Mormon Nastygrams and the "abomination" of homosexuality

ComplaintOn Saturday evening I received the following message:

Hello, I have people who I know that have been effected negatively by your false doctrines. I do not believe in what you do, adding your own take on the gospel and proclaiming to the world as Doctrine. When in the hard reality it is your own thoughts and theories that are leading people astray.

I have some quotes here from The Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, who you slander and forget that he is the Lord's very anointed. I send this message in kindness and love. We have our own spiritual gifts, we have the gift of discernment. To establish right and wrong, good and evil. Many people are neglecting the spirit that is within them, and following your teachings that are NOT in full harmony with the church and THE STANDARD WORKS. Particularly with homosexuality, which we know from the scriptures is an abomination.

By supporting these false doctrines, we begin to have within our hearts the spirit of disobedience, which leads to the spirit of apostasy. I just returned from a mission and have seen your documents. They are not faith promoting nor uplifting, rather they justify in sin and false doctrine. "forgetting prayers and breaking the Sabbath". It seems as though you want to be an advocate for truth; but we must remember, It is the Lord's side that is faith promoting, and the Devils side that is destructive. Which I personally believe with all my heart that is what your website is.

He then proceeded to lecture me with several quotations from Elder McConkie about a “spirit of rebellion” that can drive people out of the Church, and why I should shut up when I disagree with LDS leaders. He quoted a letter McConkie sent to that beautiful soul, BYU professor Eugene England: “ . . . you will remain silent on those where differences exist between you and the Brethren.”

This is by no means the first Mormon nastygram I’ve ever received, and it's not even close to being the worst. After five years of blogging, I've become downright philosophical about them.

But several things struck me about this one, which I thought about at length at church on Sunday.

First, the author is writing with all the passion and certainty that are our purview when we are approximately twenty-one years of age, and which most of us later temper with greater wisdom and compassion. Flush with the zeal of a successful Mormon mission, he is eager to carry that work forward, in this case by policing the opinions of total strangers on the Internet.

Which brings me to my second point. I am fairly certain that on this blog I have never taken my own opinion and proclaimed it “to the world as doctrine”; to the contrary, I have often taken pains to point out the differences between my own opinions and the teachings of the Church over issues like homosexuality.

And “pains” is the right word to use here, because the divergence between the inclusion I support and the exclusion the Church has sometimes practiced is a source of great pain for me and for many of my regular readers.

Finally, I am struck by the animosity and rhetorical desperation that are exposed when any critic plays the Satan card.

devil inside mobile phoneI think you can take it as a given that whenever you tell your interlocutor that she is "on the Devils [sic] side," and suggest that her website is sponsored by Lucifer, you have effectively shut down the possibility of conversation. Although this writer wants to insist that he is only sending this message "in kindness and love," those are not the the primary emotions a receiver experiences after having been, quite literally, demonized.

Somehow, I'm not feeling the love.

There are some lessons here about Mormonism today, about the fear and anxiety engendered by the rise of independent Mormon voices on the Internet.

For this young man, everything is black and white, the entire gospel arranged alphabetically in a book embossed with the gilded words Mormon Doctrine and sanctioned with the imprimatur of a general authority; why can’t I get with that program?

And why can’t everything I write be “faith-promoting” in the particular way that he defines it?

I can’t because the gospel is so much bigger than he dreams or imagines.

The gospel is not neatly tied up with a bow that was codified fifty years ago by Elder McConkie or anyone else. It is expanding, and changing, and groaning with the effort of its ongoing birth.

And the Church, its perpetual midwife, is also bigger than either of us, its umbrella blissfully wide enough to cover my and my critic’s sharply differing opinions. He complains that my blog has damaged the faith of people he knows; while I am sorry to hear this, I can point to many more people whose faith has been strengthened by an honest and open airing of issues here and elsewhere online.

I was interested to see that in his final paragraph, this young man asked me “that this letter be confidential and private.” I am happy to protect his privacy by not revealing his name. While he may not yet realize how inappropriate it is for him to chastise an unknown woman who is old enough to be his mother – or how hurtful it is that he refers to LGBT people as “an abomination” -- any future employers who Google his name likely would.

But I will not offer a protective cloak of silence to the words themselves, since they touch upon many of the points we regularly discuss on this blog.

If nothing else, perhaps they will teach us that there is a wrong way to disagree.



  1. Jana, as always you are a class act as well as a thoughtful voice in Mormonism. The writer of the letter has a lot to learn in life, as well as in the gospel, and I hope he has the humility to recognize that. I also hope he is grateful for the charity you have extended him.

  2. I look back at my certainty as a missionary, in high school, without children, with children, gainfully employed, unemployed, etc… at all sorts of various circumstances I was in and I cringe. I am being tempered gradually with age and experience and your letter writer will temper as well. It is the metal that tempers slowly that will last. I often bite my tongue (inwardly roll my eyes) and remember that I too was like that. Sometimes, I offer an alternative view, sometimes not and realize that they too are on their journey.

  3. I give thanks every day that the internet did not provide opportunities for instant publication and communication when I was 21!

    I love the image of the church as midwife to the gospel–thanks!

  4. Well said. And kindly, too.

    While I may not always agree with your take on things, I always appreciate your insights, and your thoughtful writing. Yours is a blog I always take time to read, no matter how chaotic life is. Thank you!

  5. I am almost stunned to speechlessness by the judgmental, self righteous, narrow-minded, and quite frankly, completely doctrinally unsound views expressed in this letter.

