In the April 2023 General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson pleaded with members of the church for more civility and decency. He states that vulgar language, fault-finding, and evil speaking of others are too common these days. This is wise counseling from the church leader. Does the prophet follow his own council? Should he or is he exempt from heeding his own advice? Is he just gaslighting members about the things he himself does?
It seems that Russell M. Nelson ignored these concerns and council from his own lips in the past as well as immediately afterward. His talk from two years earlier insults and vilifies those who don’t agree with his faith as “lazy learners and lax disciples”. His talk just six months later also vilifies those who don’t agree with him and he councils believers to “never take council from those who do not believe”.
Civility and decency seem to have disappeared during this era of polarization and passionate disagreements.
Vulgarity, faultfinding, and evil speaking of others are all too common. Too many pundits, politicians, entertainers, and other influencers throw insults constantly. I am greatly concerned that so many people seem to believe that it is completely acceptable to condemn, malign, and vilify anyone who does not agree with them. Many seem eager to damage another’s reputation with pathetic and pithy barbs!Peacemakers Needed, President Russell M. Nelson, General Conference, April 2023
He states that “people seem to believe that it is completely acceptable to condemn, malign, and vilify anyone who does not agree with them. Many seem eager to damage another’s reputation with pathetic and pithy barbs!” Thus, we’d expect the church President to walk the walk and show us how to talk about others. He should not vilify those who do not agree with him. He shouldn’t condemn or malign those who think differently than he does. He should not seek to damage the reputations of others – especially with barbs of his own.
The only problem is, this is the same church president and even the same stage that just 2 years earlier, in April 2021 General Conference he referred to those who give into their doubts as “lazy learners and lax disciples“.
Lazy learners and lax disciples will always struggle to muster even a particle of faith.Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains, President Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2021/04/49nelson
Then, only six months after his plea for more civility and decency and his assertion that too many “vilify anyone who does not agree with them”. He states in the October 2023 General Conference prerecorded address, quoting Paul that “some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils”.
When someone you love attacks truth, think celestial, and don’t question your testimony. The Apostle Paul prophesied that “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”President Russell M Nelson, Think Celestial, October 2023 General Conference
Is this vilifying those who do not agree with him? He also tells members to “never take counsel from those who do not believe” effectively driving a wedge between believers and everyone else.
Never take counsel from those who do not believe.President Russell M Nelson, Think Celestial, October 2023 General Conference
This sentiment is not uniquely called out here. Others are pointing to the fact that Russell Nelson ignores his own words and feels justified in throwing insults at those who don’t agree with him. After all, he speaks for the Lord!
- Never Take Council From Those Who Do Not Believe – Says Russell M Nelson
- Demonizing Doubt: Nelson’s Talk on Lazy Learners and Lax Disciples