Of all the silly arguments made by supporters of John Dehlin and Kate Kelly, the silliest of all is that they are doing something “brave.” If you do a search for “John Dehlin brave” or “Kate Kelly brave” you will encounter dozens of sycophantic followers claiming they are “brave” for standing up to the Church.
There is nothing courageous about it. In fact, contradicting the Church in this day and age is so certain to please the crowds that even the basest coward can do it.
Elite media have turned Dehlin and Kelly into heroes. Nothing would be known about their disciplinary councils if Dehlin and Kelly didn’t immediately run to the press to let them know because the Church does not release details on such councils. Dehlin and Kelly, however, emit press releases and try to turn private, sacred events into circuses by ginning up public support. In Kelly’s case, it involved protesting General Conference. For Dehlin, it is an attempt to ask his supporters to hold a “vigil” at a stake center during his disciplinary council.
Since when it is “brave” to take actions certain to be applauded by the mainstream media and supported by crowds of people?
The truly brave people are those who do what is right even when the crowd disapproves. Today, that means maintaining God’s standards even in the face of overwhelming public disapproval. For example, here is a brave man:
“Our doctrine—not just belief, but doctrine—that sexual relations are only appropriate and lawful in the Lord’s eyes between man and woman legally and lawfully married is unchanged and will never change.” —Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve
It is a certainty that maintaining such a position will become increasingly unpopular in the coming years, and Church leaders will not cave and will indeed be courageous.
It is not easy being brave when the faced with persecution. Peter himself denied the Savior three times, and I think this story is in the Bible to remind us that even the elect can succumb to worldly pressures. The Church reminds us that Joseph Smith, desperate for worldly approval, allowed Martin Harris to take the 116 pages even though the Lord counseled him not to. This experience, and the horror Joseph felt afterwards when part of the Book of Mormon was lost, show us the difficulties inherent in following the Lord. Joseph, ever the human prophet, considered fleeing to the West before going to Carthage. But in the end he allowed himself to be taken to that jail where he was eventually killed by mobs.
The mobs will support the cowards and hate the truly brave. You can imagine the Carthage Greys and the rest of the mob, filled with hate, talking about how “brave” it was to storm a prison to shoot at Joseph, his brother and his loyal friends. The mobsters were so “brave” that they immediately ran into the countryside afterwards, fearing reprisal from the Saints in Nauvoo. The attack never came because the Saints truly were brave enough to forgive and wise enough to know that more killing would not bring Joseph and Hyrum back.
To the academics who have sympathy for Kate Kelly and John Dehlin, I ask them to do something truly brave. Go get a t-shirt printed up that says “I am a Mormon and I oppose gay marriage” in big, bold, black letters. Wear said t-shirt around campus for a week, making sure it is seen by your supervisors, students and any potential members of the committees that decide whether or not you will get tenure. Now THAT would be brave.
Instead, most of the academics in the Bloggernacle will take the cowardly stance of contradicting modern-day prophets. I can just see them at faculty parties admitting, yes, they are Mormons but pointing out quickly that they of course oppose the Church’s positions on social issues.
It is obvious that it is much more popular these days to go along with the mob that opposes the Church and its “backward” positions. The sure crowd-pleasing position is to sympathize with Dehlin and Kelly and their “progressive” policies. Can we agree that if you are taking the stance that is crowd-pleasing you are not being brave?
Do you want to know what is truly brave in 2015? Admitting that you have same-sex attraction but choosing not to act on it because you are trying to follow the Lord. It is probably a sign that you are brave if all of the politically correct groups vilify you.
So, let’s dispense with the idea that there is anything brave about Dehlin or Kelly opposing the Church’s policies. If and when they repent and come back to the Church, they will indeed be brave, and I will salute them for it. Repentance and humility are brave, very brave indeed.