To the editor:

On Aug. 23, the Deseret News published a statement by the LDS Church expressing concerns about recent symposia presentations which purportedly ridiculed sacred matters and resulted in various other injuries to the church.Assuming that the statement probably was an institutional, defensive reaction to the Sunstone Symposium, I offer from a more positive and personal perspective my own evaluation of that symposium.

Although occasional remarks (not entire presentations) may have stretched the bounds of propriety, I found the presenters well-intentioned and the presentations enlightening, thought-provoking and even, at times, inspiring in the best testimony-building sense.

While I accept the statement at face value as an official expression of church opinions, I pray that it doesn't presage a trend to increasing pressure on faithful church members to disassociate from forums which pursue uncorrelated truths.

Whether done publicly, as by the statement, or privately, as enjoined by the scriptures cited in the statement, efforts to discourage the participation, and thus reduce the leavening influence, of church members in such symposia would seem to be more a polarizing than a reconciling strategy.

An issue more germane to this particular forum is this paper's journalistic treatment of the statement. The prominent display of the statement indicated that the statement was considered especially newsworthy, but, incongruously, no related supplemental reporting was provided.

Surely, the statement would have been more meaningful to the general readership if a companion article had provided adequate specific factual background to pierce the statement's veiled allusions to symposia, presentations and appropriately publicized matters, etc.

Also, although the isolated statement presumably was consonant with the paper's editorial stance, journalistic objectivity and fairness should have dictated at least a token effort both to document the reality and seriousness of the alleged injuries resulting from certain presentations and to recognize the existence of differing perspectives by reporting reactions of implicated organizations and persons.

Garold Kotter