Why are a few members who somewhat resemble the ancient Athenians, so eager to hear some new doubt or criticism? (see Acts 17:21). Just as some weak members slip across a state line to gamble, a few go out of their way to have their doubts titillated. Instead of nourishing their faith, they are gambling ‘offshore’ with their fragile faith. To the question ‘Will ye also go away?’ these few would reply, ‘Oh, no, we merely want a weekend pass in order to go to a casino for critics or a clubhouse for cloakholders.’ Such easily diverted members are not disciples but fair–weather followers. Instead, true disciples are rightly described as steadfast and immovable, pressing forward with ‘a perfect brightness of hope’ (2 Nephi 31:20; see also D&C 49:23).
– Neal A. Maxwell, “Answer Me,” Ensign, November 1988
Some too claim that those who cannot bear such titillation are weak or irrelevant to their concerns.
They may believe their own faith can withstand it, and perhaps it can.
But, the reckless disregard they manifest for others suggests that their own faith and discipleship cannot resist the desire to be included in that exclusive and novelty-seeking clubhouse. They are diverted from being their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. It is, however, by our treatment of “the least of these, my brethren,” that we will ultimately be called to account (Matthew 25:40).
True, they may retain intellectual assent for certain propositions of the faith—shaded, to be sure, with the subtlety and soothing slogans necessitated by their sophistication. But, they abandon and belittle those with neither the means nor inclination to count cards in the casino.
And, because their patronage does not discomfort those who staff the casino or operate the cloakcheck room at the clubhouse—indeed, they sit down to meat together—they fancy themselves both more mature and more Christian.
In like manner, Neville Chamberlain fancied himself a statesman, disdaining Churchillian warmongering. Such illusions could last until the blitzkrieg, and then millions of Chamberlain’s fellows would pay.
Intellectual doubt such fair-weather disciples may weather, while succumbing to the more deadly temptation toward intellectual arrogance and contempt for others.
They, like Chamberlain, may have opportunity to one day learn regret at the price of others’ lives and freedoms.