If you’ve read the news lately, you may be aware of the 3 missionaries who desecrated a sacred site in Denver. I can’t say that I am shocked at the behavior of those missionaries. The behavior and the way in which it blew out of control seems very consistent with the attitudes and behavior of the missionaries with whom I’ve been acquainted with. (I stopped being shocked by it after a few months of my own mission). The whole scene seems realistic and predictable to me. I am actually glad that it is so public because I think it will give more accountability to missionaries and have a positive effect on what I would call extreme ethnocentric attitudes fostered by missionary service.
I have to say, though, that I am very impressed with the Church’s reaction to this whole fiasco. The Church didn’t dodge responsibility or make a political, wishy-washy statement of regret. Instead, the Church issued an official apology, with a very humble tone. I am proud of how the Church handled the issue.
I wonder what it would take for the Church, however, to handle its historic treatment of gays with the same humility and responsibility. Will the Church ever apologize for Boyd K. Packer’s “The One” or for the Bishops who used their authority to push members into marriages or harmful psycho-therapy? Will BYU ever even admit to having used shock therapy? I suspect not. I will have to learn to forgive without an apology.