I’m just so tired. Really really tired. I’m tired of seeing the church constantly under attack both from people outside of the church and especially those within it. I’m tired of being labeled unfairly by those who know nothing of my faith. I’m tired of being told how I should feel being a Mormon.
I get it. The church is far from perfect and the people within the church both currently and in the past have made mistakes that have caused harm to people.
Church history is messy. There are times where there are no good answers. But such is the history of any organization and individual. We all have dark times, times where we have made mistakes that we wish we could take back. There were and still are times that leaders within our church have made some poor judgment calls that have wounded those who needed the help the most. These are the stories that constantly get blasted in the media today.
But just because the church as an organization and members of the church individually can (and should) be better, that fact shouldn’t negate all of the great things we are doing. You don’t see headlines of all the countless hours that a Young Woman Presidency stays up at night trying to help a girl with a problem that she is currently facing, even though she is not a member of the church simply because they want to help. You don’t see the sacrifice made by Relief Society presidencies, Bishoprics and all the other local leaders who sacrifice weeks and months simply trying to help the people in their neighborhoods.
This is not including all of the humanitarian and welfare work The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is doing throughout the world nor all of the work that the church does for their members. Sometimes we reference all of the church’s humanitarian work and lump it all into a throwaway sentence, but it’s a tremendous undertaking that is directly affecting many of the poor and needy around the world.
Some numbers at a glance:
- Benson Food, helping over 96,000 individuals in 2015 alone with food production, storage and nutrition training
- Over 7 million man-hours donated to the welfare services of the church.
- Over 7,000 full time and part time volunteers in the welfare services of the church providing services such as
- managing employment center
- teaching English as a second language
- teaching marriage and parenting skills
- improving agricultural and medical practices
- distributing clothing
- The church responded to over 177 natural and man-made disasters in 56 different countries in 2016
- Over 7 million people have been helped with their clean water and sanitation initiative
- Over 57,000 individuals received wheelchairs in 2014
- Over 500,000 individuals were given vision treatment in 2015
- Over 44,000 individuals received maternal and newborn care in 2015
- Over 1800 community projects in 107 different countries supporting local organizations solve the problems and needs in their local communities
- Over 56,000 students have been helped with the perpetual education fund with a 90% “pay forward” rate
- Adoption services for families
- Mormons Helping Hands who have donated millions of hours of service with hundreds of thousands of volunteers
The church as an organization has helped people from around the world in a wide range of activities from providing clean water and sanitation in over 26 countries to helping refugees and individuals in the Ukraine from civil unrest. From dealing with typhoons and earthquakes to helping countries and individuals with the ebola virus, it’s a massive undertaking that the church is taking in their humanitarian efforts to truly help those who are in need.
You don’t just get to say “yes, I know the church is doing some good in the world but…”
You don’t just get to throw away all of the good the church does simply to tear it down as though any of the things they did don’t matter.
You don’t get to negate all of the millions of hours spent on:
- helping our neighbors move
- visiting those who are sick
- providing meals & supplies during family emergencies
- taking personal time off from work to help families
- going to camps/youth conferences to help teach life skills and lessons to the youth
- visiting retirement homes and providing spiritual services
- blood drives and donations
- counseling with families
- helping with adoption
- helping individuals find jobs and employment
- helping families find a place to live
- babysitting while the family is dealing with hospital issues
- trying to make new friends and reaching out
- simply saying hi and making people feel welcomed
- shoveling the driveways during the winter
- and the list could go on and on
We have massive improvements that we need to continue to work on both on the organizational level and on the individual level. We need to listen to our leaders and work on our sensitivities and being more understanding to vulnerable populations within the church like the LGBTQIA community and the youth who are dealing with depression or mental illness.
Of course we need to work on being less judgmental and more caring with one another and being more Christ-like in all that we do and say.
But as Elder Holland states:
“Be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work. As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fulness is poured forth, it is not the oil’s fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can’t quite contain it all. Those finite vessels include you and me, so be patient and kind and forgiving.”
Just because we have areas of improvement and just because we are human and are prone to making mistakes, let us not forget all of the good we do as members of the church. While we are not perfect disciples, we do try to help those around us and we do try to make the world a better place and I’m tired of that message getting lost in the media these days.
28 Replies to “I’m Tired of the Church Constantly Being Attacked”
I know it is hard some times but remember this was prophesied. The true church will always be attacked. It’s been attacked since the beginning of this world and will be till it’s final days. We just got to “put our shoulder to the wheel” and always remember that “all is well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson — ‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’
By this line of reasoning every religion that has ever existed in the history of the world is the true religion and is definitely not exclusive to the LDS religion–except in the minds of the members.
