Readers familiar with Elder John K. Carmack’s levelheaded and common-sense approach to explaining gospel principles will not be disappointed with his thoughts on tolerance. Written in light of his experiences as a Church leader in California and Asia, this book is a plea for broader understanding and practice of tolerance in its Christian context. Experience has convinced Elder Carmack of the increased need for tolerance in our encounters with people of diverse backgrounds. To grant the timeliness of the message, one need only consider recent outbreaks of violence across the world as previously segregated religious and ethnic groups rekindle prejudice and hatred.
The strength of this book lies in its straightforward approach, although its rhetoric and style are sometimes unpolished. Laying a scriptural and prophetic foundation, this work presents tolerance as a virtue taught and practiced by the Savior, our exemplar in matters of tolerance. Elder Carmack wisely counsels that, in order for tolerance to become an antidote for the poison of worldwide hatred and strife, individuals must adopt attitudes and practices appropriate to the Savior’s teachings. The book then offers advice about how principles of tolerance may be applied in family, church, and public life.
But tolerance is not a principle without limits. It does not signify indiscriminate, and therefore meaningless, respect for all actions and ideas. Elder Carmack offers strong counsel on the limits of tolerance as he discusses a variety of public issues, especially free speech and pornography. His reasoning, influenced by his legal training, recognizes the liberality of the principle while at the same time improving our understanding of the general relation between moral and ethical standards and public behavior. Also of timely interest is his counsel regarding the role of tolerance in the Church. He offers clear explanations of the place of Church discipline in regard to tolerating diversity of belief within the Church. Tolerance is an overdue and necessary addition, by a committed LDS leader, to our overall understanding and practice of the gospel.