    To talk about Mormon Doctrine as if it were “canon” is already a clear misunderstanding of what doctrine is. I am not sure what Elder McConkie was thinking when he wrote that book. But he got many, many things wrong. So many, in fact, that the sitting prophet of the church made Elder McConkie recall the first edition off the shelves and make over 1,067 edits to it. And Elder McConkie was discouraged strongly by his prophet and brethren of the 12 about re-publishing new editions, but the ever strong-willed Elder McConkie did it any way. There are many further editions, and the book is chuck full of speculation, opinions, and reaches way beyond doctrine. And it is a great example of the dangers of church members assuming every word an apostle utters is the same as if God said it. That is a misinterpretation…

  6. Wincing as I read this. Returned missionary from 20+ years ago. Reminds me of an experience with a companion that stuck his foot in a door as we were tracting. I grabbed him, chastised him, and violently pulled him away from the door. Then I profusely apologized to the homeowner. As for me, I have pride issues. I try my best to be an upstanding member. Some things I KNOW (with every fiber of my whatever (!) ), other things, I don’t know. Sometimes I have doubts, but in those situations, I CHOOSE to believe, waiting for further light and knowledge. I, too, find myself tempering with age- not to the extent of accepting gay marriage, but accepting that there are different paths- and different religions, and maybe no religion- that can bring the family of God to Christ. Maybe someday, we’ll all be one, but the writer of the letter posted here- well, he’s not helping.

  7. I know of many occasions in which accomplished, adult Mormon women have received letters calling them to repentance from recently returned male missionaries in their early twenties. One such letter was received by an accomplished attorney in her eighties, with an impressive resume of leadership and ethical and religious publications. The fact that we are raising a generation of young men who have the presumption to judge and preside over any Mormon with a vagina, even those with decades more life experience, says a great deal about the spiritual harm we are doing to young men by raising them as a privileged class over the opposite sex.

  8. Did my son write that email? Sure sounds like him. He has recently returned from a mission and I’m not sure he’ll ever be okay with my doubts, questions, openness to growth and differing opinions. I appreciate your genuine and honest response. I love your blog and books. You say what I am thinking. God Bless You.

  9. Jana – Lest you feel picked on, this is pretty standard for anyone who publishes opinions on political and religious issues (as I am sure you are aware). Church leaders, as well as writers of a more conservative bent, receive these types of responses as well (if not more so).

    We should definitely expect better from conservative, RM Mormons. I would hope that we could expect better from those on the other side of the political religious spectrum as well.

  10. Author

    Shauna, thank you for getting in touch here and via email. And thank you for your kind words. You are in my prayers.

    Someone commented on Facebook that the Church should have a sort of post-mission MTC that’s required before re-entry into the mundane world lest RMs get “the bends.” She was mostly joking, but there’s something to that, I think. It’s quite a rough transition sometimes.

  11. I recall being taught as a missionary the power of testifying of the gospel – that if we spoke boldly and with conviction, unafraid of the consequences of speaking the truth, the pure in heart would feel the spirit of our words and do what we told them to.

    I am ashamed to think of the profoundly stupid and offensive things I must have said to people in that vein… I hope the writer of your nastygram comes to see the foolishness of his communication techniques. Also, the missionary department should reconsider this way of thinking. Tact and sensitivity can probably be even more effective tools for opening minds and hearts to the gospel than

  12. I think pointing out your emotions goes a long way in humanizing and personalizing you. It isn’t easy to share personal feelings, especially after being bashed, but it is quite an olive branch. I hope it is received as such.

    Speaking of demonized persons, I wish Elder McConkie wasn’t constantly caught in the cross-fire. His story is never completely told. Yes, he knew MD was imperfect, but with the approval of the brethren he published it, both challenging readers and relying upon them to think critically for themselves. Will the Encyclopedia of Mormonism be similarly targeted in another 50 years? Probably. Also, isn’t the point Jana is making about her voice and blog applicable to Elder McConkie’s works as well? It seems like there might just be a little more room for broader thinking toward both. And, taking a cue from you Jana, I’d point reader’s to Elder McConkie’s final conference address. Like all of us, he was human, but a special witness, servant, and disciple.

  13. Jana, I have discovered that the only thing that is more elusive than truth is the ability to persuade another of the truth, as if it were written in some secret code decipherable only by those who have the inner courage to be honest with themselves. The term “impressionable” comes to mind, which, coincidentally, is often used to describe the young Joseph Smith when he received his first vision, according to the Mormon record. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be a quality possessed by your follower.

    Also, I dug your gospel birthing metaphor.

  14. Frankly, your willingness to consider there is no God, but unwillingness to consider gay marriage, seems to me to be a major contradiction.

    It is also not helping.

    My marriage doesn’t affect you, but the lack of marriage affects an awful lot of gayeople, their children, families, faith, freedom, and assets.

  15. True, but that is what is stressed in the mission field as we know–complete, unquestionable obedience. How often do we say that missions are to convert us to the gospel? And how often do Elders and Sisters return home feeling this is the most vital aspect they learn in the field–and how long does it take them to soften back up to reality? It’s no surprise so fresh off their mission would take such an approach, which they are then encouraged to keep!