It’s not hard for a conman to foresee that a lot of people won’t agree with his movement. That’s some low-hanging prophecy right there.
I agree with you whole-heartedly. Actually, on top of being a member, I’m a teacher (and we’re always maligned and demonized on one-hand and given more to do on the other) and a foster parent (another group that is constantly accused of, shall we say, impure motives). Anyway, both of these point to my point which is: the media rarely, if ever, acknowledges the good anyone is doing unless it is some rich actor, musician, or sports figure who is also aligned with the correct political philosophies. I guess what I’m saying is that, the media only seems to notice the bad things in everything. They’re a lot like that one person who always gripes about how hard their life is and we’ve got to learn to tune it out the same way we’ve learned to listen, but tune out the grumpy people in our lives.
Note: This comment was written with a soft voice filled with love and the Holy Spirit. If it is read with anger, please note that the anger is not coming from the person that wrote it (me).
It’s sad that when people step up to defend others some see that as an attack. If standing up for what is right is an “attack,” then what is it when the LDS church discriminates due to skin color? It still happens. What is it when the LDS church discriminates due to sexual orientation? What is it when the LDS church discriminates due to sexual identity? And by “sexual identity” I’m not just talking about transgenders. Women had the priesthood under Joseph Smith and took it with them to Utah, yet it was taken from them little by little over time. Not by God or revelation, but over time by men. When members of the LDS church try to teach equality and pure doctrine from the Holy Scriptures yet are excommunicated for it, would that be an attack? Personally, I’m tired of the LDS branch of the religion I love teaching hate and pretending to be under attack when they get called out for it.
What was written by the author may also be said about many churches not just the LDS Church.–I do agree that much good has been done, but a “sound-bite” is what gets the “biggest” bang for the “smallest” buck so this why some people “b…ch” so often.
Thousands, millions, even billions of humanitarian work will never excuse any organization from being discriminatory. Do members really expect people to forget everything wrong the church has done, just because young women’s leaders take extra time to help a few teenage girls, build a few churches, or donate a few million? Everything the church has done, just as with any church or organization, is for the purpose of moving along its own agenda. The author refers to instances where the LEADERS of the church have made poor judgment calls which have “wounded those who needed help the most.” And then they go on to why those instances apparently don’t matter. Why? Because regardless of decades upon decades of discrimination and hate, the church has done TONS of other stuff for people, which is basically a free pass to do and say whatever you want, right? Are you aware of the rapidly escalating rate of suicide among teens in the LDS church? The same church which is supposedly based on love? The people of the church do not display love. Love is accepting. Love is universal. Love is NOT selective. The church preaches acceptance, then teaches people that their sexual orientation is wrong, that they cannot achieve true happiness as long as they are living in the LDS church’s definition of “sin,” and encourages gay men and women to marry a person of the opposite sex and have children with that person. The church literally asks people to be the OPPOSITE of what they are. Acceptance? Love? The love that the church gives has a “Members Only” sign on it. If you don’t meet the ridiculous, unrealistic requirements, then you have to change yourself and who you know you are to be worthy of the “universal love” offered by the church. Between the sexism, historical racism, and homophobia the church has displayed over time cannot be masked by a few strategic good deeds. I applaud those who challenge and even attack the church. It’s our responsibility as human beings to fight what we feel is unjust or wrong.
From this fact sheet posted by the LDS church, the church has donated to 202 major disaster assistance efforts from (1985–2011) by donating $1.4 billion dollars. That seems like a lot until you divide $1.4 billion by 26 years. That means $54 million per year. Now divide that by an average of 10 million LDS people per year and that makes $5.40 per YEAR per MEMBER donated to charity. That is shocking to me.
Also interesting when you realize the church’s high-end shopping mall full of costly apparel cost somewhere north of 4 billion dollars, depending on who you talk to.
The LDS Church doesn’t just get a few things wrong here and there… they are consistently behind the world when it comes to civil rights. They accept the world’s conclusions about things like race, they just do so decades late. Why is it that an organization that is supposedly led by revelation is behind the world instead of being out ahead leading it? Why did my current Church march with MLK, while the LDS Church gave sermons condemning the entire civil rights movement? Where was the real inspiration there?
Why are they now doing the same thing with regard to women and homosexuality?
As for all this “good” the LDS Church does, when I left the LDS Church and joined another, what I was most surprised by was the vastly increased attention to charity and to helping others with service projects that weren’t just about helping some guy move. We send our Youth to Mexico every year to build homes, we pack lunches every week for those in our schools that can’t afford their own lunch.
