Mormon Control

We Are Gods, Not Humans

LDS Church warns members not to believe everything they hear

By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune

The LDS First Presidency issued one of its rare public statements this week, discouraging members from circulating notes taken at a church regional or stake conference without the consent of the speaker.

The statement was read over the pulpit Sunday in Mormon congregations, leaving many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wondering what prompted it.

Some believe it was a response to the widespread Internet distribution of comments reportedly made by Apostle L. Tom Perry on March 21 at an LDS stake conference in Kuna, Idaho. (see speech text below)

In his remarks, Perry tells of his colleagues in the Quorum of the Twelve, describing M. Russell Ballard, for example, as "our used car salesman" and Richard Scott as "a computer genius . . . who helps us all keep our computers right." He talks about the importance of the quorum's "seniority order."

"I would never think of going through a door before Elder [Boyd K.] Packer. He is the President of our Council," Perry allegedly said.

He goes on to say: "Every week the Cummings Chocolate people send us a 3 lb. box of chocolates. In our meeting, we follow our order and President Packer picks first, then I choose, and so on. Poor Elder Eyring has never had a light chocolate yet."

About a month after the Perry speech began circulating, the LDS Church Education System sent out a memo to all its administrators and teachers, saying that the remarks "do not accurately reflect his comments" and that Church Education System employees should not use or refer to them in class, spread or refer to them in any way, and to "delete or destroy them."

But some of the LDS Web sites, including one called, "Light Horse," say they have confirmed that the report, "while perhaps not word for word, fits with those who heard the remarks that day in Kuna."

"The rapid spread of the e-mail . . . elucidates a yearning by LDS members to know their leaders on a more personal, even human, level," wrote one person at Light Horse.

In a forthcoming issue of Sunstone magazine, Bonner Ritchie says that the Perry incident is a "classic case of the two-group phenomena."

"While one group of Mormons wants to humanize their leaders, another group wants to sanitize them," Ritchie tells Sunstone, an independent bimonthly that explores LDS issues.

"Here we have a few light-hearted reflections on the characteristics of an impressive and very diverse group of men who constitute a leading quorum of the church," Ritchie said of Perry's purported remarks. "I found the descriptions to be honest and refreshing. Many of us yearn for the human side of leadership. We wonder, where are our J. Golden Kimballs these days?"


The following is reported content of the speech that brought the warning from the LDS Church:

This text has been circulated widely on the Internet. These reportedly are notes taken by someone who heard a speech by LDS apostle L. Tom Perry at the Kuna, Idaho, LDS Stake Conference on March 21.

In our present Council of the 12 Apostles, there has been no change in nine years. This is the longest in the history of the Church that the same 12 apostles have served together. We asked President Hinckley why this is so and he said our wisdom is needed to stand up against the great changes in the world.

President Packer is the most inspirational spiritual man I've ever had the opportunity to work with. He also can get very irate and it is my job to kick him in the shins if he gets too irate. Next time you see him, ask him to lift his pant legs so you can see my kick marks on his shins!

Elder Haight is stronger today than he has been in a long time. We fully expected him to die last July. His daughter called us and told us the doctors gave him just days to live. But he rallied and he now has a physical therapist that comes to his house every day and works with him. I visited him in his apartment and he showed me that he walks around his table 12 times, then he walks around his couch 12 times, then he walks a circuit in his apartment. He said, "Anything the physical therapist asks me to do, I do twice!" He comes to our council meetings and contributes to each one. We even plan on him speaking for General Conference for 5 minutes -- we hope! He can't see well and he doesn't see the teleprompter so we don't know what he will say or how long he will go.

Elder Maxwell's life has been preserved in a most remarkable way. He has been preserved to bless us with that brilliant mind of his. Oh the jewels that come out of Elder Maxwell!

Elder Nelson is the physician to the First Presidency and to the Twelve. If we have an ailment we can talk to him about it. He is our doctor. He still makes hospital rounds. He is the greatest ambassador we have because he has a reputation all over the world. He can go anywhere in the world and people know and respect him because of his great pioneering work in heart surgery.

Elder Ballard is our used car salesman! He is our enthusiastic leader of the missionary department. He is telling our missionaries, "Stop being robots! Learn how to teach by the Spirit!" He has convinced President Hinckley to raise the bar. Now you have to qualify for a mission. We should raise the bar in our own activities.

Elder Scott is our nuclear scientist. He is a computer genius. He helps us all keep our computers working right He has the talent of looking to the future.

Elder Hales is our international businessman. He was in charge of the international sales of all the men's shaving products and the like for a large international area (I think in the orient). He has a great financial talent. He sits on committees with our First Presidency.

Oh, I forgot Elder Oaks! Well, he's away! No wonder I should forget. He is our judge. He is very detailed like an attorney. Nothing escapes his mind. I send him a message and replies back correcting my voice-mail! He understands the law and principles. He is our great public relations man. He understands the needs of the Church.

Elder Holland is our great student. President of a university or two. He is an excellent writer. Whenever there is a difficult assignment in that way, he gets the assignment to do the writing for it.

Elder Eyring . . . I wish someone could explain him to me! He gives me a headache with that brilliant mind of his! When we travel together he sits up front next to the driver and pops questions, trying to understand everyone and everything around him.

Each of us is wonderfully different but as a combination as a whole we make a wonderful high council.

We are certain to follow the order of the Church in our meetings and in all we do. This has been clearly established. For example, I would never think of going through a door before Elder Packer. He is the President of our Council. It is the President of the Council who selects the President of the Church. Is there any other way the Lord controls who he selects as a prophet? If He doesn't want an apostle to present, He who controls life and death calls him home.

Every week the Cummings Chocolate people send us a 3 lb. box of chocolates. In our meeting, we follow our order and President Packer picks first, then I choose, and so on. Poor Elder Eyring has never had a light chocolate yet!

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Page Modified: May 30, 2004