What was the accusation?
On October 4, 2015, Devin Durrant, First Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. the Mormon Church), delivered an address during the Church’s semiannual General Conference. His message to Church members worldwide was to “overcome evil by choosing to elevate your thoughts by ponderizing [a spin on the word ponder] God’s word every day.” Later that day, several online users raised concern about a new website titled ponderize.us selling merchandise with clear ties to Durrant’s message (e.g., t-shirts and wristbands displaying words such as “Ponderize” and “What’s Your [Scriptural] Verse?”). The website, according to users, appeared to be profiting off of a religious sermon meant to be given without commercial benefit. In response to this negative feedback, the creators (Durrant’s son and daughter-in-law) ultimately took down the website Sunday night (October 4), and on Monday (October 5), Durrant issued a public apology for the mistake.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Mortification, Corrective Action
“Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege to speak in General Conference about a topic that is near and dear to my heart – the pondering of God’s word in an extended and deeper manner on a weekly basis. I have been touched at the outpouring of support for my message. Please know of my heartfelt gratitude for the positive responses I have received from so many!
“However, I have also received some negative feedback. A week before my address, my son obtained the ponderize.us domain name and subsequently created a website to offer t-shirts and wrist bands to highlight and extend the ponderize message, which we have long talked about in our family. Although we didn’t invent the term, as far as we know our use of it is unique. Because of the backlash he received in associating a commercial venture with a General Conference talk, he initially lowered his prices to cover his costs and then decided to keep prices as originally set and to donate the profits to the missionary fund of the Church. Ultimately, he decided to take down the website last night. The site will remain down. I was aware that my son was creating a website related to the topic of my talk. I should have stopped the process. I did not. That was poor judgment on my part. Of course, none of the Church leaders were aware of the site. I offer a sincere apology to any person who was offended in any way by the site.
“My message remains the same – overcome evil by choosing to elevate your thoughts by ponderizing God’s word every day.
“Thank you, again, to so many of you for your kind messages of support and your willingness to accept the invitations given yesterday.”
Woodruff, D. (2015, October 5). LDS Church leader apologizes for Ponderize merchandise website. KUTV.com. Retrieved from http://kutv.com/news/local/lds-church-leader-apologizes-for-ponderize-merchandise-website