Wednesday, October 14, 2009

MSNBC Entertainer Keith Olbermann Declares LDS Apostle Dallin H. Oaks "Worst Person In The World" On October 14th; Oaks Won't Lose Any Sleep Over It

On October 14th, 2009, MSNBC entertainer Keith Olbermann decided to "beat up" on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Two of the three "Worst Person of the Day" slots were reserved for Mormons; Glenn Beck, and Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Olbermann was put out because in a speech delivered to students at Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg on October 13th, Elder Oaks spoke of the increasing pattern of religious discrimination directed against Mormons following the passage of California's Proposition 8. But it's his comparison of it with voter discrimination experienced by American blacks during the 1960s that has really attracted the ire of the elite; after all, according to the civil rights racketeers, no one has suffered more than the blacks (except the Jews during their Holocaust®). Both groups have formally enshrined terminal victimhood. You can read the full transcript of Elder Oaks' address HERE.

MSNBC segment of Olbermann show embedded below (hat tip to A Soft Answer):

Elder Oaks believes religious liberty is eroding. He's concerned that the tide of public opinion in favor of religion is receding, portending public pressure for laws that will impinge on religious freedom. Such forces — atheists and others — would intimidate persons with religious-based points of view from influencing or making the laws of their state or nation. Here in Anchorage, Alaska, many misguided people claimed that Anchorage Baptist Temple Pastor Jerry Prevo had no business advocating against the proposed gay nondiscrimination ordinance successfully quashed earlier this summer, when the fact is that pastors are only barred from advocating for particular candidates from their pulpits. The progressives believe that if they repeat a lie often enough, it becomes true.

By the way, the LDS Church took no official position on Anchorage's proposed gay nondiscrimination ordinance. Doubtlessly there were politically-inclined Mormons working on both sides of the issue. Elder Oaks answers questions posed to him about the speech in the video embedded below:

Perhaps comparing the post-Proposition 8 Mormon experience with the black civil rights experience may be a bit hyperbolic; after all, no Mormons had police dogs sicced upon them by cops. But if unchecked, the sentiment could lead to full-scale persecution, and this could be why Elder Oaks chose to sound the alarm at this time.

But he's unlikely to lose any sleep over some entertainer naming him "Worst Person of the Day".


  1. What do you mean, "no Mormons had police dogs sicced upon them by cops"?
    Maybe not very recently, but are you very familiar at all with Mormon history? Do you think it was for kicks and giggles that they went over to the Utah territory? Try again

  2. Also he didn't compare the events he was comparing the effects of the events.

    The events were of a different severity, but the effects are similar.

  3. actually, the irish in this country had it the worst.

  4. "By the way, the LDS Church took no official position on Anchorage's proposed gay nondiscrimination ordinance. Doubtlessly there were politically-inclined Mormons working on both sides of the issue." If you can find evidence to back up your "doubtless" claim, I might believe some of your article.

    Do your homework before you start talking bad about people.

  5. Mormons were repeatedly burned out of their homes, subjected to violence and driven successively from at least three settlements they worked years to build in the mid 1800's. In the worst cases, they were tarred and feathered, raped and murdered. (Incidently, this occured, in part, because they were pro-abolitionist in largely anti-abolitionist neighborhoods in Missouri and Illinois.) These offenses often were ignored or lead by local "justice" officials. Dallin Oakes is a well spoken gentleman who has been the President of Brigham Young University, a nominee for the Utah Supreme Court, and now is one of the leaders of a church of 13 million people. He has given a large number of legally concise and logically reasoned discourses that are well spoken and courteous but direct in their approach. Keith Olbermann has demonstrated by his body of work to be an arbitrary bomb-thrower lacking any concept of decorum, decency or even accuracy. His characterization of Elder Oakes is so far off base that they are not even in the same neighborhood much less the same ball park. Olbermann is not fit to polish Dallin Oakes shoes, much less to pass judgement on him.

  6. So what? People get a ration of crap everyday and the Mormons aren't immune...


  7. The comments about Mormon history somehow justifying Elder Oaks' comments, and thus discrediting Olberman, are so completely off base. Have Mormons been persecuted by mobs? Yes. In the past 100 years? Certainly not. Have Mormons had legislation enacted against them and essentially exiled from mainstream American society? Absolutely. How recently was that? Not very recently at all.

    Have African Americans been persecuted by mobs, been discriminated at legal and institutional levels, and does this continue to happen even today? You'd have to be blind, deaf and dumb - and historically ignorant - to say no to any of those things, and especially the latter.

    I believe the Mormons who claim they are discriminated against are probably the same kind of people who use the phrase "reverse racism." There's no such thing as "reverse racism" - it's a nonsensical term meant to convey the concept of bigotry; to use the word "discrimination" is to try and consolidate so much historical and social context that no Mormon has unless they live in an area where they are one in hundreds and their livelihood is consequently threatened by either physical or structural violence. Mormons today may experience bigotry, but certainly not discrimination. I live in Utah and perhaps Mormons are truly discriminated elsewhere, but I keep hearing Mormons hear lay claim to discrimination, and it's absolute bullocks.

