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Full Oaks And Packer Interviews


gtaggart

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They've been edited "for clarity and length'.

Uh-huh. Somehow I would have just preferred to be able to read what they said in the interviews as aired, without someone else's idea of 'clarity' getting in the way. I mean, would the phrase 'I don't know that we teach that' have survived this kind of editing?

A version of a transcript 'edited for clarity and length' cannot properly be used as evidence of what people actually said - though it probably will be in future.

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Uh-huh. Somehow I would have just preferred to be able to read what they said in the interviews as aired, without someone else's idea of 'clarity' getting in the way. I mean, would the phrase 'I don't know that we teach that' have survived this kind of editing?

A version of a transcript 'edited for clarity and length' cannot properly be used as evidence of what people actually said - though it probably will be in future.

Typical.

Maybe read the quote in context JClone:

Church Public Affairs has worked with editors at PBS.org to post on the Newsroom the transcripts from interviews given by President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Dallin H. Oaks, also a member of that Quorum. The transcripts, which have been edited for clarity and length, bring additional information, context and clarification to the various subjects addressed in the documentary.

Given that the interviews were the intellectual property of PBS, maybe, just maybe, the evil Church couldn't take advantage of this situation to make its evil leaders look good.

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Uh-huh. Somehow I would have just preferred to be able to read what they said in the interviews as aired, without someone else's idea of 'clarity' getting in the way. I mean, would the phrase 'I don't know that we teach that' have survived this kind of editing?

A version of a transcript 'edited for clarity and length' cannot properly be used as evidence of what people actually said - though it probably will be in future.

The more interesting question is "did the context of that particular statement survive editing?"

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http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp...0004e94610aRCRD

DHO: The Church opposed the ERA because of a prophetic judgment that this would take us in a direction we do not want to go for the law of marriage and divorce. And that could not be explained. Itâ??s terribly difficult to put reasons to revelation, and thatâ??s, I think, why the Church may not have done well in putting reasons to it. I think they didnâ??t have reasons â?? they had revelation! But I have assigned reasons having to do with separation of powers and federalism that make sense to me, as one who was a lawyer and a judge during that period. But I think the truth of the matter is the Church couldnâ??t put a reason to its opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment because it was a prophetic judgment of where that amendment would lead.

This is exactly how divinatory gnosis works in chaos magic.

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Among other things, you get to read Elder Oaks' statement about not criticizing the Brethren--the one where he was laughing--in context

I have tremendous respect for Whitney as a documentarian but I have to say, after reading the interview, that I am much more suspect of her for how she isolated that statement out of context. This is a dangerous trap film makers fall into and I certainly expected better from Whitney.

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I've been on this for weeks with people like JNClone. There was another fellow who had a quote from Elder Oaks in his signature, I don't recall who it was, but I requested a source, and wasn't given one. I then provided the source as well as the context, and the poster mysteriously never responded to it. Must be some kind of cover-up on his part, eh?

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I really like what DHO said here:

HW: What would you say to faithful, liberal (in the absence of a better word) Mormons who are searching for â??the middle wayâ? to look at the Book of Mormon as an inspired text with profound spiritual meaning?

DHO: To people who have a hard time with the literal claims of scripture, I would say: â??Keep your life in balance between reliance on history, so-called, or geology or science, so-called, and reliance on spiritual witnesses and the testimony of the Holy Ghost. There are two ways to truth: science and revelation. If you find things that trouble you, donâ??t dismiss the spiritual explanation and hold with the scientific one. Keep your life in balance by continuing to do the things necessary to keep open the channels of communication to heaven as well as to scholarly journals.â?

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I have tremendous respect for Whitney as a documentarian but I have to say, after reading the interview, that I am much more suspect of her for how she isolated that statement out of context. This is a dangerous trap film makers fall into and I certainly expected better from Whitney.

Whitney didn't have editorial control over the final product. PBS thought it was too positive and re-edited, and Whitney was not happy with the final product. I don't hold her responsible.

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Whitney didn't have editorial control over the final product. PBS thought it was too positive and re-edited, and Whitney was not happy with the final product. I don't hold her responsible.

