Letter to the Editor: Setting the Socialists Straight

By and

Editor:

It has been a long time since I was a university student, but someone sent me a link to Daniel Thatcher’s piece in the Oct. 9 issue of The Chronicle., “Confessions of a Mormon Socialist.”

In it Thatcher describes his experience as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: “In Estonia, a post-Soviet republic, my black-tagged peers loved to preach how socialism was Satan’s plan to bind and ensnare mankind, turning them into brainwashed atheists. The missionaries also proclaimed that socialism made a mockery of God’s endorsed plan, the United Order, as it is known to Mormons.” (The United Order looks a lot like socialism to the outside observer.)

I wonder if Thatcher is not stretching the truth a bit here.

Did missionaries in his mission really teach investigators about the United Order? Did they really teach investigators about political matters?

If they did so, was the mission president aware of it?

I know irony has its place in good journalism, but so do truthful accounts of what a writer claims to have experienced personally.

If the missionaries in Thatcher’s mission taught what he claims they did, then they were out of line, and so be it. But if they did not, he should think about whether he is telling the truth about an institution (the LDS Church) that many intelligent and thoughtful people hold dear. I know Thatcher is only a student learning journalism now, but I think this is a lesson to which he needs to pay attention.

Lowell Brown

Class of 1980