The Real Mormon Moment

kate

The real Mormon moment is now.

Now that the New York Times is confirming that at least a dozen Mormons nationwide have faced or are facing discipline for criticizing Church practices or policies or voicing support for same-sex marriage or women’s ordination on-line, on Facebook, on Twitter. Even in anonymous chat rooms.

That the LDS Church supports what must be a substantial enterprise monitoring the on-line communications of its members—this is not a surprise to progressive Mormons who have populated those Facbook groups and web forums.

And we have been waiting for this moment—waiting to see whether our religion could survive the insularity, militancy, and suspiciousness engendered by its nineteenth-century persecutions, and outgrow as well the highly centralized and controlling corporate-bureaucratic style of the twentieth-century LDS Church, to adapt to the new realities of the internet era, including greater openness among Mormons with doubts or concerns about controversial aspects of our history and doctrine.

Excommunication is a nineteenth-century Mormon solution to twenty-first century Mormon problems.

We were so hopeful it wouldn’t turn out this way. Maybe it still won’t. Maybe the highest profile excommunication court—that scheduled this Sunday in Virginia for Kate Kelly, a believing Mormon woman and one of the founders of the web-based Ordain Women campaign—will end without Sister Kelly having her baptism and marriage nullified, her membership in a Church she served as a full-time missionary expunged.

[Editor’s note: Laurie Goodstein reports that Kate Kelly was in fact excommunicated yesterday.]

Mormon progressives have found reason for hope in the fact that after a wave of excommunications directed at high profile feminists in the 1990s, there were no such courts for more than a decade. We used the internet to regroup and grow in numbers. The Church even developed its own web-based resources to acknowledge and address its own controversies—historic and contemporary.

This, we thought, was a good sign. A sign that might not need to fear losing our membership, our place, in a cherished tradition, just for having and voicing questions, doubts, and differences. We told ourselves to not to be afraid.

And even when we were afraid, many of us, we just kept on writing.

Even though we knew we were being monitored.

And knowing made it no less shameful to see the facts in print.

Nor does it diminish the pain of seeing a religion characterized by beautiful audacity in its doctrines and daring in its difference subject its heterodox members to conduct betraying a smallness of spirit and a fearful rigidity.

Nor does it diminish the fear and despair this new wave of disciplinary actions is inciting among progressive Mormons who have anxiously wondered over this past week whether a letter or a meeting request might be on the way for them too.

Over the past few days, I have been getting Facebook messages and phone calls from rank-and-file Mormons not interviewed by the Times relaying that they too have been accosted or called in by their bishops for voicing support for greater equality for women in the church, or same-sex civil marriage rights.

“I’m really a nobody,” wrote one woman. “Just a stay at home mom who doesn’t particularly go out of her way to take up too much space on the internet.”

Whether or not these formal and informal disciplinary actions have been ordered by Church headquarters in Salt Lake City has been the subject of speculation; Church officials deny high-level coordination.

But it’s also being reported that the stage may have been set for Kelly’s excommunication court when one high-ranking LDS official remarked at a regional leadership meeting in Virginia that support for women’s ordination should be considered a form of apostasy.

That instruction and the news of the pending courts seems to have created a climate wherein local ecclesiastical leaders may now feel obliged or empowered to take action towards less orthodox members of their congregations.

I dream tonight of a signal from Salt Lake City, or an even higher place, will empower a different kind of action, a standing down on all sides, a putting away of defensiveness and fearfulness, a putting to rest of Mormonism’s nineteenth-century ghosts and twentieth-century control issues.

A signal to the men tasked with the burden of convening an excommunication court this Sunday in Virginia, and to the Mormon men and women who will convene simultaneously at candlelight vigils scheduled nationwide. I dream that a voice from somewhere will say, in the words of a cherished Mormon hymn, “All is well. All is well”—not because it is right now, but because faith means holding to the hope that it will be. A signal of peace for every one of us who agonizes—while the outside world watches mutely or wonders aloud why we even bother—over how our beloved faith will respond to the pressures of the twenty-first century.

Forget Mitt Romney. Forget the Book of Mormon musical. Forget—yes, forget—the LDS Church’s multi-million dollar “I’m a Mormon” campaign designed to rebrand contemporary Mormonism as diverse and welcoming.

This painful, pivotal time is the real Mormon moment.

This piece was previously published on Joanna’s personal blog. Thanks to Joanna for permission to post here.

askmormongirl@gmail.com'

Joanna Brooks is the author of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith (Free Press / Simon & Schuster, 2012) and a senior correspondent for Religion Dispatches.

  • Jim Reed

    From a logical perspective this is good. The first question would be is it God’s will that those questioning on the internet be excommunicated? Yes or No? If yes then then these women need to be corrected for their eternal good. If No, then the question is about those who are excommunicating them. Are they doing this because they are being led by God, or are they leading themselves and saying it is God. If it is not the will of God then they are not being led by God, and if they are not being led by God then the worst thing Mormons could do would be to end up following them as if they were, so these women are lucky to be in a position to find out.

  • Craptacular

    There is a part of me that wonders if 100 years from now people will be talking about the Hinckley-Monson Heresy…when the LDS church became more cult-like in its requirements for devotion and money from its flock. I grew up in the church in the 1970′s and ’80′s (granted it was in south Georgia instead of Utah) and it does not seem to currently espouse the values I was taught.

  • Jim Reed

    There are 21st century pressures that all religions will have to face. 50 years ago a religion had the luxury of preaching values because they had their world under control. They could preach to their people, and maybe only one in a hundred people had any mind to question, and nobody else is going to pay any attention to that person. Now there are concerned individuals who understand science, and history, and global ethics, and can ask good questions. Churches based on apologetics have never had any answers, and always had to preach from authority. That is just never again going to work as well as it did 50 years ago or more. The questions are only going to continue to grow, and there can be no answers because to answer the question is to open up the religion to more questions and more understanding that it is flawed, and not in a position to be preaching with any sort of divine authority. The church will have no choice but to split the congregation, and cause doubters to leave, and lock believers in ever tighter.

    Progressive churches can follow a different path of not preaching from authority that they don’t have, and trying to give people modern values to live by, but those churches will be preaching from a position of ever shrinking doctrine, and when you look at it, preaching themselves out of business.