I am sure we can do even better, but my point is that the LDS Church’s focus is not on actual service as far as I can tell. It’s on teaching a specific doctrine, and getting people to believe a certain thing, so they can receive certain ordinances that are supposed to save their souls. But the evidence and history calls that entire narrative into question.
Until you understand that there is opposition in all things, and that opposition is meant to expose your weaknesses to turn them into strengths, you will never find joy in life because you are focused on the negative and wishing for it to stop. Opposition won’t ever stop, you either accept it and learn from it and grow from it in order to find joy in life, or you let it make you miserable and stay stuck in your progression.
what about the 40 recent suicides from the church policy on gays…
If the Mormon Church is tired of being attacked then they need to stop attacking people of the LGBT community. Your leaders have called these people an “abomination in Gods eyes.” Your church leaders have the blood of 46 LGBT Mormon youths who have committed suicide because of the hateful teaching that your leaders spit from the pulpit. 46 people and that number is only counting from November when the church announced their policy change toward members who are LGBT or members who have LGBT parents. Stop preaching hate and the world will stop attacking your cult.
This article reminded me of a Youtube video about being “Under Satan’s Attack” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4mH-2W5nbg
What a great video. All religious people should watch it.
John Huntinghouse – I get where you’re coming from. You don’t like seeing people criticize aspects of the church you know and love. Criticisms of your faith are sometimes felt as criticisms of you personally, and that can hurt. However, there’s a big difference between an “attack” and a valid criticism. The former is often riddled with half truths, logical fallacies, and can have an agenda apart from letting truth stand on its own and defend itself. The latter is a declaration of truth, sometimes difficult for the criticized person/organization to deal with or even acknowledge, that needs to be addressed one way or another. I could point out significant issues or valid critical counterpoints as others have done here, but I’ll just leave these quotes from Apostle Hugh B. Brown as food for thought the next time you see someone “attack” the church:
“I admire men and women who have developed the questing spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas as stepping stones to progress. We should, of course, respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent – if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression.”
“We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it.”
One more from John Stuart Mill:
“However unwillingly a person who has a strong opinion may admit the possibility that his opinion may be false, he ought to be moved by the consideration that, however true it may be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth.”
The church is not attacked for its charitable works. The church does give a relatively small amount of its income to charity but it is the volunteer work of the members that makes the church look so good in this area. As usual, it is the members of the church that makes the church look good and not the other way around. None of this has anything to do with why people attack the church. People attack the church because the church has put itself on a pedestal as being the only correct and true church on earth and therefore can tell everybody else how wrong they are. The leaders tell members they are beyond reproach and to doubt or question them is doubt or question good God almighty himself. This line of talking points is far too long for any real discussion here but I would point out that the writer of this article is not addressing the real issues here.
-blood drives and donations
-counseling with families
-helping with adoption
-helping individuals find jobs and employment
-helping families find a place to live
Yeah, becuase people outside of the church doesnt do this.
Just because somebody has one or two criticisms about an organization doesn’t mean they are negating everything else. That’s not how it works. Mormons tend to have the mindset that they are being “attacked”. You can disagree with somebody and still respect them as a person.
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You know who doesn’t get attacked? Zorastrians or the Bahai faith(among many others). Despite having bizarre beliefs they don’t get attacked. You want to know why? They’ve never inserted themselves into politics that effect other people’s life(like proposition 8).
I’m so sick of nazis constantly being attacked. Sure, they killed a few million innocent jews and plunged the world into a huge costly war, but hey, nobody’s perfect. Nobody ever talks about the good things they did. Nazis did a lot for animal rights and conservation, spurred the anti-tobacco movement, created welfare programs, and contributed greatly to medical advances.
“If people wanted you to [speak] warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” -Anne Lamott
I remember feeling hurt when people would speak ill of the church. It’s a real thing. I still have dear friends in the church that continue to be hurt when criticisms arise. It sucks. And, criticisms aren’t attacks. The church does get attacked, but by and large that is not what is happening, even if that is how it feels.
As others have mentioned, the Mormon church is not the only church that enacts this kind of service. It is not unique. These criticisms aren’t as much about imperfect humans as they are about willfully enacted ignorance usually due to deference to authority that is privileged over humane treatment of our “fellow men”. There is no excuse for it. There is no good deed that can undo it. This kind of reaction represents a fragility that is hard for the rest of us to comprehend. How are you the victim here?
I would be more tired (& scared) of silence. Keep speaking up!