By that I mean the thin-skinned critics of the Church – those who not only lie in wait to deceive, but lie in wait to “make a man an offender for a word.”1
Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ address at a BYU-Idaho devotional is the most recent example of critics distorting a Church leader’s intent to justify antagonism toward us. As Elder Oaks condemned aggressive intimidation against religions that supported Proposition 8, he referred to their effect with this example that sent critics baying:
“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.” (My emphasis.)
Elder Oaks clearly said “in their effect” not “in their methods.” His analogy was that the goal of enemies of blacks then and Mormons today was the same: to intimidate and stifle participation in the democratic process. He never said nor implied that the methods were equivalent. His reference was perfectly appropriate.
But such precision didn’t deter the critics. Before students at BYU-I had even returned to their classes, professors at other universities pounced.