  • Peter Rivera

    My one question is do you believe it is our place to determine what is God’s Will, and “correct” people when our interpretation of God’s Will instructs us to do so? Surely you nor I could ever know if God would want to “excommunicate” someone for questioning on the internet. Furthermore, God does not “excommunicate” anyone from His family, through His Son’s sacrifice on the cross we are granted an eternal membership that cannot be voided by our sinful nature, if we choose to accept it.

  • laverl09

    Why would I want to organize a group to demonstrate on line and in person in front of Taco Bell establishments and corporate headquarters demanding that they change their menu and begin to sell Big Macs? Wouldn”t it be much simpler to just go directly to an establishment that already sells Big Macs?

  • Jim Reed

    You are believing what they tell you, and they are excommunicating those who question so that they can divide the people and hold on to part of their flock. And now you are here on the internet trying to convince the rest of us because you are 100% positive that God is speaking to your heart, and telling you to follow them.

  • Jim Reed

    There was also that annoying advertising campaign that we had to put up with. “My name is Ronald McDonald, and I’m a Taco Beller.”

  • Peter Rivera

    I am not Mormon Jim, far from it.

  • Jim Reed

    In that case from my point of view it is not about correcting people when we think God’s will instructs us to do so. It is about coming together on RD to discuss topics of religion. We might be able to help people if we can show them the flaws in their thinking. I like to think of it as saving people from Christianity. My point was it can be hard for people to see when they have been deceived by religion. Whatever might help them to see is a good thing. If there are contradictions in a religion, we don’ t want to just ignore that to be polite. People might not want to be exposed to those things, but it is for the best. If these women were being mistreated by their religion, I say that is a good thing because the religion is showing them its true colors, and eventually they might see.

  • S B

    An analogy can clarify how Kate Kelly’s movement looks to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).

    Kelly’s feminist beliefs are equivalent to a group of Jews deciding that the majority of Americans are correct–Jesus Christ truly is the promised Messiah. Jews who decide Christ is the Messiah are free to leave their synagogues. They are free to join any Christian church in America. (I have several Christian friends of Jewish descent who are loved and welcomed in Christian congregations.) They are free to found organizations to explain their views to others. They are NOT free to take over established synagogues. They are NOT free to force Jewish leaders to follow their new beliefs. They may have the legal right to say anything they want about Jews who continue to live observant lives, but they do NOT have the right to speak for Jews who disagree with them.

    Kelly can found her own church. She can join one of the many churches that ordains women (including churches in the Mormon tradition). She can write books and blogs about her views and interpretations of scripture. She does not have the right to force millions of people to adopt her views. She does not have the right to force Church leaders to visit with and placate her. Most of all, she does not have the right to pretend to speak for me or other Mormon women who hold other views of our faith.

    Kate Kelly has made many claims about what it’s like to be a Mormon woman–claims that I, a Mormon woman, completely reject. I am not oppressed. I am not marginalized. I am respected in my local congregation and in my stake (regional area). When I disagree with male Church leaders, I tell them so, and they listen to my reasoning.

    I wish that Kate Kelly would show as much respect for my views and autonomy as my male Church leaders do.

  • Jim Reed

    I think you are trying to change what this issue is about. She is not forcing people to adopt her views. She is not forcing church leaders to visit with her. She is not pretending to speak for others that disagree with her. She is expressing her opinion, and I guess that is the real problem. That is the one right she does have. And the church also has the right to kick her out for expressing her right. Everyone has to make their decision here, and live with their decision. Problem solved.

  • cranefly

    That would be an analogy worth considering if these women saw priesthood power as something they could “buy” at another church, and as long as you’re acknowledging that the LDS Church is a business, selling a product, like Taco Bell. Your argument makes no sense if it’s the one church with a prophet that can actually communicate with God.

  • cranefly

    Nonsense. Ordain Women just wants to be like Emma Smith for the Word of Wisdom: Pestering the prophet with their concerns, and eventually receiving a revelation. They aren’t trying to force anyone to do anything. If they didn’t believe in the authority of the prophet, they wouldn’t ask him for a revelation. If you don’t think God could give the prophet a revelation that would change current church practices, you need to repent. That’s supposed to be a finger of your testimony glove.

  • janeway

    I amazed that people are so upset over woman, Kate, who has been excommunicated from the LDS Church. It was apparent that “Kate ” disbelieved or
    Disagreed with the doctrines or positions of the Church on many issues. I am a member and far from a good example as I have never had the will to give up coffee and cigarettes, married to a non member (who attends Church), a professional, have had questions, held positions and not once has any Church leader say a word but encourage me to keep the W of W for my Heath and study and pray over my questions. It is not the disagreement nor questioning, it is encouraging others to follow me by being an activist. Other than Ms Brooks who is equally unhappy with Church policies, few LDS members are surprised or alarmed. The So called Progressives in the Church need to find a religion that suits them. Many religions are available to join. The Mormon moment is not here, the Church will not crumble. Perhaps some will leave but most won’t, I am just sorry that there is so much misinformation about women in the Church. We have outstanding women and far from being Stepford Wives. The only religions that even acknowledge Priesthood is the Catholics, and a couple of direct offshoots. Catholics do not allow women either and they are a long way from changing. Priesthood is not about becoming an ordained minister in a Protestant church. I am sure when Jesus returns, He will solve all the arguments and everyone will simply have to adjust. In the meantime it would benefit all Christians to focus on Christ as I am sure He is disappointed with the disjunction He sees from those that say they love Him. In a universe that He created that works with precision, we are such a mess. As for Kate and Joanna, you are not Luther posting on the Door. Luther was giant, you are not.

  • cranefly

    Clearly, being Mormon is more to you than the Word of Wisdom, and possibly even more than eternal marriage. What is it about then? Is it the maleness of authority? Is it about telling gay people not to have sex? Because if that’s the essence of Mormonism, I can see why they’re excommunicating people who publicly disagree.

    You know, there are churches out there that don’t mind if you smoke. Why don’t you join one of them?

  • Jim Reed

    I don’t think this is about finding an argument that makes sense. It seems to be more about getting those who ask questions to leave and find someplace else so that those who truly want to believe can congregate with like minded people who can still believe in the prophet. In the 21st century religions will need to adapt and expand their techniques for convincing those who might question to separate themselves.

  • Jim Reed

    Luther was a giant to his followers, and not to the church he was questioning. This means as a true believer you are not really in a position to make this judgment.

