Monson and Hinckley, Optimists or Pessimists?

October 5, 2011

I am often told that I am a pessimist rather than an optimist.   They could not be more wrong.  I see a wonderful future for the righteous and a horrible future for the wicked.  Is that being a pessimist?  I don’t think so.  I am not a glass half full person.  I am a glass half full and half empty person, you know, reality.  But I am not alone in this.  I am in good company indeed.  Consider these three short scriptural passages.

19 And wo is me because of their wickedness; for my heart has been filled with sorrow because of their wickedness, all my days; nevertheless, I know that I shall be lifted up at the last day. (Mormon 2:19)

Is this pessimism? Was Moroni a pessimist here? No, he just understood the situation. He knew it was impossible for bad behavior to lead to a good outcome.  Here is an interesting passage from the teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley:

I do not know that things were worse in the times of Sodom and Gomorrah. –President Gordon B. Hinckley, January 10, 2004

Was President Gordon B. Hinckley being a pessimist here? No, of course not. He just understood the situation, maybe because he read the scriptures alot over his 95 years in mortality.

So what does President Thomas S. Monson think of all this? Does he disagree with President Hinckley? Here is a passage from October general conference, the one we just had three days ago:

“Behaviors, which once were considered inappropriate and immoral, are now not only tolerated but viewed by ever so many as acceptable,” […] “The message is that morality is passe, conscience is for wimps and the single overriding command is ‘Thou shalt not be found out.'” –Thomas S.Monson, October 2, 2011

I don’t believe that President Monson is being a pessimist or that he is being judgemental. He is just stating facts. He understands the situation. He knows from reading the scriptures,  just as anyone does that the future is bright for those who love the Lord and follow him, but it is dark indeed, for those who don’t. An evil tree always brings forth evil fruit. But it is impossible for a good tree to bring forth evil fruit.

I am not a pessimist.  I am a realist.  And I know what the prophets have said about the wages of sin.