(June 22 2013)
The extent to which we will go to cover our own sins is remarkable. Here Stephen correctly pointed out that throughout history the Jews had persecuted those sent to teach them, while reverencing those from the past. Such a point should have caused those of the Jews to exercise some caution, but instead they were angry and stoned another righteous messenger so as to keep him from pointing out how they had killed the prophets in the past.
I think, as I ponder it, that a good portion of this comes down to an understanding of the Atonement. If there is no Atonement, then any imperfection shown is the destruction of the individual. So those who do not understand the Atonement cannot abide any substantial deficiencies in their character being pointed out because that is the equivalent of damnation. Those who understand the Atonement seek out such deficiencies because they know that, with and through the Grace of Christ, those deficiencies can be healed and cured.