  • cranefly

    It’s about marking those who ask questions with a stamp of the beast, to discredit anything they say.

    As long as people are being raised in the world as Mormons, the Mormon Church has imposed on their lives, and they have a right to challenge Mormonism from within. That goes for every church. Babies can’t afford to buy a religion from a realtor, the way their parents do. They grow up in the religion their parents bought, and if the roof is leaking they have a right to say so. If their parents love them, they won’t excommunicate them for it.

  • Jim Reed

    Religions need to do what they must do to survive. If they don’t, they will be gone and other religions will survive. As the modern world advances, it becomes more important for religions to protect themselves from those who might use all this upgraded education to question. The problem is good questioning can spread through a population, so the religion must not only control the questioner, but it must also convince other followers of the religion to reject contact with that questioner.

    Religion is not for everybody, so in the future religion must learn to cut their losses and move on.

  • Jim Reed

    I see from the reference above when you are excommunicated you are no longer allowed to wear the special undergarments. Are you still allowed to wear your testimony glove?

  • David Tiffany

    With the desire of the Mormon church to become more emergent there have also been risks. The gates that have kept them insulated from the world and the world insulated from them have had to be opened and I’m sure there have been those who have been appointed to handle the fallout. But they have failed. And so now the pressure is on and perhaps there is an attempt to close those gates again. But my prayers is that they never will close again, but that more and more of those who have been kept captive by the deception of Mormonism will be set free by the truth.
    http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/2013/12/lift-up-your-heads-o-you-gates-be_7.html

  • mkriley

    It seems to me that the real ‘Mormon Moment’ is the personal decision of those affected by their opposition to church doctrine. Should doctrine change because some in the church disagree? And if the church affirms its position, does that now mean that the church is false? This handful of narcissists (yes, including you Joanna) will ride their hobby horses out of the church just like many before have done. Either the church is God’s to direct (as faithful Latter-Day Saints believe) or it is mans…and if it is man’s to change and direct with each new politically correct opinion, then I want no part of it…

  • Jim Reed

    It has always been man’s to direct, and you have been taking part in it. This is the religion problem. The world is changing, and those religions that say they are led by divine inspiration have real trouble changing with it. They remain stuck, and the only way to continue with their belief is to start flushing people.

  • janeway

    As a follower of western civilization Luther had great impact. Just because I am not a Luthern doesn’t mean I do not admire his contribution as most Christians and historians agree.

  • S B

    I’ve been following the story for two years now–long before the excommunication–and I’ve seen Kelly do–or try to do–every one of the things I’ve mentioned. She and her followers have also cyber-bullied those of us who express different views.

    Kelly’s unusual opinions are not now and never have been a problem–other people have expressed similar views many times in the past. (I first encountered LDS versions of feminist views about 30 years ago. No one was excommunicated over the publications I read then.)

    I agree with you that this excommunication should solve the problem. If Kelly will take your advice and make an independent (presumably non-religious) life for herself, I think we’ll all be happier.

  • Jim Reed

    And you judge these women who are trying to tack up their questions.

  • mkriley

    Those religions that claim divine leadership are the only ones that can ultimately survive. Look at history. When men take the doctrine down the path of each new whim, the organization crumbles. People are clamoring for something steadfast, constant, immovable and unchanging. This is why Evangelical denominations are thriving while mainstream religions who have tried to modulate with the times are sinking. The ‘Mormon Moment’ Joanna tries to expain as a macro-event is nothing more than the micro-event each church member must confront individually…whether I believe we are led by divine inspiration or not. And if not, then why stay?

  • Jim Reed

    You can’t excommunicate someone, and then tell them what to do and how to do it. All you can do is excommunicate someone, and then watch what happens next.

  • S B

    On the WoW question, Emma Smith didn’t go to Joseph with a predetermined answer–in any case, I doubt she would ever have seen a connection between the used tobacco chaws on her floor and something as elegant and respectable as a cup of tea :-)
    If OW members want to be like Emma Smith, they can show it by listening to the actual answers they’re receiving instead of insisting that the answers aren’t good enough.

  • Jim Reed

    The constant, immovable and unchanging is now getting smashed by a greater reality. Little pieces break off, and that will continue.

  • S B

    Aw, but you haven’t excommunicated anyone, have you? I assume you’re free to give her any advice you believe will increase her personal happiness. And I believe I’m still free to hope that she will find happiness somewhere, even if I prefer that she leave me out of her plans.

  • Jim Reed

    RD is a place where we can come together as believers in different religions, or no religion, and offer advice to each other, and have an open and honest discussion on what this religion stuff is all about.

  • Jim Reed

    That is what got things so messed up in the first place. Nonsense answers should be rejected, many times if needed, until we can get to the truth.

  • janeway

    My flaws are my own not the Church’s. Mormon’s did not invent the idea about homosexual sex being a sin. The Bible is pretty clear on the matter. Personally, it is none of my business and no one is standing in their way. If we could be perfect without sin then there would have no need of a Savior but knowing it is not possible, He sacrificed and atoned for us and made it possible to have eternal life. If one looked for a church or any organization that we are in 100 percent in agreement and perfect compliance no one would find one. Pope Francis or Pres. Monson would agree.

  • Kelly Knight

    What a silly argument. Folks like Joanna write on blogs and social sites exactly to be seen and heard, and then complain that the Church is monitoring what they write. This is not unlike Kate Kelly, who complained that she was not really given an opportunity to visit with her bishop so he could hear her side, all the while she had her own website, Facebook page, and a willing media to shout her side anywhere and everywhere.

    Silly…just plain silly.

  • Jim Reed

    It is also an opportunity for the church to be more exposed to the general public. The Mormon church can tend to become their own echo chamber. They even have their own state. It might be good for them to get out in public for a change and hear a little about how others might see them when they allow themselves to be seen by those others. I think the Mormons who are willing to take a peek have learned a lot from RD in the last few years.

  • cranefly

    I have been watching, and I haven’t seen them get any answer at all. I saw that a room full of men, including non-Mormon men but expressly excluding these exact women, was told by Elder Oaks that doctrine never changes, which might be true (if “doctrine” is very loosely defined), but the Church PR representative has since admitted on Radio West that there is no actual doctrine that priesthood must be exclusively male forever.

