It is difficult for a journalist to put together a story. They often start from a position of limited knowledge and try to quickly gather information and piece it together. Combine that with the people being interviewed are not always precise with their comments. They are often caught off guard by the questions and don’t always have time to think through their answers.
This combination of circumstances can lead to misstatements, misunderstandings, and missed nuances. It appears this misunderstanding happened in a recent article with Clayton Christensen. To correct that misunderstanding brother Christensen issued the following letter, which has been sent to several friends and groups that it may be circulated as broadly as possible.
June 21, 2014
I am writing about an article by Michael Fitzgerald, titled “How the Mormons Conquered America: The success of the Mormon religion is a study in social adaptation.” It appeared a couple of days ago in a journal, Nautilus. I am misquoted in the piece. Fitzgerald interviewed me several months ago relative to this article. He wrote notes as we talked; he did not record our conversation.
In the article, Fitzgerald reviews the history of how the church has changed several practices, such as polygamy and ordaining blacks to the priesthood. He then refers to same-sex marriage; and in that same paragraph quoted me as saying, “… I think I’m farther along than the church is on this one.” It implies that I support same-sex marriage, and that I expect that the leaders of the church in the future will agree with that position.
This is not true. I did not say this. I support wholeheartedly every phrase in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” And I sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, who penned that document.
I am grateful that I belong to a church in which we do not attempt to convince God or our leaders that certain opinions in our society are correct, and God’s are not. Society changes its mind quite frequently. I do not believe that God changes his mind, however. When society is telling me something new, even when it has assembled powerful reasons and powerful people on its side, I do not ask society whether it is correct. I ask God.
I understand that this mis-representation of my beliefs by Mr. Fitzgerald is being widely circulated through the church. I would be very grateful if you could forward this letter to anyone who you believe ought to see this – and by the fastest and most effective ways possible. Thanks for your help!