    Olberman is right on point: there is no historical data to suggest monogamous marriage is an ancient tradition and, in fact, anthropological evidence of tribes and bands would've practiced marriage as such. To compare any persecution to the discrimination blacks experienced during their civil rights movement (and that means both Mormons and queers) is complete hyperbole and Olberman, in my opinion, is spot on in his criticism.

    And I say all this as both a Mormon and a gay college student.

  8. You can't truly be a mormon and a gay college student at the same time.

  9. True. I will say this: I'm an inactive Mormon. But nonetheless, I feel my twenty years in the Church gives me some credibility, at least. But you're right - I don't believe you can commit to a gay/lesbian lifestyle and remain an active member of the LDS church,

  10. Kieth Olberman has a right to say what he said. I do stongly disagree with Kieth, but I am thankful that we have freedom of speech, and we can disagree with people without being hateful towards them. It is too bad that people were offended by what Dallin Oaks said, Dallin is not primarily concerned with "offending people"/"not offending people" (and neither is Kieth) but I know that Dallin does not try to offend people. He speaks what he feels is the truth, and so does Kieth Olberman.

    I think that was kind of the point of what Dallin Oaks was saying-- its okay for us to disagree, but we should try to be civil about it. Dallin Oaks loves gay people, but does not think that the definition of marriage should change. Obviosly Kieth disagrees. Its okay. lets all just be civil and disagree.

    By the way, I am LDS. I would personally vote against gay marriage, but I do not hate people that would vote for it-- I just disagree with them. I don't think that Mormon persecution is/was nearly as intense as black slavery/persecution (and Dallin would agree with me).

  11. definately not the worst people in the world. there are thousands of people i can put in front of them, hahahahaha. this guy is an idiot. sounds like a republican/mormon hater if anything. and idk where u live, but i live in the bible belt and being a mormon SUCKS. in todays world. no offense. i personally get more crap than black people. really can u honestly say black people have it that bad in today's world? i'm serious. can we all stop being retarded for all of 2 sec. 98 percent of america wishes they were black now. think about it. go to a public school, any grade, and college. in my oppinion black people got it good. and i'm not a racist i love black people. funnest people EVER!

  12. "i personally get more crap than black people. really can u honestly say black people have it that bad in today's world? i'm serious."

    Really? Tell that to the family of Oscar Grant, a 22-year old unarmed black man who was forced to the ground and shot in the back of the head for no reason earlier this year.

    You're either a troll or just plain ignorant. How on earth can you possibly believe you are in any way threatened the way people of color are? Finding black people funny doesn't mean that's not a racist thing to say; I can try to qualify myself all I want by saying, "I don't hate Twilight - my sister reads those books." Go to any school, college..etc...really? And see what? The ones who got a bit of money to get an education? Stick your head in some ghettos and slum housing, see the starving, widowed and uneducated souls Christ tells you to be charitable to, and then tell people black people have it so well.

    It might suck being a Mormon in the Bible Belt, but consider that Mormons aren't technically Christians and that you may experience intolerance, but in terms of discrimination you share nothing with ethnic minorities. If it's so bad, then move.

    Do those of us who ARE colored a favor when you want to say we've got it good, America wants our skins and Mormons have it even worse: just shut the hell up.

  13. For the record, here is what Oaks said concerning blacks and voter intimidation: "It is important to note that while this aggressive intimidation in connection with the Proposition 8 election was primarily directed at religious persons and symbols, it was not anti-religious as such. These incidents were expressions of outrage against those who disagreed with the gay-rights position and had prevailed in a public contest. As such, these incidents of “violence and intimidation” are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic. In their effect they are like the well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation." Olbermann needs to get his facts right. Nobody is comparing Mormons to Blacks in civil rights. Good grief. Read the whole speech if you can't get it straight!!!!

  14. to begin with, no gay rights activist was protesting the Church's actions because it was a way to silence the voice of Mormons, but precisely to express indignation and frustration that religion was interfering with the democratic process. so oaks must be on something when he fails to see that people (including but not limited to the LGBT community) hate mormons because they pontificate their religion selectively and hypocritically into democracy; it was anti-religious exactly because the church was being anti-democratic.

    even if mormons believe they were exercising their freedom of religion, they're sorely mistaken if they think the constitution guarantees any such expression in a public sphere; it only takes a brief perusal of the letters and writings of the authors of the constitution to know that they were appalled at the idea that any one organized religion could ever have enough money and power to actually affect voting decisions - that was pretty anti-democratic to Madison, Jefferson, etc. and even early presidents of the LDS church, who worried that such actions could lead to an out and out theocracy.

