Look, on the surface, this is a good motivational talk. Encouraging people to push forward through trials, struggles, first world problems; it is to be commended. However, stealing a famous black man’s phrase and twisting its meaning to your white-dominated once extremely racist religion takes even the noble goal of “helping your fellow man” to asshat levels.
No, seriously, he begins by quoting Nelson Mandela:
Mandela frequently deflected accolades by saying, “I’m no saint—that is, unless you think a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.”2
This is again, a great quote. It is encouraging for anyone who is fallen. But Dale doesn’t just say “We are all sinners, we can all still be saints” which would be balm for souls those who try so hard but are still hard on themselves. He doesn’t say “It’s not the point you’re at, it’s the direction you’re headed” with gentle encouragement for those headed down dark paths of life to turn around; which would be spiritual guidance and empathy.
He ties it instantly to perfection:
The term “Saints” is commonly used to designate those who have achieved an elevated state of holiness or even perfection. And we know perfectly well that we are not perfect.
Who… who ties the term “Saints” to perfection? The Catholic church only makes saints after they are dead. Other religions see Saints as ideal in a single principle that Saint emulates. Let’s review a few saints:
St. Guinefort, as he is known among his devoted followers, was a 13th century French dog who was apparently really holy and has been associated with all sorts of miracles.
Basilica of St. Denis celebrates a man who taught the gosple for 6 miles after he was beheaded.
St. Drogo, patron Saint of unattractive people who, during a pilgrimage, was stricken with disease that caused gross deformities.
So exactly who thinks saints are perfected individuals? Mormons.
Our theology does teach us, though, that we may be perfected by repeatedly and iteratively “relying wholly upon” the doctrine of Christ: exercising faith in Him
This message takes the sinner, and puts their imperfection on them again. They, too, would be perfect if only they were better. It takes the glorious message of a man who was imprisoned for 27 years fighting apartheid, recognizing that we all have failings but that should not be cause to give up a struggle, and turns it into a white man’s victim blaming.
Let’s just apply Dale’s logic to the Organization as a whole. The reason that Brigham Young taught that Blacks were not allowed the priesthood must have been because he did not “repeatedly and iteratively relied wholy upon the doctrine of Christ, exercising faith in Him” or else his Doctrine would have been perfect. As such, Brigham was not a Saint, but could become so. You see that’s why the church kept black men from holding the priesthood, Brigham was not a Saint
Maybe a religion that once had such racist claims should “repeatedly and iteratively”, acknowledge what it did, apologize for what it got wrong, try to make restitution to those it hurt, and confess its mistakes before God and the individuals impacted before abusing the quotes of a man who fought apartheid.
Let’s just focus on that “All are lost” and the hope that no matter how bad we’ve been, if we course-correct, there is an idea that it is worth still calling that person a “Saint”.