  16. As far as a post-mission MTC wouldn’t be for the RM getting “the bends.” The bends are a condition where the nitrogen “boils” out of the blood. So the post-mission MTC would help keep the RM from GIVING “the bends” (i.e. making their “blood boil”) 🙂

  17. We can’t put our own liberal views and mingle them with the doctrines of the church.
    There are those in the Church who speak of themselves as liberals who, as one of our former presidents has said, “read by the lamp of their own conceit.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine [Deseret Book Co., 1939], p. 373.) One time I asked one of our Church educational leaders how he would define a liberal in the Church. He answered in one sentence: “A liberal in the Church is merely one who does not have a testimony.”
    Dr. John A. Widtsoe, former member of the Quorum of the Twelve and an eminent educator, made a statement relative to this word liberal as it applied to those in the Church. This is what he said:
    “The self-called liberal [in the Church] is usually one who has broken with the fundamental principles or guiding philosophy of the group to which he belongs. … He claims membership in an organization but does not believe in its basic concepts; and sets out to reform it by changing its…

  18. ‘Someone commented on Facebook that the Church should have a sort of post-mission MTC that’s required before re-entry into the mundane world’

    This is an interesting idea… although I wonder if the MTC and mission presidents taught missionaries to be a little more real (mundane?) world, then perhaps such a debrief would not be required in the first place.

  19. Where did you learn that the sitting Prophet…(David O. McKay) made Bruce R. McConkie take the book…”off the shelf”…..? Also, where did you learn that the Prophet and the brethren “strongly encouraged him not to re-publish the book.”…? Also, where did you learn that the “book is chuck full of speculation, opinions, and reaches way beyond doctrine”…..?? or was that your opinion…?

    It never was taken off the shelf, in fact, it was the best selling book in the church, perhaps only rivaled by Miracle of Forgiveness…..I learned that by speaking with the publisher of Bookcraft. Strongly encouraged not to re-publish the book…probably not….it was such a good seller the brethren wanted him to use Deseret Book, the church owned publishing house. Which Elder McConkie did when he published the Doctrinal New testament Commentaries……where did I learn that.?…I heard him say it, in person, in a question and answer meeting I attended.

  20. Hi Ben in Oakland…….how does…”the lack of marriage affects an awful lot of gayeople, their children, families, faith, freedom, and assets.??”

    I assume your from Oakland CA……regardless of gay marriage legal or not….you have access to civil unions via the domestic partnership act….which afford the same rights as marriage….

  21. Jana, I love your column, and your response to this person. I just wish I could muster the class that you always seem to exhibit. (When I grow up, I wanna be just like you!)

  22. Interesting. Any ideas why it is out of print?

  23. Not sure what flyingmouseman had in mind, but you can find all of that in Greg Prince and Rob Wright’s “David O. MCKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism” (Univ. of Utah Press 2015). Great read.

  24. When my father-in-law was the stake president back in the seventies, Elder Mcconkie visited their stake, and spent the night at my in-laws house. When my fil showed Mcconkie his copy of the first edition of Mormon Doctrine, Mcconkie tried very hard to persuade my fil to sell it back to him,.but fil refused. That copy is now in our possession, and it is truly full of all kinds of scary stuff!

  25. I’ve posted here many times about how the prophets have always held the scriptures higher than their own words and have stated that scripture should be taken over their own words in cases of conflict.

    This young man will eventually read some of the objectively false and laughable things that some of the Brethren have said in the past. I suggest that he soften his heart rather than hardening his head. It’ll hurt less when he runs smack dab into the truth.

  26. Technically…it’s not out of print….the Church owned Deseret Book bought Bookcraft along with the rights to Mormon Doctrine….they moved it online…it’s called Gospel Link and it’s sold through a monthly subscription of $4.99 a month….100’s of titles….Bruce R. McConkie and Mormon Doctrine access is a key marketing feature of the service….
    Gospel Link main page says….
    “A large collection of works by other General Authorities such as Elders Bruce R. McConkie, James E. Talmage, and Neal A. Maxwell.”

    His name is featured predominately. Also his Doctrinal New Testament Commentaries are listed and searchable there.

  27. Just a brief footnote on this interesting article. The letter writer did **not** call LGBT people an “abomination”. He simply said, “…homosexuality, which we know from the scriptures is an abomination.”

    The difference is huge. If the letter writer was referring to homosexual behavior or gay marriage, then the Bible says that it IS an abomination. It’s a sin. There’s no way to sugarcoat it.

    However, according to today’s gay religion, if you are experiencing same-sex temptations, that somehow means that your self-identity, your “true self”, is homosexual. Therefore (according to said religion), calling homosexual PRACTICE an “abomination” automatically means you’re calling a same-sex-tempted PERSON an “abomination.”

    But that position is flat-out false and unbiblical. Biblically, God always differentiates between the sin and the sinner. God truly loves the sinner, but NOT the sin. You don’t have to be enslaved to a false “gay self-identity.”

  28. I have heard about Marion G. Romney being asked by President McKay to review “Mormon Doctrine” and suggest changes. It is stated in the excellent biography of David O. McKay by Prince and Wright that President Romney found over 1,000 changes. As I understand it, the edits were made in the second edition. eBay has a copy of the first edition for sale for $775.I think there are plenty of sources for the well-known story of the reins being pulled back on this. But you can , of course believe however you wish.

    There are many teachings in this book that go beyond canonize LDS doctrine.

    Janna–I enjoy your posts and the contemplation and thoughtfulness they inspire!

  29. This blog is aptly named. Not in the sense that Jana is Flunking Sainthood, but that apparently we all are. I’m not sure why it’s so difficult for us all to agree that we should express greater love, empathy, and patience with others; not just for the sake of internet civility, but because that is what the Gospel requires of us.

