
I don't disagree that it may be seen that way. But the focus of the obituary??? Is that what an obituary is for?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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dande48
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Re: TSM New York Times Obituary

Post by dande48 » 12 Jan 2018, 11:24

Heber13 wrote:
12 Jan 2018, 09:30
I don't disagree that it may be seen that way. But the focus of the obituary??? Is that what an obituary is for?
My wife was pretty upset over the article. I fully agree with Heber. I'd rather they focus on the life of the man and the all good he did, rather than the policies of the Church he didn't change.
"The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy. "
-Albert Campus

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-Lemony Snicket

Curt Sunshine
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Re: TSM New York Times Obituary

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Jan 2018, 12:14

Yep. That is my own reaction.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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mom3
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Re: TSM New York Times Obituary

Post by mom3 » 12 Jan 2018, 12:17

I must be getting old -

I am a Monson supporter in so many ways. Being a member I have no doubt many of the issues in the article had nothing to do directly with him. But if you are outside the church (or a deeply believing Member) you don't see it that way.

However, he's gone. Our church is still backwards. I am letting it go.

It was a slow news day.

I also am weary of reading LDS Living and Meridian Magazines' takes on how charitable he was. Not because he wasn't, but because, damn it, we (his fellow 15 and Prethren) didn't get on the stick and make that generosity, charity, outreach, etc. the center of his time.

I seriously believe his age and style allowed "others" to fill in the gaps.

It breaks my heart - obituary not withstanding.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

Curt Sunshine
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Re: TSM New York Times Obituary

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Jan 2018, 21:06

we (his fellow 15 and Brethren) didn't get on the stick and make that generosity, charity, outreach, etc. the center of his time.


That is exactly my greatest disappointment, as well. :cry:
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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