    They got nothing at all from the actual prophet, and nothing at all that wasn’t said pre-1978 about how black people could never be ordained. All I see is shaming, shunning, and silencing. The Church missed an opportunity to respond to its unhappy sheep by listening and loving, and maybe even saying “no,” or “not yet, but how can we help women like you feel more equal?” There would have been no bad press at all if they did that. But instead they showed the world a dark, creepy act of domination. They unbaptized and unmarried a woman to make an example of her. I don’t see the advantage in that at all, even to someone who doesn’t think women should be ordained.

  • left2right

    Nonsense. This is just another fine “Utah Whine.” Anyone reading a copy of the letter from her clergy leader can see that Ms. Kelly could not have cared less about their counsel, their perspective, their instructions, and also about even joining in their engagement process. And, so, it’s goodbye.

  • left2right

    Not exactly succinct, but damn correct. . . . . . . are you

  • cranefly

    Your answer is to imply that the Church is perfect or close enough. I think the Ordain Women conversation is beyond that at this point.

  • cranefly

    When a man says that God talks to him, and therefore the whole world must obey every word that comes out of his mouth, or his PR department, as if it were God speaking, you call him a prophet. When a woman writes on her blog that maybe prophets should address the concerns that their followers have, you call her a narcissist. Do you wonder why your church is accused of sexism, or are you happy and proud to be sexist?

  • janeway

    I do not judge them, I merely disagree with them. They have their free agency to believe,do anything they please. They just can’t tell the rest of us how to think and that is what they want to be in charge and all I am saying is – go be in charge somewhere they will find people willing to to let them. It is not judgemental to disagree with someone. You say they have questions, well they got answers and didn’t like them. I just have no idea why they would want to continue to associate with the Church – they should be happy to be out where they can be with like minded people.
    Mormons are no different from Baptists as if one of their members where protesting, writing blogs, vocal about being pro-choice they would get a chilly reception by their minister. They may not formally excommunicate but they would not be welcomed by many.

  • Jim Reed

    They can’t tell you how to think. I can understand that. Because you are telling them how to think.

  • mkriley

    Crane, the narcissism comes from thinking that because it is your issue, it is paramount and God should listen. Am I sexist because I choose to follow the historical policy based on what God has revealed? I would welcome the inclusion of women into the priesthood to help share the burden, but it is not up to me, or Joanna Brooks, or Kate Kelly or Cranefly…

  • Jim Reed

    It is also not up to God.

  • cranefly

    There are numerous scriptures in which disciples are told to ask of God, knock at the door, and even weary him with their prayers. You choose to follow a man. The difference between Mormonism and every other religion is not that Mormons follow God; every religion follows God. The difference is that you follow the Mormon prophet, a man, with human weaknesses and agency. The historical pattern is one of change, continuing revelation, and member participation even in debating doctrine, organizing church programs, and seeking revelation. Emma Smith asked for revelation. Martin Harris downright demanded a revelation. You don’t seem to believe in this historical pattern, only in the man, and if you are so uncritically defensive on behalf of this man that you have a problem with Joanna Brooks (whose memoir the Church itself carries at Deseret Book), then you are more idolatrous than your own doctrine requires.

  • mkriley

    You seem to imply that an all male Priesthood is the decision of one man, the Mormon Prophet. President Monson is only affirming the policy which has survived through centuries, even millenia. I bought and enjoyed Joanna’s memoir by the way…but I sensed a personal conflict which is only becoming more and more apparant. I am defensive of the Prophet of God. Thank God for him and for his unfaltering devotion to maintaining what has been revealed. If he could be swayed by every special interest that comes and goes, he would not, could not be the man we all have so much confidence in.

  • jfigdor

    Atheists have been warning about how intolerant the Mormon Church hierarchy has been for years. And Mormons have responded by saying, “but they tolerate the Mormon feminists, so they can’t be that bad.” Well they don’t and they are.

  • jfigdor

    Or there’s the other alternative of, you know, growing out of the faith stage altogether.

  • jfigdor

    Your pews might look pretty empty once you start ex-communicating people.

  • cranefly

    If you sensed a personal conflict, your powers of discernment are magnanimous. That’s what the book is about. And yet, the Church sells it.

    It doesn’t matter how many men. The point is they are men. Not God. You believe whatever they tell you and obey their every word. That is idolatry, especially if you forget the times when past prophets said contradictory things, and even “revealed” that the guidance of prophets can be incomplete and fallible.

    “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken the influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.” –Brigham Young, JD 9:150

    “Revelations from God . . . are not constant. We believe in continuing revelation, not continuous revelation. We are often left to work out problems without the dictation or specific direction of the Spirit. That is part of the experience we must have in mortality.” –Dallin H. Oaks

    “For we know partially and we prophecy partially.” 1 Cor 13: 9

    The LDS Church is less than 200 years old. It has already been swayed to abandon polygamy and the priesthood ban against black people. Maybe because the deep struggles of its members are more than a “special interest.”

  • cranefly

    I’m not sure. If it’s not forbidden, it must be allowed, right?

    https://www.lds.org/friend/2008/10/testimony-glove?lang=eng

  • S B

    I agree that the door was left open for female ordination at some point in the future (possibly in the Celestial Kingdom?), and I’m content to wait and see if it happens someday. In the meantime, I have plenty of work in the Church already, and I am confident that my current contributions are respected.

    I’m surprised by your claim that before 1978 people said that black men would never be ordained. I was ten when the priesthood was extended to all worthy men. Even at that tender age, I understood that the expansion of the priesthood fulfilled an old promise. I’d always known that the priesthood ban was temporary. I guess it’s possible that my ten-year-old self was smarter than all the adults around me, but it seems more likely that this was general knowledge in the Church at the time.

  • Esteban

    Emma Smith and Martin Harris asked for revelation but didn’t dictate what it should say. Kelly demands that revelation conform to her will or else she will rain down protest on the church. She says “We are the church” meaning “Our will be done.” That is satan talking.

  • cranefly

    I was referring to Bruce R. McConkie, who said essentially everything about black people that Dallin H. Oaks recently said about women: That God’s decrees can’t change, etc. Brigham Young had believed that the priesthood ban would remain until the millennium. The promise you’re thinking of was probably his expectation that in the millennium it would be lifted.

    Anyway, Bruce R. McConkie was not the prophet, and not authorized to give a revelation that the ban could not be lifted in our time. Neither is Dallin H. Oaks. I really don’t understand why so many people are acting like his speech was a revelation in answer to Ordain Women. It couldn’t be. He is not the prophet, and they weren’t even allowed in the room to hear him talk.

