Summarized by Kent Larsen
LA Times Says Hinckley's Book Lacks Depth
Los Angeles Times 22Apr00 A1
By Ralph Frammolino: Times Staff Writer
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- The Times' Frammolino says that President
Hinckley's book "Standing for Something" doesn't have enough depth to
support his moral arguments. In a review of the book published in
Saturday's Times, Frammolino says that the book, "ultimately rings
hollow because the book lacks philosophical heft; it fails to engage in
meaningful introspection and disclosure."
Frammolino begins the review well enough, noting how far President
Hinckley goes to avoid mentioning Mormonism and becoming "a book that
could be mistaken for a work by evangelist Billy Graham." He says this
gives the book the ability to "resonate with a wider audience,
including fundamentalist Christians who regard Salt Lake City as Cult
Central." Frammolino also seems open to Hinckley's thesis, which he
defines as a claim that "the root of America's problems and evils, he
says, is the secularization of society."
But Frammolino expected much more from the book, saying that President
Hinckley only "lays out cause and effect, but passes over the middle
ground of personal struggle, where most of us live." He says Hinckley
is "unwilling to plumb his experience, position or religious viewpoint
to lend a depth to his moral arguments."
It is clear to Frammolino that Hinckley is capable of this. He says
that the book does contain some evidence of personal struggles, such as
the difficulty of an unmarried couple facing an unplanned pregnancy.
But Frammolino calls for more, "One wants to know more about such
personal struggles, because sometimes distinguishing right from wrong
is not a black-and-white decision. One wants to know the dilemmas. . ."
Frammolino also sees this problem in Hinckley's condemnation of
divorce. "It is one thing to make its preservation a theological
cornerstone, as in Hinckley's church, but how to deal with the
inevitable divorces among his flock? In the book, he condemns divorce
as "selfishness," but that's not enough. It happens."
Because of this weakness, Frammolino finds the book ultimately
unsatisfying, saying, "Hinckley offers Reaganisms like "right is right
and wrong is wrong" in a book one wishes had gone deeper into the
things for which he stands."