    I understand church doctrine on homosexuality and do not expect it to materially change, though I always welcome a revelation on any subject. But oh how I wish our gay brothers and sisters could worship with us now and be accepted even if they don’t accept the orthodox position on homosexuality. There is so much value in the restored gospel beyond being straight. I believe the Brethren would have us do this (Elder Christopherson’s gay brother being a prime example). I believe our Christianity can be measured by how well we bring our representative communities into the church, and not just those who look, think, and act like us.

  30. That’s one of the many lazy half truths that people keep repeating. It’s not true and it never was true.

    First, if it is exactly the same as marriage, why is it an identical separate institution required? And of course, marriage and domestic partnership were never equal, and not intended to be. Moreover, domestic partnership does not come with all of the Federal rights and benefits of marriage.

    second,if they are identical, would you accept one? No? Then why would I accept something that you would not accept for yourself?

    Third: the validity of the domestic partnership stops at the state line. The validity of the marriage license continues across state lines, and in countries that accept marriage equality.

    Third, if you can vote on whether I’m entitled to Marriage, then you can vote on whether my domestic partnership continues to exist.

    No, thank you. As an American citizen, taxpayer, and law-abiding person, I’m entitled to what you are. Nothing more. Nothing…

  31. The “no true Christian” that was the rears its head again.

  32. Sort of like how Mormons used to call black skin a sign of moral weakness and being less than people but not outright calling black people subhuman. Just treating them as such. 🙂

  33. I admire this RM’s zeal and conviction. Like the apostle Paul, he doesn’t hesitate to call ’em like he sees them. In this day and age of political correctness it is nice to see a young person willing to speak words of truth with boldness and testimony—probably realizing it will make him a huge target of scorn and derision by those who have no tolerance for those who believe differently than themselves.

    Jana, you have to admit you do spend an inordinate amount of time in your posts on LGBT issues. Are you gay yourself? Is the main purpose of Flunking Sainthood to promote an agenda?

  34. “It is the Lord’s side that is faith promoting, and the Devils side that is destructive. Which I personally believe with all my heart that is what your website is”

    If they boy can’t stand the heat, perhaps he should stay out of the rhetorical kitchen.

    And you? “probably realizing it will make him a huge target of scorn and derision by those who have no tolerance for those who believe differently than themselves.”

    I believe this pretty much describes the fundelibangelist position on gay people. If this boy wants to believe homosexuality is an abomination– as is eating shrimp– he is certainly entitled to. What he is not entitled to do is to enforce his purely theological beliefs through secular law on people who don’t share them. Nor is he entitled to claim persecution when people disagree with him. Nor is he entitled to claim his message is “of kindness and love” when he is busy condemning others.

    It’s not love. It’s narcissism.

  35. Yes one of the biggest ironies here is that if there is a pretty good example of someone NOT following the prophet’s council McConkie push to keep Mormon Doctrine on the shelves would be a mighty fine example. To me it is the modern version of Martin Harris and the 116 pages. And the idea that McConkie’s interaction with Eugene England are *good* examples of what ought to be emulated is dismaying to say the least.

  36. Uhh and you are saying you think that is a good idea. Lets start with the very, very basic fact that “liberal” in 1939 meant something very different than liberal today. Anyone pushing this line of thinking is clearly out of touch with the current leadership of the church that go out of their way over and over again to stress that diversity of political ideology and thought are encouraged in the church and not discouraged. Maybe Callum you ought to spend more time listening to current leadership than to past quotes of leaders taken out context. Just a suggestion.

  37. Slavery is biblical, One of the great things about being Mormon is we don’t have to chain ourselves to every dubious past practices and thoughts that happen to make them into the bible.

  38. Author

    Thanks, MH . . . but I totally think you can do better in terms of role models. For myself, I want to be Dumbledore when I grow up.

  39. I got blasted by friends and family members for posting this on my blog, feel free to reprint it.

    What Does the Lord Say About Same-Sex Marriage?

    Same-sex marriage has become an issue in many states in the United States. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has gotten a lot of bad press by pushing against other churches and the government for allowing such practices. Where is this coming from? We have no new revelation that we are aware of. Therefore, we must turn to the scriptures to see what the Lord’s will is in this matter.
    Firstly, the Law of Moses states that men are not to have sexual relations with other men.
    “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” – Leviticus 18: 22

    read more here:

  40. Author

    Ah yes, the “you must be gay yourself” argument. For heaven’s sake, Jeffery. Is this junior high?

    But as to your other point, the one that is actually worth answering, yes, I certainly do have an “agenda.” I am quite open about it: to make the Church more welcoming, loving, and tolerant.

    But as for how many times I post about LGBT issues, that is more a factor of responding to what the Church is doing. In fact, I worry that the blog is too reactive. I am keenly interested in responding with praise when the Church takes steps toward love and understanding, like when Seattle stake leaders held a special sacrament outreach for LGBT members back in the fall, or the Church backed egalitarian legislation in Utah in January.

    I will also express my disappointment when the Church seems to dig in against same-sex marriage. This is one of the defining civil rights issues of our time, and I will not be silent.

  41. Author

    Thank you, Benjamin. And yes, we are all flunking sainthood to one degree or another — and in my case, several simultaneously.

  42. It is a legitimate question, Jana, not an “argument”. And calling it “junior high” is a nasty-gram in itself, wouldn’t ya say?

  43. Author

    Harry, some of what you say is historically factual and some of it is not. The Brethren did discourage Elder McConkie from publishing the book, and when he went ahead, they required significant revisions. If you have not read the biography of President McKay, the SL Trib did a brief summary of the book’s history when it was taken out of print five years ago.