  • Jim Reed

    That’s the narrow path. Few find it.

  • cranefly

    Martin Harris didn’t dictate what it should say? He said, if God doesn’t tell me to sell my farm via revelation, I won’t do it. How specific is that? He would not obey the prophet without a revelation.

    You’re completely mischaracterizing Kate Kelly. Long before this trial, she said that there would be no more actions on Temple Square (which were never “protests” to begin with, but just women waiting in line to ask for tickets to a meeting). She has said again and again that she believes women should be ordained, but if they are not, she will carry on as a faithful Mormon. These are her exact words:

    “My philosophy is much the same as Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego in Daniel 3:18. They had no doubt that the Lord would deliver them from the fiery furnace & a full expectation that it would happen, ‘But if not…’ they said, their faith in the Lord would continue on unwavering. I feel the same way about Ordain Women. I have no doubt in my heart that women will someday be ordained, but…if…not, I will still remain faithful.”

  • S B

    I haven’t read that in McConkie, but for the purposes of discussion, I’ll assume that you have impeccable sources :-) In any case, Brigham Young had publicly taught that blacks *would* hold the priesthood someday, and the promise was so well-known that even young children were aware of it. McConkie would have been contradicting a previous prophet to claim that they would not.

    I’m aware that OW members believe that some early Church leaders have promised women the priesthood, but, frankly, the claims I’ve seen aren’t over-whelming. While Brigham Young’s promise was public, well-known, and supported by multiple sources, the supposed indications of female ordination are spotty and open to different interpretations. Maybe Joseph Smith intended women to hold a formal version of the priesthood, but the evidence could also mean that he considered female ordination unnecessary, believing women could access all the powers of heaven through pure faith.

    Mind you, I think there’s enough evidence to keep an open mind on the question. I have NO objections to people thinking about female ordination, doing further research on the question, and/or sharing their ideas. But demanding a particular answer at a particular time, organizing protests and vigils, and attacking those who express alternate views is totally inappropriate.

  • cranefly

    I really don’t think you should have to agree with Kate Kelly or Ordain Women. I’ll even say that Kelly herself has made some unwise comments. But I really don’t think most of the OW members and supports are seeing themselves as making “demands,” or “protesting.” I think they were making persistent requests, and trying to demonstrate that their concern is not idle but serious. I really don’t understand why the Church reacted so harshly. It doesn’t seem productive to me.

  • Jim Reed

    As the world advances the position of a dogmatic church becomes harder to defend. Are they God’s chosen church? As it becomes more clear there is no such thing, it also becomes clear the church, no dogmatic church, will be able to hold on to all of their flock. By reacting harshly they might have a good chance to hold on to most of the flock, at least for a time. Viewed in this manner, the church reaction is productive.

  • Craptacular

    “People are clamoring for something steadfast, constant, immovable and unchanging.” – mkriley

    History does not seem to support this assertion, it is rife with change and those who “clamor for it”…do you have some proof of your statement or are you just speaking for yourself?

    “This is why Evangelical denominations are thriving…” – mkriley

    Current population statistics do not seem to support this assertion, either.

    In short, your beliefs seem to grounded in the same fantasy land the GOP was living in during the last election. But hey, don’t let me dissuade you from maintaining your fictitious version of reality. Facts certainly don’t seem to be a hindrance to your fantasy.

  • Craptacular

    “Am I sexist because I choose to follow the historical policy based on what God has revealed?” -mkriley

    Which policy is that? Are you a polygamist? Do you insist on performing the “death threat” version of temple endowments? Or do you take wives from other men as your own (as JS did)?

    And, by the way, “sexist” policies are sexist regardless of the source. Just because you believe they are divinely inspired doesn’t make them non-sexist or non-misogynistic. The same way denying the priesthood to blacks was racist…you remember, one of those “historical policies” based on “god’s revelation.”

  • cranefly

    I think it’s a wash, at best. They’ll retain sexist and orthodox people, but they’ll lose people who wanted to believe in the church despite being feminists. They’ve also hurt their image as a friendly neighborhood church, if potential converts factor in.

    By now, a great many orthodox Mormons have made it explicitly clear on national media sites that they firmly disapprove of thinking for oneself. So if the prophet capitulated to the feminists, wouldn’t the brainwashed members keep on obeying anyway? From a math perspective, it seems like the leaders should cave to whoever’s money they stand a chance of losing. Either they didn’t think this through, or they have less faith (and more money) in their orthodox members than they would have us believe. Or no idea how many feminists there are these days. In any case, it seems they made a good move if their goal is to become a smug little cult, a bad move if their goal is to become a major world religion. I honestly don’t know which of those would have a better chance of surviving.

  • Jim Reed

    It is a complex issue, and I expect it will take some time for the leadership to work it all out. The Roman Catholic church had to deal with this a few decades back. They saw the path to a more progressive church, and they could have made a lot of their people happy with the church and where it would have been headed. But as they had time to think it through, they could see the end would be problematic. If things can change, then what is the church? Is it leading the flock, or just following? The final decision seems to be if the church does not have authority to lead the people, then it has no real purpose. The church needed to express it was still in charge, and that means conservative. The Mormon church is farther back on the curve than the Catholics, and they probably don’t yet have much of it worked out, but it is something they will have to face. Short term they could make the people happy with their decisions, and they could prosper. But it is a path that could ultimately dissolve their doctrines and authority. This is complicated, and it will probably take most of the 21st century to work through, and Catholics have not finished dealing with this yet so it could be the rest of the century for them also. As religion continues to fade away, dogmatic religions will come to see the value of dogmatic responses, because that is the way to create the splits that can help them continue, with a reduced percentage.

  • fiona64

    Anyone who was surprised by this excommunication was not paying attention. This was a top-down effort all the way, orchestrated by Ballard and Clayton. http://kutv.com/news/top-stories/stories/discipline-ordain-women-came-high-level-lds-leaders-12001.shtml

  • fiona64

    Hinckley once said that the reason he had never asked God about restoring the priesthood to women was that there had been no agitation for it. Well, there was agitation … and instead of asking God (has anyone seen an article in which Monson announced that he asked God and God said no? No? Hmm.), they threw out the head of the agitators.

    Here is the problem, MKRiley: OW is like a hydra. Cutting off the head (i.e., Kate Kelly) will not kill the beast.

