Wilcox’s Apology Video

Alright, I decided not to do a full transcription, but I DID decide to do a summary of the latest Wilcox fireside. I’ll give my cliff notes version and then my opinion at the end.


Cliff Notes

00:00-14:55

The introductions, the prayer, and some youth speakers.

14:55-16:22

Brad Wilcox gives introductions and says thanks

16:22-17:37

Full transcription of this part:

“Now this has been a hard week for me.

We’re going to be speaking tonight about trusting in the Lord, and this has been one of those weeks when I have needed to trust in the Lord.

Some of you may have heard about a talk I gave last sunday night. Now, it wasn’t the first time that I have given that talk, and it wasn’t the first time I used the ideas I shared or the line of reasoning that I used to try to address some difficult topics.

In the past I failed to see how my comments could be seen as insensitive and hurtful, and I’m very grateful for friends, friends like brother [Ahmad] Corbitt (first counselor in the Young Men General Presidency), who have helped me and corrected me and taught me.

Once again, I apologize and I’m grateful, more than ever, for the atonement of Jesus Christ, which allows us to trust in the Lord.

Brother Corbitt’s gonna speak to us first on that theme, and then I’ll finish up with some thoughts at the end.

But we’re so excited to be with you. Thanks for joining in tonight.”

17:37-18:11

Addressing technical issues

18:11-39:18

Corbitt introduces his relationship with Brad.

Corbitt then told a whitewashed story of the founding of Cardston, Alberta, Canada – he portrayed them as “faithful Latter-day Saints who do what the prophet said” instead of saying that that Cardston was a polygamist colony which was established to circumvent the US’s polygamy laws.

Corbitt then told his conversion story, his educational journey, his move to the Jello Belt, and his mission.

Corbitt then demonized people who “take a break from the church” because its all lies and deceptions, which is why you need to stay in the church and trust Jesus.

39:18-53:30

Wilcox reiterates what Corbitt says, and then launches into talking about why its important to trust in the Lord.

Then they talk about their missions.

Wilcox then gives his testimony.

53:30-1:01:30

Corbitt then talks about his working relationship with Wilcox. He notes that he thinks its funny that Wilcox is going to be going the African Central Area since Brad actually grew up in Ethiopia for a time.

Corbitt then brought it back to trusting in the Lord and the importance of inviting people to the church.

1:01:30-1:06:00

Closing song, closing prayer, closing farewells


What is an Apology?

A good apology has 4 parts:

  1. An acknowledgement of wrongdoing
  2. An expression of regret and remorse
  3. A commitment to do better in the future
  4. Asking how amends could be made

Brad didn’t acknowledge what he did wrong here. He assumes that you already know about the controversy, and dances around what he’s actually apologizing for. If you weren’t caught up on all the racist and sexist things that he said, you’d have no idea what he was trying to apologize for. If we push past that ambiguity, he does acknowledge that he said some bad things. However, his exact wording has given some people some pause. He said “In the past I failed to see how my comments could be seen as insensitive and hurtful”. He’s not acknowledging that he said insensitive and hurtful things, he’s saying that people could interpret what he said to be insensitive and hurtful. This doesn’t sit right with a lot of people.

Brad didn’t really express remorse. I suppose you could say the acknowledgement that its “been one of those weeks when I have needed to trust in the Lord” as an acknowledgement that its been a difficult week for him and is in its own way an expression of remorse? I’m not sure though – still a bit of a stretch.

There was no commitment to do better in the future. He implied that Ahmad Corbitt gave him sort of racial sensitivity training, but even that was vague. Even if he did receive that training, deep-seated racism isn’t rooted out in 7 days; it takes time and concerted effort to undo decades of social conditioning.

Wilcox didn’t ask how he could make amends, but by bringing up the atonement he’s essentially saying that he has been forgiven. Putting aside that its mighty presumptuous to know the mind of Christ, he also situated himself to where further criticism of him would be de facto challenging Christ. We are then put in a position where we are being pressured to accept something that many of us don’t feel went far enough.

Honestly, this was a weak apology. However, when this is a leader from the same church who’s next prophet infamously once said “I know that the history of the church is not to seek apologies or to give them”. The fact that he’s addressed the racism at all is a huge step forward. The fact that he willingly admitted that he’d given that talk several times is huge. The fact that he even gave a weak apology a big leap.

I think Wilcox genuinely tried his best to apologize, but the man needs to take a couple classes in communication, because this apology sucked on several levels.