  44. yeah that sounds like a great idea.. maybe we should just stop reading the Book of Mormon too! It is a lot older than that statement! Sounds like a great idea Rah. Another thing is that the Book Of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. But since it is older than 1939, we should just stop reading that! nice one

  45. @Jeffery

    For myself, no, I’d say it’s pretty accurate. It seems very difficult for people who justify their unfounded beliefs about gay people as being “god’s word” to understand that we gay people could not possibly have advanced as far as we have without the majority support of heterosexuals.

    There are heterosexuals who support gay people in our effort to end this vicious prejudice not despite what their bibles say, but because of it. Jana clearly happens to be one of these.

  46. So is eating shrimp. But that doesn’t stop you from enjoying a nice shrimp cocktail, does it? Now, it’s your turn to say that we don’t buy everything the bible says, even when it clearly says it. Then, it’s my turn to say that that sure is convenient.

  47. But let’s go a little further if we’re going to be quoting the OT. Deuteronomy says that it is the believer’s duty to slay all of the unbelievers that live in his town. All of them, no exception. Now, that seems to be a moral law, not a dietary law. I mean, rejecting god would seem to be pretty moral and pretty serious.

    But you don’t advocate for that, do you? Because then you would look like an intolerant Nazi, wouldn’t you? Not to mention, get in a lot of trouble with the authorities.

    So, I suspect all of your old testament moralizing is being directed at people whom you disapprove of, and about whom your religious disapproval holds no serious consequences for yourself.

    But of course, if you get criticized for it, you can claim that you are being persecuted.

  48. Jana said —

    ” The gospel is…expanding, and changing, and groaning with the effort of its ongoing birth. ”

    An excellent observation.

  49. Amen, Sister Jana. This is the defining civil rights issue of our time. And I agree that I am hoping the church will end up on the Christlike side of it.

    Before anyone says anything harsh, mean or nasty on this subject, I think you need to think of the person or few people you love the very most in this world. Maybe it is your child, or a sibling or a parent. Someone who has treated you so well and brought you so much joy that they have given you the gift of great happiness in life.

    Now imagine, this person you love, tells you they are gay. Make this personal. Make it someone you really care about.

    And then think about how you want the church to treat them. You really want them in your eternal family You know they are good. Their hearts are good. The feelings they have about sex are only one dimension of a wonderful person.

    I think we are supposed to love them. And not treat them like a snake trying to eat baby birds.

  50. Jana, maybe you should study the scriptures, instead of reading blogs. That is the problem with so called “liberal mormons or jack mormons” they pick and choose what they want to believe.
    Rom. 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
    Lev. 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
    1 Cor. 6:9-10 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

  51. Great! since jana spoke it is doctrine!! What else did she say? Lets just agree with and follow every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of jana..

  52. LAC,

    ” …we must turn to the scriptures to see what the Lord’s will is in this matter. ”

    Here is what Paul said about his own writings which could apply to all of scripture —

    1. …our knowledge is partial and incomplete…
    2. …we see things imperfectly…
    3. All that I know now is partial and incomplete…
    (1 Corinthians 13:9,12)

    Those are excellent examples that teach us that scripture is too partial, incomplete and imperfect to be useful for every situation.

    We therefore must reason out anything and everything in scripture and that will help us to ‘effectively’ judge and evaluate a matter or people based on all reasonable, ‘current or modern’ attitudes, experiences and knowledge.

    That keeps the continuing and modernity inclined work of the ‘Spirit’ alive and well ‘in us’.

  53. I agree.. The younger gern. accepts everything so blindly, and does not stand for themselves. They live in the “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” attitude. The accepting of the SIN of homosexuality is just to common. we love the sinner, but we HATE THE SIN. This young man shows that no matter what, the gospel will always stand for truth. regardless of age, the spirit is older than the body. To again quote Widtsoe, “The self-called liberal [in the Church] is usually one who has broken with the fundamental principles or guiding philosophy of the group to which he belongs. … He claims membership in an organization but does not believe in its basic concepts..”

  54. The scriptural argument for this is weak. Really weak. Nothing in modern LDS canon.

    You can make a much better argument that “God is a Spirit” with the scriptures than you can make this tired argument.

    There are so many non-doctrinal teachings in the Old Testament that even the church never actively encourages people to read it cover-to-cover (which I have 3 times). It has stories about inspired genocide, infanticide, incest, she-bears murdering kids for making fun of a bald guy, killing everyone who “pisseth against the wall” (men, I think that means), etc.

    Loving God and our neighbor are the highest laws. We need to worry a lot less about “hating the sin” and a lot more about “loving the sinner”–which is what everyone of our acquaintances is–a sinner. We all flunk sainthood. Let’s not be known for being great at ‘hating sin”. Love is the core of Christian teachings.

  55. @callum

    So, Callum, I expect that any minute now, you will begin to judge, admonish, and Excoriate people like be brave, Doc Anthony, JR, Greg, and BRBQ, who regularly and with Little response from the good Christians (TM) post all kinds of vile lies, slanders, and reviling a about gay people on these very pages. Next, you’ll be moving on to people like Tony Perkins, Brian Fisher, Josh Duggars, pat Robertson, Roy Moore, Huckabee, and a host of other good Christians (TM) who use their bully pulpits regularly to lie about, slander, and revile gay people with absolutely no concern for facts, logic, and experience. You’ll be doing that right? Right?

    Because your precious St. Paul, in the passage that you just quoted, very clearly says that these people will also not be inheriting the kingdom of heaven. That ought to be of concern to a good Christian (TM) like you.