However, in interviews after it was aired, she stood by the final product as it was aired. I did not detect her distancing herself in any way from it; do you have any links to something indicating otherwise?

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However, in interviews after it was aired, she stood by the final product as it was aired. I did not detect her distancing herself in any way from it; do you have any links to something indicating otherwise?

At the Mormon History Association Conference session in Salt Lake City where she was featured, she certainly seemed to stand four-square behind it.

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I just checked PBS's own Web site for the program. They still have not seen fit to post the transcripts from the Packer and Oaks interviews. That is probably what prompted the Church to post the interviews on its own site.

I noticed transcripts of many of the interviews were up on PBS, but mysteriously not these two. Interesting.

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Among other things, you get to read Elder Oaks' statement about not criticizing the Brethren--the one where he was laughing--in context.

I don't think the laughing had to do with the part in the documentary, ie the 'it's wrong to criticize the brethren even if the criticism is true' part. The laughing came right before that quote but it was due to him joking about how cavalier reporters are if you suggest they shouldn't print something.

I think his point however, once viewed in context, sounds less domineering. I think he's pointing out that Church leader's faults ought to be addressed without the public hoopla, which I think is a fair thing to ask for most people in most circumstances.

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After the PBS special aired, I gave a link to the ombudsman who specifically investigates bias in news and documentary programs. The basic response here was "don't rock the boat."

Perhaps the boat does indeed need to be rocked.

http://www.pbs.org/ombudsman/

While the PBS show was not as bad as it could have been, it does illustrate one maxim: In journalism, as in historical writing, there is no such thing as objectivity.

An example is the portion of the program about excommunication. The segment was illustrated with lengthy footage and several camera angles of a stark, nasty-looking, empty room that bespoke a setting for a hostile inquisition of, say, the 1920s. It bore no resemblance whatsoever to the typical high council rooms where disciplinary councils are held.

This was pointed out to Helen Whitney at the Mormon History Association session. She readily admitted that the portrayal was fanciful. She characterized it as "metaphorical" and meant to depict the emotional impact of excommunication on one who has experienced it.

Not much in the way of objectivity there. More like cinematic or dramatic license.

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I don't think the laughing had to do with the part in the documentary, ie the 'it's wrong to criticize the brethren even if the criticism is true' part. The laughing came right before that quote but it was due to him joking about how cavalier reporters are if you suggest they shouldn't print something.

I think his point however, once viewed in context, sounds less domineering. I think he's pointing out that Church leader's faults ought to be addressed without the public hoopla, which I think is a fair thing to ask for most people in most circumstances.

So you mean context should be included when dealing with Oaks's comments on the documentary? A brilliant deduction, imo.

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While the PBS show was not as bad as it could have been, it does illustrate one maxim: In journalism, as in historical writing, there is no such thing as objectivity.

An example is the portion of the program about excommunication. The segment was illustrated with lengthy footage and several camera angles of a stark, nasty-looking, empty room that bespoke a setting for a hostile inquisition of, say, the 1920s. It bore no resemblance whatsoever to the typical high council rooms where disciplinary councils are held.

This was pointed out to Helen Whitney at the Mormon History Association session. She readily admitted that the portrayal was fanciful. She characterized it as "metaphorical" and meant to depict the emotional impact of excommunication on one who has experienced it.

Not much in the way of objectivity there. More like cinematic or dramatic license.

It was my impression that Whitney was commenting on how some excommunicants might feel the process is like a "1920's inquisition". It's also possible that some older Church buildings have a more stylized High Council room than the more generic modern ones.

Certainly, if Whitney had shown the chapel of the Los Angeles Stake center, many LDS viewers wouldn't recognize it as an LDS chapel but would instead wonder why she was showing a centuries old monastic cathedral.

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It was my impression that Whitney was commenting on how some excommunicants might feel the process is like a "1920's inquisition".

Six: That is certainly possible. If that is what she was attempting to do, that is a biased approach. She could have chosen to visually portray the something that represents the disappointment and betrayal that believing Latter Day Saints feel when something they love is attacked by apostates. Or, she could have chosen to represent the disciplinary process from the perspective of those who, in the capacity of their callings, are forces to sincerely and lovingly deal with these hard issues.