  • fiona64

    They have their free agency to believe,do anything they please.

    … so long as it coincides with what the church tells them to believe and do.

    There. I fixed it for you.

  • fiona64

    Stockholm Syndrome … it’s not just for breakfast anymore.

  • fiona64

    I have been watching, and I haven’t seen them get any answer at all.

    Exactly.

  • cranefly

    Mormons have some advantages over Catholics. The pope isn’t allowed to make things up, only to settle esoteric debates and philosophize. The Mormon prophet is allowed make anything up, because God is supposed to talk to him and give him verbal instructions. Also, lay Catholics are allowed to follow their consciences and ignore their pastors, which means their church has less control over them. Mormons are not supposed to follow their consciences, and can be excommunicated by their pastors, which means the LDS church is more agile as a group. It will be interesting to see what happens in both.

    This might be a case of divergent evolution. Maybe the longest-lasting religions will be the ultra-dogmatic and the non-dogmatic, with the semi-dogmatic types in the middle dying out. Or maybe the Lutherans and Episcopalians have a long game and will surprise us all.

  • Esteban

    There is a clear difference between asking for revelation to confirm what you have already been told and demanding revelation that conforms to your dictates which happen to be contrary to established church policy. Standing in line to ask for tickets to a meeting which you know are going to be denied when you are in a public place with the media watching is called protest. You can insult the church and its leaders, but please don’t insult my intelligence.

  • al

    Remember you guys are trying to reason with people who fall for snake oil salesmen, what does a handshake have to do with God.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vriuUmXx3io

  • cranefly

    If revelation only confirms what we have been told, then there is no point to revelation. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, because revelations have repeatedly changed major policies in LDS history, and prophets have repeatedly been wrong, or at least contradicted each other.

    Maybe the OW women need a revelation to confirm that priesthood is male-only. As of this week, none exists, according to Ally Isom from Church PR. Why is that not worth asking for?

  • Jim Reed

    It should be an entertaining century. With longer lifespans, those now in their twenties should be able to see it all.

  • Jim Reed

    the narcissism comes from thinking that because it is your issue, it is paramount and God should listen.

    Only the prophet can do that. If other people are doing that too, we will have confusion.

  • S B

    I believe you’re right to say that most OW supporters don’t see themselves as making demands or protesting–which brings out one of the odder things about the whole situation. We have people issuing press releases, giving TV interviews, and organizing demonstrations who go to pieces–literally burst into tears–if you suggest that they oppose Church leaders. Are they really that naive? I can’t tell. Their concerns would seem more “serious” to me personally if they acted a little more mature and forthright about the effects of their actions.

    As for why her local leaders excommunicated Kelly, I don’t see that she left them much choice. She refused to attend her own disciplinary council, even by skype or phone. (Yes, Mormons are familiar with the internet and use modern communications. We also know how to dial telephones.) Instead she organized yet another one of her Temple Square demonstrations, making at least three that I know of.

    As far as I can tell, only 200 to 300 people attended her last “vigil”–pretty paltry when you realize how many Mormons live within an hour of her event. (Average LDS congregations have more people at a normal Sunday worship service, and Conferences regularly include twenty thousand attendees physically present for each session, plus those who watch it on TV or online.)

    Kelly spends significant time in front of cameras and gets lots of press, but her actual movement appears to be very small.

  • Jim Reed

    Small and insignificant, but she was excommunicated.

  • S B

    It will be interesting to see how long her group lasts–my friends in OW are planning to make the Church pay for this for years. And who knows, maybe they will. But previous splinter groups have lost steam rather quickly.

    With all her strengths and talents, I don’t see Kelly as the kind of person who builds enduring institutions. She seems more interested in the immediate gratification of attention and publicity-seeking than in long-term planning.

    My personal guess is that she’ll be able to live off OW for a while–get a book or two published, maybe do a speaking tour. (I hear there’s big money in going to evangelical churches and telling them all about how awful the Mormons are :-) But I would be very surprised if she can keep it up more than five or ten years.

  • Jim Reed

    She is a heretic. The church should make an example of her.

  • S B

    Mormons don’t actually care if she’s a heretic or not–heresy isn’t a crime in the LDS Church. Members express a wide range of opinions, including opinions that other Mormons consider mistaken, all the time without any reprisals. Sunday School classes can be very exciting :-)

    Remember, one of my personal objections to Kelly is that she has been intolerant of people who express different views of the evidence. Over the last year, I’ve repeatedly seen her followers attack others for any disagreement with her version of doctrine.

    Mormon women are perfectly capable of speaking for ourselves–we don’t need a self-appointed spokeswoman telling us what we should think.

  • http://Www.jennyhatch.com/ Jenny Marie Hatch

    Delusions of grandeur…please ladies, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  • Jim Reed

    Have you considered the possibility that she might have some legitimate concerns/

  • cranefly

    I would consider 2-3 hundred people significant considering that associating with her was potentially an excommunicable offense.

    The irony of the amount of press that she gets is the sheer insignificance of everything that she does. In the outside world, we are completely baffled to discover that this church has a biannual lecture series that allows non-Mormon men but prohibits women. We’re baffled that some women asking for admittance caused such a storm of fury and hostility. We’re baffled that a church will excommunicate someone for refusing to take down their website. We’re astonished that a church makes that kind of demand. I live in Utah, but around the nation, I don’t even think most people realized that Mormons claim to have a living prophet, and on discovering this baffling fact, are further baffled that Kate Kelly’s “apostasy” is not her beliefs, or disobedience to this prophet (who has not said a word), but her disobedience towards her pastor (bishop) and some PR spokespeople that she’s… apparently required to obey. Most churches do not control their people like this, or at least if they do, we’ve never heard of such a thing. It’s astonishing to us. That’s why the media is interested.

    It was said that her public actions on temple square crossed a line. I can see that, but months ago she announced that they would not do it again. Now people are saying that it was her “six discussions” that crossed a line. The message there is that women discussing things in their own homes, without the media, still crosses a line.

  • S B

    None of her concerns justify the way her followers have treated those they disagree with, including other women. None.

  • S B

    I haven’t lived in Utah–or any other place with more than 1% LDS–for over twenty years, and the bigger surprise to people in my area is to see how much LDS women really do. Heavens, some Protestant congregations out here still expect women to be silent in the churches! When visitors see LDS women leading adult classes or “preaching sermons,” they are surprised and impressed.