    Right? right?

    And when you are done with them, you can find a host of other people to excoriate.

    But you…

  56. I expected at least some mention of Korihor in this discussion. Chastisements on the web generally include it.

  57. Jana, if you don’t like the Doctrine of the church, then leave. No one is forcing you to stay. If you don’t like the doctrine of this church, then go and join the other apostate churches that change their doctrine. That is the thing about us and the world. The world will continue to fall further and further away from God. The church will stay the same, regardless of what YOU want. I am sure that you would fit in just fine with the changing or progressive ideas.. you could even be a priest in the catholic church.! For all we know, the catholics could be changing their doctrine right now about the abomination of homosexuality.

  58. Earth to Callum:

    “the church will stay the same”

    Are you kidding? We believe in continuing revelation. And regular inspiration to our leaders. Our whole church is based on the rock of revelation.

    It changes all the time.

    For real.

    And it will keep doing so, I am sure of it.

  59. So those “experiencing same-sex temptations” are sinners whom God loves? I’m with Jana on interpreting that as calling LGBT people an abomination. The term “today’s gay religion” is also offensive.

  60. Doc only believes in imaginary offenses committed by imaginary gay people that he calls the gaystapo, fascists, violent and a few other choice epithets.

    I wouldn’t worry about it. His very real offenses against gay people, especially the slandering, reviling, and bearing false witness that he does on a near-daily basis, will earn him his very own whited sepulcher, if not a nice warm spot on the Eternal Barbie.

  61. I am always sad when the arguments come to the suggestion to leave the church. We are all flunking in one way or another, and yet the Lord wants us to stay. All of us. Even you, Callum.

  62. At least he didn’t fulfill Godwin’s law by calling you a Nazi.

    Maybe we should have a Mormon version of this, how quickly someone in a Mormon-related discussion pulls the Satan card. We could call it Godbe’s law…

  63. I also didn’t catch where this letter writer called LGBT people an abomination. Just because the sin is an abomination doesn’t make LGBT people less loved by the Lord. Most LDS members have friends and relatives who don’t live the law of chastity, and they love and respect them just as they do anyone else who sins. Because, guess what? We all sin.

  64. Jana, I thought it was quite interesting how at the end of your blog post there is a veiled threat of hurting anyone’s ability to get employment who speaks out against you or homosexuality. Though it’s a tactic that’s enjoying great popularity in the mainstream LGBT movement, I was quite shocked that a terrifying threat toward anyone who has an alternate opinion and would dare to voice it would come from a member of my church who knows better. Are threats, intimidation and bullying people tactics God would use to get people to not oppose Him? Or are the tactics of trying to force, bully and intimidate someone to not oppose your beliefs the tactics of the adversary and the very cause he was cast out of heaven? Please forgive me for the obviousness of that question and answer, but it seems you may have forgotten that truth in your effort to defend your beliefs the moment you felt it important to point out the heavy price that could be paid by someone who expresses their feelings…

  65. Cont… and beliefs (had you been not so “generous” in protecting his name of course).

    It’s common knowledge that those type of subtle threats are designed and intended to intimidate and silence opposition. It might be helpful to ponder if threatening people into compliance is helping or hurting your cause. After all, aren’t bullying, threats and violence against homosexuals the very thing you’re trying to do away with? So why would you employ those same techniques against those who oppose you and voice their opinions, just as you are free to voice yours? Anyone who doesn’t employ someone because they don’t agree with homosexuality is practicing the same discrimination you are trying to overcome. Where’s the “equality” in that? Unfortunately, many who support the LGBT cause have taken upon themselves the practices of intimidation, assassination of character, threats, loss of jobs/revenue, verbal public “floggings”, etc, all designed to force and intimidate people into compliance…

  66. Cont… with their beliefs. It would be well to remember these words of a hymn, “Every soul is free to choose his life and what he’ll be; thus in every way be good and kind, but never force the human mind”.

    But wait, you say, he was “demonizing” me and saying terribly hurtful things, that is why I said those things, to help him understand that’s not the right way to do things! Well, first, I might suggest you go back and re-read the letter without your emotions revving high and if applicable, removing any lenses that might accidently cause you to see things incorrectly (due to the lenses being pre-colored to a particular mindset), because most of your selections of the letter you chose to highlight were either misquoted, misunderstood or taken out of context, so much so, it’s no wonder your feelings were so hurt. Nowhere did he call you the devil. Nowhere did he call homosexuals an abomination. And on and on. Re-reading that letter should help everyone see what I’m talking about.

  67. Cont… Also, it is worth reminding everyone of how Christ distinguishes between the sin and the sinner. You can talk about the sin and not be talking about the person (all people are precious and of great worth to God. Sin on the other hand is not).

    Second, in defense of truth, what the young man wrote concerning speaking against church leaders, supporting false doctrines (or speaking against true doctrine), spirit of disobedience leading to apostasy and “the Lord’s side vs the devil’s side” is in complete harmony with Christ’s gospel (and several of these points are made in temple recommend interviews). So respond as you may regarding his delivery style, but please realize that sometimes in our attempts to denounce a person’s message delivery style, we accidently denounce the message, and for your sake and those who have come to look to you for guidance, please don’t speak against Christ’s church, His personally called leaders, His doctrine and those who are trying, in their…

  68. Cont… imperfect way, to support and defend truth and righteousness as we are commanded by Christ to do; it will only bring sadness, heartache and contention.