I would suggest that if documentarian wants to show the truth, they ought not take sides.

Regards,

Six

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gtaggart:

The Church just posted the entire interviews with Elders Packer and Oaks for the PBS documentary "The Mormons." They've been edited "for clarity and length."

Among other things, you get to read Elder Oaks' statement about not criticizing the Brethren--the one where he was laughing--in context.

JNClone:

Uh-huh. Somehow I would have just preferred to be able to read what they said in the interviews as aired, without someone else's idea of 'clarity' getting in the way. I mean, would the phrase 'I don't know that we teach that' have survived this kind of editing?

A version of a transcript 'edited for clarity and length' cannot properly be used as evidence of what people actually said - though it probably will be in future.

Typical.

Maybe read the quote in context JClone:

Church Public Affairs has worked with editors at PBS.org to post on the Newsroom the transcripts from interviews given by President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Dallin H. Oaks, also a member of that Quorum. The transcripts, which have been edited for clarity and length, bring additional information, context and clarification to the various subjects addressed in the documentary.

Given that the interviews were the intellectual property of PBS, maybe, just maybe, the evil Church couldn't take advantage of this situation to make its evil leaders look good.

Somehow, despite the sarcasm about 'evil leaders' (who said anything about that?) I would STILL have just preferred to be able to read all they said in the interviews, without someone else's idea of 'clarity and length' getting in the way. (Who did the editing?) Mark you, what is said in the interviews as presented is striking enough as it is (my numbering added).

Elder Oaks:

1. HW: You used an interesting phrase, â??Not everything thatâ??s true is useful.â? Could you develop that as someone whoâ??s a scholar and trying to encourage deep searching?

2. DHO: The talk where I gave that was a talk on â??Reading Church Historyâ? â?? that was the title of the talk. And in the course of the talk I said many things about being skeptical in your reading and looking for bias and looking for context and a lot of things that were in that perspective. But I said two things in it and the newspapers and anybody who ever referred to the talk only referred to [those] two things: one is the one you cite, â??Not everything thatâ??s true is useful,â? and that [meant] â??was useful to say or to publish.â? And you tell newspapers any time (media people) [that] they canâ??t publish something, theyâ??ll strap on their armor and come out to slay you! [Laughs.]

3. I also said something else that has excited people: that itâ??s wrong to criticize leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true, because it diminishes their effectiveness as a servant of the Lord. One can work to correct them by some other means, but donâ??t go about saying that they misbehaved when they were a youngster or whatever. Well, of course, that sounds like religious censorship also.

4. But not everything thatâ??s true is useful. I am a lawyer, and I hear something from a client. Itâ??s true, but Iâ??ll be disciplined professionally if I share it because itâ??s part of the attorney-client privilege. Thereâ??s a husband-wife privilege, thereâ??s a priest-penitent privilege, and so on. Thatâ??s an illustration of the fact that not everything thatâ??s true is useful to be shared.

5. In relation to history, I was speaking in that talk for the benefit of those that write history. In the course of writing history, I said that people ought to be careful in what they publish because not everything thatâ??s true is useful. See a person in context; donâ??t depreciate their effectiveness in one area because they have some misbehavior in another area â?? especially from their youth. I think thatâ??s the spirit of that. I think Iâ??m not talking necessarily just about writing Mormon history; Iâ??m talking about George Washington or any other case. If he had an affair with a girl when he was a teenager, I donâ??t need to read that when Iâ??m trying to read a biography of the Founding Father of our nation.

I am frankly not very impressed by paragraph 4 as a justification of the point made in 3. All that 4 does is to refer to situations where one knows something that one is obliged to conceal. But in the original context of the talk the statement was made much more broadly:

ldsces.org/general%20authority%20talks/dho.Reading%20Church%20History.1985.pdf

Criticism is particularly objectionable when it is

directed toward Church authorities, general or local.

Jude condemns those who â??speak evil of dignitiesâ?