    and as long as oaks and the rest of the church are misreading history: oaks is talking about protests outside mormon temples, buring the book of mormon, and boycotting mormon-owned businesses - those are the facts. And further facts are that there wasn't a single mormon who was clubbed, beaten, gassed, hospitalized, etc. by police and/or other groups that intimidated or threatened them at the polls. That happened to the blacks in the south. And sorry dallin, baby, but when you say "i think the analogy is a good one" to the newspeople, you're either lying through your teeth or you're really just as much the ignorant bigot as you look.

    and obviously, most of the church vandalism and business boycotting oaks is referring to occured after the actual election. All those things count as voter intimidation...but I'd like to hear/see evidence that gay rights groups did those things before November 5, 20008. seems like he can't even get that recent history clear.

    You ask me: some members i know down in california will say that there was certainly voter intimidation before Nov. 5 - it was from the stake presidents and bishops insisting it was their duty from God to vote against it.

  15. Since when are Mormons "Not technically Christians"? How would you technically define Christian?

  16. The Church of Jesus Christ that he established in the bible, as well as all of God's prophets (such as Elder Oaks) have always been slandered and persecuted.

    The analogy between two people being punished and oppressed for using their constitutional rights is very appropriate. He never said that they were the same level of persecution, that's not relevant. It was the same type of persecution and was wrong.

  17. What's of important note is not whether there Oaks is right or wrong about his analogy (although he is wrong, and he's said to the cameras that he "believes the analogy is a good one" so it's of some kind of irrelevant importance to him).

    The issue is that once anybody (be they blacks, LGBT, Jehovah Witnesses, or long-haired gnomes in Central Park) tries to compare one historical instance of civil/human rights violation to another - especially if they are more than a few decades apart, one's rhetoric leaves "I'm just making an analogy" territory and enters a playing field where moral valuing is commonplace and some group X's prosecution is "more" or "less" terrible than Y's. The other dangerous side of the coin is that one simply reverts to the all-too-simplistic "Well, everyone has been persecuted at some point, so..." and insert whatever fluff statement comes after that - thereby reducing everyone to some sort of false egalitarian state of social experience and dismissing crucial facts and details.

    So what's frustrating is that Elder Oaks, along with a few other members of the quorum - and many local church leaders and members in general, seems to be flying in the face of the past decade of the quorum's traditional approach to politics (best exemplified by President Gordon B. Hinckley's good sense in public appearances on TV, radio, etc.) by either being completely ignorant...or pretending to be. Oaks, whether he's conscious of it or not (and his remarks indicate he's quite aware of what he's saying sounds like), is making a rhetorical value judgment call on the persecution of the Mormons that is simply hyperbole - and on an extremely pathetic level.

  18. P.S. Mormons aren't Christians. The rest of the world knows this. Mormons can't get over it because the adjectival meanings and the pronoun itself, with all it's social/historical context, constantly get conflated and mixed up.

    The LDS faith can be described as "Christian," if the word is being used in a grammatically modifying/attributing sense; i.e., yes, Mormons believe Jesus Christ was a historical figure but He also lives and exists now as Savior of humankind.

    But in the sense of using a word to connect one thing to another, Mormons aren't technically Christian - and the biggest reason why is the most important part of Mormon teachings: the Book of Mormon and D & C all make it abundantly clear that Christ, God and the Holy Ghost are different beings (ex., Christ is the LITERAL Son of God to Mormons), and furthermore everyone who reaches the highest level of heaven will have essentially attained godhood, which has progenitive implications.

    Christianity, as a worldwide and centuries-old practice/institution as a whole, has always been drastically monotheistic at it's core, and this colors many commonplace interpretations of the Bible amongst most mainstream Christianity that Mormons dispute, distrust or dismiss in favor of a modern day revelation that supports their ultimately radically polytheistic teachings.

    Mormons love throwing their hands up over this because they believe it's a criticism/value judgment of their integrity when it really isn't attacking at all. It's just a descriptive observation. So just calm down. You're Christian...just not really.

  19. P.S.S. And please, let's not go comparing the slander and persecution of men (and, interestingly enough, women) who lived in constant striving work to adapt to the changing political climate, develop a very specific consciousness, create a solid autonomous community and mediate in a literally pivoting position between state and anything a single Mormon prophet has endured since the Nauvoo era.

    It's always bothered me to hear the constant conflation of biblical Hebrew traditions with Mormonism in my church meetings; at this point in my life, I've little to no tolerance for it whatsoever. It's completely ignorant and is the reason for useless/ridiculous phrases like "Judeo-Christian."

