Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Pulling at the Pillars

Pulling at the Pillars

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 25, 2013

Richard L. Evans
Music and the Spoken Word
June 13, 1948

Pulling at the Pillars

There is a proverb from The Persians that reads: “when a man takes the road to destruction, the gods help him along.” Certainly tearing things down is easier than building them up. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” but it could easily be destroyed in a day. Almost anyone can pull things to pieces, but it requires time and patience and purpose to put the pieces in place.

Nevertheless there are those who are persistent in pulling things down – not only physical things, but also ideals and principles, and even the foundations of faith – and not only the present, but there are those who seem to be set on pulling down the past also. there are those who would discredit all the motives of altruistic men; those who would cast doubt on great documents. There are those who would prove that all the masterpieces of the past were not the work of the men whose names appear upon them. There are those who would discredit every hero of history. There are those who would loosen the footing of every foundation on which men place their faith. And unfortunately there are too many who are too willing to listen to those who are against everything that is.

Of course, no one would question the right of an honest investigator to delve into any inquiry of common concern. And certainly all error and untruth should be exposed – whether past or present.

But there are some who pursue the purposes of destruction who know, before they begin, what they intend to find, who know what they propose to prove. There are some who disregard all evidence that leads in any direction except the direction they want to go, and who ignore all opinion that points anywhere except toward their own opinion or purpose.

We presume much when we presume on inconclusive evidence to tear down anything that has stood the test of time – especially when we tear it down without putting something better in its place. A man should be exceedingly sure of his ground before he makes any utterance that would tend to tear down any time-honored principle or ideal or to strike at the foundations of men’s faith. And he who does may, like Sampson, find that he is pulling at the pillars that support the roof over his own head; and he may find himself in the wreckage of his own destructive design.



  1. Good advice. Here, Elder Evans applies his warning against tearing down to foundations, and documents, … things. I think the advice not to tear down applies to people. The rub: it’s hard to avoid tearing down people who are seemingly tearing down cherished things.

    Comment by David Y. — July 25, 2013 @ 7:31 am

  2. Yes, timeless advice. Criticism seems to be so much easier to generate than praise. Any idea what may have most immediately prompted this, Ardis?

    Comment by Gary Bergera — July 25, 2013 @ 9:09 am

  3. I was wondering the same thing, Gary, and the only event I can come up with was really about two years before, with Fawn Brodie’s publication of No Man Knows My History. I would assume that the buzz over her book may still have been an issue in 1948. Any other thoughts out there?

    Comment by kevinf — July 25, 2013 @ 11:37 am

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