Letter to the editor: Using sacred symbols demeans their significance


    Dear Editor:

    Neil Postman proposes in his book “Technopoly” that he can imagine a commercial for California Chardonnay featuring Jesus standing alone in a desert oasis. Christ turns to the camera and says, “When I transformed water into wine at Cana, this is what I had in mind. Try it today and become a believer.”

    Postman believes the most disturbing thing about this fictional ad is the way that it trivializes sacred symbols.

    When sacred symbols are used in a trivial manner for commercial enterprise, they lose their sacredness.

    Latter-day Saints are allowing their sacred symbols to be trivialized for the purpose of profit. Take a walk through the BYU Bookstore and admire the variety of “Choose the Right” paraphernalia, right down to the knock-off, Grateful Dead dancing bears with the “CTR” symbol displayed prominently on their bellies.

    You can find Book of Mormon action figures, designer temple recommend holders and a variety of T-shirts proclaiming the latest Spirit-enhancing catch phrase.

    I thought I saw it all until I ran across the latest T-shirt design which reads “REPENT, tough on sin” designed to mimic the Tide laundry detergent logo.

    This T-shirt trivializes the very personal, very sacred issue of repentance and makes it appear as easy to resolve as washing a stain out of your favorite pair of khaki shorts.

    Have we as a people forgotten what Christ went through so that we can repent? Have we forgotten the Atonement and Christ’s gift to us of eternal life? What’s next? Holy Ghost Halloween costumes for the Primary kids? Last Supper frozen dinners for that Relief Society president who’s always on the go? “I’d rather be doing baptisms for the dead” bumper stickers for the devout temple worker?

    When our sacred symbols are exploited and destroyed we are left without a moral center. Before our moral center is gutted from the heart of LDS culture, let’s reclaim the sacredness of our symbols and replace commercialism and apathy with moral integrity.

    Mary Beth McMurray Fortunato


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