    Aging is another concern that simply isn’t an issue for Latter-day Saint women. In many churches, women are welcome to speak publicly when they look young, but find themselves sidelined as the wrinkles appear–sort of like actresses who can get good parts in their twenties and thirties, then disappear from the screen until they find a good plastic surgeon, or can play grandmothers. My LDS friends in their fifties and sixties have all kinds of visible work, from running local PR efforts to addiction counseling to administering the new Pathways program (off-campus college classes designed to fit into the schedules of single parents).

    People in my area don’t find Kelly’s case baffling at all–they’ve never heard of her.

  • cranefly

    Being better than the worst fundamentalists is nothing to be proud of. There are also churches with female archbishops. But this is off topic.

    I have never personally encountered a more controlling church than the Mormon church. At least not one with more than a handful of members. I’ve also never in my life heard such abject misogyny coming from a person’s mouth than I have heard from Mormons. I guess we’ll have to let our personal experiences differ.

    I was impressed that Kate Kelly and her followers could recognize a serious problem and still think there was something worth staying Mormon for. I wondered what it could be. I found it inspiring, as a lapsed Catholic, that such intelligent people were still so attached to, and invested in, a church that hurt them. It improved my opinion of the LDS Church for a while. But there goes that.

  • Jim Reed

    I guess they have been disrespectful of the leadership and of other women, and of the church itself. They should know their place if they want to be a part of the church.

  • S B

    Lapsed Catholic and living in Utah! I bet you have some hilarious stories! (Sorry to go off topic, but I can’t resist–I was there when a Utah Mormon who had just moved east of the Mississippi met his first rabbi. He asked the rabbi what his opinion was of LDS prophecies about the Jewish people. The rabbi, with 3,000 years of tradition behind him, stared at this good man for a moment. Then said he didn’t care what Mormons say about Jews–he never thought about it at all!)

    Your views on OW make more sense to me now that I know you’ve been looking at this from the outside. Kelly and her friends have portrayed themselves as boldly standing up for the right to talk, when the reality is that LDS women discuss these issues anytime they want to.

    I think I mentioned in an earlier comment that Mormon feminists have
    been publishing a variety of views for at least the last thirty years.

    A few weeks ago my own local “Relief Society” (read “women’s group”) discussed female ordination. There was no male there to observe or control the class. Several younger women said they don’t need the priesthood to serve in the Church and consider female ordination unnecessary. A local female leader recounted a personal experience in which she laid her hands on a child’s head and gave the child a blessing of healing (an action which is formally reserved for priesthood holders) and the child was healed. Another woman told a story from Church history in which Mary Fielding Smith (a Church heroine) laid her hands on a sick ox and healed the ox–an event which has been cited both as evidence that women should exercise the priesthood and as evidence that they don’t need it. The oldest woman in the room said that she believes the Church reserves the priesthood for men simply because it was organized in the 1800′s, when men ran everything. Several people who had argued against female ordination shook their heads, but no one bothered to go over the arguements again–they’d already expressed their opinions and accepted the fact that she disagreed.

    No one yelled. No one stomped out of the room. No one was excommunicated. No one had to meet with a leader afterward and explain anything she’d said. No one stopped speaking to anyone else. We’re all still friends with each other. It was no big deal.

    Mormons have always been free to make up our own minds about what we believe–and we tend to say what we think. Kelly was excommunicated for trying to use political tactics to force her views on others, not for bringing up some taboo topic.

  • Jim Reed

    That is the lesson. When you start to get involved in politics, politics cuts both ways.

  • S B

    Exactly. When Kelly started trying to suppress alternate views–basically attempting to shut the discussion down–she took took herself out of the conversation.

  • Jim Reed

    So she ends up shut down herself, at least in the Mormon context.

  • cranefly

    I believe you. But those kinds of discussions are idle chats and don’t change anything. And structural inequalities, that may not bother you but which bother some people and seriously hurt others, remain unchallenged by them. How comfortable were you, as a teenage girl, talking about masturbation behind an office door with an older man? How comfortable would you be with a bishop asking your teenage daughter questions about it? I know that this happens. Growing up Catholic, even fear of hell wouldn’t make me confess that kind of thing to a priest. In retrospect, I might not have had any worries about it if the priest could have been a woman.

    Whether or not ordaining women is the answer, there is a problematic lack of female input in decision-making where female opinions are needed. This is an interesting article about it, from what appears to be a faithful LDS source:
    http://zelophehadsdaughters.com/2014/01/16/the-problem-of-women-and-church-courts/

    I should clarify maybe that I’m not from Utah, I moved here as an adult, and I didn’t know anything about the LDS Church before I got here. I’ve heard that Mormonism is different here (more fanatic) than it is in other parts of the country, so I have very little doubt that your experience in the Church has been good, and that most LDS women don’t feel oppressed. But I know that structural inequality hurt me as a girl, in my church, and I can’t excuse it.

  • S B

    Oh my goodness, what an intensely personal question!

    I actually had that exact conversation with at least two bishops while I was a teen. (Mormon bishops are expected to interview every teen at least once or twice a year, and they do ask specific questions.) I was intensely embarrassed by the topic, but the bishops were very kind, while encouraging me to remain a virgin until I married. As a teen, I worried that God would judge me and cast me out if I made any mistakes. The bishops helped me to see God as a loving Father who gives us commandments and guidelines to protect ourselves from harm. I’m very grateful that they cared enough to correct my misunderstandings.

    My daughter has also had interviews with priesthood leaders. (She’s reading this before I post, and she says she’d much rather have a private talk with a priesthood leader than discuss any of this–even anonymously–over the internet!)

    I think you’re right that many women believe they would feel more comfortable discussing intimate questions with another woman than with a man. I’ve had friends ask me if there were any Church policies about their sexual practices (rather than ask a bishop). Sometimes they wanted me to look the answer up, and sometimes they hoped I’d ask the bishop for them and pretend the question was for myself :-)

    At other times, I’ve had women ask me to go with them to a bishop, to give them moral support in an interview. In each of these cases, once my friend started talking to the bishop, she didn’t want me there anymore–the actual interview wasn’t as scary as she’d imagined it would be.

    (I have no idea what it would be like to discuss anything personal with a priest–when I see the local Catholic priest, we stick to social pleasantries and the interfaith projects we’re working on together!)

