A lot of Mormon critics suggest that Mormons are a bunch of sheep trained to submit to authority and not ask questions. Yes, there are some who lack the intellectual curiosity and critical thinking that I think is healthy, but having faith and respecting wise leaders is not the same as blind obedience and mindless submission. Plenty of Mormons I know don’t mind asking questions and politely, respectfully challenging authority when something doesn’t seem right. Of course, in any organization, even gentle challenging of authority can sometimes get you in trouble, depending on who the authority is. So much depends on the tone you use and the sensitivity you show. But when the authority figure has a gun or a Taser (one of Utah’s many fine products), blind, unquestioning obedience is probably the safest way to go. That’s a lesson that one Utah couple learned the hard way, as reported over at TaserJustice.com. A man and his expectant wife (BYU students, perhaps?), get pulled over for allegedly driving above 40 mph, apparently before the 40 mph limit was in effect. The man doesn’t want to sign the ticket without knowing why they are being charged for speeding. In response, the officer wants to arrest him, and when the man steps away to point out the 40 mph sign close to them, not immediately following the officer’s instructions, he gets tasered. Ouch. Now there’s some uproar on the Net about another apparent case of taser abuse.
I know some Sunday School teachers who could occasionally use a taser, but I’m not sure that would advance Gospel purposes in the best way.
I think the real lesson here is the need to use restraint when you have power. There is a temptation to use power in disciplining others, but in so many cases, more good could be achieved by using persuasion and gentleness and avoiding the full use of the power that one has – even when somebody’s behavior seems inappropriate.