    For those who wish to respond to this post, I ask you to please re-read it several times and wait a bit before doing so in order that nothing is overlooked or misunderstood.

  69. “I send this message in kindness and love. We have our own spiritual gifts, we have the gift of discernment.”

    I wasn’t feeling that kindness and love as I read the message.

    “Particularly with homosexuality, which we know from the scriptures is an abomination.”

    Literally read, this sentence is false doctrine. All scriptural references refer to homosexual ‘acts’–and even there, some of the non-Levitical scriptures could be viewed as condemning casual homosexual acts. “Homosexuality” as a concept of one person having an attraction that is not in correlation to their biologic reproductive sexual drive is not really addressed in the scriptures–unless you interpret the Centurion healed by Christ as being in a relationship with a man that was more than a platonic friendship.

    “I am happy to protect his privacy by not revealing his name.”

    Not a threat, rather a warning of what is a fact of life strategy by some social activists who do not receive such messages w…

  70. Come on, Ben, get with the program. Harry made you a perfectly reasonable offer. Separate but equal. What could possibly go wrong there?

    On a happier note, it’s awesome seeing Golden State in the NBA finals.

  71. First of all, Jana wasn’t making a threat, she was making an observation about potential problems. A threat would have been if she implied that she was going to post his comments along with his full name.

    Second, gays and lesbians are the ones who, in many states, can be fired simply because of their sexual orientation. And atheists can be evicted from their apartments in some places. Christians are not persecuted in this country.

    Finally, I don’t think the concern of a future employer is that the writer is against gay marriage. It’s that he is writing to strangers to tell them that they are inadequate in their religious performance, and that they are allied with Satan. Some prospective employers might find that to be disconcerting.

    But I doubt it. Most wouldn’t care. It’s LGBT people, atheists and other traditionally stigmatized groups who are much more likely to fall victim to discrimination.

  72. Steve and Ben in Oakland…the reason I brought up the domestic partnership act in California….couple reasons….Ben seemed to infer he needed rights for family friends and assets (implying he didn’t have them without gay marriage)…just wrong….. in California he did…..if he wants the symbolism of marriage then say so….don’t sell me on rights when you already had them.
    Secondly…the domestic partnership act passed by a liberal assembly…at the initiative and request of the GAY community….the gay community wanted this…then once they got it…they claimed separate but equal……even today several thousand gay couples each year choose the domestic partnership agreement…registering with the secretary of state…rather than marry…..

  73. Hi Jana…thank you for noticing my comments. Personally…I think everything I mentioned is true. I take with a huge grain of salt the book you reference and the comments regarding McConkie. I knew the publisher at Bookcraft, served in the mission field with him and heard differently. Also I have heard McConkie himself answer things differently in a training type of meeting. I admit…I’m biased because of my personal knowledge and regard for the man.

    Regarding 1,067 revisions….they were suggestions by Mark E. Petersen, not mandatory…it was not Mark E. Petersen’s book…it was Elder McConkie’s book. Mark E. Petersen had a good relationship with Joseph Fielding Smith and the McConkie’s…Mark E. Petersen wrote the intro, very praiseworthy, for Joseph Fielding Smith’s collection of radio address’s….The Restoration of All Things.

    The brethren demanding revision’s…??…what if your Bishop demanded revisions on your blog postings and handed you every week a list…

  74. One last comment on support of Elder McConkie…..Out of Print….or low sales of the book….not really…sales of all books were down in the 90’s…especially reference material…people gravitating to Infobases…electronic searches…
    As mentioned before…Mormon Doctrine is the marque product for Gospel Link, the descendent of Infobases, and people paying $4.99 a month. McConkie not relevant and the church tries to distance itself from him…..not at all…..since his death…a quick count of about 62 times quoted in general conference…..his quotes are littered in church curriculum….100’s of references in Seminary, Institute and manuals for Sunday school etc…..
    The brethren were so upset with him they called him to be an Apostle in 1972, he oversaw the new church edition of the scriptures and wrote the new chapter headings. And many of his talks became classics, made into pamphlets and reprinted many times even recently. Jana, your favorite…All are alike unto God…

  75. This is a serious question for Callum; honestly not meant to be offensive, although I realize it might be taken that way:

    You seem to be in significant pain and anger. Would it help to talk your anger through with a psychologist? There are counselors who can help people develop positive psychology.

  76. Harry, I agree with you that Elder McConkie was a wonderful apostle who gave great talks, helped many of us understand our church and inspired us to live good lives. His talk entitled “Agency or Inspiration”
    is one of the greatest explanations about this topic I have ever heard, and I still think about it and re-read it.

    But none of this means that everything Elder McConkie or anyone else says in talks, books or articles immediately becomes binding canon on the church the second they say it. The willingness of this newly returned elder to obey whatever his church leaders tell him, and write nastygrams to those he thinks do not, clearly portrays an attitude that some in the LDS church have. My daughter had a seminary teacher this year who pounded this idea as well.

    I think this is an incorrect way to look at our leaders. They aren’t perfect. And everything they say is not scripture. Bruce R. would…

  77. Hi Memba…thank you for the comments…they were very good….I think I see what you’re saying….even though Elder McConkie never claimed to speak for the church when he wrote his books…..”For the work itself, I assume sole and full responsibility.
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    June 1, 1958″
    People like this missionary believe otherwise……

  78. Both Harold B. Lee and Joseph Fielding Smith stated that if their words contradict scripture, that we are to reject those words and hold to scripture. Hugh B. Brown also stated that no GAs statements become officially binding Church doctrine until they are sustained by common consent.

