While many were annoyed and offended by The New York Times’ obituary of President Monson, we should not worry. It will only help in the long run.
President Thomas S. Monson passed away on Jan. 2. Many individuals and organizations responded to his passing with well-written obituaries that honored his life.
Amidst the long list of positive obituaries written about President Monson, there was one obituary that caught the attention of many Church members: The New York Times obituary.
When I heard about the obituary, I was taken aback but not fully surprised. I, like many others, was annoyed at what The New York Times wrote but not offended.
Yes, it bothered me that The New York Times did not spend more time writing about the humanitarian aid the Church gave under his leadership. It bothered me how they did not talk more about the service he gave in his personal life. It bothered me The New York Times wrote nicer obituaries for Fidel Castro and Hugh Hefner.
However, when all is said and done, the obituary does not matter, and if anything, this helps his legacy instead of hurting it.
A good number of members of the Church and others outside of the Church were annoyed and angry because we have a different point of view from the world. The writer wrote from his point of view and that is his right to do so. Attacking the writer for his comments will not help.
For a real-world example, you need not look further than the new book by Michael Wolff called Fire and Fury. This book came out as a behind-the-scenes look into the Trump administration. The book did not put Trump, his administration and his allies in the best light, to say the least.
Trump attacked the writer of the book on Twitter, and his allies went to multiple news organizations to say the book was false. True or not, their attacks made the book more popular. They did the exact opposite of what they wanted. Instead of preventing people from buying the book, they created the largest book club in the country. Fire and Fury is the most sold and most read book on Amazon right now.
Fire and Fury would not be as popular as it is now if Trump and his allies stayed silent. For the most part, that is the way the world works. The more you attack someone for speaking out, the more you help them.
It goes both ways. Writers want people to see and read their articles. When many of my friends shared the article on social media while sharing their thoughts on it, they were doing what the writer wanted. They inadvertently helped the writer.
The writer, on the other hand, brought people together in President Monson’s defense. People outside of the Church were able to see what President Monson meant to us. They were able to see the man we knew. The man who spent his life serving others and the Lord and not caring what the world thought of him.
I don’t care about The New York Times obituary anymore. None of us should. We know who President Monson was. Like Robert McFadden said, “(President) Monson did not bend.”
President Monson upheld the commandments of the Lord while the world was changing. Doing as the Lord asks always brings about people who would stand against you. It comes with the territory and we should be proud of that.
If you are truly worried about President Monson’s legacy, stop worrying about the obituary. Instead, remember President Monson for what he did his entire life and live our lives as he counseled us to: live like the Savior, serving and loving everyone we can, whether they respect us or not.