Statement on Symposia
November 1991

“Statement on Symposia,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 105–6

Statement on Symposia

The Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has issued the following statement:

“Recent symposia sponsored and attended by some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have included some presentations relating to the House of the Lord, the holy temples, that are offensive. We deplore the bad taste and insensitivity of these public discussions of things we hold sacred. We are especially saddened at the participation of our own members, especially those who hold Church or other positions that give them stature among Latter-day Saints and who have allowed their stature to be used to promote such presentations.

“We have a different concern about some of the other topics at these symposia. Some of the presentations by persons whom we believe to be faithful members of the Church have included matters that were seized upon and publicized in such a way as to injure the Church or its members or to jeopardize the effectiveness or safety of our missionaries. We appreciate the search for knowledge and the discussion of gospel subjects. However, we believe that Latter-day Saints who are committed to the mission of their church and the well-being of their fellow members will strive to be sensitive to those matters that are more appropriate for private conferring and correction than for public debate. Jesus taught that when a person has trespassed against us, we should ‘go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone,’ and if he will ‘neglect to hear’ this private communication we should ‘tell it unto the church’ (Matt. 18:15, 17). Modern revelation tells us that this last step ‘shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world’ (D&C 42:89). There are times when public discussion of sacred or personal matters is inappropriate.

“Some of our faithful members have doubtless participated in these symposia because they were invited to state or to defend the Church’s position on a particular topic. There are times when it is better to have the Church without representation than to have implications of Church participation used to promote a program that contains some (though admittedly not all) presentations that result in ridiculing sacred things or injuring The Church of Jesus Christ, detracting from its mission, or jeopardizing the well-being of its members.”