Sunday, June 13, 2021

What's the deal with Dallin H. Oaks?

Following some links on the Junior Ganymede led me into the world of Mormon Twitter. (I mean, I guess I knew some Mormons must be on Twitter, but I'd never really thought about it before.) I quickly discovered that Dallin H. Oaks is extremely popular with the #DezNat set and extremely unpopular with "progressive" Mormons. See, for example, these reactions to the news that the Saturday evening session of General Conference would be discontinued.

"OAKS MAN BAD" -- meaning that, apparently, progmos stereotypically hate Dallin H. Oaks in the same way that common-or-garden progressives hate Donald J. Trump. Conservative Mormons, on the other hand, dream of "an all Oaks session."

by Miss Briggie Youngz

So apparently President Oaks's current image is that of "the hardliner that progressives love to hate" -- filling a role left vacant with the death of Boyd K. Packer in 2015.

I find this strange because I had singled Oaks out as the most converged ("progressive") current leader in the CJCLDS. Search for global warming, and all you get is Dallin H. Oaks. Search it for George Floyd or black lives matter, and it's -- oops! -- all Dallin again. Try LGBT, and -- hey, what a coincidence! As documented in the linked post, President Oaks has dissed Trump, pushed climate alarmism, quoted the NAACP with approval, said "we must do better to help root out racism," and called BLM "an eternal truth all reasonable people should support."

So how is it that this same person somehow ended up being a progmo bugaboo and #DezNat's favorite apostle? Any insight from my Mormon and/or CJCLDS-affiliated readers?


Bruce Charlton said...

I am not attempting to answer your primary query, nor am I competent to do so - but I'd like to draw attention to this instance of the way that convergence works.

Like most/ all the Mormon leadership, DHO is leftist on 3/4 of my Litmus Test issues (birdemic, antiracism, climate emergency) but conservative and traditionalist on the Big Issue for progressive/ apostatizing Mormons - i.e. the sexual revolution.

Therefore he is both objectively pro-leftist/ converged (and by implication anti-Christian in tendency); and yet also able to serve (for reasons of his rhetorical style I would guess, more than substance) as a 'hardline reactionary' bugbear for the QERTY ex-Mormons.

In microcosm, this is an instance of how convergence works/ why conservatives Always lose. To the mainstream leftist, anyone who holds-out against even a Single aspect of Leftism is excoriated without restraint as a 'fascist'. Nearly all victims of the most vicious Politically Correct witch hunts have been leftists. Donald Trump was/is, of course, objectively leftist.

But the Christians/ conservatives adopt an attitude that if a person supports any single one of their agenda items (eg is pro-life) then they are OK and welcome 'on the team'.

Thus Jordan Peterson was wildly popular with conservative Christians, even though he is not a Christian and objectively and strongly leftist; simply because he favoured a couple of Conservative Christian talking points (albeit for the wrong reasons!). But at the same time he also served as a bugaboo for progressives, because he held back from endorsing the *full* leftist programme.

Christian conservatives tend to be insistent on traditionalism with respect to the sexual revolution; but are very accommodating of leftism when it is economic (socialistic), political (e.g. pro world government/ UN/ WHO, 'free trade', open borders etc), or takes the form of antiracism, environmentalism etc.

The main problem is not so much that Christian conservative lose in the sense of losing control of Western Civilization - maybe this was inevitable in an increasingly evil world. The serious problem is that they lose discernment.

This is what we have seen with the birdemic; as with the other Litmus Test issues.

By failing to discern evil; they become complicit with systemic lying. By endorsing lies their views become incoherent hence ineffectual.

In sum; by failing to discern leftism where is explicitly exists (i.e. in church leadership) and that leftism is against God; they pick the wrong side in the spiritual war, and start down the path to self-chosen damnation.

Otto said...

It's because of this:

Dallin H. Oaks arguing against the decriminalization of activities such as "sexual behavior involving consenting adults, including adultery, fornication, prostitution, homosexuality, and other forms of deviate sexual behavior."

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...


That was in 1974!


When Jordan Peterson came out against pronouns (it was pronouns, wasn't it?), he was one of very few liberal academics to do so and thus stood out. I think the fact that he was a liberal and a non-Christian actually added to his popularity among conservative Christians: "See, even this mainstream liberal non-Christian can see that the pronoun thing is nuts!" An outsider who agrees with you on some particular point adds to your credibility in a way that an insider cannot. (And the left hates him because he's a dissident insider, which is much worse than being an outsider.)

Dallin H. Oaks, on the other hand, does not stand out for any of his conservative positions. His attitude toward the sexual revolution is indistinguishable from that of any of his fellow apostles. I guess it must, as you say, be nothing more than his rhetorical style that makes him come across as a hardliner.

Bruce Charlton said...

The devil and his minions (such as the progressive Mormons) are pretty good at inserting wedges - and I get the feeling that they have used the strategy of distinguishing and dividing the Apostles for quite a while. Those who are rhetorically tough get a lot of directed and relentless criticism - to encourage them at least to be gentler (and more ambiguous) in their words. That is one kind of victory.

While if they sense any liberal 'cracks' in an Apostle (Jeffrey R Holland?), they will hammer away at it, praising and encouraging; and give that individual an easier time the more progressive sentiments he speaks.

While the General Authorities were unified against leftism, to break that unity was a progressive goal. But when they are solidly unified in favour of leftism, it becomes a traditionalist goal.

It will be interesting but unsurprising to see the progressive Mormons transitioning into the need for 'unity' among the church leaders as they continue to go leftwards (which must happen, absent repentance); just like the Biden administration (and leftism generally) presents itself as a unity partly despite that they have (for example) deployed 50+ years of creating and escalating inter-class, inter-sex/ -sexuality, inter-race resentment and spite as their primary route to power.

For the left, for systemic evil, unity means submission.

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