I'm wondering if I've taken intellectual skepticism a little too far.
I was speaking with my father about a week ago as the MLB trade deadline approached. As many of you may know, I'm a devoted supporter of the finest club on earth, the St. Louis Cardinals. We both agreed that the Cards need an outfield solution for the future (and for the next month or so due to massive injuries), but that there simply weren't many options on the board. Names discussed (quite hopefully) were Moises Alou and Wily Mo Pena, while the more realistic options included Aubrey Huff and Raul Ibanez. But the Mariners weren't selling and the Devil Rays required a pound of flesh, three can't miss prospects, and thirty pieces of silver for their trinkets. I then uttered a phrase that I would almost laugh at if I heard it from a member of the Church:
"Well, Dad, we've gotta trust Walt (Jocketty, the St. Louis general manager). He's never led us wrong before."
A brief recap of Mr. Jocketty's midseason deals:
1997: Brought Mark McGwire to St. Louis for T.J. Mathews, Manny Aybar, and another prospect. Mac not only was a crucial (if oft-injured) part of two winning teams (2000 and 2001), but increased revenue and injected energy into a Cardinal team that had really hit the skids after the unexpected success of 1996. Plus, he convinced Cardinal Nation that the Cardinals intended to win.
1998: Royce Clayton and Todd Stottlemyre to the Rangers for Fernando Tatis and Darren Oliver. People forget that Tatis was a monster in 1999 and 2000. In '99, he hit .298-34-107. In 2000, he hit .253-18-64 in part time duty, despite numerous injuries that would eventually be his downfall. Stottlemyre would never again be a factor. Clayton always sucked. Even though Tatis didn't really pan out, he got more for cheaper.
2000: In my view, the most significant single-season impact: Jocketty sent a pittance to Baltimore for Will Clark, who was languishing with 9 HR on the deadline. Clark ignited St. Louis as a replacement for the injured Mac, hitting over .340 with twelve homeruns in August and September. He was the protection for Edmonds when the two biggest run producers (Mac and Tatis) were injured.
2001: Jocketty deals an unhappy Ray Lankford for an unhappy Woody Williams. The Padres get a washed up outfielder (my favorite player ever by the way) and the Cardinals get a productive starter for three and a half years.
2002: Polanco, Timlin, and Bud Smith for Scott Rolen. If it weren't for occasional injuries, this would even be more lopsided (although Polanco has turned out well).
2004: Larry Walker for pennies on the dollar. A big help down the stretch and he may yet be productive in September and October.
A great track record in a middle-market city. But he's kind of made a few boners as well. For example, dealing Dmitri Young for Jeff Brantley. The inability to resolve second base for five years. It's never been a strong point at all. The failure to get pitching help in 1999 or in 2003. There have been issues, although I think Jocketty is the best GM in baseball east of Billy Beane.
So why am I writing this? First, I want to praise Walt to people other than those that have to deal with me every day. But mostly, I want to call attention to a significant difference in the way that I see Walt and the way that I see the Church.
I trust Jocketty nearly absolutely in matters dealing with the Cardinals. I didn't like the David Eckstein signing, but I didn't complain much, because Walt knows best. I could have done without some other decisions that he's made. But I'll defend him against any and all criticism.
Now, I basically trust the prophet in matters of basic doctrine. But that's about it. Whatever he says about politics or ear piercings or any number of other diversionary topics is basically disregarded in my mind. If all commandments are spiritual in nature, I can't really establish those spheres, can I?
Somebody on M* said that you should wonder if you're really inspired if you're constantly being driven to be an exception. I don't see any reason to reject that logic out of hand, although I think the purpose of that argument is to inspire conformity more than to inspire inspiration. But, hey, that's a decent point. Shouldn't you at least wonder what's wrong if what works for most everyone else never works for you?
I'll go ahead and ask a question of you all that I find interesting. Would you listen to the prophet no matter what, in whatever sphere he is speaking? Or do you draw lines like me? Discuss.
Is there a problem when I'd criticize GBH's views of doctrine much more extensively than I'd criticize Walt's (correct) decision to stand pat at the deadline?