  20. To be honest, everyone has had bad things happen to them. Mormons do not go parading around saying we have it terrible. If you knew the meaning of Christian you would know that Christ is imbedded in the word. To be honest even though we believe they are three separate beings, we still believe in christ which makes us christian. As for plural marriage, try actually reading the bible and you will find that there is plural marriage in it.. so should Mormons really have that brought up anymore.. I think not.. The reason Mormons practiced in in the first place was for the sole purpose of child bearing. There was not enough men to go around during this time and women needed to have children. No one wanted to do so, but they followed the lords commandment to do so. In the scriptures the lord says that we must follow the laws of the land, so as soon as plural marriage became illegal, our church stopped practicing it. As for people who aren't Mormon, you really have no idea how much people persecute us. We don't say that other people aren't, but you are not right when you say that we aren't discriminated against at all. I have been a member my whole life and people have always made fun of Mormons.. and you can not say they don't because it is all over the media. Dallin H Oaks is a wonderful man. He is not a horrible person in the least bit. He was talking to us as a college and if anyone else has a problem with our churches teachings they should just not watch our general authorities give their talks. Maybe you should come to our church and see what it really is about before you make such harsh judgements. I for one know that going to church is much better than being out in this horrible world. Most people don't even go to church anymore, so stop hating on the ones who do.

  21. "I have seen great intolerance shown in support of tolerance." Samuel Taylor Coleridge. (He is an essential Romantic Poet-for those of you who don't know) Thats all i have to say. Yes i can safely say that in the last 100 years mormons (and countless other groups) have been attacked by mobs...HELLO what happened right outside the LDS temple in LA. Secondly, the bill was not anti-gay. Lastly, why in the united states do we claim to be so tolerant...when we cannot stop slandering eachother-where is the "tolerance" for mormons, catholics, latinos and other groups. Jewish groups were pro prop 8 too. But you dont see anyone with a picket sign there...i think we know why...cause they are covered under "tolerance" well im sorry...but maybe we should start respecting our differences in opinion instead of forcing said opinions-

  22. Keith Olbermann and many of the people who have written on this page have taken Dallin H. Oaks (and each others) words out of context and arranged them to what they wanted them to say. As for the person who said that Olbermann is not trying to offend people, needs to read more of his work-much of what he says is purposefully offensive.

    In response to the comment about Oscar Grant, this was tragic but you neglect to realize that this happens to all races of people.

    All people are subject to discrimination. As a Special Education Teacher I see discrimination daily in my work, not only in my classroom but throughout the whole school.

    The only way to end discrimination is not to instigate discrimination. Regardless of our religion, race or whatever we should be able to believe how we may and live our lives to the fullest.

  23. Comment for Elder Roxas-
    FYI you may want to look up the definition of Christian.
    According to Christain means:
    "1. of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: a Christian faith.
    2. of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ: Spain is a Christian country.
    7. a person who believes in Jesus Christ; adherent of Christianity.
    8. a person who exemplifies in his or her life the teachings of Christ: He died like a true Christian."

    So according to this Mormons are Christian-They believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings and they try to exemplify his life and teachings.

  24. Sounds to me like Elder Roxas needs to give up justifying his personal choices by taking aim at his former faith. You're gay and you're no longer a Mormon--good for you, now go live your life. And no, you are less credible than anybody else on this blog since you are a former Mormon. It seems pretty clear that you have an axe to grind with the LDS church since their teachings didn't fit your lifestyle.

  25. There are plenty of people in the Church who claim to be gay and are active members. I'm simply not one of them. I don't feel the need to justify myself - I'm not sure what I'd be justifying - and I'd thought it was rather well known that the Church does in fact accommodate members who wish to be gay and are partnered in one way or another with a member of the same gender. I'm not a part of this minority group, however. You can be gay and Mormon, in my opinion - just not a gay Mormon.

    My "axe to grind" is with the self-righteous attitude that continually proves to me that there are members of the Church that don't believe what I grew up believing Christ taught. That includes most Mormons on blogs like these and Elder Oaks. I challenge Mormons to actually be Mormons, to follow and stand up for the teachings of Joseph Smith and the scriptures. And very few Mormons I know (including church leadership) do any of that. If that makes anyone who claims to be Mormon uncomfortable, then I guess I'm doing my job.

  26. P.S. A dictionary definition of Christianity is as varied as there are dictionaries, and at any rate that explanation won't fly in the fact of most orthodox Christians in this country. An atheist, by dictionary/technical definition, can certainly claim to be Christian; it doesn't take much for a person to say they believe Christ's teachings and/or that they believe Him to be the Son of God. None of those things necessarily make you a part of what is recognized to be conventional Christianity in America.

    I'm not saying Mormons don't believe in Christ when I say Mormons aren't Christian.

  27. And what exactly are these teachings that nobody is following?

  28. All I have to say is 98% of you people are stupid. Maybe one or two of you have legitimate argumentative skills the rest, on both sides of the issue, are so opinionated and ignorant that I don't know why anyone takes you seriously.