    I have never had a disciplinary council myself, but several female friends have. They have described their councils as loving experiences. One in particular speaks of her disciplinary council often. She feels that the council and its aftermath–she was disfellowshipped–were a turning point in her spiritual life that permanently improved her relationship with her Savior. She’s very grateful that it happened.

    I followed the link you shared. Since another article on the blog was speculating about how long it will take for all of our senior leaders to die off (so the author can take up her causes with a new and presumably more malleable set of apostles), I hesitate to describe it as a “faithful” source. Under the circumstances, I find the experiences of the women I actually know and work with every week to be more creditable than the stories on the blog.

  • fiona64

    Yes, Heaven forfend (see what I did there?) that women ask questions that make men uncomfortable …

  • fiona64

    It wouldn’t have mattered how many hoops Kate Kelly jumped through; this was a top-down effort intended to silence “uppity women.”

  • fiona64

    Standing in line to ask for tickets to a meeting which you know are
    going to be denied when you are in a public place with the media
    watching is called protest.

    It was a peaceable assembly … in which adult women were denied access to a meeting that *12-year-old boys* are allowed to attend, because even 12-year-old boys are held in higher regard in the Mormon hierarchy than women of any age.

  • fiona64

    Those religions that claim divine leadership are the only ones that can ultimately survive.

    Sure .. just ask the Oracle at Delphi.

    Oh, wait …

  • fiona64

    They just can’t tell the rest of us how to think

    Ironic, since you and TSCC are telling OW how to think …

  • fiona64

    I wish that Kate Kelly would show as much respect for my views and autonomy as my male Church leaders do.

    Actually, she showed significantly more respect for those things than your male leaders ever will …

  • fiona64

    As for why her local leaders excommunicated Kelly,

    Because they were told to by Ballard and Clayton.

  • fiona64

    It will be interesting to see how long her group lasts

    When you cut off the head of the hydra, three more appear to take its place. This was a huge mistake on the part of TSCC … because it has shown its full-blown misogyny in living color.

  • fiona64

    Mormons don’t actually care if she’s a heretic or not–heresy isn’t a crime in the LDS Church.

    That’s because your church uses words differently than the rest of the world. Heresy is what happens when someone openly questions church leadership and doctrine; apostasy is what happens when someone walks away voluntarily.

    Mormon women are perfectly capable of speaking for ourselves

    Which is why you let the “priesthood holders” decide what you’re allowed to say.

  • fiona64

    Remember, also, that the Mormon bishopric is *untrained.* They do exactly what the people higher than themselves in the pyramid scheme tell them to do.

  • Jim Reed

    That’s not really a problem. It can be a good thing. Personally, I hope we elect both a woman president, and a woman vice-president.

  • cranefly

    The article about the brethren dying off seemed pretty tongue-in-cheek to me. It’s certainly not an anti-Mormon blog, though it the writers are interested in feminism and will be critical of the church when they feel like they should be.

    I think, since you are still in the Church, your peers will be predominantly those who have had good experiences. In any case, I can tell you without question that many people have bad experiences, and often find that they can’t remain active. I can also tell you that many -even active- people, whether or not they support OW, will agree that there are problems with women having no power to overrule priesthood leaders in any circumstance.

    Most Catholic priests are kind and loving and not invasive. I was left alone with many of them as a child, and was never treated inappropriately. But others are abusive and they are handed opportunities for a abuse on a platter. I’m sure Mormon bishops are the same – mostly good, but some bad, and all with the power to seriously hurt people.

    I don’t think I’ll change your mind significantly, but I only hope you don’t write off the sufferings of women who feel differently from you. This has been a thoughtful conversation, thank you for taking my awkward questions seriously.

  • Aravis Tarkheena

    What an ugly attitude. No wonder your religion has such terrible PR and a foul reputation with the larger public. Yuck.

  • Aravis Tarkheena

    Um, your church just excommunicated them. Hardly “non-judgmental” or letting people have “their free agency.”

  • al

    So let me see your husband gets his own planet, and what do you get as a women.

  • S B

    Haha–I doubt I’ll change your mind much either! But for what it’s worth, I do have a friend who was taken advantage of sexually by a bishop. Like most teens, she felt inappropriately responsible for the problem and hid it for years. Eventually she told a different Church leader, who reported it to the authorities. The bishop was punished for the contact–she did not tell me the details, but as I remember it, at the time she was satisfied that her case was handled appropriately.

    I hope you won’t write off your Mormon neighbors because many of them disagree with you about an all-male priesthood. Far from being some mindless monolith, they are individuals with a variety of experiences, both good and bad. Show them the same respect and consideration you’ve shown me, and I hope you’ll find that you can respect them despite the different opinions :-)

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    Mr. Riley,

    You write “the narcissism comes from thinking that because it is your issue, it is paramount and God should listen.”

    Now then, if you go back and look you will find that Crane didn’t write that, or even make any claim like it.

    It is a distortion, and your own invention.

    -dlj.

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    Esteban

    You write “Kelly demands that revelation conform to her will or else she will rain down protest on the church.”

    Chapter and verse, please. Where did Kelly dictate the text of the revelation, as you would have it?

    I think you are inventing words and putting them in Ms. Kelly’s mouth.

    And I suggest you take a look at Galatians 3:28. If you’re interested in, uh, Christian writings, that is…

    -dlj.

  • fiona64

    It’s not really a problem *unless you’re an insecure man.* (There … I fixed it for you. ;-) )

  • cranefly

    I can make an effort. You’re right that there are all kinds of Mormons. I have plenty of great neighbors, and an increasing number of Mormon friends.

  • S B

    And I’m holding on to my feminist friends–and getting to know the Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, Jews, and black Protestants who live in my area. Sounds like everyone is winning this one!

  • fiona64

    The shaft …

  • http://midwestmigrant.blogspot.com/ SkeptiLark

    As an ex-Mormon in my 40s, your comment rings quite true to me (my upbringing was also outside of Utah, Washington State). My thought has been that the fundamentalist evangelical movement that has been so corrosive to the political discourse has also infected the doctrine’s of the church. The overt political tone was already creeping in to the everyday discourse of the church by the time I left in the early 1990s, but from what I hear from family and friends who are still active, it has only gotten worse.

    (Although, they don’t seem to be as aware of the shift – at least as it appears to me. Perhaps the difference in perspective from the frog in the pot, and those of us looking in?)