This article from yesterday’s Washington Post has to be read to be believed.
One of the strangest incidents of the 2012 presidential campaign was when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid accused then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of having not paid any taxes over the past decade. That Reid made that allegation from the floor of the Senate made it even odder.
The problem with Reid’s allegation? It’s just not true. We know that, at least in 2011 and 2010, Romney did pay taxes. How do we know that? Because Romney released his tax returns for those years. In 2011, Romney paid $1.9 million in taxes; in 2010, he paid slightly more than $3 million in taxes.
Our own Fact Checker gave Reid Four Pinocchios for his “no taxes” claim. PolitiFact gave the claim a “Pants on Fire” rating.
Yet Reid (D-Nev.) not only refuses to retract the allegation but also seems to take great pride in it. When pressed by CNN’s Dana Bash last year about continuing to defend a statement that is not true, Reid responded, “Romney didn’t win, did he?”
Now, in a new interview with WaPo’s Ben Terris, Reid echoes those sentiments. Here’s Reid’s full response to Ben’s question about the Romney attack:
People bring that up, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Why? Because I knew what he had done was not be transparent and forthright about his taxes and to this day he hasn’t released his tax returns. … Did I want to do that? No. I had the information, I tried to get somebody else to do it. I tried to get somebody in the Obama ‘reelect,’ I tried to get one of the senators, I tried to get one of the outside groups, but nobody would do it. So I did it. And with that, like everything, I think in life, here’s something I learned from my father, if you’re going to do something, don’t do it half-assed, don’t play around. With the Mitt Romney stuff, I didn’t play around. …
Again, to be clear, Reid is just wrong. Romney didn’t release all 10 years of his tax returns but the returns he did release showed that he paid taxes. If a small part of an allegation is accurate but the main thrust of it isn’t, that doesn’t make the whole thing true.
In the “Discourses of Brigham Young,” page 272 it says the following:
Do I say, Love your enemies? Yes, upon certain principles. But you are not required to love their wickedness; you are only required to love them so far as concerns a desire and effort to turn them from their evil ways, that they may be saved through obedience to the Gospel (DBY, 272).
HERE is the source and some more quotations from the prophet to consider.
The constant refrain that the Church is not growing or is losing members because of policies that some people don’t like has never been less true than this year.
So far in 2016, the Church has added at least 72 stakes and 20 districts. The Church is on pace to add more stakes and districts in 2016 than in any other recent year.
More information HERE.
I point this out because critics of the Church love to claim the opposite and will use anecdotal evidence that has nothing to do with the facts.
The usual disclaimer: the Church is true even if it is not adding new members. There may come a day when the Church does stop growing because we are by very definition a “peculiar people,” (i.e, different than the trends in the rest of the world). But that day is not today.
I don’t spend much time reading many Mormon blogs. The primary reason is that it is a depressing exercise. Don’t get me wrong — even some of the worst Mormon blogs have occasional pearls from people extolling their positive church experiences. But such jewels usually receive few comments and little traffic.
The three primary themes of the Mormon blog world are 1)the writers are smarter/better informed/more moral/more up-to-date than the leaders of the Church or 2)the writers are much more righteous than “conservative” or “TBM” Mormons 3)Most Church members are judgmental hicks (unlike the blog writers, of course, who are tolerant and understanding and filled with love for everybody — except for the people they really hate, ie, the other Church members). And, really, if I wanted to spend my time reading that I could always go to some anti-Mormon web site someplace and read the same thing.
I am sadly forced to report that many Mormons who write on Mormon blogs appear to be obsessed with the faults of their fellow Saints and show no real charity toward people they should love. The examples are too numerous to mention, and I am not going to give links to any of these blogs because I don’t think people should be reading them. But in researching this post I looked up the most recent output from about a dozen on-line Mormon blogs, and I found out that people who go to Church are “country club Mormons” who hate gay people, want to oppress women and are overly concerned with what other people wear. In addition, the prophets are old and out of touch, and the Church used to be better a few decades ago. And the Church is really, really bad these days because it does not agree with all of the secular trends that the cool people like.
My advice is: don’t read these blogs. But if you are one of these people who do read those blogs I would like to give you another perspective. This perspective comes from somebody who converted to the Church almost two decades ago, and has gone to church in Brazil, Miami and Colorado, where I live now. I have also visited wards literally all over the world when traveling. Because of my callings over the years, I have gotten to know hundreds of people who were inactive or who left the Church for one reason or another. And I have obviously gotten to know thousands of members. Please keep in mind that as a member of a bishopric and a high councilor, I have had detailed discussions with people about many different issues.
- I can’t recall ever meeting at Church a latter-day Saint who ever expressed a serious concern over the “patriarchy” or the Church’s position on same-sex attraction. I have met people who had questions about polygamy or the Church’s position on blacks and the priesthood. I have met people with questions about the all-male priesthood and the Church’s position on same-sex issues, but none of these people had serious concerns.
The prophets and the Proclamation on the Family are correct once again. A major new study that you can read HERE destroys many of the myths about gender identity and same-sex attraction. Among the findings of the study:
The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property—that people are ‘born that way’—is not supported by scientific evidence.
Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex—so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’—is not supported by scientific evidence.
Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.
Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.
The 143-page report discusses more than 200 peer-reviewed studies and documents what scientific research does and does not show about sexuality and gender. The report was authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality.
The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”