Friday, March 2, 2012

Are We Being Too Judgmental Of BYU Professor Randy Bott? Mormon Messages Video "Looking Through Windows" Provides An Answer

The remarks by BYU Professor Randy Bott and the subsequent clarification statement by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has triggered an explosion of commentary in the LDS Bloggernacle. Because the Bloggernacle is dominated by younger, more progressive Mormons who've been steeped in diversity education and anti-racist conditioning, many are venting their spleens at Professor Bott, denouncing him for propagating "racist folklore". This is understandable, since younger people tend to be more passionate and impetuous, and have not yet been leavened with enough life experience to acquire the wisdom of age.

But it is judgmental, because they are not sufficiently distinguishing between malevolence and ignorance. While malevolence is clearly a sin to be punished, ignorance is more of a handicap to be corrected. The following video from Mormon Messages illustrates how, at times, our own perception of someone else's faults can be skewed by our own judgmentalism:

The full transcript of President Thomas S. Monson's address is available HERE.

Are we looking at Professor Bott through a clear perspective unclouded by judgmentalism, or through a perspective clouded and smeared by our own preconceived notions? An anti-racist bias can be just as counterproductive as a racist bias; both are extremist. On Things of my Soul, Papa D makes the following suggestion:

Address the words, not the person - and avoid characterizations that label either. Keep it concise and on point. Don't say, "That's stupid" - or anything like that phrasing. In the Priesthood ban case, I might say something like, "I like what Elder Holland said in the PBS documentary - that he never understood the reason for the ban, but that the key is not perpetuating the former justifications for it."

Condemn the sin, NOT the sinner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It says it all.