LDS apostle Quentin L. Cook's speech Tuesday at Brigham Young University addressing hot-button contemporary issues — alcohol, sexuality, abortion, marriage and family relations — has spawned an internet buzz among Mormons.
Its premise was clear: Satan's insidious scheme is to "mischaracterize and undermine the blessings of living according to [God's] plan."
He began his exploration of the devil's plot with the Utah-based faith's health code, known as the Word of Wisdom, which teaches members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to shun alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, coffee and tea.
Despite all the evidence that alcohol is harmful, Cook said, many young people have come to believe "stone-cold sober" means misery, while "partying" sounds like "fun and being joyful."
The exact opposite, the apostle said, is true.
Next up was abortion.
"There are as many abortions every two years," Cook told the students in Provo, "as the number of Jewish children killed in the Holocaust during the Second World War."
While acknowledging that the two statistics are not parallel ("there is no analogue to 'the Holocaust' in all history"), the LDS leader said "we are so numbed and intimidated by the immensity of the practice of abortion that many of us have pushed it to the back of our minds and try to keep it out of our consciousness."
Abortion has become "a tragedy of monumental proportions," Cook said. "… It is a serious moral blot on our society."
Clearly, he added, "the adversary is attacking the value of children on many levels."
He cited these examples:
• Women and men putting education and careers ahead of marriage and family.
• Couples are choosing to "have no or few children or … terminate pregnancy when inconvenient."
• Many Americans see nothing wrong with premarital sex, rather than waiting for the commitment of marriage.
"The adversary has targeted women and painted motherhood as a dead-end road of drudgery," Cook said. "He has targeted men and painted fatherhood as unimportant and fidelity as 'old school.' "
Further, he said, "the alienation and objectification of pornography is an example of immoral conduct being substituted for the sacred institution of marriage."
Bad choices result in a spiritual "banquet with bitter, rancid, nasty and miserable results," Cook concluded, compared with the "glorious banquet of consequences that are promised to you who are faithful."
Peggy Fletcher Stack