I remember as a teenager in the 1970’s being taught an object lesson in Priesthood one Sunday. The teacher brought in some brownies. He said they were for us. But there was one problem, he had put a little bit of dog poop in the mix. He then asked if we still wanted to eat them. Obviously not. The corollary was that if we went to a movie that had “just a little bit nudity”, it still ruined the whole movie. Or read a book with just a little bit of profanity, it was all bad.

Lest you think I’m making this up, here is somebody bragging about doing a similar lesson in 2011 at Camp Helaman (not sure what that is, but definitely Mormon!)

The lesson here is that even a little bit of something bad ruins the whole thing. But how much bad should we put up within the church and/or our leaders before it ruins the whole thing?

Take Joseph Smith for example. Sure he had a few rough edges, maybe a little contamination here and there, but look at all the good he did. A few shortcomings does not ruin the whole man! Elder Andersen in the Oct 2015 Conference went so far as to ask us to give Joseph Smith a break:

For example, questions concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith are not new. They have been hurled by his critics since this work began. To those of faith who, looking through the colored glasses of the 21st century, honestly question events or statements of the Prophet Joseph from nearly 200 years ago, may I share some friendly advice: For now, give Brother Joseph a break!

Oct 2015 GC, Elder Andersen

Now the Food and Drug Administration allows a certain amount of really gross stuff in our food. Stuff like mouse poop, mold, rat hairs and insect legs. How much gross stuff about our church leaders is acceptable? How many Anti-LGBTQ talks must we listen to from Elder Oaks, how many wives of other men is acceptable for Joseph Smith to marry before the whole thing is ruined? According to the church’s poster above, ever a little bit will wreck the whole thing.

Is this a fair comparison? Does it break down because watching or reading something bad can plant a seed in our mind that can’t be undone? Yet couldn’t you argue that the mental image of Joseph marrying a 14 year old girl (almost 15) has planted a memory in your mind that can’t be undone?

What do you think?