(Jude 1:8). Evil speaking of the Lordâ??s anointed is in

a class by itself. It is one thing to depreciate a person

who exercises corporate power or even government

power. It is quite another thing to criticize or depreciate

a person for the performance of an office to which he

or she has been called of God. It does not matter that

the criticism is true. As President George F. Richards of

the Council of the Twelve said in a conference address

in April 1947, â??When we say anything bad about the

leaders of the Church, whether true or false, we tend to

impair their influence and their usefulness and are thus

working against the Lord and his causeâ? (in Conference

Report, Apr. 1947, p. 24).

The young warrior David recognized that we are

never justified in any gesture or act against the Lordâ??s

anointed. Saul, the wicked king, was pursuing David

without cause and seeking to take his life. While King

Saul slept with his troops around him, David and one

of his soldiers stealthily crept to his side. Declaring

that God had delivered him into their hands, Davidâ??s

companion was about to kill Saul with his own spear.

â??Destroy him not,â? David ordered, â??for who can stretch

forth his hand against the Lordâ??s anointed, and be

guiltless?â? (1 Samuel 26:9).

The Holy Ghost will not guide or confirm criticism

of the Lordâ??s anointed, or of Church leaders, local or

general. This reality should be part of the spiritual

evaluation that Latter-day Saint readers and viewers

apply to those things written about our history and

those who made it.

There is nothing here about not criticizing leaders 'because they have some misbehavior in another area â?? especially from their youth'. It just says you don't criticize them, ever, period. The interview statement seems to be designed to make it sound as if the statement as originally made was much weaker than it is. But the original source, in context, is clear enough to refute that from Elder Oaks' own words.

That doesn't mean Elder Oaks is evil. But he clearly does have a concept of the non-legitimacy of any criticism of pretty well any leaders 'local or general' that is very, very different from that held in open and democratic organisations. The risks that follow from this doctrine being widely applied in an organisation composed of fallible human beings seem pretty obvious.

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<snip>

I am frankly not very impressed by paragraph 4 as a justification of the point made in 3.

<snip> that is very, very different from that held in open and democratic organisations.

Noted: You are not impressed.

By the way, where did you get the idea that the Church is a democracy?

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Noted: You are not impressed.

By the way, where did you get the idea that the Church is a democracy?

I see. I take polite and modalised exception to an argument and I get a sneer back.

OK. Have it your own way: Elder Oak's attempt to justify his position in the interview was weak and would not impress the most junior law student imaginable. What is more it seriously misrepresented his position as stated in the original article. If you were able to argue against my post as opposed to posting a drive-by sneer you no doubt would have done, but clearly you can't . Happy now?

Yes, of course I realise that the way power is exercised in the COJCOLDS is deliberately designed to be completely different from the way it is exercised in the organisations that people in advanced democracies allow to have power over their lives. That was my point. And since, as LDS never tire of telling us, their leaders are as fallible as anybody else, to say (as Elder Oaks did) that those leaders (by clear implication - 'local or general' - all the way down to your local Relief Society President) must never ever be criticised is a very dangerous doctrine, and one which I think many LDS would be quite uncomfortable about in practice. Indeed one might even call it 'un-American', if one liked that kind of language (which I don't much).

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I see. I take polite and modalised exception to an argument and I get a sneer back.

OK. Have it your own way: Elder Oak's attempt to justify his position in the interview was weak and would not impress the most junior law student imaginable. What is more it seriously misrepresented his position as stated in the original article. If you were able to argue against my post as opposed to posting a drive-by sneer you no doubt would have done, but clearly you can't . Happy now?

Yes, of course I realise that the way power is exercised in the COJCOLDS is deliberately designed to be completely different from the way it is exercised in the organisations that people in advanced democracies allow to have power over their lives. That was my point. And since, as LDS never tire of telling us, their leaders are as fallible as anybody else, to say (as Elder Oaks did) that those leaders (by clear implication - 'local or general' - all the way down to your local Relief Society President) must never ever be criticised is a very dangerous doctrine, and one which I think many LDS would be quite uncomfortable about in practice. Indeed one might even call it 'un-American', if one liked that kind of language (which I don't much).

There is a proper way and an improper way to raise concerns. I think Elder Oaks is trying to communicate that. Would you disagree with that sentiment? [even if you don't think that is the point Elder Oaks is trying to make?]

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