  79. Jana, While I occasionally disagree with your views, I am glad your views are out there for me to consider. The Lord does black and white, but he also deals in grays. This is why there are several levels of heaven, and not just one.

    I recognize that people struggle with self-identity issues all the time. Too skinny, too fat. Too tall, too short. Addictions: many, some, or none at all. Gender issues tied to both DNA and environment.

    I agree with the concept that there are various levels of sin and temptation. I agree that we must all deal with the struggles mortality give us. I also agree with the concept that we are here to strive to overcome the world and ourselves, regardless of nature and nurture.

    LGBT only affects 3% of the population of the USA. Heterosexuals are involved sexual activities outside marriage. To teach anyone to wait for a marriage that the Church (God?) approves, is tough, but necessary.

    Marriage and Sex: celestial, terrestrial or telestial?

  80. Read the Book of Acts. Christ’s atonement divided the law as it was fulfilled through him. Animal sacrifices and only some men holding the priesthood (Levites) was done away with. Then, Peter was given a revelation that showed him that other parts of the law were now gone as well, including the dietary restrictions.

  81. You didn’t read the article did you? Go ahead. I’ll wait. Let me know your thoughts when you are done. In the mean time, I’ll just say that quoting parts of the Bible without understanding the whole is what leads to assumptions like the conclusion you’ve jumped to.

  82. I would argue that just as grace needs works, the Holy Ghost needs to speak to us when we read the scriptures. I agree that without the Holy Spirit to guide us, the scriptures are too partial and incomplete and the comment above about eating shrimp is a perfect example. As a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, I renew my covenant with him every Sunday to keep the Holy Spirit with me at all times. While my blog is for me, it is still revelation given to me by the Holy Spirit. This is how reading the scriptures should work for all of us, as all baptized members are witnesses of Christ as they are filled with the Holy Spirit. Why read the scriptures if the Lord cannot speak to us through them? Thus we CAN and SHOULD turn to the scriptures for answers, else why even read them at all?

  83. And my point was simply: isn’t that convenient?

    But your point doesn’t address that the very same word, abomination, was applied to both eating shrimp AND homosexuality. It doesn’t address how abomination– a word which means something vastly different to us than the word to’evah meant to ancient Hebrews– came top be in the KJV. It doesn’t address how lots of other OT commands, which must surely be considered “moral” and not dietary– are ignored, like the command to kill all of the unbelievers in your town, or stoning adulterers, and so on. Or how JC said that not one joy or tittle of the law should change until all should come to pass.

    I anticipated your argument, which was the whole point of my statement.

    This is simply hermeneutics in action– the fine art of getting your bible to say exactly what you need it to.

  84. Why read the scriptures if you don’t believe God speaks through them?

    Why believe that god spoke only 2000 years ago, and isn’t bothering to speak any more?

    The prophets in biblical times were speaking to the peoples of those times, not everyone, everywhere, for all time. Assuming otherwise is simply insisting that god is captured between the covers of your bible, sand fenced in by your understanding of what someone thousands of years and a universe away from us might have thought about something or other.

  85. Jana,

    I just wanted to point out that this person didn’t call the LGBT people an abomination. He called “homosexuality” (which is the practise), the abomination.

  86. Homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God

    Leviticus 18:22- You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

  87. Jana,

    You should be ashamed of yourself of promoting an lifestyle which is abomination of God. Maybe its time that you face a disciplinary committee and have your status of Temple recommendation reviewed or at the most revoked.

  88. Jana

    I should give that person a medal for that “nastygram”.

  89. I think you can take it as a given that whenever you tell your interlocutor that she is “on the Devils [sic] side,” and suggest that her website is sponsored by Lucifer, you have effectively shut down the possibility of conversation.

    Essentially a religious version of Godwin’s Law.

  90. Bro Callum

    I have read the B of M 46 times and the NT 32. I am convinced the Savior had many “liberal” views. Like “neither do I condemn you, go thy way and sin no more”, or “turn the other cheek”, and “judge not (if u like B of M add “unrighteously”)”, “if someone asks for your coat, give them your cloak too”, “blessed are the peacemakers” and much more.

    But honestly, I think Jesus would have resisted labels like “liberal”. I think he knows, loves and respects each unique individual–including the imperfect and even the disobedient. Even u, me and Ben in Oakland.

    I feel my Savior’s love that he freely gives me and u and everyone else.

    Janna, thanks for all your excellent, thought-provoking blogs. I am a fan!

  91. Hey Melba…you mean the Lord is liberal like..
    D&C22:4 ” Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.”
    Alma 45:16 “the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”
    3 Nephi 12:48. “be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”

  92. I am never going to be convinced that “hate the sin” comes even close to love our neighbors and the commandments to judge not. And like many, many LDS, I find it unsettling, troubling and spiritually disturbing that 90% of the messaging I hear from the church focuses on “hating the sin”.

    I am waiting for the talk which has a primary message telling us how to love our friends, relatives, coworkers. How do we behave as Jesus would, since none of us has been appointed to serve as the judge of these fellow beings?

    I would love to hear Elder Christofferson speak publicly about how much he loves, respects and cares about his gay brother. And how much he has faith and hope that his brother will not only be close in this life, but also be a part of his eternal family. And his great admiration for his brother faithfully attending meetings for years and years even though he was ex’d. And express his hope that Jesus will find us “filled with this love” so we can “be like him”.

  93. All good….your right…people don’t respond well to judgement. Kinda like our kids…better to inspire and pat them on the back…every one needs it.

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